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Lost: The Complete First Season

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Show A
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8.5 (out of 10)

I'd been reading about this show, about how it dealt with plane-crash survivors marooned on an island, Gilligan-style, and I pretty much ignored it. When it comes to television, my energies usually go toward comedy and cable stuff; networks (with the exception of Fox) lost my interest years ago.

I took my time taking in this DVD, putting a bunch of movies in front of it, but full-on intending to watch it. 11 p.m. rolled around one night, I had nothing to do, so I figured, "What the hell; I'll watch a couple of episodes."

Let's just say I was very tired at work the next day. This sucker is addictive, and while I'm no expert on whether or not it was deserving of its Emmy award the other night for Best TV Drama (I'm not really familiar with the other shows it was competing against), I'm thinking Emmy got it right.

I'm deep into season one, and while I still have no idea what the hell is happening on this very strange island, I can say that I'm very interested in finding out. To me, this is the most engaging mystery since "Who killed Laura Palmer?" on Twin Peaks. Coolest thing about the show is that I was totally clueless to just about every aspect about it. If you want to be clueless as well, please skip down to the next DVD review.

Within the first episode, you definitely detect a Twilight Zone vibe. As the show progresses, weird things happen, but it also manages to be great drama as survivors' lives before the crash are examined. For every secret that is revealed, three new ones form, with each episode providing its own cliffhanger. Dammit, this sucker is going to eat up many hours of my life.

There are great performances throughout; this is one of the better ensemble casts I've seen in a TV show. The second season has already commenced, and my media center is set to record.

Special Features: Great show and great disc. The seven-disc set contains all of the season one episodes, and a disc entirely devoted to special features. Audio commentaries, unaired flashbacks and documentaries on the creation of the show will add to the many hours you will log watching this series.

The Work of Director Mark Romanek

Videos Grades vary; most are amazing
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

Another installment in Palm's great series of compilations saluting some of our best music-video and commercial directors. Mark Romanek is a music video director like no other. This is a guy who can pull some super-atomic, major emotion out of a lip synch. Case in point: Johnny Cash performing Trent Reznor's "Hurt." Months before the Man in Black passed away, Cash was filmed sitting at this dining room table, old and frail, with a feast laid out before him.

He performs Reznor's lyrics like he couldn't mean it more; additional footage of a younger Cash, the wrecked Cash museum and his concerned wife, June Carter (who also died shortly thereafter), bring it all home. Romanek says he didn't intend this as Cash's obituary, but it ended up being just that. It's amazing that it was even allowed to happen, but there it is.

Romanek is the man behind such other videos as kd lang's "Constant Craving," Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," and Michael Jackson's "Scream." Yes, these are considered videos, but I definitely regard them as short films. His work provides new appreciation for the music. Heck, most people probably aren't aware of the David Bowie track "Jump They Say." Watch Romanek's video, and it becomes a song that will stick in your craw.

Special Features: Many of the video stars drop by for commentaries. Reznor offers one for "Hurt" where he confesses to not really liking Cash's version of his track until he saw the video. Documentaries go into much detail about Romanek's style and consummate professionalism.

The Deer Hunter

Universal Home Video
Movie A-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

Before Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Full Metal Jacket or even Apocalypse Now, director Michael Cimino made a very moving film about the Vietnam War. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage star as three men who leave for the war and find their lives radically changed as a result. Perhaps best remembered for its infamous Russian roulette scene, the film has much more to offer, including some of the best work Walken has ever put to screen and supporting work from a little known actress at the time named Meryl Streep. Cimino, who also made the fun Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, followed up The Deer Hunter with the historic box-office bomb Heaven's Gate, and never really recovered.

Special Features: Part of Universal's Legacy Series, the two-disc set features a commentary by the film's cinematographer and some deleted and extended scenes.

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