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Finding Neverland

Miramax
Movie A
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

Yeah, this one got a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but it was largely regarded as the film that didn't stand a chance. That doesn't mean it isn't an excellent film, one where Johnny Depp fully deserved his Best Actor nomination, and little Freddie Highmore was robbed in the Best Supporting Actor category. Depp plays writer J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, and Highmore plays Peter Llewelyn Davies, his inspiration for the boy who would never grow up. The film is eternally charming; a scene that Depp and Highmore share on a park bench at film's end is a real heart-warmer. Kate Winslet is on hand as the mother of Peter and his brothers, to whom Barrie becomes a surrogate father. The movie is loosely based, actually very loosely based, on Barrie's real-life relationship with the family. Director Marc Forster and cast made a film that was last year's most-touching, a movie that will stand the test of time.

Special Features: A filmmaker's commentary, deleted scenes and outtakes, as well as some documentaries on the production. A nice treatment, considering how fast the film went to home video.


Dead Birds

Columbia-Tristar
MOVIE C-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 4 (out of 10)

I got a review copy of this one in the mail, and the cover art intrigued me. (Yes, it's a straight-to-video horror film, which usually qualifies a film as excrement, but I was battling a potential cold and needed something to do on a Sunday afternoon.) Dead Birds is by no means a good movie, but it's not as bad as something like Children of the Corn 25: The Demon Kids Get Corny. Henry Thomas, a great actor who should be getting better parts, brings substance to the film as a Civil War-era thief who, along with his band of merry thugs, arrives at a mysterious plantation where naked demon dogs run free. What follows could've been a decent horror story if director Alex Turner had stayed within his means rather than shooting stuff that requires decent gore and special effects. The effects in this movie undermine the film and remind you that you're watching something that didn't receive the backing it might've deserved. Segments of the film drag on and on, and this would've worked better as an hour-long Twilight Zone episode. Some decent scares here and there, with a ghost story that supplies a semi-decent twist ending. Thomas and Patrick Fugit provide decent acting chops, but the movie just isn't quite up to snuff.

Special Features: Lots of features for a movie nobody saw. Turner and Thomas speak lovingly of their almost-OK film, without offering much along the lines of mind-blowing revelations. A making-of featurette offers plenty about a movie you probably won't see.


Pimp My Ride: The Complete First Season

Paramount
Show B
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

I get a kick out of this show. People with piss-poor jalopies write into the program, begging musician Xzibit to make their cars look super ultra cool. The episodes I've seen, where Ford Explorers, Volkswagen Bugs and the like are turned into pimpmobiles, left me a little perplexed. The engines in these fuckers must be shot, so it seems like lots of work is going into customizing these vehicles that will inevitably end up on the side of the freeway spewing fumes and fluids. If they fix the engines in these things, I've yet to see it. I have seen them put a smoothie maker in a Volkswagen Bus, though. That's pretty damn cool.

Special Features: Deleted scenes and bloopers abound. A music video with Xzibit, and a car tour featuring Travis Barker from the now-defunct blink-182.


Orgazmo

Paramount
Movie C+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)

OK, the movie isn't very good, but it's sort of sick fun once you get over the horror of having to look at Ron Jeremy. This is one of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's first films (they'd already made the much-funnier and trashier Cannibal: The Musical), and this effort kicks the shit out of Baseketball. Parker plays a Mormon missionary who goes to Hollywood and quickly becomes the biggest porn star in the world, as well as a superhero. It's a little hard to take the first time around, but its junky charm grows on you after the second bottle of bourbon. Keep an eye out for some of your favorite porn stars!

Special Features: The oh-so-good Parker-Stone tradition of drunken commentary is in full effect. Listen to Matt and Trey get inebriated as they view their trashy movie. Two versions of the film, one unrated and the other NC-17, are contained on one disc. The Book of Orgazmo goes behind the scenes with all sorts of nudity and farting. A great time if you are sick in the head.

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