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Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

Movie A-
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

I liked Metallica just fine before seeing this movie. I had a couple of their albums, almost saw one of their shows once and thought Lars Ulrich was a clown. After seeing this movie, they are significantly cooler in my book. When lead singer James Hetfield temporarily loses a battle with his chemical demons and must separate himself from bandmates for a year, it makes for an interesting movie. The film, originally intended as sort of a heavy metal Let It Be, winds up being a lengthy therapy session as the band deals with Hetfield's struggles and Ulrich's saying "fuck" all of the time. A film highlight consists of former band member Dave Mustaine (now of Megadeth) dropping by for a sit-down with Ulrich. It's amazing to hear the pain the guy has harbored over the years. Regardless of your feelings about the band, this movie is intense. Directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the film came to pass after the band allowed the pair to use their music for the Paradise Lost documentaries. Nobody seemed to know what they were getting into with this one, and it shows. It's filmmaking without a net, and Metallica proves to be the perfect subject for the format. One walks away from it wishing Hetfield the best on his long road ahead, and knowing that their next album will probably kick major ass.

Special Features: This one is packed. A two-disc set featuring a ton of deleted and alternate scenes that are all enthralling. There's an extension of the amazing Mustaine scene (Damn, I feel sorry for that guy!) and a great sequence in which the boys play at a Raiders tailgate party. Footage from various film festivals features the band sitting down for some Q and As about the movie, and they are all good viewing. Commentaries from the directors and band (quite laid back) offer an even deeper look into what makes the band tick.

The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition

Movie A-
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

One of the strangest science-fiction films ever made. Director Luc Besson set out to make a space opera of majestic beauty that also boasted a strange, slapstick sense of humor, and he succeeded. Bruce Willis plays a taxi driver who must usher a supreme being (Milla Jovovich) to her ultimate destiny of saving the world. Along the way, he encounters a big, blue Diva giving a Celine Dion-esque performance, Chris Tucker in truly flamboyant mode and Ian Holm doing what seems to be a decent homage to Alec Guinness' Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. While the film has a style all its own, comparisons to Blade Runner wouldn't be too far off the mark. This stands as one of Willis' best films, a chance to show his action side and play straight man to the weirdness going on around him. Jovovich's wardrobe in this thing has become the stuff of legends.

Special Features: Fans of the film are going to have fun here as they dig into extensive documentaries. Some deal exclusively with the film's visuals, inspired by influential comic book artists. A section devoted to the Diva, the giant blue woman who sings opera, is worth a gander.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Collector's Edition

Focus Features
Movie A
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out 10)

Just a few months after its initial DVD release comes the collector's edition of this fine Jim Carrey vehicle. The film, a terrific example of just how truly cool screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is, deserves big treatment, but they could've waited a couple of years. I guess re-releasing it has something to do with garnering extra attention as Academy members get ready to cast their votes. Regardless, the movie is great, and if you haven't bought it yet, go ahead and opt for this slightly fatter version.

Special Features: In addition to the special features on the first DVD release, there are new conversations with Carrey and Kate Winslet. Some new, never-before-seen deleted scenes, a feature on the film's visual effects and a nifty collector's book come in the package.

King of the Hill: The Complete Third Season

20th Century Fox
Show B+
Special Features None
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

Creator Mike Judge, responsible for such works as Beavis and Butt-head and Office Space, has been putting out one of television's funnier cartoons for the past eight years. The white trash adventures of Hank Hill and his clan are not as fall-down funny as The Simpsons' antics, but they are funnier than, say, The Family Guy. Judge himself provides the voice of Hill, a sort of gas barbecue sage with a tough wife (voice of Kathy Najimy), bubbly niece and portly son. It's not groundbreaking stuff, but it's good for a laugh from time to time.

Special Features: You ain't getting any!

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