Digital Breakdown: Four-leaf ‘Cloverfield’ a monster 

The promotional material for the DVD of the monster horror movie "Cloverfield" advises viewers who have a propensity for motion sickness not to worry: Although people who saw the movie in theaters were affected, "medical professionals" say a similar experience won’t happen for those seeing it on the small screen. Of course, they don’t take into consideration larger plasma and LCD-TVs but, hey, it makes for good copy.

Even if the constant shaky cameras in "Cloverfield" give you a queasy feeling, the movie is worth watching. About a gigantic, unstoppable monster that lays waste to what used to be called Manhattan, it’s innovative, fun and impressive. While it isn’t as good as last year’s Korean monster smash "The Host," "Cloverfield" is a must-have for monster-movie fans and those of cult creator J.J. Abrams, who produced it. The DVD has three featurettes, a director audio commentary, deleted scenes and a few alternate endings. Price: $29.99. Rent or buy: Buy.

THE ORPHANAGE

First-time director Juan Antonio Bayona goes for actual character development over CGI in "The Orphanage," a tale about a family that buys an old orphanage with hopes of turning it into a home for special-needs children. But when the adopted son goes missing, and mom and dad begin to hear noises and voices as they search for him, events turn into a frightening revisit through the parents’ childhoods. The film also follows disturbing happenings that shed light on the orphanage’s past.

A throwback to classic horror films, "The Orphanage" is a bone-chilling, super-scary ghost story that uses psychological scares and atmosphere to frighten you. The DVD includes three making-of featurettes, a photo gallery and deleted scenes. Price: $27.98 to $35.99. Rent or buy: Rent.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS — THE SECOND SEASON

The NBC drama about a team and town that live, breathe and die football comes to DVD in an abbreviated package. Because of the four-month writer’s strike, the DVD has only 15 episodes (instead of a planned 22) on four discs. "Friday Night Lights" is coming back for a third season in one form or another; NBC has made a deal with satellite provider DirecTV for the show. It’s one of the better offerings on TV, regardless of how it returns. Three audio commentaries, two featurettes and deleted scenes round out the DVD. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Buy.

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

"Charlie Wilson’s War" proves that political movies don’t have to be serious dramas to succeed. It’s based on playboy congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) and his efforts to fund Afghanistan’s defense against the invading Soviet invasion in the 1980s. While the film’s topic isn’t particularly amusing, director Mike Nichols brings ample charm and wit to the script written by "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin. It isn’t "The Colbert Report," but it is a political comedy that pops. The DVD has just two featurettes, one about the real Charlie Wilson. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

THE SHIRLEY TEMPLE COLLECTION — VOLUME 6

Timed for her 80th birthday, Fox Home Entertainment is rolling out another collection of the child star’s movies. "Volume Six" includes three making their DVD debut: "Stowaway," "Wee Willie Winkie" (converted to color from the original black-and-white negatives) and "Young People." All have been restored for high-definition picture and sound from the original source material.There are no special features on the DVD; it’s for Temple fans only. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Buy, if a fan.

Other DVDs out Tuesday: "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job: Season 1," "Black House Unrated," "One Missed Call" and "The Savages."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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