Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Jerry Maguire
Productgroup: DVD
Jerry Maguire - movie DVD cover picture

"Without your love, It's a honky-tonk parade. Without your love, It's a melody played In a penny arcade.
"It's a Barnum and Bailey world, Just as phony as it can be, But it wouldn't be make believe, If you believed in me."
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg's lyrics to the classic, Depression-era song he co-wrote with Harold Arlen, "Paper Moon," sum up Jerry Maguire, a movie about the redemptive power of love in a crooked world that is just for show.
"Jerry Maguire" (Tom Cruise) is a top agent for professional athletes, working for the world's biggest sports representation firm, a butt-kissing and back-stabbing world, where the word "love" gets tossed about as easily as cuss words. And yet, Jerry does have one endearing, enduring quality: Loyalty.
Late one night, Jerry has an epiphany, or as he puts it, he doesn't know if it was a "breakdown" or a "breakthrough." He types an inspiring "mission statement" on how agents ought to do their jobs. The mission statement does not have the intended effect, but it does inspire at least one person. (I'm being purposely vague, to avoid spoiling the story.)
"Dorothy Boyd" (Renee Zellweger) is an accountant at the firm, who is inspired by Jerry's words. She falls in love with Jerry, but does Jerry love her? Oh, and did I mention, that Dorothy is a "single mother"? Well, actually, she's a widow; calling her a "single mother" is one of the movie's intermittent pc tics. Dorothy's chubby, bright son, "Ray" (Jonathan Lipnicki), who appears to be about five years old, and has been starved for a man in his life, takes to Jerry immediately. The feeling is mutual.
(The other pc aspects involve a woman beating the hell out of Jerry, one character referring to a deaf relative as "hearing-impaired," and the conceit of having a black NFL player lecture his white agent on how to love a woman, and on how to respect a "single mother," a conceit which will be particularly jarring to anyone at all familiar with professional sports. At least the movie does have a sense of humor about feminism, and even a little about race, as the black player has Maguire shouting, "I love black people!")
"Rod Tidwell" (Cuba Gooding), whom Jerry represents, is an under-sized NFL wide receiver with an over-sized chip on his shoulder. This character gave America the phrase, "Show me the money!," which became ubiquitous for a few months.
Most of this two-hour-and-eighteen-minute movie consists of tightly framed, intimate scenes with either Cruise and Gooding or Cruise and Zellweger. "Intimate" means that the actors must carry the scene; there is no distraction to diffuse the drama or cover for poor performers. And as good as the scenes are with Zelleweger and Cruise, the ones with Cruise and Gooding are even more intense.
I'm not a Tom Cruise fan, but I have to give the Devil his due. He richly deserved his Oscar nomination as Jerry.
This was Renee Zellweger's breakthrough role, in which she displayed the winsome, spunky persona that has since become her calling card in movies such as Bridget Jones' Diary and Cold Mountain.
After Cuba Gooding won the Academy Award for best supporting actor as Rod Tidwell, I recall sitting in a Union Square coffee shop in Manhattan, and telling someone that Gooding only got the Oscar because he was black. A big, beefy, middle-aged black man in the next booth heard me and sighed loudly, to express his anger. (No, I hadn't yet seen the movie, but the odds were very much in my favor.) Well, I was wrong. Gooding's role is much meatier than a typical supporting role - almost a lead - and he makes the most of it.
But there are many other great players, too. And every role is exquisitely cast, particularly Bonnie Hunt as Dorothy's caustic, feminist, older sister, "Laurel," who hosts a support group of embittered, man-bashing, forty-something women, Regina King in the Alfre Woodard role as Tidwell's wife, "Marcee," and Jay Mohr as Jerry's slimy protege, "Bob Sugar." Beau Bridges and Kelly Preston also shine in smaller roles.
Jerry Maguire is not "high concept." There are no car crashes. There is lots of talk. Amazing talk. Director-screenwriter Cameron Crowe wrote one of the best original scripts of the past twenty years. He does here what he has developed a well-deserved reputation for: Showing the world behind the fa?ade (see also Almost Famous) of an apparently glamorous but actually tawdry social milieu (ain't they all?). This movie is for grown-ups.
But Crowe choreographs scenes so well, whether involving a mob of people or just two, that they don't come off as "talky." (Besides, unless one is an action junkie, the feeling of "talkiness" is often the result of a bad script.)
And oh, the acting. The comparison that comes to mind, is Terms of Endearment, which was the quintessential domestic drama. When TOE came out in 1983, I recall a critic writing that it showcased the best acting you'd ever see in an American movie. That judgment was unfair to American movies; TOE showcases some of the best acting you'll ever see in a movie, period. As does Jerry Maguire. There is not a single clearly flubbed line or wasted scene in this entire movie.
The best thing I can say about Jerry Maguire, is that I liked it a lot the first time I saw it, and I loved it, the second time around.
The Critical Critic, February 26, 2004

