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View From The Couch

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OUTFOXED: RUPERT MURDOCH'S WAR ON JOURNALISM (2004). During the same week that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 crossed the $100 million mark at the box office, director-producer Robert Greenwald's new documentary was the number one best-selling DVD at Amazon.com, a two-barreled attack which indicates that a substantial number of Americans might (finally) be paying attention. In Moore's film, the raw footage of a befuddled George W. Bush reading My Pet Goat while the World Trade Center went up in flames is the "smoking gun" celluloid that in a just world should galvanize a nation to eject an insidious administration. In Outfoxed, the comparable footage finds odious Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly verbally lashing out at a young man who had lost his dad on 9/11 but who disagrees with the warmongers in the White House -- an unpardonable sin in O'Reilly's beady eyes. It's a disturbing scene, just one of countless in this film that hammers home the point that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's Fox network has never been anything more than a mouthpiece for the Bush administration. Of course, any thinking American already knows this -- even more than Fahrenheit 9/11, this is a partisan piece that largely reiterates what's already been stated many times. Still, that doesn't diminish the impact of the film's message, which is that such blatant propaganda has no right being passed off as objective journalism. DVD extras include a half-hour behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie and the trailer for Greenwald's Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War -- incidentally, another Top 10 bestseller at Amazon.com.
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13 GOING ON 30 (2004). Kicking off in 1987, this charming comedy centers around 13-year-old Jenna Rink, an awkward girl whose only desire is to be "thirty, flirty and thriving." She magically gets her wish granted, waking up in 2004 at the age of 30 and not remembering anything that has transpired over the course of the last 17 years. For emotional support, she tracks down her best friend from childhood, now a freelance photographer (Mark Ruffalo), but as she begins to piece together her teenage and adult years, she realizes that she doesn't like the person she's become. Jennifer Garner, the versatile star of Alias, is irresistible here as the grownup Jenna -- she possesses the flair and instincts of a screwball comedienne -- and if her performance ultimately isn't quite as moving as Tom Hanks' in the thematically similar Big, that might be because the script by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa (the husband-and-wife team behind What Women Want) doesn't delve as deeply into the dark side of being a child trapped inside an adult's body. DVD extras include audio commentary by director Gary Winick, 18 deleted scenes, two "80s Challenge" games, Garner, Ruffalo and other cast members discussing their own experiences as high school geeks (complete with photos), and music videos for Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" and Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl."
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