Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Kingdom (2007): The best movie of the year?

Director Peter Berg's latest effort, The Kingdom, is a high-intensity action drama that succeeds on all levels. And by that, I mean it blows away most of the competition as being one of the year's best so far. The film, about an FBI team who goes to Saudi Arabia to find out who is behind a devastating terrorist attack, boasts a star-studded cast and gritty imagery throughout. It also marks another large cinematic jump for director Peter Berg, who shows he has improved mightily from the less-than-stellar Very Bad Things less than ten years ago.

Berg's visuals are a feast for the viewers' eyes. The handheld camera work, which has proven to be a successful style in films such as Babel and Syriana, never distracts from the action. Particularly, the visual direction in the film's non-stop 30-minute concluding sequence will leave you with your mouth open. Easily, the sequence has some of the most engaging shootout action since Black Hawk Down.

Read the full The Kingdom movie review.

DVD review: Knocked Up

Knocked Up hit DVD on Tuesday, September 25th (yes, just the other day!) and this hilarious comedy - most likely the best comedy of the year (read the full Knocked Up movie review) - is now out in several new editions, including a 2-disc Collector's Edition. The cover art here implies may not have the latest info, as the DVD in my hands (well, not literally in my hands - how would I be able to type?) says "Extended & Unrated". Watch out!

The cover also boasts over three hours of bonus footage, and they aren't kidding. The DVD includes "Finding Ben Stone", which looks at other actors who were considered before settling on Seth Rogen, an inside look at the stripper scene (how horrible), some video diaries and several other things.

Of course, one of my favorites are the gag reels, and the DVD boasts two gag reels. The DVD also includes 50 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, not all of which I have watched quite yet. I may do another article next week when I get a chance to watch all of this extra footage.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter what the bonus features are like - this is a hilarious, well-written and sharp comedy that you have to buy, because you know that otherwise you're just going to end up renting it over and over and over again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Movie trailer review: Control (2007)

The movie trailer for Control is now online... What can I say?

It looks good enough, like an independent version of Ray or something along those lines. We've seen these "musicians becoming victims of their own success" tales a hundred times, but continue to go see them. Control, of course, won't get the release, promotion or respect that other films have garnered in recent years (again, Ray and Walk the Line), but it has a chance of being good.

Samantha Morton is the most recognizable cast member in the film, but it looks like she will play a relatively small (but perhaps pivotal) part in the film. Sam Riley stars as Ian Curtis (of Joy Division - sorry for my lack of music knowledge, but who? What?), but not much of his acting is shown on screen. Is that a worrisome sign? Probably not, but you never know.

Overall, Control looks decent enough, but there's nothing here to set it apart from even its mainstream "competitors". This is probably the last I'll ever talk about the film.

Run, Fatboy, Run release date changed

For unknown reasons, Run, Fatboy, Run, starring Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, has been pushed back from October 26, 2007 to March 28, 2008. It's a real shame, because this one looked pretty funny.

Pegg seems to be a comedy golden child right now, though this one looks to be a bit more slapstick than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (and Mission: Impossible III - don't miss his almost serious performance in that one!)

Star Trek: TNG The Complete Series Box Set

All you Trekkies out there, get ready: I just found out that Star Trek: The Next Generation is being delivered on October 2nd in its entirety, plus lots of special features. Of course, if you're a Trekkie, you 1) probably already knew about this release decades in advance, 2) already own each individual season box set and 3) have saved up your allowance to buy the same episodes again anyway.

I'm a fan, but perhaps not that much of a fan to spend $440 USD for 176 episodes of a television show, and unfortunately, Paramount isn't even doing review copies for the release (surprise, surprise).

Still, Star Trek: TNG The Complete Series DVD Box Set looks like it has plenty of special features to lure salivating Star Trek fans in for the kill:

Season 1: 7 discs/25 episodes
Special features:
o The Beginning
o Selected Crew Analysis
o The Making of a Legend
o Memorable Missions

Season 2: 6 discs/22 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview Year Two
o Selected Crew Analysis
o Starfleet Archives
o Departmental Analysis
o Memorable Missions
o Profile: Penny Juday

Season 3: 7 discs/26 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview
o Selected Crew Analysis
o Departmental Briefing: Production
o Departmental Briefing: Memorable Missions

Season 4: 7 discs/26 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview
o Selected Crew Analysis
o Departmental Briefing: Production
o New Life and New Civilizations
o Chronicles from the Final Frontier

Season 5: 7 discs/26 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview Year Five
o Select Crew Analysis: Year Five
o Departmental Briefing: Production
o Departmental Briefing: Visual Effects
o Departmental Briefing: Set Decoration
o Memorable Missions
o A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry

Season 6: 7 discs/26 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview
o Bold New Directions
o Departmental Briefing: Production
o Departmental Briefing Profile: Dan Curry
o Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data
o Star Trek Nemesis trailer
o Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trailer

Season 7: 7 discs/25 episodes
Special features:
o Mission Overview
o A Captain’s Tribute
o Departmental Briefing: Production
o Starfleet Moments and Memories
o The Making of “All Good Things…”
o Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD preview

Special Features Disc:
o The Next Generation’s Impact: 20 Years Later
o The Next Generation’s Legacy: 2007
o Star Trek Visual Effects Magic: A Roundtable Discussion
o Select Historical Data 1
o Inside The Star Trek Archive
o Intergalactic Guest Stars
o Alien Speak
o Select Historical Data 2
o Inside Starfleet Academy Archives: Sets and Props
o Special Profiles
o Dressing The Future

Sunday, September 23, 2007

DVD review: Face/Off 2-disc Special Collector's Edition

Face/Off is one of my all-time favorite action movies. I saw it with my grandpa shortly before he passed away, and we certainly saw John Woo at the top of his American career - tons of explosions, great acting and a unique (if somewhat implausible) plot.

Ten years later, I've grown up a bit and don't find the action film quite as fascinating as I once did, but it's still a great non-stop thrill ride with plenty of over-the-top action. However, to no great surprise, Paramount Pictures has decided to release a 2-disc Special Collector's Edition DVD, a surprisingly good set that fans of Woo especially may want to pick up.

