Hitting the history books
In addition to his deep dives into American history, filmmaker Ken Burns possesses a knack for telling contemporary stories in brief, elegant microcosm.
In the moving new documentary “The Address,” he travels to the small Greenwood School in Putney, Vt. Its student body — 50 boys, 11 to 17 — struggle with language and reading skills and other behavioral challenges. In a rite of passage since the school opened in 1978, Greenwood assigns its boys to memorize and then publicly deliver Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
What might seem a fairly simple task for some kids is extraordinarily daunting for many of the boys. As documentary subjects, the boys are in many ways impenetrable. Getting them to ignore the camera and just be themselves is next to impossible, but there are revealing, achingly honest moments that make the film worth watching.
Also out Tuesday: “Doctor Who: The Web of Fear,” “Madea’s Neighbors From Hell,” “The Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection,” “Newhart” (Season 3).
Cord lets you stretch a little
Innergie’s Lifehub USB charging hub ($55, www.myinnergie.com) has something many similar devices don’t have: a cord to reach more than 9 feet from its power source.
When you add in the reach of the included AC power adapter, you get almost an additional 5 feet, for a total of more than 14 feet of extended power. This enables those needing a boost of power to avoid being confined to sitting next to an AC plug.
A cable management system is built into the hub for easy, tangle-free storage. You get three high-powered (2.1 amp) USB ports to charge any variety of portable electronic gadgets simultaneously.
Innergie has built this with smart technology for high performance and energy efficiency. Your device will charge without worrying about a short circuit or overheating and will work with more than 10,000 current USB-charging gadgets.
McClatchy News Service
Get into the dogfight
“Luftrausers” ($10 download for PS3, PC/Mac) is a constant frenetic dogfight that plays out entirely in silhouette.
Essentially, it’s an update of “Asteroids,” in which one tiny fighter plane is destroying thousands of other tiny fighter planes. The actual movements of the player’s plane even behave much like the “Asteroids” ship, where the “left” and “right” directions rotate rather than moving the ship, and “up” accelerates in whichever direction the ship is pointing.
Where “Luftrausers” excels is in offering balance in its mechanics and majesty in its presentation. Those two elements combine to create the sort of game in which one play lasts less than five minutes, but which will have players coming back enough to log hours upon hours.
Top 10 PlayStation 3 games
1. “Dark Souls II” • 2. “South Park: The Stick of Truth” • 3. “Luftrausers” • 4. “The Last of Us: Left Behind” • 5. “Strider” • 6. “The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 2
Cast your vote now
Online awards season is upon us with the announcement of nominees for the 18th annual Webby Awards. The Webbys recognize the best work in Web, online film and video, advertising and media, mobile/apps and social media. Online film and video nominees include Jimmy Kimmel’s “Worst Twerk Fail Ever,” Pharrell’s “24 Hours of Happy” and Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Winners will be announced April 29. Comedian/actor Patton Oswalt will host the awards ceremony on May 19.
There’s also a people’s choice competition in each category. Voters can file ballots at the www.webbyawards.com. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Thursday.