Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Dr. Seuss - How the Grinch Stole Christmas/Horton Hears a Who
Productgroup: DVD
Dr. Seuss - How the Grinch Stole Christmas/Horton Hears a Who - movie DVD cover picture
Accept No Substitutes

The Grinch, who lives just north of Whoville, is tired of listening to their Christmas celebration each year. But this year, he's going to do something about it. Disguising himself as Santa, he sneaks down into the town to take everything Christmassy, and everything else, from them. But will that stop Christmas from coming? Is he beyond enjoying the season himself?
What can I say; this is a great holiday special. There were only a handful I had to watch every year growing up, and this is one of them. That's extended to my adult Decembers as well. It keeps the story simple, not trying to expand it needlessly like the recent live action movie did. And the songs add to the fun, especially "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." That song alone is worth watching the special for.
This DVD is a great way to own this classic. The picture and sound are good. I can't really tell that much difference in how the Grinch is supposed to look, and to me this is a minor issue anyway. The extras are a mixed bag. The audio commentary isn't that great because it's obvious that they really don't have that much to say. However, the special about the making of the cartoon and the separate interview about writing the songs are both interesting.
This disc also includes another cartoon from a Dr. Seuss book, HORTON HEARS A WHO. I had never seen this special before I bought the disc, but I'm not a fan of it. Not sure why because I like the book. Maybe if I'd seen it as a kid I'd feel differently.
Ultimately, the reason to get this DVD is the classic Christmas special that headlines the disc. Watching it always brings the warm fuzzies of Christmas past for a visit. You can't go wrong getting it.

Studio: Warner Studios
Boris Karloff
Thurl Ravenscroft

DVD title: Pretty Woman
Productgroup: DVD
Pretty Woman - movie DVD cover picture
A must Have...

For any Pretty Women or Julia Roberts fan. The Directors comentary brings the movie alive in a new way, even if your like me and have seen the movie a zillion times.

Studio: Buena Vista
Director: Garry Marshall
Richard Gere
Julia Roberts

DVD title: Holy Mass: According to the Book of Divine Worship
Productgroup: DVD
Holy Mass: According to the Book of Divine Worship - movie DVD cover picture
Solemn High Mass

Perhaps one of the most magnificent treasures of the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Use Church of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, TX boasts one of the most beautiful church buildings to built in the last 50 years, and an even more exquisite liturgy. This DVD is a wonderful sample of a typical Sunday Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement Church, glorious liturgy, wonderful music and superb preaching. These scattered parishes include the finest elements of Anglican and Roman Catholic worship in one beautiful and moving worship experience, and this DVD is a perfect record of Solemn High Mass celebrated with dignity and majesty, a perfect gift for any musician in the Roman Catholic Church. The only negative aspect to this DVD is that after watching and feeling a part of this sublime worship (the Rolls-Royce of liturgical celebration) many musicians will have to get back into their Chevrolets on Saturday night!

Studio: Atonement Productions
Director: Thomas Otten

DVD title: Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust
Productgroup: DVD
Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust - movie DVD cover picture
The BEST anime I have ever seen

I have seen this moving in different formats, for instnace an edited version, and an un-edited, etc. but in all of the formats it was still the Best, after my first time watching this it became my fav. but slightly rivaled with Demon City Shinjuku, but i still think of this movie highly, and it shall remain my fav. until, i see another that beats that of this great anime's beuty

Studio: Urban Vision Enterta

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Coolest Movie Ive Ever Seen

The coolest movie ive ever seen. Tarantino is god.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
Lucy Liu
Daryl Hannah
David Carradine
Michael Madsen

DVD title: Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
DS9 DVD: this trekker's dream

Everyone settles into their characters nicely this season. Quark begins to shine more, Garek develops (but doesn't mature), Dax -is too painful to talk about in any season, Kira is less annoying -she got a lot better over the years, and everyone is somehow shadowed by Avery Brooks (Sisko). To this day, he is probably my favorite actor. After seeing him in an interview, I thought he might be controllably schizophrenic because he acted so crazy (yelling odd, non-rhyme poetry and barking at the host - making those around him look a little uncomfortable), but when he's acting it's as though he believes every word, thought and nuance of his performance. He is a stellar actor. They ALL are. Even O'Brien get's an episode here and there and pulls it off. That's what makes this show so solid, not a weak link in the chain. Production and writing through to performance. It's a great collection of stories for all ages.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Avery Brooks

DVD title: The Cider House Rules (Miramax Collector's Series)
Productgroup: DVD
The Cider House Rules (Miramax Collector's Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful film

