DVD reviews: “Harold & Kumar,” “Shine a Light,” “Doomsday,” “WarGames”

Harold and Kumar go on another joint adventure

Yes, it’s grosser than its hit, hip predecessor, especially at the start, and it’s a little lighter on laughs, but “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” still delivers enough affable, off-color, oft-tasteless drug-induced silliness to make it fun for those who enjoyed “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.”

The story continues where the first film left off. On a flight to Amsterdam where Harold (John Cho) hopes to spark with his pretty neighbor, he and Kumar (Kal Penn) get mistaken for terrorists, are taken to Guantanamo Bay, escape, and try to make it to Texas to get help from Kumar’s ex-girlfriend’s well-connected fiance.

Got all that? If not, it doesn’t matter. The fun’s in the journey, during which the boys run into Neil Patrick Harris, again drugged-up and hallucinating, the Ku Klux Klan and George W. Bush.

One tip: Watch the film with the feature that lets you choose which way you want the story to go in a handful of scenes.

For instance, you can watch a party sequence where supporting players are nude on top or nude on the bottom. Another time, you can choose between seeing Harold’s dream or Kumar’s.

Each time, after watching the version you choose, skip back and watch the same scene with the other option. (If the film abruptly ends, just skip back.)

You won’t break the flow because there is none.

Extras: Filmmakers’ commentaries (my DVD player crashed just as I was about to check these out); additional scenes and shorts; bonus digital copy.

Scorsese films Stones

The beginning and end, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette, deliver the kinds of insights and playfulness I wanted from Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light,” a concert film about the Rolling Stones.

There’s a smattering of the personal during the picture, but mostly it’s all about close-ups of the Stones performing — which beats sitting miles away in the Oakland Coliseum stands. They weren’t in very good voice when I saw them there a couple of decades ago, and they still aren’t today — except for Keith Richards’ surprisingly mellifluous solo on one number.

Mick Jagger
is Mick Jagger, a man whose engine continues to operate on eight cylinders onstage.

Stones fans will get their money’s worth; it’s a long set. The early scenes show a perfectionist Jagger in no hurry to decide on the Stones’ songs and an increasingly agitated Scorsese (whose “The Last Waltz” is better). The concert’s a benefit; Bill Clinton opens.

Extras: Four bonus performances; behind-the-scenes short.

Mad Maxine
Director Neil Marshall (“The Descent”) dives into the post-apocalyptic genre with “Doomsday,” a fairly tense, find-the-serum-to-cure-humanity actioner driven by Mad Max(ine)-ish Rhona Mitra.

Raised as an elite fighter after being handed to the military as a child by her mother — the angst factor — she and her unit are dropped into the quarantined area (a la “Escape From New York”) to battle face-painted, cannibalistic survivors until they find the scientist with the cure.

Don’t think; just go with the flow. OK time-filler for fans of the genre.

Extras: Making-of and visual-effects shorts; more.

Do you still want to play?

With tight direction by John Badham and enthusiastic performances by Matthew Broderick as a 17-year-old computer whiz and Ally Sheedy as his flirtatious gal pal, “WarGames: 25th Anniversary Edition” holds up well, despite its humongous computers and archaic dial-up systems.

Broderick’s a hacker (not so bad, then) who unknowingly engages a state-of-the-art military computer in a war game that could result in World War III.

The story plays light and fast. Tension escalates when the kids go on the run from the government.

The original’s much more entertaining than its sequel, “WarGames: The Dead Code.”

New this week, “Dead Code” follows the same blueprint, resulting in a supermarket-bland version of a brand-name hit. The game’s a terrorist-attack simulation, the director’s Stuart Gillard and the star’s Matt Lanter.

Don’t bother.

Extras: On the original: “Tic Tac Toe: a True Story,” “Loading WarGames,” “Inside NORAD” shorts; more. On the sequel: director and actor commentaries, making-of short, photo galleries.

Also on DVD

“Barrio”: Award-winning coming-of-age saga about three working-class teenage boys looking for work, finding trouble and fantasizing about women one summer in Madrid; in Spanish.

“Corduroy … and More Stories About Caring”:Seven kids’ tales with different narrators.

“The Deal”: Stephen Frears directs Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and David Morrissey as Gordon Brown, Blair’s mentor, then rival, in a prequel to “The Queen.”

“Extasis”: A 1996 thriller with Javier Bardem as a twentysomething opportunist who convinces two friends to rob their families and skip town; in Spanish.

“Never Back Down”: Mixed-martial-arts instructor Djimon Hounsou teaches bullied teen Sean Faris how to stand up for himself.

“Outfoxed: Fox Attacks! Special Collector’s Edition”: Critical documentary about Fox News coverage rereleased with new bonus materials.

“Puzzle”: Violent thriller about five criminals brought together for a heist, then forced to deal with the suspicious death of their leader; in Korean.

“Stargate Continuum”: The “Stargate SG-1” cast (Richard Dean Anderson, Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, et al.) lands on an Earth whose history has been changed.

“Tai-Chi Master”: Booted out of martial-arts school, two best friends become enemies who meet in battle years later; with Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.

“Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection”: “Luck of the Irish”; “This Above All”; “Johnny Apollo”: “Girls’ Dormitory”: “Day-Time Wife”: “I’ll Never Forget You”: “Second Honeymoon”; “Cafe Metropole.”

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