Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: American Beauty
Productgroup: DVD
American Beauty - movie DVD cover picture
Angela's Beauty

"American Beauty" is one of the more celebrated films of recent years. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and is praised for its "complex" look at American suburban monotony. However, in its supposed subversion of cultural norms, it plays into them fairly strongly. The most notable of these deal with the female characters.
The film's protagonist is Lester Burnham, famously played by Kevin Spacey in the role that made him one of the most popular leading men in hollywood. However, the writing of this character engulfs the female characters in the film and subjugates them. Lester's wife, Carolyn, is the most one-dimensional character in the film. She is materialistic, selfish, and false. We know each of these things as soon as the film begins, and learn little more about her as the film progresses. Of course, her only possible source of salvation is Lester, who in one scene tries to snap her out of her obsession with material goods. Angela is another character who is blatantly framed as the typical concept of "American Beauty", as a young, blonde, sexually forward female who wants to be a model. However, when she undergoes her transformation at the end of the film, she is still at the mercy of Lester, and is reliant on him for comfort and safety. Janie, Lester's daughter, who is supposed to be the free spirit of the group, is "set free" by Ricky, the boy next door who invites her to run away with him, and "teaches her about the world".
In one particularly misogynistic scene, Lester, Carolyn, and Janie are eating dinner in their dining room, until Lester lashes out at both of them, throws dishes against the wall, and forces Janie to sit down. Lester is portrayed as the protagonist in this scene, rebelling against these "tyranical" women who are holding him back.
I see the treatment of the female characters in "American Beauty" to be its biggest flaw.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sam Mendes
Kevin Spacey
Annette Bening

DVD title: The Devil's Rejects (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Devil's Rejects (Unrated Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
THIS is the 70's

I am a fan of Rob Zombie: of his music, of his comics,etc. I believe that in this huge amorphous field of horror - he's one of the few who "gets it". I saw "House of a Thousand Corpses" a couple years back and I admit it was not what I expected from him;or rather, it was less than I was hoping for. However, somewhere in the space between "House" and "Devil's Rejects", something happened. Mr. Zombie found his vision. This film is amazing. It's a pure and honest homage to the 70's. Not only is it FILLED to the brim with faces that were as common as our next-door neighbors in the 70's, but we're seeing them in different lights. The strongest among this group of rememberances is Priscilla Barnes (a fill in from "Three's Company") who is great in this film. But it's not just the fun of seeing these "old friends", but how Zombie infused the continued story of this most dysfunctional of families with a bond that made them more than the two dimensional horror puppets seen in "House". This movie also contains a scene about chickens that is an instant cult classic (not giving any more hints). Just watch Ken Foree and Michael Barryman's faces. And hey KEN FOREE and MICHAEL BARRYMAN IN THE SAME SCENE! COME ON!
Rob Zombie does have a knack for soundtracks and while I don't know if I'd want to own this one, it gave me a WHOLE new appreciation for Lynard Skynard's Freebird. Also, his edior should be up for an award. The editing on this is nothing short of awe inspiring. On the whole, I hightly recommend this. Know that it is brutally violent at times and has a mean streak a mile wide, but this movie is a triumph and Rob Zombie deserves his props.

Traci Belanger

Studio: Lions Gate
Bill Moseley

DVD title: The Sopranos - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Sopranos - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
One of Televisions Best!!!!

I don't watch much television, nor do I subscribe to HBO, but their presentation of the Sopranos is some of the best work I've seen in a long time. Friends told me how good the show is, and I finally realized just how good it is after purchasing the first season. James Gandolfini is excellent in his role as Tony Soprano, and manages to bring the entire cast together in thier interpretation of this New Jersey mob family. A must for everyone's DVD collection! I am eagerly anticipating the release of the second season!

