Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ghostbusters
Productgroup: DVD
Ghostbusters - movie DVD cover picture
Back when SNL alumni made movies you laughed with, not at!

Early 80s comedies always seemed to have those great one-liners you could recite ad nauseum among your friends like they were scripture. From "Blues Brothers" to "Fast Times" to "16 Candles" and the "Breakfast Club", there were no shortage of flicks to choose from.
From "I was slimed" to "So she's a dog" to "Yes, its true. This man has no ****.", Ghostbusters was certainly one of the best. And Bill Murray (like he did in "Stripes", "Caddeyshack" and "Groundhog Day") steals the best of them (as well as the movie). There's just not an off-moment when he's on screen. His chemistry with Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis, who play competent straight men while adding a few memorable lines of their own, is also excellent. (Akroyd: "Class 5 free roaming vapor. A real nasty one, too!" Ramis (when asked if he has any hobbies):"I collect spores, molds and fungus.")
The pre-computer age special effects hold up fairly well with a few exceptions (the cartoonish 'slimer', the beams from the positron packs and the moving shots of Zuuls killer dogs). And there are even cool cameos in a humorous montage of the Ghostbusters on the cover of USA Today, Omni, The Atlantic, plus Larry King and Casey Casem. Less sophormic than "Stripes", more coherent than "Caddyshack" though not as smart as "Groundhog Day" it still holds its place well. Or as Murray proclaims, "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Ivan Reitman
Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd
Sigourney Weaver

DVD title: Animals Are Beautiful People
Productgroup: DVD
Animals Are Beautiful People - movie DVD cover picture
warm and fuzzy

A superb mix of humor and sadess, blended effortlessly into something you'd almost expect National Geographic to put together. It's something the whole family can watch (a few slightly rougher scenes, though, if the children are really sensitive), yet will keep adults entertained too.
Was the one scene man-induced? If it was, how do you get elephants, warthogs and baboons to drink the huge quantities of alcoholic beverages necessary to get them that stinko? I think maybe the marula fruit is perhaps more powerful than one self-proclaimed authority site informs us

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Jamie Uys

DVD title: Solaris
Productgroup: DVD
Solaris - movie DVD cover picture
What a masterful work!

First the movie is a remake of a 1972 classic named the same. A remake with George Clooney was not a big Must See on my list, but I couldnt help it. This movie amazed me. Really amazed me. The use of music may hav made this a bit strange feeling movie as a soundtrack is used to create emotion, but it made for a masterfully climax and really added to the beauty of it. George Clooney was fantastic, making one of those rare against type characters which is either not allowed in Hollywood or considered pretentious. He was great-a great actor not just showman. The mood of the movie made the famous butt shot an addition to the movie not a special feature. A really worthy film and while it still has a hollywood vibe it actually makes people over 16 think.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney
Natascha McElhone
Ulrich Tukur

DVD title: Barry Lyndon
Productgroup: DVD
Barry Lyndon - movie DVD cover picture
Kubrick's greatest masterpiece

Jack Warner is said to have once told an underling not to bring him any movies about people who write with feather pens. The mogul believed that costume epics were dull and plodding, guaranteed to test the patience of most audiences.

When Stanley Kubrick delivered his film "Barry Lyndon" to Warner Bros. in 1975, the studio's namesake was long gone, and that was probably for the best since he may have chosen not to release what is the ultimate feather pen movie and also Kubrick's greatest masterpiece. If asked to do the impossible and name the best film ever made, I wouldn't hesitate to give my vote to "Barry Lyndon."

Plodding? Yes. Dull? To those who demand rapid fire editing, it may be the dullest movie ever. For those who appreciate fine literature and fine art, "Barry Lyndon" is an absolute feast, visually, aurally, and dramatically. Based on an obscure novel by William Thackeray, it's the story of an Irish lad climbing the ranks of English society, alienating everyone in his path.

As Redmond Barry, Ryan O' Neal's Irish brogue comes and goes, but despite that inconsistency, he acquits himself well. Also worth noting is Michael Hordern's narrator, often seeming to express disapproval for the main character as he perceptively surveys his exploits.

