Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Mr. Deeds (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Deeds (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Comedy With Character

I loved this movie! It is the perfect balance between comedy, romance and personal character. Adam Sandler plays a simple man who is caring, compassionate, honest & generous. Adam's character "Deeds" make other people feel comfortable around him, and he won't let others disrespect him or anyone else. He gives away 40 billion dollars, because it comes between him and finding love. Then live rewards him with both love and money. It is a true feel good, happily ever after movie. A must see!

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Steven Brill
Adam Sandler
Winona Ryder

DVD title: The Jury
Productgroup: DVD
The Jury - movie DVD cover picture

I just watched the series through again. I had a few questions nagging me. You can't blink, or you will miss something. I love that. I came across this gem of a series quite by accident when ordering "The Phantom of the Opera". I never had a chance to see The Phantom in the Theater. I am relieved, however, that I didn't, as no Phantom has ever made me sob so much, I was glad not to be in public.

Anyway, I remembered "The Jury" which had popped up on my screen and went back to spend the rest of my gift certificate on it. I love court case dramas. What a gem I found in this set.

The series was very subtle in turning your interest back and forth from the guilt or innocence of the boy into the personal lives of the jurors. I loved it. But for once, it was not the mystery that I was sunk into, it was the impact of the case on the jurors lives.

Some actors were better than others, some situations more interesting than others, such as the man who is emotionally overshadowed by his strong-willed Father-in-law right down to the last moment in the movie. And yet, he played the biggest factor in the outcome, in his eyes at the time. (Much to his own surprise.) But, what follows shows what human spirit that has been shaped in a certain way, does not easily change and he cannot enjoy his victory. Superb performance.

The recovering alcoholic and his AA mentor took the cake.

After reading the posts, I realize, the man who plays the alcoholic has a large female following. This is not from one of them. Not a review from an infatuated young girl or an unfulfilled woman. (My husband definitely fulfills me in every way) However, the performance really is superb and I am of the opinion that some of it comes from Scottish heritage.

The Scottish are wonderful, passionate people and it comes out in their acting. My family's trip to Scotland has been canceled. I've dreamt of visiting such a beautiful place and introducing my sons to the people there who are not boring and inhibited as they are in the States.

Just as Queen Victoria was attracted to John Brown, a Scott who wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his best, we are attracted to the actor with the thick Scottish accent who lived his part with his little tough-love angel. He easily showed deep respect and so looked up to the man who was half his size.

What the mentor teaches this man is very profound. Everyone should see it and learn from it. We are drawn to tears by the desperation and loneliness in his face, struggling to recover from a life of self abuse. You wonder if it was acting, it was so compelling. I was so glad he had his teacher to hold him because I, being a mom, wanted to reach into to screen and do that. I guess that would make me an "Enabler"?

And then we are thrust back into the boy's fate and the verdict and whether it was right or wrong.

A visit to people's lives that may be foreign to your own and yet have all the same struggles, fears and small accomplishments. Even in my busy life, kids and kittens running about, I watched the whole thing straight through.
I recommend you do the same.

I hope we shall see more of these actors. Especially Mr. Butler.
However, no matter what else he does do, there will never be anything more precious than that of saving the life of a young boy.
I came across this tidbit when my son was afraid of 'the Phantom' and all his 'make-up.' So, we looked up the actor so that he would picture his face instead. We read this story of him jumping into a river where a boy was submerged and pulling him out to be resuscitated. The boy lived.

We cried because this was exactly what happened when a close friend of the family went swimming in the water when it was too cold. Only my brother-in-law could not save him. We named our son after him, Daniel.

Life is precious.


Studio: Goldhil Home Media I

DVD title: Hanson - At the Fillmore
Productgroup: DVD
Hanson - At the Fillmore - movie DVD cover picture

I bought Live at the Fillmore and I love it! I have the other 2 movies by Hanson but this one is by far my favorite. It's all of them performing songs from their best album yet and it's pretty recent too (only last year). They sound great on every song but my favorite are the last 5 songs. Taylor does a great job getting the crowd going. They look great, they sound great, basically everything about that movie is great. My best friend Kristen and I are going to see them on tour next year and seeing this movie was fun because it gave me a little taste of what it would be like. You should totally buy this movie before buying the others because this one out-rates the others by far!

