Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The King of Kings - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The King of Kings - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Cecil B. DeMille's Favorite Film..

THE KING OF KINGS is a remarkable film. I don't think that I 've ever seen a more reverent version (sound or silent) of the life of Jesus. It stands out among other biblical epics in that it strives not just for a retelling of events but for a recasting of them into myth. DeMille captures the essence of Christ and those around him with sincere performances coupled with soft focus photography and 19th century lighting. There are many memorable sequences scattered throughout the film. The casting out of the seven deadly sins from Mary Magdalene is one and the raising of Lazarus from the dead is another. The crucifiction scene is impressive even by today's standards with lighting in the style of Gustave Dore' and a massive earthquake sequence. There are some outlandish moments as well (it is DeMille after all) especially Mary Magdalene (as Judas' lover!) arriving to confront Jesus in a chariot driven by zebras. At 50 H.B. Warner should be too old to portray Christ but it is his age that lends a sense of gravity to the role. He has wonderfully expressive eyes which help to convey the inner spirituality of Jesus. Ernest Torrance as Peter strikes just the right balance between great strength and childlike simplicity. It's also interesting to see Rudolf and Joseph Schildkraut (real life father and son) portray Caiaphas and Judas. Watch for their scenes together. DeMille took great pains to avoid charges of anti-semitism by adding a prologue and having Caiaphas take the blame for Christ's death upon himself. The restored 155 minute road show version is superb with the two technicolor scenes that bookend the movie looking great. There are important scenes missing from the general release version so it's great to have them both available so you can make the comparison. Thanks to Criterion for making this important film available once again. You don't have to be religious to enjoy THE KING OF KINGS. It stands on its own merit as one of the greatest movies of the silent era. It was also Cecil B. DeMille's favorite among all his films.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Cecil B. DeMille

DVD title: Jackie Chan: 3 Pack
Productgroup: DVD
Jackie Chan: 3 Pack - movie DVD cover picture
Worth seeing

This is an excellent pack, at a very low price, and it's definately worth seeing. This is the best combination of Jackie Chan action you can get at such a low price. It has some of his best choreographed fights, with some good little stunts.
If I were you i'd GET IT!

Studio: Simitar Video
Jackie Chan

DVD title: Don't Torture a Duckling
Productgroup: DVD
Don't Torture a Duckling - movie DVD cover picture
Giallo goldmine

No figure in the horror film genre is as divisive as Lucio Fulci. After watching one or two of his films, viewers tend to move into one of two camps. One side hails Fulci as a master of terror, a man who upped the gore quotient in his films while creating wonderfully atmospheric pictures. For these people, Fulci is right up there with the likes of Dario Argento as one of the best filmmakers ever to emerge from Italy. The other camp sneers at these claims, pointing to the plodding pace of his films, the use of extreme gore to camouflage plot holes, and the director's inability to draw good performances out of his cast as evidence of mediocrity. Initially, I enjoyed Fulci's films, specifically "Zombie," "City of the Living Dead," and "The New York Ripper" because I did not know any better. When I came on the scene, you went to Fulci to feed your craving for gore. What a difference a few years exploring the genre makes! While I will not go so far as to remove Lucio from my play list altogether, I have seen enough of his films to realize he is not a cinematic genius. He is at best a competent director, at worst an abysmal one, and there are plenty of examples of bad filmmaking in this director's filmography. "Zombie" is without a doubt his best film, but "The House By The Cemetery" runs a close second along with "The Beyond" and "The Gates of Hell."

