Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Iron Giant
Productgroup: DVD
The Iron Giant - movie DVD cover picture

The Iron Giant is MUCH better than the run-of-the-mill Disney kid stuff. Thumbs up to Brad Bird for his careful attention to detail. And Eli Marienthal gets a high-five for his great timing and voice inflections.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Brad Bird
Harry Connick Jr.
Eli Marienthal

DVD title: Arcadia of My Youth
Productgroup: DVD
Arcadia of My Youth - movie DVD cover picture
"At the end of the journey, all men think that their youth was Archadia

Classic story of a space pirate Harlock and his group of freedom fighters who try to liberate earth from alien control.

Though 'Waga seishun no Arcadia' is old movie and has excessive melodrama, it's basic story and message are still stronger than in many modern day animes.

See it, so you can understand it.

My Rating: 9/10

The shows rating 13 and up: violence, alcohol use, minor profanity

Studio: AnimEigo
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata

DVD title: Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago)
Productgroup: DVD
Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago) - movie DVD cover picture
The perfect gift

I couldn't be at the show in person but the dvd is the next best thing. Shania shows real feeling and passion when she sings all her songs but especially on She's Not Just a Pretty Face. When she goes down in the crowd to sing with those girls oh your heart will skip with the excitement they undoubtedly feel. With the close-ups on Forever and For Always you'll feel like Shania's singing directly to you. The perfect gift for any Shania fan!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Shania Twain

DVD title: 48 HRS
Productgroup: DVD
48 HRS - movie DVD cover picture
This is the REAL thing. Accept no imitations.

In order to appreciate this film fully, you hafta turn yourself back in time to 1982, an' try an' remember the political an' social mindset of the day. Then imagine watching '48 HRS.' an unabashed an' raucous cop thriller that breaks the very foundation of political correctness. Now how does that make you feel? If you say, sick to your stomach, then maybe you needa loosen your jock strap an' try it again. E'ybody knows the plot, the hard-drinkin', chain-smokin' San Francisco cop Jack Cates, played by Nick Nolte (who looks almost TOO comfortable in the role of a wasted, burn-out), is lookin' to put two recent prison escapees an' vicious cop killers away after he tried an' failed to apprehend them. In going over the case he comes across several members of their old gang an' decides to go talk to one'a the incarcerated ones. Here's where Eddie Murphy comes in. Reggie Hammond is the smooth an' dapper, fast-talking convict who convinces Cates to get him out of jail an' on the street to help him solve this case. Cates reluctantly does so, an' from there is' jus' the two of them together goin' from place to place, crook to crook, bar to bar, lead to lead, tryin' to keep from killing each other in the process. Cates is a rough-edged, semi-bigot with an apparent vendetta toward these crooks (though apparently jus' for stealing his gun), Reggie is the charming, jive-talking criminal, with a more obvious vendetta toward the crooks (they dropped the dime on him, got him locked up, an' are now tryin' to steal a half a million dollars of his hard-earned, er, um, hard-stolen cash). Both are on the same mission, but with two TOTALLY different personalities an' when they mix it up, oh, is' gunpowder. E'ybody talks about the scene with Murphy in the country-western bar playin' cop ("Alright listen up. I don't like white people. An' I HATE rednecks. You people're rednecks. That means I'm enjoyin' this s---.") an' although it is funny, my favorite scene comes right after they question the two ladies who were s'posedly in cahoots with the killers, when Nolte an' Murphy finally drop the trash-talkin' an' jus' have a drunken brawl in the street only to be broken up by two cops on the beat.
This is the original buddy cop flick. With two guys who're ironically ANYTHING but buddies. Depending on the way you've come up watching movies, this one will either be a wonderfully offensive cop thriller, or a horribly offensive cop thriller. Of course, no matter how you look at it, '48 HRS.' will forever be a hallmark, because it was one'a the first movies of its kind: a rough-edged, blatant politically-incorrect film centering on characters that are so sleazy at times you hafta force yourself to like them, an' revolving around racial stereotypes an' sexist banter thas' thrown around like it's nothing, not to mention some brutal violence. Now it'd be much harder to overlook all the coldness if it wasn't for the charm an' appeal of Eddie Murphy, in his film debut. He is the main reason to watch the flick, although Nolte's character also provides the perfect counterbalance. Directed by Walter Hill, '48 HRS.' set a new standard for the way action flicks were to be played for the rest of the 1980s. With laughs, wit, chemistry, an' a not-so-serious attitude set against a very serious backdrop.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Walter Hill
Nick Nolte
Eddie Murphy