Studio: Uni/Island

DVD title: Reality Bites
Productgroup: DVD
Reality Bites - movie DVD cover picture
Sooooooo under-rated !

An almost unknown movie, this is one of my favorite Wynona Rider movies. Her characterisation of a somehow disgruntled young teenager wishing to make something of her life as soon as possible is simply brilliant. Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller flirt around her, and again opposites attract as the beautiful Hawke seduces the belle by going through a lot of happenstances and quid pro quos. In the end, both of them have grown a lot and have changed, become more mature and with eyes more open at life. See it and love it ^_^

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Ben Stiller
Winona Ryder
Ethan Hawke

DVD title: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town - movie DVD cover picture
Frank Capra Magic

This is one damn good film! I just recently saw it and although I was already Gary Cooper's biggest fan this film made me appreciate him even more. The film did earn Capra his second of three Oscar wins (of which he won two years apart from each other: '34-"It Happened One Night", '36-"Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", '38-"You Can't Take It With You) the film should also have won Best Picture that year. ("The Great Zeigfeld"--the film that did get Best Picture--is a very boring film. Only Luise Rainer (best actress winner that year) did the film some justice. Jean Arthur (in "Deeds", not "Zeigfeld") gave one of her most memorable and best performances in the film as Cooper's love interest. Also, look for a young Gabbie Hayes (with teeth!!!) I made a joke to my mother that after seeing "Deeds" it was the first time I had ever seen Hayes with teeth in his mouth. Even if you havn't seen this film, don't be afraid to buy it before you rent it. You won't regret it--Gary Cooper shines as the title character and Capra hands in yet another great American classic--right in the league of "It's a Wonderful Life", "It Happened One Night" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Frank Capra
Gary Cooper
Jean Arthur

DVD title: Saving Private Ryan
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Private Ryan - movie DVD cover picture
It deserves many more than just 5 stars!

I came to see Spielberg's film without expecting anything special or groundbraking but the movie is without a doubt the best war film ever made, even though some expert critics disagree in favor of older films. Spielberg did an excellent work giving the full sense of battle horror and, in my opinion, he achieved the top mark in war movies combining some really fantastic abilities: he filmed most of the battle scenes from behind the shooters, he never used an immobile or standing camera, he had terrific sound effects of the weapons and the sounds of battle, he took extra care to trivial details like uniforms, hair cutting, weapons, sweat, blood etc., he presented German (and Waffen SS soldiers in particular) in a marvelously authentic way, he built his story with an excellent pace and he communicated the real stress and nerve racking of close combat to the people who never had to live through this experience. Most critics praise the initial 20 minutes of the film, when the Normandy landings are realistically presented in the infamous "Omaha" beach, and although I agree that this is the best landing sequence ever put to film, I think that it is unfair to underestimate the last climactic battle of the movie in the half destroyed French village, where the agony of the uneven struggle against a numerically superior and fanatical enemy (and far better armed with the full panoply of war tools) makes a real war thriller. The fans of military history will find no better war movie and no other screen spectacle better manipulated than this one, created by the "magician" Spielberg at his prime.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent Adaptation.

The first time I saw Lord of the Rings, I must admit, it didn't do much for me at all. I found it to be a very long movie that wasn't extremely exciting. However upon viewing it the second time, I noticed how much better the film was when i watched it again. I overlooked the fact that it was a 3 hour long movie, and noticed how excellent the story was. The story being very simplistic leaves room for more exciting scenes as well as more exciting twists of the story. Although the movie doesn't fallow the book exactly, it is truly an excellent adaptation of it.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

DVD title: Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Sixth Season
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Sixth Season - movie DVD cover picture
Quite possibly the best season of DS9

