A 'Rush' for Ron Howard

As much escapist fun as "Rush" is as an ­adrenaline-juiced car-race movie, it's most interesting as a rare depiction of male vanity, how physical attractiveness informs self-worth and potency, and the role beauty — so often the sole purview of women on screen — plays in men's relationships and personal insecurities.

Director Ron Howard, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle and editor Daniel P. Hanley deserve credit for creating a crisp, well-told account that succeeds as a workaday biopic, glamorous period piece and portrayal of sports culture that seems quaintly scruffy seen from an era taken over by steroids, TV-ready narratives and endorsement deals.

The DVD (Universal, $30) includes "Ron Howard: A Director's Approach." The Blu-ray ($35) adds nine making-of featurettes, including a look at the screenplay with Peter Morgan, casting Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in the lead roles, filming Formula 1 racing action, and 1970s fashion.

Washington Post

Colin Covert says: "Rush" is one of the best films of Ron Howard's career, certainly the most surprising. Who knew that this competent craftsman had such a furiously exciting, sex-drenched story in him?

Also out Tuesday

Movies: "Bad Grandpa," "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2," "Concussion," "Fifth Estate," "House of Bodies," "Last Vegas," "Metallica: Through the Never," "1," "Seasons of Gray."

TV: "Bonnie & Clyde," "Downton Abbey" (Season 4, U.K. edition), "Treme" (Season 4), "Vera" (Set 3).

Blu-ray: "Dracula 3-D" (Dario Argento).


Learn language basics on the go

Learning a new language is never easy. But picking up the basics doesn't have to be so hard, thanks to a smartphone app from Duolingo (free, for Android and iOS devices) that lets you take basic lessons in Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. It lets you set your daily goals for study and quickly walks you through the basics.

Users can share progress with friends or even opt to test out of a level of practice if they feel that their linguistic skills are up to snuff. The more answers you get, the more points you can accrue to buy things in the app such as new outfits for your digital language coach.

You won't be writing novels in another language after you complete the program, but you should be able to get by on your next trip.

Washington Post


Pouch helps clean your phone

The Nuevue pouch case ($45 for the iPhone 5 and 5s, has a simple design, but it is great for cold season because it fights germs.

You keep your phone naked (or with minimal decal-type protection), and it simply slides into the pouch. But the cool thing is that the interior of the pouch is antimicrobial-protected and lined with a microfiber-like cloth that cleans your phone from fingerprints, dust and dirt as it slides in and out.

The exterior case is made with cotton twill, canvas and leather.

McClatchy News Service