Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The 400 Blows - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The 400 Blows - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Classic Truffaut


This film is a masterpiece, in that the images last a lifetime. The story develops at a steady pace about a boy growing up in Paris, and tracks the stages downward as he falls into trouble along the way. The black and white scenes in the streets slowly cast a pall as we watch this basically good little fellow being buffeted about by the less than admirable adults in his world. We are left with a feeling that it shouldn't be this way. The last freeze frame on the beach leaves the audience alone with the boy, and haunts us. The film is a realistic glimpse into a little boy's life as it is beginning.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Fran├žois Truffaut
Actors:
Jean-Pierre Léaud
Albert Rémy




DVD title: Tenacious D - The Complete Master Works
Productgroup: DVD
Tenacious D - The Complete Master Works - movie DVD cover picture
One of the great comedy bargains of all time


This DVD is packed with material, most of it absolutely hilarious. I'm a little prejudiced since I consider Tenacious D something of a comedy miracle but I would think anyone would appreciate the commitment, originality, and comic intensity that Jack and Kyle crank out throughout this collection. The concert here is brilliant and the extras are a lot of fun too, but the HBO episodes include some of the funniest comic moments I've seen in my life. And for less than 15 bucks? You couldn't go wrong at 5 times that price.

Studio: Sony Music Entertain
Actors:
Tenacious D



DVD title: What Lies Beneath
Productgroup: DVD
What Lies Beneath - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie


I cannot believe that I paid to see this movie in the theaters. I would give anything to be able to go back in time and see something else. The plot in this movie moves so unbelievably slow. There is nothing scary, creepy, or even remotely startling in this movie. They try to make the bathroom scenes scary, but it doesn't work. If you want to see the best parts, watch the trailer. Both Harrison Ford & Michelle Pfeiffer give such weak performances that you can't believe these are two premier actors. I have probably seen thousands of movies, and this has to make my top 10 list of worst movies ever. I just wish I could give it zero stars.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Actors:
Harrison Ford
Michelle Pfeiffer




DVD title: Empire of the Sun
Productgroup: DVD
Empire of the Sun - movie DVD cover picture
One of Spielberg's best


I could never understand why the critics didn't love this movie. It has brilliant acting, wonderful cinematography, and a story and characters that just hook you in from the get-go. Christian Bale gives the best "child-actor" performance I have ever seen, and the supporting cast is great, especially Miranda Richardson and John Malkovich. Wonderful WWII story from a perspective you may have never seen before. Don't miss it.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors:
Christian Bale
John Malkovich
Miranda Richardson




DVD title: Wind
Productgroup: DVD
Wind - movie DVD cover picture
MY FAVORITE MOVIE


I just received a message from Amazon.com that "Wind" is being released on DVD. I am hopeful that the video and audio transfer brings even more magic (not that it's needed) to an already great film. I have been trying to ascertain what the "hook" to this movie is for me, and I would guess it boils down to this: 1. A fairly believable love story 2. Great sailing action and camera work to bring back the rush of my sailing days 3. Excellent casting and character matching.
Please do yourself a favor and at least rent this movie when it becomes available, and you just may end up putting it in your collection permanently.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Carroll Ballard
Actors:
Matthew Modine
Jennifer Grey




DVD title: The Third Man (50th Anniversary Edition) - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Third Man (50th Anniversary Edition) - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Deserves 'Classic' status


The Third Man begins as a mystery story about Holly Martins's search for answers when his best friend Harry Lime is killed in an alleged traffic accident days before they were to be reunited after many years spent apart. Holly quickly discovers a number of inconsistencies in the reported events of Lime's death. Intrigued by these clues Holly senses a deeper conspiracy at work and refuses to return to the US at the request of the local law enforcement, Major Calloway. Calloway also describes Lime to Holly as a major bootlegger and murderer, adding to Cotton's desire to learn the truth about his friend he considered incapable of the atrocities alleged by Calloway. Lime's girlfriend Anna Schmidt assures Cotton that Calloway is lying.

The story takes place in post-WWII Vienna, a bombed out shell of a city that has been divided into 4 quarters, each governed by either America, France, England, or Russia. The film was shot entirely on location, a choice the director had to battle intensely with the studio over. This was critically important to the entire character of the film, and is a rare documentation of the true destruction in Europe in a post war Hollywood film. The beleaguered city surrounds the characters in the film and adds to the depth of our understanding of them.

The black and white cinematography and style of this film might remind the viewer of Citizen Kane. However I felt no similarity between the two films other than that they are both excellent films in their own way that take full advantage of the focus and shading available when shooting in black and white instead of color.

Some call Orson Welles' mysterious entrance in The Third Man the greatest in all of film. I agree it is quite clever, but it failed to evoke a strong sense of drama in me personally. My sense of the scene was more of anticlimax, the viewer is expecting this to happen eventually, and the surprise is mild at best. Still, Welles' performance in The Third Man is easily equal to that of Citizen Kane, despite being a significantly smaller role. The true nature of Welles' character is never fully revealed, the viewer must draw their own conclusions from his brief appearances from the shadowy underworld he inhabits.

