Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Shadrach
Productgroup: DVD
Shadrach - movie DVD cover picture
3 1/2 stars for the film and 5 stars for the DVD

An excellent example of a movie that received little notice when it came out, but is great nevertheless. To answer a previous reviewer, there is no soundtrack album to my knowledge (unfortunately!) The music is wonderfully evocative and you can find some of it right here at Amazon (take a look at the credits at the end of the movie). Atmospheric movie with great performances. Enjoy this one!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Susanna Styron

DVD title: Once Upon a Time in America (Limited Edition Collector's Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Once Upon a Time in America  (Limited Edition Collector's Set) - movie DVD cover picture
Too Grand For Words

Once Upon a Time in America is an epic crime tale about two teenage friends, Noodles (Robert De Niro) and Max (James Woods), and their companionship which is surrounded by deceit and murder. Max and Noodle meet each other in the early years of 1900, and their friendship takes them through a dynasty of crime. In this dynasty they have committed themselves to each other in a pact where they will share all the profits, which blossom throughout the prohibition. But like all tales, this tale must seek its impeding end as it leads the audience toward an ending similar to that of many Greek classics.

Studio: Creative Design Art,
Director: Sergio Leone
Robert De Niro
James Woods

DVD title: The Bride of Frankenstein
Productgroup: DVD
The Bride of Frankenstein - movie DVD cover picture
Marvellous horror fantasy

Classic film; possibly the best of the Universal Horror films from it's era, though to be honest it's often more comedy than horror! The monster, who miraculously survived the fire at the end of the original, wanders the contryside evading the pack of hunters on his trail. He seeks refuge at the house of a blind hermit, the only person who showes him compassion by providing him with hospitality and the skill of speech. Meanwhile, Frankenstein and another genius/madman are busy creating a mate for the monster. This dual narrative is what gives the film it's solidity and makes it even better than the original, and the final ten minutes - involving the mates' creation - is a magnificent scene. Brilliantly directed, packed full of great ideas including a prologue featuring Mary Shelley, and a scene demonstrating the second doctors' previous creations, tiny people kept in glass jars. Don't miss this one!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: James Whale
Boris Karloff
Elsa Lanchester

DVD title: Rambo III
Productgroup: DVD
Rambo III - movie DVD cover picture
Made In Israel

What could be better for Rambo, America and the whole world than a movie made in israel and with the best israeli actors such as Sasson Gabai, Alon Abutbul and Yosef Shilo'akh!!!
I Love Israeli Movies!!!!

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Peter MacDonald
Sylvester Stallone

DVD title: Neon Genesis Evangelion - Perfect Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Neon Genesis Evangelion - Perfect Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Thought-Provoking Entertainment for the Non-Otaku

I don't watch much in the way of anime. A friend who's currently in animation school and shares my affinity for science fiction introduced me to it. Since then, I have discovered many, many different anime movies and series that disgust or annoy me, and a few that I find genuinely enjoyable as well-executed sci-fi and fantasy. Things like Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Gundam, and the oft-maligned Record of Lodoss War.
Evangelion, however, is something entirely different.
To summarize the plot, 15-year-old Shinji Ikari shares his birthyear with the apocolyptic meteor strike known as the Second Impact, a cataclysm which killed half of Earth's population. Shinji's mother is dead and his father abandoned him for his work as a scientist when Shinji was a small child. The hapless boy lives with his schoolteacher until his native city of Tokyo-3 comes under attack from an hostile alian known only as an "Angel." Shinji is conscripted as a pilot for the mysterious bio-mechanical weapon system known as the Evangelion - a weapon built in secrecy by NERV, a UN subcommittee commanded by Shinji's estranged father. Over the course of the series, Shinji, his fellow Eva pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley-Soryu, NERV operations director Misato Katsuragi, and Japanese intelligence agent Ryoji Kaji all find themselves enmeshed in the shadowy machinations of NERV and discover shocking secrets about the Evangelions, the Angels, Second Impact, and humanity itself?
Sound grandiose? That's because it is. While a bit convoluted, the story is handled with remarkable tactfulness. While some have criticized its occasionally uneven pacing, I find that it works well. The plot is initially doled out in small but important chunks shrouded in wacky anime-isms. However, by its halway point, the series has gradually and seamlessly metamorphosed into something much more serious and dark (there's also some more odd Judeo-Christian iconography used to add a veneer of mysticism to the Japanese audience, similar to uses of Eastern religion in the American media). The plot gradually increases in both scope and complexity at a greater and greater rate, rather akin to a musical crescendo.
In my opinion, the understated ending makes a brilliant finale, much like a soft and beautiful string coda after a thundering symphony. The plot itself reaches its inevitable breaking point - a major event occurs, and its largely metaphysical effects are explored throught the viewpoints of the main characters. This is simply the natural next step of the series' constant focus on character development and substitutes for now-irrelevent literal plot treatment; all relevent elements of the plot are still within easy reach as subtext and inferences.
The movies based upon this series merely elucidate upon the same themes found in the final episodes with a literal representation that similarly evaporates about halfway in. The abstractions aren't as coherent as those found in the television ending, and the religious imagery is even more random and nonsensical. In my opinion, this boxed set is all that you need.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Charade (Letterbox) - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Charade (Letterbox) - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
its awesome

The film from which this DVD was made looks like a 17th generation 30 year old worn out bootleg exhibition print! The numerous emulsion scratches are extremely distracting; some are so deep they are through the emulsion, into the base stock and show up white! There are color shifts all through the film, sometimes even within a single scene. There are jarring print splices that are incompetently mis-registered! If you single step through you can actually see the cement bubbles!
Don't buy this version, don't rent this version, don't even watch this version. If you care anything about the art of cinema or the craft of film, this DVD will make you sick.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Stanley Donen
Cary Grant
Audrey Hepburn

DVD title: The Old Dark House
Productgroup: DVD
The Old Dark House - movie DVD cover picture
A great underated "horror" flick!

