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'Easy A,' 'Salt,' 'Step Up 3D' and 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'

December 21, 2010|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Easy A

Sony, $28.96; Blu-ray, $34.95

John Hughes meets "The Scarlet Letter" in the whip-smart high-school comedy "Easy A," which stars Emma Stone as a bright nobody who becomes a controversial cult hero when her classmates mistakenly believe she's had sex. The movie isn't always as gutsy as it could be in taking on teenage hypocrisy and image control, but screenwriter Bert V. Royal's dialogue is crisp and funny, director Will Gluck keeps the energy high and Stone delivers a winning portrayal of a girl who knows that there's no adolescent crisis that graduation can't solve. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Gluck-Stone commentary track, a gag reel and featurettes that explain the movie's debt to the '80s.

Salt

Sony, $28.96; Blu-ray, $34.95

"Salt" stars Angelina Jolie as a CIA operative who learns she's actually a Russian assassin, so deep undercover that even she doesn't know who she is. Director Phillip Noyce, a reliable helmer of sophisticated action pictures, effectively manages a story that's one long chase, and Jolie brings a layer of vulnerability and genuine emotion to a part that could've been a cartoon. "Salt" doesn't break any new ground, but it's appealingly classy and zippy ā€” a throwback spy thriller ideal for those who like last-second plot twists and men in suits running down hallways. The DVD and Blu-ray contain featurettes and a commentary track.

Step Up 3D

Touchstone, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99

The siren call of street dance proves stronger than ever in "Step Up 3D," which moves the action from Baltimore to New York City, where an NYU freshman (played by Adam G. Sevani) discovers underground clubs where amateur dancers battle. The story couldn't be much cornier, but the dance sequences are more spectacular and inventive than ever, employing multiple contestants from the hit Fox series "So You Think You Can Dance." The DVD and Blu-ray throw in even more dancing.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

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

Movies don't get much more of the moment ā€” and perhaps overly so ā€” than "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," a sequel to Oliver Stone's '80s big-business drama. Stone and star Michael Douglas return for a story that deals directly with the recent stock market collapse, replacing the insider-trading villains of the first film with brokers who make their fortunes from failure, and following one young idealist (played by Shia LaBeouf) who relies on Douglas' Gordon Gekko to help him expose the bloodsuckers. The story, the direction and the cast all crackle, but at a certain point the attempt to cram in seemingly every economic buzzword of the last five years becomes almost self-parodic. The DVD includes a Stone commentary track and a featurette; the Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, interviews and an in-depth look at the movie's real-life parallels.

Andā€¦

"Devil" (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98); "Let It Rain" (IFC, $24.98); "Soul Kitchen" (IFC, $24.98)

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