Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A lot of fun at the movies


I went to go see Van Helsing with very high expectations for it. I'd done a lot of reading on the film and knew what the plot was going to be. I'm a fan of Stephen Sommers and I've been impressed with the movies he's done in the past. Van Helsing is the first real summer blockbuster of the year and Sommers doesn't disappoint.
The plot to Van Helsing is pretty simple. Gabrielle Van Helsing(Jackman)works for the catholic church for an organization that doesn't exist. He's sent by the Vatican to Transylvania to kill Count Dracula(Roxburgh). Time is of the essence because of the Valerious family. They are a family that is sworn to an oath were they can't enter heaven if Dracula is not killed and they will be doomed to purgatory. The beautiful Anna(Beckinsale) is the only living member left of the family and hope looks bleak. The church won't let the Valerious family just die so Van Helsing and his Q-like Friar friend Clark(Wenham)are sent to Transylvania. I won't reveal any more of the plot because I feel it takes away from the fun of the movie.
Hugh Jackman is great as Van Helsing. The character is a fun and mysterious one. We never learn a whole lot about him and it adds to some fun mystery. It's been reported there will be two sequels and hopefully we can get little more character background. Jackman still excels as the action hero and between this role and his job as Wolverine in X-men he is showing he can be one of the top guys in Hollywood in this genre of movies.
I liked Kate Beckinsale a lot in the movie. She is absolutely gorgeous in the film. I was surprised to see her in this film trying to kill Vampires after the succes she had as the vampire Salene in Underworld. Some would say her talents as an actress are wasted, but this is a summer action movie. You don't go to see her performance. You go to look at her and the special effects. Who cares about her performance.
The special effects are outstanding in Van Helsing. Stephen Sommers has shown us from his previous movies The Mummy and Mummy Returns that his movies have great effects. The transformations in the movie are great. Every time one of Dracula's brides or a the Werewolfs change I kept wondering how much it cost to make because it looks great. The CGI is great and is the second best eyecandy in the movie behind Beckinsale.
Stephen Sommers is really showing that he makes fun blockbuster movies. It's obvious he doesn't care that his movies are overproduced and overmade because they are fun. The guy just makes fun overthetop action movies.I hope he does a sequel to this.
Go see this movie and have fun. It's an over the top movie that is fun. It's a fun new twist to some classic monsters that will bring back memories and make new ones at the same time. This is the best action movie of the year. Don't miss out on it.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Stephen Sommers
Actors:
Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Richard Roxburgh
Shuler Hensley
Will Kemp




DVD title: The Killer Meteors
Productgroup: DVD
The Killer Meteors - movie DVD cover picture
Don't listen to the Jacky fans.


Quite simply, this is not a Jacky Chan movie. Don't buy this expecting to see Drunken Master style farce. Jacky is evil. Really evil. In fact, he's a total loser. Hence the scores of negative reviews from people unwilling to watch any old Hong Kong flicks that do not involve Jacky's whacky acrobatics. The star of this movie is JIMMY WANG YU. Wang Yu is more of a Clint Eastwood type. He rips one liners and literally wrecks people. There are no fart jokes and no peeing, just well paced action and likeable heroes. For the price, it's a capable transfer of an aged movie.

Studio: Simitar Video
Director: Wei Lo
Actors:
Jackie Chan



DVD title: Unforgiven
Productgroup: DVD
Unforgiven - movie DVD cover picture
The Wild West Was a Bad Place


In the twilight of Clint Eastwood's career an epiphany came to him. The western types that he played in most of his films were essentially bad people. This film is something of an atonement for those films. His character, William Munney, after a life as a killer, is amidst his new life following the death of his sainted wife as an unsuccessful farmer. Word comes to him that in a nearby town that a prostitute was mutilated by a some cowhands and a reward is being offered by her co-workers for the murder of the cowpokes. Munney rationalizes taking up this offer by thinking that these boys are vicious and deserve to die and that doing so would not make him a bad man. Before Munney can collect his reward, though, he has to get through the peace-loving sheriff, Little Bill, who will make sure nobody collects on the reward no matter how many beatings he has to administer. The cynic could say that Eastwood made his bread and butter off violent western types and this is an attempt to cater to politically correct types. I give Eastwood the benefit of the doubt here because this may be the best performance of his career and this film is so well crafted. Gene Hackman is more than his equal as the sadistic sheriff. The beauty of the western is that it is always being re-evaluated and this film stands at the top of the list of great westerns.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Clint Eastwood
Actors:
Clint Eastwood
Gene Hackman
Morgan Freeman




