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Heroes: Season 1

Universal
Show B+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

For a whole damn year, my little brother has been telling me how cool this show is. I've ignored his pleas to watch, because I'm selfish and enjoy my chances to be cruel to the siblings. As I've explained before, a TV series is just too much of a commitment for me. Once I miss a week, I get pissed off, and I abandon the show. That's why I love DVDs.

Well, the little brother is right. This show about a group of people discovering their superhero powers is pretty cool. I was surprised by how bloody the first show was. Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) plays an indestructible girl who tests her ability to survive accidents. At one point, she shoves her ribs--poking out of her side in a bloody mess--back inside of her body. Sick!

Lovers of Lost have latched on to this show in a similar way, and I can see why. It has a cool, "What the hell is going on?' underbelly that carries over nicely from episode to episode.

I, however, will not be watching the second season when it gets underway. I'll be waiting for the DVD.

Special Features: It was $60 more for the HD-DVD version, so I went with the standard version. Still, the package is great, including a never-before-aired 73-minute premiere episode, commentaries by cast and crew, and 50 deleted scenes.


Vacancy

Sony
Movie B-
Special Features C-
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

This passably good horror film is nice Saturday-night DVD fare if you missed it in theaters. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star as a quarreling couple who break down on a secluded highway (of course) and wind up staying in a hotel that boasts the worst room service ever.

Frank Whaley does his best work in years as a creepy hotel manager with a penchant for snuff films, and he aims to make the bickering couple his latest stars. Director Nimród Antal (that name cracks me up) does well depicting claustrophobia and dread, with Wilson and Beckinsale doing a decent job of being scared shitless.

This is by no means a classic, but it's worth a try for genre fans.

Special Features: I had no need for the extended snuff films; I thought the movie itself showed enough. There are also some deleted scenes and a semi-worthless look at the making of the film.


Up in Smoke: Special Collector's Edition

Paramount
Movie B-
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 7 (if you're cool!) (out of 10)

I haven't seen this one in years. I remember hating it when I was 10 years old--it was something about the pacing and the fact that I didn't fully understand the whole stoned thing yet. I was still playing with Star Wars figures and eating Cocoa Puffs. Actually, I still do that, especially when I'm high.

Seeing it with a fresh, new perspective, it's a pretty funny movie. Loopy as all hell, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong were certainly amusing for their time. The movie feels choppy and sloppy, but that seems to fit the spirit of the thing. I especially liked the sequence in which the boys smoked dog shit. I never thought I would write that in a review. Stacy Keach as the obsessive Sgt. Stedenko rules!

Special Features: Cheech Marin and director Lou Adler provide a commentary, getting especially excited every time food appears on screen. Chong is nowhere to be found. (He's had some trouble of late.) Deleted scenes and a retrospective will make fans happy.


Blades of Glory

Paramount Home Video
Movie B-
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6.75 (out of 10)

Gotta love them Will Ferrell sports flicks! This time out, he and Jon Heder play rival figure skaters who are banned from the sport for fighting at the Olympics. They find a loophole that allows them to re-enter the sport as a pair, paving the way for all kinds of crotch and butt jokes.

Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, a real-life married couple, almost steal the film as an evil brother-sister skating team. (I loved their hip-hop routine.) They need to make more movies together. Every moment Ferrell spends on the ice is hilarious, and Heder hasn't been this good since Napoleon Dynamite. The plot is paper-thin, and the movie is far from fantastic, but it's 90 minutes in good company.

Special Features: I'm really liking the Bee Movie previews. Something tells me they are funnier than the actual cartoon movie will be. (I know this has little to do with Blades of Glory, but the Bee Movie preview starts off the DVD, and I couldn't help but notice it.) As for Blades, there is some great behind-the-scenes material, including footage of the stars learning how to skate. Surprisingly, they did a lot of their own routines. As it turns out, Will Arnett was the best skater of the bunch. Arnett and Poehler sit down for an interview that is priceless; it includes spankings and CGI. Arnett is one of the funniest people on the planet.

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