The sixth season of DS9 was a considerable challenge to all involved: the ongoing war with the Dominion lead to the loss of the space station to the Cardassian/Dominion alliance; Dukat crossed over to the dark side completely as he sold his soul to become the head of the new Cardassian government; Worf and Dax married; Odo romances Major Kira and, finally, Section 31 reared its ugly little head recalling the hysteria of the McCarthy era Communist witch hunts.
With more of the cast stepping behind the camera and an influx of vets from Next Generation helping out as well, DS9 managed to maintain its roots but continue to forge its own, unique dark identity among the Trek franchise. There were so many plot threads dangling from previous seasons that they could easily have gummed up the storytelling in season 6. Instead, they provided just the right amount of variety and allowed the conflict between the Dominion and Federation to continue without it becoming too tiresome.
If that wasn't enough there was a unique story that was every bit as special as Trials and Tribb-ulations from season 5; the brilliant Far Beyond The Stars (written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler from a story by Twilight Zone vet Marc Scott Zicree)allows Ben Sisko to venture into the past with a twist; he's a 1950's science fiction writer working for Incredible Tales of Scientific Wonder Magazine. The crew is there as well inhabiting similar roles. Sisko's main story is called Deep Space 9 about the very troubled space station whose crew are caught in the midst of interstellar war. It's a powerful episode that transcends its cleverness to become a great episode of science fiction television (and not just a great Trek moment).
The season ends with the murder of Jadzia Dax at the hands of the villianous Gul Dukat. Suddenly, Worf moves from Newlywed to grief stricken husband all within the span of 26 episodes. Tears of the Prophet also has major changes in store for Sisko, the wormhole and DS9. If the original Star Trek and Next Generation are an example of the franchise childhood and adolescence, then DS9 represents its adulthood. The series continued to deal with complex story lines, themes and dark moments that made it a very real adult series. The Trek franchise never improved from DS9. It has continued (with mixed results)but is missing the risk taking that characterized DS9.
There are quite a few digital compression artifacts visible particularly if you watch the film in progressive scan mode. Still, squeezing 4 episodes of DS9's dark, rich and active frames onto a single dual layered disc comes fraught with problems. On the whole the boxed sets have looked pretty good considering how many episodes are squeezed onto each disc. The 5.1 sound hasn't been used to maximum advantage on any of the DS9 sets but they do sound pretty good overall and are an improvement over Next Gen's boxed sets.
The extras appear to be promising but, once again, Paramount has chosen not to allow there to be any writer/director/actor audio commentaries. With a series this rich and full of interesting characters, DS9 would benefit from a couple of the key episodes having a commentary track. Ira Steven Behr would be the prime candidate (since he and Robert Hewitt Wolfe more or less ran the show day to day after Pillar left)for an audio commentary. It's a pity as DS9 certainly warrants boundiful extras.
Still, this is a rich season full of strong writing/direction and acting that looks good if not spectacular on DVD. The dark DVD transfer is a major improvement over many of the home videos and released. Is this the best season of DS9? It would definitely be a close match between season 5 and 6. Season 7 had many memorable moments but it lacked the dynamic tension of these particular two seasons.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Avery Brooks

DVD title: Leap Frog Gift Set - Letter Factory/Talking Word Factory (+ Plush)
Productgroup: DVD
Leap Frog Gift Set - Letter Factory/Talking Word Factory (+ Plush) - movie DVD cover picture
Educational and entertaining...........

My kids, ages 3 and 5, love these videos. My three year old is now making the letter sounds and recognizing letters and my five year old is sounding out words after watching the videos. That's money well spent.

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
amazing movie, great dvd

Director Peter Jackson, whom for years I felt was very underrated and underappreciated after crafting such films like Dead Alive, Bad Taste, and The Frighteners (all of which proved his power of imagination over budget) managed to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings saga to the big screen almost flawlessly. Blending top notch CGI animation (most of which blows away anything offered by George Lucas), old camera tricks (to make the actors playing hobbits and dwarves appear smaller than humans and elves), and the beauty of New Zealand as a backdrop, Jackson has brought Tolkien's visionary Middle Earth to life, and old Tolkien fans could not be happier. Elijah Wood (Frodo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), and Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn) are all fantastic in their roles (Mortenson will become a much bigger star than he already is), and the rest of the all star cast includes Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davis, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchet, and Ian Holm; all of which give quite memorable performances. The action scenes are nicely put together, but sometimes the fight scenes can become a bit blurry and incoherent, but that is only a minor complaint. All in all, even if you've never read the original books by Tolkien, you will find something to love with this first installment of the Lord of the Rings. This will be the Star Wars Trilogy for a new generation, and will be cherished for years to come. This Extended Edition is lightyears beyond the original theatrical version DVD release, but it can be upsetting considering with the looming release of The Two Towers on DVD that a few months later an Extended Edition of that will be released as well. I despise it when different "newer and better" DVD editions are released from the movie studios just for the sake of making more money.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

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