DVD title: Roots
Productgroup: DVD
Roots - movie DVD cover picture
Must-have TV show


This show aired for the first time when I was 8. I have to say I didn't watch it -but heard a lot about it-, so when I heard it was coming out on DVD, I take a chance and ordered it.
It's no wonder this show was the most watched in history. I have to say I'm not American, therefore the history itself isn't my history. Still, I felt totally touched by the series, and had to make an effort after each episode not to watch the next inmediately and go to bed. In my opinion, this is not a story for blacks, or Americans. This is a great story -whether you want to watch is as history or fiction, if makes you feel better somehow- that everyone will enjoy.
Anyway, most likely you already know what roots it's about. If you don't, well, it's the story of seven generations of a black family, from the capture in Africa of a free black (Kunta Kinte) to become a slave, to the writer of the book (Alex Haley) himself.
Actually note that the DVDs tell the story from Kunta Kinte until the generation where they become free, then explains in the final minutes happened to the rest. The story is told complete in Roots: The Next Generations, which isn't available on DVD yet.
I will comment on the DVD now. The box comes with three double sided DVDs (which I don't like, because I think they are more prone to be damaged). Total running time is 573 minutes. Region is 1. The primary track (English) is closed captioned, and there are subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Note that the additional commentary is not subtitled, so if you are impaired you will miss it.Sound is in mono both in the English and the Spanish tracks (dolby digital, though) and is very decent. Video is 4:3, and it's quite clean. It's interlaced (if you care about this because you use your PC to watch DVDs).As for the box itself, it's convinient and doesn't take a lot of shelf space, which I appreciate very much.There are no booklets included.

Studio: Warner Studios
Actors:
Asner
Bridges
Burton
Connors
G
Levar Burton




DVD title: Ranma 1/2 - OAV Series, Episodes 1-12
Productgroup: DVD
Ranma 1/2 - OAV Series, Episodes 1-12 - movie DVD cover picture
I have been introduced to Ranma by the first two eps.


This is a great introduction to Ranma 1/2 and later on the TV series. This show is so cute and harmless I could watch it with my six year old and seven year old brothers because there is no sex no graphic violence just romance humor that goes over children's heads. Besides kids have seen more graphic scenes in theatres than this.

Studio: Viz Video
Actors:
Ranma 1
2-Oav Series




DVD title: Walk Away the Pounds 2-Pack: Super Fat Burning + Get Up and Get Started High Calorie Burn
Productgroup: DVD
Walk Away the Pounds 2-Pack: Super Fat Burning + Get Up and Get Started High Calorie Burn - movie DVD cover picture
Fabulous set!


This set is a favorite in my Leslie collection. The one mile is great for a quick pick-me-up. If you want to sweat and have a great time, the two mile. To go for it and feel super, the three mile. Yes, Leslie talks, but to me it's an encouraging friend who's looking out for me and my health. For my money, the best exercise DVD's out there are Leslie's! She's turned a overweight couch potato into an exerciser... and loving it!

Studio: Good Times Home Vide
Actors:
Leslie Sansone



DVD title: Deep Impact
Productgroup: DVD
Deep Impact - movie DVD cover picture
Just about the best doggone disaster movie around!


