Wall-E: Three-Disc Special EditionDisney
Special Features A
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)
This is the most wonderfully strange G-rated movie I've ever seen. A little garbage robot cleaning up the planet after humans have wrecked it? Man, that's a lot for kids to wrap their heads around. A spaceship that contains the last remnants of the human race, and they are all obese, lazy fools? This is just crazy.
It's also quite beautifully done, and Wall-E achieves the level of a masterpiece. It's the first Pixar animated film to integrate live action, which comes in the form of Fred Willard as a smiling world leader, and footage of Hello, Dolly! It's also full of dust storms, trash towers and wily cockroaches. Again, this is not your average children's film.
Special Features: Director Andrew Stanton provides commentary for the entire film, and also for the deleted scenes. Pixar rarely does full production on a scene, only to cut it from the movie, but that happened this time out. There's also a new short called Burn-E, which tells the parallel story of a mechanic droid that gets into trouble when he waves as Wall-E arrives on a spaceship. Lots of making-of features, the hilarious Presto short about a hungry bunny, and a digital copy of the film are also included.
There'll Always Be an England: The Sex Pistols Live From Brixton AcademyRhino
Special Features A
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)
The Sex Pistols reunite for a 30th- anniversary concert and deliver lively renditions of classic songs like "Anarchy in the U.K." While John Lydon now sounds more like his Public Image Ltd. persona than his Pistols alter ego, Johnny Rotten, it's still fun to watch. The band is older and a little more sophisticated, but they're still a decent musical unit. The delivery is a lot cleaner than the Sid Vicious days, for sure.
SPECIAL FEATURES: While the concert is fine, the real reason to get this DVD comes in the form of the various tours of England the bandmates take you on. Lydon is especially hilarious in these segments. ("I was bitten by a rat over there!") There's an entire bus tour with Lydon, in Rotten mode, verbally pissing all over the architecture and harassing passers-by. The great thing about Lydon is that one moment, he's calling people every name in the book, and the next, he's shaking hands and being a gracious rock star. He's always interesting.
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2Epic
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)
This disc captures the D on tour during promotion for their movie The Pick of Destiny, which wound up being an epic bomb. Jack Black and Kyle Gass decided to take a full band on the road for the first time, complete with a concept stage show. The results are fine, but a little of that acoustic-duo magic is lost. The D always work best as a two-man group, and the idea of them as a full-fledged rock band isn't always successful.
Special Features: The best feature is the lengthy documentary capturing the D as they hit the road triumphantly for their tour and discover that their film has bombed--then must continue the tour anyway. You get a true sense that the band could be finished, with Black pointing out that while the tour was supposed to be a victory lap, it wound up being a public display of their destruction. Happily, the documentary ends with the duo riffing six months after the tour, clearly determined to go on with the rebirth of Tenacious D. I'm thinking they'll go back to their simpler roots. The disc also contains some of their more recent TV performances and a funny short called Time Fixers, in which the D go back in time and confront Abraham Lincoln.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Three-Disc Special Edition)Universal
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)
Guillermo del Toro's sequel to his Hellboy sometimes feels like more of a sequel to Pan's Labyrinth. It's a visually stunning film that, unfortunately, journeys off into strange, sappy territory from time to time. All of the garbage involving Hellboy's love life is lame, but Ron Perlman still has some good moments as the oddest of superheroes.
The film started well at the box office, but receipts fell off dramatically when The Dark Knight was released. Del Toro has mentioned the possibility of a third film, and he might be able to get that made given his growing influence in Hollywood. Count on seeing The Hobbit movies first, with perhaps a concluding Hellboy chapter coming afterward. They'd better not wait too long, though, because Perlman is getting on in years.
I would like to give props to this film's usage of the great Barry Manilow's music.
Special Features: Del Toro provides commentary on the film and deleted scenes. There are more than two hours of features looking at the film's creation, a director's notebook and more.