Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Doctor Who - The Caves of Androzani
Productgroup: DVD
Doctor Who - The Caves of Androzani - movie DVD cover picture
Davison finally earns some respect


Without a doubt, this is the best regeneration episode I have ever seen. To provide my main bit of criteria, let it be known that I watched the Doctor Who pledge drive on KTEH. Peter Davison himself was there when they showed Episode 4 of this adventure. That was Febuary 27, 2000. On that day, Peter Davison said that Caves of Androzani was his favorite episode, followed by Earthshock, even though that would be rather suicidal. Who knows better which episode are good ones than the Doctor himself? If you agree with my question then go ahead and buy this video. It is well worth the price.

Studio: BBC Video



DVD title: Fiddler on the Roof
Productgroup: DVD
Fiddler on the Roof - movie DVD cover picture
Bought This DVD Last Year...


...and, believe it or not, saw this film for the very first time last week! I know, part of the reason has been the fact that I don't consider myself to be much into venerable musicals (although at least two of them are on my all-time fav list: see THE KING AND I & THE WIZARD OF OZ); also, clocking in at exactly three hours as this film does, I needed to build up the patience to see FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971). Now that I've finally seen it, I want to see it again.
Norman Jewison (himself not Jewish, by the way, despite his name) directed this, the film version of the long-running '60's Broadway musical that had starred the legendary Zero Mostel. I mention this fact because of the related controversy surrounding the casting of this film. Norman Jewison had bucked the popular trend by passing on Mostel to cast Palestine-born Israeli actor Topol, who had starred in the London stage production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, in the lead role of Tevye. This hurt the Broadway star's feelings badly, as Zero Mostel had basically figured that his starring in the film version was a done deal; however, his notorious tempestuousness with film directors, plus his unpredictability on the set of the Broadway original, caused Jewison to choose the better-tempered, and less-hammy, Topol instead. (The story goes that, the following year when Norman was casting his next film, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR--another film adaptation of a Broadway musical--he called on Zero's son Josh to fill the role of King Herod. Zero was home and could be heard shouting "Tell him to give it to Topol's son!" Josh got the part, anyway.)
This film, Topol and all, is a masterpiece. It manages to tell a rather somber story while being entertaining at the same time. It contains some rather lengthy musical numbers that only serve to enhance, not subtract from, the plot. Most of these musical numbers became so popular that they are now legendary (the opening number "Tradition"; "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"; "If I Were A Rich Man"; "Sunrise, Sunset" and the beautiful closing number "Anatevka"). This Special Edition DVD boasts excellent picture and sound quality; it certainly doesn't seem like the film was made over 30 years ago!
Then there is the casting: Topol, in an instantly-career-defining role, justifies the Mostel snub all the way (sorry, Zero) with a fully-realized performance that is alternatively amusing and engaging, introspective and thoughtful, agonizing and heart-rending. His character, a lowly milkman, is the center of the world in which he lives. At the beginning, he addresses us, the audience. In the remainder of the film, he interacts with each of the other characters and, most notably, with God, to whom he addresses his pleas. His relationship with the camera is nothing short of magical, and he was well-deserving of his Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Norma Crane plays Tevye's wife Golde, who both loves and tolerates him, all at once. Molly Picon plays Yente, the irrepressible matchmaker (who, in a point of irony, does not match up any of the marrying principals). Rosalind Harris plays Tevye's eldest daughter of five, Tzeitel, in a beautiful performance of quiet understatement. Leonard Frey plays Motel (pronounced "muttle"), Tzeitel's betrothed, in an earnest performance that garnered him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Paul Mann plays huge, pear-shaped Lazar Wolf, who strikes up an agreement with Tevye to win his eldest daughter's hand in marriage. His performance is so full of vitality that it's amazing to me that FIDDLER ON THE ROOF was the very last film he would ever do. Lastly, it is of note that future "Starsky and Hutch" star Paul Michael Glaser (here billed simply as Michael Glaser) makes a notable film debut as Communist revolutionary Perchik, who wins the hand of Tevye's second-eldest daughter Hodel (Michele Marsh), much to Tevye's chagrin.
Tevye's striving to hang on to his Orthodox Jewish traditions while everything changes all about him--indeed, his world as he knows it goes from secure to nonexistent during the course of this film--makes up the majority of the plot. Frustrating his good intentions are the three eldest daughters (out of a total of five) who cause his patience to be tested, his faith to be shaken. The eldest calls into question the tradition of arranged marriages and the second calls into question the tradition of marrying an observant Jew (who himself calls into question the ancient rules of intergender public activity, such as dancing). Finally, the third daughter Chava (Neva Small) calls the whole idea of marrying another Jew into question, which leads to some of the film's most heartbreaking scenes. Oh, and while all this is going on, Czar Nicholas II stages pogroms against Jews in many towns--with Anatevka being next on the list.
With all of its subplots and activity, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF leaves you with much about which to think. For all of its musical bombast, it contains much in the way of thoughtfulness. Perhaps most importantly, it captures a people and their era that is so distantly removed from our own--and makes us care. It also contains some beautiful music by Isaac Stern, who gives such an idelible musical voice to the titular character in this thoroughly remarkable, classic film. The extra features on this DVD are also excellent. This is a must-buy for all cinemaniacs.
MOST RECOMMENDED

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Norman Jewison
Actors:
Topol
Norma Crane




DVD title: Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Finally, A Great Horse Movie!!!


