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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Universal
Movie A-
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8.5 (out of 10)

Here's a movie that gets funnier with each viewing. This disc comes with two versions of the film, one the obligatory "unrated" cut that seems to come with every comedy or horror release these days.

Jason Segel totally owns the role of Peter, dumped (while he is completely nude) by movie-star girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). He doesn't take the breakup well and heads for Hawaii to give himself a break and decompress--but is horrified to find Sarah and her new rock-star beau, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), vacationing at the same hotel. Peter tries to make the best of it, drowning his sorrows in fruit-filled cocktails while wooing the girl at the front desk (Mila Kunis).

While this is part of the Judd Apatow comedy machine, Segel gets most of the credit for its success. Not only does he write and star, but he wrote some of the hilarious (and actually quite good) music for the film; he's an accomplished piano player). Segel is responsible for "We've Got to Do Something" and "Inside of You," the two tracks performed brilliantly by Brand's Snow. Segel also wrote the songs for his character's proposed Dracula puppet musical, a project Segel was working on in real life before he found Hollywood success.

In addition to elevating Segel into the comedic elite, this film does plenty for Brand and Bell. Brand is attached to a possible sequel focusing on his character, a film that needs to be made right now. Much of what he does in this film is improvised, and he's nothing short of incredible. As for Bell, she makes her character more than some cold-hearted person who dumps her boyfriend and puts her career first. Bell actually garners some sympathy for her character's plight with a performance that goes well beneath the surface. Kunis, an actress I couldn't stand before this movie, might be talented after all.

Apatow staples like the amazing Paul Rudd and hilarious Jonah Hill do big things with bit parts, as does Bill Hader as Peter's brother, and Jack McBrayer as a newlywed with sexual problems. The moment when McBrayer protests his wife's blowjob could be the film's funniest.

The unrated version includes some extra scenes, the most notable one being a yoga scene with Kristen Wiig as a snotty instructor. Wiig's part was completely deleted from the theatrical version.

Special Features: An excellent two-disc package. There's a commentary including much of the cast and crew, but the most notable features are the extended and deleted scenes. In my original film review, I complained that the Sarah character was a little too likable for the final, nasty scene to be truly effective. The deleted scenes include an alternate final scene for Sarah that is actually kind of sweet, and I wish they had left it in. There's also a complete video for Aldous Snow's "We've Got to Do Something," great audition tapes (one with Bell struggling to keep a straight face across from Segel is especially good) and a table reading of "Dracula's Lament" that has Segel singing with his electric keyboard. This disc offers a very good time.


The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Ultimate Edition (Blu-Ray)

Dark Sky
Movie B+
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

A couple of years ago, I lamented all of the DVD reissues of this film, and the tendency to clean up the visuals too much. Well, it was inevitable that Massacre would eventually get a high-definition release--but the Blu-Ray looks pretty damn good, and I have no complaints. The film still looks dirty and grungy, and the vividness of the picture didn't prevent me from getting freaked out by it.

The shot of Teri McMinn in her bright red shorts, which starts underneath a swing and tracks her as she approaches the infamous house, is especially nice on Blu-Ray. My favorite shot would be Leatherface sitting distraught in front of the window, confused and perhaps a little depressed about the deeds he's committed.

If you're a fan of this film, this Blu-Ray disc is a must.

Special Features: All of the stuff from the standard edition carries over, but, lo and behold, there is an excellent Blu-Ray exclusive feature: McMinn, who I consider the real star of the film, sits down for a feature called Off the Hook. She discusses her acting choices, from the moment she gets placed on a meat hook to the moment she jumps out of the freezer. It's pretty cool.


Baby Mama

Universal
Movie C
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 4 (out of 10)

I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but this silly movie was beneath them. They have a future as a screen pair (and they rocked as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on the Saturday Night Live season premiere), but this movie just didn't work. It has its fans, for sure--and if you are among the fans, have at it.

Special Features: Deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a making-of documentary.

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