Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Memento (Limited Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Memento (Limited Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Confusing and exciting!

My husband and I enjoyed this movie tremendously. The mystery here, which we think we figured out at the end, was brilliantly developed, step by backward step. We thought the plot was thought provoking and the pace and action of the movie were as driven as the lead character.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano

DVD title: Marnie
Productgroup: DVD
Marnie - movie DVD cover picture
Hitchcock's Most Romantic Film & 1st Time I Liked Connery

I really liked this film from the time it was released theatrically to when I saw it again just a few nights ago. The problem Hitch had with his films released after "Psycho" is that everyone now measured the new film against "Psycho." I don't even think "Psycho" is his best film much less that all of his later films should be compared to it! If "Psycho" was his scariest film, then "Marnie" was his most romantic. Probably no one disliked Sean Connery as James Bond more than I did. He was too slick, too suave, too oiled down for me in that persona. This was the first time I'd seen him play another role and I was amazed at how attractive he was in comparison. The essential of the story line is that Marnie (Hedren) is a career criminal in various physical disguises, who steals huge sums from her wealthy bosses who are besotted by her. She makes a huge mistake in picking Mark Rutland (Connery) as her next mark because he recongizes her from a prior job since he was a client of that employer's. He also has a problem though: he starts falling in love with Marnie. There is a reason Marnie is the way she is though and Rutland starts getting closer and closer to finding out what happened to her as a child back in Baltimore. Connery makes a terrific romantic hero playing Rutland and it is hard for me to believe that most women, at the very least, wouldn't be very taken with this film. There is a small role in the film played by Bruce Dern, who was a total unknown at the time. This must have been at the very start of his career.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Tippi Hedren
Sean Connery

DVD title: Classic Albums - U2: The Joshua Tree
Productgroup: DVD
Classic Albums - U2: The Joshua Tree - movie DVD cover picture
This is a must for U2 fans

As a long-time die-hard U2 fan, I had heard that this video would be an interesting addition to any collection. I just got it for Christmas, and now that I've watched it, I wish it had come out sooner!
This is a fabulous overview of the processes and thoughts behind the creation of U2's mega-hit The Joshua Tree. What you have is a series of sit-down interviews with the members of the band, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Flood, Anton Corbjin, Paul McGuinness...just about everyone that had a hand in the process. Perhaps the most interesting bits are when Bono and Lanois and Edge are behind the mixing desk and they are adding in and cutting out the various tracks of a few songs that did or didn't make the final versions. It is extremely interesting to hear how the songs began and how they ended up. Plus, the background stories on the songs were interesting along with the original hunches on how a song would be received or performed.
I found this video highly enjoyable and I certainly learned a lot. I do wish though that it was longer and covered more of the songs off of this magical album!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Classic Albums

DVD title: Styx - Return to Paradise
Productgroup: DVD
Styx - Return to Paradise - movie DVD cover picture
Concert Paradise

This is an exceptional DVD. The sound and picture quality are excellent. Tommy Shaw and Dennis DeYoung are both in fine form. Styx can really put on a great concert and this DVD shows it. Tommy Shaw is particularly full of energy. Check out "blue collar man," "Boat on the River" and "Renegade" and you can see why this band has been able to rock on even with its personnel changes. Tommy Shaw is still leading the band and he knows how to play a crowd.

Studio: Bmg/Sanctuary Records Group

DVD title: Mortal Kombat
Productgroup: DVD
Mortal Kombat - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent Workout tape

I first heard this music years ago and loved it. The pulsating bass/tempo is perfect when I'm lifting weights or running. It's got that "I can't help but move to this music" feel that really keeps you moving. Fun stuff.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Christopher Lambert
Robin Shou

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best Buffy Season

The best Buffy season of them all. It has all the best scenes: Buffy's[]dance with Xander, Angelus, Spike at his hottest, Spike talking about people as "happy meals" on wheels. If you're going to buy a Buffy DVD set, buy this one.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Joss Whedon
Seth Green
Charisma Carpenter
Sarah Michelle Gellar
David Boreanaz

DVD title: Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Like good alcoholic beverages, it improves with age...

I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't too impressed with The Phantom Menace upon first release. The plot seemed to have no relation to Episodes IV-VI, Jar Jar was annoying, and Obi-Wan didn't look or sound like, well, Obi-Wan.
Well, Episode II changed most of that.
Looking back at The Phantom Menace, it truely is not that different from Episodes IV-VI. Sure, the technology is better, and the budget is bigger, but it's in the same vein as IV-VI.
This DVD has set a high bar for the five following it to reach. The video and sound quality is excellent. The extras are par none. The commentaries provide interesting information, unlike many others. And the deleted scenes allow us to see what the Special Edition of Episode I will probably look like if Lucas is alive in 2019.
I only have one minor complaint: there were some other deleted scenes, even very small trims that would have required little/no effort to finish, that were left out, one of which (the "swamp + active lightsaber = dead lightsaber" snippet) is needed to make the Obi-Wan-chased-by-STAPs scene make sense.
All in all, definately worth the money.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: George Lucas
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman

DVD title: Crusade - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Crusade - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
A Promising Beginning Never Given a Chance to Grow

When TNT saved the day and gave Babylon 5 its fifth year, they also asked JMS about movies and spin offs. The result of these talks was this show, designed to take place after the movie A CALL TO ARMS.