This giallo, however, is magnificent, as good as many of Dario Argento's efforts. "Don't Torture a Duckling," set in a small village out in the Italian sticks, follows the activities of journalist Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) as he attempts to ascertain the identity of a killer preying on children. The first part of the film shows us one of the crimes and introduces us to three of the potential suspects. Possible killer number one is Maciara (Florinda Bolkan), a gypsy and practitioner of black magic whose child passed away some time before. She buried her child out on a hillside only to discover that three local youths desecrated the grave. Her anger over the crime, as well as her ethnicity and the suspicions of the heavily Catholic locals, make her a prime suspect when one of these kids disappears. Possible killer number two is Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet), an extraordinarily beautiful young woman with a shady past and a penchant for long drives at night. She also engaged in questionable behavior with one of the victims immediately before he perished. Possible killer number three is the local priest, Don Alberto Avallone (Marc Popel), a strange man who is on intimate terms with all of the youngsters in town thanks to his youth programs.

As the film progresses we learn more about the odd behaviors of the three principal suspects. Maciara, it is safe to say, fails to stay a suspect for long after several men in the town beat her to death with a chain. Patrizia's background rapidly comes to light partly through police investigation and partly through Martelli's persistent inquires. It turns out that she has a history of drug abuse, never a good thing when you're a suspect in a murder investigation, and she is staying in the village because of problems she incurred in Milan. Patrizia eventually teams up with Martelli to help solve the crime, but her continued evasion of critical questions--what about her cigarette lighter at the scene of a crime, for example--keeps her at the top of the list of potential killers. This journalist better watch his back whenever Patrizia is around. As for Don Alberto, well, we soon learn quite a few things about him and his mother Dona Aurelia (Irene Papas) that make us wonder if he isn't the one behind the despicable crimes. The strength of the film, as is the case with all wonderful gialli, is that it keeps us guessing right up to the final minutes. In fact, I think "Don't Torture a Duckling" takes us up to the very last minute of the film before revealing the identity of the killer.

The biggest surprise about Fulci's giallo is the lack of heavy gore. Most of us are so used to seeing his over the top gorefests that we assume he never made anything else as memorable. Not true. Besides this gem of a giallo, Fulci also made a spaghetti western ("Four of the Apocalypse"), a science fiction potboiler ("The New Gladiators"), a sword and sandal flick ("Conquest"), and a mafia thriller ("Contraband"). None of these films achieves the greatness of "Don't Torture a Duckling," although "Four of the Apocalypse" does come close. While there are a few disturbing scenes here that signal the bloody atrocities to come a few years down the road, such as the chain whipping and a body tumbling down a steep cliff shown in extreme slow motion close up, the movie is a relatively bloodless affair. Fulci seems more interested in launching pointed attacks condemning the Catholic Church, the police, and the irrational prejudices of rural Italians. There's nothing like an old-fashioned murder mystery spiced up with social commentary, eh? Throw in an interesting musical score consisting of lots of twangy strings, and Fulci blends every element into a seamless whole.

The only problem I had with "Don't Torture a Duckling" involved the pacing. As good as the film is, it at times slows down to a snail's pace. By the time the credits roll you realize Fulci needed to include everything you just saw in the movie to make it work, but the film still felt slow in parts. Of course, life moves slowly in a small town, so perhaps Fulci merely tweaked his film to match the environment. Anyway, this is a great Italian flick that's sure to entertain. Give it a shot.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Lucio Fulci

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1) - movie DVD cover picture

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was by far the most astounding movie I have ever seen. I don't know what people are talking about when they say it was the worst movie ever. It was BLOODY BRILLIANT! With J.K. Rowling's brilliant imagination, an award winning cast, and some great special affects, it is with no question that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the best movie of the year!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe

DVD title: Platinum Comedy Series - Steve Harvey - One Man
Productgroup: DVD
Platinum Comedy Series - Steve Harvey - One Man - movie DVD cover picture

it was very funny I am also looking for jamie foxx hbo special straigh from the foxx hole

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Steve Harvey

DVD title: Eight Legged Freaks (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Eight Legged Freaks (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
SPIDER ALERT! 14th april 2004.

