Short circuits: DVD releases, 'Rock Band 2' drums

  • Updated: October 6, 2008 - 5:58 PM

 

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

DVD

What's not 'Happening'

It's a bummer when today's highest-profile new movie on DVD is the latest flop from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, "The Happening" (Fox, $30-$40). Fortunately, it's a cracker day for older movies. Leading them is the DVD debut of the 1945 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's chilling "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (Warner, $20), plus extras. There are deluxe editions of two animated films, 1978's underrated rabbit tale "Watership Down" (Warner, $20) and Disney's legendary "Sleeping Beauty" (Disney, $30). The latter also is debuting on Blu-ray ($35), along with high-def versions of "Beetlejuice" (Warner, $29), "Body Heat" (Warner, $29), "Carrie" (MGM, $40), "The Omen" (Fox, $40), "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" (Sony, $29) and "Young Frankenstein" (Fox, $40) -- er, that's "Fronkensteen."

Also out today: "How I Met Your Mother" (Season 3), "Midsomer Murders" (Set 11 ), "Mission: Impossible" (Season 5), "Robot Chicken" (Season 3), "The Sarah Jane Adventures" (Season 1), "The Simpsons" (Season 11), "Slacker Uprising," "30 Rock" (Season 2), "The Three Stooges Collection" (Vol. 4), "The Visitor" and "You Don't Mess With the Zohan."

RANDY A. SALAS

GAME

A little out of rhythm

MTV Games' new standalone drum set for the video game "Rock Band 2" is a sure improvement over the previous version, but it's not worth $90. It is now wireless, which is a mystery -- drummers aren't really known for their need to move around onstage. Making it wireless also requires three AA batteries. But other changes bring much-needed improvements, such as quieter drum pads, which interfere less with the music and the other players' concentration. Another upgrade is the foot pedal. The spring is firmer, making it easier on your shins while playing. But I wish you could turn the pedal around and play using your heel instead of the ball of your foot. One bonus of adding a drum kit is that you can play tug-of-war games with another drummer who plays at the same time -- a blast on songs such as "Livin' on a Prayer." You can add faux cymbals to resemble a true drum set, but they cost an additional $20 to $40. Overall, it's a pretty expensive toy.

LESLIE PLESSER

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