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“Dollhouse” Season 1
a review by Darby O’Gill

What if you could do anything, be anyone, and nothing you did ever had any consequence? Take one part Quantum Leap, one part Charlie’s Angels, add a truck load of Joss Whedon’s imagination, and you’ve got one hell of a show. If you missed the first season of Dollhouse, you’re in luck because the DVD is out now, and it’s time for you to play catch up. A few of my friends tuned out after episode three, but as I told them, you really need to hang in there till episode six. Episodes one through five are basically stand-alone episodes, to please the network I would imagine, but episode six is a real game changer and is truly where the series shows it’s full potential.

In Dollhouse we follow Echo, played by Eliza Dushku, a seemingly unwilling Active in the Dollhouse, an underground organization that for the right price will program human beings to fit your every need or desire. Actives have had their brains wiped, and are imprinted with new personalities, and abilities, that allow them to become anyone or anything to achieve their objective. What illegal underground organization would be complete, with out an obsessed F.B.I. agent determined to bring them down? Agent Paul Ballard, played by Tahmoh Penikett, finds himself filling that role, and the deeper he digs the more entwined he seems to get. When we first get to the Dollhouse, an Active, codename Alpha, has gone rogue, and in the process has left a trail of bodies in his wake. For some unknown reason Echo was spared. But, that’s not the only unique thing about Echo. She also seems to be retaining, or recalling memories while in her wiped doll state, raising the question, can you ever truly clean a slate?

This show is a dream on so many different levels. For one, it’s an actor’s dream, because they can be a doctor, a lover, a spy, an assassin, or maybe just someone there to help someone that can’t help them self. In episode four, Eliza Dushku and Dichen Lachman play the same character, when Echo and Sierra get imprinted with the same imprint.  Two actors playing the same character, with the same traits and speech pattern at the same time! This is what truly makes this show unique. The cast is amazing! The amount of talent on this show, in front of and behind the camera, truly boggles the mind. The other thing about this show is that it raises smart and intelligent questions dealing with morality. Whether it be slavery, human trafficking, or just basic human rights, Dollhouse once again enforces the belief that mankind will always exploit and abuse any and all technologies they discover. I think the part I liked the most about re-watching season one, was knowing all the twists and turns, and being able to see things I might have missed the first time around. I’ll say it once again; Dollhouse is an amazing television series! Don’t believe me? Well, why don’t you get the DVD, and tune-in to Dollhouse season two this year, and see for yourself? Feel free to thank me later.

Rating:

5 Little People

DVD Special Features:

  • 3 Audio Commentaries on Selected Episodes

Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku do a commentary track for “Ghost,” where they talk about the show’s shoe budget, and while Eliza’s strawberries maybe loud, Joss’ tummy commentary is louder.

Joss Whedon does a commentary track for “Man on the Street,” and talks about the importance of the turning point in this episode.

Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen do a commentary track for the infamous unaired 13th episode “Epitaph One.”

I would have liked a few more commentaries on some more key episodes, but three is better than none.

  • “Epitaph One” Never-Before-Seen 13th Episode

The infamous unaired 13th episode stars Felecia Day and Zack Ward, and takes place in 2019. I would suggest not watching this episode if you want to be surprised by the upcoming relationships and events of the Dollhouse series. It doesn’t tell you the hows and whys, but it does show you things they hope to do with the series. Could be a spoiler for some; you’ve been warned.

  • Original Unaired Pilot “Echo”

This is the pilot episode that Joss pulled the plug on and thus decided to take a three week hiatus to rethink the show opener. I for one am glad he did. The episode moves too fast and gives away way too much. But, it wasn’t a complete loss, because they ended up cutting it up and sprinkling bits and pieces here and there throughout the season.

  • Deleted Scences

  • Making Dollhouse Featurette

A behind the scenes look at the making of Dollhouse

  • Coming Home Featurette

The Cast & Crew share their stories and memories of working on other Joss Whedon shows, Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelFirefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

  • Finding Echo Featurette

A look at Eliza Dushku’s important role as producer and star, and how she and Joss developed the idea for the show.

  • Designing the Perfect Dollhouse Featurette

Joss Whedon takes us on a tour of the soundstage that houses the Dollhouse.

  • A Private Engagement Featurette

The Cast & Crew talk about what their ideal doll would be.

