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January DVD Releases

New Movies on DVD for January 2010

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Here's a selection of DVDs for January 2010.

'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' DVD

Adapted from the children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett, this is an animated comedy. The setting is a tiny Atlantic island that prospered from the sardine business, but the market collapsed, leaving the inhabitants with nothing else to eat. Then Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) invents a machine that can transform clouds into various kinds of food, including burgers and ice cream. Tourists flock to the island, and a local TV weather girl (voice of Anna Faris) forecasts what will fall from the sky. But the machine goes haywire while producing spaghetti and meatballs.

'Fame' DVD

This musical is a reinterpretation of the 1980 film of the same title that spawned a TV show and a stage musical. The story still takes place over four years at a New York high school for the performing arts, but the new movie has different characters and, with the exception of Debbie Allen, different actors. The emphasis is on polished dancing and singing, and the tone is similar to High School Musical. A highlight is young Naturi Naughton doing "Out Here on My Own." Teachers are played by Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullally and Charles S. Dutton.

'Gamer'DVD

Gerard Butler stars in this frenetic actioner from the same writer-director team who did Crank. The story takes place in the near future where a technology has been perfected that permits one person to completely control another. Death row inmates are pitted against one another in a death match game called Slayers where each inmate is controlled by a gamer who pays for the privilege. One of the inmates, Kable (Butler), has already won 27 matches, and if he wins three more, he goes free. Meanwhile, his wife (Amber Valletta) is in a sex-oriented game called Society.

'Halloween II' DVD

Rob Zombie wrote and directed this horror movie, the sequel to his 2007 Halloween, which was a remake of John Carpenter's 1978 classic. Tyler Mane is back from the 2007 film as the adult Michael Myers, as are Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode and Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Samuel Loomis. The story is still set in Haddonfield, Illinois. Loomis tours to promote his new book about Myers, while Laurie's sanity remains fragile after surviving the massacre. Myers continues his psychopathic murdering ways, and in his mind's eye sees his mother and a white horse.

'Michael Jackson's This Is It' DVD

At the time of singer-dancer Michael Jackson's death, he was preparing for a series of concerts in London, and this documentary presents an edited version of rehearsal footage he had shot at LA's Staples Center to help him put together a highly polished show. The rehearsal footage is interspersed with interviews of musical performers and behind-the-scenes personnel involved in the show, but there is nothing about Jackson's offstage life. However, the King of Pop is seen rehearsing versions of some of his greatest hits, including "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billie Jean."

'Pandorum' DVD

This sci-fi thriller stars Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid. In the 22nd century, astronauts Bower (Foster) and Payton (Quaid) awaken from a state of suspended animation. They find themselves aboard a spaceship, but can't remember what they're doing. Bower investigates, coming upon hordes of dead people and lots of humanoids who ferociously attack. He meets some people who seem okay and teams with them to fend off the attackers, figure out what's going on and continue the mission, which turns out to be to save humanity. The movie's title is said to be a psychological disorder.

'Riding Giants' DVD

This documentary traces surfing from its origins in Polynesia to the present. In the early 1960s, movies and pop songs transformed a sport pursued by only a few people into a mainstream activity and big business. Then Greg Noll began surfing big waves off Oahu's North Shore. Also, Jeff Clark pioneered surfing dangerous Mavericks Beach near San Francisco. More recently, Laird Hamilton uses tows by jet ski to enable him to ride monster waves.

'Surrogates' DVD

Bruce Willis stars in this sci-fi thriller. The setting is a near future where hardly anyone interfaces directly with another human being anymore. Instead, people get wired up and live their lives through robots known as surrogates, or "surries" for short, who look like attractive humans in the prime of life. But trouble arises when two people die because their surrogates are catastrophically damaged, which is supposed to be impossible. That's when FBI agent Greer (Willis) swings into action, suspecting immediately the nonconformists who reject surrogacy and live on reservations.

'The Final Destination' DVD

This horror movie is the follow-up to Final Destination (2000), Final Destination 2 (2003) and Final Destination 3 (2006). The franchise formula is that before a disastrous event, someone has a premonition which saves the lives of several young people. In previous films, the calamitous incident was a plane crash, a huge traffic accident and a roller coaster derailment. This time around it's a disaster at an automobile racetrack. But according to these movies, you can't cheat Death. Thus the fate of those whose lives were spared is to be killed in improbable and horrific ways.

'The Hurt Locker' DVD

Set in 2004 Baghdad, this tense, realistic drama focuses on three American soldiers whose job is to harmlessly disable improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The movie takes no position on the morality of the Iraq War; instead, the story is about the moment-to-moment lives of the men in the bomb squad. The three are played by relatively little known actors: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, with Renner giving a memorable performance. Actors in supporting roles include Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce and David Morse. The film was directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

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