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Heroes: Season 2

Show B-
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 5.92 (out of 10)

There has been a lot of grumbling that this show took a real dump in its second season, but I disagree. While Season 2 was not as good as Season 1, it was still decent television, and it has me anxious to see what happens next. Making me look forward to the next season is an accomplishment these days.

It's definitely a little darker (and strike-shortened), but still worth your while. When Season 3 is over, it will probably be referred to as a comeback, but this season was not all that bad.

Special Features: A pretty cool alternate ending to the season finale, audio commentaries with cast and crew, and some decent behind-the-scenes stuff.

Transformers (Blu-Ray)

Movie C+
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 4.75 (out of 10)

I like this movie dealing with the whole transforming-robots thing a little more on the home screen. What was too frantic on the big screen is a little easier to follow on a high-definition television. I could actually tell what was going on in the big-robot smackdown ending.

Still, Michael Bay is a hack director, and it's the power of the Shia LaBeouf that keeps this thing ticking. I would like to take this opportunity to ask Mr. Shia to calm his ass down, quit drinking and smoking, and quit smashing his hand in auto accidents. You're a good actor, Shia. Let's not have you be one of those good dead actors.

Special Features: Everything carries over from the HD-DVD release, so you can throw that sucker away.

The Promotion

Movie B
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)

Two grocery-store assistant managers fight a bitter battle for a new store manager's gig in this little seen and enjoyable directorial effort from Steve Conrad, who also wrote the script. Seann William Scott and the great John C. Reilly play two put-upon everymen who just want to carve out a slightly better spot in their universe and impress their significant others.

So many comedies use the grocery-store or fast-food setting as a platform for slapstick and exaggerated plots. This film takes a more realistic approach to working a service job, accurately showing some of the workplace dynamics and interactions with the public. Scott and Reilly prove to be a fun screen duo, giving each of their characters a surprising amount of depth, considering the storyline. And while we tend to expect this sort of thing from Reilly, this is one of the better, more understated performances that Scott has ever put forth.

Scott plays Doug Stauber, looking to impress his wife with a new house; he's quite sure he's next in line for his own store after years of taking orders from Scott Fargas (a very funny Fred Armisen). Richard Welhner (Reilly) suddenly shows up from Canada, proving to be the fly in the ointment. The two start off with a rivalry that is amicable and even friendly. But as the pressure mounts, they reduce themselves to backstabbing, parking-lot wresting and a tater-tot fight. Not a slapstick tater-tot fight, mind you, but a real, gritty fight featuring the flinging of processed potato products.

Jenna Fischer is great as Doug's wife, while Lili Taylor is saddled with an unfortunate Scottish accent. I liked Gil Bellows as a no-nonsense corporate guy, and Chris Conrad (Steve's brother) has a hilarious couple of moments as an ill-tempered man who slaps Doug around due to some incident with Teddy Grahams.

Overall, I liked The Promotion. It's one of those movies that you really couldn't market to a mass audience, but it does show that Steve Conrad has some directing chops, that Scott can act and that Reilly can be funny just standing there.

Special Features: Steve Conrad does a commentary, and there are some deleted scenes and outtakes, and a decent making-of feature. I especially liked a Conrad interview where he reveals the actual shopping-mart parking-lot incident that helped inspire the script.


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

I remember sitting through the strangest election night in American history and thinking that it would make a good movie some day. It did, thanks to director Jay Roach and a stellar cast.

Kevin Spacey is excellent as Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Al Gore, who was thrust into one of the strangest episodes in political history. But the real star is Laura Dern, who is kind of frightening as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris; Dern masterfully captures her self-centered, monstrous personality, as well as her heavy makeup. There's a great scene where Jeb Bush calls Harris to inform her that the election is screwed up. Dern plays those strange facial ticks perfectly.

I still can't believe this actually happened.

Special Features: A commentary from Roach, a conversation between Spacey and the actual person he portrayed, and a cool documentary about the election all make this a good disc.

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