Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Splash
Productgroup: DVD
Splash - movie DVD cover picture
4 3/4 Stars really, But Who's Counting

This is the movie that took a young TV actor named Tom Hanks and made him a movie star. It didn't hurt the careers of Daryl Hannah, John Candy, or Ron Howard, either. Allen Bauer (Hanks) is on the rebound when a mermaid (Hannah) comes to New York looking for him. She saved him from drowning twice, although his memories of being saved are a bit hazy. He falls in love with her, of course, without realizing exactly what he's in for, because her tail changes into legs when dry. Add in Allen's playboy brother (Candy) and a zany scientist seeking to prove the existence of mermaids, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a very funny movie.
My problem was how to rate this movie. I don't really consider it to be quite a classic like "Tootsie", "Arsenic and Old Lace" or some of the others I have rated 5 star comedies here. On the other hand, it is a personal favorite, I own a copy, and I have enjoyed watching it many times. So consider it about a 4 3/4 star movie (I rounded off). Whatever, anybody who enjoys comedy should certainly get a good laugh from "Splash". It's a great "date" movie, too, so watch it with a friend.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: Ron Howard
Tom Hanks
Daryl Hannah

DVD title: The Shield - The Complete Third Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Shield - The Complete Third Season - movie DVD cover picture
A fascinating series...

Nominated for 4 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes, including Best Television Series - Drama, The Shield is one of the top police dramas of the past decade. The brainchild of creator Shawn Ryan, writer for such hit shows as Nash Bridges (1996) and Angel (1999), The Shield made history in 2003 by becoming the first basic cable series to win a Golden Globe for Best Drama Series (in the past, only non-ad supported shows such as The Sopranos and Sex And The City have done so well). The hour-long drama boasts a strong, well-rounded cast who, along with the writers/producers, have managed to make The Shield the longest running series on the FX Network...

The Shield centers around an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where the lines between right and wrong are often blurred. An ongoing power struggle between a group of corrupt, yet effective, cops and their new boss, Capt. David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), remains the focal point of the show. Det. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis, of The Commish) heads up an elite unit known as the Strike Team. An effective leader who bends the rules when they fit his aims, Mackey often butts heads with the by-the-book Aceveda who weighs his own political ambitions against the cost of bringing down Mackey and his associates. Veteran Det. Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder, of ER) knows the ropes, admires Mackey, but also knows how to play sides of the game. For the 2005 season, Glenn Close - star of such films as The Natural (1984), Fatal Attraction (1987), and Air Force One (1997) - joined the cast as Capt. Monica Rawling. Together, this celebrated cast maintains an internal tension among themselves while carrying out a unified fight against the criminal element - a fight that keeps the streets of L.A. safe...

The Shield (Season 3) DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the season premiere "Playing Tight" in which the Strike Team's efforts to end their corruption are put to an end when they discover that two gangs are attempting to acquire more deadly weaponry. Meanwhile, Dutch and Claudette investigate the murders of four men by the Armenian mob... Other notable episodes from Season 3 include "Safe" in which Mackey and the Strike Team go to great lengths to keep themselves from being linked to the money train heist, and "All In" in which the Strike Team anxiously sweeps the streets for a purported Armenian hit-man before he gets to them first...

Below is a list of episodes included on The Shield (Season 3) DVD:

Episode 27 (Playing Tight)
Episode 28 (Blood and Water)
Episode 29 (Bottom Bitch)
Episode 30 (Streaks and Tips)
Episode 31 (Mum)
Episode 32 (Posse Up)
Episode 33 (Safe)
Episode 34 (Cracking Ice)
Episode 35 (Slipknot)
Episode 36 (What Power is...)
Episode 37 (Strays)
Episode 38 (Riceburner)
Episode 39 (Fire in the Hole)
Episode 40 (All In)
Episode 41 (On Tilt)

The DVD Report

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Michael Chiklis

DVD title: Rounders
Productgroup: DVD
Rounders - movie DVD cover picture
A pure classic!

