short circuits

New and noteworthy experiences among home video, games, gadgets and the Web.


Battle is on in 'Battleship'

Hasbro's venerable game of naval strategy, Battleship -- in which players use a combination of guesswork and logic to deduce the location of their opponents' ships -- isn't exactly known for its thrill-a-minute narrative complexity. Fear not. "Battleship," the film, is an invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline.

Deftly directed by Peter Berg, from a script by brothers Eric and Jon Hoeber that adds muscle, sinew and heart to the skeletal source material, the resulting film is an enormously entertaining amusement-park ride. Yes, it's preposterous, not to mention loud. But it's also brisk and viscerally thrilling, with a genuine surprise or two -- including a plot twist that manages to brilliantly incorporate the game's essential DNA of blindly shooting at invisible targets.

The DVD (Universal, $30) includes three making-of featurettes, while the Blu-ray ($35) adds an alternate ending and five more featurettes.


Colin Covert's take: "Battleship" is all wet. The film boasts a destroyer's wallop of visual effects, but not enough brains to fill a dinghy.

Also out Tuesday:

Movies: "Darling Companion," "Headhunters," "The Lucky One," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," "Starship Troopers: Invasion," "Think Like a Man."

TV: "Boardwalk Empire" (Season 2), "Homeland" (Season 1), "In Plain Sight" (Season 5), "Injustice," "Jersey Shore" (Season 5), "Once Upon a Time" (Season 1), "Sons of Anarchy" (Season 4), "The Streets of San Francisco" (Season 4), "The Walking Dead" (Season 2).

Blu-ray debuts: "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," "Airport," "Harvey," "Lonesome," "Quadrophenia."


Duck and cover in 'Hybrid'

At first appearing limited in scope, "Hybrid" ($15 download for Xbox; rated Teen) instead excels by stripping away all the nonsense and deciding to do one thing only but doing it really well.

The third-person shooter has made the bold move to allow you to shoot only from a cover position. By focusing on this one aspect (movement is limited literally to flying from one cover position to another), it allows gamers to ignore the lack of story or meaning and focus instead on team strategy and getting all the goodies possible.

The visuals are dated but the creativity of the map layouts contribute to lots of fun firefights and fast action. "Hybrid" equips you with many gun types, cover positions galore, then steps back and says, "Have at it." You should, and you'll enjoy it.



Doodle on it with iPhone case

The appropriately named iFoolish ($14 at is the most perfect of silly iPhone cases. Get this: It turns your phone into an Etch A Sketch! Admittedly, this one might be for "the Olds," otherwise known as those of us who cherish the Etch A Sketch as a quaint toy from our youth. Remember? You'd scribble on the drawing board, and the magnetic stylus would coax the metallic particles inside into a design or drawing. If you didn't like your sketch, you could shake the slate clean and start over. Now instead of ignoring people who are in front of you by texting other people who aren't in front of you, you can ignore everyone by doodling away. Seems less rude, actually.