The Passion of the Christ: The Definitive Edition20th Century Fox
Special Features A
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)
Oh, it's just so hard to write about fucking Mel Gibson nowadays. The guy is a major dumb ass. Dumb ass supreme. Yet he makes decent movies and, in the case of this biblical bloodbath, great movies.
I momentarily stopped giving a damn about religion and Jesus and all that around the time I went to Jesus Camp and realized that my hard-earned paper-route money was funding the wallets of morons who wrote shitty sermons and generally scared me. That was a long time ago. Since then, I've lightened up a bit and realized Jesus was a righteous dude, regardless of whether or not he was divine. And, according to this here film, he got a really raw deal. Whether you are religious or not, this film has an impact.
Gibson's picture makes all of the violent depictions of the crucifixion throughout the years come to life. His intention (well, one of his intentions, anyway) was to show that the guy's last days were no walk in the park. Dude got his ass kicked and smoked.
Seeing the movie again, I was struck by the warmth of the flashback scene where Jesus is seen goofing around with his mom. James Caviezel does a fantastic job with the coveted role of Jesus (word has it that Tom Sizemore and Daniel Radcliffe were dying for the gig).
Mel Gibson makes me sick, but his movie is a masterpiece.
Special Features: You have the option to watch the film without subtitles, as Gibson originally intended, and it's a good viewing experience. There are many commentaries, and two of them include a rather laid-back, smokey-voiced Gibson digging on his kick-ass movie. The two-disc set contains the theatrical cut and the less-yucky version that bombed in theaters. (The people want their Jesus with tons of blood.) There's lots of documentary footage on the making of the movie, including some hilarious footage of Gibson freaking out as he watches action in his directing monitor. The man has an interesting style. There's also interesting stuff chronicling the hell Caviezel went through filming the movie, including his rendezvous with a bolt of lightning.
The Departed: Two-Disc Special EditionWarner Home Video
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)
With Oscar time coming up soon, Warner Bros. got this one out to the public quick--while it's still in theaters, no less. We've been saying it for years, but this return to bloody form for director Martin Scorsese should finally net him an Oscar. That the man doesn't have one yet is completely insane.
Apart from being yet another display of Scorsese's directorial grace, this one has a major stockpile of incredible performances. The only one that Oscar recognized with a nomination would be Mark Wahlberg for his wisecracking cop (a nomination he most certainly deserves). Leonardo DiCaprio actually delivered the year's best performance in this movie, yet he was passed over in favor of his performance in Blood Diamond. He did good work in that movie, but he was superior in this one.
Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Matt Damon ... the list goes on. The story follows a Boston crime lord (Nicholson) and his relationship to two cops (DiCaprio and Damon). One of the cops (DiCaprio) is undercover inside the criminal world, while the other (Damon) is a traitor informing for the crime lord. The ending is a real shocker.
How cool is it that Scorsese finally teamed up with Nicholson? It was just about the coolest thing that happened at the movies last year. There's a rumor that Scorsese is looking at making a prequel to the film that would bring back all of the stars and reunite him with a little guy named Robert De Niro. De Niro was actually offered the part eventually played by Martin Sheen in this film.
Special Features: There's no Scorsese commentary, probably because this one came out so fast. Expect another "special edition" sometime in the future. The two-disc set is very much worth picking up, because it contains Scorsese on Scorsese, a documentary featuring an interview with the director discussing many of his films at length. There are some deleted scenes, a documentary exploring real-life Boston crime lords, and more. The real score is getting Scorsese on Scorsese on disc.
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 6.75 (out of 10)
This animated show from the Independent Film Channel is a consistently funny skewering of the Hollywood studio system. Michael McKean lends his voice to the character of Mel, a studio head trying to wrangle crazy directors, an angry wife and multiple mistresses. The animation is goofy, but the writing is stellar. Creator Bob Balaban obviously doesn't give a damn who in Hollywood he offends with this stuff. The series features cameo vocal appearances by the likes of Lisa Kudrow, Rob Reiner and Paul Dooley.
Special Features: A couple of episode commentaries by Balaban and some deleted scenes.