You can spend the week recovering from Black Friday watching an animated tale of zombies or a TV series that died in its second season.
• “ParaNorman,” Grade B-minus: A young boy has to save his town from zombies.
There’s a tricky line when it comes to making scary animated movies: If they’re cartoonish enough for young moviegoers to enjoy, then they tend to lack enough edge to satisfy older viewers. But if they’re too scary, then they can give young moviegoers nightmares. “ParaNorman” tries to serve both sides and, in the process, comes up short on both counts.
Of the chattering talents – that include Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – only Mintz-Plasse brings the kind of original sound that makes his character different. The rest end up a generic verbal stew.
The craftsmanship is spectacular and the look amazing.
But even with such a solid look, it’s hard to imagine who will enjoy this film: It’s way too scary for little kids, but it’s not scary enough for teens.
• “Breaking In: The Complete Series,” Grade B-minus: There have been few network shows that have done so much to commit ratings suicide.
The first season of the Fox comedy about a firm that breaks into places such as government facilities and car lots to point out security problems was quirky and offbeat.
Christian Slater was particularly funny as the man of mystery in charge of the company. He worked well with a very strong supporting cast.
Then the second season came along. The show went from a very funny spy story to a bland office comedy anchored to the dead weight of Megan Mullally’s over-the-top humor. The originality was beaten out of the show to the point where it deserved to be canceled.
Only watch the first season. As soon as Mullally shows up, disavow all knowledge of the TV series.
Also new on DVD this week:
“The Day”: Five survivors wander the back roads of a ravaged landscape looking for refuge. Shawn Ashmore stars.
“Christmas in Compton”: Trouble erupts at a Christmas tree lot. Keith David stars.
“Lawless”: Shia La-Beouf stars in the true story of the infamous Bondurant brothers.
“The Apparition”: Ashley Greene stars in this story of a young couple who discover they are being haunted.
“Step Up: Revolution”: Director Scott Speer gets in step with the flash mob phenomenon for this dance movie.
“Luck: The Complete First Season”: Dustin Hoffman stars in the cable series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of horse racing.
“Perry Mason: Season Eight, Volume One”: More court battles starring the noted – and always winning – lawyer.
“Hot in Cleveland: Season Three”: Four women find love and humor in the Ohio city.
“Burning in the Sun”: A young man returns to his homeland in Mali to start a local business.
“Forks Over Knives”: Documentary examines the claim that degenerative diseases can be controlled by adopting a plant-based diet.
“Heaven’s Door”: A woman must cope with a pending divorce, no job, living with her mother’s constant advice and raising her two children.
“12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog”: Laura turns to a life coach who tells her to make 12 wishes for a positive change in her life.