DVD Update, Feb. 17, 2012 – Susan Granger

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“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” is the fourth installment in this multi-billion dollar franchise, chronicling Bella and Edward’s marriage, honeymoon and childbirth, including new complications with the werewolf Jacob and an epilogue about threats from the Volturi.

Johnny Depp’s “The Rum Diary” is a boozy, incoherent tribute to legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s days in Puerto Rico. And Oscar-winner Melissa Leo stars in “The Space Between” as a gruff, alcoholic, world-weary flight attendant who connects with a 10 year-old Pakistani-American boy who is traveling alone on 9/11.

“Woody Allen: A Documentary” candidly profiles the iconic writer/director/actor/comedian/musician, while “Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story” reveals captivating stories about the game and those who play it. Set in Senegal, “Elevate” describes how the best and tallest young basketball players from across West Africa are chosen to compete for a full scholarship to a top U.S. prep school. And “How to Die in Oregon” delineates terminally-ill patients’ choices whether to utilize the Death With Dignity Act.

A sumptuous period drama in French with English subtitles, “Mozart’s Sister” revolves around Maria Anna ‘Nannerl’ Mozart, a musical prodigy who was overshadowed by her younger brother, Wolfgang Amadeus, and the limits imposed by the time and gender.

In Portuguese with English subtitles, “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” is a fascinating, idea-packed documentary set in crime-plagued Rio de Janeiro.

“The Human Centipede 2” – unrated director’s cut – continues Tom Six’s shocking cult horror story about a disturbed security guard who decides to re-create the revolting feat of the original film by sewing 12 kidnap victims together to form one, long, continuous digestive tract. And “Paranormal Activity 3” is a prequel, showing how Katie and Kristi Rey were terrified and tormented as children.

PICKS OF THE WEEK: Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington are Mossad agents in “The Debt,” a suspenseful espionage thriller about the fallibility of our veneration of heroes. And Michael Shannon plays a man suffering from relentlessly sinister premonitions of disaster in “Take Shelter,” a psychological thriller also featuring Jessica Chastain.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.