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Series (Seasons 1-7)
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Series (Seasons 1-7) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Show

This is a brilliant show. One or two viewings isn't really enough; if you're open minded, give the show a chance and you'll have a great time.
If you want pop glitz and silly jokes they are there, but if you want more then you just have to look a little deeper.

The DVDs look great. Yes they were shot with a widescreen camera, but they were concieved, framed and only meant to be seen full screen. Joss Whedon has made it clear that it was an error beyond his control that anybody ever saw Buffy in widescreen and that what you see on these DVDs is what he meant you to see.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Sarah Michelle Gellar

DVD title: The Incredibles (Widescreen 2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Incredibles (Widescreen 2-Disc Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Not only a great animated features - a great film

"The Incredibles" is more than a fabulous animated film, it is simply a Great Movie. It has wonderfully rich characters. It is easy to like Bob & Helen Parr and their children Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack. They are fun as Super Heroes with their own foibles, but seeing them try to live normal lives in the Super Hero Relocation Program is also very funny. The parents have the normal problems of raising kids and the kids are largely normal with the usual age appropriate complaints.

Bob (Mr. Incredible) and his best buddy Lucius Best (Frozone) try and get their kicks as best they can while maintaining their relocated cover. Of course, something goes wrong and leads to a whole series of troubles that in turn leads to the fantastic confrontation and climax of the story. The way the family gets drawn into the fray is also quite entertaining and is often full of wit and generous touches of humor.

The story also lavishes attention on the wonderful Edna E. Mode who is the fashion designer of super hero costumes. This character is voiced by Brad Bird, the director and the realization of this character in voice and animation could hardly be better.

The whole cast is great. Craig T. Nelson brings strength, energy, and still gets us to feel real sympathy for Mr. Incredible as Bob. Holly Hunter is great as Helen Parr / Elastigirl. It would be boring to go through each member of the cast, but I found each of them to be superb.

The animation is also terrific. Look at all the details including the finger marks in Bob's ridiculous car when he comes home from work and slips on Dash's skateboard. The movie is full of great images both big and small. You can pick out wonderful new things during repeated viewings.

There is a whole disk of wonderful extras. You won't want to miss the spectacular "Jack Jack Attack". This is the realization of that magnificent series of voice messages Helen listens to in the limo on the way home to set up the film's denouement. I agree that it didn't need to be in the movie, but it is a wonderful experience all on its own.

Strongly Recommended. Just wonderful.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Brad Bird
Craig T. Nelson
Holly Hunter
Samuel L. Jackson
Jason Lee

DVD title: Deeply
Productgroup: DVD
Deeply - movie DVD cover picture
Interesting to say the least

Don't count on me to recap the actress names, because I don't know them, but I will admit that this film got my attention. I rented it a while back and saw it once with a friend. It isn't for everyone, that I will admit, but if you like the artistic movie that really makes you think. This is one to get. The music is wonderfully composed, and relates so well with the picture that it is...harmonious. I would recomend this movie to anyone who is interested in more than just a shoot-em-up movie. Who is looking for a beautifully written drama that will grab their attention.

Studio: Studio Home Entertainment
Director: Sheri Elwood

DVD title: Amadeus
Productgroup: DVD
Amadeus - movie DVD cover picture
A Genuis that Suspends Belief!

