Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Trash
Productgroup: DVD
Trash - movie DVD cover picture
Brilliant film - Okay DVD

Trash is a film that is unlike any other, as is the two inferior films in the trilogy Flesh and Heat. Trash is a very funny though in the end rather sad look at impotent heroin addict Joe (Joe Dallasandrio) who is surrounded by women who want to cure him of his problem. One of whom is Holly (played by transvestite Holly Woodlawn in one of the most memorable performances ever) who in one bizarre scene even masturbates with a beer bottle. The two final scenes where Holly confronts Joe and when the welfare guy come around are two of my all time favourite scenes. The DVD release is rather dissapointing for not only is it entirely devoid of special features but something went bung in the transfer as the colour black in some scenes appears to look negative (as in film negative). Nevertheless Trash is a gem for any fan or cult enthusist with a DVD player.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Paul Morrissey
Joe Dallesandro

DVD title: The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Important and Vital Classic

The Battle of Algiers: it's a wonderful piece of cinema and a surprisingly unbiased look into modern-day colonialism and its effects.

What immediately struck me was how the film never seems to root for one side or the other, but is somewhat ambivalent - showing personal opinions behind the two struggling sides in this conflict. The film is sensitive to both and takes time to get the viewer to feel both sides' arguments.

It's remarkable that few in 1966 watched this film and compared it to the Vietnam struggle going on at the same time in Asia. Americans have never been able to grasp Vietnam from the viewpoint of the Vietnamese, and if more Americans had watched the Battle of Algiers, they might have finally "got it". People will go to incredible lengths to preserve or establish their independance. It's a lesson that, remarkably, neither the French in this film, or America today seem to understand, even though, paradoxically, both nations were founded on violent revolutions for independance and freedom. The most forward-thinking and liberal nations on earth in 1789 have become two of the most reactionary and Conservative today.

What is also striking about this fascinating film is how relevant it is today. With the continuing struggles between the third-world countries of the Islamic world and the prosperous globally-active western nations, it isn't hard to replace Algerians with Iraqis and French soldiers with American ones to draw instant parallels.

Why aren't we learning the lessons we all need to learn? Perhaps if more of us studied the Battle of Algiers, we might start. When Algeria became independant, the world did not crumble, the French nation did not fall, Western Capitalism did not go into collapse. What did happen is told beautifully in this remarkably fresh film.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Brahim Haggiag

DVD title: We're No Angels
Productgroup: DVD
We're No Angels - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful Movie

This movie is one of my favorite Bogart is funny, smart, interesting and unexpected. I have watched it so much I had to buy a new vhs tape last year because I ruined the old one. I love it, it always makes me laugh. {I am so excited it is on dvd now!} it isn't what you would typically expect from Bogart {he is very funny in this movie}. it doesn't have a ton of action and many of the scenes had a depth that I didn't understand when I watched it as a child. I loved it when I was eight and I still love it now that I am 24. I think that this movie is great for viewers of all ages. If you are unsure about it, definately rent it, I doubt you will regret spending 4bucks on it. Enjoy.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart
Aldo Ray
Peter Ustinov

DVD title: The War Zone
Productgroup: DVD
The War Zone - movie DVD cover picture
Prepare to be deeply affected

"The War Zone" is a brilliant and sordid character study of a dysfunctional family plagued by incest. This is Tim Roth's directorial debut and he clearly decided he was not going to play it safe. The film is a raw portrayal of the complex family dynamics that result from sex and sexual desire between family members.
With the help of cinematographer Seamus Mc Garvey, Roth takes an art house approach to story telling, with masterfully bleak cinematography and inspired use of the camera. Especially effective is his use of silence, increasing the discomforting tone of the entire film. His unabashed presentation of the stark depravity and the raw emotion wields the impact of a cold slap in the face, simultaneously stinging and holding our undivided attention.
The character study of Jessie (Lara Belmont) and Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is excellent, but leaves one of the most important questions nebulous. Roth flirts with the siblings' incestuous desire for one another, but leaves it implied, which I thought was inconsistent with his otherwise forthright style of storytelling. Was Tom motivated by love for his sister or by jealousy of his father's sexual competition? Was he his sister's protector or his father's rival? Both elements seem to be there, but Roth doesn't clarify. Although I have not read Alexander Stuart's book (upon which the screenplay is based), I understand that Tom's sexual jealousy was an important part of the story, so I don't understand why Roth danced around it. The story also could have benefited by a closer look into Jessie's feelings about her father. Was it strictly revulsion for repeated violations, or was she a willing participant? Again, both seem to be present, but we never really know. Moreover, the final scene fails to bring closure to the film, a closure that the viewer desperately needs after being juiced in an emotional blender. Yet, even with these unresolved issues, this is exceptional work for a first time director (or any director for that matter).
The acting is phenomenal, especially when one considers that this is the film debut for both Belmont and Cunliffe. Lara Belmont presents a young woman being torn asunder by an emotional tornado, trying to appear as if nothing is amiss especially in front of her mother. Belmont's performance is provocative and gut wrenching. Freddie Cunliffe captures the desperation of Tom's dilemma with a sullen rage that emanates from his placid exterior. Given their ages and experience, both actors give unbelievably mature performances, again a tribute to Roth's directorial ability.
This dark and unsettling film is skillfully directed and compellingly acted. I rated it a 9/10. It requires a courageous and intelligent viewer with a thick skin. It is decidedly not for the viewer who is put off by frank depictions of sex and incest. For the rest, prepare to be deeply affected.

