By DNA Smith
“District 9” — There were only two great science-fiction films released this year: Duncan Jones’ “Moon,” and South African director Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9.” Both were low-budget, independent films that were critically acclaimed but didn’t get the kind of promotion they deserved, and so were only in theaters for a blip of a moment.

“District 9” begins nearly 30 years ago, when a massive alien spacecraft appears in the skies above Johannesburg. After a few months of zero-activity or communication with the craft, a team is sent to investigate. They find a million alien beings onboard, all of them sick and malnourished. Flash-forward to the present day. The aliens (called “prawns” by humans) have been placed in a restricted area known as District 9. Their numbers have swelled to 2.5 million, and a decision has been made to move them to a new internment camp. The camp is run by a private corporation that is secretly performing medical experiments on the aliens in order to discover the secrets of their weaponry, which is somehow genetically connected to the prawns.

Enter a fellow named Wikus (Sharlto Copley). Wikus has just been promoted and is given the assignment of moving the prawns to the new internment camp. A mishap during one of the raids puts Wikus in contact with a strange alien substance that begins to rewrite his genetic code — slowly transforming him into one of the prawns. What happens next is a compelling story about apartheid, xenophobia and the danger of putting for-profit corporations in charge of government operations where human-rights violations are easily concealed.

“Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side” — The eagerly awaited sequel to “Blue Harvest” is finally here, as “The Empire Strikes Back” receives the “Family Guy” treatment. Stewie as Darth Vader? I am so there.

“It Might Get Loud” — One of the year’s best documentaries brings together three generations of rock guitarists: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White, as they talk about their lives and how they each came to discover and love playing guitar. Each talks about their musical influences and how they came to create their unique playing styles, culminating in a jam session between three that will blow you away.

“Taxi: The Complete Series”
“Kyle XY” The Complete Third and Final Season
“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” Season 3
“Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day”
“Guyver: The Complete Series” (Viridian Collection)

© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.