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'District 9' landing on a disc near you

Other releases: 'All About Steve,' 'Extract,' '(500) Days of Summer,' 'It Might Get Loud'

December 20, 2009|By Noel Murray

"District 9"

Sony, $28.96/$36.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

It was a year of box office surprises, and none bigger than the runaway success of "District 9," a jittery sci-fi mockumentary about a South African bureaucrat embroiled in the immigration woes of space aliens. Though writer-director Neill Blomkamp's satire of apartheid and assimilation is less pointed than some of the movie's devotees claim, "District 9" is nonetheless an ambitious spin on several tired genres -- the alien invasion movie, the mismatched-buddy movie, the mockumentary -- and an inspiration to future filmmakers who want to try something different. The DVD comes packed with extras, including a Blomkamp commentary, deleted scenes and multiple featurettes; the Blu-ray adds a playable demo of the Playstation game God of War III.

"All About Steve"

20th Century Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Sandra Bullock received good reviews for her starring turns in two of 2009's hit movies, "The Proposal" and "The Blind Side" -- along with justified pans for the excruciating screwball comedy "All About Steve." Bullock plays a kooky cruciverbalist (that's a person who constructs crossword puzzles) who develops an obsession with a TV news cameraman (Bradley Cooper). Everyone in the movie is meant to be adorably odd, but Bullock comes off as irritating and deranged, making her quest for love more pathetic than endearing. The DVD and Blu-ray are loaded with deleted scenes, bloopers and cast and crew commentaries.


Miramax, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

In keeping with his slow-growth cult hits "Office Space" and "Idiocracy," writer-director Mike Judge's "Extract" is yet another stealthy, misanthropic comedy about miserable heroes surrounded by dopes. Jason Bateman plays a factory owner dealing with a trumped-up employee lawsuit at the same time that he's hatching a plan to get his wife to cheat on him (so that he can have guilt-free adultery). Typical of Judge, no one in "Extract" is entirely likable, and the movie's jokes are hit-and-miss. But that's what happens when a comic visionary aims at targets others don't even see. Also typical of a Judge project, neither the DVD nor Blu-ray adds much in the way of extras, outside of a short featurette and some deleted scenes.

"(500) Days of Summer"

Fox Searchlight, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel play young lovers working through an on-again/off-again relationship in "(500) Days of Summer," a love story that uses its fractured timeline to show how the same gestures and locations that make a couple happy in the early going can turn their stomachs later on. Director Marc Webb and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber have some smart, true things to say about the uncertainty of romance, though getting to the poignant moments requires spending time with two people who exist more as repositories of pop culture knowledge than as fully fleshed-out characters. Still, those who don't mind "Summer's" broader elements will enjoy the movie's Blu-ray edition, which complements the DVD's commentary track and deleted scenes with a wealth of featurettes.

"It Might Get Loud"

Sony, $27.96; Blu-ray, $37.95

Those of us who can't figure out how guitar players make such beautiful noises will get a lot out of Davis Guggenheim's documentary "It Might Get Loud." Guggenheim interviews Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White -- separately and together -- and has them talk about their respective pasts, aesthetic philosophies and techniques. The movie relies too much on familiar old clips of the guitarists' respective bands, but the conversations are rich and revealing and the fresh performances electrifying. The DVD and Blu-ray add a half-hour of deleted scenes and a 40-minute press conference from the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.

All titles available Tuesday.

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