Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Productgroup: DVD
The Day the Earth Stood Still - movie DVD cover picture

If you have not seen this movie and you consider yourself a Sci-Fi fan, then you'd better buy this immediately. This movie sums up the entire perspective that any alien race would likely experience when confronted by the ridiculous race know as the humans. We are such pathetic tool users that I think it would be better if this movie was reality rather than fiction. It should be required viewing for anyone taking political office. And I am totally serious.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Robert Wise
Michael Rennie
Patricia Neal

DVD title: The Matrix Reloaded (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix Reloaded (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

I absolutely loved this movie. It is easily as good as the first. This has some of the best CG I've ever seen. The movie does start off kind of slow but it gets better. They could of cut out alot of pointless dialouge and made the movie alot better. It does have awesome fight scenes and gun battles like in the first one.. This is one of the best sequals of a movie that I have seen. My two favorite scenes are the one in the courtyard where Neo is fighting hundreds of Agent Smiths and when Morphieus is fighting the agent on top of the semi. The Matrix Reloaded is a very worthy sequal and is one of few that measure up to the original.

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Wonderfalls - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Wonderfalls - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
A series not to be missed.

In a world of hum drum TV, every so often a gem comes along.Two particular show come to mind: WonderFalls and the topic of choice, WonderFalls. Unfortuanatly BOTH WERE CANCELELLED. Can't anyone keep fresh show anymore. Enough of my dismay.Wonderfalls is problay one of the most most unique takes on the "Joan of Arc" type synaro you will ever see. The Acting is tremendous and the supporting cast is so well blended to the show. This show is Halarious. It actually hooks you in and you begin to relate to the main main caracter Jaye, A Collage Graduate who decided that doing nothing and just getting by without creating friction and stress is the ultimite lifestyle until she, for some reason begins to hear figures with faces "talk to here" and tell things to do. To make Matter worse all the this they tell her end up help people. Trus me you wont be disappointed.Unfortuantly only 13 eposide were made and fox actually dropped it after only 4. Well the DVD gives you all the lost eposides with some extras.Too bad extra seasons were not filmed. But great shows always get cut. Its a fact of lifeBuy the DVD, at least you can see 13 eposide of one of the best shows ever made with the best cast ever esembeled.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Katie Finneran

DVD title: The Magnificent Ambersons
Productgroup: DVD
The Magnificent Ambersons - movie DVD cover picture
Enjoy The Film Even More By Doing A Little Research!

For those truly interested in what Welles' original version of "The Magnificent Ambersons" would have been like, I strongly recommend Robert Carringer's "The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction" and Peter Bogdanovich's "This Is Orson Welles". Both books provide considerable detail regarding the significant re-editing and re-shooting which took place on this film. What remains in the released version of Welles' second film is astonishing, but much of the story's logic was lost in the re-cutting, as was important character motivation. Exactly why did the Ambersons lose their fortune? What propelled George to rebuff Eugene? Welles' original version answered these questions and presented an incredible vision of a world overrun by industry. The destruction of this original version of the movie is simply the greatest injustice done to American cinema. Alas, we can still marvel at the film's beautiful performances, the gorgeous "snow ride" scene, the astonishingly realistic "kitchen" scenes and Welles' incredible narration. By all means, watch this movie, but do some reading about what it was meant to be and then use your imagination to see the greatest American movie ever made.

Director: Orson Welles
Joseph Cotten
Tim Holt

DVD title: The Exorcist (25th Anniversary Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Exorcist (25th Anniversary Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
'Dimmie! Why do you do this to me?"

Without a doubt, the most horrifying theatrical experience of a lifetime. In my experience, the most horrifying scene of the whole movie is in the "boring" first part. It involves Father Karris' dream of his mother and all the guilt associated with her death. Earler in the film, we see Damien with his mother and his mother admonishes him with "Dimmie, why do you do this to me?" In Father Karris' dream, we see his mother coming out of a subway in slow motion, the only sound is Damien's fitful sleeping. Then we see his mother silently cry out "DIMMMMIIEEE!" Then, MY GOD! Did I actually see that? There are four frames, tachistoscopically added, of the most horrible demon's death-mask like face! Chalk white with blood-red bags under its eyes. In the DVD version, if your DVD player is on a computer, screen-save that face and make it your Windows wallpaper! It will screw you up permantly! You will never think of "Cap'n Howdy" in the same way!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: William Friedkin
Ellen Burstyn
Max von Sydow
Linda Blair