Holly is something of a mirror image of Lime. In America Holly is a writer of pulp mystery and western novels and is well known even in Europe. Holly represents the innocence and relative naivet? of America in his misunderstanding of the conflicting interests Lime and so many others in Europe surely faced both during and after the war. Holly's sad realization that his best friend since childhood was capable of such horrible actions surely changes him forever. Did the war bring out these actions, or were they lurking hidden from view all along? The conclusion of The Third Man is decidedly not a happy formula Hollywood ending, as the studio desired.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Carol Reed
Actors:
Joseph Cotten
Orson Welles




DVD title: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
"Blessed Are The Forgetful..."


From Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich", and Michel Gondry, the director of "Human Nature", comes a supremely unique and delightful film; "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".
Set in present day New York, "Eternal Sunshine" follows the story of reclusive Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), who learns that his girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) has erased all her memories of him from their recently ended relationship. Hurt and desperate, Joel seeks out Dr. Mierzwiak of Lacuna Inc. to give him the same procedure to erase Clementine from his mind. However, during the procedure, Joel begins to rehash his memories of his eclectic former love, and begins to rediscover his affections for her, while realizing how much her memories have now become a part of him. With that, he decides the rebell against Dr. Mierzwiak and his assistants by hiding Clementine in other memories in various corners of his brain to save her.
Performance wise, the film is incredibly strong, in both the main characters and the supporting cast. Jim Carrey, whom you usually see playing in comedic roles, takes on a softer, somber, and more serious side, all the while interjecting his character with humorous dialogue and physical comedy. Kate Winslet, as the free spirit Clementine, is perfect for her role, embracing the wild child persona into a completely eclectic performance, all the while maintaining a realistic depth. Together, they create an unlikely likeable couple, whom you as the audience, adore. Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, and Mark Ruffalo (one of my personal favorites in the film) are all strong, well-established characters that complete the rich backdrop.
As one of the most original and unique films of the year, "Eternal Sunshine" is absolutely fantastic, much owed to the intelligent screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, who in my opinion, should receive an Oscar, or at least a nomination for his work on this movie. The idea, which is also credited to the director Michel Gondry, is brilliant, and the script, while to some might be overwhelmingly sporadic, is delightfully out of order, all which contributes to an ingenious, satisfying climax and a film that holds the audience's interest as to what could come next. At times a dark comedy and at others a romance, it is a smart, funny, subtle, and overall entertaining film with a truly unique idea, all the while keeping the audience engrossed, as well as pleasantly dazed and confused as all the pieces of the film begin to fall into place. Highly recommended.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Michel Gondry
Actors:
Jim Carrey
Kate Winslet
Tom Wilkinson




DVD title: The Last Man On Earth
Productgroup: DVD
The Last Man On Earth - movie DVD cover picture
The creepiest movie I've ever seen


It's funny how so many of the movies that scared me as a kid are just plain stupid now. Not this one. It's amazing how much of this movie I remember after not having seen it for, what, 30-35 years? I remember seeing it one Saturday afternoon on "Sir Graves Ghastly presents ....", a local horror movie show in the Detroit area. I agree with the other reviews in that the acting was pretty poor, but Vincent Price gives a superb performance. The atmosphere is what makes this movie. It's creepy, especially the scenes mentioned in the other reviews. I will order a copy of this as well. I'm glad that this is not a "lost" movie.

Studio: Pro-Active Entertain



DVD title: La Cage Aux Folles
Productgroup: DVD
La Cage Aux Folles - movie DVD cover picture
La Gage Is Le Creme'!!


Perhaps this is your first time viewing La Gage Aux Folles, though I can't imagine it would be since La Cage is perhaps one of the funniest films ever made. Not only does humor take center stage but La Cage Aux Folles is the first film to portray a gay couple as "everyday" people...This film will keep you laughing from frame one and if by chance this IS the first time you've seen this film, you are in for a real treat...

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Edouard Molinaro
Actors:
Ugo Tognazzi
Michel Serrault




DVD title: My Neighbor Totoro (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
My Neighbor Totoro (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
our family's favorite


I've seen this "childrens video" countless times. It is always fresh. I always see something new in its gorgeous animation. The story is of two sisters experiencing a magical connection with the king of the forest (Totoro) who teaches them and helps them in a time of need. The girl characters are strong, curious, brave and know what they want. Their loving father, a bit distracted by work and a wife in the hospital, is willing to beleive that the girls have indeed had a brush with the fantastic. Hitoshi Takagi, who recently released the amazing animated film Spirited Away, is considered, in Japan, to be a national treasure. If I could only have one childrens video( for kids aged 2to 8), this classic would be my choice.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Actors:
Noriko Hidaka
Hitoshi Takagi




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1984
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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling))
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