Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Mystic River (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Mystic River (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A tragic, painful masterpiece.

When I first saw Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," I found the ending so hateful that it ruined the movie for me. I still find the ending hateful, but I've come to realize that's the movie's whole point. "Mystic River" depicts lives blighted by tragedy, and it's honest enough to carry its tragedy through to the bitter, unresolved end, offering its characters and the audience no solace. Eastwood and screenwriter Brian Helgeland, adapting Dennis Lehane's novel, know how sin--particularly sins of violence--can come home to roost in insular communities; they also know how tragedy and hard living can warp your moral perspective, so that your attempts to avenge injustice may instead only perpetuate and compound it. Meanwhile, Eastwood's direction is lovingly detailed, Helgeland's dialogue is spot-on, and the ensemble cast is nothing short of brilliant--in the cases of Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, Oscar-worthy. "Mystic River" is hard to watch in places, and its ending is as painful as a bullet in the gut. But the bleak honesty of its moral vision and the brilliance of its craft compel our admiration and respect.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Clint Eastwood
Sean Penn
Tim Robbins
Kevin Bacon
Laurence Fishburne
Laura Linney
Emmy Rossum

DVD title: Edie in Ciao! Manhattan
Productgroup: DVD
Edie in Ciao! Manhattan - movie DVD cover picture
The film is what it is, but the special features are great

Before I got Ciao! Manhattan on DVD, I had seen it twice before, once on video (first time) and once at a cinema revival screening of it (second). I was fascinated by the movie upon my first viewing, but managed to make it through the second showing just unconditional admiration for Edie Sedgwick being what got me through it. I mean, it's a weird, wacky, and wonderful film--full of great images of 1960's glamour and a funny, bizarre plot set in the 70s--but I bought the DVD really just so that I could complete my Edie memorabilia collection. Anyway, I sat down to watch it the other night and turned on the special features first. They were fantastic! The interviews with David Weisman and Betsey Johnson were incredible; both of these people communicate very well the spirit of the 1960's and what they were experiencing and trying to communicate during the making of the film, not just in terms of the actual production but the way life itself was for these "youthquakers" back then. Weisman also gives some great insight as to why, after all these years, people (and young people in particular) are still so fascinated with Edie and the Warhol crew. And then there's the extra footage, which, despite having no soundtrack, is absolutely mesmerizing. Shots of 1960's kids, New York, Woodstock (I think), and of course outtakes from the film...well, it was just a fantastic bonus. Watching the features first really made me appreciate the film the most I ever had when I saw it the third time...this is a DVD not to be missed (well, admittedly, for a certain audience with an interest in the 1960s).

Studio: Plexifilm

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

This movie in some ways is sort of atypical of Alfred Hitchcock. While is has classic Hitchcock elements, it is a little less frightening than some of his stuff while it retains the element of suspense which he is known for.This time the cool blonde is Joan Fontaine. Beyond a doubt, Fontaine is absolutely one of Hitchcock's most dazzling ladies in distress. My only real criticism of this movie is that you can never see Fontaine as being plain or uninteresting. I don't care if she is plainly just makes her seem lovelier because her delicate beauty stands out even more than usual. Fontaine is absolutely convincing as the 2nd Mrs. De Winter and never falters.As for Olivier, he is undoubtedly as handsome and sensitive as ever. You really understand why Fontaine falls for this man in spite of his remoteness.The supporting cast is great. Florence Bates is a wonderfully obnoxious society diva. George Sanders is a great professional leech/blackmailer. The tour de force however is the great Judith Anderson as the housekeeper from hell Mrs. Danvers.While a solid story creates the ultimate foundation, it is the cast of players that serves as the mortar that holds this together.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Laurence Olivier
Joan Fontaine

DVD title: Zoolander
Productgroup: DVD
Zoolander - movie DVD cover picture
It's Magnum!

I like to think that every movie can be rated five stars as long as you're the focus group for the movie. For instance, Jackass gets five stars if a good time is hanging out with friends pulling pranks on each other, and one star if you're any of the women on "The View." Zoolander will easily fall into the five star catagory for you as long as you're 1, a person who loves quoting movies, and 2, intellegent. Not to be rude, but let's face it. Most of the people who hate this movie don't know what a spider monkey is, and therefore don't get it. As for the movie itself, it wasn't what I expected. It was something totally different, above, and beyond those expectations. After "There's Something About Mary," I was expecting typical gross out humor, but was surprised at how many subtle jokes emerge every time I watch it. Owen Wilson is absolutely hilarious as Hansel. Carefully listen to his lines since so many jokes are hidden in quick dialog that most people don't catch it. In the end this movie might not ever gross as much money as "There's Something About Mary," and it shouldn't be expected to. That was a decent movie too, but Zoolander had to rely on it's jokes to pass as a good movie. Not just Cameron Diaz prancing around without a bra on the whole movie.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller
Owen Wilson

DVD title: Boiler Room
Productgroup: DVD
Boiler Room - movie DVD cover picture
great sales tool