This is a really great movie. Edward Norton does a great job of acting out "worm". Over all this is great film, and it also has a great soundtrack. Get this if you like movies where you pay mad attention to the details.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: John Dahl
Matt Damon
Edward Norton

DVD title: Saving Private Ryan
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Private Ryan - movie DVD cover picture
Powerful, stunning, emotional and memorable

This is a movie for the ages but certainly not for the faint hearted or the squeamish. From the explicit bloodshed and graphic violence of Normandy, to the casual grousing of the enlisted men, to Ambrose's band of brothers mentality that clearly emerges, one can't help but admire this generation and the deft handling of the topic by Speilberg. Small, overwhelming scenes include Ryan's mother collapsing on the porch upon the appearence of her minister bearing obviously terrible news and George Marshall's somber reading of Abraham Lincoln's letter to another war mother, eighty years earlier. As Captain John Miller, Tom Hanks' mission is the basis for the film, to save the one survising brother of the decimated Ryan family, a mission both simple yet daunting. And as great as Tom Hanks filled this role, my helmet goes out to Ted Sizemore for his "we're in business!" gung ho attitude and skills.
Miller may have died due to his own humanity in sparing a German prisoner. Private Ryan had to be haunted by Captain Miller's dying whisper, "Earn this!" When Ryan, fifty years later, turns to his wife and pleads: "Tell me I've lived a good life," my eyes well with tears of respect and admiration for all concerned with the real and imagined Private Ryans.
See it. Buy it. Remember it.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon

DVD title: The Great Escape
Productgroup: DVD
The Great Escape - movie DVD cover picture
Possibly Steve McQueen's best film

A very good out-of-the ordinary action film (in a good way)about prisoners trying to escape from a Nazi prison camp. How they try to get out is just fascinating to watch. Overall, it's just a root-for-the good guys kind of movie. And Steve McQueen is outstanding as the prisoner who will stop at nothing to escape. You'll definately want to get the DVD of this for the letterboxed format and making-of featturette. Definately worth buying! You won't be disappointed!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: John Sturges
Steve McQueen
James Garner
Richard Attenborough
Charles Bronson
Donald Pleasence
James Coburn

DVD title: Cyndi Lauper - Live... At Last (DVD in Amray Case Packaging)
Productgroup: DVD
Cyndi Lauper - Live... At Last (DVD in Amray Case Packaging) - movie DVD cover picture
Her voice is really That Good

I loved every minute of this DVD. Not being a real big past Lauper fan, My mind was quickly changed after viewing this for the first time. I didn't know what to expect. Cyndi Lauper was always just alittle too quirky for my taste, but she is endearing, great to watch, and really loved by her fans. That is apparent while watching her interaction with the audience. She is also a very funny individual- a natural comedienne, and she is also quite pretty. Something I never realized with all her over the top 'war' paint she had worn throughout the 80's. Her singing voice is another story. It blew me away during several songs, most notably At Last and Money Changes Everything and All Through The Night. I like the way her voice sounds now, as compared to 20 years ago. It's much more mature and appealing. I also enjoyed her short but entertaining video bonus of Stay, and the little driving bit. She is a great ball of energy and a very talented singer. *Recommended viewing*

Studio: Sony Music Entertain
Director: Jim Gable
Cyndi Lauper

DVD title: Harlem Nights
Productgroup: DVD
Harlem Nights - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie...Entertaining & Very Funny

This is a great comedy that places a whole cast of great actors and comedians in some ususual yet very entertaining roles. Much of the humor is situational and even occasionally on the subtle side but no less funny. If you're looking for simple slap-stick or physicial comedy or a movie with a bunch of stand-up comedy lines, you won't find much of that here. On the other hand, if you're looking good movie and can appreciate situational'll enjoy this one. BUY IT!!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Richard Pryor

