December Highlights

This Month's Highlights PLUS: Home Theater and Broadway Box Office

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Home Theater

Titles to stuff in the stockings with care
DVD Release Date: December 7, Warner Bros. Pictures
Inception was one of the biggest hits of the summer, but it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it already. You need to watch it more than once to tease out all of the dream-within-a-dream intricacies. Need help? The Blu-ray version comes with a “motion comic” called “The Cobol Job,” which gives some additional backstory to the action, and watching the film in “Extraction Mode” lets you see how they put together all of those mind-bending dream sequences.
The Other Guys
DVD Release Date: December 14, Sony Pictures
December is the season of Will Ferrell: first Elf, now The Other Guys. Sure, it’s devoid of any holiday spirit, but this bumbling cop tale is enough to make anyone full of good cheer. The movie sees Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a couple of B-team cops who investigate a case that they believe will make them big men on the force, and the film somehow strikes that tricky balance between action and comedy. Bonus: Michael Keaton plays their captain!
Despicable Me
DVD Release Date: December 14, Universal Pictures
Pity the villains. They’re often the greatest characters in movies, but they rarely get to be the leads. Despicable Me gives one bad-guy, the hulking Gru (with the voice of Steve Carell), his due as it follows his attempts to steal the moon. (At least give him credit for lofty goals.) His plans get off-track, though, when he becomes the guardian for three adorable orphans. And, even though the bad guy is in the spotlight, the film is both sweet and charmingly animated.
Futurama: Volume 5
DVD Release Date: December 21, 20th Century Fox
Good news, everyone! Futurama, the animated sci-fi series from the creators of The Simpsons, returned from the oblivion of cancellation for a season of brand-new, half-hour episodes on Comedy Central. The DVD set is great if you’ve missed any episodes, but, even if you haven’t, Futurama DVDs are known to have weirdly cool extras. (A previous volume contained a surprisingly interesting math lecture.) These extra features are mostly music-related, and you can learn how to “Bend it Like Bender.”

Broadway Box Office

5 Qs for...  Jennifer Damiano of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark

Rumored to be the most expensive production ever to hit Broadway—$50 million and counting—the eagerly anticipated Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark opens at Foxwoods Theatre on January 11, 2011. Directed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor (The Lion King, The Tempest), and featuring music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of the rock band U2, the show takes the iconic arachnid from the comics page to the stage and...above it, thanks to some pretty sensational tech effects. Helping Spidey get out of some sticky situations is White Plains native Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, the superhero’s love interest. Nominated for a Tony for her mesmerizing performance in the critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway show Next to Normal, Damiano, 19, made her Broadway debut at 15 in Spring Awakening. Here she talks about being part of an epic theatrical experience and hanging out with a comic icon.

Were you a theater geek at White Plains High School? Definitely not. I had done theater outside of school but was too embarrassed to bring that world into school. I wasn’t any particular label. I hung out with the cool kids, but I was the dork among them, and I had a typical life until tenth grade when I got cast in Spring Awakening.

How would you describe the show to someone thinking about seeing it? The comic-book fans and the movie fans and the musical theater fans will all be happy. And while it’s mind-blowing aesthetically, there’s still a story there. We’re not there to just look like pages of a comic book.

Why do you think the show is so expensive to produce, and does that put extra pressure on you? Anyone who would want to tackle this show on the stage knows it’s going to be very technical. But I don’t really think about the money. I just have to go in and do my job.

Were you familiar with the Spider-Man story before auditioning? I was familiar with the story, but I didn’t have the bed sheets growing up or anything.

Where would you like to be in five years? I want to make friends with the camera and do a film or two or three, but I’ll probably migrate back to the theater world after that happens.

By Laurie Yarnell






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