Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: 7th Heaven - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
7th Heaven - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
7th Heaven Rocks

Hallelujah!. That was the reaction of millions of people around the world when a show like 7th Heaven was created and put on television. A nice, clean, wholesome show for the entire family. It premiered on The WB back in 1996, and has become the network's #1 show for 5 seasons in a row!. While other, hip shows got all the attention, this quiet family drama got all the ratings. The show centers around The Camdens. A large family living in the fictitious town of Glen Oak, CA. Dad Eric Camden(Stephen Collins), is the local reverend, and his wife Annie(Catherine Hicks), is one the busiest and caring mothers around. They have 5 kids. 16 year old Matt(Barry Watson), 14 year old Mary(Jessica Biel), 12 year old Lucy(Beverly Mitchell), 10 year old Simon(David Gallagher), and little 5 year old Ruthie(Mackenzie Rossman). We can't forget their dog, Happy, either. The show centers around the lives of the clan, but also their willingness to reach out and help others that are in need. With Eric being the local reverend, it just comes with the territory. Season one is a fantastic debut season. The writers have a way of making the family realistic, even though some people criticize it for being unrealistic. As if they know every single family in the world. One of the show's strong points is hitting on issue of today. Season one will hit on teen pregnancy in the episodes "Family Secrets" and "No Funerals And A Wedding", stealing in the episode "America's Most Wanted", drugs in "Saturday", spousal abuse in "What Will People Say", racism in "The Color Of God", death in "In The Blink Of An Eye", alcoholism in "Last Call For Aunt Julie", sexual harrasment in "Brave New World", and lots more. Plus, the episodes just deal with life in general. The ups and downs of normal family living with 5 kids and two parents. Storylines like Lucy wanting to join the cheer squad in "Now You See Me", Simon wanting a dog in "Anything You Want", holidays in "Halloween", and 'Happy's Valentine", visits from the grandparents Ruth and The Colonel in "Seven Is Enough", and later on in "It's About George", and the ongoing issue of dating and boyfriends and girlfriends. The writing dealing with the issues is very real. The message is made very clear and it's those types of storylines that the writing is the strongest. Some accuse it of being preachy, but it's not. It just lays out the situation, the message, and brings a resolution, or somewhat of a resolution, to it and that's it. Not preachy. The writing does have a tendency to fall into the 'weak' category at times, but when it's hitting on all cylinders, it's got it right. The acting is the same. While Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks are pros and act circles around everyone else, the kids struggled with the acting in the earlier seasons. Not all bad, but not all great. Barry Watson was one of the best, and David Gallagher grew into an impressive young actor. Especially in the 8th season. Many moments, with Collins and Hicks, have been emmy worthy, but as usual with The WB, it goes unseen. Why is the show so popular and successful?. Because it's good. It's warm and inviting and makes you feel hope. It is supposedly so out of the norm and so ultra-unhip, but that's exactly what makes it hip and cool. People have been bombarded with nothing but violence and adult type themes and harsh language on TV for years and it's what they know. A show like this isn't going to be understood by a lot of people because it doesn't follow the norm of other shows. That's why it's good and has been such a success for so long. The show has had, and is continuing to have, the last laugh. Visiting Glen Oak and stepping inside the Camden clan's large, homey house and witnessing their life's adventures is a joy and a delight. It has truly become the ultimate family show, and thank god there are people out there who understand how badly it's needed.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Stephen Collins

DVD title: Frailty
Productgroup: DVD
Frailty - movie DVD cover picture
One of the Years Best!

By my surprise, Frailty turns out to be one of the best films of the year. About a father and his 2 sons who are chosen by God to kill the demons in the world. One catch, the demons come in the form of humans. With incredible performances from Bill Paxton, Matthew Mcchonaughey, and especially Matthew O'Leary as the young Fenton, this film is horrifying. Director Bill paxton creates an eerie atmosphere that makes the film all the more creepy. I don't want to give much away about the movie and there are a few surprises that will make you jump so all I can say is I loved this movie. Everything about it. I love horror movies and rarely do I get frightened by them. This one did it!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton
Matthew McConaughey

DVD title: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Productgroup: DVD
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three - movie DVD cover picture
"What the hell did they expect for their lousy 35 cents?"