DVD Special Features Rating:

4 Little People


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“The Lost Boys”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, with all these Lost Boys reviews, I figure it was only fair to re-watch the original. Now, I haven’t seen The Lost Boys in at least 15 years, if not longer, and I’m sad to say it doesn’t quite hold up. It’s not that it’s a bad movie; it just isn’t the movie you remember. But, for those of you that might not remember, let’s recap shall we.
When the Emerson family moves to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather, the last thing they ever thought they’d have to adjust to was vampires. Sam Emerson, played by Corey Haim, stumbles upon a comic shop, and the Frog brothers. Edger and Alan Frog are not only horror comic experts, but also the town’s first defense against the town’s vampire infestation. Watching Corey Feldman play Edger Frog, back in 1987, just makes you realize that Feldman has always been trying too hard to act. Was Feldman really so big in the late 80’s, that no one could have told him that a 15 year old boy does not talk like a Vietnam vet that smokes four packets a day? But, let’s get back to those pesky vampires. Michael Emerson, played by Jason Patric… What’s that? No, Michael Emerson is the character’s name. No, it has nothing to do with the Emmy award winning actor Michael Emerson from LOST. I think it’s just a coincidence. Can I get back to the review now? Okay, thanks. Like I was saying, Michael, whose last name just happens to be Emerson, makes the classic 80’s mistake of making eyes at the lead vampire’s girl. He quickly gets mixed up in the wrong crowd, drinks the head vampire’s blood, eats some maggots, and slowly starts to turn into a vampire. When Sam discovers his brother is becoming a blood sucker, it’s up to him and the Frog brothers to find and kill the head vampire, before Michael makes his first kill.
As with most movies you grew up with, this one doesn’t quite playback as bad assed as you may remember, but one thing is for sure, Kiefer Sutherland’s mullet is scarier than his bite. The pacing in the original movie is much better than that of Lost Boys: The Tribe. I think the whole point of The Lost Boys, is what would you do if you found out that vampires are real, and your brother was becoming one? The movie really isn’t about the vampires. I think when they made the sequel, all they wanted to do is show bad ass vampires, but if they hadn’t sacrificed the story they would have had a shot at a good movie. If you haven’t seen The Lost Boys in a long time and love the way you remember it, I would suggest replaying the memory, and skipping the rental.

Rating:

3 Little People



DVD Special Features:

I didn’t get to watch any of the special features yet, but I will at some point. I’ll post an update hopefully in the near future.

“Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Seereez”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Season 1 DVD:

Going back to where it all began, well for the U.S. at least, Sacha Baron Cohen shows us just how great he can be. If you’ve never seen “Da Ali G Show,” I highly recommend picking up this DVD set. Originally airing here in the states on HBO, this six episode series would have made Andy Kaufman proud. Baron Cohen uses his three alter egos: Ali G, Borat, and Brüno, to travel cross America to interview unsuspecting politicians and celebrities. Now this is as real as it gets. I truly wonder how many agents and managers were fired for setting up these interviews. If you watch closely, at times you can see Sacha trying to hold it together, as even he can’t believe just how far the interview has managed to go. Ali G’s interviews with Buzz Aldrin and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in this season are instant classics.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 1 DVD Special Features:

  • The unedited ‘Spyz’ Movie that Ali G pitches in Hollywood

This ten minute short is hilarious and I would love to know the longest it played before being turned off by a Hollywood executive.

  • Unseen footage of Borat at the Hampton’s Horse Show and the American Patriotism Event

This is just uncut footage from the show.

Sadly it’s only on the first episode, but it’s better than nothing. The nice thing is that even though it’s only the one commentary, you do get a real insight into the making of one of these episodes. They talk about the planning of one of these interviews; from how they write a list of things they would like to happen, to a list of crazy things they could only hope to happen. And more often than not they make it to the crazy list.

  • Glossary of Ali G jargon

Not really needed, but there if you want to look at it. It’s just an on screen list of words and phrases. I didn’t really look at all of it.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD:

Ali G, Borat, and Brüno are back for another six episodes of interview hijinks. The one bad thing about this series is that there are not nearly enough episodes. It’s basically more of the same as season one. But let’s be honest, is that really such a bad thing? This series could also be called a collection of the most awkward, whitest fist pumps ever. One of the best interviews of this season has to be Ali G’s chat with Pat Buchanan. Repeatedly in this interview Ali G asks Mr. Buchanan about B.L.T.’s in Iraq. At no point does Buchanan correct him that they are W.M.D.’s, and not B.L.T’s, but he even repeats it back to him. This is one of those moments that you can clearly see Sacha trying to push it as far as he can. After talking about the possibility of B.L.T.’s in Iraq, with or without mustard (gas), Ali then asks, “Is it ever worth fighting a war over sandwiches?” This is why this show is so great. Where else can you see a man be interviewed, that has no idea of what’s really going on… besides Fox News that is. And this series truly does save the best for last. On the credits of the last episode, Ali G interviews, well tries to interview, Andy Rooney. Offended. Confused. Pissed off. These are only a few words that could possibly describe Mr. Rooney’s mood. You really have to see it to appreciate it.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD Special Features:

  • Ali G gives a commencement speech to the graduating class at Harvard

This is the whole speech, which runs a little long, but funny none-the-less. The best part of watching this, is watching the uptight kid sitting behind Ali G sweat and scan the audience as Ali delivers his raunchy speech.

