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Rachel Getting Married

Sony
Movie A-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

Anne Hathaway scored a much-deserved Oscar nomination playing Kym, a troubled girl who leaves treatment for her sister's wedding. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film is a nice study of a family refusing to give in to tragedy and trying to get on with their lives.

Demme films the movie in raw fashion and includes his buddy Robyn Hitchcock as part of the wedding band. Hathaway is funny, touching and even a little scary as a woman fighting a whole slew of demons. It's the sort of performance that allows us to forgive her for crap like Bride Wars.

It's so nice to see Debra Winger in a good role; she's dynamite as Rachel's estranged mom.

Special Features: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a look at the music, with some deleted scenes and two commentaries, although there's nothing from Demme.


The Odd Couple: Centennial Collection

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

This 1968 screen adaptation of Neil Simon's greatest stage play retained Walter Matthau as sportswriter Oscar Madison, a slovenly divorcé living alone in a spacious Manhattan apartment. Enter Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon, replacing Art Carney from the play), suicidal after a split from his wife and desperately in need of a place to stay. Oscar invites him in, and that's the premise that lasted through two movies, a TV show and countless stage revivals.

This was the second time Matthau and Lemmon joined forces, but it wouldn't be their last; they would do 10 projects together. It's actually surprising that the film still is rated G, considering the suicide attempts, go-go dancers and constant cigar smoking, plus Oscar's sexually suggestive dialogue. This film is PG, for sure.

Matthau probably had the greatest scene of his career in this film (his breakdown after realizing he can't stand Felix as a roomie). Oscar is talking as if he's going to cry, which seems so far from his usual temperament, yet Matthau pulls it off beautifully.

Lemmon is 100 percent committed, as usual, to his part. Felix is a total pain in the ass, but Lemmon makes him likable and hilarious, even when he's performing his sinus-clearing moose cries.

The two would star in a sequel 30 years later, a sub-par film that wound up being their final work together.

Special Features: Two discs are loaded with good stuff. The stars' sons offer up a film commentary and do interviews for some of the documentaries on the film.


South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season (Blu-Ray)

Paramount
Show A
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

This season contains an episode titled "The China Probrem," wherein Steven Spielberg and George Lucas repeatedly rape Indiana Jones. They rape him on a pinball machine in a reference to Jodie Foster's The Accused, and they rape him in the woods, Deliverance style. Yes, the episode caused plenty of controversy, and yes, you can also be certain that it is funny as all hell. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are certifiably insane--and the show looks pretty great in high definition.

Special Features: The usual mini-commentaries, and some behind-the-scenes stuff.


Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick (Blu-Ray)

Universal
Movies: Pitch Black B-, Riddick D
Special Features: Pitch Black C+, Riddick B-
DVD Geek Factor: Pitch Black 6, Riddick 4 (out of 10)

The original Pitch Black was a nifty little horror film that relied heavily upon computer effects and the charisma of its then-rising star, Vin Diesel. Both the effects and Diesel were adequate enough, as was the flight uniform that director David Twohy put female star Radha Mitchell in. Actually, somebody should've won an Oscar for that outfit.

Diesel stars as Riddick, an escaped convict who winds up on a sun-scorched planet with a motley crew of survivors. In an unfortunate turn of events, they've landed on the planet just in time for an eclipse--and that's when the monsters come out.

I remember thinking the effects were lame, but upon revisiting the film, I now think they are actually pretty good. It's an advantage that much of the film takes place at night, because that allows the filmmakers to cheat a bit. The Blu-Ray transfer is quite good in places; the daytime scenes play much differently, given the clarity of the format.

Meanwhile, there's no need to talk much about The Chronicles of Riddick. Produced four years after the first, it's a mega-budget dud that sent Diesel's career into tailspin. Even though it was a huge failure, there is talk of a third Riddick film, for some reason.

Special Features: The Pitch Black extras are actually kind of bad. The documentaries are short and sloppy; however, the two commentaries are decent, and the disc contains both the theatrical and director's cuts. The Riddick extras are a little better.

More by Bob Grimm

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