The new DVD releases out this week feature films for the family.
"Penguins of Madagascar," (grade, A): Finally, the Penguins - voiced by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and Conrad Vernon - are the stars of their own feature film, which tells how the four became buddies and work together to make the world a safer place.
Penguins of Madagascar combines frantic, colorful action to hold kids' attention with the smart, wacky humor adults like to see. Finding films that work for multiple generations is always a blessing.
"Annie," (grade, F): Someone should call child services about the way Annie is mistreated in this new, updated adaptation - it's an example of film-making abuse. This is not the beloved story of an orphan with unlimited optimism - it's been stripped of its messages about a better tomorrow, drained of its holiday themes, and saddled with a foster-child plot line that makes the big adoption sequence less appealing.
These flaws could have been overlooked had the film not been loaded with so many embarrassingly bad performances, starting with Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and ending with Annie herself, Quvenzhane Wallis.
"A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney," (grade, B): Sir Paul McCartney was honored as the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year in 2012. The DVD is a collection of performances featuring McCartney, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Neil Young, Alison Krauss & Union Station, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Duane Eddy, and Sergio Mendes.
Also new this week:
WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 2: Continues the stories of the staff at a low-rated radio station.
Ghost Whisperer: The Complete Series: Jennifer Love Hewitt as a woman who can communicate with earthbound spirits.
Maude: The Complete Series: Bea Arthur stars in this spin-off series from All in the Family. Contains 141 episodes.
Exodus: Gods & Kings: Moses (Christian Bale) rises up against Ramses.
Something Wicked: Past secrets keep a couple from rebuilding their lives.
Revelation: The End of Days: Follows the events of a modern-day apocalypse.
Halo: Nightfall: Story of Jameson Locke, a legendary manhunter.
Victory at Sea: Documentary looking at major battles of World War II.
Nova: A Big Bang Machine: Behind the scenes of the search for the Holy Grail of particle physics.
Nature: Penguin Post Office: Antarctica's post office is a popular tourist destination.
Star Trek: The Original Series - Captain Kirk's Boldest Missions: Among the eight episodes is "The City on the Edge of Forever."
Secrets of the Dead: Ben Franklin's Bones: A look at what could have been a darker side of the Founding Father.