In addition to director commentary, there are seven deleted or alternate scenes that are some of the better deleted scenes you can find these days. They are most interesting with the optional commentary, as you can hear why the scenes were cut. The crew talks a bit about how some scenes (like one of Travolta crying) were cut after poor audience reactions. An alternate ending is also included, which is quite interesting as well.

The real strength of the 2-disc set are several featurettes, including an extremely interesting documentary called John Woo: A Life in Pictures. The mini-film basically has Mr. Woo talking about his struggles as a child to get out of poverty, what kinds of films inspired him (musicals!) and so on and so forth. This is one of the more interesting featurettes I've seen on the DVD.

The other big chunk of special features comes from several chapters of a making-of documentary for Face/Off, which goes fairly in depth and includes actor and crew interviews and other insight. The most interesting thing I learned was that Face/Off was originally planned to be set in the future, but due to budget cuts and a fear that some of the emotion would be sucked from the film, the story was rewritten to take place in modern day.

Read more information about Face/Off.

Movie Review: Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises does have a lot to promise. Featuring top notch talent such as Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, director David Cronenberg hot off his last award-winning [and Mortensen-starring] masterpiece A History of Violence and an unsettling plot about a woman who has accidentally become entwined with the Russian mafia, expectations for the film were high. And Eastern Promises lives up to them... for the most part.

As one might expect, Eastern Promises has its fair amount of ultra violence, which Cronenberg seems to enjoy adding even when his films appeal most to adult audiences. Some may find the violence or at least the gore (necks getting sawed at with razor blades until blood is squirting profusely from severed arteries, knives to the eyes, etc.) unnecessary, but that is part of the reason I am a growing fan of Cronenberg's work. Even in the most subtle or raw dramas (I am mainly referring to A History of Violence), he likes to shock the audience with sudden bouts of violence. The audience becomes squeamish, but that's all part of the act: his movie is about regular people who get involved with nasty things, and he makes the audience react accordingly.

Read the full Eastern Promises movie review...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm Not There Movie Poster

Here's the movie poster for I'm Not There, the Bob Dylan biopic that stars several actors as the main character (including Cate Blanchett). Interesting concept...

Alien vs. Predator Requiem Poster

Here's the first movie poster for Alien vs. Predator Requiem. It's really not that good. The tagline, "This Christmas there will be no peace on Earth" just exudes cheesiness, and the graphic of Predator and Alien coming out of the Earth while still wrapped around it just looks stupid. Are they trying to make it look like an ornament?

On top of that, the title A V P R is just pretentious and ridiculous. Do you think your franchise is respected and anticipated enough to warrant an abbreviation? No one is going to know what the "R" is, and no one cares.

Click on the poster to see a larger version...

Top 7 Jessica Alba Photos

As with most guys, I'm a big fan of Jessica Alba. She may have yet to star in one really good movie (Sin City, where she plays a stripper, is the one true exception), but she is just good-looking. And it's not just that she's hot... she is down-to-earth, innocent kind of hot, even when she isn't. And without further ado, here are seven photos that I really, really like...

Also, here's my list of Top 6 Worst Jessica Alba movies.

Nothing steamy here, but she just looks very, very pretty.

Jessica Alba in a bikini is never bad.

The short hair look here works.

This is one of those rare pics where she poses as more of a dirty girl, without being completely obvious about it.

Um, this one speaks for itself.

I really think a ski jacket would have been a better look for this picture.

This one unfortunately has Dane Cook in it, but I think she just looks so good right here. The perfect date.

Why Resident Evil: Extinction is a bad movie (movie review)

This weekend is a great weekend for movies. All kinds of Oscar possibilities unleashed themselves upon audiences (at least in the Seattle area), including The Hunting Party, Across the Universe, Eastern Promises and In the Valley of Elah... So why in hell did I go and watch Resident Evil: Extinction?

I'll admit I was looking forward to this second sequel to the popular Resident Evil franchise. Neither the first or second films were particularly great, but they had enough action and mayhem to be entertaining enough. The third had promise: it returns Milla Jovovich to the role of Alice, who has now taken to wandering the ravaged Earth alone. The Earth is now a desert wasteland, not unlike in Mad Max, but amidst the walking dead, the Umbrella Corporation is still searching for Alice with hopes that her blood could cure the world. It's a neat concept, and I liked the direction the film had taken, but...

Resident Evil: Extinction is one of the worst movies of the year.

Read the rest of the Resident Evil: Extinction movie review.

Sydney White: What a horrible title

Sydney White, the latest bland Amanda Bynes movie, hit theaters this weekend, and to no surprise, it only made $1.75 million on Friday (which equates to about $5 million for the weekend, most likely).

So how could this movie have doubled its gross? Easy: it could have stuck with a title that exuded that it was a take-off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Yes, the movie is a modern adaptation (albeit a loose one) of the classic tale, but you would never guess that from the title. An appropriate title would have at least pulled in a few million more people who were curious to see if Bynes, who seems to consistently underachieve, could actually pull this off.

Of course, I just watched the movie trailer for the first time, and the movie looks God-awful. Bynes looks like she has bathed in orange fake-and-bake, and the plot hardly looks like it pays homage to Snow White. But if the title is as bland as Sydney White, a name that in no way exudes Snow White, no one is even going to give it a chance.

Friday Box Office Numbers: Resident Evil wins, of course

Resident Evil will easily win the weekend as it took in $8.8 million on Friday; Good Luck Chuck came in second with $4.4 million; Eastern Promises, unfortunately, made only $1.9, though for a David Cronenberg film I guess it could be worse...

Thankfully, Sydney White earned only $1.75 million. Here's the full list, courtesy of Box Office Psychics:

1. Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony) – $8.8M
2. Good Luck Chuck (Lionsgate) - $4.4M
3. The Brave One (Warner Bros) – $2.3M
4. Eastern Promises (Focus Features) – $1.9M
5. 3:10 to Yuma (Lionsgate) - $1.8M
6. Sydney White (Universal) - $1.75M
7. Mr. Woodcock (New Line) – $1.45M
8. Superbad (Sony) - $850,000
9. The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal) - $810,000
10. Across the Universe (Universal) - $570,000
*In the Valley of Elah (Warner Independent) - $270,000
*The Hunting Party (MGM/Weinstein) - $166,000

Monday, September 17, 2007

Movie Review: The Lives of Others (2006)

The winner for Best Foreign Language Picture at this year's Academy Awards, The Lives of Others is a captivating tale of espionage, love, betrayal, and a realization of one's individual power.

