short circuits

A brief look at new and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.


'Fallout 3' episode heads north to Alaska

"Fallout 3" was the best video game of 2008, so its first add-on episode is good news, no matter what -- as long as you have the Xbox 360 or PC version. (PlayStation 3 owners get nothing.) The prequel "Operation: Anchorage" takes place as a time-traveling simulation within the main game's story. With this anything-goes gimmick, the developers have strayed from the game play that defines "Fallout 3" and have created a straight-ahead military exercise, as you defend the 49th state from a Chinese invasion. As such, the chapter is just OK and not overly challenging on normal difficulty. But fans will welcome any new content, even if it's not typical "Fallout 3." "Operation: Anchorage" is available to download from Xbox Live or Games for Windows Live for 800 points, or $10.


'Yentl' sees a new day

There are few Oscar-nominated movies as polarizing as 1983's "Yentl," which Barbra Streisand starred in, sang in, directed, scripted, staged, produced and maybe even catered. Most vocal among its critics was Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer of the original story about a rabbi's daughter who disguises herself as a man to attend religious school. He told the New York Times, "I did not find artistic merit neither in the adaptation, nor in the directing." But the film has its diehard fans, judging by the gushing user comments posted at in anticipation of today's DVD. They are sure to love the two-disc set (MGM, $30), which includes commentary by Babs, rehearsals by Babs and deleted scenes of Babs. And there are introductions to them all, by Babs. Oy!

Also out today: "Bottle Shock," "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," "Mystery Science Theater, Vol. XIV," "Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist," "Night Court" (Season 2), "The Secret Life of Bees," "Space Buddies," "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."