DVD title: Solaris
Productgroup: DVD
Solaris - movie DVD cover picture

This 2002 version of SOLARIS is everything the 1972 Russian version wasn't. Indeed, this latest release resonates with me more and more as I dwell upon it.
Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is a psychiatrist going through the daily motions. Then, he receives a video message from his friend Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur) beseeching his help out on the space research station circling the planet Solaris. Gibarian doesn't specify the problem, but two astronauts have already perished.
On his arrival at Solaris, Kelvin discovers that Gibarian has since committed suicide. Only the station's commander, Dr. Helen Gordon (Viola Davis), and Snow (Jeremy Davies) remain alive. Gordon is locked in her cabin, reluctant to come out. Snow seems in a world of his own, curiously semi-detached from reality.
Chris is soon confronted with the presence of Visitors, physical manifestations created by the planet Solaris of humans residing within the memories of the space station crew. For example, there's the young "son" of Gibarian, and the "brother" of Snow. We never learn who Gordon's Visitor is.
Kelvin awakens one day to his own Visitor, his wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone), who'd previously committed suicide back on Earth after an acrimonious verbal confrontation with her spouse. Chris, who loved her dearly, has been weighed down with her loss.
The power of the SOLARIS story lies in the concept of a life form created from the another's psyche. As Rheya puts it to Chris, her existence and essence is solely dependent on his memory of her. The viewer watches as Rheya mentally discovers who she is via Kelvin's memories, fed to her (and the viewer) in flashback form by, presumably, the planet's intelligence. Poignantly, Rheya - a tragic figure - is profoundly saddened that all she'll ever be is determined by Kelvin's recollections, that she'll never know the rest of herself. Chris, on the other hand, mired in the twin emotions of guilt and love, clings to his resurrected "wife". As he admits to her, "I don't know anymore if you're truly Rheya; I only see you."
The 2002 version of this film is, mercifully, 70 minutes shorter than the 169-minute 1972 edition, which dragged on interminably. Plus, the planetary special FX are better, and the interior of the space station doesn't look like something clunky out of the Soviet 50s. Clooney, who delivers one of his best performances, benefits from being familiar to American audiences, something Donatas Banionis in the earlier Russian release wasn't. McElhone, a relatively unknown actress, has a stunning, mature beauty worthy of any man's obsession. Davis is powerful as Dr. Gordon, a realist who knows what must be done if the station's survivors are to live. Davies gives a measured and brilliant performance as the detached Snow, who provides a surprise of his own.
In the mind of every human being resides the memory of another, who was more dear than life itself, who will perhaps occupy his/her dying thoughts. Who would your Visitor be on the Solaris station? The creators of this unique, love story - for that's what it is - have perhaps distilled for the cinema the essence of the original Stanislaw Lem novel into this question.
I like this film more than I can adequately say.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney
Natascha McElhone
Ulrich Tukur

DVD title: The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Passionate Sacrifice

The Passion of the Christ displays an idea of the scriptural description of Christ's crucifixion with astounding accuracy. In viewing the film, one senses the true meaning of the word "awesome" which has in recent days become trivialized to describing rock bands and sports feats. I felt a personal conviction in re-examining my own thoughts as to Jesus costly sacrifice for my sins. His crucifixion was a result of the sins of all mankind in general, and my own in specific.
As to anti-semitism, the film in no way would place blame on the jews for Jesus sacrifice. The blame is shared by all of us who are and have been upon the face of the Earth. Had I been there in that age, my own sins would dictate that I put him to death as his perfection threatens my utter sinfulness. The decision of God to sacrifice his only begotten Son speaks of his Love to us all as Jesus laid down his life by his own will and desire to obey God. No man took His life, He willingly gave it to save all whom would believe. It also clearly displays the fact that the first peoples to believe that Jesus was the Christ were in fact Jewish. The Old Testment, as Christians would call it, prophesied the coming of the Messiah.
I remember that one of the things that was chanted at the release of Barabbas by the congregation demanding Jesus' crucifixion was, "His blood be on our heads!" While at the time this was meant to show Pontius Pilate that those wanting his crucifixion would willingly, before God, show that they were serious about blasphemy and by not tolerating it in the one that they perceived as a blasphemer would please God and that they would be judged as having made a righteous decision in the destruction of such a one. In fact, the Blood that was on their heads, became blood not of condemnation, but of Salvation for all whom later believed in the diety of Jesus, the Son of God.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Mel Gibson
James Caviezel
Monica Bellucci

DVD title: The Insider
Productgroup: DVD
The Insider - movie DVD cover picture

Dante Spinotti, who was also behind the visuals on Heat, is amazing. The Insider, as a trained cinematographer, is one of the best and inventively shot films I have seen in a long time.
As well, Michael Mann does an amazing job overall, of directing these two fine actors. He also is one a director I hold in the highest esteem.
Whatch this one - do not let the synopsis prevent you from seeing it because you're afraid it may be "boring". Give it a chance and you will find it to be very exciting and full of both energy and touching moments.
Absolutely outstanding. Crowe deserved "Best Actor" for this, and Mann "Best Director" at the Oscars.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Michael Mann
Al Pacino
Russell Crowe

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