Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (TV Miniseries)
Productgroup: DVD
Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (TV Miniseries) - movie DVD cover picture
An thrilling and moving accomplishment!

"Children of Dune" features a robust narrative, lean writing, a complex and ambitious story, compelling characters, impressive visual effects, wonderful sets, mercifully toned down costumes, capable acting, beautiful camera work, excellent direction, skillfull editing and an epic and moving score by Brian Tyler. "Children of Dune" does it all, and does it, for the most part, quite well. Susan Sarandon, ironically, turns in a rather uninspired amateurish performance. The rest of the cast, featuring some striking "unknowns" takes their roles more seriously. "Children of Dune" was as thrilling and moving as many great theatrical films; that's saying a lot! As genre entertainment, it doesn't get better than this. Like a great book, the end of "Children of Dune" comes too soon and leaves you hungering for more. The SciFi network presents "God Emperor Dune". We can only hope!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Greg Yaitanes

DVD title: K-PAX
Productgroup: DVD
K-PAX - movie DVD cover picture
K-Pax, better than average

This film was very well acted, had great special effects and left the conclusion up to the individual. Not for young children as scenes of violence are included.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Iain Softley
Kevin Spacey
Jeff Bridges

DVD title: Seabiscuit (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Seabiscuit (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Movie is not only about a horse named Seabiscuit

I saw this movie and I will return to the theater again and again. Hopefully movie goers will see the heart of this movie as hope. Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey McGuire, and William Macy do a wonderful job. The director of photography should win an Oscar for the story telling with his/her lens when words were not necessary. I did not read the book before going and seeing the movie but I will purchase it now. Tell all your family members to go see this movie!![] Dinah

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Gary Ross
Jeff Bridges
Chris Cooper

DVD title: Breaking Away
Productgroup: DVD
Breaking Away - movie DVD cover picture
Pretending to Be Someone Other Than Who You Are

This is a fabulous film, one of my all-time favorites: a funny, bittersweet, character-driven masterpiece of small-budget filmmaking, shot in a town I lived in for five years.
Obviously, this was a cheaply done DVD release by Fox of a film that deserves a deluxe special edition. Besides the lack of extras, interviews, and audio commentary, I could not believe the poor sound quality of the DVD digital transfer: street scenes, crowd scenes, etc. sounded like they were recorded in a digital bucket! We had to turn down the sound during the pivotal Little 500 scene, because the digital garbage was so annoying.
Having seen this many times on tape, I know that the sound of this low-budget film was not always good, but it was never horrible until this cheap digital mastering. Fortunately it does not completely ruin the experience of this wonderful film, but I wouldn't be in any hurry to replace a VHS tape with this DVD!
Fox, fix your mistake and treat this film properly!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Peter Yates
Dennis Christopher
Dennis Quaid

DVD title: Unbreakable (Vista Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Unbreakable (Vista Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Unbreakable - A quiet Thriller that hits the mark

I believe that there are, when judging M. Night movies, two different types of viewers: those that can understand what M. Night is trying to convey, and those that cannot. This movie, even more so than the Sixth Sense, and definitely more Signs, is a judge of the viewer's character.
This movie, in my opinion, is brilliant. Let's look at exactly what happens (without giving it away!). Bruce Willis has survived many accidents throughout his life - in fact, he's never even been sick before! He finds out, thanks to Samuel Jackson, that he is invincible (basically, a superhero!). This is, in short, the movie. Some might think this bland and uninteresting, and I can totally understand why: those who watch this movie in search of action scenes or intense gunfights will be disappointed. However, try to imagine the movie like this: In every comic book, the superhero somehow finds out that he/she is a superhero, and it takes him/her a small amount of time to adjust to that. Then, of course, then end up fighting crime, etc...
This movie is like an extended version of the first 20 minutes of a normal superhero movie - Bruce just barely understands at the end what has happened.
I believe that longtime fans of comic books will absolutely love this movie - You'll understand once you watch it!
I would recommend this movie to anyone who was a comic book fan or is an M. Night fan.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Bruce Willis
Samuel L. Jackson

DVD title: Solo
Productgroup: DVD
Solo - movie DVD cover picture
Very good move and concept

The movie was great. Im actually surprised it didn't jump start Mario Van Peebles' career more than it did.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Norberto Barba
Mario Van Peebles
William Sadler

DVD title: Unbreakable (Vista Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Unbreakable (Vista Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Superbly Executed!

