Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Kathy Smith - Functionally Fit - Peak Fat Burning
Productgroup: DVD
Kathy Smith - Functionally Fit - Peak Fat Burning - movie DVD cover picture
Burn Fat and Tone Your Lower Body with Intervals

Workout Description: 25 minutes of anaerobic / aerobic intervals w/ light toning (using body weight only) with 7 minutes warm-up & stretch, 3 minute cool-down, and 5 minute stretch for a total of 40 minutes
Workout Level: high beginner to mid-/high-intermediate; can be modified to be low, mid-, or high impact; relatively uncomplicated choreography
Instructor: Kathy Smith (Has taught fitness for about 20 years and starred in 25+ exercise videos; received IDEA's Lifetime Achievement award for 2003). Kathy's cueing is good. She's very enthusiastic, which sometimes causes her to trip up her cues. She works both sides evenly and means for you to mirror her moves.
Class: 3 women and 1 man; 2 show low impact modifications and 2 show high impact modifications while Kathy demonstrates the mid-level impact moves
Music / Set: The beat-driven instrumental music speeds up during interval segments and slows down during toning; it's not very exciting. The bright interior set is meant to look like a living room facing onto the backyard. There is a clock counting down how much time is left in the interval at the 1 minute and 30 second marks.
Equipment Needed: sneakers
Caveats: Although 2 exercisers are on carpet, be careful with your foot placement during the slight pivots and shuffles.
Additional Comments: This workout doesn't require too much space. (You need to be able to take one big step front and back and two fairly big steps to each side.) It is a great workout to grow with, as you can increase the intensity when you need more; you can also decrease the intensity when you need a lighter workout. Although this workout is primarily aerobic, less advanced exercisers may want to avoid doing strength training for your lower body the day after doing this workout if that toning involves a lot of squats and lunges. (Do not follow Kathy's recommendation of alternating this with her Functionally Fit Lower Body Firming, as your muscles will not have enough time to recover.)
This workout is labeled "functional fitness," which indicates that the moves are meant to mimic those used in everyday activities or in popular sports (like tennis or basketball). As a result, the routines are not dancy, and the only complicated part is the fact that you have 2-4 moves strung together. This is also an interval workout, which is an effective way of increasing your cardiovascular endurance since you push yourself for the 2 minute interval and allow yourself 3 minutes to recover while still staying active.
This workout focuses predominantly on the lower body, although there is some movement of the torso in the latter part. I sometimes use this alone, although I usually combine it with one arms segment from Tamilee Webb's I Want Those . . . series, some push-ups, and some ab work for a total body workout in just over an hour.
The DVD allows you to choose your chapter, which I use to skip the introduction. There are no extras.

Studio: Sony Music (Video)
Kathy Smith

DVD title: AV3X - The Innerscape Adventure / Digital Meditation DVD
Productgroup: DVD
AV3X - The Innerscape Adventure / Digital Meditation DVD - movie DVD cover picture
Relaxation and Meditation Made Easy

I have been practicing relaxation techniques for over a year trying to get over an anxiety problem. This DVD is awesome. What makes it so special is that you don't have to concentrate on relaxing, you only have to watch the TV. Since we are so good at watching TV, this is easy! I saw immediate results the first time I viewed it. WOW! The AV3X: The TV Mind Machine truly lives up to it's name! If you feel stressed out often, (and who doesn't?), buy this DVD, pop it in your DVD player, and watch it for 10 minutes. I promise you will see results! The creators of this DVD must know their stuff, because the results are crazy! This DVD would be a great tool for those who need to relax, but can't make the time or don't want to take up Yoga or other meditation practices. I truly believe that if you try this DVD for a while, you will buy a second one just in case you lose the first! How much easier can it get than laying down on the couch watching your television? I highly reccomend this product!

DVD title: Garden State
Productgroup: DVD
Garden State - movie DVD cover picture
I'd say "just let go," but ...

Out-growing those numbing, pacifying meds and hitting the real world (pain, loss, knowledge, beauty, love) head-on represents more of a challenge than most of us can imagine. A personficiation of all that is apathetic and frighteningly representative of generational squalor, that-guy-from-Scrubs presents his audience with an fuzzy-brained, emotionally-challenged Everyman. And as we watch Braff's character crash (not so subtly as it may seem) out of his prozac/zoloft/whatever haze, we find ourselves cheering as he screams from atop a quarry tractor in a rainstorm ... while we too fall inlove with Portman's quirkily refreshing character.