Studio: Warner Home Video
James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini

DVD title: Concert for George
Productgroup: DVD
Concert for George - movie DVD cover picture
Beautiful Tribute

I too received this DVD as a Christmas (I think many people did) and was very impressed with both the audio and video. The love everyone on stage had and still has for George is evident. Clapton acoustic guitar work with Ravi's orchestra is unbelievable, and Billy Preston's rendition of My Sweet Lord is moving and brings the crowd to it's feet. For Harrison and Beatles fans this concert is not merely viewed but is experienced. Excellent, kudos to Clapton for putting this event together.

Studio: Wea Corp
Director: David Leland

DVD title: This Is Spinal Tap - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
This Is Spinal Tap - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A delightful romp into the zany hijinx of masters of metal

Pure comical genius with subtle satire.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
Michael McKean
Christopher Guest

DVD title: Wild At Heart
Productgroup: DVD
Wild At Heart - movie DVD cover picture
Unique and Classic

This film is on my top ten list. My friends and I have quoted it for years. I can't believe it's not more popular than it is, and I can't believe it's just now being released on DVD - thank God. In my opinion, this is David Lynch's best work. A surreal take on post WWII American pop culture and rebel fantasy. A bizarre mix of the Wizard of Oz, Elvis, The Wild One, voodoo, and evil doers. All the characters are fully developed, and the acting is all time. Highly recommended.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: David Lynch
Nicolas Cage
Laura Dern

DVD title: Wind
Productgroup: DVD
Wind - movie DVD cover picture
Best sailing movie EVER!

I saw this movie twice when it came out in the theaters and was bowled over by the big-screen-surround feeling of real yacht racing. You felt as if you were part of the crew, feeling the wind and wanting to hike out! The VHS and DVD versions are still wonderful to watch. The only drawback to the real sailor is some discontinuity watching the water surface go from mildly choppy to flat calm in some adjoining scenes, but the action and story line make up for the technical difficulties one senses while making this movie. I still cringe knowing the producers bought two old 12-meters just to film the mega-collision scene off Newport during a cup race. Both were destroyed while making the movie. If you're a sailor, don't miss this movie. It's still my all-time favorite.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Carroll Ballard
Matthew Modine
Jennifer Grey

DVD title: Everwood - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Everwood - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Everwood 1st season

Very good family programing with great writing and acting, each episode is filled with beautiful lighting and filming. WHAT a location! Great to watch with your kids.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Gregory Smith

DVD title: Classical Pilates Technique - The Complete Mat Workout Series (Modified Basic / Basic / Intermediate / Advanced / Super Advanced)
Productgroup: DVD
Classical Pilates Technique - The Complete Mat Workout Series (Modified Basic / Basic / Intermediate / Advanced / Super Advanced) - movie DVD cover picture

I've looked at several Pilates videos because I love the method and enjoy staying in pretty good shape. Most fitness professionals have fairly good products, and each video has its own perspective. For a long time, I just figured that Pilates was like aerobics or Yoga: there were many types and each was valid in its own way. After watching this Classical Pilates DVD, I learned there is a single tradition that continues Joseph Pilates' original method.
There is a big difference between this DVD and the other Pilates-based workout DVDs. This Pilates video is definitely faster, and requires more energy and mental discipline. The interesting thing, though, is that you GET more energy by expending energy in a good workout! I also liked this DVD because it has the full range of workouts, so if I feel like practicing the basic routine, I'll do that. If I feel like doing the advanced routine, I'll do practice that.

Studio: Classical Pilates, Inc.
Junghee Kallander
Jamie Trout

DVD title: Love in the Afternoon
Productgroup: DVD
Love in the Afternoon - movie DVD cover picture
One of my favorites!

This has to be one of my most favourite Audrey Hepburn movies of all time. It is the epitome of Audrey; romantic, funny, interesting and classic all in one. Once you see this movie you will never forget it and you will carry the tune "Fascination" with you for quite a while and your friends will ask you to stop humming that idiotic tune! The only real way to describe this movie is contagious!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Billy Wilder
Gary Cooper
Audrey Hepburn
Maurice Chevalier

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