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Juno: Special Edition (Blu-Ray)

20th Century Fox
Movie B+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

I didn't quite have the love affair that many had with this movie. It made my Top 20 for 2007, but it came in at No. 20, so it just scraped by. I thought it was cute, and the cast was on target, but it was a little too shiny and cloying for a story about teenage pregnancy. I liked it well enough, but I didn't think it was deserving of its Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

As for the Ellen Page nom for Best Actress, I was all for that. She's spot-on as the title character, a high school student who gets pregnant and decides to give up the baby for adoption. Michael Cera is his usual wonderful self as the boy responsible for the ill-timed event, and Jennifer Garner is warm and wonderful as the prospective adoptive mom. Jason Bateman is a nice combination of right and wrong as Garner's husband and Juno's friend.

For my money, Allison Janney has the best moment in the film as Juno's mom, who cuts down a sonogram technician for looking down on her daughter. J.K. Simmons got his best role yet as Juno's calm, bemused dad, who has the most classic of reactions to her impending child.

Overall, it's a very good movie. I didn't want to sound like I was cutting it down in the opening paragraph, but, hey, I just think all of the adulation was a bit out of hand for what's simply a good film.

Special Features: Commentaries, deleted scenes, making-of documentaries and gag reels make this a very good Juno DVD. You also get a "digital" copy of the film to place on your portable devices, so Juno can follow you everywhere.


Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season One

Warner
Show A
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)

Straight up, I should say that there are some of you out there who will hate this bizarre show with every ounce of your being. It's one of those shows that if you should love it, as I do, you might feel very alone at times. I've run around with the thing on my iPod, excitedly playing segments that killed me for friends, only to have them stare back at me with blank expressions. Sometimes, they hit me.

The show is headed up by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the masterminds behind Tom Goes to the Mayor, one of the strangest animation programs of the last few years. This time, they're live-action (with some blessed animated bits). Their approach is sketch comedy with intentionally shoddy production. Ill-timed freeze frames, bad edits and anxiety-ridden performances are the highlights.

The roster of guest performers is impressive. Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show fame stops by for many appearances, his best coming as a frightened movie critic who has difficulty getting through his segment. You'll also see the likes of Michael Cera, Weird Al Yankovic and Paul Reubens--in the shortest cameo ever.

Sketches include "The Uncle Muscles Hour," with Casey and His Brother providing disturbing musical interludes. Casey is a frightened singer who sweats and drools while singing classic standards like "Bang, Bang, Cops and Robbers" and "Horse and Buggy Ride." While most folks would get better and more practiced with each ensuing effort, Casey gets sweatier and sicker.

The show currently airs on the Cartoon Network, although it isn't really a cartoon. There's a posting on the Web site that says Season 3 is coming this August. This makes me feel happy, and just a little bit disturbed.

Special Features: Deleted and extended scenes, including a great deleted bit with Tim making sexual come-ons to Eric in drag whilst in an office setting. This was intended for the lead-in to "Get a Poke On!" which is a music video sure to give you laugh-out-loud nightmares. Tim and Eric provide dry commentary for all of the episodes.


Cloverfield

Paramount
Movie B+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

All of you motion-sickness people can now barf in the safe confines of your own living room. I thought this oddball horror film was great, shaky cam and all.

Creator J.J. Abrams did a nice job of marketing his little film about some sort of dinosaur monster kicking Manhattan's ass. Strange, nondescript commercials offering only hints of what was to come--with no movie title--got the Internet in a frenzy and netted the film a decent opening weekend. The box-office gross then took a legendary drop the next week, because everybody went home and told their friends that the shaky picture made them puke.

The film, told from the point of view of the makers of a video found in Central Park after the disaster, is a lot of fun for those looking for something different in their horror films. And I thought the monster, when finally revealed, looked pretty cool.

Special Features: Alternative endings, a director's commentary and deleted scenes are all worth a look.

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