Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Cecil B. Demented
Productgroup: DVD
Cecil B. Demented - movie DVD cover picture
Celibate for Celluloid!!

What can i either like, or hate, this judge for yourself.Rogue filmmaker Cecil (played, all too cutely) by Stephen Dorff, meets up with typical-cum-boring film idol Honey Whitlock (played to the utmost by the normally annoying Melanie Griffith). Mayhem Cecil and his gang of indie film rioters make their statement with crudeness and sweetness.I've watched this 4-5 times (and I don't even yet own the DVD, with Waters' comments, which I hear are great!) and I'm hooked again and again. For anyone who is sick and tired of seeing Hollywood anoint themselves with awards and *ss kissing praise, you will *not* be disappointed! Alicia Witt is exceedingly impressive as the porn star with a mission (David Lynch didn't cast her in Four Rooms for nothing!) Melanie Griffith is surprisingly refreshing as the movie-idol with a change of heart (honestly, I hate her with a passion, but she won me over with this!) be plain honest, this movie thrills me and is a riot every time...from the opening, warbly credits (to which my friend asked, 'is there something wrong with your vcr?') to the crazy ending, it's a good way to spend a few hours!

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: John Waters
Melanie Griffith
Stephen Dorff

DVD title: Shane
Productgroup: DVD
Shane - movie DVD cover picture
A movie about ourselves

At the outset I must state that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The DVD transfer is strikingly beautiful (a few minor hazy spots) with general sharpness throughout.

It struck me that in Joey we see reflected the audiences' adulation for the heroes of western movies through the years. He worships Shane as we worshipped John Wayne and the other icons of that great genre, the western. When we see the fistfight with in the background Joey munching away on a piece of candy, we see ourselves, munching away (probably on popcorn).

Quite a timeless movie, and should be at home in any DVD library, to be returned to time and again.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: George Stevens
Alan Ladd
Jean Arthur

DVD title: Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie...

They did a great job. A film you can watch again and again...

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Sam Raimi
Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst

DVD title: La Notte
Productgroup: DVD
La Notte - movie DVD cover picture
the artist

Sometimes a movie is so good and thought provoking that it stays with you long after it is over and lingers in your mind teasing you as if there were still doors left to be opened - and it must be watched again. I found this true of 'La Notte' - my favorite Antonioni movie. It was so striking that the night I watched it I had several dreams relating to it once I fell asleep.

As far as its construction - the movie to me appears flawless. Every shot is a beautiful composition and your eyes are drawn to objects every bit as much as people. Antonioni seems to have a relationship with space and objects far superior to most directors - and one gets the feeling that this man could also be a painter.

The acting in the film is nice and understated. Jeanne Moreau is easy to identify with and Marcello is very much at ease in one of his best film roles. I am still just in awe of this picture and I feel that I may have missed something! Time to pull out the dvd and watch it again!!

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Marcello Mastroianni
Jeanne Moreau

DVD title: The Adventures of Agent Emes Episode 3: "The Case of the Missing Pushka"
Productgroup: DVD
The Adventures of Agent Emes Episode 3: "The Case of the Missing Pushka" - movie DVD cover picture
fun for kids and adults

For kids it's an adventure. For adults it a spoof of spy movies 007 and others. It is a family friendly with nothing to object to. My kids whant to go as agent emes for Purim.

Studio: Reel Jewish Entertainmnet
Director: Leibel Cohen

DVD title: Traffic
Productgroup: DVD
Traffic - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie I've ever seen

I hate to sound like a film elitist, but this is NOT, I repeat, NOT a bad film -- so ignore those pathetic (and unreasonable) one star reviews below. In fact, Steven Soderbergh's descent into the drug trade is absolutely brilliant, giving us the lowdown from all angles. Beautiful cinematography, top notch acting from a talented ensemble cast, and simply good filmmaking on so many differently levels. Traffic is definitely worth buying and it should have won best picture.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Benicio Del Toro
Michael Douglas

DVD title: Michael Jackson - Dangerous: The Short Films
Productgroup: DVD
Michael Jackson - Dangerous: The Short Films - movie DVD cover picture
A great Michael Jackson compilation

Dangerous was the project on which Michael Jackson began to lose sight of reality -- not just physical, but artistic grasp of reality.

"Smooth Criminal" is in my estimation the last great video he'd made, but even on that classic, you can see two incongruous personae emerging in Jackson's music-video approach. The celebrated nightclub dance sequence is understandably considered a landmark in the art of music video, but if we jog our memory, we'd also remember there's a long, boring, glitzed-up, and utterly foolish sci-fi plot built up around that sequence. (Joe Pesci as a drug villain and Michael Jackson the giant robot, anybody?)