The real star of the film is Kubrick and his production team who recreate the 17th century in a way that makes the viewer truly appreciate what life must have been like at the time. Watching the women, most notably the beautiful Marisa Berenson, sashaying about in glamourous dresses, one wonders how they could endure the apparent discomfort of such cumbersome clothing. It's no wonder they took so many baths. And watching Barry rise in society, one is aware that the society is ultimately every bit as superficial and uncouth as the rogue "hero" himself.

The movie is slow, very slow, but so was life in the era depicted, and the achievement of "Barry Lyndon" is that it transports the viewer to an earlier but far from simpler time in a way that no other film has done. The cinematography and art direction are peerless, as is Leonard Rosenman's score which adapts the work of some of the greatest classical composers.

Most movies, even the good ones, are as light as popcorn, easily forgotten when the lights come back on. The patient viewer who gives "Barry Lyndon" a chance to work its magic will be rewarded with a true cinematic experience.

Brian W. Fairbanks

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Ryan O'Neal
Marisa Berenson

DVD title: Pearl Harbor
Productgroup: DVD
Pearl Harbor - movie DVD cover picture
A powerful epic.

This movie was excellent and very emotional to watch.The screenplay was great and the action looked so real.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Michael Bay
Ben Affleck
Kate Beckinsale

DVD title: Good Will Hunting
Productgroup: DVD
Good Will Hunting - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie

Matt Damon & Ben Affleck have been friends since they were kids and after they both got into the movie business, they decided to write a movie together. The movie they wrote is one of the most original to come along in a while. The movie takes place in Boston and focuses on relationships in the life of Will Hunting (Matt Damon). Will is a janitor at MIT, but he isn't your ordinary janitor. Will is actually a math genius. When a Professor Lambeau (Stellan Stalksgaard) puts an virtual impossible problem on a board in the hallway for his students to work on during the year. Will figures the problem in a matter of days, Lambeau catches him working on it and finds out who he is. Will spends his spare time drinking with his buddies including his best friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck). They get into a brawl on a basketball court and Will gets thrown in jail. He has a prior record and is facing time, but Lambeau offers him a chance out if he works with him on math theories. Will reluctantly agrees, but as part of his probation, he must see a psychiatrist. Lambeau sends him to his college roommate, Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), who teaches at small Bunker Hill College. Will is at first distant and dismisses Sean. He meets a college student, Sklyer (Minnie Driver), in a bar and they start a romance. Eventual Sean starts to break through to Will as they both have alot in common and Sean isn't after Will's genius. Will eventually confronts his demons and the movie ends on an interesting note. All the actors in the film give first rate performances. Mr. Williams gives the performance of his career and he won the 1997 Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Director Gus Van Zant does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of South Boston. Mr. Damon & Mr. Affleck took home the Oscar for best original screenplay. Good Will Hunting is original, funny, heartwarming and a great film.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Gus Van Sant
Robin Williams
Matt Damon
Ben Affleck

DVD title: The Triplets of Belleville
Productgroup: DVD
The Triplets of Belleville - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful new animated film