Set in East Germany a few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the film takes a look at Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler, an interrogator/investigator (Ulrich Mühe) who is assigned to watch George Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), a writer who is believed to be compassionate to the West, at least according to a political rival. With wiretaps in every facet of the Dreyman's home, Wiesler becomes intimately involved in the lives of the writer and his girlfriend, rising actress Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck). As the couple's relationship hangs by a thread and Dreyman considers turning his back on communism once and for all, Wiesler finds himself questioning his very nature, purpose and loyalty.

The Lives of Others bears possession to several great performances, a captivating story and wonderfully seductive direction. Mühe portrays one of the most unpredictable and intriguing protagonists in year, a man who has built his life around an ideal and in one final mission starts questioning his own beliefs. It is clear from the start that he has compassion for these people, but even when he starts to protect them, will he really take that extra step to save either of their lives? Often silent, Mühe looks a lot like Kevin Spacey and has the talent to boot.

Koch is also excellent in an equally leading role.

Little else needs to be said. This is one of the best foreign films of the year (though I'd argue that Pan's Labyrinth, the favorite to win Best Foreign Language Picture, is better) and deserves the recognition. Head out to your video store right now and pick this one up.

Movie Review: Wind Chill (2007)

Believe it or not, Wind Chill actually came to theaters in early 2007, though zero marketing effort amounted to what was probably negative business for the forgettable horror movie. It's a real shame that the movie isn't just a little better, as it offers two very good performances from the leads.

Wind Chill is about a college girl (Emily Blunt, best known for The Devil Wears Prada) who hitches a ride with a fellow student only to find that he might not be as innocent as he seems. When they decide (well, he decides) to take a short cut across a snow-filled road, they find themselves at the center of their own worst nightmares. After a car crash, the two bear witness to all kinds of strange activities, namely several nasty ghosts who lurk around the dark and freezing highway. Can they survive the night?

Wind Chill works as a psychological thriller, mainly thanks to the quality performances from Blunt and the resilient Ashton Holmes, whom you'll recognize from a few things. The two, who spend the first half of the movie arguing and bickering, have great chemistry together, and their "relationship" comes off as very real.

Unfortunately, the horror aspect plays like a weak version of The Shining. Director Gregory Jacobs clearly wanted to go the psychological route and deliver a trippy journey into Hell, but the ghosts come so sporadically and with so little climax that you almost forget that you're watching a ghost story. When the ghosts do appear, they are a bit creepy, but the movie never really feels even remotely scary.

Respect Wind Chill for its performances, but a little more horror could have made these a sleeper hit. As is, it will quickly be forgotten.

Movie Review: Sherrybaby

I just finished watching Sherrybaby, an indie drama where Maggie Gyllenhaal shows some nudity, and, more importantly, a very raw and powerful performance.

Gyllenhaal, who seems to always be overshadowed by her brother (though just barely), once again shows that she is an extremely talented actress. Here, she plays a young woman recently released from prison after a long stint for stealing and drug use. Looking to get her life back on track, she lands a decent job but discovers that her daughter has been "adopted" by her brother and his wife. As tensions increase within her family, she finds herself struggling to stay clean and avoid breaking parole.

The talented actress is the star of the show, as she shows great range in exploring the positives and negatives of any troubled person. Her performance alone makes Sherrybaby worth it, though the movie itself, written and directed by Laurie Collyer, is surprisingly good as well. A drama that strikes the right chords without much if any melodrama, Sherrybaby is a captivating tale of a woman who hinges on the verge of collapse but who somehow always manages to stay afloat. Will she fold at the end, or will she prevail? Collyer keeps you guessing.

Sherrybaby is a nice little drama with one great performance. The supporting cast isn't anything to scream about, except for the surprisingly different Danny Trejo, but Maggie Gyllenhaal is at her very best here.

Movie Review: Perfect Stranger

Halle Berry continues to prove she's a one-hit wonder with Perfect Stranger, a drab thriller that once again shows the Oscar-winning actress delivering a cardboard performance amidst a poorly scripted and directed story.

Perfect Stranger is about a journalist who goes undercover to investigate a friend's murder. She believes one of the richest men in New York, Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), is responsible for the woman's death, and starts working for him to get into his life. Sexual tension ensues, but not much else.

Directed by James Foley, the man behind the surprisingly sharp heist flick Confidence, Perfect Stranger appears as though the concept was created by a computer nerd who wanted Halle Berry to star in a Basic Instinct kind of picture. Take out the sex, the intrigue and the plot and you get what you see, a thriller that doesn't really know where it's going and where the most memorable part of the movie is a sequence where Berry has cyber sex.

I'll admit that I started tuning this film out about halfway through, so by the time it gets to its twists (and it does have some, by the way), I really wasn't paying attention. I won't disclose them, partially because I don't want to spoil them for anyone who does decide to risk it, and because I didn't really follow them. Regardless, I will comment on one development that really isn't a twist, and that is the dark nature of Giovanni Ribisi's character. While I wasn't too impressed with the film in general, Perfect Stranger does offer up a few creepy shots and realizations that Ribisi is not the wonderful friend of Berry's that he appears to be.

In reality, the highlight of the film is Ribisi. This guy consistently proves that he is one of the most talented and underrated actors in the business, and I hope that some day he gets his due. He's appeared in great films (and memorable roles) such as Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room, and it's a shame to see him in pictures like Perfect Stranger. I'd say the same about Berry, who has actually earned an Oscar, but I've come to expect low quality ventures from her. Unlike Ribisi, she just doesn't seem right in this film for whatever reason.

Perfect Stranger has its moments and those who enjoy B-grade thrillers may appreciate aspects of the film, but overall it is a disappointing and under whelming entry for Halle Berry. Oh, and Bruce Willis, too.

Movie Review: DOA: Dead or Alive (2007)

DOA: Dead or Alive is based on a popular video game I've never heard of, and if the movie is any indication of the quality of the game, there can't be much to it. While the movie offers some cheesy but "fun" fight sequences, it is one of the dumbest movies I've seen in a long time.