This film is NOT about comic book heroes. It is NOT about the "battle between good and evil" or even, as the writer/director describes it to us, "the believer vs. the non-believer". NO! It's about a disorder which Mr. Shyamalan describes with such detail in this movie that one wonders how close he is personally to this pathology. After all, he has been described as an "immature genius" and as having "grandiose" ideas. These are two textbook characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). After reading over 650 reviews of this film, I find that no one seems to have made this connection - surprising since this pathology is estimated to exist at a 1% frequency in America (0.7% are male). I would recommend that all interested reviewers learn more about this! Go to Sam Vaknin's site, He is a prolific reviewer in his own right on the Amazon site. Once you learn just a little about this disorder, you will instantly and unequivocally see the true meaning of this film and your understanding will enrich your appreciation. It will then make perfect sense. Shyamalan has succeeded in portraying a very difficult yet interesting alternate reality. In fact, he portrays it so convincingly that one may reasonably ask if he does indeed live with this disorder.
How does one portray in film the abstract experience of the initial narcissistic injury, the fragmentation of the young ego (Elijah Price) [occurring by 24 months of age], the pain and anger that causes that damaged self to retreat forever into the unconscious, the creation of the soulless "false self" (i.e., David Dunn), and the lifelong failure in love and relationships, including the difficulty in maintaining a job?
In "Unbreakable" the rather detached and indifferent mother of Elijah gives birth to a child who onlookers see as being "fractured". This is the beginning.
Cut to the present where we find David Dunn (B. Willis) on a train ashamedly ogling a young woman and showing deceit by hiding his wedding ring. [Ns, i.e., those with NPD of the somatic variety, are sex addicts with shame attached and are always charming and inveterate liars. This is manifested as extreme exaggeration in order to depict the desired image.] His conversation with the woman on the train reveals signs of the illness. Ns have difficulty communicating, often saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or mumbling unintelligibly, and then trying to fake their way through or turn the conversation around. Of course, one wonders if in fact David was actually aboard the train at all or whether this was merely a fabrication aimed at boosting his sagging self-image as the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent "God". After all, there were no survivors to say that he wasn't aboard.
I would surmise that David is in a phase of his illness where he is finding that his false ego is just not securing him the narcissistic supply that it once did. He is experiencing the depression concomitant with the "grandiosity gap", that is, a realization of the disparity between his carefully crafted self-image of omnipotence and the current reality of his situation, as reflected by those with whom he comes into contact. The accompanying pain and confusion is causing him to seek other means of acquiring his required fix for adulation and admiration. He's certainly not getting this from his wife any longer. She is the textbook picture of a victim of this disorder - confused, seemingly stuck in her codependent role with him yet sensing that her love will never be requited. His indifferent behavior has left her devastated emotionally. She never says anything that will question or challenge him. She has learned which topics he can tolerate and which ones are best avoided. She did not ask, "What happened on the train David?" but rather, "What happened in New York David?" Perhaps she knew that he was not in fact on that train. When she asks him if he's slept with anyone since their troubles began, he says "No". This is most certainly a lie and yet she, like most NPD victims, falls for it and decides to give him yet another chance, as most do. She wants it "to be like it was in the beginning." Again, this is the typical reason why the wives and girlfriends of these men hang on as long as they do. They are always chasing after the man they met "in the beginning" when the false ego charmed and captivated them. His son Joseph, chronically neglected by his dad, is headed in the same direction emotionally as David's wife. [Most offspring of Ns usually grow into dysfunctional adults unless the non-N parent can fill in the gap.] We see that with his new reputation of "having survived an unsurvivable catastrophe" the son is now in a position to provide David with a new source of narcissistic supply.
Another important hallmark of this disorder is "magical thinking". To be considered extraordinary and invincible, David has "special powers". He can feel the "evil" about him. He can see danger. Those with NPD describe themselves as having "perfect insight" into others and a gifted intuition. Since in an Ns reality he sees "others" as mere objects in "his universe", it stands to reason that they can read others' minds. Similarly, since an N lives in fear of being used or taken by others, he ascribes that emotion to the objects within his sphere, in other words, he projects. We see David becoming increasingly paranoid in a very dark world - a world that isn't working the way it used to. This is his internal world, reflected in the somber, depressive, and emotionless cinematographic treatment. Although occasionally David may be right (50/50), towards the end we see his "special" instincts betraying him. Many reviewers described David as "the ordinary man" and perhaps, at this point in time, that's what it looks like. But be assured that David sees himself as anything but ordinary! His very life depends on his being extra-ordinary and unbreakable. Ns are self-deprecating in order to maintain the illusion of charm and downplay their arrogance - but this is a false face!
