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' Pacific Rim'

2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained

If you think summer movies are loud, you ain't heard nothing yet. "Pacific Rim" nearly rattles the roof as enormous alien monsters (Kaiju) rise from under the sea and battle skyscraper-size robots (Jaegers) in Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi action adventure. It's no wonder the movie is dedicated to special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen and Ishiro Honda, director of 1954's "Godzilla"; they clearly are the forefathers of this beasts vs. bots movie.

To combat monsters rampaging throughout the world with increasing frequency and ferocity, 25-story-high robots have been deployed. They're operated from inside by two pilots whose minds are synched. Sibling co-pilots enter the mayhem, but one is killed. Years later, the surviving brother (Charlie Hunnam) is reunited with his onetime commander (Idris Elba) and paired with an aspiring pilot (Rinko Kikuchi).

About now you might be thinking, just tell me what the robots and monsters look like. Colossal and cool, even in the darkness and rain or snow. That may satisfy the 10-year-olds in the audience, but adults may crave more of the human interactions or stirring speeches delivered in stingy doses while the battles go on and on.

The DVD comes with director commentary, deleted scenes, blooper reel, making-of featurettes, and the Blu-ray adds "The Directors Notebook."

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language.

-- Post-Gazette

' The Heat'

The team of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy looks on paper to be a sure-fire formula for comic gold. In "The Heat," they play mismatched law enforcement officers who bicker and bumble their way into solving a crime and finding a friend.

The conceit of the film, written by Katie Dippold and directed by Paul Feig, is that for all their differences, both share an essential loneliness. That sad subtext gives much of the humor in "The Heat" a melancholy edge, especially when it comes to Ms. McCarthy, who again is asked to do little more than swear like a stevedore and bear the brunt of slapstick centered around her generous figure.

Ms. Bullock plays her opposite number: uptight, put-together and prim, so you know going in that "The Heat" will feature at least one drunken girl-bonding montage. Seen through one lens, "The Heat" is the product of a cheering trend in female-centered comedies. Seen through another, it revolves around the retrograde novelty of watching women swagger, spout vulgarities, brandish guns and toss around anatomical references.

Extras include commentary with Ms. McCarthy, Mr. Feig, the original "Mystery Science Theater 3000" critics and the fictional Mullins family; deleted, alternate and extended scenes, unrated version, a making-of and several other featurettes.

Rated R for pervasive profanity, strong crude content and some violence.

-- The Washington Post

' Love Actually'

4 stars = Outstanding
Ratings explained

This sweet, funny and nearly perfect romantic comedy is being released in a special Blu-ray combo pack to mark the 10th anniversary. An all-star cast that includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson and Andrew Lincoln make this story about the aspects of love actually an extremely easy movie to love. Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


' Defiance: Season One'

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

The Syfy channel series offers the most interesting look on television at humans dealing with aliens since "Alien Nation." In this case, several alien races have come to Earth after their solar system is destroyed. Earth is having its own problems, and the communities left -- including the one where St. Louis once stood that's now called Defiance -- have to battle for survival.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


• "The Fall, Series 1": A detective (Gillian Anderson) is on the trail of a serial killer stalking the streets of Belfast.

• "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain": Concert film of the comedian's appearance at Madison Square Garden.

• "Les Miserables": The 1978 film version of the classic Victor Hugo novel.

• "The Pallisers: 40th Anniversary Edition": Includes all 26 episodes of the British drama.

• "Movies 4 You: Western Film Collection": Includes "Gunslinger," "Man of the East," "Pioneer Woman" and "Yuma."

• "The New Three Stooges Complete Cartoon Collection": Includes 156 cartoons and 40 live action shorts.

• "I Dream of Jeannie": The 20-disc box set features all 139 episodes.

• "Merry In-Laws": A woman learns her future in-laws are Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

• "Thomas & Friends: 3-Movie Pack": Hop on board for three adventure films.

• "The March": New documentary honoring the 50th anniversary of the original March on Washington, D.C.

• "Gentle Ben: Season One": Follows the adventures of a boy (Clint Howard) and his tame bear.

• "The Best of Jack Hanna": Includes 30 episodes from "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild."

• "Dracula: The Dark Prince": When Dracula kidnaps a woman, Van Helsing must rescue her.

• "Barney: 3 Movie Pack": The purple dinosaur is featured in three movies.

• "Lost and Found": Film is based on the bestselling children's book by Oliver Jeffers.

• "Hitched for the Holidays": A commitment-phobe is criticized by his family about his inability to keep a relationship through the holidays.

• "Exploding Sun": First commercial space flight faces disaster. Julia Ormond stars.

• "Shrek The Musical": Broadway production based on the movie.

• "Bewitched: The Complete Series": Elizabeth Montgomery portrays the good-hearted witch.

• "The Partridge Family: The Complete Series": All four seasons of the show about the TV's rock 'n' roll family.

• "Hart of Dixie": Rachel Bilson continues her starring role in season two of the CW series.

• "Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi: Into the Snow We Go": The Guppies share the joy of the holiday season.

• "Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla": Film chronicles the Mexico's Battle of Puebla.

• "Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 2000": Long-running British comedy about life in a small town.

• "Ingenious": Two friends search for the next big idea.

• "Anger Management: Volume Two": Charlie Sheen plays a therapist with his own problems.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


First Published October 16, 2013 8:00 PM


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