Jaime Presley, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter and Natassia Malthe star in the movie, which pretty much strives to show them in various skimpy outfits and kicking ass, but at a PG-13 level. This movie might have been one thing had it contained sex, violence, nudity and an R-rating, but at a pretty weak PG-13 movie, DOA really doesn't have a purpose. Its plot is about as ludicrous as they come, and the film itself looks like a low-budget Charlie's Angels.

Ultimately, the movie is watchable due to its many action scenes; director Corey Yuen seems to have had fun doing camera tricks to add an Asian flare to the picture, and there's certainly enough fights to keep things moving. Still, the action scenes are ultimately cheesy and uninteresting, as is the whole movie.

There's not much to say about DOA that every single person on this fine little planet knew from the first previews, and that is that it sucks. I've seen worse, but DOA has about as much intrigue and innuendo as a Barney episode.

Movie Review: The Condemned (2007)

Wow. I was prepared to lay into The Condemned and tear Steve Austin a new one for being foolish enough to believe that he could make the transition from the "WWF" to the big screen, but the movie is shockingly entertaining, not at all too cheesy and not nearly as stupid as you'd expect.

The Condemned stars Austin as one of ten convicted felons who have been taken from prison, placed on an island full of cameras and forced to fight to the death for their own freedom. Conceived by a money-hungry millionaire who is looking to take advantage of the Internet by web-broadcasting his sudden death competition, the show immediately becomes a hit, despite its controversial nature. Back on the island, Austin becomes a reluctant killer to survive.

The concept is a pretty lame one, and not something that could be turned into a believable or respectable action film. Or is it? Director Scott Wiper has delivered a fun and relatively brutal action movie that has plenty of fighting, some explosions and a plot that while not particularly believable, still works. Even the movie's attempt to question the world's love of violence doesn't fall flat, even though "WWF" fans looking for non-stop action may be a little violence.

Maybe The Condemned is a recipient of lowered expectations, but the film was thoroughly entertaining. Sure, it doesn't have deep characters, but Austin is likable enough and Vinnie Jones evil enough to establish some clear protagonists and antagonists. The action isn't the best ever captured on screen, but for a mindless action film, it is more than acceptable.

In the end, The Condemned is a fun little guy's film full of punches, slams, explosions and gunfights, and that's all that's really needed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Movie Review: Halloween (2007)

Halloween was a tired franchise. Started nearly thirty years ago, the adventures of silent killer Michael Myers had become trite. Some of the many sequels were okay, even entertaining, but none even came close to living up to the creepy simplicity of the original John Carpenter film. That is, until Rob Zombie took over.

I'm no Zombie lover, even though I respected House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects for being absolutely f**ked up movies. The announcement that he would be directing Halloween, a remake, brought excitement among some, trepidation among others, and an optimistic skepticism from me. Could Zombie succeed in making something fresh?

Of course, "fresh" is relative. How can someone make a "fresh" horror movie that is a remake of a timeless classic? Here's how...

This new version of Halloween starts off with Michael Myers as a child. He's an ugly kid, and as such has resorted to his comfort zone behind one of many masks that he has either purchased or bought. Unlike in Carpenter's original, where we are given a minute's teaser before his family is filleted throughout the house, Zombie explores Michael's origins in depth, spending a good thirty or forty minutes before the killer finally and permanently dons his final mask. Some were worried that Zombie's exploration of Michael's roots would take away from the eerie coldness that has made Michael one of the best movie villains ever, but that just doesn't happen. While Zombie does drill into the life of Michael Myers more than ever before, he succeeds in making the killer even more chilling and creepy.

The rest of the movie is more of a straight remake of Carpenter's original, as Michael Myers goes on a bloody rampage. I don't remember much of the original, but even if Zombie's remake is just that, a remake, it's an impressive one. 2007's Halloween is gore-filled and action-packed, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It isn't scary per se, but Zombie certainly maintains a high level of tension.

The only real weakness in the film is the supporting cast. Malcolm McDowell is excellent as Dr. Loomis, but the unlucky victims aren't given enough development to make us care much about them. Scout Taylor-Compton turns in a pretty decent performance as the leading female Laurie Strode, but she's certainly no Jamie Lee Curtis. Of course, it's pretty cruel to make comparisons to the horror queen, so I'll add that she does an adequately good job.

Halloween isn't perfect, and in the end, it is just a remake, but with plenty of bloody violence and a psychological exploration of the boy who becomes Michael Myers, Rob Zombie's version is certainly one of the best of the franchise. In terms of slasher pictures, it is one of the best I've seen in years.

Movie Review: Death at a Funeral (2007)

Chaos is unleashed in Frank Oz's new picture about a family just trying to get through a funeral. What should have been a depressing but relatively unmemorable day turns out to be anything but, and the end result is a relatively entertaining comedy called Death at a Funeral.

The movie stars Matthew Macfadyen as Daniel, a man who is holding a service for his late father. Struggling under the shadow of his more popular older brother, he has invited his father's friends and relatives for a simple, quiet send off. Unfortunately, one man has showed up accidentally high on acid, and he spends most of his time running around naked and admiring bushes. Even worse, another man has shown up to blackmail him, and he has to figure out how to keep the guy quiet without ruining his father's reputation - and saving his much-needed money.

Death at a Funeral starts off rather slow. It has its funny moments, but overall is rather bland for a comedy. But when everything starts to piece itself together, you realize that Oz has just been setting you up for the rest of the story, a tight, fast-paced comedy that doesn't always offer up the best laughs but still is consistently entertaining.

I would have liked to see a few more ludicrous situations, or perhaps a little more spark to the characters (you can tell they're trying, but their humor is just not coming across), but as is, Death at a Funeral still works. The characters are likable, even if they aren't used to their full potential, and Macfadyen is good in the lead. In reality, the humor here is a lot more direct and situational than I was expecting, as I figured it would be more of a low-budget British comedy with extremely dry humor and not much else.

