Right in time for the theatrical release of Reno 911!: Miami comes this compilation of the "seven best" episodes of the TV show. And there are no bleeps this time out, so if you love cursing like I do, this disc's for you.
For those unfamiliar with the show, comedy-troupe The State basically split in two a few years back. Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain formed Stella, while the rest of them did this program. Both shows are kick-ass funny, although my preference goes toward the bizarre Stella humor.
Contrary to popular belief, this show isn't actually shot in Reno, Nev., just the opening credits and bumpers.
I've watched this show sporadically over the years, but I haven't seen all of these episodes. I was particularly impressed with "Scavenger Hunt," where the officers set up a treasure hunt, with the winner getting two passes to an execution in Carson City. Among the treasures they must retrieve to win the hunt is the best-looking hooker.
Other episodes include "Homeland Security Parts 1 and 2," where the officers are tested in their abilities to handle potential terrorist attacks. This includes a stranger-than-strange moment where KKK members are lighting a T for tolerance (not a cross) on one of their members' front lawns, with one fellow setting himself on fire. ("He's accident prone ... this is not a surprise!")
These episodes are all consistently funny. If you don't feel like wading through all the complete-season discs, this is a good direction to go in.
Special Features: There's not much offered in the way of special features, just a music video of the gang singing "Don't Steal Cable" and a quick compilation of the deputies' favorite calls. The compilation does include the classic call where the officers bet a kid they can't jump a ramp on their bike from one rooftop to another. The kid doesn't make it.
This is one of those shoestring-budget films that got a lot of love on the festival circuit. I think it's a bit overrated. While I salute the Duplass brothers for getting their movie made for something like 10 bucks, the acting, writing, cinematography and basically everything else to do with film isn't quite up to snuff.
Two brothers buy a puffy chair on eBay for their dad and take a trip to see their pops. Mark Duplass plays Josh, an "indie rocker" who has graduated to booking bands and talks baby talk with his girlfriend, Emily (Kathryn Aselton, the most talented person in the cast). Emily comes along for the ride, and the ensemble acting fails to ignite.
I was most annoyed by Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), who plays the "spacey" brother who marries a woman in a mock ceremony just hours after meeting her in a movie theater. His eccentric character is supposed to be amusing, but I found him irritating.
There are some amusing passages. I liked Mark's attempt to get a single-occupant rate in a hotel with a hawkeyed manager, and the film's closing moment gets props for originality. The Duplass brothers could probably do something decent with a budget and a better script. As for this, it just doesn't add up to much. I wouldn't care if Wilkins ever acted again.
Special Features: The Duplass brothers offer up some commentary. I did like their candid views and willingness to doubt their own decisions. Outtakes, deleted scenes, short films and skits make this one pretty packed. If you like the film, it's a great disc.
Director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to his excellent Batman Begins probably qualifies as his weakest film to date, but that's just a testament to the fine films he's made (Insomnia, Memento). This is a good movie, but I actually wish it were a little longer. I felt the ending was kind of rushed.
Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play partner magicians who are friends until a tragedy involving one of their tricks separates them. The two then become competing magicians, trying to one-up each other until another tragedy occurs. Jackman had a great 2006, with this performance standing aside his phenomenal work in The Fountain. Bale had a good year, too, with this and Harsh Times further establishing him as one of our finest actors. Nice supporting performances from Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie.
The first thing I did when I got this disc was watch the ending again to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time. I didn't.
Special Features: This one feels like a bit of a rush job. The only special feature, besides an art gallery, is a "Director's Notebook," which amounts to about 20 minutes of Nolan, cast and crew talking about the craft.