Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Alice's Restaurant
Productgroup: DVD
Alice's Restaurant - movie DVD cover picture
60's aren't over till the Fat Lady gets high!

Very entertaining for 60's enthusiasts-or Guthrie fans, Woody or Arlo. Arlo's humor is laid-back; the (re)action of the Law was so typical of that time; makes me want to go back in time to relive it all, good or bad-this is a cult-classic for every Thanksgiving!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Arthur Penn
Arlo Guthrie
Patricia Quinn (II)

DVD title: Hero (UMD Mini For PSP)
Productgroup: DVD
Hero (UMD Mini For PSP) - movie DVD cover picture
No comparisons

This is an excellent film and should not be compared to Hidden Dragon, also excellent, as many critics and reviewers are doing. Where as Hidden Dragon was a story, this is a philosphical meditation on action versus peace. And, even though the same composer is used, the music is not comparable--Hero is a far more nuanced invesigation of Chinese culture. (The way the blind musician shakes the robs back from his hands is itself a stunning look at the martial arts "body state" that internal arts aim for. The King of Qin is amazing to watch even though he largely just sits there and talks.) Another film that Hero is being compared to is Roshimon, because retellings of the tale that is the heart of the movie. This too is incorrect. The point of the retellings is not to reflect different vantage points and interests, but rather to provide the set-up for the climax and to explore the three themes (equal to the three stages of martial arts the King of Qin sees in the giant caligraphy): passionate action, extreme committment, and, ultimately, serene peace.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Director: Yimou Zhang
Jet Li
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Maggie Cheung
Ziyi Zhang
Daoming Chen
Donnie Yen

DVD title: Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Shrek was the BEST movie I ever saw!

Let me tell ya, this movie was so good I thought that it was a Disney movie. However, there is one way that you can tell Disney movies from everything else. Disney movies do not have profanity. Shrek does. I would recommend this movie for kids who are at least ten years old and any adult. Eddie Murphy out did himself as donkey. Cameron Diaz was terrific as Princess Fiona. (I didn't know she was so good). Mike Myers was perfect as Shrek. John Lithgow was good as Lord Farquaad. The muffin man scene was hilarious. I love this movie. I hope that it wins some awards too. My only fear is that the dorky Harry Potter movie might have a higher box office and be an all time better movie. I ain't gonna see it!

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy

DVD title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Productgroup: DVD
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - movie DVD cover picture
a masterpiece that lives up to the hype

From the opening triumphant strains of Ennio Morricone's legendary score and those wonderfully dated '60s opening credits, you know you're watching something pretty special.
This is one of those films that even people who haven't seen it, know all about it because, over the years, it has become absorbed into popular culture.
Does it get any better than Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood in the same film together? All three actors play brilliantly off one another with Van Cleef exuding absolute menace, Wallach gleefully chewing up the scenery (the way he says, "You bastard!" is brilliant) and Eastwood is at his laconic best as the mysterious Blondie (aka The Man With No Name).
Sergio Leone's direction is a revelation. He totally reinvents the western into his own unique style that has been imitated but never equaled. Right from the opening shot of a close-up of an grotesque man to the tension-filled final showdown between the three leads, Leone demonstrates a complete command of his craft.
There's a reason that this film is considered one of THE best westerns of all time: you've got Leone's brilliant direction that subverts genre expectations, Morricone's great soundtrack that covers the entire emotional spectrum, and a killer cast that are risen to iconic status as a result of their performances in this movie.
While some consider Once Upon A Time in the West to be Leone's masterpiece, I think that The Good, The Bad and The Ugly edges it out ever so slightly, in my opinion, because I find it infinitely more watchable. It's one of those movies I can sit down and watch any time and if it's ever on TV I usually end up watching it all the way through to the end.
This DVD is a must-have for fans of this film because Leone's proper aspect ratio for this film is faithfully restored. This is the ONLY way to see this movie because [bad] pan and scan completely destroys Leone's widescreen compositions. The sound and picture quality is fantastic and the extras are not half bad -- although, an audio commentary would've been nice.
Essential viewing.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood
Lee Van Cleef
Eli Wallach

DVD title: Whale Rider
Productgroup: DVD
Whale Rider - movie DVD cover picture
Small on the outside

I am so glad I bought the DVD! The behind the scenes commentary is interesting all by itself. Keisha Castle-Hughes was chosen by the same person who chose Anna Paquin, and she does not disappoint.
Whale Rider is, in part, about the struggle for acceptance and respect. Here is Pai, a small 12 year old girl, always trying to please her Grandfather. Yet she knows the story of her tribe. Her mother was to give birth to the next chief in the family. Instead, they got her. This story transcends the Maori culture, for every child strives to be accepted by their parents. Be it the first born, who has to live up to the parents expectations. The middle child, overshadowed by an older sibling. Or the youngest child, often overlooked for anything great. Pai, though often rejected, stayed strong to her intuition that she could be great. Her esteem, in the face of non-acceptance is what makes this film so worth seeing, for any young girl and boy, and adults as well.
Whale Rider also has a beautiful score. Music of the ocean, of whales, haunting. Peaceful as the New Zealand landscape.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Niki Caro
Keisha Castle-Hughes
Rawiri Paratene
Vicky Haughton
Cliff Curtis

