New on Blu: DEVIL, STEP UP 3, and more

GATW Staff

by: GATW Staff
December 21st, 2010

Right in time for Christmas, a few new Blu-rays are out for your buying pleasure.  These titles have dancing, satan, zombie killing, stock brokers, and the adorable Emma Stone.  Hit the break to see our reviews of two of the titles, and what else is available to buy.

Written by Brian Kelley

Regardless of your previous investment in the STEP UP series, STEP UP 3 (which has only one returning character from STEP UP 2: THE STREETS) is about as much fun as you can ask for from a dance film. Moose (Adam G. Sevani who made his screen debut in the previous film) has gone off to college at NYU with the intention of quitting dance and making a career of Engineering. These plans quickly change when he engages in a dance battle during orientation and is picked up by Luke to join his crew, The Pirates. Enter an attractive female dancer/love interest for Luke (she's called Natalie here), sprinkle a few bits of questionable intentions on her part and add some money troubles that can only be resolved by winning the World Jam into the mix and you have the makings of a generic dance movie. What elevates STEP UP 3 is director John Chu's (STEP UP 2: THE STREETS, "The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers") keen sense of fun. He understands the plotting is usually the weak part of these types of films- the moments the audience must sit through to get to the good stuff- and things are kept moving at an enjoyable pace. When the dance battles occur they are appropriately loud and flashy (the movie was shot with 3D in mind for its theatrical release), a ridiculous number of dance styles put on display. It's this all-around need to entertain that makes STEP UP 3 very easy to recommend.

In STEP UP 3, the character of Luke is making a short documentary about what drives people to dance. The Blu-ray special features begin with the entire 12 minute film, "Born from a Boombox: A Luke Katcher Film". The piece is interesting in that it gives the real dancers/actors in STEP UP 3 a real voice. Much of the footage is seen throughout STEP UP 3 in various forms but it was clever to add this completed film as its own special feature. Next is a piece called "Extra Moves" which is an unguided, free flowing behind the scenes type featurette showing the filming of many of the film's dance scenes. There are 8 deleted scenes with optional introductions from director John Chu. A few of these scenes are actually quite meaty and contain entire deleted dance routines that slowed down the film at inopportune times. They are definitely worth watching. There is a large collection of videos for music from the film. Artists include Flo Rida, Roscoe Dash and T-Pain, Trey Songz, and Jrandall. The final feature on this set is a "Making of the Music Videos" montage that shows some behind the scenes and interview clips about the making of several of the included music videos. It is a decent collection of features for one of the most entertaining dance films to come around since STEP UP 2: THE STREETS.

Written by Brian Kelley

DEVIL begins with narration explaining the titular character's need to display his power every so often on Earth by trapping some sinners, taking human form and messing with them before taking their souls. This needless exposition continues in the form a character that essentially explains everything that is happening to the audience through the course of the entire film. It is the biggest weakness in an otherwise engaging film. A group of people become trapped in an elevator and strange things begin to happen before they begin to die. It's a simple concept that's shot and performed quite well but is oversimplified by the constant barrage of explanation. It's worth a watch for the style, but it ultimately lacks much punch.

The special features here are minimal and begin with 3 brief deleted scenes that are little more than character intros. These were wise cuts as, without them, there is at least a small bit of ambiguity regarding some of the characters. Next is the first of 3 brief (2 minutes apiece) fluff featurettes - "The Story". Short snippets of interviews with producer M. Night Shymalan, director John Erick Dowdle and writer Brian Nelson provided nothing the film’s opening narration does not. Next is "The Devil's Meeting", a short, mostly uninteresting interview with UCLA professor Ysamur Flores (Folklore & Mythology) about the devil. Finally, "The Night Chronicles" is a promo piece for Shyamalan to explain his intentions for his production company, The Night Chronicles. There's little here to recommend a purchase but a rental is not discouraged.

Also available this week on Blu-ray:

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
Easy A [Blu-ray]
Family Guy: It's A Trap! [Blu-ray]
Salt (Deluxe Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray]
Laugh It Up Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy (It's A Trap / Something Something Something Dark Side / Blue Harvest) [Blu-ray]
Futurama: Volume 5 [Blu-ray]

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