Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
16 years of waiting and two hours of great fun.

After 16 years of waiting to return to that great galaxy far, far away, we've finally arrived there.
This movie is the best movie of last year, while it was the least of the four Star Wars movies it had everything the last trilogy did. A great story(good v.s. evil), spectacular sets and effects(which I can't believe lost to the Matrix), cool characters(especially the digitally animated ones), and fantastic music(John Williams rules!).
I know a lot of you didn't like this movie, let's take a look at some of the things you didn't like and examine them: 1. Jar Jar Binks. Get a life people! Find something better to do than make fun of an imaginary character. 2. Anakin Skywalker. Sure Jake Lloyd's not the world's best actor, but he's a heck of a lot better than some other actors today. 3. The acting. I feel it had the exact same acting feel as the other movies. 4. The plot. There wasn't just one plot, there were several different subplots. I rate this movie up with the other three. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. If you want to see a very fun movie filled with podraces, space battles, and lightsaber duels or just want a really fun movie. Check this one out now!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: George Lucas
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman

DVD title: WWE Wrestlemania XIX
Productgroup: DVD
WWE Wrestlemania XIX - movie DVD cover picture
This is the way Wwe should be

WOW! What can I say about Wrestlemania XIX. I was there at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. I was one of those 54,097 fans on hand to witness one of the greatest events of all time. I'll be honest with you, it was not as good as Wrestlemania X-Seven but it surpassed last years.
Ashanti kicks it off with a wonderful singing of America the Beautiful.
Rey Mysterio vs. Matt Hardy- This was a ok match. I love Rey and I think Matt is a great talent. I wished it was more of a faster pace and high flying action. It was a good match though. 3/5
Limp Bizkit performs Rollin the Undertakers Entrance
Undertake and Nathan Jones vs. A-Train and Big Show- I wished that Nathan was not taken out by Big Show and A-Train earlier on HEAT. I was looking forward to his debut. This was pretty much a handicap match with the Undertaker carrying both Train and Show. 3/5
Trish vs. Jazz vs. Victoria- It was a lot like the womens title match at Wrestlemania X8. It was good but not great. It had the makings to be the best womens title match ever but it wasn't. Still it was good. 3.5/5
Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros vs. Benoit/Rhyno- This also had the makings of being one great tag title match. Some how it just didn't flow right. I'm not sure what it was. I believe Benoit deserved a better match for all that he has done. 3/5
HBK vs. Y2J- This was a great match. One of Jericho's best as well as one of HBK's best. Great match. Lots of high flying action and many pinfalls and close decisions. HBK prooves that he can still hang in the WWE.
Limp Bizkit performs the Wrestlemania Them Song
HHH vs. Booker T- This was probably the worst match of the night. The crowd was not in to it that much, and it was a horrible ending. And plus no "SPINAROONI". 2/5
I am not sure of this was a real match. It was the cat fight between the Miller light Cat Fight Girls and Stacy and Torrie. It was great. Really funny ending.
Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon- What a match. It was bloody. It was Brutal. It was all that it lived up to be. One of Hulks greatest matches. Vince and Hogan had a real war here. Rowdy Roddy Piper makes a special guest appearance in this match too. It was awesom. 5/5
The Rock vs. Austin- I love this rivalry. This has always been my favorite rivialry in the WWE. This match was better than there encounter at Wrestlemania XV but probably not as good than the blood bath they had and Wrestlemania X-Seven. Still it was an awesome match. Probably my favorite match of the night. 5/5
Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle- Unlike the Raw world title match between HHH and Booker T, this match surely delivered. The most talked about moment of the match had to have been Brock's Shooting Star Press off the top rope that missed. It looked like a car reck when you were there live. Great Match though. 5/5
Wrestlemania XIX in Seattle Washington was a great event. It showcased great matches and many celebrities. This is one of the Greatest events of all time.

