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Best Bets: Stephanie Plum hits big screen

At last, the movies are starting to get ... if not good, at least interesting. And last year's movies are starting to hit DVD and Blu-ray, so if you're snowed in, stock up on films for home viewing.


Look around the next airport you're in and you'll see dozens of folks engrossed in books from the Stephanie Plum series. Plum is author Janet Evanovich's lingerie-saleswoman-turned-bounty-hunter, and the heroine of her numerically titled books. Now the first in that series, "One For the Money," is coming to the big screen, with the sometimes controversial Katherine Heigl as Plum. Book fans have high hopes, but we'll have to see if Heigl and the cast live up to the characters so many have already imagined in their heads. (Jan. 27.)

Does Liam Neeson really punch a wolf in the snout? In "The Grey," Neeson plays the leader of a group of plane crash survivors who are determined to make it out of the Alaskan wilderness alive. The trailer reveals that even those tiny liquor bottles they put on planes can be a weapon if you really need them to be. (Jan. 27.)


The third "Spartacus" series, "Spartacus: Vengeance," comes to TV this week. If you watched "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," you know the gladiators have killed their master and escaped his brutal school. But are the Romans going to let them get away without a fight? Don't bet on it. (Jan. 27, 10 p.m., Starz.)


That poor family in the "Paranormal Activity" series! Apparently they've been cursed for decades, and in "Paranormal Activity 3," hitting DVD this week, we learn about how Katie and Kristi's growing up was more "Addams Family" than "Brady Bunch." The Bloody Mary sequence, where the girls stare into a bathroom mirror and try to summon the supernatural with that old slumber-party game, is jump-out-of-your-seat scary. (On DVD Jan. 24)

"Real Steel" also hits DVD this week, and it was a bit of a surprise hit at the box office. Sure, it looked like two hours of giant robots pounding each other, "Battlebots" style, but really it was a sweet family film. Hugh Jackman plays the dad and washed-up boxing promoter who gets to know the son he never really cared about as they try to fight their way up the rankings. (On DVD Jan. 27)