Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: What a Way to Go
Productgroup: DVD
What a Way to Go - movie DVD cover picture
5 stars is just an average

Depending on the angle you view it from, this film deserves anywhere from 1 to 10 stars. It's MacLaine and Maclaine alone who rescues this bizarre-yet-entertaining hodge-podge from embarrassment. In reality, she rescued the film itself from oblivion, since it was originally created as a Monroe vehicle and was supposed to be plenty darker. One can imagine, given the basics of the plot, just how dark it could have become. In its original form, with Marilyn Monroe starring, this could have been one of her best films.

No worry, this flick is an entirely different story. Briefly: nice, sincere, simple gal--against wishes of mom, marries series of simple-life guys who strike it rich and die--with a variation or two on that theme. The plot lacks a Pilgrim's Progress quality which makes the MacLaine character seem more like she's caught in a crazy pointless time loop than advancing spiritually (a possible reading of the movie!). Weirdly, she doesn't need to advance spiritually; she knows exactly what she wants and what she wants is good. This makes her character extremely appealing and the rest of the movie awkward and lumpy. The good bits, and there are many, clearly belong to Compden and Green who were brought in to kick this up a bit. Good choice.

It doesn't help me personally that 3--count 'em--3 of my least favorite male actors from that era play various husbands. Dean Martin is always unpleasant to watch; a minute of him and I've got hair grease and slime all over everything in my living room. Dick Van Dyke was one of the un-funniest comedians of all time (he should have been shot for his work on Mary Poppins), a complete ham, yet he puts in a forgivable, even fine, performance in this flick as a Thoreau-reading unambitious shop-owner who overnight turns into workaholic Mr. Wal Mart. Actually, this might be the funniest I've ever seen him be. That segment should be shown in every business school in the nation.

Worst of all is Gene Kelly, another ham, possibly King of Hams (who should have been shot for his inability to act in Inherit the Wind--nearly single-handedly wrecking an otherwise terrific movie), who seems barely aware that anyone is on camera with him (there is absolutely no electricity between him and Maclaine) and then transforms into a superstar egomaniac in the story. What might have been ironic with another actor is just annoying with this chump. Kelly existed solely to prove to the world what an amazing and classy actor/dancer/comedian/entertainer Fred Astaire was and Astaire would have been far more believable in this part. Astaire lampoons himself in "Bandwagon" and it's charming and endearing.

Paul Newman also hams it up way too much as an wacko artist one reviewer thinks is based on Jackson Pollock. Wrongo. A sign of the weird hip-ness of this movie is he's based on junk artist Jean Tinguley and as if to prove this, a character resembling Tinguley's girlfriend--artist Nicki de St.Phalle--is seen creating a painting by shooting at balloons filled with paint-- just as de St. Phalle once did. Newman's only tolerable--his is a bad parody of a modern artist and it's also hopelessly out-of-date for 1964. Robert Mitchum fills in for the too-expensive Sinatra and it shows. Ive never gotten the impression that Mitchum even tried to act. It's disturbing--all these men (characters and actors) in the MacLaine character's life and she outshines every one in every respect.

That, then, gets to the point. this is her film and it was designed to showcase all her talent and charm. She does everything from song and dance, to high and low comedy. At one point she walks into a swimming pool scene wearing an outrageous backless bikini and looks breathtaking--demonstrating for all time that sex appeal does not have to rely on vamping or pneumatics (an ironic point given who she replaced). The script uses every opportunity to get her out of her clothes and she doesn't seem to mind. Feminists could have an international conference on this film and post-modern readings should abound. Her character is strong and willful, self-confident and sexually healthy, but she keeps meeting these "great guys" (played by jerks) who, over and over, shove her in the kitchen or treat her as a trophy wife (Maybe it's not just coincidence that so many vile male actors are in this?). They all die, as they should, except one, and the jury could be out for months on what that's all about. As lumpy and itchy as this film is, it's absolutely fascinating. Visually, it's a stunner with terrific sets and props. It's worth the price just to see the mansion where everything, inside and out, is painted pink.

