Burlesque [Blu-ray] – Cher and Christina Aguilera

Burlesque

Burlesque [Blu-ray] – Cher and Christina Aquilera

There is, according to Burlesque, a nightclub on the Sunset Strip that looks like a blend of Cabaret and Moulin Rouge andemploys a full contingent of dancers and musicians in the service of a neo-retro-burlesque-blues program.

Presiding over the craziness within is Tess, a grande dame who also performs occasionally and who could only, under these circumstances, be played by Cher. Entering the scene is a young leather-lunged hopeful from Iowa named Ali, played by Christina Aguilera in her movie-acting debut.

The vibe of this glitzy concoction is more Flashdance than Showgirls, despite prerelease predictions that the film would be a campfest of epic proportions. In fact, it’s more cornball than trashy. Ali hits most of the clichés of the genre: defying Tess’s skepticism by proving her mettle during an impromptu stage number; flirting with the nice-guy bartender (Cam Gigandet, of Twilight) whose home she shares for a while, in a purely platonic way, of course, just until she gets her feet on the ground; and keeping a wary eye on the high roller (Eric Dane, of Grey’s Anatomy) who wants to possess her, because, you see, he takes whatever he likes.

And did we mention that Tess is facing foreclosure on the club in a month’s time? Seriously, you didn’t see that coming? Writer-director Steve Antin has no embarrassment about putting any of this across, which may be why it all feels weirdly innocent, if relentlessly silly.

Stanley Tucci revives his gay assistant from The Devil Wears Prada, Alan Cumming lurks about in an undefined role that might well have been filmed months after everybody else, and Kristen Bell enjoys a few wicked-witch moments as Ali’s main rival. Aguilera, needless to say, belts out her songs as only someone with a very large voice can, and Cher stops the show with an old-fashioned torch song (“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”) that is clearly designed as a roof-raiser. (And, by gum, it works.) This is a ridiculous movie, but it gets points for never claiming to be anything else.

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The Social Network [Blu-ray]

The Social Network

The Social Network [Blu-ray]

They all laughed at college nerd Mark Zuckerberg, whose idea for a social-networking site made him a billionaire. And they all laughed at the idea of a Facebook movie–except writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher, merely two of the more extravagantly talented filmmakers around.

Sorkin and Fincher’s breathless picture, The Social Network, is a fast and witty creation myth about how Facebook grew from Zuckerberg’s insecure geek-at-Harvard days into a phenomenon with 500 million users. Sorkin frames the movie around two lawsuits aimed at the lofty but brilliant Zuckerberg (deftly played by Adventureland‘s Jesse Eisenberg): a claim that he stole the idea from Ivy League classmates, and a suit by his original, now slighted, business partner (Andrew Garfield).

The movie follows a familiar rise-and-fall pattern, with temptation in the form of a sunny California Beelzebub (an expert Justin Timberlake as former Napster founder Sean Parker) and an increasingly tangled legal mess. Emphasizing the legal morass gives Sorkin and Fincher a chance to explore how unsocial this social-networking business can be, although the irony seems a little facile.

More damagingly, the film steers away from the prickly figure of Zuckerberg in the latter stages–and yet Zuckerberg presents the most intriguing personality in the movie, even if the movie takes pains to make us understand his shortcomings. Fincher’s command of pacing and his eye for the clean spaces of Aughts-era America are bracing, and he can’t resist the technical trickery involved in turning actor Armie Hammer into privileged Harvard twins (Hammer is letter-perfect). Even with its flaws, The Social Network is a galloping piece of entertainment, a smart ride with smart people… who sometimes do dumb things.

Oh yeah, and did we mention that Jesse Eisenberg ROCKS?!

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Apollo 13 (15th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

Apollo 13 (15th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

Nominated for nine Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Apollo 13 blasts off onto Blu-ray™ Hi-Def for the first time ever with Blu-ray™ exclusive bonus features. Produced by Academy Award® winner Brian Grazer and directed by Oscar® winner Ron Howard, Apollo 13 stars two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris in the inspiring and riveting story of the real-life space flight that gripped a nation and changed the world.

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Avatar – Blu-Ray

Avatar – Blu-Ray

After 12 years of thinking about it (and waiting for movie technology to catch up with his visions), James Cameron followed up his unsinkable Titanic with Avatar, a sci-fi epic meant to trump all previous sci-fi epics.

Set in the future on a distant planet, Avatar spins a simple little parable about greedy colonizers (that would be mankind) messing up the lush tribal world of Pandora. A paraplegic Marine named Jake (Sam Worthington) acts through a 9-foot-tall avatar that allows him to roam the planet and pass as one of the Na’vi, the blue-skinned, large-eyed native people who would very much like to live their peaceful lives without the interference of the visitors. Although he’s supposed to be gathering intel for the badass general (Stephen Lang) who’d like to lay waste to the planet and its inhabitants, Jake naturally begins to take a liking to the Na’vi, especially the feisty Neytiri (Zoë Saldana, whose entire performance, recorded by Cameron’s complicated motion-capture system, exists as a digitally rendered Na’vi).

