Director Martin Scorsese’s cameo in “Hugo”

“Hugo” (PG ) — Underneath an elaborate and awe-inspiring look, fine machinery powers this adventure with a love of cinema. Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3-D movies shows that the right filmmaker can make the technology more than a gimmick. At the home-theater, where 3-D equipment hasn’t quite saturated the market, “Hugo” still holds up as a dazzling journey with a heartfelt story.

Asa Butterfield plays Hugo, a young boy in 1930s Paris who is fascinated with clockwork. His late father (Jude Law in the flashbacks) left him a mysterious gizmo that he’s determined to understand. While looking for clues, Hugo must enlist the help of a toyshop owner (Ben Kingsley) and outwit the bumbling station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). The script can move slowly in the beginning, but it’s well worth the patience to see where the movie goes once the gears start spinning.

“The Myth of the American Sleepover” — The title may fool you into thinking this is a teen sex romp, but while adolescent longings are at the heart of the film, it’s more “American Graffiti” than “American Pie.” The story follows the intersecting stories of suburban youngsters on the last day of summer. “Sleepover” manages to take the audience back to that teen mindset when every action and waking thought seems just on the edge of something profound.

“How the Universe Works” — Starting with the big bang and delving all the way into dark-matter, anti-matter and supernovas, this Science Channel set narrated by Mike Rowe is a solid fix for anybody who wants to look through a telescope and see more than just dots. With wondrous visuals and a whole host of experts (including a “black-hole hunter”), popping in one of these discs is a reliable way to relax while massaging your brain with the mysteries of the cosmos.

“The Darkness Beneath” (R) — Dennis Quaid plays Vaughn Ely, a widower, mortician and local creep in the small town of Smithville, Texas. A handful of meddling teens decide to poke around in the undertaker’s house when their garish van breaks down and their dog asks for food — not really, though their real call to action makes less sense — the teens see the silhouette of the undertaker apparently dancing with a woman inside and decide to break in.

The most realistic aspect of the film is that the teenage characters are all too gloomy and self-involved to be interesting. Whether or not they survive their encounter with Quaid is less engaging than Quaid’s over-the-top delivery of the corniest lines.

“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: The Friendship Express”
“Law and Order: The Tenth Year”
“Here Come The Brides: Season Two”
“Mission Impossible: The ’89 TV Season”
“Top Gear: The Complete Season 17”

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.