Kung Fu Panda (Blu-Ray)Dreamworks
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)
I actually enjoyed this one a little more on the home screen. Jack Black voices a panda with dreams of becoming a kung-fu master, while Dustin Hoffman plays his teacher. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Computer-animated films look amazing on Blu-Ray.
David Cross, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan voice other characters. Your kids will be happy if you purchase this one as a stocking stuffer. There have been better animated films this year (Bolt and WALL-E, to name a couple), but this is a good entry in the genre.
Special Features: There's plenty of stuff about the making of the movie. You also get a full video of "Kung Fu Fighting." Yay!
Step Brothers: Two-Disc Unrated Edition (Blu-Ray)Columbia
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)
I've seen this multiple times since its release, and while I still don't think it's as funny as Talladega Nights, it gets better with repeated viewings. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play men who become "brothers" after their parents (Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen) get married. The two 40-year-old men must share a room, share a treehouse and confront the neighborhood bully together, and a decent amount of hilarity ensues.
One of the things I noticed more with repeated viewings was the funniness of the other brother character, played hysterically by Adam Scott. His obsessions with making his family sing "Sweet Child o' Mine" a cappella and the all-important Catalina Wine Mixer are definite standouts.
The "unrated extended" edition of the film has a few extra jokes and short scenes. The added stuff is funny, including an awkward dinner-sex scene that fits well into the film. A lot of the additions are subtle, and I didn't pick up on anything that seemed like a mistake to add.
Special Features: A commentary with Ferrell, Reilly and director Adam McKay is partially done as a musical, and it's weird. Deleted and extended scenes are worth watching, as is the gag reel where you can see how hard it must've been to keep a straight face on the set.
The Dark Knight: Two-Disc Special Edition (Blu-Ray)Warner
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)
This one looks incredible on Blu-Ray, and I'm thinking a lot of people will be watching this during the holiday season. Heath Ledger delivered one of the all-time-great villainous performances as the Joker, and Aaron Eckhart did some nice work as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. I've heard from more than one person that Christian Bale's voice annoyed the hell out of them; it is a bit much at times--but the rest of the movie is so good, I can accept that Bale overdid it with the scratchy voice.
Be careful while watching the scenes director Christopher Nolan shot in IMAX, because those bastards will blow your eyes out the back of your head. What Nolan did with this film--basically scrapping the look of the excellent Batman Begins and starting over--was brilliant. Gotham was created by augmenting Chicago with a lot of special effects in Batman Begins, but this time, the scenery is a little more stripped-down. It gives the movie a cool gangster vibe.
The Joker story arc is the main reason to watch this movie, but the story of the descent of Harvey Dent is almost as good. How the filmmakers managed to pull off the Dent makeup effects is a mystery.
Special Features: Dent's makeup remains a mystery even after the features, which include "focus points": An icon pops up during the movie, and you have the option of watching some behind-the-scenes stuff that is very interesting. Disc 2 is nothing to get excited about, featuring a couple of flashy documentaries that feel like rush jobs. I'm thinking there'll be another DVD edition released within the next five years--and maybe then we'll get a look at the Dent effects.
Cannibal! The Musical: The 13th Anniversary EditionTroma
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)
Before South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone made this so-bad-it's-good musical about a Colorado cannibal and building snowmen. The movie is terrible, but enjoyable. I'm thinking a couple of six-packs while viewing it might be beneficial.
The movie actually contains some toe-tapping tunes and a good, gory opening scene. It's a Troma film, which means it is some of the grandest cinematic trash you will ever witness.
Special Features: There are a lot of deleted scenes, all of them terrible. New interviews with Parker and Stone are interesting, but the real reason to get this DVD is the drunken commentary. Parker and Stone get progressively trashed, leading to one of the greatest commentaries ever recorded. Motorhead's Lemmy narrates a strange hermaphrodite public-service announcement.