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December DVD Releases

New Movies on DVD for December 2009

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'Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian' DVD

This family comedy-adventure is the sequel to Night at the Museum (2006), and Ben Stiller reprises his role as security-guard-turned-inventor Larry Daley. The original movie centered on New York's Museum of Natural History, but in the new film the action shifts to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. The idea remains that historical figures come alive, and this time some artworks do as well. Amy Adams plays Amelia Earhart, who becomes Larry's love interest. Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon and Al Capone show up, along with a fictional Egyptian pharaoh (Hank Azaria).

'Paper Heart' DVD

Carlyne Yi and Michael Cera play versions of themselves in this little film that blends fiction and nonfiction. Yi says she doesn't understand the concept of love and travels to various cities around the United States, interviewing Americans, who appear to be ordinary people, on the subject. A documentary filmmaker (portrayed by an actor) makes a movie about her journey, and some of what Yi hears is illustrated by puppet shows. Along her way, Yi encounters Cera, and romance begins to bloom for the two of them. The film is done with deliberate artlessness.

'Paranormal Activity' DVD

Representing itself as being made entirely from real-life amateur video that has been discovered, this is an ultra-low-budget horror film. The stars, Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston, are previously unknown actors. They play a 20-something unmarried couple who move into a house in San Diego. Katie claims she has been troubled by a supernatural presence for years, and Micah sets up a fancy camera to capture everything that goes on, even while they are asleep. The disturbing footage that results contains creepy stuff, as well as scenes from Micah and Katie's everyday life.

'Public Enemies' DVD

Johnny Depp stars as celebrated outlaw John Dillinger in this Depression-era period drama directed by Michael Mann. Christian Bale portrays Melvin Purvis, the federal agent out to get Dillinger, and Billy Crudup is impressive in the role of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. Marion Cotillard plays Dillinger's girlfriend Billie Frechette. The film is mostly historically accurate as it depicts bank robberies and prison breaks, as well as the romantic relationship between Dillinger and Frechette. Meanwhile, the FBI doggedly pursues the outlaw and finally catches up with him at the movies.

'Terminator Salvation' DVD

Christian Bale stars in this sci-fi film, the fourth installment in the Terminator series that began in 1984. The original starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, a likeness of whom appears in this new movie by way of a body double with a CGI face. This time around nearly everything takes place in 2018, but it's still humans at war with machines. A system called Skynet has destroyed most of humanity, but there are still pockets of people, and John Conner (Bale) is becoming the leader of the resistance. Another important character is the cyborg Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington).

'The Hangover' DVD

In this raucous, raunchy, but reasonably witty comedy, a guy who is about to get married and his three groomsmen (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) go to Las Vegas for a night of heavy drinking and gambling. The three groomsmen wake up the next morning in their hotel suite to find a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet and the groom gone missing. Their memories of the previous night are hazy, and the three men have a series a comic adventures as they try to figure out what happened. Mike Tyson plays himself in a hilarious cameo.
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