Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Godsmack - Changes
Productgroup: DVD
Godsmack - Changes - movie DVD cover picture
Confirmation that Godsmack rules


This DVD only confirms my assumptions about Godsmack's dedication to their music and to their fans, and to the delivery of absolute quality in everything they do.

First of all, the DVD itself is a gem. The quality of the artwork of the case contents, as well as the camera work, the content editing and production, and the Circle Surround audio makes playback truly amazing, on almost any home sound system.

As a heavy metal and rock enthusiast, and as a member of the band's generation, Godsmack has struck a chord with me. This is not your stereotypical thrash-happy, metal band. Changes shows that Godsmack is truly an exceptionally talented hard rock band who exhibit superior creativity, intelligence, commitment to quality, and an extraordinary work ethic. They are living proof that their recipe for success works, and frankly, it's inspiring. Show this to your teenage kids as a prime example of the rewards for living core values.

Furthermore, Changes doesn't insult the viewers' intelligence with overindulgence in wine and women. On the contrary, it portrays a realistic side of the band that includes perspectives about their families and the kind of dedication that's needed to survive on the road for 10 months straight.

In addition, it's refreshing to see a band get along so well, having so much respect for one another and for the band as a whole. Each member is among the best in the business, and being able to keep their individual pride in check for the good of the band is a testament in itself.

Finally, the music is just above and beyond any of my expectations from a live performance. Here's where the true quality of Godsmack becomes apparent. The band doesn't take shortcuts or play out of tune, or improvise in any of the numbers. Instead, they cover the full range and intensity they deliver on their studio releases. Visually, their stage performance and effects are a stunning compliment to their music. And yes, I'll concur that the tandem drum session is worth the price of the DVD alone.

Godsmack has rewarded its fans in a big way with this release. But even if you're not a fan, one can't help but appreciate the craftsmanship of the band and the fine product they've created.

Studio: Universal Music & VI



DVD title: Mulholland Drive
Productgroup: DVD
Mulholland Drive - movie DVD cover picture
clever puzzle


If you're a big fan of linear storytelling, you probably already know to avoid David Lynch films, but here's my warning anyway-- this movie does not have a completely coherent plot. It tricks you too, because it does make sense for about the first two-thirds.
Be that as it may, I thought this film was still a lot of fun. Naomi Watts gives a stellar performance as Betty, an aspiring starlet on her first visit to Los Angeles, who develops a friendship with a mysterious amnesia victim played by Laura Elena Harring. Harring's a bit vacant as an actor, as is Justin Theroux, who plays a young film director struggling to understand why production on his latest film has been shut down. I'm guessing they were directed to deliver their lines in such a flat way, but the two aren't quite skilled enough to pull this off in a manner that holds the audience's interest.
All quibbles aside, there are some genuinely hilarious moments in this movie (check out the cameo by a certain one-hit-wonder country singer), and these serve as a nice counterpoint to the suspense that gradually builds throughout. Angelo Badalamenti's music is haunting, as always, and I agree with my fellow reviewer who praised the sound design.
On the whole, it's not my favorite Lynch movie, but it's definitely in the better half of his canon. I would have loved to see it as a tv show.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Lynch
Actors:
Laura Harring
Justin Theroux




DVD title: Malcolm in the Middle - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Malcolm in the Middle - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Slam-Jump Editing Works Better on DVD


Everything the other reviewers said rings true: the cast IS amazing; the writing IS brilliant, the show IS immensely entertaining. What I can add is this: because of the show's unusual style of slam-jump editing, it plays much better on DVD than on TV. (While commercial interruptions interfere with the momentum of most shows, it hurts some shows more than others.) Viewed on DVD, one begins to see that there is more going on in M.I.T.M. than just MTV-style self-indulgence -- there is an underlying poignancy about the struggles children of working-class families face in America. It somehow manages to convey that, even in the most seemingly dysfunctional environments, if children are allowed their unique foibles and eccentricities ...then there is still hope. I think it is an outstanding show.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Actors:
Frankie Muniz



DVD title: Band of Outsiders - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Outsiders - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Godard=Genius


This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

"Band of Outsiders" originally released in France with the title, "Bande ? part" is one of the more interesting French films which I have seen.

The story is about two young men who enlist the help of their mutual girlfriend to break into a locked room in her home which they believe to contain a large amount of money.

The film has some great scenes of Paris and has some interesting and possibly original cinema techniques. There is a scene in a cafe where 3 main characters observe a "minute of silence." During this scene, there is absolutely no sound at all. Not even background noises. The film also has some nice scenes of more suburban areas of the Paris area. A scene in the film where the chraracters do a dance to music playing in a lounge is one of the famous scenes that I thinkis really nice.

The Criterion Colelction has done a fine job with the release of this film and the special features are as alwyas, very good.

There are two theatrical trailers, a silent film by Agnes Varda titled, "Les Fianc?s du Pont Mac Donald" made during the filming of Band of Outsiders featuring cast members fromt he film, a 1964 interview with director Jean-luc Goddard with behind the scenes footage, a guide to the meaning of phrases which appear in title cards throughout the film and two brand new interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard and lead actress Anna Karina.

