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Metalocalypse: Season II--Black Fire Upon Us

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

The second season of the Cartoon Network's strangest and greatest animated program by far took its fictional title band--a post-apocalypse metal group that the world worships--to great heights. Creator Brendon Small is crazy nuts, and it's a good thing for the subject matter. A fabulous Season 2 highlight would be the episode entitled "Cleanso," about a David Lee Roth-type clown rock star who does cocaine. He gets very irate when his bananas go missing.

The animation for this show is far better than what you would expect, and the metal music, written by Small, is actually quite catchy. Dethklok is the coolest fake band since Mr. Show's Indomitable Spirit!

Special Features: The features are hidden; you have to click on cartoon eyes and stuff, and you'll find some funny things when you do. There's an outtake of lead singer Nathan Explosion reading Titus Andronicus, and that's enough for me. There are also videos for "Bloodrocuted" and "Murmaider," a segment on Facebone (Dethklok's mascot) and other moments too weird for the show. I was hoping for some live video footage of the touring band, but I couldn't find any.

Mamma Mia!

Movie C+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)

This is one of the year's biggest letdowns--not because it's really bad, but because I wanted it to be so good. I'm a huge ABBA fan, but I had never seen the play, so I didn't really know what I was getting into. While Meryl Streep is pretty damn fun to watch here, much of what's going on around her is not.

One of the years' biggest cinematic atrocities would be Pierce Brosnan singing. They didn't let a totally capable Audrey Hepburn do her own singing in My Fair Lady, but they let tone-deaf Brosnan butcher the likes of "S.O.S."

Still, I could've done with the Brosnan honking if the movie's plot had been less moronic. It's about some girl getting ready for her wedding and not knowing who her dad is; they sort of shoehorn ABBA songs into the plot with mixed results. I did like the "Dancing Queen" sequence, and Streep does well with "The Winner Takes It All." Overall, it just feels silly.

Special Features: I have to give the disc props for its features. You get a commentary, a sing-along feature that puts the lyrics on the screen, outtakes, deleted scenes and a deleted musical number ("The Name of the Game").

Wanted: 2-Disc Special Edition

Movie A-
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

Easily one of the year's best action movies, with James McAvoy as a pathetic guy who finds out he is the relative of a recently deceased assassin. The assassin was a member of a fraternity with the ability to curve bullet paths, and McAvoy finds out his true calling in life, thanks to the appearance of a mysterious woman (Angelina Jolie).

The film is one of several this year based on graphic novels, and while the movie doesn't have much in common with its source, it's still pretty damn good. The action scenes pop; Jolie is quite hot; and McAvoy makes for strangely good action star. Throw in an evil Morgan Freeman, and you have a pretty good pedigree.

The film has plenty of edge, earning its R rating. One of the year's better action sequences involves the McAvoy character getting trained on a train. McAvoy and Jolie did some of their own stunts, and that's impressive.

Special Features: An extended scene, lots of mini-documentaries (including one about adapting the comic book to the screen) and plenty about the film's exemplary special effects. There is also a feature where some scenes from the graphic novel are shown through "motion comics"--actual stills from the book with narration.

Ghost Town

Movie B
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

Judging by this film's fairly weak performance at the box office, chances are you didn't see it in theaters. However, the movie is actually a very pleasant surprise, well worth a look.

Ricky Gervais plays Bertram, a dentist/curmudgeon who can suddenly see dead people--and the dead people want favors. Greg Kinnear is charming as a recently dead husband looking to sew up some issues with his still-living wife, Gwen (Téa Leoni). Problems ensue when Bertram falls in love with Gwen, something of which the ghost does not approve.

Gervais proves he can carry a picture with intermittent charm and grace. Leoni, who can be annoying, gets one of her better roles in years and truly shines. This one is perfect for a stay-at-home date night, if you should have any of those.

Special Features: Gervais and director David Koepp deliver an audio commentary. There are also some features about the film's special effects and a making-of documentary.

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