Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Ice Storm
Productgroup: DVD
The Ice Storm - movie DVD cover picture
Best ordinary people movie since, well, Ordinary People


Often made to stand alongside American Beauty or the evergreen Ordinary people in its depiction of ordinary people with extraordinary idiosynchrasies, Ice Storm clearly got drowned out by the Spacey/Benning combination in the late 90s. Which is a tad unjust. While it is anyone's guess which Kevin I'd go for on a regular day (Spacey, that is, instead of Kline) this movie also has Ang Lee at the top of his game turning in quite a captivating film.
I know little about Connecticut, and even lesser about the town of New Cannan (where the movie is based), but the appeal of the movie, the nonchalant realism of its characters, and the theme of our daily facades with the simple human quirks behind them are all strikingly universal. This is an insight into the lives of married couples in small towns coping with adultery, drinking, wife swapping and indifferent children.
As almost any other of Lee's works (with the possible exception of Crouching Tiger) the narrative is subdued. The characters, too, are rather darker than typical Lee, bordering on murky almost. Some comedic moments, with varying success I might add, don't do much to take from a dour overall tone. You may be left feeling you eavesdropped into a suburban home, listening to actual tete-a-tetes among its inhabitants.
I noted that this has led some other reviewers to think of the performances/direction as "wooden", or Sigourney Weaver to have been "wasted", etc. But people with isseues - such as most of the characters in Ice Storm - have a way of becoming cold, pretentious, nervous in their attitudes. I appreciated that Lee does not make any effort to masquerade their emotions into some sort of heroic Hollywoodesque melodrama. Real people behave this way, I did not find it wooden at all.
The "1973-era nostalgia" may be a bit lost on me (has the world really changed that much?) but I'd say this is a marvellous movie nevertheless and definitely worth at least the rental dollar. Doesn't matter whether its characters were based in Connecticut, Cairns or Calcutta, the saga of human foibles is all the same.
Highly recommended for the discerning eye.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Ang Lee
Actors:
Kevin Kline
Joan Allen




DVD title: Till the Clouds Roll By
Productgroup: DVD
Till the Clouds Roll By - movie DVD cover picture
MANY EARLY TALENTS ALL TOGETHER


Although as a movie, this film is no great cinematic achievement, and as a biography is even worse, the film does boast a fine roster of production numbers and cameo appearances which save the picture and make it watchable. Based on the life of legendary composer Jerome Kern (Robert Walker, in an excellently executed performance), the film follows Kern's friendship with composer Jim Hessler (Van Heflin), first stage hits, marriage, and the first theatrical performance of Kern's legendary "Show Boat". Kern passed on shortly before the film's completion, and as a tribute to him, the cameo performers make the very best of Kern's classics: a very young Angela Lansbury is very fetching in a delightful Cockney number, "How D'Ya Like To Spoon With Me?" June Allyson is sweet and sunny with the Egyptian-set "Cleopatterer". But the cameo performance that steals the show is Judy Garland, as singer Marilyn Miller, particularly charming with "Look For The Silver Lining", dressed in dowdy clothes, washing dishes. (Look for Garland's big song-and-dance to Kern's "Who?"- Garland was four months pregnant!) Lena Horne is divine with "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man of Mine" and "Why Was I Born", Van Johnson and Lucille Bremer do a great song-and-dance duet to "I Won't Dance", Dinah Shore is charming with "The Last Time I Saw Paris", and to top it all off, Frank Sinatra performs a great big bessello "Ol' Man River" at film's end. A wonderful film, if nothing else, for its outstanding production numbers.

Studio: Parade
Actors:
Lucille Bremer
Van Heflin
Robert Walker




DVD title: Head On
Productgroup: DVD
Head On - movie DVD cover picture
Alex is an Incredible Actor


A great film - Very Surreal - And Last but not Least - Alex is such a incredible Actor it is scary.

