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Video on Demand Report: The Wolfpack Calls It a Day in The Hangover Part III

The Headliner

The Hangover Part III

Like the Ocean’s franchise before it, The Hangover started with a wild caper in Las Vegas; made its sequel more exotic by setting it overseas; and then humbly returned to Vegas for its threequel. Two years have passed since the gang (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and junior gang member Justin Bartha) went to Bangkok; the nutty series of events that take place here include a giraffe’s death causing a huge highway accident, the death of Jeffrey Tambor’s patriarch, and a trip to take Galifianakis’s Alan to rehab that, naturally, goes horribly awry.

All the marketing for The Hangover Part III — the latest installment in the hugely successful comedy franchise — promised that it would wrap up the series; between Cooper’s recent Oscar nomination and Galifianakis’s public disdain for the franchise, this probably will mean the end for the Wolfpack.

That said: a considerable portion of this installment’s events revolved around Ken Jeong’s Chow, who breaks out of Thai prison and starts causing havoc back in the U.S. Could he find himself at the center of a new series of (maybe straight-to-tape) The Hangover Presents sequels? Whenever that actually happens, remember who predicted it first.

 

New and Notable

The Purge

It’s probably just a coincidence that the VOD release of The Purge happened to fall in the middle of a federal government shutdown (maybe toward the end of a shutdown? … Fine, probably the middle, if we’re lucky). Kind of a crazy coincidence, though.

The premise of The Purge goes further in some respects than the actual current shutdown: Instead of, for instance, WIC getting cut off for an indeterminate length of time, it’s all emergency services, and it’s only for 12 hours out of the year, during which time all crime is legal. As a consequence, crime is at an all-time low (for the rest of the year) and unemployment is at a mere 1 percent. So while The Purge might have been presented as a dystopic vision of the future when it was released back in May, maybe now it just seems depressingly prescient.

 

After Earth

Now that the press furor over stars Will Smith, his son Jaden Smith, and their unorthodox ideas about “patterns” has died down, maybe it’s actually possible for After Earth to get a fair hearing?

Just kidding, of course it isn’t! Jaden Smith’s still posting nonsense on his Twitter account, isn’t he? Anyway, this sci-fi affair seems to be a good intro to Scientology principles for anyone who doesn’t have the patience for the low production values of Battlefield Earth or the million pages of Dianetics.

 

Pablo

Narrated by Jeff Bridges and featuring interviews with Norman Jewison, Beau Bridges, George Segal, Anjelica Huston, and many others, Pablo tells the story of Pablo Ferro, one of the most prolific and respected opening-credits designers in movie history.

If HBO’s Casting By whetted your appetite for documentaries about the off-camera people who make movies great, Pablo might be a good way to spend a couple hours this weekend.

 

The Network

Fans of Control Room, the 2004 documentary about the news network Al Jazeera, may also be interested in The Network, which documents the founding of TOLO TV, the first independent TV network in Afghanistan.

 

“In Theaters”/Early Release Picks

Sunlight Jr.

Available on demand before its theatrical release, Sunlight Jr. gives its two Oscar-nominated leads two great chances to be Oscar-nominated once again: Matt Dillon (nominated for Crash) ditches his Flamingo Kid glow to play a marginally employed paraplegic; Naomi Watts (most recently nominated for The Impossible) glams way down to play his marginally employed girlfriend, who finds herself pregnant with a baby they can ill afford.

 

Zero Charisma

Between the popular podcast and the upcoming NerdMelt TV series, Nerdist Industries is becoming virtually inescapable. With Zero Charisma (available on demand the same day as its theatrical release), the company branches out into another new medium: feature film.

An audience favorite (and prize winner) at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, Zero Charisma revolves around an exclusive role-playing game. When a cool new dude is invited to join the game (he’s so cool he even brings beer!), a veteran player’s jealousy goes to crazy extremes.