Death of a Funeral isn't a great film, but if you like comedies that star British people and enjoy films off the beaten track, it is a nice change of pace. Overall, it is a very entertaining hour and a half.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Kathy Griffin should not be edited from the Emmy's

Kathy Griffin won an Emmy for Best Reality Program for "My Life on the D-List", but people are talking about what she said when she won - and I'm going to talk about what is being done about it.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said they are going to cut her comments from the pre-taped telecast, which in my view just mounts to my growing concern about censorship in America. Why is the broadcast to decide what is acceptable and what is not, what is funny and what is not?

Here's what she said:

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."

This comment apparently drew fire from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a Roman Catholic group, which called Griffin's remarks "obscene and blasphemous." Are you kidding me? People say stuff worse than that every day, and those people aren't even comedians.

More importantly, the league's president, Bill Donohue, said, "It is a sure bet that if Griffin had said, 'Suck it, Muhammad,' there would have been a very different reaction" and went on to ask TV academy president Dick ASkin to denounce Griffin's "hate speech" and on Griffin to apologize (source: Reuters).

Yeah, there would have been a different reaction had she blasted Muhammad, because in this country, Muslims are a minority, and right now a sensitive minority at that. There is a reason why white people can't make fun of blacks - because blacks are a minority and whites are the majority. It's the same thing for Christianity - if you can't criticize the vast majority, then it sure as hell doesn't sound like what the United States is supposed to be.

I can't stand these religious people that get so offended by little comments like this. It's a comedian's job to get reactions out of people - why put fuel on the fire? If you're offended, fine, but just change the channel or get over it. It's not going to kill you.

As for the academy and its decision to air an edited version of the show, how ridiculous. The comment is hardly groundbreaking, and to bend over for a religious group that wants you to call it "hate speech", you have your priorities seriously misaligned.

Bottom line: The majority needs to be able to laugh at itself. If you're offended, move on. If you find it funny, laugh. And items like this should not be censored because a specific group demands it - what about the rest of the audience who wants to see something that hasn't gone through the Nazi filters?

Oh, and here's what Griffin had to say: "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movie review: Macbeth (2007)

One of the weirder movies of the year, the most recent adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth is set in modern day Australia. Helmed by Aussie Geoffrey Wright and starring an Australian cast, the movie is like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, only without the directing or acting talent. Still, for the presumably smaller budget, the movie is entertaining enough to warrant interest among those who like twists on Shakespeare tales.

Not having an acute knowledge of Shakespeare's plays or being a master of understanding his lines of dialogue (this film is spoken in the original Shakespearean), part way through the movie, having not always paid attention or understood everything up until that point, I had to look up the plot online, but once I knew the basic framework of the story, things clicked and I started to enjoy myself. Given that the film is set in modern day, the notion of kings and generals that is so essential to this story is a bit lost, and Wright doesn't do the best job of establishing who is what at the outset. In other words, you have to know something about the play to figure out that Duncan is indeed a king and Macbeth a general (well, I figured it out when he is murdered).

This version of Macbeth is quite twisted, as it has a more sexual spin to it than you'd might expect. While there are witches in the original play, the witches here, who look like The Craft meets Underworld, are pure sexual beings, and don't mind having foursomes with our title character. The film is strange, as it probably takes the supernatural elements of Shakespeare's play to the extreme; the witch sequences are particularly bizarre.

Director Wright has created a very energetic little movie, but his approach is a little too frenetic at times. The editing is extremely fast at times, and Wright appears to have tried to be edgy for the sake of being edgy. Had he calmed down a little bit, the movie would have come off as a bit more sincere and less MTV-ish.

Aside from the occasionally crazy directing, Macbeth is a decent film that will appeal to those who liked Romeo + Juliet. Still, the movie lacks the quality, sincerity and emotional draw of Luhrmann's adaptation. I wouldn't compare the two except it is so clear that Wright wanted to follow in Luhrmann's footsteps.

New Lust, Caution (2007) Movie Photos

I'm really excited to see Lust, Caution. Not only does it look like a tense and erotic thriller that has a good chance at winning awards at the end of the year (it's already won the Venice Film Festival), but it is NC-17 and promises tons of nudity. Here are some pics, which may or may not include nudity...

I like saying nudity...

I've added more Lust, Caution movie photos at my website.

Iron Man Teaser Trailer

Here's the official Iron Man teaser trailer... watch it now!

My least favorite Indiana Jones title picked

Paramount announced today that the title of Indiana Jones 4 would be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, an announcement that had me recalling an earlier blog post I did ranking the seven possible Indiana Jones titles.

Guess what... of the seven titles, I had Kingdom of the Crystal Skull listed as my seventh pick. Normally, that'd be good, but when there are only seven options to choose from, that's not good at all. Why didn't Paramount listen to me? They should always listen to me. If they had, they wouldn't have made Reno 911!: Miami or Failure to Launch.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

R-Rated John Rambo Trailer

Watch the new R-Rated John Rambo trailer, which is full of bloody, bloody violence. I still think the title's stupid, but I definitely can't wait to see Sylvester Stallone try for another comeback... - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Senator Larry Craig is an idiot

Senator Larry Craig, the guy who pleaded guilty to making inappropriate sexual advances on a male police officer in a bathroom, is an idiot. It's one thing to speak out against gays and secretly be gay yourself (okay, he's not gay; he just has gay tendencies, and I'm sure a couple weeks at a special camp will fix him of his evil ways), which seems to be a growing trend among Republicans and right wingers. I can't really blame him for trying to make it go away quietly and quickly - after all, who wouldn't?

But I hate stupid people, and if you are someone in public office, or anyone, and especially a Republican, what is the one thing you shouldn't do when caught in a situation like this? Don't plead guilty!

Supposedly, he plead guilty to make things go away quickly, but who in their right mind was admit guilt to something they didn't do, especially something involving in their sexual orientation? I'm about as far from being homophobic as you can get, but if a police officer conducting a sting operation about sexual activities in a bathroom arrests me and accuses me of looking for gay sex, I, being a straight man, would never plead guilty.

And why would a Senator think that no one would ever find out about it?

Basically, the guy's an idiot. There have been rumors that he's gay since 1982 - just come clean. It might damage or kill your political career, but, you never know, it might feel a hell of a let better coming out of the closet. Of course, He'll still have to deal with the fact that he's an idiot gay (homosexuals are fine, but dumb homosexuals are, like dumb heterosexuals, a waste of oxygen).

