Digital Breakdown: Skip 'Grudge,' see 'Hellboy' 

A better title for THE GRUDGE 2 (unrated edition), would have been "The Bore Too" — the first "Grudge" starring "Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s" Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t any good, either. This crummy horror remake has "Joan of Arcadia" star Amber Tamblyn fighting off little blue kids along with Gellar, who reprises her role as Karen, the freaked-out former caretaker of the cursed house and surrounding areas.

The main problem with the film (other than being not scary) is that the original Japanese "Ju-On 2" on which it is based was great — and truly frightening — but with a different plot. This American version trails off in so many different directions, even the little blue kids don’t know when to make an appearance.

Problem No. 2 is that this DVD release is the unrated version, while the theatrical release had a PG-13 rating. But even the material added back in to the unrated version can’t save what originally was such a watered-down flick. (Providing new footage rarely works for horror films; "The Grudge 2" follows this theory.).

The DVD also includes three featurettes on the making of the film, deleted scenes, an introduction from executive producer Sam Raimi, and more. The special features are good; it’s too badthe movie’s bad. Price: $28.95. Rent or buy: Rent — if that.


Following up on the excellent science fiction film "Hellboy," this animated sequel continues the adventure of the big, red machine, Abe Sapien and Liz (all voiced by their feature film equivalents, Ron Perlman, Doug Jones and Selma Blair).

"Hellboy: Sword of Storms" has the team battling two vengeful spirits of Japanese legend. While the film is cool and fun, the DVD includes a lot of good material — six featurettes, audio commentary from creator Mike Mignola, a 32-page comic book and more. Price: $19.98. Rent or buy: Buy!


(Courtesy photo) Ben Affleck is excellent as actor George Reeves in "Hollywoodland."

"Hollywoodland" is the film that "The Black Dahlia" should have been. It’s a wonderful 1950s tale of "Adventures of Superman" star George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck) and the mystery behind his apparent suicide. Adrien Brody also stars as a scumbag private investigator who will do anything for a buck, even investigate Reeves’ death when no one else will touch it. The movie has it all: cover-ups, affairs, wonderful costumes, good acting and a compelling story. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: A great rental!


It is interesting to see how the stars of this show, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, have taken different career paths. Hunt probably is still considered an A-lister in Hollywood. Reiser? Not so much. But here you can see them once again in the sitcom that launched their careers; well, at least one career. There’s not much on the DVD besides episodes from the third season. Price: $39.98. Rent or buy: Buy — fans only.


While not as great as the "Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection," this compilation of five films from the master of horror and suspense is nonetheless worth checking out. The lineup features "The Ring," "The Manxman," "Murder!" "The Skin Game" and "Rich and Strange." Do check out the set’s great featurette, "Pure Cinema: The Birth of the Hitchcock Style," which examines the director’s early works. Price: $39.98. Rent or buy: Buy.

Looking for more things to do this weekend? Check out the Food and Entertainment section.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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