Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Bellydance Fitness for Beginners - Basic Moves & Fat Burning
Productgroup: DVD
Bellydance Fitness for Beginners - Basic Moves & Fat Burning - movie DVD cover picture
A fun workout


The "beginners" part of the title is in reference to the DVD in question offering instructions on how to bellydance for someone who may never have done it before. It teaches basic moves and exercises the various areas of the body that are used during bellydance. DO be able to get through the first workout if you aren't in shape -- but do NOT expect the same with the second workout (hence my reason for refering to the title as deceptive).
The basic moves section of this DVD is good for someone who is out of shape (like me) and looking for something that stretches and challenges at the same time. It doesn't really burn fat or get your heart rate going like, say, a Tae-Bo workout would, but it does get your body moving and teaches you some unusual dance moves at the same time.
The fat burning section is something else entirely. Intermediate users who have some tone and strength to their muscles might be able to deal with the constant up-down-up-down movement, but even after a month of fairly steady exercise with other titles, I still can't get through the first part of this workout. The constant bouncing in particular seems to agitate my knees and ankles.
So, in short -- the first workout is good for stretching, coordination, grace, and learning a little bit about bellydance. The second is good if your knees and ankles can take it and you have the endurance to tough it out. That person isn't me, but it might be you :)
DVD options include sound type (Dolby 5.1 or Dolby 2), editing out the commentators's voices, and information about the benefits of bellydance. The dance footage that was originally part of the credits on the VHS versions of these workouts is also included, and I would almost say that they're worth the price of admission. As difficult as I found the second workout to be, I find watching Veena and Neena dance to be awe-inspiring. They are very good at what they do, and their costumes are incredible!

Studio: Goldhil Home Media
Actors:
Bellydance Fitness for Beginne



DVD title: Black Hawk Down
Productgroup: DVD
Black Hawk Down - movie DVD cover picture
Black hawk down rules


This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. With not much dialogue, and an... action sequence that will blow you away. Black Hawk Down is the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors:
Josh Hartnett



DVD title: Bliss
Productgroup: DVD
Bliss - movie DVD cover picture
Why isn't Craig Sheffer in more roles like this?!


This movie is moving drama that explores the relationship of a young married couple just on the edge of crisis. Sheryl Lee is convincing in her role as Maria, the paranoid self-critical wife. Joseph, portrayed by Craig Sheffer (in his best role since "Norman Maclean" in River)is intense and loyal to Maria, although he has difficulty getting through to her, and knowing how to help his deeply troubled wife because Maria is dealing with issues buried deeply from childhood. Terrence Stamp, is wonderful as the colorful therapist "Balthazar", and the acting between the three main characters is complementary. Joseph learns more about himself as a man and as a husband through the course of the film, that he begins to understand the meaning of unconditional love, even if it means he might lose Maria. Great movie, raw emotion...why isn't Craig Sheffer in more roles like this!?

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Lance Young
Actors:
Craig Sheffer
Sheryl Lee
Terence Stamp




DVD title: Support Your Local Sheriff
Productgroup: DVD
Support Your Local Sheriff - movie DVD cover picture
Taming the Wild West


James Garner stars as Jason McCullough in this hilarious Western spoof. This was the era of John Wayne westerns, and this movie came about at just about the right time to make fun of the western and what it had become, often scarcely more than a cookie-cutter production with a predictable plot, scowling gunfighters, and the same basic storyline. McCullough is a wandering frontiersman on his way to Australia, and happens upon a small mining town which has sprung up overnight and become too big for its laws. He decides to earn a little extra money before moving on, and takes a job as the sheriff of the town. Consequently he's forced to deal with the Danby bunch, a rancher family who's swindling and intimidating the mine owners. Between dealing with the Danbys (headed by the very funny Walter Brennan), trying to keep his prisoners in a jail with no bars, and fighting off the advances of the hapless mayor's daughter, McCullough has his hands full. Garner is great in his role as the opportunistic, but effective, sheriff. Jack Elam co-stars as his deputy, and the antics of this pair are enough to keep anyone entertained throughout the movie. Anyone familiar with Westerns from this era will appreciate the humor of this parody on Hollywood's Wild West.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Burt Kennedy
Actors:
James Garner
Joan Hackett
Walter Brennan




DVD title: The Spaghetti Western Collection (Run Man Run / Mannaja / Django Kill / Django)
Productgroup: DVD
The Spaghetti Western Collection (Run Man Run / Mannaja / Django Kill / Django) - movie DVD cover picture
Bravissimo!


Super collection of westerns--Italian style. There not as good as Sergio Leone's classics but then again few films are.

It's great to finally see the rare "Django Kill." This is truly a cult oddity if ever there was one. As much a horror film as it is a western it's full of bizarre, religious imagery as well as references to everything from Luis Bunuel to Edgar Allan Poe. This extremely violent, unforgettable and supremely weird film is presented uncut and, as with all the films in this set, the transfer is immaculate.

"Run, Man, Run" successfully tosses liberal doses of comedy and politics into the mix. Like "Django Kill" it also stars the wonderful Tomas Milian as Cuchillo, a knife-throwing thief.

"Mannaja: A Man Called Blade" is the most conventional and latest film (1977) of the set. Still, it's very entertaining and stylishly directed by Sergio Martino (Torso). Maurizio Merli is good in the title, hatchet-wielding role.

