Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: End of Days
Productgroup: DVD
End of Days - movie DVD cover picture
An action movie with a Horror theme

This movie is nowhere near as bad as people say it is. I found it to be Arnold's only good movie, aside from T2. I think the plot was very good and there was lots of blood and action and violence and nudity, god is this my type of movie. The ending was kind of dumb though.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Peter Hyams
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gabriel Byrne
Robin Tunney

DVD title: Grave of the Fireflies
Productgroup: DVD
Grave of the Fireflies - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best films I've ever seen, bar none!

Can you imagine being moved to tears and emotional turmoil by an animated film? I'm not talking about Bambi tears or the wonder of watching some of the recent technological developments in the world of animation. I'm talking about truly human emotions rising up and causing one to think, feel, question... This move generates these sensations- the animation is great in the standard Japanime way but the story and the depiction of the characters' experiences and feelings are unbelievable. I didn't realize that I could feel compassion or sympathize so deeply for this medium of film. The slightest subtleties come through in the way that brother and sister are drawn and embodied- the pain and misery of war comes through, as incredulous as it seems. This is an animated story with a real heart and a real message to tell. You can't miss it!

Studio: Cpm/Us Manga Corps
Director: Isao Takahata
Tsutomu Tatsumi
Ayano Shiraishi
Akemi Yamaguchi

DVD title: Absolutely Fabulous - Complete Series 4
Productgroup: DVD
Absolutely Fabulous - Complete Series 4 - movie DVD cover picture
Absolutely Fabulous is Fabulous!

Well, being a religious watcher of Ab Fab since the beginning, series 4 really doesnt stand up to the orginal 3 series. But i totally understand why. It was quite a long break the producers took b/t series 3 and 4. But dont get me wrong, series 4 is a delightful season. I love it! I am giving it 5 stars because of the humor, the characters, the dvd extras, and just because it is Ab Fab. Here is a brief episode guide:

1. Parralox- Edina has started a new TV production company. Patsy has taken up parrlox injections to preserve her "beauty". And Saffy is applying for a New Labour job. Its a good start for a good season.

2. Fish Farm- Edina and Patsy return from a Marilyn Manson concert. And Edina finds that her new male gardener is quite a catch. See what happens!!

3. Paris- The gang goes to Paris for a fashion shoot that Patsy is going to be in. Edina and Saffy go on an all out tour de paris. And Patsy just cant seem to get her 60's fashion poses out of her.

4. Donkey- Once again, poor Edina needs to lose weight. She bites the bullet and starts a new excersise program. Will she be skinny enough to be called Sarah Jessica Parker?!

5. Small Opening- My favorite episode from series 4. Saffy is making a play about her life and doesnt want Edina to know. But once Edina finds out...well, you'll just have to see what happens. A great story line!!

6. Menopause- The last episode in series 4. Edina is worried that she may have menopause, so Saffy forces her into a menopause anonymous her living room!!!

Your going to have loads of fun watching this series. Ta-Ta Sweetie Darling!!!

Studio: BBC Video
Jennifer Saunders
Joanna Lumley

DVD title: Bzots - Escape A Go-Go!
Productgroup: DVD
Bzots - Escape A Go-Go! - movie DVD cover picture
Our kids liked this gift.

This is such a GREAT DVD!!!! It's about Robots escaping from a factory. My 3 and 4 year old children LOVE it! This is SOOO entertaining for them. The music in it is great too...they dance to it and it keeps them completely entertained while I'm busy doing things around the house! Although this is a children's video, it's entertaining for adults as well! Highly recommended!!!

Studio: Starlight Home Enter
Director: Dave Skwarczek

DVD title: The Shawshank Redemption
Productgroup: DVD
The Shawshank Redemption - movie DVD cover picture
It's hard to believe this film didn't win Best Picture!!!!!