GARDEN STATE is by far the best generational commentary to come out of mass-producing Hollywood. Beautifully directed and lit-up, fantastically acted, perfectly tied together; this film is a must-see ... in fact, I'll take it a step further and call it a must-have! (And get a copy of the soundtrack too - it's as incredible as the film. Seriously.)

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Zach Braff
Zach Braff
Peter Sarsgaard
Natalie Portman

DVD title: Two Brothers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Two Brothers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
What can I say but I liked it

To the discredit of every single person who gave it one star to date of my writing this, they ALL were unable to even do so much as spell tiger correctly, while the 4 and 5 star reviewers were very eloquent, equally without exception, it appears. That alone should tell you who you should be listening to.

But I'm not going to get all sappy and say this shows all about how evil man is, or how unjustly tigers have been treated, and how they've been given a bad reputation unfairly and that they are all sweet lovable love kitties. They are not. They ARE dangerous, and some are just as cruel as the evilest of people. If you don't believe me, read the December 1984 issue of National Geographic, particularly about a tiger the writers of the article named "Snarl". There are good and bad. Sure, it shows some things that happened to tigers, things that aren't good, but it's not exactly the worst that could happen (nor the worst that DID happen). And I don't think it's completely honest. Sure, they used 30 tigers, mostly because the babies would grow up so fast, but even if not for that, they probably would have used perhaps 10, right? In other words, the amazing sequence of all those creative, intelligent things you see these mere two tigers do, are actually being done by an ARMY of well-trained, and more importantly SPECIFICALLY trained showcats, probably cut from hundreds of hours of filming. So it's misleading. I'm sorry, but it is. And I'm not saying it's impossible or even implausible, but if it COULD have happened, they would have to have been VERY special tigers. Einsteins among tigers, perhaps. So, they've got good genes. It COULD happen.

Now, I'm not going to say "whine whine whine, it's not a family movie, whine whine whine, I was offended, whine whine whine, I want my child to never know the color of blood until he's in his thirties" either. You people are pathetic. You don't need to shelter your kids so much from everything. If they grow up to be people who torture animals for fun, they would have been evil regardless of learning about the historical precedent of such evil by seeing it on the silver screen or TV.

I think the truth is somewhere in between, and regardless, it's just a neat movie. It was entrancing to watch. Especially the beginning. It was an interesting, entertaining story, I watched it start to finish without ever once wondering how long until it was over, and I don't think it was particularly offensive. Especially if you're not so wimpy that you actually have the guts to watch it all the way through. And I enjoyed it enough to buy the DVD, because I intend to watch it again, eventually if not somewhat soon (and because the local video store was selling a used copy for 5 bucks). Too scary for children? HA! I watched this after seeing "Miracle Mile", and let me just tell you, it took the edge right off!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Guy Pearce
Freddie Highmore

DVD title: Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

For once this movie captures the true essence of Mob life in New York. Supurbly acted by Robert Deniro and joe Pesci. I found Pesci's performance so true to life, that I started to fear him! The "How am I funny" scene was one of the greatest scenes in motion picture history. I've seen this movie approx. 20 times (Once at the movies in 1990) and I can't wait to purchase it on DVD. If you haven't seen this movie, your missing out on history, this one will be talked about for years!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro
Ray Liotta
Joe Pesci
Lorraine Bracco
Paul Sorvino

DVD title: The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A masterpiece that was bound to be controversial.