Studio: Sony Music (Video)
Director: Kevin Dunn (III)

DVD title: Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
Totally Flawless

This powerful story of four lives going on a downward spiral is gauranteed not to disappoint any viewer. Darren Aronofsky delivers a message that i have never seen in a movie before. Addiction can be anything, and it can happen to anybody. A son, his best friend, and his girlfriend, have dreams of making it big, but quickly find out that their drug addiction is sending them in the wrong direction. And a mother who goes from trying to lose weight to trying NOT to lose her mind. This movie is up there with the best i have ever seen, and it will leave a lasting mark on anyone who watches it. This movie is gripping, shocking, and shows the absolute cold hard truth of what goes on in the world every day. Even tough the general topic has been the plot of many movies in the past, Requiem for a Dream is truly one of a kind!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Ellen Burstyn
Jared Leto

DVD title: The Letter
Productgroup: DVD
The Letter - movie DVD cover picture
Bette Davis does not disappoint

So far the movies that I have seen with her have been very good to excellent. This one is no exception. Davis is arrested for murder, but what is to be decided is if it's murder or self defense. A very appropriate ending. Justice is served.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: William Wyler
Bette Davis
Herbert Marshall
James Stephenson

DVD title: Wishbone - Hot Diggety Dog
Productgroup: DVD
Wishbone - Hot Diggety Dog - movie DVD cover picture
Finally, Wishbone on DVD

Wishbone is a little Jack Russell terrier with a big imagination. He's the star of a wonderful PBS children's show that helps introduce kids to classic literature. In this episode he imagines himself to be Professor Otto Liedenbrock who leads his nephew on an incredible subterranean journey. I can't say enough about how wonderful the Wishbone TV series is. This little dog has more expression on his furry face than most Hollywood actors do today. The writing and acting is first rate. And of course Wishbone would be the first to tell you about the Emmy Award he received. Check this out, I hope it's the first of the entire 50+ episode series on DVD. It's a fantastic adventure for kids of all ages.

Studio: Hit Entertainment, P

DVD title: Cheap Trick - Music for Hangovers
Productgroup: DVD
Cheap Trick - Music for Hangovers - movie DVD cover picture

This DVD makes me really bummed that it's been years since the band was last here in Australia!!It's really awesome, and the commentary track is worth the price alone!They just get better and better - Robin's voice is beyond compare, Rick is a total legend, Tom is just too cool for school and Bun E. rocks!Buy this, you won't be disappointed!

Studio: Wea Corp
Cheap Trick

DVD title: L.A. Confidential
Productgroup: DVD
L.A. Confidential - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies ever.

This is a great movie. It easily deserved the 1997 best picture academy award, and actually won for best original screenplay. The story is enthralling, with amazing plot twists and characters. It is easily worth the money. END

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Curtis Hanson
Kevin Spacey
Russell Crowe
Guy Pearce
Kim Basinger

DVD title: Wait Until Dark
Productgroup: DVD
Wait Until Dark - movie DVD cover picture
A Gripping Psychological Thriller

"Wait Until Dark" is a suspense film in the finest traditions of Alfred Hitchcock. The direction by Terence Young ("Dr. No" and "From Russia With Love") masterfully blends a stellar cast with mood, music, and atmosphere to create a compelling psychological thriller. The story involves a blind woman (Audrey Hepburn), who has unknowingly come into the possession of a child's doll filled with heroin. Three con men (Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, and Jack Weston) create an elaborate scheme to locate the doll in her apartment without arousing her suspicions.
Like Hitchcock, director Young reveals the identity and intent of the con men right from the beginning of the movie. He lets the audience in on their secret. It is left to the blind and isolated victim to decipher their intent and her own personal danger over the course of the film. Hepburn is engaging in the role of a woman who is at once vulnerable yet possesses unfolding inner strength. She knows she is alone and ultimately responsibility for her own fate. The suspense grows as her suspicions are slowly aroused until all is revealed to her in one terrifying moment of confrontation with the cunning and evil Arkin. The stark confines of the apartment and the dramatic musical score by Henry Mancini accentuate the dark and foreboding atmosphere. This is a film you will not soon forget...

