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Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Blu-Ray)

Weinstein
Movie B
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

Writer-director Kevin Smith delivers a film that, while somewhat hampered by a clunky love story, typically provides good laughs.

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks play the title characters, platonic friends and roommates low on cash who are unaware that they are in love with one another. After a disastrous appearance at a high school reunion, they opt to make a low-budget porno to pay off their bills. An initial Star Wars porn parody morphs into a coffee-shop porno--and that means seeing Jason Mewes' ass showered with coffee beans as he screws porn star Katie Morgan.

While the film can't stand alongside Smith's better works (Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), it is a good time and offers a nice chance to watch Rogen riff. Banks, an underrated comic actress, scores some good laughs and navigates her way through some of Smith's hokey romantic stuff admirably. Morgan actually has some decent comic timing to go with her porno expertise (more so than Traci Lords, who is kind of dull here).

Some of the film's bigger laughs go to Justin Long as a gay porn star who has some good times with Brandon Routh, who plays his lover. Meanwhile, Mewes does his best work to date outside of his usual (and indisputably classic) Jay role. He proves that he is quite capable of playing someone other than himself.

Special Features: More than an hour of deleted scenes are here--and a lot of them are quite good. A fun making-of doc with an extensive look at the film's most "explosive" scene (that would be the shit-in-the-face moment) almost makes up for the fact that Smith doesn't provide a commentary. That'll probably happen on a future disc.


His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th

Anchor Bay
Movie B-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 5.25 (out of 10)

Here's another attempt to capitalize on the whole Jason craze on the eve of the new Friday the 13th remake. Tom Savini (who did the makeup effects for the original) hosts a look back at the film series, with nods to the many sequels, the TV show that ripped off the name, Freddy Vs. Jason and the upcoming remake.

The franchise itself has only a few high points. It sadly consists mostly of lousy moviemaking, so this is an exercise in futility for those who hate most Jason movies. However, I liked Freddy Vs. Jason, and the new one looks less than terrible; for me, watching people excitedly reminisce about crap turned out to be strange fun.

Special Features: Deleted interview stuff, convention footage and even a $5 coupon for the remake. Not bad.


Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany's (Centennial Collection)

Paramount
Movies "Face" B+, "Tiffany's" B
Special Features "Face" B, "Tiffany's" B+
DVD Geek Factor "Face" 6.5, "Tiffany's" (7) (out of 10)

Two Audrey Hepburn classics get the "Centennial Collection" treatment, and that's a good thing. Funny Face paired the great Audrey with the great Fred Astaire in a fun musical about fashion that gave Hepburn a chance to sing (a chance that she was legendarily deprived of with My Fair Lady). She wasn't the greatest singer, but you had to love her enthusiasm. The film is awkwardly goofy at times, but watching Hepburn dance around in her black outfit still rules.

Then there's Breakfast at Tiffany's, where Hepburn played her most iconic role, Holly Golightly. She thought she was miscast (writer Truman Capote envisioned Marilyn Monroe in the part), but she definitely makes what could've been a mundane movie enjoyable.

Hepburn had one of the all-time-prettiest faces to ever grace a movie screen, and the directors of these films seemed well aware of it. The movies themselves haven't aged well in some ways, but the chance to see Hepburn in her prime makes them essential.

Special Features: Both discs contain plenty of docs on the movies, while the Tiffany's package includes a commentary by producer Richard Shepherd. No commentary for Funny Face.


Choke

20th Century Fox
Movie A-
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

Sam Rockwell becomes the latest benefactor of a cool Chuck Palahniuk novel, playing Victor, a hapless sex addict who fakes choking in restaurants. Victor spends his days at a colonial-times re-enactment park and his nights at sex-addict group meetings where he, more often than not, has sex.

Directed by Clark Gregg (who also acts in the film), the movie is very funny in a warped sort of way. Anjelica Huston is excellent as Victor's mentally ill mother. Rockwell is a national treasure, and every movie would be better if he had a role in it. OK, that's a bit extreme, but I really love the guy.

Special Features: A commentary with Rockwell and Gregg, a gag reel and deleted scenes that actually would've worked great in the film.

More by Bob Grimm

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