Set five years after season 5 ended, Earth has been hit by a plague. While the planet is quarantined, the government sends a crew out on Excalibur, the newly complete ship build with Minbari help. Their mission is to explore other worlds and hopefully find a cure before the virus destroys all of life on Earth. The crew is made up of Earth Force personnel and civilians, including an archeologist working for IPX and an alien thief who is the last of her kind.

Unfortunately, we only ever got thirteen episodes of the show due to creative difference between TNT and JMS. As such, it's really hard to judge. Compared to Babylon 5, it seems weak. But then again, the first thirteen episodes of Babylon 5 are the weakest of that series. Comparing the two sets of thirteen, these come across as stronger. I have faith in JMS to say that what we have here is the foundation episodes. Once we got to know the characters, things would have taken off. Sets and special effects have gotten an improvement as well, even if many of the larger effects come across as cheap by today's standards. The tone is slightly different, with more of a horror feel to many of the stories and a darker feeling overall. The music is a bit odd and doesn't seem to fit, often jarring me out of the episode instead of pulling me in like it did on Babylon 5.

This set gives us the thirteen episodes on four DVD's in their original broadcast order. This isn't the order JMS prefers, and it does cause some continuity issues. Frankly, I'll take them in any order since the beauty of DVD is I can watch them in the correct order easily. I was surprised to find the picture full frame. I don't know if that's all that was available or not, but the picture does seem sharper then the Babylon 5 picture ever was. Sound is a full surround mix. Extras on the set are in line with other Babylon 5 releases. There is a commentary on one episode by members of the cast and crew. JMS also recorded a commentary on what he wanted the pilot episode to be that gives hints about what would have come had the series continued. Because Warner Brothers edited it, it won't be on subsequent pressings, so if you want to hear it, get it today. The final disc has a documentary on the creation of the show (think the intros to seasons on the other sets) and another one on creating the ship itself.

This is a hard show for me to watch. It begins to get traction just as its ending. And I really want to know how the show would have continued beyond these episodes. Still, I'm thrilled to have it to complete my collection.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Peter Woodward

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
A Hint of Things to Come

While some people think the first season is weak and a little corny, I love it. I appreciate every episode, and this seasons is just brimming with possiblities. This set contains all 12 episodes of the first season, which I'll briefly summarize, without spoiling anything.
1. Welcome to the Hellmouth: Buffy transfers to Sunnydale High, where she meets her new Watcher, Giles, and friends Xander and Willow. The major villain of the season, The Master, is introduced. Includes a Joss Whedon commentary.
2. The Harvest: The second part of the season opener, Buffy and friends must stop the Hellmouth from opening. Includes a Joss Whedon commentary.
3. Witch: A great episode, Buffy tries out for cheerleading with some serious competition. Lots of twists and turns, keeps you guessing till the end.
4. Teachers Pet: Quite funny, Xander falls for a substitute teacher who isn't what she appears. Lots of funny moments in this one.
5. Never Kill a Boy on the First Date: Probably, the weakest episode in my opinion, Buffy's date does not turn out as planned as she tries to stop the Annointed One from rising. A great conversation between Buffy and Giles at the end though.
6. The Pack: The gang takes a field trip to the zoo where Xander and a few other students become possessed by evil hyenas. Poor Principal Flutie, he doesn't deserve this.
7. Angel: I doubt this will spoil anything, you'll already know if you have a TV. Angel is revealed to be a vampire, and we learn of his curse. Touching ending.
8. I Robot...You Jane: My personal favorite episode of the season, Willow is highlighted as the main character. A demon named Moloch is released onto the internet, causing various chaos. I love Gile's explanation of why he doesn't like computers at the end.
9. Puppet Show: A whacky episode, but offers plenty of surprises. Buffy thinks the ventriloquist dummy is stealing organs from students. I dare you not to laugh when Xander picks up the dummy.
10. Nightmares: Everyone's nightmares comes true, causing a world of chaos. Buffy must find the source and stop it before the world goes crazy.
11. Out of Mind, Out of Sight: An invisible girl targest Cordelia after she was ignored by everyone in school. An interesting and creepy ending.
12. Prophecy Girl: Joss Whedon's first directed episode of the show. Giles discovers in an ancient book foretelling Buffy's death at the hand of the Master.
Joss wrote 5 of the 12 episodes, and most are solid. Things are a bit whacky at times, but I love each of these episodes. I urge you to buy this dvd and fall in love with the Buffy universe like I have.
The video is decent, there's quite a bit of grain, but the show was shot with a 16mm camera for the first two seasons. It really isn't bad, and you only notice it during the night scenes, but it is annoying. Sound is nothing special, basic tv sound, available in Dolby Digital. Along with the commentaries, there are a couple of interviews with Joss and David, the show trailer, and some DVD Rom features.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Sarah Michelle Gellar

DVD title: National Lampoon's Animal House
Productgroup: DVD
National Lampoon's Animal House - movie DVD cover picture
Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!

John Belushie from SNL delivers one of the best preformences ever i love this movie.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Landis
John Belushi
Karen Allen

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