This week's DVD picks range from the macabre to the musical.
FRANKENWEENIE, GRADE B: The elements that are the genius of director Tim Burton are all there. As he did with Edward Scissorhands, Burton strips away some of the shine of suburbia to show the darker side that lurks below. There is his fascination with life and death that has popped up in his Corpse Bride. And there is Burton's macabre interest in life after death, a driving theme of Beetlejuice.
GAME CHANGE, GRADE B: The cable film starts with the realization by the John McCain team that it needs to come up with its own game-changer to have any hope of being able to defeat Barack Obama. Danny Strong, who wrote the screenplay, sees Sarah Palin as one of the great American political stories of our time, a rather raw politician pushed into a national forum with little known about her.
SMASH: SEASON ONE, GRADE B: The NBC series about staging a Broadway musical hits a few sour notes along the way, but the overall production works as a character study about those who put art above everything else. The two main stars, Katharine McPhee and Broadway veteran Megan Hilty, are amazing to listen to and watch.
Also new on DVD this week:
HIT & RUN: Former getaway driver leaves witness protection to help his girlfriend. Dax Shepard stars.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET: A dream home becomes a nightmare. Jennifer Lawrence stars.
GHOST TRAP: A young woman does community service in a haunted house.