With all that said, I heartily recommend it but be ready for a strange experience. I expect over time this movie might clarify as a vaguely subversive film (Compden and Greene had that bomb-throwing anarchist streak in them) and I look forward to repeat viewings. Shirley Maclaine is just spectacular from beginning to end and for that alone this film is worth the price.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Shirley MacLaine
Paul Newman
Robert Mitchum

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Awesome Movie

I was watching the extended DVD edition the other day and it was an interview with Peter Jackson and he said that the Two Towers was the most difficult movie to do because of the books and the way Tolkien wrote them well i really enjoyed the way they rearranged things all around it was the greatest movie i have seen up to date but i am sure the return of the king will have something to say about that

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen

DVD title: The Doom Generation
Productgroup: DVD
The Doom Generation - movie DVD cover picture
Juvinility for the Modern Intelectual

For all of the people who mock Gregg Araki's dialogue, his poor, home-video-esque directing and his sloppy editing, I have one thing to say: you're all correct. His dialogue is not realistic, it makes you cringe in embarassment at the poor actors who are forced to say these lines, and some would even say it was ineffective. However, we must realize that most every writer does EVERYTHING for a reason, and his motives are pure. The film is a mockery. It's not a mockery of youth, though. It mocks the way that society sees young people. So, effectively, Araki is spitting sarcastically in the faces of those who dislike his film . . . those who have contempt for the Doom Generation are the guinnea pigs for which the film was created. Although it may be (advertently) obvious, there is sarcasm and, believe it or not, a deeper meaning. See also NOWHERE, and reassess your thoughts on this modern noir masterpiece.

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Gregg Araki
James Duval
Rose McGowan
Johnathon Schaech

DVD title: Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Did anybody really see "Attack of the Clones"?

"AOTC" was with out a doubt the best offering in the Star Wars Prequels. Anybody who trashed this film in my opinion did'nt really take notice to greatness of this film. When I saw it on it's opening night it "TOTALLY" blew me away. All of the unanswered questions are starting to be answered. George Lucas and the brillant people who put this masterpiece togther know that this film was the best so far. So to all of the non-believers out there should have their heads examined. If you hated this film wait until Episode III is released, and will will see who has the last laugh. Comparing the prequels to the originals is a total injustice! Brian from Philadelphia, PA.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman

DVD title: An American Rhapsody
Productgroup: DVD
An American Rhapsody - movie DVD cover picture
An American Rhapsody

Any one who deals with foster children or orphans should see this film. It aptly depicts the emotions of being taken from your parents and thrust into a new environment.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Éva Gárdos
Scarlett Johansson
Nastassja Kinski

DVD title: The Grudge (Director's Cut)
Productgroup: DVD
The Grudge (Director's Cut) - movie DVD cover picture
like a nightmare caught on film

The Grudge is like a nightmare caught on film. It is dark, surreal, confusing and (to me, at least) straight-up terrifying. There is something so powerfully frightening within the sounds and images of this movie. It makes perfect sence to me that some of the characters were literally frightened to death by the presence of these ghosts. I'm 30 years old, and after seeing this film for the first time, I felt like I was 5 again. For weeks my imagination was creating "her" in the shadows at night. "She" was under my my my attic...waiting. I could sense her staring at me, unblinking while I tried to fall into a fitful sleep. I could almost hear that gutteral croak, like a crushed windpipe gasping for air. I was so certain, in that space between being asleep and being awake, that I could sense someone, something, slowly crawling across the floor toward my bed as if it's spine were broken. And all I could do was lie there, unmoving, and tell myself "it's only a movie. it's only a movie."

It's obviously not for everyone, but for those who are willing to allow it "inside", The Grudge is one HELL of a Horror movie that will stay with you day and night. But especially at night.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Jason Behr
Clea DuVall

DVD title: Shakespeare in Love
Productgroup: DVD
Shakespeare in Love - movie DVD cover picture
In love with Shakespeare in Love

There are very few films which I can consider truly captivating. This would be one of them. In a movie where words might seem to overshadow the play, the story shines through with such vibrance that it warms the soul of anyone with even the slightest heart for theatre. To compare it with Shakespeare itself would not be such an injustice.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: John Madden
Geoffrey Rush
Joseph Fiennes
Gwyneth Paltrow

DVD title: Rush - Rush in Rio
Productgroup: DVD
Rush - Rush in Rio - movie DVD cover picture
Never leaves my player!!!!!

