The Red Riding Trilogy
SPECIAL FEATURES: C+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR: 7.5
(OUT OF 10)
This fascinating trilogy consists of three films directed by three different directors starring the same cast. Various journalists and law officers are hunting and investigating the Yorkshire Ripper, as well as a series of child disappearances and murders.
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 stars Andrew Garfield (the next Spider-man) as a journalist who digs a little too deep and pays a dear price. 1980 stars Paddy Considine as a criminal investigator assigned to the case who discovers that his comrades aren't quite on the level. And 1983 stars David Morrissey, abandoning his comic roots to play a lawyer representing a wrongfully imprisoned man.
Each of the films is equally fine, with all of the directors maintaining a good period vibe throughout the trilogy. It stands as a good mystery, a terrific period piece, and one of the scarier films about police corruption that you'll ever see.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A separate disc contains some interviews, featurettes and trailers. Supplements aren't nearly as good as the films.
Lost: The Complete Sixth Season
SPECIAL FEATURES: A-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR: 9
(OUT OF 10)
I was very satisfied with the way Lost concluded. I, for one, got a little annoyed with all of the geeky stuff that happened in the preceding five seasons, and couldn't have cared less why there were polar bears on the island. I cared about the characters, and the creators of the show found a wonderful way to bring their stories to an emotionally satisfying conclusion.
Matthew Fox really stepped up in the final season, anchoring the shows with emotionally powerful performances. The "sideways universe" was a brilliant gimmick, giving us a chance to see each character played out in a different dimension. The entire John Locke subplot was at once funny and creepy, and the episode involving the origins of Richard Alpert's arrival on the island was one of the show's finest hours.
The sixth season provided plenty of closure as far as the characters were concerned. After watching the finale, I hated that it was all over. That's the mark of a great show.
SPECIAL FEATURES: As promised, The New Man in Charge, an 11-minute short involving Ben Linus after the events of the finale, does answer some important lingering questions about the island. And the way that it chooses to do it kind of makes fun of all those crazed fans who complained about loose ends after the series concluded. You also get deleted scenes, commentaries, bloopers, and some excellent featurettes about the final season. This is a great package.
Max Headroom: The Complete Series
SPECIAL FEATURES: B
DVD GEEK FACTOR: 7.75
(OUT OF 10)
I don't think I ever watched this show when it originally aired. By the time it hit television, I was already a little tired of Max Headroom, the virtual representation of actor Matt Frewer.
As it turns out, this show was ingeniously creative, satirizing network television, investigative news reporting and a society getting out of control with rampant technology. It was also pretty funny, thanks in part to the casting of Jeffrey Tambor as a studio executive.
The show, which bragged that it was occurring "20 minutes into the future," was certainly ahead of its time. It was a ratings bomb, and Max Headroom pretty much disappeared after it. The spokesperson for New Coke has since vanished.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A behind-the-scenes doc that is very interesting, if a little talky. Cast members reunite to discuss the show, with the noted absence of Frewer, who perhaps would like to put the whole experience behind him. His Max makeup had to be supremely uncomfortable.
The Simpsons: The 13th Season (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES: B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR: 8
(OUT OF 10)
I can't remember the last time I watched a Simpsons episode on its original airdate. I am very far behind on my Simpsons lore.
So when I popped this season in to watch it, I couldn't believe how insane it was. Each episode I watched started in one place, and then just took off into some bizarre animated universe where no rules apply. An episode where Marge falls in love with the guy on a paper towel wrapper also involves a 30-year-old murder mystery that has nothing to do with her crush. I kind of love the crazy and random feel of this season.
Other highlights include Homer getting addicted to marijuana, another excellent Treehouse of Horror, and Moe going to bartending school. I can see how diehards might be getting annoyed with the show and its tendency to go off the tracks. As somebody who only occasionally visits, I like what I'm seeing.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Great menus, commentaries, deleted scenes, and features involving the dimwitted Ralph (who adorns the cover) make this another decent package from Matt Groening and company.