  • Ali G holds an educational summit, interviews linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and visits an historic naval vessel.
  • Borat learns American football in Texas, gets a hunting lesson at an exclusive ranch, and lunches with the Arizona Republican Party.
  • Brüno dishes gossip with a Hollywood stylist, and visits a psychic to speak to his late boyfriend, and much more. (Well not really. These four things are the only special features on the DVD. I really hate when they pull this shit.)

This is just unused footage, it runs just under forty minutes, and has some nice moments in it. One of the best is when Borat is hunting in Texas and outs a hunter’s dislike for Jews. Little does the hunter know that he is talking to a Jew.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People

 

“Transformers” (2007)
a review by Darby O’Gill

Okay, this is the “Holy Grail” of my childhood. I’ve been looking forward to a live action movie of “Transformers” since 1984. So the first time I heard they were making a live action movie, and that Michael Bay was directing, to say I got worried would be something of an understatement. The more I heard about the project, the more I feared its release. Not to say I wasn’t going to see it; I just couldn’t see how Michael Bay and Hollywood were going to do any justice to my childhood dreams. Fast forward to July 4th 2007, and see just how surprised I was. And believe it or not, I liked it.

The movie does a great job of bringing “Transformers” to the masses, and making it a big summer blockbuster movie. I still don’t think this is the movie I dreamed of when I was a kid, but it’ll do. Shia LaBeouf is a big help. That kid is amazing! He really knows how to make you believe in the character he plays in every movie.

I think the one thing that scared me the most about a live action “Transformers” movie was that Hollywood would just simply over do it. There would be just too many robots and big in your face action scenes. This, amazingly, is not the case. The decision to have only a handful of Autobots and Deceptions was a smart move.  Less is more in a Michael Bay film… I KNOW!!! I’m not sure who was pulling the reins on the project (Steven Spielberg maybe?), but thank God they did. If I wanted to nit pick the movie, I could, but I would rather just enjoy it for what it is. The special effects are great, but the sound mixing is amazing! Sound mixer, Kevin O’Connell, or as he’s better known, the man without an Oscar, is the record holder for the most sound mixing nominations and no wins. Twenty in all, with zero wins, which is a crime, because his work on “Transformers” was by far the best of 2007. The use of the original sound effects of the transformation makes a world of difference. The other thing that helps make the world of “Transformers” come to life is the voice talent of Peter Cullen reprising his original role as Optimus Prime. It just would never be the same without that voice. The Mom and Dad’s back and forth is your stereo typical comic relief, but the family’s chemistry works so well. It just works. Look, the movie overall is entertaining. If you are a fan of the old cartoon, just let that love go for two hours, and watch something you never thought you’d be able to see on the big screen.

Rating:

4 Little People

DVD Two-Disc Special Edition Features:

Disc 1:

I think Michael Bay is a truly talented director. His sense of timing, movement, and action cuts makes him an editor’s director. With all that being said, I would never want to spend ten minutes in a room with him. The only person that would enjoy listening to this commentary is Michael Bay. He just tells you these stories about how great he is. “I was the first person to ever do this.” “’Die Hard’ couldn’t do that.” “I’ve got a direct line to the Pentagon.” “My penis is this big. Beat that!” For two hours! If anything I proved my commitment to this blog by sitting through the whole thing, so you won’t ever have to. You’re welcome. I’m not joking, or as Michael Bay would say, “Teasing.” Let me tell you, there are two types of people in this world, those who say, “I’m just kidding/joking” and those who are douche bags and think saying, “I’m just teasing,” will make up for all the asshole things they do to people. I would never tease you. For the love of God, don’t listen to this commentary!

Disc 2:

  • Our World:
    • Explore the world of “Transformers” through interviews with the cast and crew, stunt training footage, and exclusive access to the on-set locations.
  • Their War:
    • Learn more about the Atuobots and Decepticons with exclusive access to production design, military advisors, and digital special effects.
  • More Than Meets The Eye:
    • An in-depth featurette on the making of the Skorponok Desert Attack scene and concept boards.

There is truly hours of behind the scenes and making of footage here. If you enjoyed the movie the special features will be well worth your time… and money.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

5 Little People