SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8
(OUT OF 10)
Seth MacFarlane's feature-directing debut is easily one of the year's funniest films, and it contains a terrific technical achievement in the CGI character of Ted, the obscene teddy bear. McFarlane voiced the character and, through motion capture, provided the gestures as well.
Mark Wahlberg, who should stick to comedies, plays the straight man, John, to Ted; Wahlberg is so good at this sort of thing. MacFarlane complements him perfectly, saying and doing things that would be quite shocking coming out of a human. Coming out of a teddy bear, they are oddly forgivable.
You can skip the theatrical version and go straight for the new unrated version, which contains some new gags that make the movie better. John's parents discussing Christmas Eve carnal activity in a businesslike manner is a hoot.
You have to give Mila Kunis a lot of credit for keeping a straight face opposite these shenanigans. And God bless her and Wahlberg for the scene in which she has to clean up the floor after a hooker did a bad thing.
Watching this movie again, I had even more of an appreciation for Giovanni Ribisi's stalker character, who gets a little more background material in the unrated version. His dance number to a Tiffany song might be some of the year's best moves.
A sequel couldn't come fast enough.
SPECIAL FEATURES: In addition to the unrated version, you get a commentary with MacFarlane and Wahlberg, a gag reel, and deleted and extended scenes. There are also extensive behind-the-scenes looks that reveal MacFarlane was on the set at all times, delivering his lines with the actors for authenticity.
SPECIAL FEATURES A
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 10
(OUT OF 10)
At long last, Criterion has released a Blu-ray version of what stands as one of the best DVDs ever released. Last year, Universal released a "movie-only" Blu-ray of Terry Gilliam's masterpiece, with no special features. This is a different story.
No question: Gilliam is one of the most jinxed directors in cinema. His Don Quixote film got nixed due to a star's health and storms. His last picture had star Heath Ledger die before filming was completed.
And then there is Brazil, legendary for the battle Gilliam had with Universal head Sid Sheinberg, who deemed the movie noncommercial (he was right) and too dark (perhaps, but it needed to be). It wasn't until the Los Angeles Film Critics Association called the film the best of the year back in '85 that Brazil got something resembling a decent release.
I reviewed the Blu-ray last year. It's a story about a strange futuristic society where things get crowded, dirty and Orwellian. Gilliam employed special effects that stand up today, and even got Robert De Niro to co-star with Jonathan Pryce.
I love this movie, but it does have its share of detractors—including the people who financed it.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get the Terry Gilliam commentary, which still stands as one of the best commentaries ever put to home video. He's engaging; he's funny; and if you are a fan of this movie, he's very educational. You also get a 90-minute-plus documentary on the battle over Brazil, chronicling the production problems and featuring interviews with Gilliam and Sid Sheinberg. Gilliam reminisces about things like taking out a full-page ad in Variety to ask Sheinberg when the studio was going to release his movie. Happily, the "Love Conquers All" version of the film is included. This is Sheinberg's strange cut, which severely reduced the film's length and completely changed the tone. Rather than Gilliam's bleak vision of the future, you get a moronic love story with a ridiculous happy ending. (This actually aired on television. I recall seeing it and being horrified.) You also get some production archives and a booklet.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXV
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7.75
(OUT OF 10)
With this, you get four additional installments of the legendary MST3K. The awful offerings to the critical silhouettes this time out are Robot Holocaust and Operation Kid Brother with original host Joel Hodgson, and Kitten With a Whip and Revenge of the Creature with host Mike Nelson. As usual, the jeers from Joel, Mike and the robots make it all endurable.
The best episode here would be Robot Holocaust, a first-season winner in which Joel and the robots were really beginning to hit their stride. Nelson was a great host, but nobody could replace Joel. In fact, fans of Joel can still see him skewering movies over at CinematicTitanic.com. (You can also watch episodes of Cinematic Titanic on Hulu. It's his post-MST3K project, and it's just as funny.)
SPECIAL FEATURES: Both Joel and Mike introduce their episodes. Joel's intros are especially entertaining, as he reveals his frustrations with the first season, including the set not yet being complete. You also get Life After MST3K docs on some of the series stars.