New to DVD: 'Dark Knight Rises,' 'ParaNorman' and 'Breaking In'

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' The Dark Knight Rises'

4 stars = Outstanding
Ratings explained

Chances are, you already saw the movie, which included the (cringe) demolition of the Heinz Field turf.

Now, they've tossed Steelers fans a gift in the Blu-ray extras -- a featurette on how they shot the scene. "Gameday Destruction" shows that it wasn't all CGI, but it wasn't real either. The crew pulled it off by building a portion of fake field above the one where the Steelers rumble, and then blew it full of holes.

You get a longer look at the Steelers who played for the Gotham City Rogues, including Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu and, especially, Hines Ward, who laughs about the fact that he hadn't returned a kickoff in 14 years.

The kicker? It wasn't Sean Suisham, but Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who explains how he got the gig.

The only slip-up is one crew member explaining how they used 11,000 black-and-gold extras to populate an 80,000-seat stadium. Heinz Field, of course, is more like 65,000.

The bonus content also includes a retrospective on Batmobiles, "The Journey of Bruce Wayne," insight into the ending of the series, info on film locations, Gotham City maps, film trivia, photo galleries and more.

As for the movie, watching "The Dark Knight Rises" -- all 2 hours and 44 minutes of it -- is a rich, smart, satisfying experience. Director Christopher Nolan incorporates details and characters from the first two movies in a way that will reward anyone who remembers or revisits "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."

The scope is big and made for IMAX, while the fear, hope, allure of a clean slate and promise of a nearly biblical-style reckoning run as deep as the Batcave. Sympathy springs up in surprising places, and the story is dense with developments, emotion, topical observations and even sprinkled with a little humor.

By the time it ends, you may want to repeat what Bruce Wayne says, with awe, after surveying a new tool in his crime-fighting arsenal: "Oh, now you're just showing off." And, boy, are we glad you did.

It arrives on Blu-ray/DVD on Tuesday.

-- Post-Gazette

' ParaNorman'

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

Norman is an 11-year-old ghost whisperer whose special skills have earned him the unwanted attention of a bully who scrawls "Freak" on his school locker. In "ParaNorman," he doesn't see all ghosts, just the ones of people who died suddenly or in a bad way, or who have something to figure out or finish.

Even in a town called Blithe Hollow, which uses a 300-year-old witch hunt to market itself and to lure tourists, Norman is a misfit.

Norman is confronted one day by his estranged eccentric Uncle Prenderghast, aka "the weird stinky old bum who lives up on the hill." He reveals that an ancient witch's curse is real, and it's up to Norman to save the town.

Soon, he finds himself in the creepy company of zombies, and they're not just on the posters on his bedroom wall. It's a real night of the living dead with lessons about children who happen to be different or oddballs through no fault of their own.

"ParaNorman," directed by Sam Fell and writer Chris Butler, is a stop-motion animated feature from the companies behind 2009's "Coraline." It features the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee (the boy in "The Road"), Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann and Jeff Garlin.

This doesn't reach the highs of such recent standouts as "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" and "Brave," but it does manage to be a good monster movie about middle-schoolers,

-- Post-Gazette


' Breaking In: The Complete Series'

2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained

There have been few network shows that have done so much to commit ratings suicide.

The first season of the Fox comedy about a firm that breaks into places such as government facilities and car lots to point out security problems was quirky and offbeat.

Christian Slater was particularly funny as the man of mystery in charge of the company. He worked well with a very strong supporting cast.

Then the second season came along. The show went from a very funny spy story to a bland office comedy anchored to the dead weight of Megan Mullally's over-the-top humor. The originality was beaten out of the show to the point where it deserved to be canceled.

Only watch the first season. As soon as Ms. Mullally shows up, disavow all knowledge of the TV series.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


• "The Day": Five survivors wander the back roads of a ravaged landscape looking for refuge. Shawn Ashmore stars.

• "Christmas in Compton": Trouble erupts at a Christmas tree lot. Keith David stars.

• "Lawless" (2-1/2 stars): Shia LaBeouf stars in the true story of the infamous Bondurant brothers.

• "The Apparition" (1 star): Ashley Greene stars in this story of a young couple who discover they are being haunted.

• "Step Up: Revolution": Director Scott Speer gets in step with the flash mob phenomenon for this dance movie.

• "Luck: The Complete First Season": Dustin Hoffman stars in the cable series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of horse racing.

• "Perry Mason: Season Eight, Volume One": More court battles starring the noted -- and always winning -- lawyer.

• "Hot in Cleveland: Season Three": Four women find love and humor in the Ohio city.

• "Burning in the Sun": A young man returns to his homeland in Mali to start a local business.

• "Forks Over Knives": Documentary examines the claim that degenerative diseases can be controlled by adopting a plant-based diet.

• "Heaven's Door": A woman must cope with a pending divorce, no job, living with her mother's constant advice and raising her two children.

• "12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog": Laura turns to a life coach who tells her to make 12 wishes for a positive change in her life.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


First Published November 29, 2012 5:00 AM


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