The subway...lifeblood of New York. The largest mass transit system in the world, currently operating over 8,000 rail and subway cars, traveling on over two thousand miles of track, serving nearly eight million passengers daily. Seems like a logistical nightmare, keeping tabs on it all, but MTA (Metro Transit Authority) does, anticipating many problems before they arise. One thing they couldn't anticipate, what no one could have, is someone hijacking one of the trains. But it did happen, once (in movie world, at least).

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), directed by Joseph Sargent (Colossus: The Forbin Project, Jaws: The Revenge), presents a wonderfully talented cast including Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, and Hector Elizondo. Also making appearances are Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld), Dick O'Neill (Gamera), Kenneth McMillian (Dune), and Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond). The film involves the hijacking of a New York subway train by a group of men armed with semi-automatic weapons for the purpose of extorting one million dollars from the city, otherwise they begin executing passengers, one by one. `What the hell they expect for their lousy 35 cents? To live forever?!"

This is really an entertaining, tense and witty film that kept me interested up until the very end. Matthau really owns this film, appearing as harried yet cool-headed Lt. Zachary Garber, an officer working for the Metro Authority, and main negotiator with the hijackers, lead by the ruthless Mr. Blue, played by Robert Shaw (it's said Quentin Tarantino got the idea of using colors for the names of his characters in Reservoir Dogs (1992) from this film). Garber really has to play a juggling act, trying to keep the hostages alive, placating the hijackers, and keeping the trigger-happy cops from starting World War III down in the subway tunnels. Robert Shaw does an excellent job playing tactical minded Mr. Blue, basically Garber's counterpart, leader of the hijackers, meticulously planning the entire operation as if it were a military action (we later find out he's a British mercenary `between wars'). He must keep not only the hostages calm and in line, but also his men, especially the psychotic Mr. Gray, played by Hector Elizondo, who seems to suffer from an extremely itchy trigger finger. He's also kinda sleazy...(doesn't it seem like there's always one psychotic in the group? I guess criminals are a highly unstable bunch). As I said, Matthau owns this film, but it certainly doesn't hurt that he had so many talented and highly professional actors supporting him throughout the movie. If The Taking of Pelham One Two Three has the feel of a superior made-for-TV movie about it, that's because one look at Joseph Sargent's credits will show a vast amount of TV work, including shows like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and a ton of made-for-TV movies. He did venture into films a few times, most notably the 70's sci-fi film Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and White Lighting (1973), to name a few, but always seemed to return to TV. He's also responsible for one of the worst movies ever made (in my opinion) in Jaws: The Revenge (1987), which probably put a serious hurting on any future film directing offers. As I said, Pelham does play like a TV movie (except for the brief but realistic use of profanity), but a really, really good one. Even the musical score for the film has a TV theme quality about it, but that of a top-notch theme, one that serves to enhance the overall product. The plot is tight, and moves along pretty quickly. The movie also has a real authentic flavor, especially all the smart alecky comments made throughout, the kind one would expect from New Yorkers. I loved the initial reactions to the news of the subway train being hijack, the incredulity accompanied by complete annoyance that someone would have the nerve to screw around with the New York Subway system, much less hijack it (the scene where the one of the men in charge with keeping the trains moving decides he's going to walk down the tracks and see what's going on for himself is priceless, at least until he finds out it's for real). The plot covers a lot of ground, focusing on not only the passengers and hijackers, but also the transit authority cop, the regular cops, right up to the politicians, forced to weigh the decision and consequences of paying the ransom money or not (they do, and the scenes involving the authorities racing to meet the hijacker's deadline is gripping, with slight dashes of humor...the police racing in their car, sirens blaring, Officer O'Keefe: "I always wanted to do this. Look, we're scaring the sh#t out of everybody.", Officer Miskowsky: "Yeah, including me.") The big question posed, and one that's focused on throughout is, even if the hijackers get the money, how are they going to get away with it? They're in a train, underground, surrounded by police, with no visible escape routes. Seems like a tricky proposition, but given Mr. Blue's talent for meticulously covering all the details, I'm sure he's got a plan (don't ask me, just watch the film).