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Terence Young
Audrey Hepburn
Alan Arkin
Richard Crenna

DVD title: Singles
Productgroup: DVD
Singles - movie DVD cover picture
A snapshot of the early 90s with a universal theme

I was in college in '92, when the grunge scene really took off, and this movie brings those days back perfectly. Somehow it doesn't seem dated either, like many 80s movies do. It's probably because of the engaging storyline and familar, "hey-that-could-be-me" characters that Cameron Crowe is known for. The Campbell Scott character, Steve (and by the way, where IS Campbell Scott these days?) is like so many of us - obsessed with work, trying to make sense of the whole dating and relationship scene, wishing for simplicity. Bridget Fonda's Janet is anyone who ever woke up from codependency and realized his/her own self-worth. And Kyra Sedgwick's Linda is everyone who ever got their heart broken and put up barriers to protect themselves, only to find that not all people are as bad as you think. Great cast, great setting, incredible soundtrack. The DVD adds some deleted scenes which I think are also on the VHS version, as well as cast bios. Check out cameos by Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam (the musicians in Matt Dillon's band), Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, and a performance by Alice in Chains. And don't miss Jeremy Piven as the checkout guy, and the eldest son from "Malcolm in the Middle" as the young Steve.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Cameron Crowe
Bridget Fonda
Campbell Scott

DVD title: Handel - Rinaldo / Bicket, Daniels, York, Prinzregententheater Munich
Productgroup: DVD
Handel - Rinaldo / Bicket, Daniels, York, Prinzregententheater Munich - movie DVD cover picture
Avant Garde Handel

Rinaldo is a warrior on a "crusade" to "liberate" Jerusalem. En route, Armida, the Saracen Queen of Damascus falls in love with him, and being a sorceress, she uses magic to capture him. Earlier, she had ensnared Rinaldo's beloved, Almerina, daughter of the General of the crusade. Eventually both are freed by some counter-magic and Rinaldo conquers Jerusalem, and, as a result, Armida is converted to Christianity. If you think it might be a story hard to stage, you are right. But, in Handel's time, the story didn't matter much, it was for the arias that the audience came-especially those sung by famous "castrati.". The opera abounds in this last commodity, with four castrati parts (usually sung by counter-tenors today), two soprano parts and a bass part. Its saving grace is some of the most ravishing music Handel ever wrote.

This performance is a throughly "camp" production-in modern dress, mostly. I am generally not a fan of updating operas (especially when the emphasis is changed to fit some political view which was not part of the original) let alone placing them in bizarre sets, but this is a rare exception. The story is almost impossible to stage "straight" and it has wonderful comedic possibilities which are developed here. The singing is superb as is the acting, especially by Noemi Nadelmann, the Armida, whose attempted seduction of Rinaldo is sensational though almost X rated!

In the dvd a full appreciation of what is going on is sometimes masked by an excessive amount of close-up camera work during arias. I had the advantage of seeing a revival of this production in Munich before watching (and buying) the dvd, and in the live performance the purpose of some of the "camp-iness" was clearer. I think the avant-garde staging of the second act where Rinaldo is entrapped by Armida's magic and she attempts to seduce him is especially imaginative and effective. However, the production's eccentricity is not all to the good-for example the giant "bobble-head"(commented on by another reviewer) made no sense whatsoever to me. But, all in all for me, even though I am a fairly strong traditionalist when it comes to opera, this was a worthy and mostly successful excursion into "experimental" theater. Add to it the fabulous singing by all seven members of the cast, it comes out to be a five star production. If you can't stand modernized productions of Handel operas ("modernized" Handel stagings are a fairly common occurrence these days) there are a couple of wonderful CDs of this glorious music-though usually with a mezzo-soprano singing the title role instead of the estimable David Daniels.

One final comment on the use of counter-tenors or mezzo-sopranos singing the role of a Handelian hero. Modern performances and recordings stick to the "original" intentions of Handel, but in the mid-20th century when Handel was revived, a bass or baritone often sang these parts-as can be heard in the Treigle-Sills CD of Julius Ceasar. While I enjoy the modern performances, I also think the transposed versions can work equally well.

Studio: Kultur
Director: Brian Large

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