- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

“The Hangover” (Warner, $28.98 for DVD, $34.99 for two-disc DVD, $35.99 for Blu-ray) — “The Hangover” might have been the surprise of the year to those who couldn’t tell at first viewing it was going to be a hit. Warner Bros. executives certainly could. They ordered a sequel to this hilarious film about a bachelor party gone awry before it even had been released. Bradley Cooper, in the performance that should make him a star, headlines a talented and interesting cast as the best man who must, along with rather less-cool groomsmen played by Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, find their friend in Las Vegas just hours before he’s to be married. The problem is, they can’t remember a thing about the out-of-control bachelor party that took place the night before. That’s the genius of the film: You never see those scenes of mayhem (other than still photos that run during the credits). As with a great novel, the audience is left to piece things together in its imagination.

The two-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions both include two editions of the film, the theatrical release and an unrated version, plus a host of extras. They include a “Map of Destruction,” laying out the Vegas locations, and a look at the talent of Ken Jeong, a funny guy who plays the mysterious Mr. Chow here and made amusing appearances in some other comedies this year - “All About Steve,” “Couples Retreat” and “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” (also out on DVD this week) on the big screen and “Community” and “Men of a Certain Age” on the small screen.

Besides a few other featurettes and a digital copy of the theatrical release, there’s a gag reel and more pictures from that missing camera.

“G-Force” (Disney, $29.99 for DVD, $39.99 for two-disc DVD, $44.99 for DVD/Blu-ray combo) — Jerry Bruckheimer isn’t known for children’s comedy. The producer’s megahits include the “C.S.I.” television franchise and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise. Yet this CGI adventure, his first film in 3-D, was a hit anyway. Perhaps that’s because it contains plenty of the action for which the producer is known. Perhaps it was the surreal plot, which focuses on a trio of guinea pigs trained to become spies who must foil a plot to take over the world. Perhaps it was the interesting group of actors assembled for the animated film: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan, Jon Favreau and Steve Buscemi provide voices, while Bill Nighy, Will Arnett and Zach Galifianakis (from “The Hangover”) put in live performances.

Disney usually puts a lot of fun extras on its DVDs. Here, the two-disc DVD has an audio commentary with director Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr.; “Blaster’s Boot Camp,” featuring the pint-sized weapons expert voiced by Mr. Morgan; a look at the inspiration behind the film with Mr. Bruckheimer and Mr. Yeatman, a special-effects expert; bloopers; deleted scenes; three music videos; and a digital copy. The Blu-ray edition — sold in a combination pack along with the regular DVD - includes all that plus three featurettes looking at the animation behind the film.

“Taking Woodstock” (Universal, $29.98 for DVD, $39.98 for Blu-ray) — Consider this listing a public service: “Taking Woodstock” was one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Ang Lee, an Oscar winner for “Brokeback Mountain” who also made such masterpieces as “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” and “Lust, Caution,” seems out of his element here. Mr. Lee seems to have no sense of the riotous ‘60s or what Woodstock means in the larger consciousness of America. The story of the famed festival is told through the eyes of a young man helping to organize it, played by a mostly one-note Demetri Martin. Emile Hirsch is similarly wearisome as a struggling Vietnam vet, while Imelda Staunton’s strange performance might be uncategorizable. The sole pleasure here is Liev Schreiber’s lively transvestite, who brings the only touch of magic to the screen whenever he appears.

Extras on the DVD include a commentary with Mr. Lee and writer James Schamus, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. The Blu-ray has some additional deleted scenes and a look at the Earth Light Players, the theater troupe depicted in the film.

“Robot Chicken: Season 4” (Warner, $29.98) — Might the cleverest show on television be a bizarre stop-motion animated program that does pop-culture parodies sometimes only seconds in length? There’s plenty of evidence for the claim in this two-disc set, which has all 20 episodes from season four of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim series. There’s also a collection of extras, including two panels from Comic-Con, video blogs, deleted scenes, deleted animatics and commentaries.

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