The quality of the wide screen non-anamorphic print on this DVD is pretty good, but not as good as I would have liked to have seen. There's a lack of sharpness in the picture, and the colors a kind of dull. The audio is also pretty good, and the dialog is clear. MGM stints on the special features, as usual, providing a theatrical trailer and an informative 4-page booklet insert. Basically what you have here is an exceptional crime film set in New York, one that rises above most others and doesn't disappoint. Oh, and that warning you always hear about not touching the third rail, as it's full of juice (electricity), and will fry you like a side of bacon? You would do well to heed it, as it's not an urban legend, my friend...


Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Joseph Sargent
Walter Matthau
Robert Shaw

DVD title: Hideous Kinky
Productgroup: DVD
Hideous Kinky - movie DVD cover picture

This is a wonderful film with stellar performances by the entire cast. It is about a young woman's quest for the meaning of life. Taking place in the early 1970s, it is very reminiscent of an era now passed, an era when "flower power" was the rule of the day.
Here, Kate Winslet plays Julia, a twenty five year old young mother of two children, nine year old Bea, stunningly acted by Bella Riza, and her younger sister, Lucy, charmingly played by Carrie Mullen. They abandon their structured, staid life in London, when Julia decides to leave their father to go to Marrakech in Morocco, then the capitol of the disaffected, in search of spiritual enlightenment.
Taking her children, Julia goes on an adventure, an adventure to which Lucy, the younger of her two daughters, takes to almost immediately. Nine year old Bea, on the other hand, begins to yearn for a more "normal", structured life. Julia, however, will have none of it. Living in a Moroccan slum with her girls, she romanticizes their existence.
Julia becomes involved with Bilal, a street performer of sorts, who looks out for them. Wonderfully acted by Said Taghemaoui, Bilal charms Julia and her daughters. He cannot, however, support them, and they cannot support themselves. This becomes clear as they begin a rag tag journey into the Moroccan country side.
Sooner, rather than later, reality sets in. The adventure wears thin on Bea who becomes estranged from her mother. The harsh reality of every day life confronts Julia, who ultimately realizes that traipsing around Morocco just puts her young daughters at risk. Unfortuntely, this realization does not occur to her until she almost loses Bea to illness. It is then that Bilal steps up to home plate and gives them the means to return. They leave Marrakech to begin their journey home, taking with them enough memories to last a lifetime.
This is a wonderful movie with exceptional cinematography. A virtual travelogue of Moroccan life, it is a visual feast that is sure to delight those who have a hankering for faraway, exotic places and a thirst for adventure.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Kate Winslet
Bella Riza

DVD title: It Happened One Night
Productgroup: DVD
It Happened One Night - movie DVD cover picture
Best Picture Winner that Deserved it.