There is no movie that I can think of that is near as powerful as this masterpiece. Never in my life have I ever heard a jam-packed theater crowd leave absolutely speechless. What a film! The acting is absolutely superb with Jim Caviezel in the title role. He adds so much to the film just with his facial expressions and the way he speaks the text establishes his character better than I could have ever hoped for. The other actors are superb, although most of them are small roles, together they form the most realistic and Biblically accurate portrayal of the final 12 hours of Christ that has ever been on film. Mel Gison put a serious amount of money into this movie, not caring whether it would do well but caring instead that the message got across. For the most part it has, however there are still the shallow [people] who are so blind they can't see past the brutality. However, from just a film standpoint, this is a great movie that keeps a solid pace throughout, propelled by a magnificent score by John Debney that is both haunting and epic making use of several eastern instruments with orchestra and chorus. This movie grabs your attention right from the get-go and doesn't let you down. However, I would not recommend this movie for the little ones as they probably aren't ready to see the real truth of this movie and look past the violence (then again, neither can half of Hollywood).
This movie is very realistically brutal. The images of the torture and beating of Jesus were not softened up one bit. However, they do serve a purpose and if you are mature enough to see that purpose then you will come away from this movie a better person. Gibson made this movie to be REAL. Jesus is not a fairy tale or a myth, he was and is real. The pain and suffering he endured was real. That's one part of this. The violence also shows how much he was willing to go through for the sake of mankind. He did not tire, falter, or fail that task, and it was accomplished. Such was his love for humanity and his undying courage. The second part of this is the forgiveness. This movie is not about who did what to who. If you come away from this movie thinking anti-semitism you must've come away from Lord of the Rings thinking that it was anti-hobbit and that the Hobbits should work to get it banned. Grow up and wake up! And even if you want to analyze the movie that way, it was the Romans who were portrayed as evil, not the Jews. The Romans were the ones who whipped him, put the thorns on his head, and nailed him to the cross. However, after all that, everyone was forgiven. While he was on the cross, Jesus prayed for them saying "They know not what they do!" And truthfully they didn't know what they were doing. After it had been committed, they did, and what happened?, they were forgiven by the Father. Can you imagine that? Forgiving those who put your only son to death? That is the main thrust of the movie. If you realize what you've done and are truly sorry for it, you can and will be forgiven. Such is the unconditional and unwavering love that the Father has for all humanity.
If you don't know if you can stand to see the images in this film there is a very simple solution, read the Bible. Read the detail and the reality of what happened to him. If you don't think that you are ready to see those images in front of you, then you may want to hold off on seeing this film. However, no matter what faith you practice, if you have an open mind and are willing and able to look past the violence to the true essence of the film, you will definitely come away a better person and will enjoy the experience thoroughly. I cannot recommend this film enough, I'm a Catholic and this film has re-awakened my faith again. I and anyone who sees this movie will forever be in debt to Mr Gibson for taking a very controversial subject and transforming it into cinematic gold. Excellent work by all!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Mel Gibson
James Caviezel
Monica Bellucci

DVD title: The Thin Red Line - DTS
Productgroup: DVD
The Thin Red Line - DTS - movie DVD cover picture
Suprised by how good this film actually is!

I love this movie. I refused to watch it when it first came out. I hated the fact that people were trying to compare it to my favorite movie at the time, Saving Private Ryan, I couldn't believe that any movie would ever surpass it, but I was wrong. Althought both movies are great, you really can't compare them. This movie is very different. It has a really good cast, with many talented actors. The plot is well written, and the beauty of the cinematography is unsurpassed, but the reason that I love about it, is the script. It is very poetic, and very surreal. It is more about a man's thoughts about life, and the nature of war. It was really a moving experience, and I love it for what it is. Unlike Saving Private Ryan, this movie has no agenda, it is a simple story of one man's struggle in all the madness of war, and how he finds beauty in such an awful setting. It is truly a classic war film, with not alot of violence, but with alot of emotion, and it leaves you thinking about the true nature of man and humanity, and how war effects us!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Terrence Malick
Sean Penn
James Caviezel
Nick Nolte

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

This movie works on so many levels, a rarity in films these days. There's the anti-establishment, anti-materialistic angle. There's the strong sense of homo-eroticism among the fight club members, scenes cut to resemble sexual acts. Another great aspcet is the surprise twist, ala "The Usual Suspects". With all of these great cinematic layers, and more that there is not enough room to mention, this is a movie that forces you to watch over and over and actually think! One more thing, if Meatloaf doesn't get nominated for a best supporting actor oscar, it's a crying shame.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

DVD title: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - movie DVD cover picture
An All-American Film

This movie is perfect for July fact, I watched this movie for the first time on this day! If you want to see how a bill is passed, what the Senate consist of in the government, how people in politics are after, great monuments like the Capitol and Lincoln, and a great storyline, this is the movie for you. Jimmy Stewart played Jeff Smith, a Boy Scout ranger who loves America, was picked as a Senator. His honesty and rookie nature made him a ruse for the experienced Senators who are out to get him and throw him out of office with their lies. Meanwhile, he did find a friend who went with him all the way...his secretary, Clarissa (who falls in love with him). You will have to find out the rest of the movie what happens when people found out that Smith was telling the truth all along, and the bad guys. This is a great movie!! Go watch it!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Frank Capra
Jean Arthur
James Stewart

DVD title: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - Live in New York City
Productgroup: DVD
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - Live in New York City - movie DVD cover picture
Pure Magic!

That's all I have to say. The Boss and the E Street Band created a magic show. Haven't seen them live yet, but this is truly one great experience. I hope I ever get to see them live.

Studio: Sony/Columbia
Director: Chris Hilson

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