In a recent review, Roger Ebert wrote that The Cider House Rules is "all process and no destination". His two-star rating credited the film with "many charming sequences and an overall sense of intelligence", but found that these lacked relevance within a meaningful plot line. "What is the movie really about and where does it lead" was his rhetorical verdict.
This criticism suggests a narrow view of what makes a movie work. It reproduces a familiar Hollywood blockbuster model where, beneath the surface, characters and plots tend to work in predictable ways. For all their obvious strengths, these blockbuster heroes are essentially passive. They move because they are pushed and pulled. Their lot is to solve or deal with things imposed upon them by history, circumstance and a preconfigured soul. Whatever motivations they have--deep reasons for behaving in one way rather than another--are not their own but received from above, and explained neither to themselves nor to the audience, presumably because no explanation is necessary.
This passiveness may go unnoticed behind bold elements in the film, and behind trappings that make the characters seem masters of themselves. A film may intoxicate with over-the-top theatrics, mind-blowing special effects, and heady drama and romance, all calculated to leave us reeling rather than critical. Characters appear determined and courageous; hard-hitting but also tender; flawed, yet graced with a redemptive justice that wins the day and our sympathy in the end. But passive characters can never be strong willed, determined, powerful or original because they lack the inner source these conditions entail. Remove the distractions and we would see only clones, characters whose so-called inner drive and originality are really just surrogates for the same, monotonous ethical standpoint, itself completely unexamined by the character or by the audience. No one wonders why so many characters from different movies all think in the same ethical terms, make the same choices, have the same sense of justice, make, recognize and fix the same ethical mistakes. Have they all been talking to each other?
In a ratings-driven commercial environment, this singular vision is also dogmatic: it does not merely represent one idea but silences alternatives. The Cider House Rules apparently got bad press from Ebert because it doesn't fit a standard mold. Its hero, Homer Wells, is more than just a billboard for stereotypes; instead, he dares to be an active agent in his own destiny. If a cloistered childhood supplied an urge to leave home, neither he nor the audience knows any more than that when it happens; you might have seen it coming but you don't know where it's going. All we know, and all he knows, is that he wants to see the ocean. Such is the lot of someone driven from within in a world too large for comprehension. Unlike the kind of character above, you feel that any future is possible for Homer, and that the things he will learn are up for grabs. You feel that his own will and openness, as much as external circumstance, lead to the events that happen: his time on the apple orchard, his love affair, and his return home.
His love affair is with a married woman, but because Homer's discovery is genuine and not dictated by an installed moral program, the usual moral taboos don't kick in the same way. He is not a sinner who must repent or else be despised, but a learner who will come to reframe past events within a developing conscience and a growing foundation of experience, whatever that turns out to be. He also learns about contradiction, a real kind that potted characters never face. When Homer discovers his boss's incest, the audience witnesses the genuine paradox of someone for whom a consistent morality isn't worked out yet. Homer genuinely abhors the incest, but cannot answer the boss when confronted with his own affair with a married woman. He can only repeat that incest is wrong.
At that point the issue of abortion returns. Homer faces a decision to recognize his training and the oath it implies, and thus comes full circle as a character who now understands a balance between the lure of new discovery and responsibility to one's own past. This new understanding leads him to return home again to fill the vacuum left by Dr. Larch. Fittingly, it is a position of greater responsibility to the orphanage than he ever had before. You know that the orphanage is again in good hands and has a bright future, precisely because Homer has made a journey to get there, a journey through experiences whose unpredictability was also their vitality.
This does not describe a movie with no destination, a journey without a purpose. It merely describes a movie with a refreshingly new, profoundly human purpose, one without many of the usual canned elements Hollywood so often depends on. In this sense I believe Ebert's review substantially missed the point. You do know what the movie was about and where it led by the time it ends. If the unpredictability of the meantime had been traded to satisfy usual expectations, it might have earned more stars but it would also have ruined the movie. As it stands, viewers can appreciate full, vital characters, top-notch acting in all key roles, and the work of a master storyteller flowing underneath. Too few Hollywood products can make that claim.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Lasse Hallström
Tobey Maguire
Charlize Theron
Michael Caine

DVD title: The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Needs better picture quality

Five Stars for content from documentary BUT One Star for:
1. package is too bulky and needs to be slimed-down in a slim case packaging
2. picture quality and colors are terrible! I thought I was watching something from an old VHS tape rental. They could at least re-mastered it.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Jacque Cousteau

DVD title: Legend (Ultimate Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Legend (Ultimate Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie i've ever seen

Legend is the best movie.The story was great,the costumes were wonderful,and the cast was perfect. This movie really shows you how strong and pure love could and should be.I wish they would make more movies like this. We all need to see a fairy tale sometimes.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Ridley Scott
Tom Cruise
Mia Sara
Tim Curry

DVD title: Joan of Arcadia - The First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Joan of Arcadia - The First Season - movie DVD cover picture
seeing God in all people

This show presents life's lessons in such an original way. When I first heard the premis for this show I thought it sounded like a corny disaster. I ended up watching it by fluke and fell in love. Now I TIVO it every week. I even think it has improved my relationship with God and people in general. I very much hope CBS reconsiders dropping the show or if not someone else will pick it up. I think it is the best think on television now and in a very long long time.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Amber Tamblyn

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