DVD title: Kiki's Delivery Service
Productgroup: DVD
Kiki's Delivery Service - movie DVD cover picture
A Fantastic Movie

Though not as good as Spirited Away, this movie is one of my favorite Japanese animation movies! The story talks about many different things, such as KiKi proving herself as a witch, and proving herself to the world, and town in which she resides. All the characters are memorable, especially KiKi's cranky cat, whose name I can't remember at the moment. The animation is colorful and entertaining, as is most Japanese animation.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who has enjoyed other movies of Hayao Miyazaki's, to anyone who loves Japanese animation, or to anyone looking for a good movie to watch with the family (Although girls may tend to enjoy it more then boys).

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Minami Takayama

DVD title: National Treasure (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
National Treasure (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A family-friendly adventure

What a delight to find a movie with no gratuitus sex, profanity, and excess violence. It held our attention from beginning to end, and was a adventure in the spirit of Indiana Jones. Nicolas Cage was great. We give it high marks for great fun!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Nicolas Cage
Diane Kruger
Justin Bartha
Sean Bean

DVD title: Sailor Moon S - Heart Collection I: TV Series, Vols. 1 & 2 (Uncut)
Productgroup: DVD
Sailor Moon S - Heart Collection I: TV Series, Vols. 1 & 2 (Uncut) - movie DVD cover picture
Don't just sit there, buy it already! :D

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is many things. It's a story about an ordinary girl who finds out that she used to a be a princess, and that the sarcastic guy she always used to bump into is her prince. It's a story about some teenage girls who are friends but argue a hell of a lot. It's a story about some superheroes who transform with cheesy (but very catchy) disco music playing in the background. Okay, so it's more of some of those things than of others, but it's still a great show overall :]
This is Sailor Moon S, the third series. Many consider this to be the best series out of the 5. I've only seen the episodes on the first 2 DVDs, so I can't say, but what I've seen so far looks pretty good. And this DVD is incredible value for money - you get the uncut subtitled version (my preference but not necessarily everyone's) plus the uncut dub (which has nothing actually cut but is still heavily rewritten in many episodes - not to say that the dub isn't still good in its own right, especially since it uses the original music) of the first 7 episodes. That's 4 VHS tapes on 1 DVD! You also get a pretty cool extra (a karaoke creditless version of the opening) plus a less cool but still interesting extra (a biography and art gallery of Usagi). The video and sound quality aren't exactly brilliant, but that's to be expected for a fairly old show (the zooming problem many fans have complained about is fixed as of half way through disc 2, and even before that it's not too noticeable).
The cover art for this series is amazing - probably the best DVD cover art I've seen (the second one's even better, but the first one's still really nice), and if you don't like the one on the front you can turn the insert round to reveal a different cover (with Mercury and Jupiter)! There's lots of cover-reversing fun to be had ^^
So basically, unless you're completely opposed to anything involving touching romance, indecisive teenage girls or cheesy disco music, buy this! It's definitely worth your money. Although a better starting point for someone new to Sailor Moon would probably be the R movie (which is also available on a bilingual DVD, the format I recommend), if you want to get right into the series itself this disc would be fine.

Studio: Pioneer Video

DVD title: Seize the Day
Productgroup: DVD
Seize the Day - movie DVD cover picture
The Condition of Modern Breakdown

Middle-aged Wilhelm las lost his sense of direction. He cannot find the means to support his wife and kids, who he recently walked out on, and is looking for pity and help from everyone that he can.
The premise may not sound that interesting but Bellow does an incredible job of showing how suppressing emotions come back to haunt us. Throughout this book, Wilhelm has several life-changing interactions with the other characters, and comes out a totally different person. These interactions are gracefully executed by Bellow, showing an amazing grasp of differing psyches and how they interact with others.
I don't want to give anything away, but Wilhelm's final confrontations with Tamkin and his father are absolutely amazing. If your interest can be held by an intensely personal journey (as opposed to a plot driven thriller), then this book may be for you. Once you've finished the book, just compare the opening paragraphs with the closing ones and you should get a hint of what you just gained. Doing so may even convince you to give it another go.

Studio: Monterey Home Video
Director: Fielder Cook
Robin Williams

DVD title: Hopscotch - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Hopscotch - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
The Best!

Hopscotch clearly is one of the best movies of all time. Walter Matthau is at his best and the rest of the cast is outstanding as well. A witty, toe-tapping, driving wheel slapping, great time!!!! I will stand in any line to obtain ten or more copies of Hopscotch and they will be housed in my fireproof safe (and one in a safety deposit box). IF ANYONE IS PAYING ATTENTION -- RE-RELEASE HOPSCOTCH!!!!

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Ronald Neame
Walter Matthau
Glenda Jackson

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