One of the best films I've ever seen. Unfortunately I did not get to see this film in the theaters. When this film was released in 1994 I had grown tired of the "prison" movie. I had already seen TANGO & CASH (T&C) and LOCK UP (LU) both of these films starred Sylvester Stallone. I had also seen Death Warrant (DW) with Jean Claude Van Damme and figured that this would just be another run of them mill movie about a guy wrongfully imprisoned. Eventually I rented this film and boy was I wrong! Unlike the earlier mentioned films this was not an action flick but an emotional story about the hardships of prison life and the struggle an inmate encounters trying to maintain hope of eventually leaving the prison. I so enjoyed this movie that I obtained the original novel and found that while there are some changes to the story they are relatively minor and do not detract from the theme of the story. In my review I will compare the book to the film.
1. In the book Andy Dufresne is in jail until 1975. In the movie he is only in jail until 1967.
2. In the book Andy's poster at the time of his departure is one of Linda Ronstadt. In the movie it is Raquel Welch.
3. In the book Andy served time under several wardens and head guards. In the movie Warden Norton was in office for Andy's entire prison stay as was the head guard Byron Hadley. Actually in the book Byron Hadley was the head guard when Andy arrived in Shawshank and had retired by the time Norton became warden.
4. In the book Red is describe as Irish and although no reference is made to his race I assumed he was white. In the movie Red is black being portrayed by Morgan Freeman, and the character Red indicates that he is Irish. While this does not contradict the book I think by making Red an African American it differed from most readers conception of Red. However, Morgan Freeman did such a fine job in the role of Red it is impossible for me to think of anyone else in that role.
5. In the book Andy, with help from a friend in the outside world, invests all his money prior to his arrest under a false identity so that when he leaves Shawshank he has money to start over with. In the movie Andy departs with Warden Norton's ill gotten gains to start his new life.
6. In the book no warden commits suicide and no prisoner is killed after the warden stages a fake escape attempt. Both these acts occur in the move.
There are other small differences between the movie and the book but none that alter the overall story. I would suggest to all that this story is worth reading and watching. There is a reason that it is ranked so high in IMDB's ranking chart.
Just a bit of trivia for Stephen King fans. The character of Andy Dufresne also has a key cameo role in Stephen King's book APT PUPIL. It is Andy Dufresne that unknowingly helps escaped Nazi henchman Kurt Dussander set up a life in America. This occurs while Andy is working at the Maine bank prior to going to Shawshank.

Studio: Castle Rock
Director: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman

DVD title: Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor embark upon a dangerous love story in "Moulin Rouge." A courtizan and penniless writer, the two must battle for their love, defying men at the nightclub, a jealous duke, and a fatal illness. Their love story is enveloped within extraordinary musical performances and tantalizing dance scenes, and the lovers' songs live on long after the movie has ended. I think the work as a whole is phenomenal!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Nicole Kidman
Ewan McGregor

DVD title: Dame Edna's Neighbourhood Watch #2
Productgroup: DVD
Dame Edna's Neighbourhood Watch #2 - movie DVD cover picture
Much better than the first DVD!

I really liked the first DVD, but it has some episodes that I like better than others. When I bought Volume 2, I thought that these might be shows that were not funny enough to make it to Volume 1. I was wrong - this DVD is MUCH funnier! I love every episode - first rate Dame Edna.

Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD title: GoldenEye
Productgroup: DVD
GoldenEye - movie DVD cover picture
"Why can`t you be a good boy and die?" - Alec Trevelyan

Synopsis: James Bond is investigating a Russian crime syndicate, known as Janus, when they steal a Russian first-strike weapon, code-named Goldeneye. Assigned to find the weapon and discover what they plan to do with it, the trail leads Bond to a beautiful Russian computer programmer, a traitorous General, and the head of Janus, formerly 006.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Martin Campbell
Pierce Brosnan
Sean Bean
Izabella Scorupco

DVD title: Friday the 13th, Part 2
Productgroup: DVD
Friday the 13th, Part 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Friday the 13th Part 2 (Four and a Half Stars)

This review refers to the Paramount DVD edition of the film.

THE WHO'S WHO: Starring Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Kirsten Baker, Stu Charno, Warrington Gillette, Walt Gorney, Marta Kober, Tom McBride, Bill Randolph, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Russell Todd, Betsy Palmer. Score Composed By Harry Manfredini. Produced and Directed By Steve Miner. (R) For Violence, Very Mild Gore, Profanity, Suggested Drug Use, Nudity and Mild Sexual Content; 87m.; 1981.

WHAT'S GOING ON IN HERE?: Five years (screen time) have passed since the original camp massacre. Now, a new batch of eager camp counselors-in-training are unwittingly awaiting their turn at the slaughter after opening an installation on the same lake where the first nightmarish incident occurred. This film presents one of those exceptionally rare materializations when a sequel lives up to its predecessor. Steve Miner, associate producer from the first film, takes over directorial duties from series creator Sean S. Cunningham and succinctly runs with the ball. His direction is taut and accomplished, keeping the pace moving at a brisk level. The new counselors fill their roles with more than good looks and generic acting (as was the case with the original). They're given better dialogue, craftier one-liners and more opportunity to stretch their skills. Stu Charno is a delight as this film's comic cut-up Ted, who provides a small relief from the consistent onslaught of suspense. Amy Steel, as Ginny, proves to be a more versatile leading lady than Adrienne King ever hoped to be. While the desolate loneliness that drenched the original film is slightly overshadowed here, this sequel makes up for the loss by providing an intensity the first film couldn't muster. The final, almost twenty minute chase scene and showdown against Jason Voorhees (Warrington Gillette) is one of the most tense moments to appear in any of the eight original "Friday" films. But the success of this film doesn't lie solely in its cast and director. Harry Manfredini has returned, having obviously grown more comfortable with his eerie score. He nurtures his themes like a parent would a child, presenting an accomplished backdrop for the movie. On a small side note, don't expect to see an immediately recognizable Jason in this movie. Instead of wearing his trademark hockey mask, he adorns himself in a white sackcloth hood with one eyehole. He wouldn't acquire the infamous hockey mask until the third entry. Overall, this film is one of the dominant reasons why the Jason Voorhees saga would become such a long-running institution in the realm of terror. Fright fans can fully immerse themselves in this sequel and take away an experience equally as harrowing as the one found in the original "Friday the 13th".