Rants and raves of a pissed off 25-year old

I had a bad day. Okay, I've only had a bad couple of hours. Most of my day was just fine - my boss was away on meetings, so I was pretty relaxed but still shelling through projects like no other. I was actually scratching items off my to-do list, which is quite plentiful. I go to lunch with a couple female coworkers, to Indian no less, my favorite foreign food (nothing tops an American cheeseburger!) at one of the best restaurants in town.

4:45. Almost time to go home. And then the project from Hell comes in. No, it's not that this project was hard or challenging or all that time consuming or all that pressing, but it seemed like a five minute thing - change the colors of a graph in Microsoft Word - but those five minutes turned into 45 minutes. The graph was just a pain in the ass, and I worked until 5:30 trying to make this f**king thing look just right.

Not long before that, some other project had come in that sounds like a lot of work and not much fun. My to-do list has begun growing once again...

Then, on the way home, I get cut off by some guy in a minivan who thinks he can push past me, nearly literally, to merge lanes at the last second. I honk, but not nearly for long enough. Traffic is stop and go, and as I near my apartment this woman is trying to turn left out of the parking lot - this stupid minivan, who is still in front of me, decides to stop right in front of her instead of letting her turn out. What a f**king asshole!

To cap it off, the Seattle Mariners, my home team, just gave up seven or eight runs in the 7th or 8th inning for the second night in a row - to the blasted Yankees, no less. The Mariners, who were just recently only two games back of the Angels for first place in the division, are now something like eight games back with less than a month ago, and assuredly three games back of the Yankees. Within the next half hour, the Mariners will have lost 11 of their last 12 games after a magnificent season. What a complete and utter meltdown!

So, that's my day in a nutshell.

Transfomers DVD release date and special features

Transformers is coming to DVD October 16th as 1-disc standard DVD, a 2-disc special edition and a 2-disc HD-DVD. Here are the features:

Transformers Special Edition DVD

  • Disc 1:

    • Feature film
    • Commentary by Michael Bay

  • Disc 2:

    • Our World
      • The Story Sparks - Steven Spielberg discusses his love for the franchise and early concept art for the film. Explores how the writers adapted the cartoon into a live-action movie and why Michael Bay is the perfect director for the film.
      • Human Allies - A look at how the actors were selected and their experiences on the set.
      • I Fight Giant Robots - An exploration of the military training that
      • Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson underwent for their roles and the various stunts that the actors were asked to perform.
      • Battleground - A piece on the senior officials from the Department of Defense and Air Force who consulted on the film to give it authenticity and the key locations that the U.S. government provided access to.
      • Their War
      • Rise of the Robots - Explores the interaction between Hasbro designers and Michael Bay to bring the toy line roaring to life.
      • AUTOBOTS Roll Out - Michael Bay discusses working with Chevy and its designers and the modifications that were made to the cars seen in the film.
      • DECEPTICONS Strike - The film’s military advisors discuss the “toys” they allowed the production to borrow: F-22 Raptors, Ospreys and A-10 Warthogs.
      • Inside the AllSpark - ILM’s digital artists discuss the challenges of bringing the TRANSFORMERS to life.
    • More Than Meets The Eye
      • From Script to Sand: The SKORPONOK Desert Attack - An in-depth look at the making of this particularly epic and challenging scene from initial storyboarding through production and visual effects.
      • Concepts - Early sketch concepts of the robots.
      • Trailers

Transformers HD-DVD

The HD DVD includes the above special features as well as this exclusive content:

  • Disc 1:

    • TRANSFORMERS H.U.D. (Heads Up Display)—In this mode, viewers can access running text-based behind-the-scenes background information on the production during the feature. Users can also watch relevant picture-in-picture b-roll and video with Bay, Spielberg and other filmmakers during select sequences.
    • Transformers Intelligence Mode web-enabled features consist of:
      • Transformation Mode
      • Health Meter
      • Weapon Mode
      • Robot Bio
      • In Scene Indicator
      • Text Ticker
      • GPS
  • Disc 2:
    • TRANSFORMERS Tech Inspector - Gives viewers an unprecedented look at the TRANSFORMERS robots through the exquisitely detailed models created by ILM artists. Users can zoom in on each detail for a closer examination and pause and change the rotation of the models.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

11 reasons why 24: Season 6 sucked

I'm a fan of 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland. The show has offered up some great television and, at least at first, some original and gritty excitement. The show has had its ups and downs - after a killer first season, the second season left little to be desired for. But then it picked itself back up again and delivered some quality subsequent seasons, culminating in the extraordinary Season 5, which had twists, turns and everything else in between.

Season 6 showed so much promise, but by part way through the season, I was considering leaving. I stuck with it - a bold move on my part, and a move that ultimately wasn't worth the risk. With 24: Season 6 coming to DVD December 4th, here are 11 reasons why 24: Season 6 sucked:

1. 24 failed to capitalize on the Chinese abduction. At the end of Season 5, Jack gets kidnapped by the Chinese and is shown being shipped away to the mainland inside a cargo container. The sixth season could have taken place in China, for once taking the show outside the U.S. and giving us some fresh scenery. Instead, Jack returns in the first episode so he can face off against -yes, you guessed it - Islamic terrorists!

2. 24 tried to wrap up loose ends from Season 5. Why did Season 6 have to involve the seedy, Nixon-like President who was taken down in the season finale? Why did we have to get subjected to his annoying and psychotic ex-wife, who ends up actually going psycho and stabbing and presumably killing the former President? It was a pointless side story that was about as far from believable as things can get.

3. 24: Season 6 played the family card. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a show introduces the main character's family as a way to stretch the story and the character. Alias did this and flopped because of it. Other shows have done this as well, though I can't think of any off the top of my head. When it was revealed that Jack's brother (Paul McCrane) was a villain we had seen over several seasons, it was a bit cool, but also rather stomach churning. When his father (James Cromwell) turned out to be an even worse guy, believability just went right out the window.

4. They kill off Curtis. Season 5 started off by killing off nearly half the cast. While it was disappointing that some great characters were killed, it was also pretty "cool". But enough is enough. In Season 6, Curtis, a bad-ass with a cool temper, goes crazy and nearly kills a former terrorist. Jack, to protect information, kills Curtis. It doesn't make any sense, ruins the reputation of one of 24's best characters and kills him off early in the game.