The movie uses state-of-the-art 3D technology to plunge the viewer deep into Cameron’s crazy toy box of planetary ecosystems and high-tech machinery. Maybe it’s the fact that Cameron seems torn between his two loves–awesome destructive gizmos and flower-power message mongering–that makes Avatar‘s pursuit of its point ultimately uncertain. That, and the fact that Cameron’s dialogue continues to clunk badly. If you’re won over by the movie’s trippy new world, the characters will be forgivable as broad, useful archetypes rather than standard-issue stereotypes, and you might be able to overlook the unsurprising central plot. (The overextended “take that, Michael Bay” final battle sequences could tax even Cameron enthusiasts, however.) I

t doesn’t measure up to the hype (what could?) yet Avatar frequently hits a giddy delirium all its own. The film itself is our Pandora, a sensation-saturated universe only the movies could create.

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Iron Man Deluxe Helmet

Iron Man Deluxe Helmet

Gear up just like the mighty metal-clad warrior with this awesome Iron Man Helmet accessory. Press the button to activate your slow-release visor and make it slide into place so you’re ready for action. Activate your light-up eyes so your enemies can see you mean business and choose one of three different modes to head into battle. Press the Quick Missions button to hear the Iron Man character say cool movie phrases like Target engaged and I am Iron Man.

Your Battle Sounds button features power-up, flight and combat sounds and, when you’re ready to fly into the heat of conflict, press the Combat Missions button to activate a mission from the Jarvis character. The world needs a hero — and you’re just in time.

A great gift for kids and Iron Man fans!

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Inglourious Basterds 2-Disc Special Edition – Blu-ray

Inglourious Basterds 2-Disc Special Edition

Brad Pitt takes no prisoners in Quentin Tarantino’s high-octane WWII revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds. As war rages in Europe, a Nazi-scalping squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” is on a daring mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Bursting with “action, hair-trigger suspense and a machine-gun spray of killer dialogue” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone), Inglourious Basterds is “another Tarantino masterpiece”.

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Harry Potter Gifts for Christmas

Though the Harry Potter movie series is close to an end, the fans don’t rest. Harry Potter is as popular as ever. There are many gifts you can buy for your favorite Harry Potter fan. With Christmas coming up, it might be a good idea to hurry up and start shopping.

Harry Potter Gifts for Christmas

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Widescreen Edition) – The sixth installment of the Harry Potter series begins right where The Order of the Phoenix left off. The wizarding world is rocked by the news that “He Who Must Not Be Named” has truly returned, and the audience finally knows that Harry is “the Chosen One”–the only wizard who can defeat Lord Voldemort in the end. Dark forces loom around every corner, and now regularly attempt to penetrate the protected walls of Hogwarts School. This is no longer the fun and fascinating world of magic from the first few books—it’s dark, dangerous, and scary. Click here to buy!

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Clue Harry Potter Game – Discover the secrets of Hogwarts in this version of the classic Mystery game. Enjoy new game play features and a moving Hogwarts game board. Dark magic has been performed at Hogwarts. A fellow student has vanished from the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry–and it is up to you to solve the mysterious disappearance. Play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna or Neville and try to discover who did it, what spell or item they used, and where the student was attacked. Click here to buy!

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Harry’s Glasses Wire – These officially licensed Harry Potter wire frame glasses are just like the ones worn in all the movies. The glasses help complete any costume, transforming you into everyone’s favorite wizard, Harry Potter. Antiqued gold logo adorns each temple for an authentic look. Click here to buy!

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Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) – Now for the first time ever, J.K. Rowling’s seven bestselling Harry Potter books are available in a stunning paperback boxed set! The Harry Potter series has been hailed as “one for the ages” by Stephen King and “a spellbinding saga’ by USA Today. And most recently, The New York Times called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages! Click here to buy!

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Harry Potter LEGO: The Final Challenge – When you’re a young sorcerer-in-training, homework takes on a whole new significance. So when characters out of the imagination of bestselling author J.K. Rowling decide to stage the ultimate Spell-ing Bee in LEGOland, no doubt the floo powder leads them to LEGO kit number 4702, The Final Challenge. Designed for Harry Potter fans, this 60-piece book/movie tie-in is heavier on the classic LEGO interlocking construction than other sets in the Harry Potter series, but still features such novelties as a spider web catapult and orange plastic torch “flames.” Click here to buy!

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Gryffindor House Beanie – This officially licensed beanie is made of lamb’s wool and features the Gryffindor Coat of Arms patch. Makes a great addition to any Harry Potter costume or everyday wear! Click here to buy!

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Harry Potter Marauder’s Map Puzzle – Looking for a great gift for the Harry Potter fan in your life and coming up puzzled? Go with it! This 1,000 piece Marauder’s Map Puzzle is just the thing. Click here to buy!

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Harry Potter 2010 Desk Calendar – Each daily page of this calendar features a full-color scene from one of the first six exciting Harry Potter films and includes a caption that describes the thrilling action. The calendar’s easel includes a holographic header. Click here to buy!

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