“Sidney White” squeaky clean
“Sidney White,” a pastiche of “Snow White” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” is easy-to-take kid- and teen-oriented fluff that floats on the affability of star Amanda Bynes.
Bynes plays the title character, a pretty, level-headed plumber’s daughter who starts college with hopes of joining her late mother’s sorority — then finds the members are all blonde snobs who kowtow to the whims of their narcissistic president, Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton, excellent as a witchy woman).
Jealous of former beau Tyler Prince’s (Matt Long) attention to the pretty newcomer, Rachel boots Sidney out of the castle-like sorority house, forcing her to movie into the old eyesore that’s home to seven socially challenged nerds (the film’s also known as “Snow White and the Seven Dorks”).
A cute conceit that aspires to little more than amusing its young target audience, the film’s an OK way to teach the importance of being yourself.
Extras: Squeaky-clean gag reel; making-of shorts where supporting-cast members describe the main stars as likable, witty and humble; deleted scenes.
In the early 1800s, trapper John Colter survived being chased through the wilderness by Blackfoot Indians. His story served as the source material for 1957’s “Run of the Arrow,” with Rod Steiger, and for 1966’s “The Naked Prey.”
Out in a restored, remastered edition by the Criterion Collection — the Rolls-Royce of restoration companies — the enthralling saga resets the story in mid-1800s Africa.
A safari guide played by Cornel Wilde, who also directs and produces, is captured by Zulus. After toying with his colleagues and bearers, they strip him naked, shoot an arrow, then start chasing him after he reaches the arrow.
A survival tale, an allegory, a political statement, a great chase film, “The Naked Prey” contains no real bad guys among the major players (except for a rich white hunter). The movie humanizes the Zulus as well as Wilde’s nameless character in this kill-or-be-killed story.
The print’s pristine; even the artistic opening credits stand out. Shot entirely in South Africa during apartheid, the anti-apartheid picture is very satisfying. The minimalist screenplay earned an Oscar nomination. With Ken Gampu, the first black South African film star.
Extras: A fine brew: the story of Colter’s escape read by Paul Giamatti; cues that let you switch back and forth between the rich commentary by film scholar Stephen Prince and the soundtrack; a booklet with a 1970 Wilde interview and an auteurish essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.
The second half of “The Game Plan,” a predictable fish-out-of-water comedy starring East Bay native Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a self-absorbed pro quarterback, makes up for much of the dopiness that comes before.
Madison Pettis, the film’s raison de watch, is button-cute as Peyton, a poised, playful 8-year-old who shows up at his swanky apartment claiming to be the daughter he never knew he had.
Ostensibly, her mother (his ex) is in Africa for several weeks, giving Peyton the chance to get to know her pop. Naturally, he’s resistant — she interferes with his swinging lifestyle — and clueless about fathering.
That repetitive shtick and her charming his teammates take up most of the first half, during which parents may want to stick around to reassure their kids when The Rock goes ballistic and yells at the little girl.
The remainder of the film pours on kid-friendly, happily-ever-after sentimentality laced with some pretty good football sequences. Kyra Sedgwick costars as the player’s cold agent.
Extras: A few amusing bloopers; ESPN interview with The Rock about learning to play QB; making-of short; ESPN’s look at the fictional star; deleted scenes.
Saw the first “Saw”; sat through every gruesome moment. Didn’t see “Saw II” or “III”; zero desire. Sat through the first 20 or so minutes of “Saw IV: Unrated Director’s Cut” the other night.
It opens with an autopsy sequence that makes “CSI” look like Disney kiddie fare.
Next comes a scene with two guys, one with his eyes sewn, the other with his lips sewn, chained together and fighting to the death — which might matter if we knew who they were.
Cut to cops examining the hanging, mutilated corpse of a female detective.
Evidently, there’s a back story involving all of them and other detectives killed and tortured by the demented Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) — whose body is being autopsied at the start — but we aren’t privy to it unless we’ve seen “Saw II” and/or “III.”
No doubt “Saw IV” spews more gore, torture and Rube Goldberg-like killing contraptions.
The plot has something to do with a Jigsaw minion giving a cop 90 minutes to figure out something to save a life. It’s all there on DVD if you want it.
Extras: Two commentaries; shorts on traps, props, music; a deleted scene; video diary.
Also on DVD
“Fatal Contact”: Underground-prizefighting champ (Wu Jing) loses soul fighting to make money to please his girlfriend.
“The Hunting Party”: TV journalists Richard Gere and Terrence Howard track a war-crimes fugitive.
“Missionary Man”: Dolph Lundgren’sback — spread the word — as a mysterious stranger out to rid a small town of its resident bad man.
“She Likes Girls 2”: Shorts series includes festival award winners.
TV on DVD
“Criss Angel Mindfreak: The Complete Season Three”
“ER: Season 8”; “The Girls Next Door: Season Three”
“Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season”
“Hustle: Complete Season Four”
“The Kingdom: Series 2”
“The Odd Couple: The Third Season”
“The Simple Life: Goes to Camp”
“Thunderbirds 40th Anniversary DVD Megaset”
“Torchwood: Season 1”
Feb. 5: “The Jane Austen Book Club,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”