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Titanic: Special Collector's Edition

Paramount Home Video
Movie: A
Special Features: A
DVD Geek Factor: 10 (out of 10: I love Titanic!)

I stand by my love for this movie, even if the computer people walking around on the big boat's deck often look super fake. James Cameron's epic love story is sometimes farfetched, mawkish stuff, but I love it to death anyway. I cried like a baby when I watched it in theaters (especially when the old couple was spooning as their room filled up with water, and that final Leo and Kate moment) and I cry watching it at home, too.

Leonardo DiCaprio has taken a lot of crap over the years for his work in this movie, and that's something that has always cracked me up. He's remarkably charismatic as Jack Dawson, doomed third-class passenger riding on the most notorious ice pick man ever built. Yes, perhaps his dialogue is a bit cliché, but DiCaprio sells it and makes it work. Ditto Kate Winslet, who is ultra charming as the heroic Rose, first-class passenger looking for a big change, and getting it in spades.

Billy Zane's villainous aristocrat is a bit much at times, and his character could've been left out of the movie altogether. Danny Nucci's Italian passenger, Fabrizio, is very possibly one of the lamest characters ever put to screen.

That the film is still majestic and phenomenal entertainment, even with these flaws, just goes to show how good Cameron is at what he does, warts and all. It's an exhilarating film, enchanting in the early going and incredibly intense after the boat hits the berg.

Special Features: This is a three-disc set, and a welcomed treatment for the film after years with the movie-only DVD. Cameron, crew and cast members (including Winslet) offer up commentaries for the film. It's a treat after eight years to hear Cameron discuss all aspects of his movie, admitting to inaccuracies and commenting on his favorite passages. Cameron provides many deleted scenes (with commentary) and many of them would've served the film well. The disc provides much of the actual deep-sea footage of the real Titanic that Cameron gathered (again, with Cameron commentary). A "branching" feature allows the viewer to access behind-the-scenes footage while watching the movie. Most surprising is an alternate ending where Old Rose (Gloria Stuart) doesn't throw the diamond off the boat in a solitary moment.


Arrested Development: Season Two

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Show: A
Special Features: B+
DVD Geek Factor: 9 (out of 10)

I'm one of the jerks who doesn't tune into this show on a weekly basis, one of the funniest programs ever to grace network television. My reason is a lazy one: the DVDs are so good, I just wait for their release and ingest a season in a few days.

Yes, I'll be one of the ones whining when Fox finally drops the axe on this under-appreciated show, currently in its third season. I am hereby saying sorry in advance to the people behind the program. I could tape the thing, but I tend to give up after missing one or two episodes. I'd rather wait and see the series in its entirety.

The second season of the show is as funny as its Emmy winning first. The Bluth family is an assemblage of bizarre personalities, with Jason Bateman's Michael being the lone relatively sane one. The always funny David Cross gets to go hog-wild, including his character Tobias' infatuation with Blue Man Group and Mrs. Doubtfire. Will Arnett, as would-be magician G.O.B Bluth, is frighteningly hilarious.

So, if this show gets canceled in its third season, I'm one of the bastards to blame.

Special Features: Bloopers and deleted/extended scenes are fun. Cast and crew deliver some fun commentaries on select episodes.


Pink Floyd in Their Own Words: Reflections on The Wall

Classic Rock Legends
DVD: B-
Special Features: B
DVD Geek Factor: 8 (out of 10: If you are Pink)

When I was a kid, I loved the rock concept albums. I logged many hours listening to The Who's Quadrophenia and Tommy, but the one I listened to most was Pink Floyd's The Wall, which will always remain in my personal top ten. Songwriter and bassist Roger Waters symbolically spat at his audience with this bitter tale of alienation and loss, a rather bold move for one of the world's biggest and most popular rock bands. This is the album largely responsible for the final death throes of the band, which would go on to record one more album with Waters (The Final Cut) and a couple without him (Total Shit).

This two-disc set is rather shoddily produced, but engaging nonetheless. Critics and scholars address the three phases of The Wall (album, tour, film) on one disc, while the band speaks its feelings through audio culled from past interviews. Diehard fans will be familiar with most of what is being said, but newcomers will certainly learn plenty.

Special Features: Best feature is a 72-page book featuring a track-by-track review of the album.

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