Spin-ematical: New on DVD for 12/1

Terminator Salvation
I suspect McG's movie will play really well at home, with the volume turned up and the surround sound explosions masking the lack of a compelling story and lackluster performances. Everyone from Christian Bale to Anton Yelchin to Sam Worthington to Bryce Dallas Howard was overshadowed by the special effects and the robots running rampant. However, at home you can walk in and out, pause, rewind, and replay -- and yes, freeze frame Moon Bloodgood's extremely brief topless scene -- without harming an essentially harmless movie. Rent it. Also available in a 3-disc Blu-ray edition, with theatrical and director's cut, alternate endings, featurettes, and more

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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Our reviewer, Eric D. Snider, described it as "a mix of genuinely funny performances and highly lazy storytelling. You know how it goes: the plot is inane, but a lot of the dialogue makes you laugh." With Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Owen Wilson. Not my cup of tea, but if you're so inclined: Rent it. Also on Blu-ray. Single-disc DVD includes audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes with alternate ending, and gag reel. Two-disc "Monkey Mischief" edition add more featurettes and games. The Blu-ray combo pack includes even more featurettes and a standard def DVD.

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Who is that happy couple running? Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray picks, and Collector's Corner - after the jump!





Paper Heart
Comedian Charlyne Yi undertakes a search to determine if true love exists and ends up dating Michael Cera. Once again we turn to the peerless wisdom of Eric D. Snider: "The film's major drawback" is that "it's partially built around Charlyne Yi's persona, and I find her persona boring. Then again, you might find her highly amusing. The freedom to have different opinions of professional entertainers is one of America's greatest blessings." I'll trust Eric, a very funny man and perceptive critic, on this one. Skip it. Also on Blu-ray.

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Also out: The Girl in the Park (with Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth, Alessandro Nivola, and Keri Russell).



'Gremlins'Gremlins
A wild, anarchic spirit is unleashed in Joe Dante's playful comedy horror, based on a script by Chris Columbus. Zach Galligan is perfectly bland as the hapless hero overrun by mischevious little monsters, while Phoebe Cates displays plenty of pluck as his object of affection, especially when she explains why she hates Christmas. As is often the case with Dante's pics, the supporting cast (Hoyt Axton, Keye Luke, Scott Brady, Polly Holliday, and my fave, Dick Miller), gets some of the best lines / reactions.

Unfortunately, the Blu-ray does not includes any new material and converts none of the extras into high definition, according to High-Def Digest. Carried over from the previous special edition DVD are two audio commentaries, behind the scenes featurette, additional scenes, and trailers.

The Green Mile
Frank Darabont tackles Stephen King again, to much less effect than The Shawshank Redemption, in my book. The movie takes itself so seriously that a rather slight tale gets blown up beyond what the allegory can bear. Still, I realize the film has many fans, who will no doubt flock to pick up the new Blu-ray, which up to now has been available exclusively at Best Buy. With Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. The Blu-ray does not includes any new material and converts none of the extras into high definition, again per High-Def Digest.

Also out: Snatch; Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; The Mask of Zorro; Secondhand Lions.

The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter (Criterion Collection)
An absolutely magnetic documentary following the band on their 1969 US tour, leading up to their infamous concert at Altamont. An audio commentary by directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin and "collaborator" Stanley Goldstein is featured. Available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

A Christmas Tale (Criterion Collection)
Arnaud Desplechin's critically-acclaimed drama stars Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch of a troubled family. It is "a tragically comic tale of love, death, and familial strife and forgiveness," wrote Kim Voynar in her review for Cinematical. "The gods of cinema preserve us from anyone getting the idea to do an American remake of this deeply layered, intelligent film, because I have no doubt that it would be ruined beyond all recognition." Available on both DVD and Blu-ray.