Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: My House in Umbria
Productgroup: DVD
My House in Umbria - movie DVD cover picture

I saw this lovely film on HBO, and it's to their immense credit that this film was seen at all. This film would never be released by a major studio these days. They are only concerned with huge blockbuster movies, yet anyone who cares about a strong, emotional story, set in gorgeous Umbria and starring Maggie Smith shouldn't miss this gem.
Maggie Smith stars as an aging romance novelist living in splendid isolation in her villa in the Umbrian countryside. On a shopping trip, the train she's traveling on is bombed by terrorists. When the dust is settled, Smith, and several of the travelers who shared her compartment, are in the hospital, including a little girl who has lost her parents. Smith generously offers her home as a refuge for the survivors to recuperate.
The traumatized little girl can't speak. Smith's heart goes out to her, and she does her best to make her as comfortable as possible. Smith's rather bohemian character, as well as her fondness for cocktails makes her a slightly madcap, tipsy hostess. Rather lonely of late, this unexpected intrusion in her life makes her feel needed. There's a young man with a secret to hide, and an older pensioner who round out the group. Then the little girl's uptight uncle (played with unstated eloquence by Chris Cooper) comes to take custody of his brother's orphaned daughter.
Smith is devasted by his coldness, his disapproval, and senses that he simply is taking the girl out of a sense of duty to his brother.
I won't give anymore of the plot away. Dame Maggie won a well-deserved Emmy for her superb portrayal of a middle-aged spinster, lonely for love, and with her own tragic past, who finds a purpose in her life in the aftermath of tragedy. The script is superb, the Italian settings and the gorgeous period costumes as well as fine work from a strong cast, make this a memorble viewing experience.
Nobody captures loneliness as truthfully as Dame Maggie. She's been doing it throughout her long career, as Rod Taylor's assistant in the bloated VIPs, as the headstrong teacher in THE PRME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, as the actress nominated for an Oscar in CALIFORNIA SUITE, and countless other memorable screen portraits. Highly recommended.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Richard Loncraine

DVD title: X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

One of the best films of 2003, X2 beats out the commonly and easily applied stereotype to most movies during the summer. THat being the less the pleasing stories from sequels and blockbuster budget films. However, X2 was a sequel and a blockbuster, and audiences loved the film, propelling it to heights much greater than the original. Set just 3 months after the events of the first movie, X2 finds all mutants being hunted down, similar to the foreboding prophecies given by Magneto in the first film. The X-Men, beaten, and seperated from each other, have no choice but to turn to their one-time foe, Magneto, if they are to defeat the villains and save the day. A truly remarkable film, X2 is definitely an improvement upon the first.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Bryan Singer
Patrick Stewart
Hugh Jackman
Ian McKellen
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Brian Cox

DVD title: Willow (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Willow (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
An excellent Fantasy movie -- even for Tolkien fans.

First let me say I love this movie, the music, and the sheer fun of it. Sure its age begins to show with outdated special effects, but so what -- the movie is excellent. I read a few other reviewers speak negatively about this movie saying that its a Tolkien wanna-be... and I say, so what? At some point every movie aspires to be like greatness, and there is nothing wrong with that either. This movie has it all, comedy, action, and a well-woven story and soundtrack to make it a wonderful film that all ages, men and women, can enjoy.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Ron Howard
Val Kilmer
Joanne Whalley
Warwick Davis

DVD title: Blue Collar TV:Season 1 Vol 1
Productgroup: DVD
Blue Collar TV:Season 1 Vol 1 - movie DVD cover picture

Blue Collar TV is the best show on right now along with Smallville in my opinion. Jeff, Bill and Larry deliver the comedy in this 2 Disc set. Its a must own to any Blue Collar fans.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Jeff Foxworthy
Larry The Cable Guy
Bill Engvall

DVD title: Shogun
Productgroup: DVD
Shogun - movie DVD cover picture
The Complete Shogun: A Mini-series worth it's salt!