Studio: Strand Releasing Home Video
Director: Ana Kokkinos



DVD title: La Femme Nikita
Productgroup: DVD
La Femme Nikita - movie DVD cover picture
la femme nikita


this movie is nonstop action.,a very 'stylish' film. Ann Prillaurd is a very talented actress. She added humor and alot of emotion to her character,showing ahe had alot of sensitivity regardless of her violent situation.The ending however 'sad' having to leave the man she loved in order to protect him was a good ending. A MUST SEE FILM!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Luc Besson
Actors:
Anne Parillaud



DVD title: Fahrenheit 9/11
Productgroup: DVD
Fahrenheit 9/11 - movie DVD cover picture
I was disgusted by Bush but amazed by Moore


I don't understand why people are asking for the other side, as if every statement or fact has two sides. Like someone saying you are going to die and someone saying wait a minute that is biased I want to hear a lie saying that we might not die.
First off amongst the Western World our proud country is ranked number one in terms of poverty, amount of people without healthcare, amount of citizens that are in jail, amount of pollution being produced etc. While the Dutch are becoming models of the International Labor Organization (ILO)concepts of Flexicurity and Development, and while places like Norway and Sweden have the lowest amount of poverty in the World. In the US while farmers no longer count in the census as 3 companies own and grow almost all the food in America--this form of production has shown to be inefficient as despite the US being world's largest and most powerful agricultural exporter it also has an estimated 30 million people suffering from inadequate diets with the amount of children living in poverty rising by more than 15 percent in the 1980s.
Market led development instead of being efficent--this pattern of development is instead a paradoxical system of rapid growth of food(in the case of food) production leading to perpetual overproduction accompainied by "reinforcement of social exclusion and thus the growth of hunger" . (Frederick H. Buttel, 2000). Mean while currently everyone in Cuba is properly fed as small farms have in every case proven to be more efficient allowing for more workers and better distribution of food.
This is occuring while, America is currently experiencing massive balance of payments crises, as massive growth of trade surpluses accumulated in Asia and the EU by the year 2000 the U.S. ran up a $430 billion trade deficit while, Western Europe's 350 million consumers increasingly have purchased European made goods (Petras, 2002). As Petras (2002 ) states during the year 2000 "over 2/3 of EU trade was inter-European" (p. 294). In Latin America, European MNCs, particularly the Spanish, have outbid U.S. competitors in buying up lucrative privatized enterprises. Meanwhile, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been designed to balance out the powers of Europe, has so far been characterized more by exploitation than integration and is not yet a common market (Montezemolo 2000: 4).
While our currency is now only half that of the British pound and while more of Americas public is heavily indebted, according "The Guardian" and "The New York Time" our military is also spread out and the US not only can not afford proper health care for its soldiers it won't allow anyone to go home even if their contract is through because it is so massively understaffed. The facts are grim the US is seeing massive unemployment and poverty like nowhere else in the Western world. If there is another side to this it is at least companies like Nestl?, Monsanto, et cetera have still been making huge profits. Which while ? the world population (which includes people living in the US) live on 2 dollars a day, our president wont rest until OPEC stops trying to tax the rich by stopping tax heavens, and god willing He will continue to make the middle class pay for massive subsides which go to a handful of Transnational Coroporations (TNCs) (for farms the latest farm bill was 75 billion dollars to encourage over production as "The Economist" reports this has led to the Rocky Mountain's being filled with butter, while many in America go without food).
So there is your second side enjoy, sometimes the truth like DEATH's money is a one sided coin. In the case of your mortality, in the case of the environmental distruction, in the case of the failure's of US policy to lead to growth with equity, it is all tails.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Michael Moore (II)
Actors:
Michael Moore (II)



DVD title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 3)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 3) - movie DVD cover picture
Have You Seen This Movie?