Studio: New Yorker Films
Director: Tim Roth
Ray Winstone

DVD title: Marjorie Morningstar
Productgroup: DVD
Marjorie Morningstar - movie DVD cover picture
Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly Shine in Adaptation of Novel

Natalie Wood is stunning as the young woman who seeks to become a Broadway star and to marry the love of her life. Gene Kelly also gives a heartwarming performance as the older man who captures her heart with his flamboyant lifestyle and immense talent.
Unlike the book which was set in the 30's, the film is reset to the post-war 50's and avoids the political implications of Hilter's rise to power on the Jewish Marjorie. The movie does, however, maintain all the futility of her search for stardom and her tumultuous love affair with Noel Airman. My only criticism of the movie might have been that the ending was completely changed. However, after feeling so sad at the realistic ending of the novel, I finished watching the video smiling at its happier conclusion.
Gene Kelly is unquestionably an actor, but his one dance number and his beautiful singing of "A Very Precious Love" lit up the screen. Martin Milner shines as the friend besotted with love for Marjorie, Carolyn Jones is wonderful as her outspoken friend, and Ed Wynn is charming as the uncle, particularly in a campy scene dressed as a bullfighter. Watch also for 60's heartthrob Edd "Kookie" Byrnes as one of Marjorie's first boyfriends.
If you've never read the novel, you will still be enchanted with this classic love story. If you have read the novel, you will be mesmerized as Wouk's characters come to life.

Studio: Lions Gate
Director: Irving Rapper
Gene Kelly
Natalie Wood

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

with not much marketing and a crappy poster (and not that great a title) May failed at the box office. But I saw it yesterday and loved it. Very strange!And man the acting was unbelieveable! Go see this film!!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Lucky McKee
Angela Bettis
Jeremy Sisto
Anna Faris
James Duval

DVD title: The Lover
Productgroup: DVD
The Lover - movie DVD cover picture

Few American reviewers seemed to like this film. Much of what was said about the film seemed more to do with contempt for minimilistic moviemaking (so this is often confused as porn) rather than any any attempt to understand and appreciate the vast stories behind these characters lives. There is more story revealed in The Lover (and more emotion) than any 100 other films released in mainstream America. A film like this is important because it provokes the watcher to learn more about the the author of the book on which the movie was based. The Lover is the tip of an iceberg.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Jane March
Tony Leung Ka Fai

DVD title: Amelie
Productgroup: DVD
Amelie - movie DVD cover picture
Cinema Verite' ?

This is a wonderful, sparkling gem of a movie, with many facets.It is a realistic slice of Parisian life, with scenes in empty subway stations, apartment rooms,bistros, courtyards and parks. It is a quirky romantic tale of a woman getting to know herself and finding her soul mate. It is also a montage of vignettes about people in Amelie's everyday world. These characters are portrayed so well that one finds themself drawn not only to Amelie, but to these others as well. We care about what happens to them all. Finally, and most uniquely, this movie reflects a deep truth. Amelie decides to slowly change her world, by performing little acts of kindness for those people around her. These impish, amusing plots of tenderness are well thought out, and do impact other lives. The viewer seems to hover over these minute events, and then witnesses with cosmic eyesight, how something much grander unfolds. It is a rare movie which entertains and edifies. "Amelie" is such a movie.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Audrey Tautou
Mathieu Kassovitz

DVD title: Bridget Jones's Diary
Productgroup: DVD
Bridget Jones's Diary - movie DVD cover picture
Colin Firth Rocks!!!

I saw this movie at the theater and loved it. I couldn't wait to own it. I watched it three times with different friends and each time I was laughing, I don't seem to get tired of it. Colin Firth does a wonderful job, by the third time you notice the small little smiles he has when he's watching Bridget. Great acting

Studio: Miramax
Director: Sharon Maguire
Renée Zellweger
Colin Firth

DVD title: Hawk the Slayer
Productgroup: DVD
Hawk the Slayer - movie DVD cover picture

A dreadful script, terrible dialogue, awful directing, bad acting, lots of Ham, silly special effects, overused locations, no plot whatsoever - I can't think of anything bad to say about this film. With the exception of John Terry (here playing the hero as a large plank of wood) no-one is taking this nonsense remotely seriously - as well they shouldn't. Being pros however, they serve the (cough) script well with some superb ham acting. There are umpteen British character actors you've seen before, all of whom give it the works- delivering dreadful lines and non sequiturs with the just the right amount of strait-laced portentiousness. Jack Palance's Voltan is equally entertaining, wheezing and overegging his way through every scene, assaulting nuns, villagers and loaves of bread. In fact, the whole film is merely a race against time to prevent him carrying out his initial threat of slicing every leavened or unleavened loaf in 'the land'.
An excellent way to hang the brain out to dry for a while, while you drink beer and laugh until you choke.

Studio: Hens Tooth Video
Director: Terry Marcel
Jack Palance

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