This film is nothing but brilliant. There is not a second that goes by when you get bored of it.
The film stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and is directed by Frank Capra. Thats enough to make you want to see it already!
The film was released in 1934 and won five academy awards, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.
The basic storyline goes:Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is this spoiled rich girl, who runs away from her father (Walter Connolly) who is a millionaire, so that she can marry her fiancee. On her way to New York, she gets on a bus on which she meets a newspaper reporter, Peter Warne (Clark Gable). They start off bad, but then there bus breaks down, which is the start to a very funny hitchhiking trip that will certainly change the both of them. The scene where Gable is pretending that he is a gangster is hilarious!
Now for the DVD:The picture quality looks very good. The sound is good. It has some nice extras, such as an Original Live Radio Broadcast that is very, very entertaining. A featurette, the usual trailer, along with a few other things aswell. No commentary though (refers to region 2 release). However, there is apparently one on the US disc of this film.
If there is any such thing as a perfect movie, this is it!
This film, and this DVD presentation, is most highly recommended! Its hard to describe how great this movie is. It really is that good!
PLEASE NOTE: I own the Region 2 relase of this DVD. As mentioned above, this Region 1 release apparently includes all the same as the UK release, but this also includes a commentary.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Frank Capra
Clark Gable
Claudette Colbert

DVD title: Ghost of Dickens Past
Productgroup: DVD
Ghost of Dickens Past - movie DVD cover picture
Thought You'd Want to See What's on the Box

Wow a great movie, absolutely unknown to most of us. The Studio is dedicated to family films that strengthen traditional family values through entertainment. This tape even has a Parent's Guide printed on the back with topics for family discussion. Just superlative all around!

Now for the story: Getting beyond our own needs," a close friend tells Charles Dickens, "takes thought and effort and, above all, an unselfish heart." The timely advice is given as the author struggles to write - only for profit. Unfortunately, his desire for financial security only fuels his own fears and self-pity. When his soul-searching leads him into peril, he receives unexpected help from a young girl. Hauntingly, her life mirrors his own childhood. Though the strange events she reveals to Dickens, she reawakens in him a desire to refocus his priorities. But he runs into a wall built upon his own painful memories of a childhood marred by debtors prison. He wants desperately to solve the plight of child labor but doesn't know how. Unless he can discover the healing power of a simple act of charity, his dream of truly making a difference is as dead as a doornail.

Studio: Goldhil Home Media I
Director: Bruce Neibaur

DVD title: Halloween II
Productgroup: DVD
Halloween II - movie DVD cover picture

I saw this movie when I was 13 and I loved it. It had great acting. It wasn't as good as the originol but still a really great movie to watch on Halloween and with the lights out.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Jamie Lee Curtis
Donald Pleasence

DVD title: Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow
Productgroup: DVD
Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow - movie DVD cover picture
I want my DVD

Having originally seen this film in the cinema in 1963 and having since owned at least two copies on VHS tape, long since worn out, I now want it on DVD.Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man, The Prisoner) makes a great Doctor Syn and George Cole (St. Trinians, Minder) a suitably roguish sexton.The story is presented at a good pace and the atmosphere is nicely creepy in the right places. The scarecrow's cackling laugh chills those who cross him.To date, Danger Man, The Prisoner and Minder have all been released on DVD. How about Dr. Syn and St. Trinians?

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: James Neilson

DVD title: Stephen King's The Stand
Productgroup: DVD
Stephen King's The Stand - movie DVD cover picture
Finally !!!

About five years ago i picked up a copy of the paperback edition of this really great story. Since then i have read the book 4 times, rented the move 3 times and just today ordered my dvd copy from amazon. My rating of five stars for the dvd may seem strange in this light, but there is absolutely nothing (short of a defective disk) that could change my mind about this DVD. Very few movies can live up to the story as written in a book, but this one does!!!!

Studio: Republic Studios
Director: Mick Garris
Gary Sinise
Molly Ringwald

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies I have ever seen!!

This movie was great!! Okay, I admit that to me it was a bit boring because I have read the books and I already knew what was gonna happen. This movie shoud be seen by people who haven't read the books, because you'll enjoy it much more and it'll be more exiting. But I bought the DVD and I loved it! It took me a while to find the deleted scenes and I think that they woud have looked very good in the movie, but then again, it woud have been WAY too long. Anyway, I loved the movie and to those people who think this movie is not for kids, it is. I think that you need to imaginate and this movie makes you imaginate. And besides, in case you haven't noticed, the rating's PG, not R!!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe

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