Some might say this is not horror, but viewing the film and every aspect of it, this is horror! It's ashame this film didn't get the recognition it truly deserves. Jame Whales made a great film. It is about a couple, with others don't think it's a good idea to drive much ahead being caught in the middle of a terrible storm. So they think going in a house like that is a better idea, hehe good move! In this house could be some of creepyest people in a horror movie, especially the one locked up in the room! Please get this movie, it would have been a lost film!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: James Whale
Boris Karloff
Melvyn Douglas
Charles Laughton
Lilian Bond
Gloria Stuart

DVD title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Productgroup: DVD
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - movie DVD cover picture
Thanks for the memories

The show is as good as I remember it - it's a little cheesy now when you compare it to all the current special effects - but in some ways that only adds to the charm. I enjoyed sharing the show with my kids and letting them have a glimpse of the past

Studio: BBC Video
Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Simon Jones
David Dixon

DVD title: The Right Stuff
Productgroup: DVD
The Right Stuff - movie DVD cover picture
An entertaining and wonderful video...

Weighing in at three+ hours, "The Right Stuff" gives us a fantastic insight into the embryonic stages of humanity's journey into space. It is a personal disappointment to me that our species hasn't done more with the opportunities that space travel has given us. Based on Tom Wolfe's history of the space program, the film takes us through the early stages of American space exploration. It starts with Yeager's historic speed record when he broke the sound barrier and finishes at the end of the Mercury program. For this reason I think "Apollo 13" makes a good sequel to "The Right Stuff" as it concerns itself with the subsequent Apollo program. The cast is outstanding and they mostly offer strong performances. For much of the film Sam Shepard gets center stage in his role as Chuck Yeager. However since Yeager was never allowed the opportunity to join the space program the second half of the film focuses on the seven astronauts on the Mercury program. The leader of this group is John Glenn played extremely well by Ed Harris. The beauty of this movie is that it brings the intimidatingly immense NASA program down to a personal and therefore understandable level. We get to see the political infighting, the childish "must beat the Ruskies" mentality and the everyday fears of the astronauts. All of this is achieved without losing the heroics of the people involved. They put their lives on the line with a determined grin on their face while NASA risks its future with every launch. This is a very good movie as pure entertainment but when its educational potential is added to the equation, I would have to say that it is raised to the height of excellence. But be careful of allowing young boys to watch it, unless you want them growing up to become pilots.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Philip Kaufman
Sam Shepard
Scott Glenn

DVD title: Bad Boys II
Productgroup: DVD
Bad Boys II - movie DVD cover picture
Bad Boys 2

A film by Michael Bay

I'm almost embarrassed to say that I was entertained by this movie. I did not like the original "Bad Boys" movie, and I have seldom enjoyed much of the work of director Michael Bay. Yet, "Bad Boys II" is full of such mindless action that the movie is more entertaining than it has any right to be.

Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) are undercover Miami cops who are once again going after a drug Kingpin. This time it is Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla), a drug lord who has never been convicted despite having been brought to trial many times. "Bad Boys II" brings a change to the relationship between Marcus and Mike. They had been friends since high school and partners on the police force, but there is tension. Marcus seems frazzled, burnt out, and he blames Mike. Mike has a powerful, flashy personality and Marcus feels that Mike is always getting him into some sort of trouble. He plans on transferring to another department away from Mike, but doesn't know how to tell him. Mike, for his part, has been secretly dating Marcus's younger sister Syd (Gabrielle Union). They want to tell Marcus, but worry about his reaction.

The bulk of the movie deals with the investigation of Johnny Tapia and the attempts to finally bring him down. In the process there is a ridiculous amount of action, explosions, gunplay, chase sequences, and violence. It is all very stylish, fluid, and mindlessly fun. "Bad Boys II" is not a very good movie. It is dumb with a very implausible plot which only gets more and more implausible by the end of the movie, but "Bad Boys II" is fun. For a movie as implausible as this one is, it is still an enjoyable ride right up until the last twenty minutes or so when Michael Bay proves that even this movie can go too far in stretching the bounds of credibility. Up until that point I was into the ride the movie took me on, after that point "Bad Boys II" lost me.

This is a visually impressive and stylish action movie with no substance. If that sounds good for one Saturday night out with the guys, "Bad Boys II" is a good choice. It has its place and will certainly find fans among fans of the genre. It is often a funny movie, besides the action, and that helps.

-Joe Sherry

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Michael Bay
Martin Lawrence
Will Smith
Gabrielle Union

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