The setting is medieval Japan in the late 1500s/1600s. Protestant England and the Netherlands are at war with Roman Catholic Spain and Portugal.
The story is basically set in the Age of Discovery, in the mid to late 1500s/early 1600s. There is a Dutch ship, the Erasmus, that is piloted by an English navigator, Blackthorn, played extremely well by Richard Chamberlain. The ship seems to get thrown off course, and encounters many severe storms, while unwittingly finding and traversing the secret Straits of Magellan. Despite a tragic loss of most of those on board, the ship is piloted safely away, and continues westward by northwest. Eventually, due in part to the storms, they reach land, and reach "the Japans", as Blackthorn comments, almost lifeless.
Blackthorn awakes in a completely foreign culture, with customs so different from his that he is at a complete loss as what to do. To his shock and dismay, and utter incomprehension, he has landed in Japan during the time of the samurai, an elite military class based on the concepts of bushido, a strict code of honor, and loyalty. There is one westerner there to greet him, Father Alveta, a Jesuit priest from Spain. He and Blackthorn are total and utter enemies from the start, and the priest is his nemesis throughout the film. The local samurai leader puts him in his place, but Blackthorn is noticed by his superiors, and eventually, by the Lord Torunaga, played by Torisho Mifune(who also starred in the famous "Seven Samurai" film of 1954). Blackthorn is recognized as a potentially valuable ally by Torunaga, who, in the course of the film, makes himself supreme military ruler, or Shogun, of Japan, subordinate only to the emperor. Blackthorn is commanded to learn Japanese, and the Lady Toda, played by Yoko Shimada, is his tutor. Of course, he falls madly in love with her, but there love is forbidden, as she is already married to an able samurai. Their love succeeds, despite all of the odds, but ends in tragedy, as she is killed in an assassination attempt on the Shogun. Blackthorn has another pilot as his friend and enemy, the indomitable Vasco Rodriguez, played by John Rhys-Davies.
This movie has everything, romance, adventure, intrigue, politics, religion, war, and even earthquakes. All in all, it is an excellent film

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Richard Chamberlain

DVD title: Trapped
Productgroup: DVD
Trapped - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie, Bad Timing

Full of edge-of-your-seat suspense! With four amazingly talented actors/actresses, this movie was put together quite well. It really makes you feel for what the characters are going through. The only unfortunate aspect of the whole movie was the timing (with all the kidnappings that have been going on). This is what hurt the ratings on this movie. Other than that definitely worth seeing!!!

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Luis Mandoki
Charlize Theron
Kevin Bacon

DVD title: Rocky IV
Productgroup: DVD
Rocky IV - movie DVD cover picture
Rocky IV

The training sequences alone blow the other rocky movies away. The training (thats what boxing is about, it's in the preperation) is emotional, passionate,and awsome. That combined with the final fight between drago and rocky make this the best of the series. And to those critics who say "its unrealistic, drago's punch could take rocky's head off"......remember "he's not human, he's like a piece of iron"

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire

DVD title: Barefoot Gen
Productgroup: DVD
Barefoot Gen - movie DVD cover picture
An Artistic, Uninhibited Look At The Past

I initially rented this title, and I must say that it didn't disappoint. It has enough complexity to keep you interested, yet it wouldn't confuse someone who can't get into "deep" things. While it is graphic, this is only because the film is being truthful to the material it is based on. A definite must-see for anyone who appreciates war-related movies/shows or just one great story.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Mori Masaki

DVD title: Best Man in Grass Creek
Productgroup: DVD
Best Man in Grass Creek - movie DVD cover picture
We lived this movie...

we moved from Seattle to rural Indiana for one year and saw this movie two days before we moved back to Seattle. We laughed ourselves silly over the gentle mocking of life in rural Indiana as seen through the eyes of two visiting Californians. After the movie was over, I thought to myself, "This is exactly how I felt this entire year!" Unless you have lived in the rural midwest, you cannot fully appreciate the excitement of a strip of new road, a plate full of pork smothered in gravy or that Gary, Indiana is the last place on earth you would want to honeymoon. I was sad to see how little money this movie made - it was truly worth seeing and should be mandatory for anyone who has ever lived or will ever live in the midwest! I can't wait to get the video!!!!

Studio: Heartland Film Festi
Director: John Newcombe

DVD title: Scream Trilogy - Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Scream Trilogy - Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Dimension Home Video
Neve Campbell

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