A cool space odyssey

“Oblivion” looks marvelous, in the deliciously dystopian way of so many post-apocalyptic films.

It’s set in 2077, after alien invaders called Scavengers (or “Scavs”) have laid waste to the moon, leading to cataclysmic floods and earthquakes that have ravaged Earth. The film features gorgeous CGI shots of such broken, half-buried landmarks as the Washington Monument and the Empire State Building, whose observation deck can now be accessed by walking onto it from a mountain of rubble.

The movie, by director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”), is said to be based on a graphic novel by Kosinski and comic book writer Arvid Nelson. Although that book was never published — and probably never will be — the mock-up of the story drew the attention of star Tom Cruise, along with not one, but two, studios: Disney, which originally had the rights, and Universal, which ultimately made the film.

It’s an engrossing, if complicated and twisty, story, with plentiful sci-fi action and a provocative subtext about the nature of the human soul. It’s as if “Oblivion” is inviting us to undergo our own memory wipes before seeing the film. If you’re able to forgive and forget, “Oblivion” isn’t a bad place to start loving Tom.

The DVD and Blu-ray include commentary by Cruise and Kosinski, deleted scenes and M83’s isolated score (watch the entire film accompanied just by the music track).

Washington Post


Colin Covert says: If there’s a better science-fiction blockbuster this year than “Oblivion,” I’ll count us lucky.


Also out Tuesday

Movies: “Charlie Chan Collection” (Warner Home Video), “My Little Pony: Equestria Girls,” “On the Road,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “The Sapphires,” “To the Wonder.”

TV: “The Borgias” (Season 3), “Community” (Season 4), “Duck Dynasty” (Season 3), “Fridays” (compilation), “Gunsmoke” (Season 9), “Midsomer Murders” (Set 22), “Smash” (Season 2), “Political Animals” (full series), “Strike Back” (Season 2).

Blu-ray debuts: “Battlestar Galactica” (1978), “A Boy and His Dog,” “Bruce Lee Legacy Collection,” “Ishtar,” “Oliver & Company,” “The Pagemaster,” “Robin Hood” (1973 animated Disney film), “Silver Streak,” “Swamp Thing,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Wing Commander.”



Bad news for PS Vita

Sony President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that, unless developers work specific functionality into their games, the PlayStation Vita handheld will not be able to serve as a controller for the PlayStation 4.

Yoshida made the confirmation via Twitter (@yosp) in response to a question over whether the Vita could act as a second controller (in addition to the controller that comes packaged with it) for Sony’s next-gen console: “In a normal sense, no. Unless a game is specifically programmed to allow such use of PS Vita.”

While this might come as disappointing news for Vita owners who were planning on picking up a PS4, it’s nice to have a clear and final answer. Plus, Yoshida’s tweet might have just sparked the imagination of a few game developers.



Get more power to go

As important as your car’s cupholders are, gadget-crazy families will find it easy to give one up for the Energizer 180W Cup Inverter ($36, to charge up to five portable devices at once.

After you plug it into your 12-volt outlet, power is transferred to the cup, which has a standard AC outlet along with four USB ports.

A thermal fan also is built into the device and keeps it running quiet. It produces an output of 180 watts of continuous power, so running a refrigerator, microwave or other high-power device won’t be an option.

The device also comes with terminal clamps to run directly off your car battery.

McClatchy News Service