SPECIAL FEATURES A-
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7.5
(OUT OF 10)
Savor this film, because Sacha Baron Cohen is bound to soon run out of options for his fake documentaries. He's pretty recognizable at this point, and even had to change the trajectory of this film when his gay-fashion-reporter character got blacklisted from fashion shows early in production.
As with Borat, Brüno is even more fun the second time you watch it. I still can't believe his stunt with Ron Paul in a hotel room, and his brief stint as an extra on Medium is classic. It's remarkable how easily fooled Paula Abdul was when Bruno invited her to sit on "Mexican furniture" (aka actual Mexicans) and eat sushi off of a man's naked belly.
I'm hoping Cohen doesn't retire Brüno and Borat; I think the characters would work fine in a movie outside of the fake-documentary format. However, it might be time for Cohen to retire his situational-stunt shtick, whether he wants to or not.
SPECIAL FEATURES: The Blu-Ray disc includes an enhanced commentary in which Cohen and director Larry Charles offer explicit details on how the stunts were pulled off. There are times when video of them pops onto the screen, and the action stops as the duo explains things. It's a lot of fun. The infamous deleted scene of La Toya Jackson being punk'd by the same stunt that got Paula Abdul is included in the special features, as are many minutes of deleted and extended scenes. Much of the stuff omitted from the movie is as funny or funnier than the stuff that made the cut.
Say Anything: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-Ray)
20TH CENTURY FOX
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
DVD GEEK FACTOR 8.5
(OUT OF 10)
This week's "Boy, this makes me feel old!" moment: The realization that the saga of John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler is two freaking decades old.
This was Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, and it has aged well. In fact, the only thing that feels really dated about the movie is the track that plays over the closing credits, a very '80s-sounding song performed by his wife, Nancy Wilson.
Dobler is still perhaps the best character Cusack has ever played, and was a career-defining role. His pursuit of Diane Court (Ione Skye) constitutes one of the all-time-great movie love stories. The characters are graduating seniors, and while they are still in their teens, Crowe isn't afraid to approach them as adults. The couple isn't treated like they are experiencing some sort of puppy love—it's the real deal, and extenuating circumstances involving Diane's deceptive father (the great John Mahoney) are making it hard for them to relax and have a good time.
Crowe seems to be taking a break from narrative filmmaking after the dismal Elizabethtown. (I still blame that film's failure on Orlando Bloom.) Hopefully, he'll get back in the groove soon. If his next effort is half as good as his first, he will be in pretty decent shape.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A 20th-reunion documentary features Crowe, Cusack and Skye all speaking candidly about the experience of making the film. Apparently, Cusack didn't agree with Crowe when the director suggested that the boombox be held over his head. (Cusack thought it didn't suit the character.) There are actual deleted scenes of Cusack clearly having a bad time with the scene, chewing gum and holding up the stereo with a bad attitude. The take that is included in the film was the entire movie's final take, completed after Crowe pleaded with Cusack to trust him. There's also a commentary featuring extended scenes and "I Love Say Anything," which features stars like Weird Al Yankovic (seriously) talking about their love for the film. The whole package made me remember how much I love this movie.
Monsters, Inc. (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES A-
DVD GEEK FACTOR 8.75
(OUT OF 10)
When it comes to home entertainment, there are few joys greater than putting a Pixar Blu-Ray in your player and having your eyes massaged. This one, not surprisingly, looks stellar in high definition, and the movie has lost none of its charms.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman are fun as the voices of Mike and Sulley, two monsters collecting kids' screams for fuel. The ingenious premise has monsters just as scared of children as children are of them (monsters think kids are toxic), but monsters must keep creating those scares so they can capture vital scream energy for their parallel universe.
The sight of Sulley's blue and purple hair in hi-def is remarkably detailed. As far as stories go, this one falls somewhere in the middle of the Pixar films. As you can see, I gave it a high grade, so it can be said that Pixar makes consistently great movies.
SPECIAL FEATURES: They include a new roundtable discussion with the film's creators, including director Pete Docter. You also get a commentary, lots of film art and other decent holdover features from the standard-DVD release.