Things are beginning to pick up on the home entertainment front this week: There's two best bets for your viewing enjoyment -- 'Super 8' and 'Sarah's Key' -- as well as a handful of interesting titles that should keep you busy every night this week -- until next Tuesday's onslaught of new releases. Read on.
'Super 8'
What It's About: This homage of sorts to the kids-coming-of-age movies of the 1980s (think 'Stand by Me,' 'Goonies') concerns a group of small-town kids in 1979 who witness a catastrophic train crash while making a Super 8 zombie movie. They then discover that the train was carrying a cargo more terrifying than any of them could have imagined -- and it's been let loose on the countryside. It turns out that an extraterrestrial had been captured by the U.S. government and was being transported to a new location -- and the train crash wasn't accidental. With people and animals disappearing at an alarming rate, the kids pool their resources to aid the local deputy in preventing a major disaster.

It's Kinda Like: 'E.T.' meets 'Predator'

What We Say: 'Super 8' is the latest in a long line of films in which a bunch of kids get together to solve a problem adults can't understand or handle properly (they're either too mean or too stupid) -- it honors a tradition extending from 'The Blob' and 'Invasion of the Saucer Men' to 'E.T.' and 'The Monster Squad.' Director J.J. Abrams, of course, sides with the kids, clearly taking a page from producer Steven Spielberg's never-want-to-grow-up notebook. He understands the dynamics of kids growing pains, blossoming young love and alienation, and here mixes those ingredients with the sci-fi motifs of a rampaging alien (he's one nasty E.T.) for an enjoyable action-thriller. The train crash alone is worth the price of home admission.

• Extras: Commentary by J.J. Abrams, deleted scenes and a host of interesting featurettes.
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'Sarah's Key'
What It's About: In this drama centered on the tragedy of the Holocaust, Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American journalist who, 67 years after the war ended, uncovers one more missing piece of the story. As she and her family plan to move into an apartment in Paris, she learns the history of the building -- not only its connection to a tragic event that occurred during the Nazi occupation of Paris, but also her husband's family's possible connection to the event as well. The film bounces back and forth in time -- from the incarceration of Jews during WWII, including 10-year-old Sarah and her family, to the present, as Scott Thomas investigates what happened to the former occupants of the apartment.

It's Kinda Like: 'Schindler's List' meets 'Tell No One'

What We Say: There's always room for more stories about the Holocaust, particularly if they're well-written, directed and acted. 'Sarah's Key' scores only on one of these three points, however: the acting is top notch, but the storyline and direction at times lacks the dramatic punch that befits a film that's basically a tragic mystery. When Scott Thomas slowly works her way toward solving the story's central conceit, the film's pace almost slows to a halt. Though almost low-key to a fault, we'll forgive its sins to get to the involving, poignant Holocaust tale.

• Extras: A behind-the-scenes featurette.
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Other New November 22 Releases:
  • 'The Adventures of Tintin: Season One': (2011) To prepare for Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures of Tintin,' due Dec. 23, you might want to take a look at the precursor, 'The Adventures of Tintin,' adapted from the long-running French comic strip and graphic novels (begun in the 1920s) by the late cartoon artist Herge (a.k.a. Georges Remi) that chronicles the young and intrepid investigative reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy, as they embark on incredible globe-trotting adventures full of excitement, mystery and fun. The first season of the 1991 animated TV series has just been released as a two-disc set with 13 episodes.
  • 'Becoming Santa': (2011) A humorous documentary that follows one man's journey to regain his Christmas spirit. After Jack Sanderson's parents died, he realized he wasn't looking forward to the holidays and, in a dominant commercial culture, avoiding Christmas seemed impossible. So with that, Jack decided that the best way to get through the Christmas Season was to become Santa Claus. Director Jeff Myers followed Jack on his journey, which entailed getting a custom Santa suit from Adele Saidy of Adele's of Hollywood, attending the American Events Santa School taught by Susen Mesco in Denver, Col., and ultimately booking Santa jobs.
  • 'Carjacked': (2011) During a routine stop at a gas station, Lorraine (Maria Bello), a vulnerable single mom, and her 5-year-old son (Connor Hill), are carjacked by Roy (Stephen Dorff), a vicious bank robber on the run who forces her to drive him to meet up with his accomplice.
  • 'Conan the Barbarian': (2011) Hey Conan fans: The legendary Barbarian is back -- big time. Spiffy special effects (and lots of blood and guts) makes the Cimmerian warrior come alive on the big screen as he grows from a killer-of-a-boy to a grown-up killer-of-a-warrior who has to save the world from a power hungry warlord who slaughters all in his path -- including Conan's family and village. Not for the queasy. Watch an exclusive clip:

  • 'The Devil's Double': (2011) Dominic Cooper gives a tour-de-force performance as both Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's reckless, sadistic party-boy son who has a rabid hunger for sex and brutality; and Latif Yahia, an Iraqi army lieutenant ordered to become the 'fiday' -- or body double -- to the notorious "Black Prince" in 1987. It's kinda like 'Scarface' set in Iraq with Cooper as a Middle-Eastern Tony Montana. It's based on a true story -- and is brutally violent.
  • 'The Family Tree': (2011) When a bizarre accident leaves desperate housewife Bunnie with a case of amnesia, her dysfunctional family -- consisting of husband, Jack and twin 17-year-olds Eric and Kelly -- gets an unexpected second chance at happiness in this offbeat comedy. Stars Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Max Thieriot, Brittany Robertson.
  • 'Helldriver': (2010) After a meteorite crashes into Japan, releasing a toxic ash that turns inhabitants in the northern half of the country into bloodthirsty zombies, a stunning high school girl armed with an artificial heart-powered chainsaw sword leads a motley crew of desperadoes into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate the zombie queen. This low-budget flick has more ambition than smarts; after the first foray into zombieland, the killings become an endless loop of bloodshed with no rhyme nor reason nor story line.
  • 'Spy Kids: All the Time in the World': (2011) What do you do when a franchise has run its course? Reboot it by bringing in new blood. That's what Robert Rodriguez did with this entry in the once-popular Spy Kid series. But where the previous sequels were giddy with self-referential musings and outlandish villains, this one is downright stupid. Even the presence of Jessica Alba as the spy mom can't enliven the proceedings, which is about an evil villain who is speeding up and destroying all the time in the world.

Check out more November 22 DVD releases at OnVideo.
Super 8
PG-13 2011
Based on 41 critics

Disappearances and other inexplicable events follow a devastating train crash in 1979 Ohio. Read More

Sarah's Key
PG-13 2010
Based on 30 critics

A reporter learns that she has a personal connection to a shameful incident in French history. Read More

The Devil's Double
R 2011
Based on 28 critics

The body double of one of Saddam Hussein's sons reveals details in the life of the Iraqi tyrant. Read More

Conan the Barbarian
R 2011
Based on 29 critics

A quest for revenge by a Cimmerian warrior (Jason Momoa) turns into an epic battle against evil. Read More

categories Dvds, Movies, Blu-Ray Dvds