This week: Joss Whedon reinvigorates the horror genre with the shockingly clever "The Cabin in the Woods," starring a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth.
'The Cabin in the Woods'
Box Office: $42 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh
Storyline: The initial premise will seem familiar to horror fans — five college friends go to a remote cabin in the woods to party for the weekend — until the group becomes pawns in a planned sacrifice that is bigger in scope than they could have ever imagined. This meta-horror mind-bender produced and co-written by Joss Whedon and directed and co-written by Drew Goddard stars Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins and a certain genre legend in a cameo.
Extras! While there are many behind-the-scenes featurettes included on both the DVD and Blu-ray, the one to not miss is "We Are Not Who We Are: Making 'The Cabin in the Woods,'" in which Whedon and Goddard go full nerd and describe how they locked themselves in a hotel room for days and cranked out the first draft, their fortune of having "Thor" in the film and more.
We Say: What horror film ever gets a 90% Fresh rating? The brilliant part of "The Cabin in the Woods" is that when you find out what is really going on, it's nothing you could have predicted or expected. Although it's never truly terrifying, this loving send-up of the genre is not to be missed and the nods to countless horror movies will have fans geeking out right up until the mind-blowing finale.
'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'
Box Office: $46 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh
Storyline: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson star in this British comedic adventure about seven seniors that decide to "outsource" their retirement to a resort in India, where friendships and romances blossom in unexpected ways.
Extras! The best bonus features are exclusive to the Blu-ray, including a feature on the real hotel and "Trekking to India: Life Is Never the Same."
We Say: This isn't groundbreaking cinema, but it is a sweet story filled with emotional performances by its talented cast of veteran actors.
'Katy Perry: Part of Me'
Box Office: $25 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh
Storyline: This music documentary for fans of the popular "Firework" songbird features behind-the-scenes interviews, personal moments between Perry and her pals, footage of rehearsals, a look at the choreography and more.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain more backstage footage from Perry's "California Dreams" tour. The pop doc is also available in 3-D in the combo pack for those that want their pop stars to pop out of the TV.
We Say: If you're a fan of Perry's spirited ditties, then this movie satisfies by showcasing the hard work and dedication that Perry puts into her hit-making machine.
'Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures' Blu-ray
Box Office: $941 million
Rotten Tomatoes: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" 94% Fresh, "Temple of Doom" 85% Fresh, "The Last Crusade" 89% Fresh, "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" 77% Fresh
Storyline: This collection of our favorite globetrotting archeology professor turned whip-cracking adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) features the coveted Blu-ray debuts of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," as well as the more recent "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which was previously available on BD.
Extras! The set contains seven hours of behind-the-scenes footage, including an hour of previously unreleased material.
We Say: This beloved quadrilogy by director Steven Spielberg and creator George Lucas (yes, even "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" got a "Fresh" Rotten Tomatoes rating, you hindsight haters) is the Holy Grail of Blu-rays. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" has been meticulously restored and looks like it came out yesterday, while "Temple of Doom" and "The Last Crusade" have also been remastered for their high-definition upgrades. A treasured franchise like this is the reason Blu-ray was invented.
Also New This Week:
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3"
"Ed Wood" Blu-ray
"Halloween II" (1981) Collector's Edition Blu-ray
"Halloween III: Season of the Witch" Collector's Edition Blu-ray
"Queen of the Damned" Blu-ray