This release is a nother one that of a lesser known film but one thsi is quite good. See it for yourself.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Actors:
Anna Karina
Claude Brasseur




DVD title: Eddie and the Cruisers
Productgroup: DVD
Eddie and the Cruisers - movie DVD cover picture
Tom, Eat our shorts


Eddie and the Cruisers was a hit with everyone that understands Rock n Roll and loves the E-Street band style. I think Bruce got some of his ideas from this movie and John Cafferty. Tom, stick to rating cook books or something else.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Martin Davidson



DVD title: Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors - Escape from the Garden of Evil
Productgroup: DVD
Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors - Escape from the Garden of Evil - movie DVD cover picture
Ring of Light, Magic Might!


THE CARTOON:Excellent animation. Great characters. Balanced storytelling. Superp series---one of my favorites before the dawn of the Thundercats (and even after). Makes me want to renew my childhood ambition of producing my own animated serial. Would purchase the entire Wheeled Warrior series on DVD in a heartbeat.
THE DVD:Easy naviagtion. Great picture and sound. No digital snags. My only lament is that the opening sequence plays at the beginning of the DVD and not at the beginning of each episode, and that the closing sequence plays at the end of the third and bonus (fourth) episode.

Studio: Uav Corporation



DVD title: Anne Of Green Gables The Continuing Story
Productgroup: DVD
Anne Of Green Gables The Continuing Story - movie DVD cover picture
The Continuing Story-a nice end to a great trilogy


I first saw this movie on Canadian Television and was interested because I had the other two movies on video. I was familiar with the story line only from having the videos, not from reading the books. I can't say that they were disappointing to me compared to the books because I had never read them, so I judged these movies on their movie merits not on how they compared to the books. This is how I judged the third movie, as a good, entertaining movie in and of itself. Others will tell you that this is a disappointing end to an otherwise great series, but I will not do that for that is not the way I felt. I enjoyed it very much. Go rent it to see for yourself.

Studio: Uav Corporation
Director: Stefan Scaini



DVD title: Sports Night - The Complete Series Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Sports Night - The Complete Series Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
First-rate television


I was lucky enough to catch Sports Night during its run on Comedy Central--and foolish enough to miss it during its initial run on ABC. This is television at its finest: funny, compelling, inventive and, like everything Aaron Sorkin pens, whip-smart. Sports Night ranks among the Top 10 TV shows...ever.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Actors:
Peter Krause



DVD title: Elizabeth R
Productgroup: DVD
Elizabeth R - movie DVD cover picture
THE WOMAN WHO WOULD BE QUEEN...


This Masterpiece Theatre, six play series of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England is magnificent. Written by six different playwrights, they are uniformly excellent. Glenda Jackson reigns supreme in the role of Elizabeth I.

While the production values are not high, that is because these plays were part of a televised series for which there were budgetary constraints. The shift from indoor sets to outdoor scenes is awkward, as it entails a switch from tape to film. The stage makeup is noticeable, as the lighting is harsh and glaring. Although the sets are a stark and dreary backdrop, the costumes are sumptuous and gorgeous. More important, the acting is, at all times, superlative.

Elizabeth I is played to perfection by Glenda Jackson. She has set the standard by which all others who seek to reprise this role will be judged, and she is the linchpin around which the entire six play series revolves. She begins the series playing Elizabeth as the young woman who would be queen, waiting upon the whims of her sister, the Queen Mary, and trying to survive the political intrigues and plots which surround her and threaten her very existence. The threat dissipates upon Mary's death, though it never disappears, and she becomes Queen of her beloved England.

As the series progresses, one sees her mature and resist the overtures and attentions of would be husbands, preferring, instead, to be married to England. One sees the development of her political and diplomatic acumen, as she sublimates her personal desires to become the greatest monarch, male or female, England has ever known, The Virgin Queen.

Each one of the plays has its own unique story to tell about Elizabeth and is a first rate drama that segues seamlessly into the next. The supporting cast is superb. All in all, this series provides a fully absorbing, historically accurate drama. It is through Ms. Jackson's insightful and commanding performance that one is able to understand why Elizabeth I was responsible for ushering in England's golden age.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Jackson
Crutchley
Ellis
Hardy
Glenda Jackson




DVD title: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Productgroup: DVD
Bram Stoker's Dracula - movie DVD cover picture
Not Bram Stoker's but still wonderful


Bram Stoker's orginal vision was some what different than what Francis Ford Coppla has brought to the screen, but doesn't all adaptations end up the same. Look at Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, the similarities between the book and the movie were very small, but the film was still a wonderful film. If you have read the original novel by bram stoker, I suggest you forget about it. This film is a wonderfully scary masterpiece of forbidden love and terror. Bram Stoker's Dracula is a passionate love story and a terrifying vision of the undead and their quest for blood. The acting is great and the costumes are lavish, transporting you into the time and place of an 18th century London. Even Keanu Reeves does a decent job as Jonathan Harker, even though his acting skills and talents do not go as far as say Sir Anthony Hopkins, it's still a decent performance. See this film.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Actors:
Gary Oldman
Winona Ryder
Anthony Hopkins




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