The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.75
OUT OF 10)
It's great to have this trilogy on Blu-ray. The transfer is pretty, and the sound mix will crush your face. Plus, having these released in a new format gave me another reason to watch the awesome movies again.
That said, these are the theatrical versions, and not the superior extended editions that director Peter Jackson put together later. There's no word yet on when the extended editions will hit Blu-ray, but I'm thinking that won't happen until The Hobbit comes out. And thanks to some troubles over at MGM, nobody really knows when that will be.
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King combine to make of the greatest cinematic epics ever put on-screen—and I thought that before I saw the extended editions. So, yes, I'm happy to have this in my collection. But I'm greedy, and I want more. Give me more ... NOW!!!
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get the so-so features that were released on the theatrical-edition DVDs, including behind-the-scenes featurettes and trailers. They are decent, but nothing like the in-depth stuff Jackson did for the extended editions. OK ... I'll stop talking about the extended editions now.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
SPECIAL FEATURES C
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.25
(OUT OF 10)
Nicolas Cage goes completely nuts as a New Orleans police officer who gets addicted to all sorts of drugs after getting injured in the line of duty. Werner Herzog's film is nothing but an excuse for Cage to go wild—and this is a good thing.
See Cage have sex with some dude's girlfriend right in front of the guy in exchange for not issuing a citation. See Cage have stare-downs with iguanas that aren't even there! And see Cage laugh a lot ... often maniacally.
There are two ways you need to see Nicolas Cage in movies: 1) drugged and 2) drunk. That's when he's at his best. Heck, his hairpiece is almost tolerable here. I had gotten used to beating up on Cage and his stupid movie choices. A film like this reminds me that he is capable of greatness.
There was a Harvey Keitel movie in the '90s called Bad Lieutenant, but this film has nothing to do that one, other than Cage being a lieutenant, and being a rather bad one at that.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A making-of doc and a picture gallery. Man, this one called for a commentary from Cage while on quaaludes and scotch! An awesome opportunity missed.
Party Down: Season One
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7.5
(OUT OF 10)
One of TV's best comedy casts can be found on this consistently funny show about a Hollywood catering company with struggling actors and would-be-artists in its employ.
The cast includes the always-funny Ken Marino (The State), Jane Lynch (Glee), Martin Starr (Knocked Up) and one of my current entertainment heroes, Adam Scott (Step Brothers and The Vicious Kind). Guest stars include Kristen Bell, Jennifer Coolidge and J.K. Simmons. And The Wonder Years kid, Fred Savage, directs some episodes!
There are lots of good jokes about prior acting gigs, nightmare parties and bad romance, along with awesome work uniforms with pink bow ties. Scott and Marino are two of the best, largely untapped comic forces at work today. The show airs on Starz, in case you were wondering.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries with the producers and ... YES! Adam Scott! You also get a gag reel, outtakes and behind-the-scenes stuff.
Sherlock Holmes (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
OK, so this attempt to turn the infamous sleuth into the next Indiana Jones wasn't a complete success. The story plays like a Harry Potter subplot throwaway at times, and the mystery isn't much of a mystery at all.
Still, Robert Downey Jr. is great fun as the title character, as is Jude Law as his disgruntled sidekick, Watson. The two are a great screen pair, and Downey kicks ass with his British accent. However, the normally reliable Rachel McAdams seems a little lost; she plays an American visiting London, presumably because she sucks at a British accent.
Downey is on board for a sequel, so he has himself another franchise here. Producers need to call in some great writers to craft a real script to go with his charisma.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Yes! Maximum Movie Mode, with director Guy Ritchie! This is the fantastic new feature that Warner has been offering up, allowing you to watch the film with the director onscreen, stopping the action and telling you what it's all about. It makes a mediocre movie better. You also get a featurette about how Guy Ritchie made Holmes hip again.