I loved this movie, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see it. I love horses and so obviously I loved this movie. Spirit and his true love, Rain, have found eachother after Rain's owner, Little Creek was brought to the place where untamable Spirit was to be trained. He and Little Creek escapes together to his village where Spirit meets sassy Rain. Spirit was a great movie and I can't wait to get this untamable movie!!!Spirit was better than any other movie, it will lift your untamable spirits!

Studio: Universal Studios
Actors:
Matt Damon



DVD title: The Bellboy
Productgroup: DVD
The Bellboy - movie DVD cover picture
Bellboy Review


Just as hilarious as it was when I watched it growing up, and now on DVD. Simply excellent

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jerry Lewis
Actors:
Jerry Lewis



DVD title: Walking with Dinosaurs
Productgroup: DVD
Walking with Dinosaurs - movie DVD cover picture
Awesome special effects


This is an impressive undertaking. To make a documentary about animals that disappeared 65 million years ago but give the impression that they were filmed 'live'. The chance to see how these animals lived and interacted far outweighs the criticisms that theories have been presented as fact. A major undertaking and an awesome achievement.

Studio: BBC Video



DVD title: Full Metal Jacket
Productgroup: DVD
Full Metal Jacket - movie DVD cover picture
the 2nd half...


I watched this for my first time a couple days ago and it is a really good movie. I didn't find any problems with the DVD. The whole movie was good other tan the scenes where the beat on Pyle and Pyle comits suicide and also kills the drill instructor.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Actors:
Matthew Modine
Vincent D'Onofrio
R. Lee Ermey




DVD title: Chaka Khan: The Signature Diva
Productgroup: DVD
Chaka Khan: The Signature Diva - movie DVD cover picture
Chaka


I really did not know what to expect when I ordered this DVD. I was pleasantly surprised. Being an avid Chaka fan, I enjoyed the content and quality of the DVD. It was so nice seeing Chaka in 1981, etc. The footage is really archival and the interviews are quite interesting.

Studio: Music Video Distribu
Actors:
Chaka Khan



DVD title: Deliverance
Productgroup: DVD
Deliverance - movie DVD cover picture
A Great Film Based on a Great Novel


A classic film from the 70's, Deliverance has aged beautifully. It is still a great suspense film, disturbing in its portrayal of "city folk" against "mountain men." But more importantly, it asks the question: "what would you do in their situation?"
When the four friends depart on the river, they think they know themselves. But it's not until they're faced with life at its harshest that they know their true selves. Powerful performances by Jon Voight, Ned Betty and Burt Reynolds bring the characters alive.
Added to this excellent film are beautiful vistas along the river. The scenery alone makes this film enjoyable.
There are some immature people who can't handle the controversial scene along the river, but don't let any of them steer you away from this movie. The scene, while disturbing and powerful, isn't as bad as some narrow-minded people, insecure about themselves, think it is. This film is a classic, and stands the test of time.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: John Boorman
Actors:
Jon Voight
Burt Reynolds
Ned Beatty




DVD title: The 10th Kingdom
Productgroup: DVD
The 10th Kingdom - movie DVD cover picture
Best fairy tale adaption ever!


What a great fairy tale with a modern twist. The 10th Kingdom has humor, romance, and adventure. Everything the Brother's Grimm would have approved of! Too bad it wasn't publicized better, because this one is a classic!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Actors:
Kimberly Williams



DVD title: Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust
Productgroup: DVD
Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust - movie DVD cover picture
A D-eeper story than the last


Its interesting to me that although the movie's title character is D the movie doesn't spend as much time with him as it does with the Markis Bros and Leelu (not sure I spelled that right). But what time we do get with D and Left hand, his parasitic side kick, is quality time indeed. Unlike the last movie (made sometime in the 80s) we actually get some true insight into the character, and a little of his origins are finally revealed as well. We also get emotionally attached to the character and grow to understand why he is so distant, he doesn't age, and he knows that because of what he is he will always be alone. Lonliness seemed to be a theme that ran deep in this story. This is simply the best anime that I have seen in a long time. The lip synch is perhaps the most accurate, but this was done with the American audience in mind, and the level of detail the characters featured was simply amazing. This movie's artistry has yet to be outdone, and noone has ever done such detailed anime before that I am aware of. Additionally the animation in and of itself lacked the traditional japanese low framerate and jerky animation, the animation was smooth and fluid. Sadly the extra features section of this disk biffed it badly. The making of featurett is boring, and the sound during this feature takes a nose dive in several places. The side by side storyboard-final film comparisions are always nice, but for me making of featurettes are what can make or break the DVD extras, and the making of featurette was horrid. Once again, like the first, this one is worth buying for the film alone, as it is truely a beautiful movie that stays very true to the lost Dhampir (Dunpeal) mythology. If Blade were only half this good...

Studio: Urban Vision Enterta



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