There were many changes to the Harry Potter franchise for the third film in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and they didn't just involve the story and the characters. Alfonso Cuaron replaced Chris Columbus as director, and he brought with him a much darker tone to the films. While every Harry Potter book has been dark, the level of darkness increases with each subsequent novel, so it only makes sense. However, Cuaron overhauled the entire look of the film in order to make it scarier and darker. Gone are the brilliant golden shades from the first two films. In this one, an icy silver tone is used throughout the movie (even the Warner Bros. logo and the title are a cold silver as opposed to the bright gold used in Sorceror's Stone and Chamber of Secrets). It is very rare to see a clear blue sky in this movie; a lot of scenes take place at night or during a very cloudy/rainy day. Even the quidditch match occurs during a nasty rain storm.
In Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the state of the wizarding world is in a panic. A man named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban Wizards' Prison, which, like Alcatraz, was viewed to be impossible to escape from. Now Black is on the loose, and it is widely believed that he is going to seek out and kill Harry Potter. Black was in Azkaban because of his loyalties to the Dark Lord Voldemort, and speculation is that he sees Harry standing in the way of Voldemort's return.
Making matters worse for Harry is that the Dementors, which are the guards at Azkaban, have been stationed at Hogwarts to "keep it safe". Dementors are very nasty creatures (which were probably once in the service of Voldemort) that feed on happy thoughts, leaving people temporarily paralyzed with unhappy memories. Since Harry has had more than his fair share of unhappy memories (his parents' deaths is at the top of the list), the Dementors cause him to pass out.
This year, two new teachers are appointed. Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) takes over the Care of Magical Creatures position while newcomer Remus J. Lupin (David Thewlis) becomes the new Defense Against Dark Arts professor. Also, Michael Gambon replaces the late Richard Harris as Headmaster Dumbledore and does a great job with the role. Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin to take elective classes such as Care of Magical Creatures and Divination, which is taught by the kooky Professor Trelawny (Emma Thomas, who does a great job hamming up the role). But as the children have fun in school, newspaper articles keep reporting that Black is getting closer and closer to Hogwarts.
Even though MOST people know the ending before seeing this film because they have read the book (which I really reccomend), I am still not going to give it away. I will say that the climax is amazing. There are great twists, and in a sense, a double ending which, while hard to explain, makes perfect sense and is great to see.
The special effects in this film are great, much improved over the first two films. Buckbeak the hippogriff (a sort of cross between a horse and an eagle) looks beautiful and much more realistic than Fluffy in Sorceror's Stone or the basilisk in Chamber of Secrets. The quidditch match also looks better in this movie, but then again, it's very short, and pretty much the only thing we see is Harry going after the snitch.
Ironically, while Prisoner of Azkaban is the longest of the first three books, it's the shortest of the first three movies. While some of the cuts that they made were necessary and made sense, I was surprised at a few of the things that they left out. Mainly, I couldn't figure out why they didn't explain HOW Sirius escaped from Azkaban, or why they didn't reveal the identities of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, the creators of the Marauder's Map. While the movie was very strong, these two details would have made things clearer to the audience as well as to Harry and his friends.
The first two Harry Potter films were good, but I didn't find them to be anything special (unlike the books, which I love). This one, however, was amazing. Hopefully, the next film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, will be as good or better.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Actors:
Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson (II)




DVD title: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
Productgroup: DVD
Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense - movie DVD cover picture
Still a classic!!


I have fond memories of watching a friend's copy of this over and over in the '80's! When I saw it was being re-released, newly mastered, I had to have it. This is maybe THE quintessential concert video ever! It succeeds not because of a million-dollar light & laser show, or shock value, but because it's just very creative and artistic in it's minimalism. David Byrne is a genius, albeit a quirky one. It's still awesome...I've turned my 7-year-old son into a Talking Heads fan! There is some extra footage on this one, but it's tacked on to the end of the tape, instead of in the flow of the concert, which I thought was kind of strange. Other that that my only gripe is that I didn't hold out for the DVD! Buy it!!

Studio: Palm Pictures
Director: Jonathan Demme
Actors:
David Byrne



DVD title: Miyazaki 3 Pack (Spirited Away/Castle in the Sky/Kiki's Delivery Service)
Productgroup: DVD
Miyazaki 3 Pack (Spirited Away/Castle in the Sky/Kiki's Delivery Service) - movie DVD cover picture
A masterful trio by Studio Ghibli


...I was really leery about spending so much on Anime DVDs imported by Disney (of all people! O_O;). The description for the DVDs here and elsewhere didn't mention if the Japanese soundtrack with subtitles was included. I made a wish, took a big chance and now I'm *very* happy I did!!
This is a wonderful set and *well* worth the price!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Actors:
Miyu Irino



DVD title: Mulholland Drive
Productgroup: DVD
Mulholland Drive - movie DVD cover picture
And what have you learned, Dorothy?


I dreamed of this movie for days after seeing it.An equal to Lynch's best work. It has the mood of the Twin Peaks series with the sensuality of Blue Velvet and the sensitivity of The Straight Story. And it's super weird. I recommend seeing it alone. Then talking to someone else who has seen it a few days later.The performances are excellent, and Naomi Watts gives more dimensions to her character than any other performance I've seen. She's like a walking acting school.And Laura Harring is as erotic as Issabella Rosellini was in Blue Velvet.It would have made the best television series ever.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Lynch
Actors:
Laura Harring
Justin Theroux




DVD title: Fahrenheit 9/11
Productgroup: DVD
Fahrenheit 9/11 - movie DVD cover picture
SIMPLE TRUTH. Straight from horse's mouth!


