- The Washington Times - Friday, August 15, 2008

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, the 3-D Movie (Disney, 2-disc DVD $34.99) and Camp Rock: Extended Rock Star Edition (Disney, $29.99). — Aug. 19 surely will go down in history as a preteen dream date come true.

It’s the release date for the latest — and greatest — DVDs (complete with singalong mode) from the ultimate tween faves du jour Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.

The 3-D gimmick — as expected — doesn’t work. (Has it ever?) What might, however, bring the audience just a little closer to the super-well-paid Miss Cyrus are the behind-the-scene takes of the 2007 concert tour.

They show her mother talking and doing wardrobe changes and her father, Billy Ray, playing acoustic guitar with his 15-year-old superstar daughter.

It’s all superwholesome.

Miss Cyrus goes through dozens of outfits and dances and sings about life and love, but nothing even comes close to indecent.

Musically, it’s predictable and bubble gummy except for “I Miss You,” an acoustic number written by Miss Cyrus about her late grandfather, which is surprisingly touching and well done.

Miss Cyrus’ ex-squeeze Nick Jonas, also squeaky-clean, can be seen in “Camp Rock: Extended Rock Star Edition” as a band mate to real-life brother (and band mate) Joe Jonas. (It’s hard to keep fiction and reality apart with the Jo Bros and Montana/Cyrus.)

Joe plays Shane Gray, a pop star and camp instructor in this sugary and predictable story about a poor, undiscovered but talented girl, Mitchie (Demi Lovato) at a camp for pop-star wannabes — “Camp Rock.”

Here, too, the behind-the-scenes features probably will make the preteens go wild, as the Jo Bros speak directly into the camera about being superstars and what it takes to get there.

Kevin Jonas, the oldest one, suggests fashion is important for rock stars and adds: “We want to bring high fashion back to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Joe, the hot one, says about life as a rock ‘n’ roller: “We like to go to bed [early] … Our party is on the stage.”

That’s how the Jo Bros have won the hearts not only of 10-year-old girls, but also their 40-year-old parents.

Gabriella Boston

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Universal, $29.98) — Many movies have tried to re-create the light atmosphere of the 1930s and ‘40s screwball comedy — Renee Zellweger was in two of them, “Down With Love” and “Leatherheads” — but few have succeeded as well as “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.” It helps that “Miss Pettigrew” has some apt source material: It’s based on Winifred Watson’s 1938 novel. It’s also aided by a particularly well-chosen cast. Frances McDormand’s British accent may be just OK, but the Oscar winner’s performance as a down-on-her-luck governess is much more than that.

Fired from yet another tiresome job looking after rich women’s children, Miss P finds herself in a bit of a spot. So when she discovers that an American songstress in London needs a social secretary, she fudges her resume a bit and lands the job. It turns out that Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) needs much more than help planning her social calendar, though. The woman has three suitors and no idea which one to choose. In helping Delysia avoid cynicism and embrace love, the middle-aged Miss P just might find herself doing the same thing.

Miss Adams, who shone in “Enchanted,” is so delightful it’s easy to see why Miss P and three handsome young men find it impossible to say no to her impetuous demands. The Scottish actress Shirley Henderson also stands out as Delysia’s cold and calculating friend, who owns a boutique that’s very high-class and knows that Miss P is not. She’s engaged to designer Joe (Ciaran Hinds), who finds himself falling for Miss P’s mixture of humility and principle.

Perhaps “Miss Pettigrew” really succeeds, though, because it offers seriousness along with the silliness. World War II is dawning, and only the older characters, who saw the horrors of the last world war, really understand the threat.

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary with director Bharat Nalluri, deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and a look at how it took Winifred Watson’s novel 70 years to get to the big screen.

Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video, $59.98) — After a number of failed starts, the CW finally had an original hit last year when it premiered “Gossip Girl,” the controversial (read: buzz-worthy) series based on the best-selling books. The show centers on a rather adult group of upper-crust high school students on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It’s a fashion-forward soap opera set in New York. Think “The O.C.” meets “Sex and the City.” With more booze.

You might not want your own children acting like this — the series starts with “it girl” Serena (Blake Lively) returning from boarding school to confront both a bit of a drinking problem and the best friend she betrayed (Leighton Meester) when she slept with the friend’s boyfriend. It’s hard to deny how pleasurable this guilty pleasure can be, though. Everyone looks so darn good, even when they’re acting so bad.

The five-disc set has one particularly good extra. Besides the usual deleted scenes, gag reel and featurettes, there’s an audio version of the first novel in the series, narrated by actress Christina Ricci.

The second season of “Gossip Girl” premieres on the CW on Sept. 1.

Kelly Jane Torrance


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