November 25, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II & IV • Page 19 Intrigue at the Vatican comes to DVD and Blu-ray ety. “Angels & Demons” is filled with red herrings, some obvious and others surprising. Director Ron Howard keeps viewers guessing as a bomb ticks and the lives of four cardinals hang in the balance. There are several strong supporting performances. Ewan McGregor plays Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, the man in charge of the Vatican during the transitional period between the death of one pope and the election of the next. Stellen Skarsgard plays the head of the Swiss Guard, the pope’s personal security staff. Armin Mueller-Stahl portrays the elector in the conclave. Author Dan Brown’s formula -- creating maze-like mysteries in the milieu of the Catholic Church -- allows him to combine murder with clouded motives and church history to elevate what would otherwise be fairly ordinary whodunits. “Angels & Demons” is a stylish film directed with care by Howard, who understands the importance of good casting in making a movie click. “Angels & Demons” is available in three editions: single-disc DVD, two-disc DVD, and two-disc Blu-ray. The two-disc DVD edition’s extras include the featurette “Handling Props,” in which the filmmakers discuss bringing the props from Brown’s book to life; and “Angels & Demons: The Full Story,” a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. The Blu-ray edition con- Symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks, center) is called to the Vatican when four Cardinals are kidnapped in ‘Angels & Demons.’ by Dennis Seuling “Angels & Demons” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), the sequel to “The da Vinci Code,” stars Tom Hanks reprising his role as symbologist Robert Langdon. As the film opens, the pope has died. Before the cardinals can assemble to select a new pope, the preferitti, the four leading contenders for the position, are kidnapped. Threats of their assassination and the total destruction of the Vatican City are made, and a mysterious symbol is found. Langdon is summoned to the Vatican and determines that the kidnapping is the work of the Illuminati, a centuries-old deadly secret soci- tains these extras and both the theatrical and extended film versions; “The Path of Illumination,” which follows Robert Langdon’s path through Rome; “Movie IQ,” containing loads of production facts, cast and crew details, and music and soundtrack information; and a digital copy of the movie. “Ballast” (Kino on Video), a double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place in the Mississippi delta and focuses on three people affected by a tragedy. Lawrence (Michael J. Smith Jr.) is grief-stricken after the loss of his twin brother. Twelveyear-old James (JimMyron Ross) is starting to encounter the drug culture of local teenagers, and his single mother, Marlee (Tarra Riggs), is too exhausted from her lowpaying job to see the clues. Writer/director/editor Lance Hammer tells his story episodically, providing glimpses into these lives and tracing how they intertwine. Hammer worked for months in rehearsal with his mostly untrained actors and the performances are extremely natural. The film is sparse on dialogue, but strong on visuals. Hammer knows how to present a narrative with his camera and let incidents build an overall portrait of his characters. As editor, he lingers on a scene so the viewer can take in facial expressions, reactions, and thought processes. “Ballast” is available in both DVD and Blu-ray. Special features include a making-of featurette, theatrical trailer, (continued on Crossword page) �������� �������� ��������� �������� ��������������������������������������������� Sunday & Monday NFL Ticket on Direct TV �������������������������� ������������ ���������������������������� ������������������� Football Menu & Bar Specials Regular Menu also available ���������� ������ ������������ ���������� � �������������� �������� ��������� ������������������������ HAPPY HOUR �������������� ����������������� �������������� ������������������� � �� �������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ 11-25-09 Ester/Janine