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Cameron Crowe
Tom Cruise
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Renée Zellweger

DVD title: Memento (Limited Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Memento (Limited Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful movie, confusing DVD

If ever there was a movie that Guy Pearce was destined to play in, Memento is it. Don't get me wrong, L.A. Confidential was superb, but this is just amazing. Guy plays Leonard, a man who remembers nothing other than the fact that his wife was brutally raped and murdered. He is unable to make any new memories, so that leaves him unable to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for this terrible deed that he cannot erase from his mind. Through a series of tattoos and Polaroid snapshots, he tries to piece together some logic to the events that happen to him throughout the course many days, weeks, months or even years for that matter. Leonard has no idea. Shot in black and white and color and told in a reverse-forward manner that will amaze you, Memento has everything going for it. The limited edition DVD is very confusing, and if you purchase it, be warned. It's puzzling, but it certainly fits the movie.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano

DVD title: Sahara
Productgroup: DVD
Sahara - movie DVD cover picture

This is one of those films you may have seen many time before, but if you see on TV again you almost have to sit down and watch again; it's irresistable.I saw this film as a child on TV and never forgot the story, I was very happy to see available again.The cast is great, and the story is believable and well told. And I wouldn't take a previous revierer from Ann Arbors skepticism with regards race relations in those days. If that person had ever had lead flying over his head he'd know there there are no racists in foxholes, or amongst people lost in the desert. Even in 1943.A great war film

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Zoltan Korda
Humphrey Bogart
Bruce Bennett

DVD title: La Femme Nikita - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
La Femme Nikita - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
I Almost Missed Out!!!!!!!

Thank goodness for I almost missed the opportunityto purchase one of the best series ever! I purchased Season Oneof La Femme Nikita when it came out and have waited for this moment. I spent precious time recording ALL seasons of this exceptional show. Nothing compares to the excitement of seeing this dramatic, heart racing series on DVD!!! The personal relationships that form in such intense situations, the moment to moment cliffhangers, the conclusions, all go together to make your mind think, it can really happen!!!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Peta Wilson

DVD title: Looney Tunes - Golden Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Wagnerian Opera, Doc

The "kill the wabbit" episode is "What's Opera, Doc," and I can't imagine why it would be banned. "Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips," yes, but never "What's Opera"! This release gets 5 stars sight unseen, even if it's missing a few classics. (That only goes to illustrate the sheer quantity of genius that came out of Termite Terrace.) Let's hope the next set follows soon!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Chuck Jones

DVD title: The Straight Story
Productgroup: DVD
The Straight Story - movie DVD cover picture
Best Film of 1999

I had the pleasure of viewing almost all new releases in the brilliant film year of 1999. Above all, "The Straight Story" stands proudly at the top of my list. I cannot remember a film experience I have had that left me feeling so utterly relaxed and satisfied at the same time. Sit back, turn off the lights and let this film take you into a different state of mind. Farnsworth's performance is as perfect as any screen role in years. The Oscar deserved to be bestowed on him for a performance that was not acting at all. He IS Alvin Straight, quite simply. The music by Angelo Badalamenti (who is normally a bit eccentric in his musical scores) is sublime. This is filmmaking at its best. David Lynch has found his niche'. Let us hope that he sticks with this film style, and forgets all about those such as "Lost Highway".

