Think they need an antidote to the mindless assaults? If laughter is the best medicine, then the Unrated Edition of THE HANGOVER ($39.99; $34.98), the Vegas-set moneymaker about three friends who black out during a bachelor party, only to find that they’ve lost the groom, should cure them of headaches induced by Bay’s incendiary extravaganza. Still, if they enjoy that sort of sensory overload, and grew up playing with Hasbro toys, they should also appreciate G.I.JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA ($39.99; $34.98). While not exactly (kung-fu) gripping, the breezy action is still more fun than anything in the listless TERMINATOR: SALVATION ($35.99; $28.98), which may have been the film to finally kill John Connor’s future in theaters. But, maybe this Director’s Cut plays better at home.
Likewise, perhaps the digital cinematography that we found so ugly and anachronistic in Michael Mann’s Johnny Depp–starring John Dillinger biopic PUBLIC ENEMIES ($36.98; $34.98) when it played in cinemas will look just fine when beamed onto their television screen.
Beaming into history as the highest-grossing movie in the storied science-fiction series, the simply-titled reboot STAR TREK ($36.98; $34.98) can be transported into their Vulcan-saluting hands. J.J. Abrams’s wildly entertaining, alternate timeline trek through familiar territory feels amazingly fresh, given how stale the saga had become as its five-year mission stretched on for 43 years. And if they’d like to experience the Kirk and Spock of old, they’ve never looked or sounded better than in the BD editions of STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES – SEASONS 1-3 ($321.99; also available in individual seasons for $129.99) and STAR TREK: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE COLLECTION ($139.99), which features the first six big-screen adventures of the Enterprise crew.
Abrams wasn’t the only one rewriting history this year, as they’ll discover if you give them the Two-Disc Special Edition of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS ($36.98; $34.98), hitting retail on December 15. In Quentin Tarantino’s version of World War II, Adolph Hitler meets his end at the Nazi-scalping hands of a tough band of heavily armed Jews played by Brad Pitt and Boston’s own Eli Roth.
Yet another contrarian view of the official record found aliens (the outer-space kind, not Glenn Beck’s favorites) land in Johannesburg in 1982, creating both a new underclass of cat food-loving, shrimp-like humanoids and an alternate apartheid in producer Peter Jackson and his directing protégé Neill Blomcamp’s DISTRICT 9 ($39.95; $28.96), arriving in stores on December 22.
PAPER HEART ($39.98; $26.99) may not have broken any ticket-sales records, but this documentary (or is it?) rewrites the rules as it transparently blends fact with fiction as performance artist/musician/skeptic Charlyne Yi (the daffy stoner girl from Knocked Up) travels the country to discover the nature of love, and possibly finding it on-camera with actor Michael Cera. It’s all very meta.
So, to a lesser degree, is JULIE & JULIA ($39.95; $28.96), which finds an award-worthy Meryl Streep (surprise!) inhabiting the oversize shoes of Julia Child during her days spent learning to cook in post-war France. Amy Adams does her best with the less-palatable role of Julie Powell, a post-9/11 blogger who’s intercut preparing (and writing about preparing) every one of Child’s recipes from her monumental book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Mom should have a real taste for this one.