This week: The long-delayed "Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled" box set with "Marvel's The Avengers," "Thor," "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2" and "The Incredible Hulk" plus geek-worthy collectibles is finally here.
'Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled'
Box Office: $1.75 billion (six movies)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Storyline: This limited edition 10-disc, 6-movie set has both Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D copies of "Marvel's The Avengers," "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger." Also included on Blu-ray only are "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2" and "The Incredible Hulk" encased in a handsome metallic-looking case with collectibles and a bonus disc.
Extras! The movies come packaged with prop reproductions and artifacts from the films, including a glowing Tesseract of your very own. The "Top-Secret Bonus Disc" has the "And Then Shawarma After" featurette as well as never-before-seen deleted scenes, extended scenes, featurettes, animatics and more from each of the six films. There is also an exclusive inside look at "Iron Man 3" and Marvel Phase Two plans.
We Say: This impressive Marvel set was supposed to come out months ago but got delayed because of rights issues regarding the design of the briefcase. Apparently a redesign happened and now, finally, fanboys can prepare for the ultimate nerdgasm. The set will set you back almost $150 on Amazon, but all six movies demand repeat viewings, both in 2-D and 3-D. It will be hard to justify the expense if you've already invested in all or most of the individual releases, but collectors will want to snatch one of these briefcases before they run out.
Box Office: $156,966
Rotten Tomatoes: 34% Rotten
Storyline: An 11-year-old orphan boy (newcomer Michael Rainey Jr.) who dreams of a better life gets a crash course in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with the uncle he idolizes (Common) in this coming-of-age drama co-starring Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert and Charles S. Dutton.
Extras!: "LUV" is only available on DVD. Details about extras, if any, were unavailable at press time.
We Say: This R-rated Baltimore-set indie directed by Sheldon Candis doesn't offer an even remotely plausible look at one day in a young boy's life, but there is some heart lurking underneath all of the thug melodrama as rapper-turned-actor Common continues to mature on screen. "LUV" was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
'John Dies at the End'
Box Office: $134,737
Rotten Tomatoes: 60% Fresh
Storyline: This horror/comedy/sci-fi hybrid based on the David Wong novel of the same name stars Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes as two college dropouts who must stop the progression of a deadly street drug known as Soy Sauce that gives users an out-of-body experience as they drift across time and dimensions ... and sometimes don't come back as human. Also on board for this otherworldly invasion are Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman and Angus Scrimm.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track, deleted scenes, "Getting Sauced: The Making of 'John Dies at the End,'" a "Fangoria" interview with Giamatti, a featurette on the special effects and casting sessions.
We Say: This crazy, incoherent adventure is going to polarize viewers depending on their tolerance for on-screen zaniness, though fans of gonzo, drug-fueled antics will want to help make this one a future cult classic.
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 44% Rotten
Storyline: This horror-comedy stars funnyman Ross Noble as Richard Grindle, the sleaziest clown working the children's party circuit in Ireland. Years after a prank goes wrong and Richard goes to Bozo heaven, the now teenagers throw a decidedly more adult soiree and — thanks to a black magic clown cult — Stitches is the uninvited guest of honor seeking revenge on those responsible for his untimely end.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by Noble and writer-director Conor McMahon, a making-of featurette and bloopers.
We Say: It's tough to pull off pitch-black humor and gross-out effects, but you have to appreciate the enthusiasm Noble and McMahon bring to this low-budget hot mess. Gore mongers that just want to see some inventive FX makeup (scooped-out brains, exploding heads, etc.) will be more tolerant of this slasher throwback's iffy, heavily accented dialogue and acting.