DVD Reviews

30 Days (Not Rated)

Morgan Spurlock became famous by eating nothing but McDonald's fast food for a month and chronicling his resulting weight gain in the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me." We can be thankful that Spurlock didn't opt to shoot a sequel at, say, White Castle. Instead, the likeable agit-prop artist with a pincer moustache went on to create a TV show called "30 Days" for the FX channel. The first season, now on DVD, makes "ordinary people" endure month-long social experiments. Spurlock dispatches a homophobic heterosexual to a gay area in San Francisco in one episode; he drops a Christian into a Muslim community in another. Spurlock himself subsists on a minimum-wage income for 30 days (and gleefully sabotages the challenge by splurging on items such as $12 worth of food at the cinema). If it all seems a little too "Wife Swap," well, it is. Yet it's superior edutainment and is occasionally enlightening. Grade: B
– Stephen Humphries

V for Vendetta (R)

Beneath his veiled visage, says the verbose vigilante named V, is an idea: that hope and freedom can vanquish fear and oppression. Beneath the veneer of this big-budget, high-gloss movie is also an idea: that big-budget, high-gloss movies can confront real-world issues, such as the excesses of government. It's the near future, and a fascist regime rules Britain. Leaders profit from a climate of fear of their own creating, helped on by the propaganda machine. V, a vindictive victim of governmental virulence, has vowed to vanquish Parliament, vindicating the work of a 17th-century rebel. He enlists the vexing Evey (Natalie Portman, l.), whose parents were killed by brownshirts. Bursts of violence punctuate long soliloquies that probably worked better in the original graphic novel. (The film often feels like an attractive audiobook.) Violence, V wants us to know, is virtuous when done for a noble cause. Extras: The standard edition has only one 15-minute making of. Vapid. (The deluxe edition comes with a full disc of extras, though.) Grade: B–
– David S. Hauck

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