SPECIAL FEATURES B+
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7.5
(OUT OF 10)
Director Adam Green, maker of the inconsistent but amusing Hatchet, has made his first great movie, a modern horror classic that managed to really freak me out—and I am not easily freaked.
Three young adults (played by Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashmore) manage to con their way onto a ski lift for some illegally discounted recreational sports. It's a Sunday, in the dead of winter, and it's almost closing time. They want one more run and manage to talk the lift attendant into letting them go up just once more before he shuts things down.
The attendant gets distracted, and the power is shut off—so the trio is stranded high up on the mountain, 50 feet above the ground, with hungry wolves gathering below. The resort is closed until the following Friday, so, in short, this amounts to the suckiest boarding trip known to man.
The three make some bad decisions right off the bat, resulting in broken limbs, nasty frostbite and terrifying encounters with those wolves.
Huge credit goes to the cast for keeping the proceedings not only interesting, but supremely tense. Bell is especially good when one of her co-stars gets into a major jam down below. Green makes the nice decision to let us mostly hear, and not see, a wolf attack. The result is horrifying.
Ashmore, a Stephen Dorff lookalike best known for playing Iceman in the X-Men movies, does a nice job of making you care for him as he hangs precariously from a lift cable that is shredding his hands. All three performers managed to hook me and get me invested; I was really rooting for their survival.
But let's face it: This wouldn't be a horror film if they all made it out of their predicament, wiped their hands across their foreheads and exclaimed, "Whew, that was a close one!" Frozen is a horror film with guts, and it stayed with me long after I watched it.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Green and the acting trio deliver a great commentary that details just how painful of a shoot this was. When you see the actors on the lift, they are really up there in the frigid cold—no parlor tricks. You also get some nice documentaries with behind-the-scenes looks at what the actors had to go through to create some of the more harrowing scenes. Seeing Zegers flopping around on the ground and spitting up blood—and nearly asphyxiating—is one of the highlights.
Fringe: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 7.25
(OUT OF 10)
After two seasons, this show has cemented itself among the great sci-fi series like The X Files and, to some extent, The Twilight Zone. This is a network show that isn't afraid to be completely scary ... like, R-rated scary. It also benefits from appearances by Leonard Nimoy, therefore scoring a few points with rabid sci-fi fans.
The show is consistently bizarre, and if you haven't seen it yet, it's a nice refuge for fans of Lost who feel they have nothing challenging left to watch on TV. This show fills the void.
The third season premieres Thursday, Sept. 23, on Fox.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentaries, deleted scenes, gag reels and "Analyzing the Scene" sidebars on six episodes. You also get a segment on the mythology of Fringe for those who need to catch up.
The Office: Season Six (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
OUT OF 10
If everything goes according to plan, the sixth season will prove to be the penultimate one for Steve Carell's Michael Scott. It's the season during which Pam and Jim (Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski) got married, but it will mostly be remembered as the season after which Carell announced his plans to leave after one more season.
Who will replace him? That's not decided yet, but the show remains pleasantly, if not uproariously, funny. It will be interesting to see if it stays afloat in Carell's absence.
Season 7 of The Office premieres on Thursday, Sept. 23, on NBC.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Two hours of deleted scenes, a blooper reel and more.
Bill Maher: ... But I'm Not Wrong
SPECIAL FEATURES NONE
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7
(OUT OF 10)
I have done a complete 180 on Bill Maher. He used to annoy me (it was more his delivery style than what he was saying), but now I laugh at every turn. This special catches him on a particularly nasty standup night, as he tears into the United States on every front, talks about the wonders of mushrooms and lampoons Michael Jackson.
The new season of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher started with Maher playing the already infamous clip of Christine O'Donnell discussing her flirtation with witchcraft. I'm thinking it's going to be an interesting season.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get nuthin'!