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DVD reviews

December 4, 2011
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COMEDY

THE HANGOVER PART II (2011)

Ed Helms is getting married in Thailand, so naturally Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis tag along to make sure he has one very wild night in Bangkok before the ceremony. We’re not part of the pack that rates this stuff as iconic comedy - and the movie boasts several self-referential moments that assume you do - but Galifianakis is amusing, and a couple of Billy Joel flourishes are screwy fun. Extras: A flat production mockumentary “exposes’’ the behavior of the guys on location. Still, costar Justin Bartha humorously wonders why the movie’s monkey gets a 7-Eleven cup and he doesn’t. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

SCIENCE FICTION

COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

It’s clear from what director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man’’) has to say in commentary that cast and crew felt a certain level of anxiousness about having audiences take this one seriously. Great title, but goofy, no? Not a problem - Favreau, Daniel Craig, and Harrison Ford make a polished genre entry. Or cross-genre entry, as the case may be. If only there had been some way of selling the movie with a different title, and making its sci-fi reveal a surprise. Impossible, obviously, but we can dream. Extras: Favreau amiably chats with all the principals; an extended cut adds 15 minutes. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

THRILLER

THE DEBT (2011)

Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciarán Hinds play former Israeli operatives still haunted by their mission to kidnap a notorious Nazi doctor from East Berlin back in the ’60s. (The characters are played in flashback by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas of “The Lord of the Rings,’’ and Sam Worthington.) Mirren summons her “Prime Suspect’’ raggedy strength, but the standout is Chastain, who anchors the story (and also shines in “The Help’’ this week). She makes spying from an ob-gyn’s office nearly as ugly to contemplate as anything else in the movie. Extras: Commentary by director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love’’). (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

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