Special Features C
DVD Geek Factor 6.75 (out of 10)
This raw and gritty film of PJ Harvey's tour in support of her Uh Huh Her album does a nice job capturing the energy of her set. I was fortunate enough to see the band open for U2 a few years back, and this film does a decent job displaying the magic.
It's one of those concert DVDs that allows for plenty of edits and camera changes, so those of you who like their concert DVDs on the straightforward side might find this one abrasive. Polly Jean Harvey pops in with interviews and backstage chats that will be of great interest to fans, but might aggravate the uninitiated.
The film offers up tracks like "Down by the Water," "Catherine" and "Dress." It's fun to watch Harvey's various stages of wardrobe (dig the Animal Muppet dress). If you missed PJ Harvey on tour, this is a nice way to catch up.
SPECIAL FEATURES: The DVD offers the film in its entirety, and then the option to navigate through the musical numbers and backstage interviews. There's also a separate interview with Harvey not seen in the movie.
The Princess Bride: Buttercup Edition MGM
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)
My opinion of director Rob Reiner has taken a few hits in recent years. After revisiting this gem, I'm reminded of the kind of magic he is capable of. This is one of the sweetest films I've ever seen.
The film represents the shining moment for the likes of Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes (who I now regard as one of the worst actors on the face of the planet). Its mix of fairy-tale wonder and sinister humor was perfectly balanced, and it's a movie that gets better with each viewing. Especially good is Patinkin as a swordsman with daddy issues.
The look of the film is authentic and, well, like a storybook. Reiner reveals in the film's excellent making-of featurette that much of the sword play is real (the amazing fight between Patinkin and Elwes is all them, shot for shot).
Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn and Christopher Guest provide the film with terrific villains. Billy Crystal's turn as Miracle Max could be the best thing he ever did (certainly better than his tiresome Oscar gigs). Mark Knopfler's beautiful soundtrack will always remain among my favorites.
And let us not forget the awesome work of Andre the Giant. ("Anybody want a peanut?") May he rest in peace.
Special Features: The disc carries over features from prior editions, including commentaries by Reiner and writer William Goldman. A new "Dread Pirate Roberts" mockumentary, the excellent documentary on the making of the film (As You Wish) and home movies by Cary Elwes help to make this a packed two-disc set. As mentioned above, As You Wish reveals many fun facts about the film. With all of his stunt work, Patinkin admits that the only injury he sustained on the film was a rib injury from holding in his laughter during Crystal's performance. The documentary also contains a tribute to Andre, who used to keep Robin Wright Penn's head warm by simply covering it with his giant hand.
Entourage: The Complete Second Season HBO Video
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)
Confession time: I thought this show looked like a true turd when I saw the coming attractions for it. I prejudged the thing, and switched off whenever it came on. I don't really know why, but I just didn't care about the life of a movie star and his crew. The name of the show alone turned me off.
Then a funny thing happened: I fell in love with the series. It's one of the better things going on TV right now--its third season starts on June 11--thanks to a strong cast and great writing. Being that I know very little about life in Hollywood, I can't say this is an accurate portrayal of that lifestyle. I can say that it's funny and intelligent.
Pretty boy Adrian Grenier plays Vincent Chase, an up-and-coming star looking to make the leap to major box-office attraction. A big part of the second season involves his being in the running to star in James Cameron's Aquaman (Cameron makes appearances), and the show makes you believe that the movie is actually being made. Jeremy Piven is fantastic as Ari the agent, a role that finally showcased the man's talent on a grand scale. Kevin Dillon gets his chance to show excellent comic timing as Johnny "Drama" Chase, Vincent's struggling actor brother.
Second-season cameos include Cameron, Mandy Moore, Bob Saget, a kickass appearance by Ralph Macchio and Brooke Shields in a rather awkward moment with Johnny Drama.
Special Features: Executive producer Mark Wahlberg sits down for interviews with the stars and the actual people who inspired characters on the show. Some commentaries on the episodes would've made this a better package.