Clockwise from top left: Get Smart, Transsiberian, Kung Fu Panda, Budd Boetticher Box Set, Planet of the Apes 40th Anniversary Collection.
Welcome to this week's edition of Spin-ematical, chock full of alternatives to election coverage!
Kung Fu Panda
Though some of the celebrity voices were useless, Jack Black is great, and the film itself is pleasant, good-natured, and respectful of Asian culture. Available in at least seven editions, including widescreen, full-screen, Spanish, a Christmas gift set, with and without Secrets of the Furious Five (a 20-minute short), and on Blu-ray; oddly, this doesn't release until Sunday. Buy it.
Traveling by train in the dead of winter from Beijing to Moscow should be much more restful than what happens to Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer in this adventure / suspense / thriller; Ben Kingsley plays a menacing Russian detective. I'm recommending this one sight unseen because Brad Anderson (Session 9, The Machinist) directed. Includes a 34-minute "making of"; also available on Blu-ray. Replays are inevitable. Buy it.
The bumbling Maxwell Smart as a generic action hero? (*sigh*) Steve Carell makes the character his own by repeating the old catchphrases without enthusiasm and proving to be far too adept for his own -- or the movie's -- good. Anne Hathaway is a very sexy spy, but Dwayne Johnson is miscast and even Alan Arkin struggles. The TV series never took itself too seriously; if only the movie had done the same. Available in widescreen and full-screen editions, as well as a two-disk version and on Blu-ray; a plethora of bonus scenes are included, notably a 5-minute "vomit reel." Ugh. Skip it.
After the jump ... Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray debuts, and Collector's Corner.