An old and senile Salieri sits at the piano playing some of his tunes to a young priest.He asks him whether he recognises any of the melodies he is playing. With a polite smile and a blank expression, the priest responds that he did not.Then Salieri stops for a second, and then asks, what about this tune? He plays another, and suddenly the priest's eyes light up in instant recognition and shouts: oh yes I know this one, is this yours?Salieri with a very bitter sigh responds: this is Mozart!
What a way to start a film and what a scene to introduce that masterpiece that is Amadeus.A genuis child prodigy that was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart took Europe by storm, and success,fame,admiration,sponsorship and financial protection was the natural result.But there was a darker side to that fame: the excesses, the gossip, the conspiracies, the politics of the court, Mozart's own inner demons, and his peculiar relationship with his father, respect that hides fear. And of course there was Salieri!A veteran at the royal courts, a mediocre composer who has found a secure place for his limited talent,only to find its very foundations threatened by this newcomer..Jealousy and bitterness were the natural outcome, but carefully hidden by the guise of friendliness and protective wisdom, while Mozart still retaining a trusting naivity that would eventually hasten his downfall.This is the story of THE best musical biography ever filmed(Period!), from a director who is no 'hired hand' but an artist in his own right. It is a very ambitious film, very lush, beautiful to watch and hear, an epic of dramatic and musical propotions.There are good music biographies,like Ken Russell's Music Lovers (Russell has a life long passion for classical music), his own unique version of Tchaikovsky's life, in addition to Lizstmania and Mahler. Beethoven had an excellent and underrated biography in Immortally Beloved, but still Amadeus remains in a league of its own. This status comes from the fact that the director and writer successfully manage to give an equal treatment to the music,the genuis of Mozart, and to the human drama, the essence of Mozart. The opera/concert scenes are not hurried but remain an integral part of the plot.(more of these scenes were added for the extended version)F Murray Abraham won a deserved Oscar for playing Salieri so perfectly, but I would have loved for Tom Hulce to have won his nomination too: a pity since he has brought so much life and creativity to his role.Now another scene, A dying,weak and delirious Mozart lying in his bed is dictating his latest composition to Salieri (pretending till the end to be the trusted friend)..Mozart is slow at first, but then as if suddenly possessed by the demon of music, the notes started flowing, faster than Salieri could write them, and not only flowing but the Italian composer is in a state of sheer disbelief at what he is actually writing, music that would become the most haunting classic piece ever composed, the Requiem.You too will stare in disbelief at this creativity unfolding in front of Salieri's eyes and yours too!Now how many films manage to do that??Hmmm..let me see.....

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Milos Forman
F. Murray Abraham
Tom Hulce

DVD title: Mad Max
Productgroup: DVD
Mad Max - movie DVD cover picture
mel gibson's first movie

It actually isn't Gibson's first movie, he had a small role in one before Mad Max, but this is his first starring role, and the one that began his ascent into fame. Mad Max is set in Australia, in the near future. It hasn't gotten as post-apocalyptic as Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, but you get a definite feel of bleakness and of the apocalypse. What Mad Max is, is basically a car movie. But what a car movie. The cinematography is great (and at times dangerous for the camera operator).
As a dvd, the Special Edition is great (the reason I haven't bought Road Warrior is that I'm hoping they'll be releasing a special edition with the extras like contained on Mad Max). The commentary track doesn't have the director or Gibson, but it does have the DOP, Art Director, a film historian, and so on. They give a lot of great insight into the making of this film. There is also a 'trivia track' which flashes up trivia during the film. It also will point out every continuity error in the film. One of the great highlights of the dvd is that it is the original Australian recording (though you can access the American dubbing, but I think that is more for showing what dubbing does rather than to watch). There are a couple of featurettes and trailers. It's really a good dvd. And a great movie.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: George Miller (II)
Mel Gibson

DVD title: The Simpsons - Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
The Simpsons - Christmas - movie DVD cover picture
Welcome for those of us without Fox/Sky

I am quite prepared to admit that it is annoying Fox leave such a long time between season sets, and so it is actually a good thing to have this. All the episodes are classics, especially the two newer ones (Grift of the Magi, She of Little Faith), and for those of us in the UK without Sky it is VERY WELCOME to get some episodes from beyond year 10. This is probably true in most other countries apart from the USA. The episodes themselves are great, it's nice to see them without breaks, aerial problens etc., so unless you have Fox, Sky or equivalent, buy this.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Dan Castellaneta

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