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Best bets: 'Secretariat' races into theaters

If you liked "Seabiscuit," you'll be champing at the bit for this Disney flick. Plus: Jane Lynch hosts "Saturday Night Live'; the "Karate Kid" remakes comes to DVD.
/ Source: TODAY.com

MoviesHorse movies always tug at our heartstrings, and you know that when Disney's making the movie, the tugs will come fast and furious. "Secretariat" tells the tale of the legendary Triple Crown winning horse and his dynamic owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane). The star power isn't huge (John Malkovich, who plays the horse's trainer, is perhaps the biggest name) but a feel-good animal movie like this doesn't really need movie stars. (Opens Oct. 8.)

It's labeled a comedy-drama, and the word "funny" is right there in the title, but it doesn't seem very funny from the premise. "It's Kind of a Funny Story" follows a suicidal teen during his stay in a psychiatric hospital. A good deal of the funny comes from Zach Galifianakis, who plays a fellow patient, and the trailer does look promising and yes, humorous. (Opens Oct. 8.)

TVJane Lynch, who plays snarky Cheerios coach Sue Sylvester on "Glee," is firmly in the Betty White class these days — everyone loves her, and she can seemingly do no wrong. And following in White's footsteps, Lynch will host "Saturday Night Live" this week. You just know there's going to be a "Glee" parody, but any skit Lynch appears in should be funny. She's got that ideal "SNL" host criteria — she'll go to any lengths to make people laugh. (Oct. 9, 11:30 p.m., NBC.)

Lynch is 'Glee'-ful to be a character actor

Reality TV just discovered pawn shops ("Pawn Star$," "Hardcore Pawn"), and it's really no surprise that auction houses were next. TLC's new show "Auctioneer$" goes inside one of the nation's busiest auction houses, digging into the stories of the items up for auction and the buyers and sellers. (Premieres Oct. 9, 10 p.m., TLC.)

BooksHow do you write a sequel to a book called "America"? Expand to the entire planet. Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" writers followed up their hilarious, chart-filled 2004 humor book "America (The Book)" with "Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race." It's written as a travel guide for whatever aliens find the planet after the human race has managed to kill itself off. If you like "The Daily Show's" humor, you'll probably buy one for yourself, another for a like-minded friend. Or alien. (In bookstores now.)

DVD
Those who held tightly to memories of the Ralph Macchio-Pat Morita 1984 "Karate Kid" may have sworn they'd never go see the remake. But it's actually a nice take on the old film and offers a fresh appeal to modern audiences. Will Smith's 11-year-old son, Jaden Smith, plays the American kid who learns martial arts, with Jackie Chan in Morita's role as the wise old master. A nice homage, and an entertaining film in its own right. (Out on DVD Oct. 5.)

Don't be confused: Yes, there was a wonderful 2006 Helen Mirren movie called "The Queen," but now there's a fascinating DVD that also has that title, also focuses on Queen Elizabeth II, and Mirren is nowhere in sight. In 2009's "The Queen," the BBC tells five vignettes from the storied and dramatic life of England's ruler, with a different actress playing Elizabeth in each story. Some are well-known dramas — Princess Margaret's romance with Peter Townsend, Charles and Diana and Camilla's woes. But some are more serious than soapy — a fascinating offering tells the story of the Queen's battles with Margaret Thatcher regarding South African apartheid. (Out on DVD Oct. 5.)