Short circuits: New 'Kid' on the block

  • Updated: October 4, 2010 - 2:05 PM

A brief look at new and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.

Jaden Smith in "The Karate Kid."

Photo: Jasin Boland, Associated Press

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DVD

New 'Kid' picks up nicely from original

The new version of "The Karate Kid" brings fresh life and perspective to the classic tale of perseverance and cross-generational friendship. As Dre Parker, who with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) has just moved to Beijing, Jaden Smith brings a soulful, searching sense of vulnerability to a kid who comes under attack from bullies on his first day in town. Dre is defended by his apartment house caretaker, a quiet introvert named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). When Han -- who turns out to be a kung-fu master -- goes up against the kids who have been terrorizing Dre, he does so largely with defensive moves that tie the belligerents into knots. While the filmmakers invite viewers to wince and cheer during the film's increasingly painful fight scenes, they make sure to soften the blows with wise tutorials in self-discipline, respect and balance. The DVD and Blu-ray (Sony, $29-$39) include featurettes on the making of the film and learning Chinese, and a music video with Smith and Justin Bieber.

WASHINGTON POST

Also out Tuesday: "Bones" (Season 5), "Caprica" (Season 1), "The Human Centipede," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (Season 7), "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (2010), "The Secret of Kells," "Splice," "S-GU: Stargate Universe" (Season 1), "Survivor: Africa" and "Survivor: Marquesas," "30 Days of Night: Dark Days," and Blu-rays of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "The Exorcist," "Grindhouse," "Mad Max," "The Maltese Falcon," "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

WEB

New site makes studying terms a breeze

Quizlet (www.quizlet.com) is a free educational website that allows users to type in vocabulary words and their definitions into its service, which then creates games and other interactive learning tools to help its users better absorb the information they are studying. The website is quickly gaining popularity, with more than 2 million flashcard sets made and more than 1 million users. You also can browse flashcards for commonly studied terms, such as the scientific terms for the muscles and veins in a worm for biology class, the names for animals in Spanish and the members of the U.S. Cabinet.

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