Digital Breakdown: Don’t pick up this ‘Stranger’

“Perfect Stranger” is so unbelievable (not to mention predictable) that any possible ending — surprise or otherwise — would fall flat. Halle Berry plays a reporter investigating the chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company (Bruce Willis) who has a past of illicit behavior — and who may have killed her childhood pal. It is a tired, repetitive plot that only could have been helped by a cameo by Bronson Pinchot. OK, not even that. What’s worse than the movie? The lousy special features section that includes just one measly making-of featurette.

Price: $28.95.

Rent or buy: Rent — if that.  


Showtime’s series about a serial killer turned vigilante who then finds honest work as a forensic analyst for the Miami police is an interesting premise. And because the show is on pay TV, its creators don’t have to pull any punches. What’s most captivating is watching how Dexter (played brilliantly by Michael C. Hall) must tread his way among the public, knowing that his real desire and passion are his hunger to kill and feast on the blood of others. Demented, dark and altogether fun, “Dexter” is a must-view for anyone who loves adult drama at its finest.

Price: $39.98.

Rent or buy: Buy.


One of the few recent successful dramedies, “Ugly Betty” is the tale of a young woman who finds herself working at a top fashion magazine where style is everything. Of course, she has absolutely none. America Ferrera is great in the lead role as a smart, sassy assistant who is surrounded by beautiful women and huge egos. The DVD includes all 23 episodes from the first season and, unfortunately, not much else. It’s still worthwhile viewing.

Price: $59.99.

Rent or buy: Buy.


A survivor from Fox’s 2006 fall lineup, “’Til Death” stars Brad Garrett of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame and Joely Fisher in a sitcom that continues television’s passion with poking fun at the institution of marriage. Given the schlock that’s come out on TV recently — and what we have to look forward to in the 2007 season (“Cavemen” anyone?) — this is a decent show.

Price: $39.95.

Rent or buy: A good rental.


This release is an example of how to drive audiences away. South By Southwest (SXSW) Musical Festival is distributing “SXSW Live 2007” showcasing the bands that performed at this year’s event in March. But one song from each band and two-minute interviews with each group simply isn’t enough material; we really can’t tell what the groups are like — live or otherwise. Likewise, the scenes don’t offer much in the way of revealing the ambiance of the festival.

Price: $14.98.

Rent or buy: Rent — if that.


It’s rare for a show to deliver quite possibly its best season 10 years after it started. But that’s the case with “South Park.” The 10th fantastic season is filled with glorious pop-culture references; excellent episodes take on the online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” as well as “Family Guy.” Of course, we continue to love the satire on religion, politics and celebrities that provides a backbone to the show. Price: $49.99. Rent or buy: Buy.

Other DVDs out Tuesday: “Serenity: Collector’s Edition,” “JAG: Season Four,” “Re-Animated: The Movie,” “Dane Cook: The Lost Pilots,” “Snowy River: Volume 3,” “Redline,” “Broken English,” “The Ultimate Gift,” “Reel Talent: First Films by Legendary Directors” and “House: Season Three.”

For SF meteorologist Drew Tuma, it’s both weather and climate change

‘We hope that you get to learn something about your changing Earth’

By Carly Graf
Meet the Berkeley professor who’s helping robots get a grip

The ability to grasp individual items could revolutionize warehouse work

By Veronica Irwin
Living with HIV for 33 years: A San Francisco survivor’s tale on World AIDS Day

‘When you go to three or four funerals a week, it takes its toll’

By Carly Graf