5. CTU gets invaded once again. How crappy is CTU's security? Their headquarters have been invaded at least two times, if not more, not to mention the constant informants and spies who sneak inside. After Season 5's approach to a direct assault, Season 6's version pales in comparison. It's just ridiculous.

6. James Cromwell isn't used to his full potential. The addition of James Cromwell to the cast, especially as villian, should have been the highlight and focus of the series. Instead, he is given the role of a psycho father who is trying to defect to China. He disappears for most of the season and then reappears at the end after the writers failed to come up with fresh ideas. What a waste of a good actor.

7. Paul McCrane is killed off way too early. McCrane, who was my favorite actor on E.R., had shown his weaselly face over the last few seasons, but it wasn't until this season that he was given a more prominent role and revealed to be Jack's brother. Unfortunately, he gets killed off so early in the season that we don't get to see him do much at all.

8. Jack's nephew is an idiot. Season 6 introduces a young teenage boy who is the complete antithesis of Jack Bauer: he acts stupid, looks stupid and gets himself into more trouble than his uncle, but doesn't have a game plan on how to escape. The character becomes more important toward the end of the season, thus making the end of the season all the more painful.

9. The meandering storyline was too meandering. 24 is known for its moving storyline, as the writers, over the course of the season, key in on stories that audiences react to and veer away from stories the audiences don't like. However, it is clear that in this season, the writers 1) didn't know what they were doing, 2) didn't listen to the audience after the first couple of episodes and 3) were so strapped for ideas that every couple of episodes they decided to throw something new at us with hopes that they would stick (and none did). The plot of Season 6 starts out with Islamic terrorists, moves to a showdown with the Russians, circles back to some crazy Chinese diplomats and eventually ends on Jack Bauer's dad trying to kidnap his own grandson. Are there any bad guys left in the world?

10. Morris sucks, and ruins the Chloe character. Chloe, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, has slowly become one of the most popular characters on 24, despite being portrayed as weird, bitchy, nerdy and not all that attractive. Still, her bluntness and don't-take-shit-from-anyone attitude is great. Nonetheless, this year the writers tried to expand on her character by putting her at the center of a love triangle, and it blows up in our face. The love triangle isn't interesting or believable, and we get stuck with a whiny baby by the name of Morris as her ex-husband.

11. They make William Devane an asshole. Devane, who played the Secretary of Defense a season or two back, was awesome. He was a bad-ass who liked Jack Bauer and controlled every scene he was in. In the brief time he appears in Season 6, he kicks Jack Bauer while he's down and shows no sympathy toward the man who loves his daughter. What the hell?

Corey Haim out of Lost Boys 2

As if anyone really cares, one of the two stars of The Two Coreys, Corey Haim, has been dropped from the direct-to-DVD sequel The Lost Boys 2: The Tribe. I haven't watched the show, but I'm pretty sure The Two Coreys is a quasi-reality series about Corey Feldman and Corey Haim looking for their comeback with The Lost Boys 2, as if a direct-to-DVD sequel is really going to spark a comeback. But if that's so, what a freaking slap in the face!

Personally, I'd never even heard of Corey Haim before a few days ago, when I heard a discussion about how crappy the show was on Jackie and Bender. I've heard of Corey Feldman, of course (and don't worry - he, along with Jamison Newlander, is returning as one of the two Frog Brothers)

I'm not quite sure why Haim was dropped from the project, but I believe it had something to do with visa issues since the movie is being filmed in Canada. Anyway, here's a video of the guy talking about his bitch slap:

Here's the official synopsis:

The sequel takes us to the shady surf city of Luna Bay, California, where vampires quickly dispatch anyone who crosses their path. Into this dark world arrive Chris Emerson (Tad Hilgenbrink) and his younger sister, Nicole (Autumn Reeser). Having just lost their parents in a car accident, the siblings move in with their eccentric Aunt Jillian and become new prey for the locals' way of life. When Nicole unwittingly falls for a local vampire, Chris must locate and destroy the gang's lifeline before his sister's transformation is complete; to do this Chris finds himself relying on the expertise of none other than Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman). Subtle references to characters from the original film, and cameos from returning actors offer homage to the Lost Boys legend and set a sinister tone of impending doom.

James Bond looking more like Jason Bourne

Ever since The Bourne Identity hit theaters and most certainly since The Bourne Supremacy wowed audiences, James Bond has been taking a beating for offering up out-of-date and bland action sequences. Of course, Casino Royale made up for a lot of that with a grittier, more violent approach, but the Bond franchise has taken another step toward showing it means business by hiring Dan Bradley, who was the action designer for the last two Bourne flicks.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Bradley plotted out and directed the acclaimed fight sequences and car chases as the stunt coordinator and second unit director of the two Paul Greengrass-helmed Bourne sequels and will service the working-titled Bond 22 in much the same capacity. The producers want him to continue and build on the more realistic and gritty approach to the veteran British spy begun in last year's Casino Royale."
Bond 22
will most likely begin shooting this winter.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Red band trailer review: 30 Days of Night

Wow, has anyone watched the previews for the upcoming movie 30 Days of Night? The red band trailer for the vampire movie is online over at the official site,, and all I can say is this movie looks pretty damn freaky.

Josh Hartnett and Melissa George star in the movie about a sheriff and some other people who live in a northern town where night spans for thirty days. Unfortunately for them, there happens to be vampires in the area, and those vampires have decided to feast.

The movie looks bloody, gory and exciting, and provides a slightly new slant to vampire mythology. Who knows - maybe 30 Days of Night will end up just like any other slasher/monster flick - but the marketing team has definitely assembled a very violent and intense trailer which will have me heading to theaters when this film arrives on October 19th.

For more information, visit my 30 Days of Night preview page.

Five new movie contests - DVDs, posters and more!

I've launched five new movie contests over at my movie website,, and I'm giving away several DVDs, posters, T-shirts and so on and so forth...