Those with NPD are most likely to seek professional help when they are experiencing the pain of the "grandiosity gap". This may be the one time that the unconscious ego has a chance of being felt. The unconscious, the true ego that was fractured and retreated in childhood, Elijah (S.L. Jackson), is seeking his other half. It's his last chance. He is looking for his counterpart - the one who never gets hurt emotionally. He wants to rejoin that part of himself.
After the train wreck and the tableau of the anguished family life, we cut to a scene in the "young David's" life, in the form of Elijah at a carnival. It is here that Shyamalan tells us how the protagonist came to suffer from this disorder in the first place - the overprotective and smothering mother. When Elijah, told all his life that he is fragile and dependent, is for once daring to enjoy the autonomy of taking a tilt-a-whirl ride, his mother comes absolutely unhinged. She cannot bear to see her son experiencing his own self-efficacy, apart from her. She screams in anguish; he gazes into the sky, shatters, separates, retreats, and that true self hides forever, unactualized, and protected in David's unconscious mind. He never had the chance to develop normal narcissism during this critical "window period" and so he must invent a false ego, a superficial persona, here in the image of David Dunn.
At the funeral of the train victims, David talks to the priest about his football days (many Ns embrace and are quite successful in competitive sports such as football) and reiterates his special status as "sole survivor". The priest most certainly insults him by attributing this to "luck" rather than divinity. David inappropriately complains that his watch was broken in the crash, sharply insensitive to the fact that the priest's nephew was killed in the crash. [The most obvious and ruinous manifestation of NPD is the incapability of empathizing with others.]
Elijah persists through the hero mythology of the comic book and pitches his cause to the super-ego in kind. However, as with all Ns, David is highly suspicious of Elija's underlying motives and assumes that he is merely out to get him, to take what is his, even though he does admit to "not feeling so sad" that morning upon wakening. Still, Elijah incurs another severe narcissistic injury and falls shattered back down into the unconscious as David works desperately to restore his grandiose image by lifting weights in front of his adoring son.
Suddenly, his wife, still a stranger to him [Ns can never experience intimacy and always maintain their distance], asks him to dinner and he asks her if her therapy clients ever jump several levels unexpectedly to which she replies "Yes, they sometimes do, but they usually stop out of fear of the shadow of their limits". [Fear and denial are usually what prevent Ns from ever seeking therapy.] Interestingly, David's wife, Audrey, is managing Elijah's recovery. Later in the film, Audrey asks him if he knowingly pushes her and Joseph away and he says yes. [A key characteristic of NPD]. Another feature worth noting is that David and Audrey always seem to be on the verge of breaking up but never actually do. Ns will never formally break up. They have short memories when it comes to that sort of thing since only the Ns victims truly "experience" a problem.
David's concept of self-superiority crumbles further when he learns that he had to be rescued from drowning at a very young age. The son, Joseph, confesses that he isn't like his father, that he can get hurt and feel pain [something that Ns can't do]. When David, through self-discovery, determines that he faked his injury in the car accident, Elijah tells him to "go where people are". This is what Elijah's mother told him as he was withdrawing. [Ns typically withdraw from society as a matter of self-preservation]. Elijah further assures him by saying that it's alright to be afraid; a fear that Elijah knows David must feel and survive. He wants him to look back and see the damage, the devastation, and the pain that he's caused in his life, to acknowledge it, to take responsibility. He is baptized into a new life through the water, his only vulnerability. The dead woman who falls during the rescue scene is Audrey. He brings her back to life and holds her and says he just had a bad dream. The next morning though, he solicits narcissistic supply in the form of hero worship from his son by pushing the "savior" article at him.
The archenemy is the one who fights the hero with his mind. This is exactly what David is doing. The fact that Elijah still exists is a miracle because this disorder is considered incurable and there are no medications for it. In the end, Elijah sees the beginning of the reintegration of the ego and shakes hands to symbolize this. In fear and stricken with paranoia, David sees Elijah as a threat and the perpetrator of all evil. Projecting his own evil onto the objects about him, David is panicked by the reflection he perceives and asks tearfully as his false ego cracks, "What have you (I) done?"
An absolutely beautiful film! I see the influence of Jean Cocteau. Scores an "A" in every category.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Bruce Willis
Samuel L. Jackson