This is an absolutely great flick. I've been in sales for 6 years, and I use alot of the stuff in this movie in everyday life.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Ben Younger
Giovanni Ribisi

DVD title: Kill Me Again
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Me Again - movie DVD cover picture
Spectcular twisty turny edge of your seat suspense

I loved it and have watched it again and aagaineach time i enjoy it moreexcellent from start to finish

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: John Dahl
Joanne Whalley
Val Kilmer

DVD title: The Dead Zone
Productgroup: DVD
The Dead Zone - movie DVD cover picture
Intelligent, sophisticated and Heart-breaking Adaptation

This has to be one of the most over-looked adaptations of any Stephen King book ( And there have been a few stinkers!) Told at a leisurely pace initially, the film allows the tension to build, and features one of the best performances of Christopher Walken's career. He plays the central character in the story, with a haunted and understated performance that allows you to empathise with, and pity the agonies his character has to endure. There are strong performances all round, with director Cronenberg keeping a close rein on all his performers, with the exception of Martin Sheen who has to play his character as 'barking' in a few key scenes. The film is shot with a minimalist style right through, and even the music beautifully evokes the impending sense of tragedy that we can all feel coming. I remember seeing the film for the first time nearly fifteen years ago, and I hadn't read the book. Today, shock endings are almost expected, with 'The Sixth Sense' being one of the most notable examples. The ending to this film still leaves me tingling, as it did when I first saw it all those years ago. I just didn't see it coming, and it remains to me one of the most poignant bittersweet endings in cinema. I was delighted when this film was released onto DVD, as my old VHS copy was getting a tad grainy. Now I can watch one of my favourite all-time movies over and over with no deterioration in picture or sound quality. This film is one of those little gems that tend to lie undiscovered in the video store, with most patrons passing it over as 'just another Stephen King movie.' It isn't. This is probably cleverer than 'The Sixth Sense' ( Where I always felt the ending owed more to the ending in James Herbert's 'The Survivor' than anything else - I actually guessed the ending before seeing the film!) and definitely more heart-breaking. If the climax of this film doesn't leave you moved, then you have no soul! Rent it, buy it or borrow it, but see it you must!

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: David Cronenberg
Christopher Walken
Brooke Adams

DVD title: Ring of Bright Water
Productgroup: DVD
Ring of Bright Water - movie DVD cover picture
What a great little film!

I picked this up from one of those cheap DVD racks in a grocery store near my home. What drew me in was the otter since I'm a ferret owner and find these ferret cousins to be equally appealing. I didn't expect it to be such a nice story with such amazing footage of the adorable otter, Mij. I'm sure a lot of the interactions between otter and human had to be ad lib and the result is pure delight. It's also got some really funny scenes - especially when Mij's owner is buying a train ticket to Scotland and tells the ticket booth he has a "diving terrier" and when Mij gets loose on the train. The ensuing events made me realize Mr. Bean's slapstick was certainly nothing new!
The footage in Scotland is absolutely gorgeous and further convinced me I need to visit there someday. The story does have some sad moments as other reviewers have revealed but all in all your left with a warm feeling of love between an animal and his owner and that life truly does go on. If you've ever loved - and lost - a pet you will truly love this movie.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Jack Couffer

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
The Matrix!

Wow! This is one of the best movies in a long, long time. You just got to see it!

Studio: Warner Studios
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss

DVD title: The Wedding Banquet
Productgroup: DVD
The Wedding Banquet - movie DVD cover picture
Don't pidgeonhole this fabulous film ...

about being gay, coming out etc etc .... This is a great movie about relationships, love of family, maturity etc etc and it just so happens that the main character is gay.

The fact that he is gay and how he copes with trying to keep that secrest from his parents who live in Taiwan is the beauty of this film and the story. Ther are no hidden messages or points of view the director is trying to push except for telling a great story ....

Our young architect hero living with his partner is being pressured into getting married to PLEASE produce an offspring for the retired army general father. He finally is forced to agree with his mother to consider an arranged marriage and she send the forms to him where he describes the kind of woman he would marry. OK, so he lists that he is looking for a tall, blong haired blue eyed Chinese girl that is a nuclear physicist with a Phd and also a classical opera singer .... Now ay .. right

Wrong ... next thing a girl shows up exactly what he ordered .... BUT ... shes in love with someone else and doesnt want to married off either ...

After rejecting the girl, our hero decides he has to do something and they fake a wedding with one of his Latin renters ... the plan being the parents come .. they fake the wedding .. the parents go and his and his lovers life can get back to normal ....

I don't want to give away the story but, as mentioned the film is great great great ...Ang Lee the director is incredible. One tiny little note there are some kissing scenes, that were pretty shocking to me a non gay, so be preared. Those scenes though were not gratuitous and were very necessary to show the comittment the two gay lovers had to each other and show their happy and very unquestioned love for each other ....

This is an unforgettable film ....

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

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