I love it, excellent, i am so sick of crappy bootlegs, so this is a real treat. The best looking video ever. and the sound isnt as bad as people say. maybe i am just happy to have it.. The only thing i will complain about is, why is it so hard to get dvds and cds out of these diffcult trays they come in, almost like they will break. Some one who has the cd help me out? Does it come with a mini vapor trails tourbook?? Now for finding the 75 anthem easter egg. go to o bastrio and use your FF button hit it 5 times and you should get it.. hope this helps...

Studio: Rounder
Director: Daniel E. Catullo

DVD title: Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Productgroup: DVD
Aguirre, the Wrath of God - movie DVD cover picture
Herzog and Kinski's Vision of Manifested Madness

On the eastern slopes of the Andes during the Spanish expedition , Gonzalo Pizarro urges his men to continue through the thick Amazon forests despite the dangers within the dark and humid jungle. The tale of Pizarro's venture begins with an ominous warning as it is revealed to the audience that the only surviving evidence of the expedition is a journal kept by Brother Gaspar de Carvajal, a monk who travels to spread the gospel of Christianity. This bleak foreshadowing induces an inching uneasiness into the mind of the audience. This is enhanced by further looming incidents such as native slaves dying like flies from simple colds and food shortage. The low supply of food leads to a decision to split the group where one group should return for provisions and the other should continue searching for a gold shimmering city. This tale then follows the ill-fated who continue the journey for the legendary city as they are drawn deeper into the cruel world of the Amazon. Deaths of several men forebode the grim future of the expedition, which the leadership wants to call off and return to the safety of civilization. However, Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), a high ranking soldier, commands a rise against the leadership based on a proud vision of greatness and worldly riches beyond imagination that drives him to thrust deeper into the unexplored rainforest. Aguirre's vision draws the expedition into a personal realm of madness and destruction, which leads to only one certain fate. Aguirre: The Wrath of God has a lingering effect on the audience as the eerie atmosphere created by Herzog persists from the initial shot to the final scene. There are several components that generate this bizarre ambiance of the story such as cinematography, idiosyncrasies, mise-en-scene, and performances by the cast. The cinematography is simple and sometimes documentary-like, which produces a real feeling. This real feeling together with the uncanny knowledge of the unavoidable doom enhances the extraordinary atmosphere of the venture. The complete portrait of the character Aguirre by Klaus Kinski is nothing but spectacular. Herzog's choice of mise-en-scene is delicately chosen as all the items had to be transported by the expedition. Each item within each frame displays a significant symbolism such as the horse and raft, which adds new layers to the unnatural atmosphere. Lastly, the performances by the cast are outstanding as it is not the dialogue that drives the story forward, but the visual manifestation of their being that elevates the outlandish impression of each scene. When Herzog combined all the aspects of film-making in Aguirre: The Wrath of God he left the world a brilliantly eerie cinematic experience that will leave several notions in reflecting minds.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Werner Herzog
Klaus Kinski
Ruy Guerra

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Undoubtedly interesting...

This movie is brilliant. You are first introduced to a Mr. Narrator (Edward Norton), who is living his job, suffering insomnia, and crazed about IKEA furniture.
After becoming conscious of this constrictive lifestyle he constantly questions himself. This questioning reaches out to many philosophical concepts, and alludes to many questionably sane people. Finally, after curing his insomnia with group therapy for conditions which he himself has none of, he meets Helena Bonham Carter, a fellow group therapy faker. Her role is that of a chain smoking suicidal sex crazed lunatic, it is at this point that Norton's character reaches the boundaries of his subconscious.
What follows is the battle between Edward Norton and his subconscious, with Brad Pitt playing Tyler Durden along for the ride and bringing an organized method to this madness; Fight Club. Fighting society, this group attempts to create a segue for the blue collar, white collar, run of the mill every day workers trapped in a routine lifestyle just like Edward Norton's character. Growing to national proportions, Norton eventually finds himself overwhelmed, shocked and confused by some of the deeds the group has graduated into doing.
The DVD version of this movie aesthetically perfect. The transitions are second to none, everything is very clean. The supplemental disc contains scenes that were, unbelievably so, too gruesome or questionable for the final cut. If you have not seen this movie, rent it while your waiting for your order to arrive. Some might like the think the world will eventually benefit from this movies ideals and gratuitous concepts.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

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