Well, on the videos from Dangerous, Jackson let his love of Steven Spielberg and fantasy filmmaking take over, and lost sight of the musician and performer. There are some moments in these videos that are entertaining and remind us of vintage Michael Jackson videos, but these moments are never the centerpiece. Eddie Murphy and "Magic" Johnson hamming it up delightfully in "Remember the Time", Naomi Campbell's sensuous writhe in "In the Closet", and the ripping hard-rock performance by Slash, Gilby Clarke and Muzz Skillings in "Give In to Me" are great -- but they are also always pushed to the back by other far less interesting elements. The worst part is, there isn't a single video on here that uses Jackson's greatest visual gift, which is dance. Not a single precision-choreographed dance sequence (as seen in "Beat It", "Smooth Criminal", "Thriller", "Bad"...) among these videos, just utter chaos with fifty people each doing something different in the muddled, cacophonous dance "scenes" in "Black or White", "Remember the Time" and "Jam". Was there even a choreographer? And did s/he actually work with the director to figure out the moves and angles? These videos pale alongside Janet Jackson's videos from Rhythm Nation: 1814, just a couple of years prior.

Jackson also seems to acquire a kind of visual ADD in these videos, pulling together elements that don't mesh at all. The intro to "Black or White", while amusing in a juvenile way, has nothing to do with the song; the special effects in "Remember the Time" look cheesy, and "Jam" is nothing but a bunch of amusing cameos (Heavy D, Michael Jordan, Kris Kross) and mashed-together shots with no method to the madness. And let's not forget that utterly moronic "panther" ending to "Black or White"...if the sequence actually had something to do with Jackson's message and the song, I believe the controversy over that segment might have been less pronounced. Looking at it over a decade later, this sequence remains what it seemed, gratuitous destruction and lewd, aimless, undisciplined dance moves aimed to shock, and with no narrative, musical or thematic context whatsoever.

The only self-contained and coherent videos here are "Who Is It" and "Give In to Me". The former, though opaque in its imagery, at least achieves stylistic unity, while the latter is a straight-ahead rock performance video. Poor editing spoiled its rock-out impact, though -- it makes you yearn for "Dirty Diana". And in the end, the only lasting moment of transcendence here, and the only piece up to the par of Jackson's Thriller and Bad videos, is the famous "morphing" sequence in "Black or White". It's visually attractive, fun, and helps get across the message of the song. Something most of these videos fail to do; it's little wonder that Jackson's later DVD collections tend to include very few of the Dangerous videos. They really are the nadir of his music-video oeuvre.

And after having bought four Michael Jackson music-video DVDs (not even counting the concert DVD that came with the Ultimate Collection boxed set, and my old VHS copies of Moonwalker and The Legend Continues), I'm compelled to slam those fascistic "Brace Yourself" intros that Jackson always slaps at the beginning of his video collections. Wagner-sized vocal chants, marching death squads, and hysterical masses? Who does that remind us of? That same megalomania, which makes Jackson constantly bombard us with messages of how great he is, is what had eventually sunk his music and videos to such pathetic levels as we've seen in the last 10 years. He never rediscovered the joy of music as we'd heard on Off the Wall and Thriller, and with the way his career is going now, it's not likely we ever will again.

Studio: Sony/Epic

DVD title: Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball
Productgroup: DVD
Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball - movie DVD cover picture
A very cool show!

I should say that we are not Jewish, but when this came on PBS my daughter and I both really enjoyed watching it. (She's 3). Now she keeps asking me to put it on so I had to order the dvd. She also asked where our dreidel was the night after watching it- so it must have made a big impression! A really good and fun movie.

Studio: Sisu Home Entertainm

DVD title: Rammstein: Live aus Berlin
Productgroup: DVD
Rammstein: Live aus Berlin - movie DVD cover picture
Rammstein - Fantastic

This spectacular DVD is not available in the UK, but luckily Amazon sent the All-Region (thankfully!) DVD through in about 5 days. The DVD is in NTSC format, so anyone with old TV's in the UK may find problems, but the quality of the picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is superb. The concert itself is an experience and is thoroughly recommended - especially if you have a home-cinema system. Thoroughly worthy, fantastic band, great music. An essential purchase for any fan of good music.

Studio: Uni/Island
Director: Hamish Hamilton

DVD title: Target Earth
Productgroup: DVD
Target Earth - movie DVD cover picture
Minimal and Great

This has always been a favorite of mine. The low budget keeps things simple but very atmospheric. This is a very good DVD! The commentary is from the Roan laserdisc from a few years ago (which I still have). The picture is fine and this IS a widescreen disc! Around 1.85 to 1. The viewers who claim that it isn't are watching another disc! This is the real McCoy.

Studio: Vci/Ffi
Director: Sherman A. Rose

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