DVD title: Being There
Productgroup: DVD
Being There - movie DVD cover picture

Perhaps the director's intent was not to be as deep as I found the movie to be. But truely I found it very profound. It took my mind in many directions. I loved it and it's a movie I could watch again and again. The cast was put together perfectly. Surely Peter Sellers is missed by many.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Hal Ashby
Peter Sellers
Shirley MacLaine

DVD title: Secret Window
Productgroup: DVD
Secret Window - movie DVD cover picture
Johnny Depp's 'Secret'

This past weekend, my family and I decided to catch the new Johnny Depp movie. When I first saw the trailers for Secret Window, I thought it was going to be just another insane, slaying movie without a plot and without any real acting talent in it. Boy was I wrong!!! The movie is based on the Stephan King novels, Secret Window and Secret Garden, and knowing this, I knew this movie was going to be a suspenseful thriller. Johnny Depp plays a well-known writer who lately is having an extreme case of writer's block. Now he just sits around in his worn, old bathrobe and talks to his dog, mostly because his wife left him about six months ago for another man. To add to his problems, a stranger from Mississippi comes knocking on his door one day and accuses Mort (Johnny Depp), of stealing his story, Secret Window. Mort becomes fed up with the stranger who calls himself Shooter (John Turturro), and ignores his accusations. But now strange things begin to happen; to Mort, and his family. Mort soon discovers that Shooter is the one reeking havoc on his life. Shooter demands that Mort fix the ending of Secret Window to the way it "should be" and to re-publish it under Shooter's name. He wants the new ending to be that the character kills his wife and buries her in the garden, under the attic's secret window. Mort still refuses to listen to Shooter, and the deadly "accidents" keep on happening. Eventually Mort understands the real reason why Shooter is stalking him, and why the ending of Secret Window needs to be changed. I'm not going to give away the ending because I must say it is one of the MOST unexpected and thrilling finales I have ever witnessed! The repeated saying , "the only thing that matters is the ending", is a major element throughout this movie. What really made this movie so believable and terrifying was the acting. Johnny Depp's character makes us all jump whenever he opens a closet to discover something or wakes up from his daily nap to find terror right in front of him. And also John Turturro's "Shooter" make's us all think twice before opening the door. This horror film gets an A+ from my family and me! Secret Window will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time and will leave you breathless with an ending to 'die' for!

Studio: Columbia Tri/Star - Preorder
Director: David Koepp
Johnny Depp
John Turturro
Maria Bello

DVD title: Jesus Christ Superstar
Productgroup: DVD
Jesus Christ Superstar - movie DVD cover picture
Stellar Superstar!