THEY SAY THEY'RE SPECIAL BUT...: Paramount doesn't appear to have remastered the 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that much for this film. The prologue in particular shows its age and a vast amount of grain. That graininess also reappears at sporadic intervals during the film, serving to completely agitate viewers, especially when one considers that the colors were naturalistic and outdoor locations were well lit. Sadly, this flawed presentation is still a minute step up from any videocassette version I've ever seen. If any horror movie deserved a remaster, it would certainly be this one. On the plus side, the accompanying 2.0 mono track is relatively free of hiss and pops, unlike the track used for the original film. There's fair separation and clean dialogue with only occasional moments of interference. A French mono track is also available for the film as well as English subtitles which are easy to read and have been placed within the frame of the movie. The front cover features a bleak but faithful representation of the old video release cover. The back cover shows no thought or imagination whatsoever on Paramount's part. The one sheet insert that arrives inside of this case features the same lack of ingenuity, but at least it delivers the fourteen chapter stops for this ninety minute film. The disc itself is a silver top with the name of the movie, the Paramount logo and other small tidbits painted on its surface. As with the original "Friday" film, the only special feature is the original theatrical trailer (2:10). The trailer has a lot in common with the movie itself. Not just because it previews the film, but because it's a direct sequel to the original theatrical trailer. This trailer picks up where the first one left off. It may be grainy and may only arrive in a 1.33:1 full screen format, but it's still an enjoyable piece of movie history. However, it does make returning cast member Adrienne King's role appear more grand than it really is.

THE YOLK'S ON YOU: Paramount has never been known for plying their releases with additional footage, let alone hiding anything on the disc. You're more likely to survive a night fending off Jason Voorhees than you are of finding hidden easter eggs on this one.

THE LEWD AND NUDE ALERT: Almost all of the female counselors in this movie appear, at least momentarily, in their bathing suits. However, there's more entertainment in this category than mere swimming attire...although Ginny (Amy Steel) looks outstanding in her yellow bikini. As if the bikini weren't enough, Ginny also gives viewers a brief glimpse of her white lace bra when she changes her shirt the first night at camp. In another early instance, viewers have a lovely shot of Sandra's (Marta Kober) bouncing breasts as she and Jeff (Bill Randolph) run towards a pay phone. The camera also makes sure it gets a couple of delicious close-ups of Terry's (Kirsten Baker) behind as she walks through the woods...and gets nipped by Scott's (Russell Todd) slingshot. Later in the film, Baker bares every inch of her sumptuous body when she goes for a late night skinny dip in the lake. The luscious Vicki (Lauren-Marie Taylor) spends some time showcasing her beautiful buns in a pair of panties, and for those lucky viewers who have a zoom button, she also bares her bush while changing into those panties. Adrienne King also has the opportunity to see a "cute" pussy, during the opening moments of this film, however it's of the feline variety (hence no asterisks to expose a profanity).

THE GORE REPORT: One of the counselors has his throat slit while hanging from a booby trap and another takes a machete directly into his forehead. There's also a pair of young lovers who are speared through their abdomens in bed. Later, that blood-soaked bed serves as a small gore highlight, however none of these scenes features the bloodshed they should. Rather, the goriest moments of this film come at the beginning during the flashback sequences to part one.

SAY AGAIN: "These kids smoke better dope than I do." - Paul Holt (John Furey), head of the new camp.

THE FINAL SAY: Yes, I recommend buying this DVD. While it's more economical to buy Paramount's collectible boxed set, which features some admittedly intriguing extras as well as the original eight films, the box is still not up to the standards DVD afficionados expect. Therefore, the individual discs are still the preferred method of acquiring the films until true special editions are promulgated.

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM: "Friday the 13th Parts I, II and III" Score Available on Gramavision Records.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Steve Miner
Amy Steel
Betsy Palmer

DVD title: Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 40, Episodes 79, 99 & 1: Turnabout Intruder/ The Cage (B&W/Color Version) / The Cage (Full Color Version)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 40, Episodes 79, 99 & 1: Turnabout Intruder/ The Cage (B&W/Color Version) / The Cage (Full Color Version) - movie DVD cover picture
If you only buy one DVD of the original series this is it.

This DVD is (partially) a repackaging of a 1986 television special hosted by the late Gene Roddenberry that gives some interesting insights into the history of the Trek that was pitched to network suits.
That in itself makes it a keeper for Trekkies but the treat is in the contrast between the first and last episodes. Spock's fits of near-anger and occasional smiles in The Cage clearly show how in-flux the show was before it geled in its now-famous character developments.
The quality is there for DVD and the Next Generation trailer (never mind the fact that you're paying for an advertisement) offer a taste of some outstanding sound enhancements to be part of the first season's box set.

Studio: Paramount Home Video

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