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'Terminator Salvation'; 'Better Off Ted'; 'Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian'; 'Paper Heart'

November 29, 2009|By Noel Murray
  • STAR: Ben Stiller in "Night at the Museum" sequel.
STAR: Ben Stiller in "Night at the Museum" sequel. (20th Century Fox )

Terminator Salvation

Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

In the fourth film in the "Terminator" series, Christian Bale plays the 2018 version of John Connor, now leading the human resistance against Skynet's robot army. Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright, a human who's been converted into a man-machine hybrid. As Connor and Wright first fight then unite, "Terminator Salvation" raises questions about the foundations of humanity -- questions that were handled far more intelligently on the TV series " Battlestar Galactica." Still, there's enough here to satisfy viewers who like cool explosions followed by cool robot effects followed by more cool explosions. Those viewers will want to opt for "Terminator Salvation's" Blu-ray edition, with its longer R-rated cut and its Maximum Movie Mode, which has director McG explaining his process via picture-in-picture. The DVD is more threadbare, featuring only the PG-13 theatrical cut and one mini-doc.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

20th Century Fox, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

If you watched just the deleted scenes and blooper reel on the "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" DVD and Blu-ray, you'd think the sequel to the smash hit "Night at the Museum" must be the most hilarious movie ever made. Owen Wilson, Christopher Guest, Hank Azaria, Steve Coogan and Robin Williams seem to be having so much fun playing museum exhibits that come to life and hassle a former guard played by Ben Stiller. But while "Smithsonian" has its bright spots, especially once Amy Adams shows up as a spunky Amelia Earhart, the cast is usually too busy running away from special effects to make jokes. If there's a third installment, perhaps the creators could cut back on the thudding action scenes and just let their clever comedians goof on history, as they do in the outtakes. In addition to those outtakes, the double-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions of the movie contain two commentary tracks and multiple featurettes, many of which are about monkeys.

Better Off Ted: The Complete First Season

20th Century Fox, $29.98

Victor Fresco, co-creator of the cult TV series " Andy Richter Controls the Universe," returns to the absurdity of office life in the ABC sitcom "Better Off Ted." Jay Harrington stars as a lovable executive who begins to doubt the morality of his work in the R&D department of a mega-corporation. The show's pace is quick and its supporting cast pitch-perfect, and "Better Off Ted" sports a welcome sentimental streak to boot. The first-season DVD set arrives devoid of special features, but fans of offbeat TV should pick it up anyway, if only to hear snappy dialogue like, "We want to weaponize a pumpkin."

Paper Heart

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98;

Blu-ray, $39.98

"Paper Heart" is pitched as a semi-fake documentary about the existence of "love," and whether comedian/performance-artist Charlyne Yi will ever find a soulmate of her own. Director Nicholas Jasenovec cuts between scenes of Yi asking everyday folks to tell their love stories and scenes of her flirting with actor Michael Cera. Then "Paper Heart" intentionally undercuts its moments of genuine human interaction by pulling back to reveal that they've been scripted. The result is a faux-profound faux-doc in which people talk about "love" endlessly and abstractly. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and bonus footage.

All titles available Tuesday.

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