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: David Lynch
Sissy Spacek
Richard Farnsworth

DVD title: Black & White
Productgroup: DVD
Black & White - movie DVD cover picture
A Review of the film "Black and White"

"Black and White" works in obvious stereotypes, but it is nonetheless a compelling look at the interaction of black kids and white kids in hip-hop culture. It is brutally honest in many respects, including its use of language, drug use, and sexual situations. Everybody uses the word 'Nigga' with everybody else they're friends with. One of the white female characters even explains the difference between the more derisive 'Nigger' and the more hip, inclusionary 'Nigga' to the non-comprehending. The film also deals with the very real aspect of how some hip hop stars got their start dealing in illicit activities as real gangsters, so the gangerism is real and gritty. The acting is largely improvised, so it sounds spontaneous and fresh. Mike Tyson makes a brilliant but too short appearance as himself, turning in a startling performance that is worth seeing the movie for alone. The ensemble cast is filled with bright young lights although nobody hogs the show, but its always fun to watch Robert Downey Jr., this time as a gay man on the down low married to Brooke Shields, a wannabe filmmaker trying to make a documentary about white kids who love hip hop. There is a senseless murder and tintillating interracial sex along with the gangland thuggery. This is like "Jungle Fever" for 'Niggaz' and 'Wiggaz' on the hip hop tip, and features real hip hop artists who also turn in fresh performances. Highly recommended.
-- Miles White

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: James Toback
Allan Houston
Claudia Schiffer
Ben Stiller

DVD title: Getting Even With Dad
Productgroup: DVD
Getting Even With Dad - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Movie With Macaulay Culkin!!!

When first saw this movie on Abc Familey I knew I was going to like it.This movie also has Ted Danson it.It's about Father & Son Relationship.Macaulay Culkin looks older in this movie than the others he did like Both Home,Uncle Buck & My Girl.He was propbably 13 at that time he made that movie.I loe this movie,I gotta get this movie!!!!

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Howard Deutch
Macaulay Culkin
Ted Danson

DVD title: Princess Mononoke
Productgroup: DVD
Princess Mononoke - movie DVD cover picture

Miyazaki has done it again with this awesome and beautifully animated film. But the most gripping is the storyline. It's such a dream come true to see this title coming on DVD which it deserves to be in. Disney has finally waken up and decided to put it in a medium that maximizes the presentation quality. The dual language tracks is the biggest thing that closes the deal for me to get this DVD. Even though a certain company didn't want it to do too well in the theaters with the limited release, this will certainly make all anime fans happy. The animation was all hand-drawn (over 100,000 frames) but the character cel painting was done with computer techniques provided by a SoftImage paint plug-in and the American voice talent was top calibur. Well, except for Claire Danes. The one thing I would hope for is that the featurette would be longer than planned. It should show something like the making of the film sorta similar to Disney's Tarzan (limited Edition) where it promises to show a bunch of "making of" material--from the original concept drawing, to animation, and to final touches. Then, I would say it would the greatest DVD ever made.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Yôji Matsuda
Yuriko Ishida
Yûko Tanaka

DVD title: Stephen Sondheim's Passion (Original Broadway Cast)
Productgroup: DVD
Stephen Sondheim's Passion (Original Broadway Cast) - movie DVD cover picture
I wish I could forget you?BUT I CANT?T!

PASSION, the Tony-award winning musical by Stephen Sondheim (the master) and James Lapine (and it beat BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, thank you very much), is finally available on video, following in the foot-steps of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, and INTO THE WOODS (other Sondheim musicals available on video). This is highly recommended to the hopeless Sondheim fanatic. It censored the risqu? opening that was used on stage, which showed Giorgio (JERE SHEA) and Clara (the divine MARRIN MAZZIE) in the nude, making love. The score is soaring, searing, and among Sondheim's best. The whole show is a REAL tear-jerker. BUY THIS VIDEO. Oh, and SONDHEIM ROCKS!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: James Lapine

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