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Shine a Light

Paramount
Movie B-
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 5.75 (out of 10)

Whether or not you like the Rolling Stones, this is a pretty decent concert movie. Director Martin Scorsese captures the band on a couple of decent nights in New York City, with the Stones showing that they can still rock, even though they are something like 92 years old.

Will they play "Sympathy for the Devil," or will Mick Jagger break his hip? These are the things that crossed my mind while watching this, and the prospect of one of the band members imploding and dying while singing is actually kind of exciting. It adds an all-new dimension to watching the Stones: a sense of possible impending doom. I don't feel that way when watching something like a Pearl Jam concert. There's a certain novelty to watching these old guys risk a coronary in the name of rock!

On top of a good set list of Stones tunes, Mick and haggard friend Keith Richards invite the likes of Jack White, Buddy Guy and, well, Christina Aguilera to the show. They do well, although watching Jagger grind his groin into Christina's ass is a bit disturbing.

I suppose I would've liked something a little more like Scorsese's treatment of Bob Dylan a couple of years ago. Some more documentary footage would've been cool. As it is, this captures a very old band on some OK nights. I'd rather watch this then, say, a Styx reunion. Actually, scratch that. A Styx reunion with the original singer would be neat.

Special Features: There's a short featurette including some rehearsal footage and archive interviews. Best would be the extra songs, including adequate versions of "Undercover of the Night" and "I'm Free." No Scorsese commentary. That blows.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Blu-Ray)

Warner
Movie A
Special Features A
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)

One of the great movies of the '70s, and the film that established Jack Nicholson as a megastar, comes to Blu-Ray looking pretty sweet. Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, a sane man who is sent to a mental institution for evaluation. Authority figures think he is faking it to get out of work detail, and they are probably right.

Almost instantly, McMurphy finds himself in a confrontation with the evil Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar along with Nicholson). McMurphy, at great risk to his own well-being, takes a stand against Ratched to protect the other patients in the ward. The results of that confrontation make for one of the great on-screen character wars.

Aside from Nicholson, the cast included a bunch of unknown actors who would eventually become known. Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Brad Dourif (nominated for an Oscar) all played patients. The film went on to win five Oscars, including the aforementioned acting trophies, Best Picture and Best Director.

Nicholson's work here is one of the defining performances that make the '70s the golden age for American cinema. He manages to create somebody sinister yet sympathetic at the same time. What happens to McMurphy is one of cinema's great tragedies.

Special Features: Supplements from the 2002 special-edition standard-DVD release are carried over. The making-of is absolutely excellent, containing interviews with director Milos Forman, producer Michael Douglas and his dad, Kirk, who was the original star of the play and tried to get the film off the ground for years. Forman provides a commentary, and there are some cool deleted scenes.


Drillbit Taylor: Extended Survival Edition

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

In the unrated extended version, Owen Wilson, as the title character, whips out his junk and frightens the very kids he's supposed to be protecting. Then he undergoes a complete transformation into some sort of fanged beast, and tears the head off the fat kid.

Kidding! Actually, I think it just has a couple of extra poo jokes.

Wilson plays a homeless guy who is hired by some high school kids to protect them from bullies. The film is sort of a remake of the great My Bodyguard, absent the charm. There's actually a moment when the bodyguard from that film (Adam Baldwin) makes a cameo. It's probably the film's best moment.

The film, co-written by Seth Rogen, is basically a good idea done poorly. Wilson seems like he's phoning it in; it's as if he's not enjoying himself and, consequently, the film isn't all that enjoyable. The kids are charming enough, and there are a couple of laughs, but overall, it's pretty hackneyed.

Watching it again, I got a true sense that this film would've been better had Rogen stepped into the lead role of his own script. He would've put more into it than Wilson.

Special Features: There are two versions of the film, including an unrated/extended version, along with a commentary by director Steven Brill and some of the cast, and a bunch of extended and deleted scenes. There's an outtake reel of extra jokes from the scene in which Wilson is panhandling. The extra stuff is actually quite funny.

More by Bob Grimm

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