It's a less-than-stellar week on the home video front, with several unspectacular major theatrical releases -- revolving around slackers -- coming to roost on DVD. Leading the way, so to speak, is 'Paul,' a road trip about a slacker, runaway alien -- named Paul -- who joins up with two oddball Brits in a mad effort to rendezvous with a rescue space ship so he can go home. Next up is 'Your Highness,' a medieval tale about a pair of princes -- one a do-gooder who slays dragons and rescues damsels in distress, the other a ne'er-do-well who smokes "wizard's weed" -- and their quest to save a woman kidnapped by an evil wizard. The best bets this week are the Blu-ray debuts, so read on.
What It's About: Two sci-fi geeks on a pilgrimage to America's UFO heartland accidentally encounter an alien who sends them on an insane road trip. For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smartass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town -- ­a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost). The resulting trek is loaded with mayhem -- and some laughs.

It's Kinda Like: 'E.T.' meets 'National Lampoon's Vacation'

What We Say: A wise-cracking alien on the lam? That's pretty much the heart of the matter here, to which Brits Simon Pegg and Nick Frost add their loopy brand of cynical, dotty, off-the-wall humor. There's plenty of side trips and excursions to the main plot -- government agents, religious fanatics, UFOlogists -- as well as more pop culture references than you can shake an alien probe at (or yeah, there are alien probe jokes, too). Though not up to 'Shaun of the Dead; (a tough film to top), 'Paul' is still an enjoyable pastime. And Paul is so real. Hmmm.

• Extras: Bloopers, behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentary by director Greg Mottola, Pegg and Frost, a featurette on how Paul was conceived and created.
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'Your Highness'
What It's About: A pair of brothers -- Fabious (James Franco), a handsome, chivalrous hero who lives by good deeds and his sword, and Thadeous (Danny McBride), a shaggy haired slacker who lives for "wizard's weed," booze and easy women -- must join forces on a wild adventure to rescue Fabious' betrothed (Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) who needs her soul in order to take over the universe. Along the way they encounter assorted demons, werewolves, and traitorous knights -- as well as an elusive warrior (Natalie Portman) with a dangerous agenda of her own -- before they save the day and prevent a new Dark Age.

It's Kinda Like: 'The Princess Bride' meets 'Evil Dead'

What We Say: This uneven parody of sword and sorcery films has its moments of fun -- but not enough to offset the lame slacker jokes, vulgar bathroom (actually, since it's the Middle Ages, cesspool) humor, and uninspired acting. The very slow, humorless scenes revolving around the travails and insecurities of Thadeous get juxtaposed with wild violence right out of a typical, modern slasher film, making this outing very uneven. It has nowhere near the inspired lunacy of a 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail,' say. If you were hoping for this to be director David Gordon Green's 'Pineapple Express' in the Middle Ages, you'll be sorely disappointed.

• Extras: Commentary, alternate scenes, commentary, featurettes.
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August 9 Blu-ray Debuts:
  • 'If ....' (1969) Revolution was in the air when Lindsay Anderson made this daringly chaotic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-60s England. Malcolm McDowell stars as an insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior against the vicious games of the establishment. From The Criterion Collection.
  • 'The Battle of Algiers' (1965) Vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafes, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style. From The Criterion Collection.
  • 'Dazed and Confused' (1993) Richard Linklater's visual dissertation on the last day of high school just before the summer of 1976.
  • 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' (1982) Amy Heckerling nailed down the teen life in California high schools, malls and beaches in this wonderful comedy, based on the book by Cameron Crowe. Introduced Jeff Spicoli to the world.

Other New August 9 DVD Releases:
  • 'Choose': A journalism student, with the help of her detective father and a therapist, tracks a serial killer who selects victims and forces them to choose between horrific options. Stars Katheryn Winnick, Nicholas Tucci, Kevin Pollak, Richard Short, Bruce Dern.
  • 'Dream Home': (2010 -- Hong Kong) Cheng Li-sheung is a young, upwardly mobile professional finally ready to invest in her first home. But when the deal falls through, she is forced to keep her dream alive -- even if it means shedding the blood of her would-be neighbors.
  • 'Jumping the Broom': There's a collision of worlds when two African-American families from divergent socioeconomic backgrounds get together one weekend in Martha's Vineyard for a wedding. Stars Angela Basset, Mike Epps, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine, Julie Bowen.
  • 'The Last Godfather': (2010 -- USA/South Korea) Mob boss Don Carini (Harvey Keitel) is retiring from the family business and surprises everyone by anointing his goofy grownup love child Younggu as his successor, fomenting a struggle for power among family, friends and enemies alike. Also stars Hyung-rae Shim, Michael Rispoli, Jason Mewes.
  • 'Mars Needs Moms': Nine-year-old Milo (Seth Green) finds out just how much he needs his mom (Joan Cusack) when she's nabbed by Martians who plan to steal her mom-ness for their own young. Milo's quest to save her involves stowing away on a spaceship, navigating an elaborate, multi-level planet and taking on the alien nation and their leader. A boring, mish-mash of a film that set back the cause of motion-capture animation.
  • 'Super': After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy (Rainn Wilson) transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills. Stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion.
  • 'Tactical Force': An LAPD SWAT team begins a routine training exercise in an abandoned hanger, but things spiral dangerously out of control when they find themselves caught in a three-way war with two rival gangs who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Stars Steve Austin, Michael Jai White, Keith Jardine.
Check out more August 9 DVD releases at OnVideo.
Based on 37 critics

Two British sci-fi nerds (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost) help an alien return to his spaceship. Read More

Your Highness
Based on 33 critics

A slacker prince has to join his braver brother on a quest to rescue the brother's fiancee. Read More

categories Dvds, Movies, Blu-Ray Dvds