This movie beats out the growing pack of disaster movies, for a number of reasons:
The inevitable concentration on the problems of individuals caught up in the growing disaster here focuses on people centrally related to the discovery of the comet. They are IN the story for good reasons.
The threat is real, and to a degree cannot be dodged. A comet is coming, we cannot stop it, it arrives, and it does a lot of harm, and some of the central characters perish, while others survive.
There is a minimum of gooey treacle. The characters generally behave with a certain nobility--just as we might hope to behave in similar extreme circumstances. Sentimentality is generally avoided.
The plot is complete, the behavior rational, and nothing of importance is dropped from the exposition. The film is balanced, and we are not left with rip-roaring inconsistencies and problems at the end.
But finally, it is a GOOD movie: entertaining, fascinating, satisfying, disturbing, horrifying, fulfilling, and interwoven with a satisfying amount of humor.
If disaster strikes us in real time, I only hope we are in hands as good as these.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Mimi Leder
Actors:
Robert Duvall
Téa Leoni
Elijah Wood
Morgan Freeman




DVD title: The Wedding Banquet
Productgroup: DVD
The Wedding Banquet - movie DVD cover picture
A Family Coming Out Movie.


This is a great movie about what can happen when we lie to our families. It is a wonderful movie with great acting, and plots. Movie moves along at a good pace. I came out to my family after the US Navy. I am out of the closet, and this movie confirms my thoughts on being honest with my folks. I find both leading men to be quite attractive, too! It could have done without the pregnancy though.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Ang Lee
Actors:
Winston Chao
May Chin




DVD title: Not Without My Daughter
Productgroup: DVD
Not Without My Daughter - movie DVD cover picture
A mother's love for her child and an escape to freedom....


"Not Without My Daughter" is a riveting story based on the life of Betty Mahmoody. Certain events and characters were fictionalized for the purpose of dramatic clarity. With that in mind, you will be able to tell when something is being overplayed for effect. For the true story, read the book by Betty Mahmoody who is now a successful writer and lecturer dedicated to helping women who find themselves in a situation similar to what she found herself in when she was married and living in Iran.
While many see this movie as an attack on the Islamic faith, it really is more of a suspense story, which also deals with the undercurrent issues of "trust" and "loyalty." This story also exposes the larger issues of "freedom" and "human rights."
We are introduced to Betty Mahmoody (Sally Field) who is married to an Iranian man and has a daughter named Mahtob. Their story begins in Alpena, Michigan in 1984 and concludes in February 9th, 1986. For Betty, this is a period in her life when she feels out of control and is very unhappy with her living arrangements. Instead of embracing her husband's choice to stay in his homeland because he has lost his job in an American hospital, she decides to end the marriage and return to America.
In order to not get arrested, Betty has to wear chador when in public. She struggles to fit in with this culture which seems so opposed to what she is accustomed to. When her husband (a doctor played by Alfred Molina) promised her that their trip to Iran would only be a vacation, she believed him. She had great apprehension, yet went with him anyway. She is then completely betrayed when he decides to stay.
This movie is a journey into the life experiences of a woman who does not want to be living in Iran and who does not love her husband enough to want to be with him no matter where he decides to live. When her husband starts to physically abuse her, we take her side and want her to seek help. Fearing for her life, she seeks help to escape.
As a stranger in a foreign land with no money or friends, she has to compromise and for a while she tries to make her marriage work. The cultural differences seem to consume her and she doesn't seem to be able to create the harmonious family life she desires.
In order to understand this movie in more detail, I went to a site called: nmsismail.faithweb.com/quaran.htm. You can read Surah 3:14; 24:31; and 4:34. At a site dedicated to women married to Islamic men, I also found out that children have to be raised according to their Muslim father's religion: Islam. If he divorces the wife, he gets custody of the children and the wife would not be able to see her children again. While this story of a woman being held against her will is unthinkable to American women, there are also many women in America who are in abusive marriages. The atrocities portrayed in this movie could happen in any culture. This is one woman's story and if you view it that way, no one will be offended. This movie is filled with suspense and that is what I enjoyed most about the movie. This is a drama with heart-rending tension! The acting is also very good and this movie kept my full attention.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Brian Gilbert
Actors:
Sally Field
Alfred Molina




DVD title: Stripes
Productgroup: DVD
Stripes - movie DVD cover picture
MILITARY LIFE WAS NEVER LIKE THIS!!!


Learn the meaning of the word looser when you meet up with these two buddies who join the Army for lack of a better life. Discover why "Lighten Up Francis'" "...no, never convicted...", "no, but we are willing to learn" and "...you mean like, flaming?" became popular phrases. Also stars John Candy and Judd Hirsh

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Ivan Reitman
Actors:
Bill Murray
John Candy




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