"Triplets of Belleville" is for me a refreshing new film, one of the best to come out in a long time. It presents us not only a fresh method of storytelling, but reminds us of what animation is all about.
The storyline has already been discussed by other reviewers: an old woman watches as her grandson is kidnapped by the mafia (the French mafia, no less!) and follows them to the city of Belleville where she befriends the title triplets. Yet very little of this is done in words, and music is not always used to carry the scene. As the filmmakers said in one of the commentaries, some scenes could just as easily be carried by sound. The way they showed you what the characters were thinking or what they were planning by simple eye-contact or hints in the scene was amazing, and very well done. This balance of music, sound, and even silence adds to the creative fun of this movie. I must also give kudos to Ben Charest, the man behind the music. If you gave me a vaccuum cleaner and told me to make music with it, I'd probably give you a funny look - but he manages to pull it off!
I think, however, this gives us (particularly Americans) a fresh new example of animation that has left us. The characters in film are all caricatures of themselves, and aren't bound by all rules of physics. As shown in the "Making of" featurette, the animators assigned to each character were pretty much given free range to interpret the character - and by God, it looks like they had fun with it! Nowadays, it seems that a lot of animation is bound more to a more realistic "comic-book style" kind of character design, and ancient animation concepts like squatch and stretch have been forgotten for more boring "realism." Too often animators try to make their characters move TOO much. As Sylvain Chomet says in an interview, a long period of inactivity and then a simple action can create some laughter from your audience. Animation is all about that freedom of motion and action, and in particular 2-D animation is perfect for the artist to bring his own world to life.
Incidentally, many people assume the overweight citizens of Belleville are American, but as they explain in the special features the city itself is based off of not just New York but Montreal and Paris, and the people are more an example of over-consumption (and even if they are American stereotypes, look at the French mafia: a bunch of tiny men who guzzle wine and wear berets).
In regards to the DVD, I was impressed but it left me hungry for more. The "Making of" (featuring Ben Charest at the vaccuum, animators doing pencil tests, and Evgeni Tomov the art director) was interesting but too short. The "Select Scene Commentaries" were great to hear but short and too few...and I wish we could have had a full movie commentary. Their featurette with Sylvain Chomet was great except I wish they had let him speak in French with subtitles, because it seemed like he had a lot to say but was having difficulty saying it in another language - though I think many people would be interested in finding out how the Triplets were based off of black New Yorkers! The music video and trailer are included as well (the former I'm glad they had in here, it's quite interesting...M animates himself in the film!).
To sum it up, this is a wonderful movie for those into animation, and I would highly suggest it.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Jean-Claude Donda
Monica Viegas
Michèle Caucheteux
Michel Robin

DVD title: Pilot Candidate - The Test (Vol. 4)
Productgroup: DVD
Pilot Candidate - The Test (Vol. 4) - movie DVD cover picture
a must buy!!!

original, but cool. another great anime that is a must buy. zero is an obnoxiuos guy who is living in a world far different from ours. you may see simalarities from other animes, but it is still one of the best^-^

Studio: Bandai Entertainment
Director: Hongo Mitsuru

DVD title: Bjork - Volumen
Productgroup: DVD
Bjork - Volumen - movie DVD cover picture
The Girl from Iceland

"You know, they worship the bear in Iceland," a friend of mine tells me as we're watching Bjork getting morphed into a blue bear in "The Hunter," the last feature on this trail of streaming, sensual and psychotic videos featured in "Volumen." I immediately think back to the first video in this program, "Human Behaviour," and realize that the bear is there, from beginning to end. Talk about staying in touch with your roots!
Needless to say, Bjork has mastered the art of catching our attention with off-beat, symbolic and striking imagery, all the while telling us stories about falling in love and wanting to be alone, like the pages of a book that starts writing itself ("Bachelorette"). My friends tell me that they have given an island in Iceland to Bjork. Now, imagine that... being so fabulous that your country dedicates an island to you! Truly, for Bjork, all IS full of love. And, if it comes down to just being alone, well, hey, she even shows you how to make the most perfect sunny-side up eggs for breakfast in the morning! In "Venus As A Boy," she ain't cookin' for two, don't ya know.
I highly recommend "Volumen" to everyone that has a human heart, even if you don't have a VCR or DVD player, BUY IT; it will give you a good excuse to go visit that friend of yours that DOES have a VCR or DVD player. Even more important, it's music and video like this where we are given the opportunity to open our imagination for the story to be whatever we want it to be. There is depth with Bjork, much unlike the pop-tarts, I mean, pop-stars that do what they're told, follow "the norm," and become limited extensions of their true selves.

Studio: Wea/Elektra Entertainment

DVD title: Total Recall 2070
Productgroup: DVD
Total Recall 2070 - movie DVD cover picture
Best Show of the 90s

Very depressing that only these two shows have been released. Showtime killed a great show, as usual. More Bladerunner than Total Recall, but draws from several of Dick's books/stories. There is a touch of asimov thrown in. The 22 episode series is better than any other released during the 1990s.
This pilot introduces the characters and the dark, gritty world. This show won several awards for its set design and special effects--they are well deserved.

Studio: Dimension Home Video

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