The classic "Django" is exclusive to this set (and my favorite of the films presented here). Though Anchor Bay also released this title some time ago, this new transfer came from the original negative and is far more colorful and less grainy. As for the film, it's a must. From the great opening of Franco Nero dragging a coffin behind him to the insanely catchy theme song, "Django" holds you in its grasp.

All four films look exceptional, come with English language and Italian tracks with optional English subtitles and boast a nice selection of extras--interviews, trailers, poster/still galleries, etc.

Thank you Blue Underground for releasing such a cool set.

Studio: Blue Underground
Actors:
Franco Nero



DVD title: Withnail and I - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Withnail and I - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A Masterpiece


This film is a masterpiece. The script and dialogue are extremely well written and both lead actors give outstanding performances. If you're English, this film is probably one you've watched numerous times. If you're not, it's a hilarious insight into some of English people's quirks through the eyes of two out of work actors. Some of the lines in this film have become legendary and fallen into British everday lingo. Nice extras on this DVD edition too.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Bruce Robinson
Actors:
Richard E. Grant
Paul McGann




DVD title: Pulp Fiction
Productgroup: DVD
Pulp Fiction - movie DVD cover picture
One of a kind...


Quentin Tarantino worked in a video rental shop before he started directing. Now, he makes movies that challenges the norm in Hollywood and hangs out with fellow "kick-a$$" director Robert Rodriguez. And of all his movies, I like Pulp Fiction the best. Yeah, his other work were also cool/stylistic/bad-a$$ (pick a word, they're all suitable) but this movie really blew me away with its unique storytelling, superb performances and witty dialogue.

It's hard to explain the story, because it moves in and out of specific events, each interweaving with the next, either before or after the previous event. Confused? Watch it and you'll understand. But ultimately, it is a story about situations with various people, each interesting as hell. We have two hit men, a boxer and his girlfriend, the mob boss, his wife, two petty robbers and let's see...yeah, a guy who smart talks his way to cleaning messes (e.g. dead bodies). It may sound unusual but it all adds up to make a surprisingly entertaining movie.

As I said, there are many things I loved about this movie, but something that really stands out is the screenplay. At the time, it was considered to be new and refreshing, and I can see why. Watching the movie more than 10 times, I realize something...this movie is not important, it probably does not depict real life and it's even incredibly crazy at times. It is also never going to affect me in any way. Well, what makes it special? I would call this cinematic escapism at it's finest. Many times, we find that the characters talk about totally different things than what we expect. But instead of sounding lame, Tarantino has a gift of knowing how far he should take it, and it ends up sounding cool and extremely unique. Tell me, how many people can pull of talking about burgers in Amsterdam sound cool and intelligent...and as insane as that sounds, Tarantino does it. The thing you notice immediately is the passion involved in the movie. You know you're getting whatever the f*ck Tarantino wishes to put into it, without pesky studio bosses, or marketing executives telling him otherwise. It's a huge gamble, but it works.

A good script is integral, but what really sells the movie is the actors...and the fact that Tarantino got a whole bunch of talented people to appear in Pulp Fiction, speaks for itself. John Travolta delivers one of his best performances, launching back his career to an all-time high. Samuel L. Jackson is also superb in his role. The rest of the cast; Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel...all give very convincing performances that the movie comes alive and I guess making it so much more than what it set out to be.

Finally, if you look at Top 100 Lists anywhere, on the net, in cinema books...you are bound to find this movie somewhere there, and believe me... it very well deserves to be. Considered historic in American cinema, I for one, recommend it wholeheartedly.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Actors:
John Travolta
Samuel L. Jackson
Bruce Willis




DVD title: Cheaters
Productgroup: DVD
Cheaters - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie! Funny and Realistic!


It's amazing that this sort of thing really happens. But as the movie went along, I could really feel for these charecters and wished they could beat the system. Jena Malone and Dov Tiefenbach are wonderful in the movie...and I never knew Jeff Daniels could pull off such a serious role.

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: John Stockwell
Actors:
Jeff Daniels
Jena Malone
Paul Sorvino




DVD title: Beth Hart - Live at Paradiso
Productgroup: DVD
Beth Hart - Live at Paradiso - movie DVD cover picture
DO Yourself a Favor !!


I Totally agree with ALL the other reviews - this is an amazing artist & this Live DVD is fantastic. I'm in Australia, I doubt many people in Australia would have even heard of Beth Hart - which is a shame. My Main reason for putting this review was to let people know that this DVD is in fact Widescreen & 16x9 enhanced. Which was a major bonus from my perspective. As a famous Aussie music reviewer would say "Do Yourself a Favor" and grab a copy of this & Enjoy a great artist.

Studio: Koch Records
Actors:
Beth Hart



DVD title: The Secret of My Success
Productgroup: DVD
The Secret of My Success - movie DVD cover picture
what is the secret of this movies success


The Secret of My Success is, without a doubt, one of the definitive movies of the 80's. Micheal J. Fox is not only an American hero, but he is also a fine actor. His character, Brantley Foster, is a class act. Foster epitomizes the American dream and how one can achieve it- if they want it bad enough. This movie is not only great for entertainment, but a great addition to anyone's film collection. Highly Recommended - A+ OH YEAH!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Herbert Ross
Actors:
Michael J. Fox
Helen Slater




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