short circuits

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



Looking for more bite

As Count Dracula, Adam Sandler turns in a blandly unobjectionable — if toothless — voice performance in “Hotel Transylvania.”

As Jonathan, a young American backpacker who accidentally wanders into Dracula’s castle — set up as a hotel for monsters seeking refuge from human persecution — Andy Samberg does his best to animate his innocuous persona. Selena Gomez brings more personality to the role of Dracula’s daughter, Mavis, a “teenager” celebrating her 118th birthday while chafing at her father’s overprotectiveness.

Of course, she and Jonathan fall in love, leading to — well, not terribly much. It’s something of a shame. “Hotel Transylvania” is entertaining enough for the trick-or-treat crowd, but more bite wouldn’t kill it.

The DVD and Blu-ray (Sony, $31-$56) include the mini-movie “Goodnight Mr. Foot” and commentary.

Washington Post

Also out Tuesday

Movies: “The Awakening,” “Cold Light of Day,” “Madly Madagascar,” “Paranormal Activity 4,” “Seven Psychopaths.”

TV: “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” (Part 2), “The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley,” “Downton Abbey” (Season 3), “Misfits” (Season 2), “Pan Am” (Season 1), “Young Riders” (Season 3).

Blu-ray debuts: “Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection,” “The Duelists,” “That Obscure Object of Desire,” “White Zombie.”



Everything in its place

The iHome Smart Brief shoulder bag (, $100) is as gadget- and organization-friendly as any ever made. Like everything else the company makes, the bag is Apple-compatible and designed with what seems like an endless number of pockets for chargers, cables and accessories along with a laptop and iPad. Your laptop is kept in a separate compartment, which zippers open, enabling it to be airport-security-friendly. A shoulder strap is included, or use the handles for carrying the stylish two-tone nylon, slim-profile bag.

McClatchy News Service



Don’t procrastinate

Taxes in 10 minutes? That’s the promise of SnapTax, a free app from Intuit for most devices that lets users take a smartphone photo of their W-2 and fill in the paperwork from there. It’s an enticing promise for those with the simplest tax needs, but there are a few things to note before deciding you can use this tool to put off your taxes until the night of April 14.

For one, as with many photo-recognition features, the photo-to-text transfer isn’t perfect. It works surprisingly well — and you can input your info by keyboard, too — but you will likely have to make corrections, which are significant given that these are tax forms. Check them carefully. This is also an app for the simplest of files, so it’s probably not the best tool if you have a side business or contracting work to note on your forms.

Finally, while the app is free to use, actually filing taxes will cost $25 deducted from your iTunes or Google Play account.

Washington Post