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Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

New Line
Movie C
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

This second installment of the stoner series saw the two likable leads, John Cho and Kal Penn, lost in a movie that didn't live up to the original.

The action picks up directly after the first one ended, with Harold (Cho) showering and getting ready for an impromptu trip to Amsterdam in pursuit of a girl. His shower is interrupted by the not-so-funny sounds of Kumar (Penn) expelling his White Castle sliders from his ass. It's not a good thing that this is the film's first big joke.

On their way to Amsterdam, Kumar pulls out a tripped-out bong in the plane's bathroom, which passengers mistake for a bomb. The two are incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay and suspected of being terrorists. They are about to be treated to a "cockmeat" sandwich, courtesy of a demented soldier, when they escape to the Southern United States, where other low-grade comedic opportunities await.

The humor is very hit-and-miss, with nothing rivaling the jokes in the first film. That's because first-time directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (who also wrote both films) don't have original director Danny Leiner's deft touch when it comes to vulgar humor. They just throw shit at the screen to see what sticks.

Neil Patrick Harris reprises his role as himself, and the joke is wearing thin, although it is pretty funny when he brands a hooker. The finale during which Harold and Kumar smoke weed with President Bush is too much.

These characters work in outlandish situations, but they need to be somewhat grounded in reality. That was the charm of the first movie--something that is missing this time out.

Special Features: While the movie is nothing to get excited about, the features are totally worth the purchase. There's a feature where you can significantly change the movie and its outcomes. In one instance, you can completely skip the prison trip and take the characters to Amsterdam, where an entirely new plot awaits. A lot of thought obviously went into the DVD. Next time, they need to work harder on the actual movie.

Starship Troopers (Blu-Ray)

Movie A-
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)

After watching the horror that was Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, I decided to take in this new edition of the classic that spawned the sequel. It cheered me up a bit, for sure.

Director Paul Verhoeven creates a world with echoes of Nazi Germany, where Earthlings are doing battle against alien bugs. The film is super-violent and super-funny. The ongoing newsreels give it a war-propaganda-film feel.

Special Features: They include a director commentary and BD Live (picture-in-picture features) for players that are compatible.

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert

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

Look, Miley Cyrus doesn't have the best voice in the world, and her music kind of stinks. Still, this enjoyable concert flick, available in 3-D, is semi-entertaining stuff, all things considered.

Cyrus has an engaging stage presence and, yes, the 3-D effects aren't half-bad on the home screen. The disc comes with both a standard and a 3-D version, and I was surprised to see how good the 3-D actually is. Unlike in theaters, you still have to wear the red-and-blue paper things (theaters give out black sunglass-type devices), so that's not all good. Still, the effect works without being too hard on the eyes.

Obviously, this film isn't geared at adults. Still, I will go ahead and acknowledge that the kid is a good performer, and I have a slightly better understanding of the whole Hannah phenomenon after watching it.

Special Features: I will go ahead and consider the entire 3-D version a special feature (you also get four pairs of glasses for family viewing). There's also a backstage tour and additional songs,

Smart People

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

A decent ensemble cast is wasted in this family comedy where people just sort of drone through their lines.

Dennis Quaid is all wrong for the part of a college professor/widower who starts dating a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker). Quaid overdoes it with the pompous stuff; his characterization isn't funny, but boring. Ellen Page follows up Juno by playing his young Republican daughter, and she, too, is all wrong for the part. Only Thomas Hayden Church scores as Quaid's loser brother.

The film just feels awkward from the get-go, and it never finds its footing. It's a shame, because with a cast like this, I was expecting something more. When Page tries to make out with Church, it gets a little too strange for words.

Special Features: Deleted scenes, a commentary by director Noam Murro and, yes, bloopers make this a decent DVD for features.

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