Thank God for DVD because i would have worn out a video tape in the first three months i had it! If you like this piece of music, you'll love Gale Edwards' modernized and exquisitely refined production. 30-somethings like me, who remember the concept album or 1973 movie from their childhoods will feel right at home in the 21st Century ambiance this film's stage sets, lighting and costume design. It's loaded with unexpected sybolism to satisfy and fuel the hungriest of minds and most active of imaginations, even after several viewings.
The casting is brilliant. All of the actors/actresses give outstanding, Oscar-worthy performances filled with intensity and emotion. Their passion for their work is immediately noticeable, giving the impression that they had a ball making this movie, which in turn gives the film itself an extra spark and plenty of energy to drive the story from start to finish.
Glen Carter's pleasingly melodramatic portrayal of Jesus takes a focused viewer on an unforgettable emotional roller coaster ride. The wide range of feeling with which he imbues his character gives Christ a very human and accessible edge without compromising his spirituality. Carter's singing is extraordinary as well, with smooth transition between notes and a tendency to hold a single note unwaveringly. His occasional breaks into a rougher voice add to the intensity of his performance and give it a touch of rawness that compliments Jerome Pradon's Judas.
"Raw" is an excellent word to describe Pradon's Judas, but i mean it in a good way. His Yin is the perfect opposition to Jesus' Yang. From the beginning, he sees the dark side of what is happening by viewing the same journey from an earthly, material perspective rather than the heavenly realm of mind that Jesus struggles to maintain. Pradon's acting and singing are just as heartfelt and bold as Carter's, yet necessarily courser and darker, befitting his character. Instead of holding to solid notes, he usually lets his voice fluctuate and sometimes falls into a hardness that beautifully conveys his emotional pain by inflicting it on the listener's eardrums. The result is delightfully heartwrenching.
Fred Johanson gives Pilate a wonderful blend of cold and cruel with warm and compassionate, restrained with explosive. He sings in the same manner, his soft, moaning voice in "Pilate's Dream" later contrasted to an extreme with strictness and severity in "Pilate and Christ" and "Trial Before Pilate," where he places extra emphasis on thorough pronunciation of hard consonants. His style is fascinating and unique.
Tony Vincent's wild and punkish Simon is the true leader of the apostles at times, including Cavin Cornwall's reserved Peter, while Renee Castle's graceful, loving Mary Magdalene is at others, creating an interestingly obscure power struggle that never evolves into confrontation. One minute, the apostles follow Simon's battle cries for revolution against the Romans, the next they follow Mary's calls for peace. Both eventually exhibit a deeply rooted frustration over Christ's refusal to take either path in their own understood sense. Their lively, energetic performances and singing are flawless.
In contrast are Frederick B. Owens' Caiaphas and Michael Shaeffer's Annas, accompanied by three priests, who are always in agreement, fearful that Jesus is a threat to their politacal power. Annas' skinhead Nazi look and icy, heartless demeanor are matched by Shaeffer's sharp, cutting voice. Annas looks to the more authoritative Caiaphas as a superior and Owens' low, deep vocals help to illustrate his position in the hierarchy. Both portray their characters with a subtle humor that prevents them from being overly dark or evil while maintaining just enough seriousness to avoid being comical.
Rik Mayall's Herod, on the other hand, while explicitly vile, is highly comical, a flashy showman who introduces himself on a stage with a group of line dancers. His smartly odd, mocking voice is sure to elicit a smile from the viewer, even as Jesus watches Herod's stage show in silent, thoughtful disdain. Like Johanson, Mayall has a unique style that is highly entertaining and fun to watch.
Throughout the film, the ingenious use of lighting conveys moods and transforms the simple stage set into a wide variety of settings, from dark, ominous halls to bright, sunlit streets, a back alley and a crowded marketplace. Graffiti scribbled on the walls contains messages that apply to various aspects of the film, adds intriguing angles to the symbolism therein, and, though it may seem strange, actually fits the type of story being told. This movie is deep, thought-provoking and absolutely fantastic.
Now for the negative. Hmmmm... Nope, sorry, i can't come up with anything. Though, it would have been nice if they had included a lyric booklet in the package.

Studio: Universal Studios
Renee Castle
Fred Johanson
Rik Mayall
Frederick B. Owens
Michael Shaeffer
Tony Vincent (III)
Cavin Cornwall
Peter Gallagher (IV)
Michael McCarthy (VII)
Philip Cox (II)
Matthew Cross
Kevin Curtin (II)
Paul Vickers
Mykal Rand
Paul Keating
Gerard Bentall
Glenn Carter (III)
Jérôme Pradon

DVD title: Grey Gardens - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Grey Gardens - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Life in a Fishbowl...complete w/Flakes

Happened to catch this on the IFC when first released...was absolutely riveted!!! I think it holds even more meaning if you are a female.......I made my mother watch it and we could not believe the similarities altho we are not like the Beale family. (I do get out..I am a flight attendant) But my mother and I are extremely close and the "dance" those two do are strikingly familiar to me what is most apparent at first glance is the despiration Edie feels about leaving, she reminds me of a person that is incarcerated..time stops for their emotional, mental growth. Then it makes me angry that Big Edie could ever be so selfish as to just "take" her daughters life from her..was it out of jealousy?Was it truly out of need? Did she just give up after her husband left her? You almost feel that it was all meant to be tho, especially from the way Big Edie describes her sons, she saw them so differently than she saw Edie. And then,times were so different for women back then.Excellant movie,I am sure the Kennedy and Bouvier Families were mortified!!! But we love them!!! It would be wonderful to see such individuality in everyone!

Studio: Criterion Collection
Edith Bouvier Beale

DVD title: The Man in the Iron Mask
Productgroup: DVD
The Man in the Iron Mask - movie DVD cover picture
Loved it . . .

