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Wainy Days

THE COLLECTIVE

SHOW A+

SPECIAL FEATURES A-

DVD GEEK FACTOR 9.25

(OUT OF 10)

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Since 2007, writer-director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust) has been producing this very funny Web series, and this disc covers seasons one through four. It's as funny as anything you are going to find on TV or at the movies.

The show, for the most part, chronicles Wain's strange (and fictional) dating experiences, which include an accidental trip inside a giant's butthole (Wain was led to believe it was a Barry Manilow concert) and lots of making out with the likes of Elizabeth Banks. (Lucky bastard!) Best running gag in the show: Wain randomly knocking people down in the street for no reason.

Wain often directs, but pals like Michael Ian Black and A.D. Miles also take over the helm. Other highlights include gloriously weird appearances by Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Amanda Peet, many of his The State co-stars and others.

Have I mentioned lately how in love I am with Amanda Peet? It's off the subject, but I just feel I have to get it out there.

Season 5 is currently up at WainyDays.com. I suggest you view it.

SPECIAL FEATURE: You may be thinking, "Hey, this stuff is on the Web, so I ain't buying it on DVD, and screw you while I'm at it!" Well, just know that the DVD has stuff you won't find on your computer thing. There are episode commentaries with many guest visitors (Banks, Ken Marino, Rashida Jones and others). There's also some commentary with Wain's wife, Zandy Hartig, which is cute. You also get outtakes, and some of Wain's short student films, including one about how to use a bank. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this DVD purchase is worth it for his short film on bank usage. So, yeah, it's most absolutely worth the purchase.


Hugo (Blu-ray)

PARAMOUNT

MOVIE A-

SPECIAL FEATURES B

BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8.75

(OUT OF 10)

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It's no surprise that this great film from Martin Scorsese took home a bag of technical Oscars this year. It's a wonderful movie for all of your senses, and one of the most-delightful films to look at in the last 10 years.

While I caught the film in theaters in 3-D, I watched it at home in normal 2-D. It doesn't hurt the experience. In fact, Scorsese shot the film in such a brilliant way that it still has a deep, 3-D look to it without the funny glasses.

I was most struck by the performance of Ben Kingsley, who is positively heartbreaking as forgotten filmmaker Georges Méliès, living his later years in a toy shop after the destruction of his film studio. I must once again give kudos to Chloë Grace Moretz, who has a fake English accent that would make the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Hathaway drool.

I like the second half of this film much more than the first half. The first half is fine, but things go into magical territories once George's true identity is revealed. And it was a master stroke getting Sacha Baron Cohen to play the station inspector.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A nice documentary on Méliès that showcases many of his films. You also get a featurette on the making-of, a short piece on the amazing robots that inspired the one in the film, and a short about Sacha Baron Cohen. I would've loved a Scorsese commentary, but there is not one to be found.


Anatomy of a Murder (Blu-ray)

CRITERION

MOVIE B-

SPECIAL FEATURES B

BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6

(OUT OF 10)

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This is regarded as a courtroom classic, and was a controversial film when it came out—not only for its subject matter, but also for the use of certain words and phrases that weren't frequently used by cinema stars at the time (1959).

However, I don't believe this film has stood the test of time as well as other courtroom dramas (like To Kill a Mockingbird and 12 Angry Men).

Still, it's fronted by James Stewart, who is as good as he always was as small-town lawyer Paul Biegler, hired to represent a military man (the recently deceased Ben Gazzara) in a rape trial. As the victim, Lee Remick also provides a good reason to take this one in.

The film explores the idea of pleading insanity in a murder case, a plea that Stewart's lawyer uses as a final option. In a way, the film is quite cynical about the judicial system. Stewart's lawyer is kind of a shifty jerk.

Director Otto Preminger, who courted controversy for much of his career, brought this one in at an overripe 160 minutes. It could've been 70 minutes shorter and still gotten its point across just fine.

SPECIAL FEATURES: An old chat between William F. Buckley and Preminger is worth a look. There's an archival examination of the film, more interviews and the usual fantastic collectible booklet containing essays and art.

More by Bob Grimm

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