The City of Violence DVD
The latest release under the premier martial arts Dragon Dynasty label from The Weinstein Company and Genius Products, The City of Violence is a slick, edgy action-packed ride full of surprising plot twists and dazzling martial arts sequences. The story follows a pair of high school friends who reunite to investigate the murder of one of their own, hurtling toward an epic two-against-the world showdown where they will try to take vengeance at any cost.

Elvis: Viva Las Vegas CD
The CD features music from and is inspired by the ABC television special ELVIS: VIVA LAS VEGAS - the visual chronicle of Elvis's life during the Vegas years with particular focus on his music, his ground-breaking style and his legacy . The ABC Special, currently scheduled to air on Tuesday September 18th at 9pm EST, will examine how the King of Rock-and-Roll re-invented Las Vegas and how it re-invented him.

Air Guitar Nation DVD and T-shirts
Air Guitar Nation is the feature documentary about the year that air guitar swept America - from New York to Los Angeles and then all the way to northern Finland. Air Guitar Nation chronicles the birth of the US Air Guitar Championships and the personal journeys of those talented contestants who are vying to become the first World Air Guitar Champion from the United States. Every August, the Air Guitar World Championships bring thousands of fans all the way to Oulu, Finland to see the world's best air guitarists battle it out for 60 seconds of mock stardom.

The Naked Brothers Band: Battle of the Bands DVD
Being in a band has its perks. But the problems are far from few. Facing rival bands, proving you're the real deal, and sometimes even bickering with your own brother...oh, the life of a rock star!

The Brave One Posters
New York radio host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) has a life that she loves and a fiancé she adores. All of it is taken from her when a brutal attack leaves Erica badly wounded and her fiancé dead. Unable to move past the tragedy, Erica begins prowling the city streets at night to track down the men she holds responsible. Her dark pursuit of justice catches the public’s attention, and the city is riveted by her anonymous exploits. But with the NYPD desperate to find the culprit and a dogged police detective (Terrence Howard) hot on her trail, she must decide whether her quest for revenge is truly the right path, or if she is becoming the very thing she is trying to stop.

Unrated Eyes Wide Shut coming to DVD

It sounds like Eyes Wide Shut will finally be seen in the way it was meant to be seen. Some may remember the controversy regarding Stanley Kubrick's last film, where certain orgy scenes were deemed to explicit for R-rated audiences. Slapped with an NC-17 rating, the producers decided to place digital characters over certain parts of the film to drop the film back down to an R.

According to The Digital Bits, a two-disc special edition Eyes Wide Shut DVD will arrive in stores October 23, 2007, and included both the rated and unrated versions.

Harry Potter casting news: Helena Bonham Carter returns

To no great surprise, Helena Bonham Carter has rejoined the cast for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth and almost final installment of the Harry Potter franchise.

The news comes from The Independent, which had this to say:

English rose Bonham Carter has most recently won plaudits for her portrayal of Harry Potter villain Bellatrix Lestrange, the female Death Eater (boo, hiss).

She is cast again for the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, scheduled to begin filming in two months for a November 2008 release. Her publicist said yesterday that Bonham Carter was not due back on the Potter set until the spring.

I just wish the movie had a different director...

DVD review: The Number 23

Jim Carrey's The Number 23 is now out on DVD, and with it comes his so-so thriller. You can read The Number 23 movie review here, but proceed to explore the depths of the human mind... or at least the DVD special features that come along with this so-so thriller.

I am not one to review the video or audio quality of DVDs, as honestly, I really can't tell the difference nor do I have the time to examine how many lines of pixels are appearing on the screen. But I do have just enough intelligence to review the special features, and the box touts that it "includes both theatrical and unrated versions of the film, loaded with bonus material". This is pretty much bullshit.

Yes, the DVD has both rated and unrated versions, and yes, it has some special features, but "loaded" with special features? I think not. You can watch 16 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) separately from watching the whole movie again (who in hell would want to do that again?), and if you didn't find the movie itself all that good, you won't find the deleted scenes all that interesting, either. There are a few moments worthwhile, but for the most part the deleted scenes were deleted for a reason.

The behind-the-scenes featurettes are decent and give some insight into the actors' views of their characters, but as with most of these semi-promotional behind-the-scenes featurettes, the actors mainly discuss how they find their characters so deep and challenging. When do they not say this? They'd say this if they were starring in a fluffy romantic comedy...

Basically, the special features are lacking in quality and quantity, though fans of the film will probably enjoy them more than I did.

The Number 23 DVD is already available, as it has been for weeks and weeks (I was so slow in reviewing this item).

DVD review: The Office, Season 3

The Office: Season Three hits DVD this Tuesday, and with it comes the buckets of laughs that this season delivered. As a huge fan of the show (and a defender that it is indeed better than the original British version), I've been highly awaiting this release, as it's one of the few shows that I can watch over and over again.

I'm not a huge comedy fan, and of everything I watch on television, The Office is the only comedy I watch religiously. With the occasional flat episode that still is better than most of the sitcoms out there, the season is full of punchy, water cooler comedy that often gets repeated at my real office the next day (and not always by me). As I traverse through these episodes once again, I am reminded of some of the highlights of the season, including Jim's expression after unleashing Dwight-competitor Andy upon Pam, an expression awkward heterosexual man-kiss between boss Michael and newly un-closeted Oscar, and a Michael improvisation of a prison convict. All of these highlights are from the first two discs (of the four-disc set) as I haven't gotten farther than that, but glancing over the summaries that are printed on the box (thank God, because how many times do box sets not include an episode summary?), other highlights include Michael's hiring of a stripper and Ben Franklin for his employees, an awkward speech at Phyllis' wedding and so on and so forth.

The DVD is full of special features that include episode commentaries, Toby wraparounds, a Dwight Schrute music video, an interview with Joss Whedon, videos from The Office "Make your own promo" contest and a blooper reel, but the real highlight, the highlight that makes the DVD worth it, are the deleted scenes. Deleted scenes have become overrated, but The Office's deleted scenes are excellent. Each episode has its own slew of deleted scenes, and many of them are hilarious and clearly removed due to time restraints.

Fans of The Office should be thrilled to get more of The Office with this DVD set, and non-fans should at least rent a disc or two to see what the craze is all about. The Office is a hilarious comedy with great acting, characters and writing.

The Office DVD hits stores September 4, 2007.