I don't know why I did not see the 1998 version of Man in the Iron Mask while it played in theaters. In a way I'm glad I didn't see it then - I surely would have embarrassed myself, because it would not have occurred to me that I would need a half-box of Kleenex at the end! I finally watched the movie in my own living room when it came to HBO several years ago, but while I enjoyed the movie at the time, it did not leave me with the urgent desire to see it again. However, I did watch the movie again recently, and now for some unexplainable reason, I can't seem to get enough of it. I have the DVD, and it is the movie I most often reach for on a quiet evening of lousy television.

Those who are expecting a faithful adaptation of the book will come away sorely disappointed, and if that is their measure of the movie, they will do best to avoid this one. However, those who love the characters, who don't mind seeing new adaptations and interesting plot twists, and who love rich costumes and set designs will find this movie wonderfully entertaining. And that is what it is all about, isn't it? Entertainment.

I have read many reviews regarding this movie, and am puzzled, even dismayed at times, by some of the criticisms levied at various aspects of it. Some people have complained about the dialogue in the movie, calling it "flowery", but truthfully I loved the fact that Randall Wallace did not modernize it. So many new films and TV series are "dumbing down" the dialogue of period pieces to make them more compatible with today's manner of speaking. I applaud Mr. Wallace for keeping the dialogue consistent with how it likely would have been spoken in the 17th century.

Still others complained of the unlikelihood of all four Musketeers surviving a volley of musketfire during the final charge. If they had been watching properly, they would have noticed that the young Musketeers were turning their faces away, closing their eyes as they pulled the triggers. And after the first few shots, powder smoke begins to fill the corridor, obscuring their vision. So the lack of accuracy in their volley is adequately explained on more than one count. Moreover, if the critics had been watching more closely, they would have noticed that there are woundings -- D'Artagnan is hit in the shoulder, Athos in the thigh. The other two are also limping, and the script confirms that all four are wounded in the barrage.

As for the complaints that the four leads have four different accents, I did not find them distracting or annoying, as some have claimed. I expected it, since this is an International Cast, and with an International Cast, you get International accents.

And speaking of the cast, I must say that in all the Musketeers movies I've seen, this is the strongest cast ever. The primary performers, Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, Gerard Depardieu, and John Malkovich, all turn in exquisite performances, and Leonardo DiCaprio is, in my opinion, convincing as Louis and Philippe, even though he is upstaged by the other four. Anne Parilloud is simply lovely as the Queen Mother, and the moments she shares with Byrne's D'Artagnan are some of the best in the film. The love scene between them, as brief as it was, is as beautiful as any I've ever seen (this coming from someone who is not a true fan of romance! I was left wanting more!). The music is brilliant and sets the mood perfectly for each scene. The wardrobe is exceptional, especially the black uniforms of the old musketeers.

Particularly nice touches in this movie are the attention to detail: The roses left for the queen speaks as decisively of D'Artagnan's love for her as words ever could (And yes, I really liked the plot twist involving the twins' paternity); Philippe dragging his masked head back and forth over the grating in frustration while in prison; the unmasking of Philippe in a dark blacksmith's forge, his hair wrapped around his neck where, as it grew, it was unable to escape the confines of the mask; Lieutenant Andre's devotion to D'Artagnan throughout the film and the way he looks away when the king orders the volley, unable to watch his captain cut down; the rich, fancy costumes contrast the torn, sweat-stained clothing where appropriate.

The movie is not without its faults, though. The first scene involving Porthos and Aramis, for example, contains some crude language regarding parts of both the male and female anatomy and Porthos's flatulence, both of which seemed out of place, and actually got the film off to a shaky start. The first time I watched it, I almost turned it off at this point. I also could have lived quite happily without ever having seen the bulls-eye glimpses of Porthos' naked rear end. While I'm sure some of Depardieu's fans loved it, the scene did nothing to advance the plot, in my opinion. There is hardly an actor or actress out there these days that has not done a nude, but quite frankly, some things are just better left to the imagination. I'm smiling as I write this, but truly, the scene was unnecessary. Thankfully, there is a "skip" button on my DVD player! And yes, I do use it.

Those few faults are forgivable when surrounded by so many other details that are so elegantly done. For me, it was a very pleasing movie experience, one I enjoy over and over again. Kudos to everyone involved. Now, if I can just convince Randall Wallace to release a director's cut version . . . .

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Randall Wallace
Leonardo DiCaprio
Jeremy Irons
John Malkovich
Gérard Depardieu
Gabriel Byrne

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