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DVD reviews

December 11, 2011
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MUSICAL

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’’ indeed. Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli’s gloriously Technicolorful slice of Americana gets a hi-def reissue this week, packaged in a hardcover booklet with archival photos and trivia. We’re told about how Garland resisted the project, anxious to play more mature roles than youthful Esther Smith - a reminder that stirs melancholy now, not to mention thoughts of any number of current young actresses bent on getting sophisticated, fast. “The Trolley Song’’ wouldn’t have been the same. Extras: Liza Minnelli intro; Garland biographer commentary with former child star Margaret O’Brien and others; sampler CD. (Warner, $35.99)

ANIMATION

KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011)

DreamWorks strives for a bit more emotion than usual by sending its rotund Dragon Warrior questing for the truth about his birth parents. But chances are you’re really here to watch Po (and hear Jack Black) in action against the bad guys. There’s plenty of that, and some of it’s pretty dazzling, particularly a sequence with all of Po’s skadooshing aurally choreographed to sound like feudal Chinese music. (If that’s accurate; we know it’s not Tenacious D, anyway.) Extras: An exclusive half-hour short is actually less elaborate than the new “Panda’’ TV spinoff “Legends of Awesomeness,’’ also sampled here. (Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $49.99)

HORROR

FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)

Anton Yelchin (“Terminator Salvation’’), a ridiculously pheromonal Colin Farrell, and director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl’’) deliver a hip, suspenseful remake of the ’80s vampire-next-door flick. Consider it an antidote to “Twilight’’ frilliness, or an edgier riff on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’’ No coincidence that the update was written by “Buffy’’ vet Marti Noxon. (Love the way her smart script incorporates the Las Vegas foreclosure landscape as a plot element.) Costar David Tennant gets a chance to expand his appeal beyond Doctor Who goofiness as a Criss Angel-ic Vegas performer. Extras: Mock videos with Yelchin and Tennant. (Touchstone, $29.99; Blu-ray, $30.99; 3-D, $49.99)

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