DVD title: Shrek 2 (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Shrek 2 (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Twice the fun !!!!!!!!

The folks over at Dreamworks did it again, but more fun! Shrek 2 just out right beats the race to 2004's funniest (and smartest) animation movie. I loved "The Incredibles" but this one not just beat Pixar at fun: it also is better than the first installment.

The classic characters played by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy are accompanied by a host of new talent. Above all newcoming actors, I loved the part of Puss in Boots played by Antonio Banderas: he was perfect for the role. Also, if you enjoyed the fun the first one made of other movies and TV shows, you will crack up to Shrek 2, as not even Lord of the Rings is safe this time around.

It is safe to say that this is no movie for kids, though the more grown-up ones may get most of the humor on it. The lines are clearly meant for a more mature audience. Nevertheless, with your family or friends, or by yourself, do make a point to check out this one. You will laugh real hard!

Studio: Dreamworks
Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy
Cameron Diaz

DVD title: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Dimension Collector's Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Dimension Collector's Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Another Funny one from the infamous Kevin smith!!!

This another cult classic if you are a Kevin Smith fan like I am then this is one to DEFINETLY add to your comic selection. Jay is the same foul mouthed moron and Silen Bob is well.... silent. But the cameos from other actors and actresses such as George Carlin and carrie fisher(princess leia) make that much more interesting. Plus if you are a Kevin smith fan he adds the little things from his previous films in it ( my favorite being buddy jesus on the dashboard of the car). But, Anyways this is one of my top 10!!!

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
Jason Mewes

DVD title: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2003
Productgroup: DVD
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2003 - movie DVD cover picture
Better host this year....

SI Swimsuit 2003 starts off with the gorgeous Rachel Hunter at the famous Hotel del Coronado [San Diego], one of the better selections for host[ess] on these discs as she brings a natural element to the whole presentation and it's enjoyable to sit there and watch her narate, especially in the first few minutes of the DVD as she is being bodypainted..

DVD Content... Once again the SI team has whisked us away to exotic parts of the world. You won't be disappointed with any of the selections made and the scenery is at times breath taking! [it's a given though, right?] In this particular edition it's focused [excuse the pun] more on the models rather than photographers. I felt that with the 2001 edition that they were shooting alot of footage about the photographers and what they do rather than the photographs they were taking. Featuring 19 of the worlds beautiful women including Molly Sims, Bridget Hall, Daniela Pestova, Petra Nemcova, Audrey Quock, Yamila, Melissa Keller and Australia's very own Sara O'Hare you'll enjoy seeing them in a variety of costumes and locations.

DVD Quality... This DVD outstrips the quality in both audio and visual senses in comparison to my review on the 2001 DVD. Images are sharp and crisp with vibrant colours that really reflect the environments these ladies are in. A nifty feature that wasn't utilised would have been mulitple camera angles, which would have made some shoots more intersting and giving a different perspective on what was going on. Audio quality is a vast improvement over the 2001 disc as well. It is mixed rather well with a decent soundtrack and some of the dialog from the models, such as Molly Sims, is at times quite entertaining! The outtakes on the disc aren't that special, it's basically a couple of minutes tacked onto the end of the show that made it onto the cutting room floor by the looks of it. Unfortunately not the "bloopers reel" that i was hoping for.

Overview... In all, this is presentation of the Swimsuit Collection for 2003 is quite a solid effort. Do youself a favour and get this disc if you're a keen follower of the magazine/dvd collection.

Studio: Good Times Home Vide
Rachel Hunter

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