"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (R, 101 minutes, Universal Studios)
An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, due to arrive in just a couple of weeks. When Dodge (Steve Carell) and his wife hear the news, she takes off. After a few nights consoling himself, he meets a goofy neighbor named Penny (Keira Knightley), with whom he spends his final days on a road trip designed to make good on their personal bucket lists. Writer and director Lorene Scafaria gets things off to a cynical, raucous start. It's all very nihilistic and hard-edged, a tone that doesn't quite jibe with Carell's sincere, sad-eyed despond. When he joins forces with Penny, the fit isn't much neater, although the two share some genuinely sweet moments. By the time the all-too-convenient plot twist shows up in the third act, the air of contrivance is positively stifling, but Carell and Knightley wring pathos and warmth from the artificial setup, and the film's conclusion arrives with a thudding, maudlin wallop.
Contains profanity including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence. Extras: commentary with Lorene Scafaria, her mother, Gail Scafaria, producer Joy Gorman Wettels and actors Adam Brody and Patton Oswalt, outtakes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and "Music for the End of the World: What's on Your Playlist."
"Magic Mike" (R, 110 minutes, Warner Home Video)
A mellow, low-slung charm propels Steven Soderbergh's film, which stars Channing Tatum as a male stripper and is partly based on Tatum's real-life experience. Tatum plays the title character, Mike, now in his 30s, who for years has been a headline act at a Tampa, Fla., male strip club. When Mike meets a 19-year-old college dropout, he takes the young man under his wing and introduces him to the easy money, flowing booze and nonstop booty calls of his lifestyle.
It tells a simple story of a young man finding himself, an older mentor reconsidering his life and discovering love, and the enduring power of a buff-and-bronzed hottie gyrating in a spangled codpiece. No moralizing, no deeper meanings just a good, old-fashioned cinematic hen party. Contains pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, profanity and some drug use. DVD extras: backstage on "Magic Mike." Also, on Blu-ray: extended dance scenes, Dance Play mode.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (R, 105 minutes, Fox)
As much of a mixed bag as its title suggests, this film is both terribly silly and a lot of fun. The premise: Lincoln's motive of vengeance evolves from the personal (a vampire has killed his mother) to the political when he realizes the institution of slavery was created as a way to feed white Southern vampires, resulting in the Civil War. Strangely enough, it works. But one aspect of the film doesn't add up. As with most vampire stories, a bite from a vampire will turn the victim into another vampire unless the person bitten is pure of heart. Those rare, unblemished souls simply die. The question, then, is: Why are there no black vampires? Surely there is one slave, somewhere, whose heart has been hardened by injustice and the lash just enough to grow fangs. Contains violence, gore, obscenity and brief sensuality. Extras: "The Great Calamity" graphic novel, commentary with writer Seth Grahame-Smith, making-of and book-to-screen featur- ettes, and behind-the-scenes, fight choreography and make-up effects shorts; "A Visual Feast: Timur Bekmambetov's Visual Style" and "Powerless" music video by Linkin Park.
"Madea's Witness Protection" (PG-13, 114 minutes, Lionsgate)
Tyler Perry makes his films fast, cheap and profitable. That's great for his studio, Lionsgate, but pretty exasperating for a viewer. Here, veteran comedic actor Eugene Levy plays George Needleman, a clueless CFO with a trophy wife and two dysfunctional kids, who discovers his financial firm is a giant Ponzi scheme. The plot involves a mob family (never seen) that forces the Needlemans to seek shelter with the volatile Madea (Perry). Perry targets his audience with feel-good subplots about a struggling church and a wayward kid, but this is sloppy stuff, even by Perry's standards. Contains some crude sexual remarks and brief drug references. Extras: Five featurettes, including "Tyler Perry: Multi Hats & Costumes," "Impersonating Madea" and "Madea's Comedy Icons."
Television series: "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Early Cases Collection" (18 discs, includes all 45 mysteries from the first six series, Acorn Media), "Sanctuary: The Complete Series," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent Season 8," "The Duchess of Duke Street Complete Collection" (1979-80, 10-disc set with 31 episodes, Acorn Media), "Upstairs Downstairs: Season Two," "Shazam!" (1974-77) and "Apocalypse: Hitler" (prologue to National Geographic Channel documentary series "Apocalypse: The Second World War," Entertainment One)
Also: "Take This Waltz" (starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, directed by Sarah Polley, Magnolia Home Entertainment), "The Invisible War" (documentary on rape within the U.S. military, Docurama), "Crooked Arrows," "Fear and Desire" (1953, Stanley Kubrick's first feature, Kino Lorber), "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview," "The Slut" (Israel), "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971, Criterion Collection), "Blade Runner 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition" (four discs, with new bonus material including a 72-page production art book and collectible spinner car), "Gabe the Cupid Dog," "Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast," "Secret of the Wings" (animated, Disney) and "America Stripped: Naked Las Vegas."