24: Season Six Premiere and Season Five
20th Century Fox
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)
24 fans ... you have plenty to dig into this month.
I admit that I have a hard time watching seasons of 24 in their entirety, not due to a lack of interest, but a lack of time. Still, whenever I get a chance to watch an episode, I'm always riveted. Every episode has had something good to offer, even the one where Elisha Cuthbert got attacked by a lion. Sure, some of the plotlines can get a little soap opera-esque and implausible, but the show constantly rocks.
It was a nice move to put the first four hours of the sixth season on DVD just a day after the episodes aired. It's a convenient deal for those who failed to see or record it. Some retailers are offering it for less than $10, and you can rent it as well. Users of iTunes will be able to access episodes of the show as the season progresses. Basically, Fox is doing everything in their power to make sure viewers have every chance in the world to see their show. They even put a $10 coupon in there toward any complete-season package of 24, so if you are planning on buying a season, the season six intro doesn't really cost you anything.
As usual, the season gets off to an amazing start. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has been in a Chinese prison for two years; David Palmer's brother Keith has become president; and the United States is in a constant state of high terror alert. Terrorists are attacking many cities, and national paranoia is at an all-time high.
A cold-blooded terrorist makes a deal involving the life of Jack Bauer, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
The show has always taken flack for being a little too creative in the ways it depicts terrorist activity, and the season opener gives plenty of fuel to its critics. What happens at the end of hour four is perhaps the most frightening, devastating event the show has ever depicted. It's frightening because it could happen. You be the judge of whether or not it was necessary to put it in a television show. As for me, it blew me away. I'm one of those nutty people who can differentiate between entertainment and the real thing.
Season five was spectacular, where the president of the United States was depicted as the ultimate bastard, and terrorists unleashed numerous nerve-gas attacks, including one on CTU that took out some major members of the cast. The season started with the assassination of former President David Palmer and just got crazier from there. This show has no rules, and it makes the viewer feel a distinct lack of security while watching it. You never know what's going to happen, and what does happen will almost always drop your jaw into your lap.
Special Features: The season six intro disc offers up the first 12 minutes of episode five, and that's a pretty good taste for those who can't wait. Season five has commentaries on select episodes, plenty of extended and deleted scenes and multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes. The season six intro and season five are sold separately.
InfamousWarner Home Video
Special Features C
DVD Geek Factor 4 (out of 10)
The lesser of two movies about Truman Capote, it was filmed at the same time but delayed a year to avoid the other, far better film, Capote. Toby Jones does a decent enough impersonation of the In Cold Blood author. His performance feels far more shallow than the layered performance delivered by Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film is also far more suggestive about the relationship between Capote and death-row inmate Perry Smith (played here rather poorly by Daniel Craig). The film postulates that the two were doing more than chatting about Capote's book in the prison cell. The best thing about this version of the story is probably Sandra Bullock, who makes for an interesting Harper Lee. Otherwise, this is a rather average movie.
Special Features: A commentary by writer-director Douglas McGrath. That is all.
The Science of SleepWarner Home Video
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)
This is one of the more interesting love stories I've seen in quite some time. Gael García Bernal is first-rate as Stephane, a man with a whole lot going on in his head. His character is a confused one, desperately trying to find love and create things, but stumbling on both fronts.
This is one of the more brilliant movies on artistic yearning I've ever seen. It's also a great visual work, especially when it visits the imaginary landscapes in Stephane's mind. From his dream rides on a toy horse to his breaking into his beloved's apartment, Stephane is a character that is both fun and heartbreaking to watch. Director Michel Gondry is a gifted artist.
Special Features: A commentary by writer-director Gondry and cast members, and plenty of features on the making of the movie.