Inglourious Basterds (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 8.5
(OUT OF 10)
Quentin Tarantino's latest opus just got picked as one of the year's 10 best by the National Board of Review. I love it when something this crazy gets mass critical praise.
Tarantino had been talking for a long time about this one. Casting rumors included everybody from Adam Sandler to Leonardo DiCaprio, but the director eventually had to settle for a guy named Brad Pitt.
Pitt gets one of his best roles as Lt. Aldo Raine, leader of a Jewish-American World War II platoon bent on exacting revenge on the Nazis. With a permanent wince on his face and a hilarious accent, Pitt is totally on Tarantino's warped wavelength in what is easily the director's best-looking movie.
But it is Christoph Waltz as the terrible Jew hunter Col. Hans Landa who leaves the biggest impression. His characterization results in the most hateful, sinister character of this movie year. Everything he does makes the viewer's skin crawl. It will be a crime if he doesn't pull down an Oscar nomination.
Also sterling is Mélanie Laurent as a theater owner who gets a very famous guest, and Eli Roth (in the role originally offered to Sandler) as Sgt. Donny Donowitz, who has taken to dispensing Nazis with a baseball bat.
Tarantino's use of music in the film is incredible, with David Bowie and surf rock somehow both getting into the mix.
I'm so glad Tarantino finally got this one made. The Internet Movie Database claims that his next movie will be Kill Bill Vol. 3, due in 2014. Should be interesting.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Extended and alternate scenes, a roundtable discussion with Tarantino and Pitt, and, best of all, the complete Nation's Pride, the fake German propaganda short film (directed by Eli Roth) that we see snippets of in the movie.
Lost: The Complete Fifth Season
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
DVD GEEK FACTOR 9
(OUT OF 10)
I love this show. I love this show so very, very much.
Season 5 was a real winner for ABC and "the island." Thanks to one of the greater usages of time travel that TV has ever seen, the show provided many major twists and shocks every week, with the final episode being a real doozy. After leaving the island in Season 4, the cast goes back, and things are just plain crazy.
While I've followed the story from the beginning, I'm thinking it will not be too hard to appreciate this show if you are a novice. You might have to go on the Internet to get caught up on some stuff, but the quality of the writing is so excellent that watching the show from the beginning isn't absolutely necessary.
Faraday (Jeremy Davies) has become my current favorite TV character. What happens to him in this season is a frightening mind-bender. And, oh my, what happens to Young Ben still has me reeling.
Next year brings the final season of Lost, and while that brings sadness to my heart, I can't freaking wait to see what happens. Bring it on!
SPECIAL FEATURES: I didn't really think I needed a Lost blooper reel, but this one is pretty funny. Deleted scenes, commentaries and documentaries abound. If you haven't watched the show, don't watch the documentaries until you've taken in Season 5. If you've watched the shows, watch the docs before Season 6; they provide a nice Season 5 recap.
Terminator Salvation (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 5
(OUT OF 10)
Director McG made an admirable but largely unsuccessful effort to reboot the Terminator franchise with this film. He got a new actor (Christian Bale) to play John Connor; he employed a new, washed-out look for the Terminator universe; and he got a good actor (Anton Yelchin) to play Kyle Reese, the man who would eventually go back in time and save John Connor's mom (and effectively become his dad).
Unfortunately, the movie just kind of sits there, thanks to McG's flat, unadventurous vision. There are some decent action scenes, and a quick moment when a certain infamous Terminator shows up is probably the film's best. Sam Worthington does little to impress as Marcus Wright, a former prisoner with a secret.
The franchise is in flux, as the rights look to be changing hands again. McG seems to think he's got dibs on directing chores, but I think not. His movie wasn't awful, but it was the worst in the series, and the franchise is too big to take another risk with a guy who couldn't put a decent movie together.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Like on the Watchmen Director's Cut Blu-Ray, you get Maximum Movie Mode, a picture-in-picture commentary with the director explaining his decisions and sometimes even stopping the film to show an alternate take. This is especially cool when he shows storyboards for an original ending that was so good and dark that it might've made the film worth seeing.