On Nov 2nd, by a few thousand votes in Ohio, Amerikkka chose 4 more years of the most dangerous and most stupid president in history (and I remember all the way back to Ike!).
But, then many of you, hey, you just want somebody down to earth and reallll simple, doncha?
Want PROOF that Michael Moore knows of what he speaks?
Then here you go... We'll make it real simple for ya. Straight out of the horse's mouth.
I bring you words from our practically illiterate George W.Bush.

"I KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE. I WILL CONINUE TO ARTICULATE WHAT I BELIEVE AND WHAT I BELIEVE-I BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE IS RIGHT."

" I WAS PROUD THE OTHER DAY WHEN BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS STOOD WITH ME IN THE ROSE GARDEN TO ANNOUNCE THEIR SUPPORT FOR A CLEAR STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: YOU DISARM OR WE WILL."

" I'M ALSO NOT VERY ANALYTICAL. YOU KNOW I DON'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT MYSELF, ABOUT WHY I DO THINGS."

" I UNDERSTAND SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH. I WAS ONE."

" THE BEST WAY TO RELIEVE FAMILIES FROM TIME IS TO LET THEM KEEP SOME OF THEIR OWN MONEY."

" I'M THE MASTER OF LOW EXPECTATIONS."

" DICK CHENEY AND I DO NOT WANT THIS NATION TO BE IN A RECESSION. WE WANT ANYBODY WHO CAN FIND WORK TO BE ABLE TO WORK."

"ARBOLIST...LOOK UP THE WORD. I DON'T KNOW; MAYBE I MADE IT UP. ANYWAY, IT'S AN ARBO-TREEIST,SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS ABOUT TREES."

" RARELY IS THE QUESTION ASKED: IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING?".

"IT IS CLEAR OUR NATION IS RELIANT UPON BIG FOREIGN OIL. MORE AND MORE OF OUR IMPORTS COME FROM OVERSEAS."

"IF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION MEANS WHAT I JUST DESCRIBED, WHAT I'M FOR, THEN I'M FOR IT."

"ACTUALLY, I-THIS MAY SOUND A LITTLE WEST TEXAN TO YOU, BUT I LIKE IT. WHEN I'M TALKING ABOUT MYSELF,AND WHEN HE'S TALKING ABOUT MYSELF, ALL OF US ARE TALKING ABOUT ME."

" THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH PEOPLE IN THE SYSTEM TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE LIKE ME."

" I HAVE A DIFFERENT VISION OF LEADERSHIP. A LEADERSHIP IS SOMEONE WHO BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER."

" THE FACT THAT HE RELIES ON FACTS-SAYS THINGS THAT ARE NOT FACTUAL-ARE GOING TO UNDERMINE HIS CAMPAIGN."

" A TAX CUT IS REALLY ONE OF THE ANECDOTES TO COMING OUT OF AN ECONOMIC ILLNESS."

" WELL, I THINK IF YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING AND DON'T DO IT, THAT'S TRUSTWORTHYNESS."

" WE DON'T BELIEVE IN PLANNERS AND DECIDERS MAKING THE DECISIONS ON BEHALF OF AMERICA."

"THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS LEGACIES. AT LEAST, THERE IS A LEGACY, BUT I'LL NEVER SEE IT."

" I DON'T REMEMBER DEBATES. I DON'T THINK WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME DEBATING IT. MAYBE WE DID, BUT I DON'T REMEMBER."

"IF THIS WERE A DICTATORSHIP, IT WOULD BE A HECK OF A LOT EASIER, JUST SO LONG AS I'M THE DICTATOR."

"THEY HAVE MISCALCULATED ME AS A LEADER."

" THEY MISUNDERESTIMATED ME."

" I THINK WE AGREE, THE PAST IS OVER."

(TO BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT FERNANDO CARDOSO) " DO YOU HAVE BLACKS, TOO?"

" I THINK ANYBODY WHO DOESN'T THINK I'M SMART ENOUGH TO HANDLE THE JOB IS UNDERESTIMATING."

" I THINK WE OUGHT TO RAISE THE AGE AT WHICH JUVENILES CAN HAVE A GUN."

" THIS FOREGIN POLICY STUFF IS A LITTLE FRUSTRATING."

" ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT BOOKS IS SOMETIMES THERE ARE SOME FANTASTIC PICTURES."

" AND THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND, NOT ONE DOUBT IN MY MIND, THAT WE WILL FAIL."

My fellow Americans, congrats on electing Jed Clampett.
Hope your decision doesn't bring about the very apocalypse you fear so much.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Michael Moore (II)
Actors:
Michael Moore (II)



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