HUGE SPIDERS THAT GROW BIGGER EACH TIME YOU SEE THEM. A man owns at least 200 different types of spiders, in which he keeps them closed in tanks. What he dosen't realise, is he left one of the tops open and the biggest manages to get out. Soon after all of them get out, they grow massive and erupt the whole town. It's discusting in parts. And loads of people are in danger well nearly everyone. I saw it and never wanted to eat anything, it is so horrible in parts, especcially when they shoot them and you can see the green. It isn't a scary film, but it is not everyones cup of tea. I hired it first, and i think everyone who isn't sure about it should hire it first.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ellory Elkayem
David Arquette
Kari Wuhrer

DVD title: The Three Musketeers
Productgroup: DVD
The Three Musketeers - movie DVD cover picture
Not Your Classic Disney Movie, and not like the Book

I personally love the book, and I was not at all disappointed when I saw this movie. In fact, it was the movie that spurred me to read the book. If you're a bookworm and expect movies to follow the books they are based on, then this is not for you. The only two things that the book and the movie have in common are the character names and the setting. However, when you watch the movie its like reading another version of the book. It's interesting because if you have read the book you still can not predict what is going to happen. The acting is fairly good, not the best I've seen. However, the actors are really cute (especally d'Artagnan). It's a whole new outlook to The Three Musketeers. Watch and enjoy!

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Stephen Herek
Charlie Sheen
Kiefer Sutherland
Chris O'Donnell

DVD title: Monsoon Wedding
Productgroup: DVD
Monsoon Wedding - movie DVD cover picture
Three movies in one; such a deal! A blizzard of colors

Mira Nair's 'Monsoon Wedding' is a blizzard of vibrant colors: yellows, reds and oceans of orange dominate the screen. What a joy to see this film on the big screen.
As the title indicates, you get a wedding in monsoon here. But you also get two other tales expertly woven into the fabric of the movie by director Nair. First, there's a tale of incest and taboo that breaks out into the open at a very inopportune time. Then, there's a 'meet cute and marry quick' tale between the wedding planner and a family servant. That might be the best part of the movie. At the very least, Vijay Raaz's wedding planner "P.K. Dubey" is the film's most compelling character. With his gawky physical presence and staccato delivery, he stands out in every scene he's in.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Mira Nair
Naseeruddin Shah
Lillete Dubey

DVD title: Bataan
Productgroup: DVD
Bataan - movie DVD cover picture
War as it should be portrayed (by the propagandists)

Bataan is one of those films that any fan of WWII films cannot miss. Although it was made after the Allies had started their comeback, the impact of the film is not diminished. The effect of Pearl Harbor was still an open wound. The portrayal of the Japanese as cold-blooded sub-human killers is chilling. As a rallying point for the campaign in the Pacific, it's perfect. Robert Taylor, well-known by this time as a handsome and suave leading man, steps out of his image to play a tough, cynical and thoroughly American hero. The final scene of this film says alot about the American attitude at the time, and about Americans as a national entity. This is a really cool war movie.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Tay Garnett
Robert Taylor
George Murphy
Lloyd Nolan

DVD title: Shaolin Master Killer (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Shaolin Master Killer (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin 1978

Seems like a lot of people are confusing this with other movies. The description in the review and titles listed @ should help clarify... anyways, this will be a review of the MOVIE not the DVD... if i were to rate the dvd, it would be a 2... dubbed only? has some extra features.
Luckily, I was able to see this an imported dvd release of this (and the subtitles were pretty decent), which is definately one of the best Shaw brothers related films. Of course it's a very good looking movie, and it incorporates a number of well nuanced yet inventive editing techniques for scene transitions and fights. Both the action and story are top notch, although both are prototypical hong kong fare. Even the training sequences, often a bore in actioners, are entertaining. The biggest problem is with the characters, who aren't given depth and are used more as game pieces (training sequences = trading pawn for queen).
I will wait in hope of a region one release with the original vocals, but this is a movie any action or hong kong martial arts fan will want to see, dubbed or not.

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Gordon Liu

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