By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Unstoppable” (PG-13) — If you like movies about runaway trains and the buff, determined Choo-Choo Boys charged with stopping them, then Boy Howdy, have I got the perfect film for you.
In “Unstoppable,” an unmanned train carrying tons of deadly chemicals is barreling across the Pennsylvania countryside — 1 million tons of ironclad mayhem on a collision course with Scranton.
Engineer Denzel Washington and conductor Chris Pine are the only two people who can save Scranton from going up in flames and being awash in steaming toxic death — and never have I wanted two people to fail more.
“Waiting for Superman” (PG) — In “Waiting for Superman,” Davis Guggenheim, director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Academy Award-winning documentary on climate change, turns his sights on America’s ailing education system.
In this controversial documentary, Guggenheim suggests that one of the major problems with education today is teachers unions, which protect bad teachers all for the sake of perpetuating tenure agreements. He also is a proponent of the charter school system, which hasn’t been proven to be substantially better than public schools. The lottery system used to pick the students is absolutely soul-crushing to watch.
While it’s clear that Guggenheim has an agenda, “Superman” isn’t one of those Michael Moore-style films that are long on propaganda and short on facts. No matter where you stand on the issue, this film is sure to provoke thoughtful and passionate discussion.
“Dr. Who: A Christmas Carol” (Unrated) — This innovative take on the Charles Dickens’ holiday classic makes for one of the most enjoyable Doctor Who Christmas specials in recent memory.
It’s Christmas Eve, and honeymooners Amy Pond and Rory Williams are aboard a luxury cruise ship that becomes disabled by a mysterious cloud formation above the surface of an alien planet. They and the ship’s 4,000 passengers have less than an hour before they crash. In order to save them, the Doctor (Matt Smith) must warm the frozen heart of the planet’s most powerful man, the miserly Kazran Sardick (Michael “Dumbledore” Gambon).
Filled with whimsy, pathos and humor, this Christmas special is a delight for adults and children alike.
“The Twilight Zone” Season 3
“Around the World in 80 Days” The Complete Epic Mini-Series
“Top Gear” Complete Seasons 14 and 15
“Spin City” Season Four
“The Fugitive” The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two
“Murphy’s Law” Series Three
“Paddington Bear” Complete Classic Series
“He-Man and The Masters of the Universe” Season One
“Johnny Test” Complete First and Second Seasons
“Sabrina the Animated Series” A Touch of Magic
“Taggart” Complete Original Series Starring Mark McManus
© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.