TOP PICK – DVD
Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace
With all the griping, nitpicking, and applause that greeted The Complete Saga Blu-ray, this cute and funny short almost got lost. Originally aired on the Cartoon Network, The Padawan Menace, told entirely in Lego pieces, follows Yoda as he leads a field trip through the galaxy. Many familiar faces (albeit in tiny brick form) show up, including a very young Han Solo. Five other Lego Star Wars shorts are also included.
Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film
Alien is still one of the best, scariest, and most influential sci-fi movies ever made. This mammoth book details every step of the production, from preliminary sketches to onset photos. It’s constructed like a museum, so you can pull pieces out of the pages for closer examination. Our favorite: a schematic of the doomed Nostromo, which includes every nook and cranny that housed the hungry alien.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection
We were about ready to throw our hands up and say enough with the downloadable map packs for this great game (this is the fourth). But then we found out that the five new levels all involve zombies. There’s a whole other element of gameplay to Call of Duty‘s zombie levels, which are bloodier and more intense than the usual war shooters. The best is called “Moon,” where all that isolation can make a guy trigger happy.
The latest wave of releases from this reissue series, which focuses on classic ’60s and ’70s soul albums from the Stax vaults, features three vintage records: Rufus Thomas’ Do the Funky Chicken, Shirley Brown’s Woman to Woman, and the Dramatics’ Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get. Like many albums from the era, they’re spotty. But there’s so much sweet, funky goodness dripping from the grooves, you’ll hardly notice.
Trainspotting: Collector’s Edition
One of the best movies of the ’90s celebrates its 15th anniversary with its Blu-ray debut and especially strong commentary by director Danny Boyle and star Ewan McGregor. The movie – about a group of junkies getting high, clean, and high again – holds up as a funny, frightening, and invigorating piece of filmmaking by a cast and crew of fresh young faces that would go on to bigger, but not necessarily better, projects.