An overly 'Epic' adventure
The CGI adventure "Epic," loosely based on children's author and illustrator William Joyce's eco-themed "The Leaf Men," might be guilty of overselling itself.
Joyce's 2001 story of the secret, teeming life of a garden had a charm similar to the author's earlier "George Shrinks," in that both books derived much of their enchantment from imagining what the world looks like if you're only an inch tall. Yet this film, on which Joyce worked as producer, writer and production designer, retains enough of the magic of the original to make it enormously visually appealing, even if the story is almost unrecognizably bloated.
The Leafmen are a race of bug-size soldiers who maintain the order and balance of the natural world. Riding saddled hummingbirds, they keep the forces of decay and rot — embodied by creatures known as the Boggans — at bay. But when Mandrake (voice of Christoph Waltz), the evil leader of the Boggans, attacks the Leafmen's queen (Beyoncé) and steals the magical flower bud containing the soul of her replacement, the Leafmen must fight to get it back.
The DVD and Blu-ray (Fox, $30-$50) include featurettes and a "Storybook Builder" mobile-device app for an interactive experience and sharing.
Colin Covert says: This grandly conceived, impressively mounted swashbuckler marshals characters coldblooded, heroic and lovably goofy, "Avatar"-worthy fantasy visuals, action and romance, to a stellar payoff.
Also out Tuesday:
Movies: "Amour," "Killing Season," "No One Lives," "Scary Movie 5," "Scooby-Doo: Stage Fright."
TV: "Being Human" (Season 5), "Boardwalk Empire" (Season 3), "The Good Wife" (Season 4), "Mike & Molly" (Season 3), "NCIS" (Season 10), "NCIS: Los Angeles" (Season 4), "Parenthood" (Season 4), "Revenge" (Season 2).
Blu-ray debuts: "Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Vol. 1," "The Big City," "Charulata," "Death Hunt," "Peter Pan: Return to Neverland," "Star Trek: Enterprise" (Season 2), "X-ray"/"Schizoid."
Quick, convenient card reader
The Moshi Cardette 3 USB 3.0 memory card reader ($50, www.moshimonde.com) is an ultra-handy gadget to have for any level of photography.
It's equipped with slots to download all the latest and fastest memory cards, including compact flash, SD, SDHC, SDXC and microSD. Transfer rates are at USB 3.0 speeds and are backward-compatible with USB 2.0 ports and devices on a PC or Mac.
An integrated USB cable is built into the side of the reader, which measures just 4.45 by 2.5 by 0.71 inches and has a pair of USB ports that can be used to connect other devices.
McClatchy News Service