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Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

For the week of 11/30/10 - 12/06/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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KNIGHT AND DAY

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by James Mangold

Starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Jordi Molla, Maggie Grace

Fox//Rated PG-13//Action, Comedy//109 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

The idea behind Knight and Day was to drop a pretty couple into a screwball romance that is frequently interrupted by attempts on their lives. However, the inept script and a lack of chemistry between the players, fail to persuade. Cruise is in his element when the plot calls for action sequences, supplying lightning fast physicality and determination, but pairing adorable Diaz with him fails to substitute for the actor's missing lovable gene. The plot calls for June Haven (Diaz) to be sucked into a deadly game of spy vs. spy after CIA operative, Roy Miller (Cruise), uses unsuspecting June as a mule to carry a much sought-after device through airport security. Roy's superior (Viola Davis), wants to keep June under surveillance, so she allows her to board a flight intended only for Roy and a half dozen agents sent to kill him. Having survived this onslaught, Roy becomes June's self-appointed protector for no reason other than "I'm just that good." Their resulting breezy romance is so thinly sketched it never takes form. The same can be said for Roy's repeated escapes from dozens of armed hit men, since the encounters frighten June and he gives her knockout drops to prevent her from endangering them. But when the lights out for June, they go out for us too, and the ruse soon loses its amusement value, leaving viewers feeling the film pulls too many rabbits out of its hat. DVD features: Wilder Knights and Crazier Days, Viral Videos, Knight and "Someday" Featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Cruise, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: Boston Days and Spanish Knights, 2 Knight and Day features: Story and Scope, BD Live Lookup Powered by IMDb, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

PARKS AND RECREATION: SEASON TWO

(2009-2010)

* * * (B)

Created by Greg Daniels, Michael Schur

Starring Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Paul Schneider, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, Will Arnett

Universal//Not Rated//Comedy//518 minutes

Available on: DVD

NBC continues to break the sitcom mold with this one starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, deputy director of Parks and Recreation in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the minds behind America's version of "The Office," this one is also filmed as mockumentary centered around City Hall. Knope is a bumbling, yet eternally optimistic mid-level bureaucrat. In the season's opening episode, she holds a public wedding ceremony for the zoo's two penguins, unaware that both are male. She's celebrated as a hero by gays, but the town's conservative leadership demands her resignation. Knope hopes to improve services in Pawnee, but the local mindset and her unmotivated colleagues, block her efforts. The show's ensemble includes Aziz Ansari as a creepy skirt-chaser, and Aubrey Plaza as April, a do-nothing intern who's only question is "What's in it for me?" Nick Offerman is a riot in deadpan as an anti-government official, and Rashida Jones appears as Leslie's best friend, to whom Knope confesses her harebrained schemes. DVD features: Commentaries on six episodes with cast and crew, 2-1/2 hours plus of deleted scenes, Season Three Sneak Peek, Blooper Reel, Pratt on Parks, Mouse Rat Rocks the Wrap Party, ?uestlove on: Parks, Parks and Recreation Theme Song, Promos, English language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by David Slade

Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning

Summit//Rated PG-13//Horror//124 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

This third "Twilight" chapter blends action, romance and horror. High school student Bella (Stewart) is caught in a powerful love triangle with two of her school's hunkiest boys -- vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob (Lautner). Bryce Howard appears as Victoria, a nasty bloodsucker dispatching an army of the undead to kill Bella. Edward's family and Jacob's werewolf pack join forces to protect Bella during a vampire-werewolf showdown against Victoria's army. Based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, the third film offers cool battle sequences for the guys while retaining its romance factor for the girls. 2-Disc DVD features: 2 Commentary w/Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart, Commentary w/Stephenie Meyer & Wyck Godfrey, Become the ultimate The Twilight Saga: Eclipse insider with a 6-part Making-of documentary, deleted & extended scenes, Relive every moment with the photo gallery, favorite scenes in Edward fast forward and Jacob fast forward, music videos, Spanish or English language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Photo Gallery, Jump To:Edward, Jacob, The Love Triangle, The Cullens, The Wolfpack, The Humans, and Victoria's Army, Action Sequences.

GOING THE DISTANCE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Nanette Burstein

Starring Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Warner//Rated R//Comedy//103 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

On - and off-again couple, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, make a movie mirroring their frequently long-distance romance. Following a fling between journalism student Erin (Barrymore) and junior record company exec Garrett (Long), they realize they're smitten. Erin must leave for San Francisco where she's landed a job, while Chicago-dwelling Garrett's work compels him to stay in the windy city. They fly to and fro in an effort to keep love alive, but jealousies and disapproving friends make it a tough go. Both the film's trashy humor, and thinly stretched plot, take a toll on its good intentions. DVD features: Additional Scenes, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, How to have the perfect date, A guide to long-distance dating, The cast of going the distance: off the cuff, director commentary, The boxer rebellion "If You Run" music video, Behind the scenes of the soundtrack, additional scenes, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

VAMPIRES SUCK

(2010)

-Bomb- (F)

Directed by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Starring Ken Jeong, Matt Lanter, Marcelle Baer, Parker Dash, Bradley Dodds, Matthew Warzel

Fox//Rated PG-13//Comedy//82 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

If you hate hate hate or love love love the "Twilight" series starring human girl Bella, and her vampire lover Edward, then you might get a few chuckles from this spoof. Viewers observed that the "Twilight" parodies on YouTube are more incisive and funnier than this film, which has shamelessly mined the videos for send ups. DVD features: deleted scenes, Gag Reel, English language tracks, French or Spanish Subtitles, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray features same plus: Digital Copy, English or French language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Jon Turteltaub

Starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Monica Bellucci, Omar Benson Miller, Alice Krige

Disney//Rated PG//Fantasy//109 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Disney adapts a popular sequence from its animated Fantasia into a new film. Cage appears as master sorcerer Balthazar Blake, Merlin's 1400-year-old protege. Charged with stopping villainous wizard Maxim Horvath (Molina) and his army of dead souls from destroying Earth, Balthazar requires the aid of Merlin's descendant Dave Stutler (Baruchel), who needs training in the art of magic. Dave shuns practice, preferring to chase dream-girl Becky (Palmer), perhaps because he's unconvinced that Maxim's forces are growing stronger thanks to the release of evil sorceress Morgana (Krige) from suspended animation. Spot-on special effects add little impact to the story or to Cage's indifferent portrayal. On the bright side, Molina is a hoot while Baruchel is both funny and likable. DVD features: Making-of featurette, deleted scene, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: Film on DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy, Magic in the city, The science of sorcery, Making magic real, Fantasia: reinventing a classic, The world's coolest car, 5 deleted scenes, Outtakes.

MEET THE FOCKERS

(2004)

* * (C)

Directed by Jay Roach

Starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand

Universal//PG-13//Comedy//116 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray

Does the specter of Mom and Dad engaged in sex fantasy role playing, double you over with amusement? How 'bout five octogenarian couples practicing their "reverse cowboy" position in sex therapy class? The above tee-hees and dozens like them, provide the comic foundation for "Meet the Fockers," sequel to "Meet the Parents." Ben Stiller returns as Gaylord Focker, a male nurse desperate to please the macho, suspicious CIA father (De Niro) of is intended, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). Greg dreads introducing Pam's father to his parents, radically liberal parents, Bernie and Roz Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand). Stiller has built a career on questioning social convention with in-your-face comedies, but this one is more squirm-worthy than it is funny. Blu-ray features: Bloopers, Inside The Litter Box: Behind-the-scenes With Jinx The Cat, The Manary Gland, Fockers' Family Portrait, The Adventures Of A Baby Wrangler, Matt Lauer Meets The Fockers, Commentary With Director Jay Roach and Editor/Co-Producer Jon Poll, Pocket BLU, Social BLU, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

MEET THE PARENTS

(2000)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Jay Roach

Starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson

Universal//PG-13//Comedy//108 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray

Robert De Niro plays Jack Bryne, an ultra conservative retired CIA man who automatically dislikes any fellow brazen enough to court his eldest daughter, Pam (Teri Polo). Ben Stiller portrays Greg Focker, Pam's boyfriend who should have made other life plans when Pam warned, "Don't tell Daddy that we live together, don't let him know you smoke, and don't tell him any jokes -- they're completely lost on him." Greg repeatedly stumbles and exaggerates, falling into each trap "Daddy" sets for him. The seemingly affable patriarch becomes a ruthless interrogator each time he gets Greg alone, hooking Greg to his antiquated polygraph machine in an effort to learn whether he and Pam are sexually active. Pam's ex-fiancee (Owen Wilson) is a day-trader and self-made millionaire, and Jack's favorite almost son-in-law. Wilson's self-effacing style and De Niro's trademark intensity provide fuel, though it's up to Stiller to engage us in this one-joke satire. Blu-ray features: Spotlight on Location, De Niro Unplugged, The Truth About Lying, Silly Cat Tricks, Jay Roach: A Director's Profile, Commentary with Director Jay Roach and Editor Jon Poll or Commentary with Cast Members Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Director Jay Roach and Producer Jane Rosenthal, Pocket BLU, Social BLU, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

THE BIG LEBOWSKI

(1998)

* * * * (A)

Directed by Joel Coen

Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, David Thewlis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ben Gazzara, Peter Stormare, David Huddleston, Tara Reid

Universal//Rated R//Comedy//108 minutes

Collector's Edition, Available on: DVD

Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is a burned-out, dope-smoking vet mistaken by thugs for a millionaire of the same name. With help from his dingbat bowling buddy (John Goodman), Lebowski attempts to manipulate these circumstances into a big payday. Instead, he is used and abused by the other players, including Julianne Moore as a kinky heiress fond of painting in the buff, and Steve Buscemi as the Dude's dim-witted co-conspirator. Like every character in this movie, Lebowski's pony-tailed, bowling rival, Jesus (John Turturro), is one-of-a-kind, and a real tickler. DVD features: $10 in movie money to see Little Fockers, French, Spanish or English language tracks, widescreen.

GERRY ANDERSON'S SPACE PRECINCT: The Complete Series

(1994)

Bomb (F)

Created by Gerry Anderson

Starring Ted Shackelford, Rob Youngblood, Megan Olive, Simone Bendix, Jerome Willis, Mary Woodvine

Image//Not Rated//Sci-Fi//1063 minutes

Available on: DVD

High above the planet Altor, a centralized police station maintains a persistent orbit. Rubber masked extra terrestrials wander the sets and work alongside humans in this future world that seems stuck in a time warp occupied by clunky dialog, stupid cases and dopey cops whose personal lives are less engaging than a bad soap opera. From the UK, and produced in 1994, the special effects aren't on par with those of the original "Star Trek." This would almost seem to be the point of a show that thinks of itself as campy, but that designation would be a giant step up from the cheesy zone this one inhabits. 5-Disc DVD features: English language tracks.