Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Deadwood - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Deadwood - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Deep, Rich Vein of Lyricism Underneath the Brutality

This harsh and brutal show will offend many with its bracing violence and language, but underneath lies a deep, rich vein of lyricism.

Viewers may need to see four or more episodes before appreciating "Deadwood." Like a work by David Mamet, Tom Stoppard or Quentin Tarantino, it takes time to get attuned to the cadence and rhythm of Deadwood, including the stylized Victorian dialogue that might be called "Deadwood-speak."

The brilliant interplay of words, ideas, and characters throughout the series, though, ultimately make the viewing experience rewarding and worthwhile. Al Swearengen (played by Ian McShane) is arguably one of the most powerful characters ever to appear in a TV series, in the same league as (or even surpassing) Tony Soprano.

What is refreshingly different about "Deadwood" is that it does not seek to be "liked" by a mass audience but rather appreciated by careful viewers. Watching "Deadwood" is often an uncomfortable experience - starting from the opening scene of the first episode - but this provocative, disturbing series taken as a whole thoroughly satisfies in its extended study of human nature.

"Deadwood" does not offer its viewers the easy pleasures of a saloon, brothel, or gambling hall - on the contrary, it extends an invitation to take up a pickaxe and explore its bonanza of a claim.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Timothy Olyphant

DVD title: David Gilmour in Concert
Productgroup: DVD
David Gilmour in Concert - movie DVD cover picture

Its good to see Gilmour being showcased here at his old mucker Robert Wyatts Meltdown. Ive always leaned more towards Waters in the old Floyd debate and ive never really liked Gilmours version of the Floyd. But hearing songs like High Hopes without all the sheen and production and lazers has made me appreciate Gilmour a lot more as a song writer. After watching this ive found myself really enjoying The Division Bell. The only thing i find slightly annoying is the way that he often speaks the last word in one of the song lines instead of singing it. Only a minor quibble though, i love the choice of songs too some vintage Floyd tracks like Fat Old Sun and Syd Barretts Terrapin (what a great song). Richard Wright also makes an appearance with a rather bonkers song. Not forgetting of course Gilmours great guitar playing and some great musicians including Michael Kamen, Robert Wyatt and Bob Geldof (i thought he always hated Pink Floyd).
Anyway I write this as if my oppinion really matters but I'd recommend it.

Studio: Capitol
Director: David Mallet

DVD title: Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting/Grand Tour/Odyssey/Pains of Glass)
Productgroup: DVD
Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting/Grand Tour/Odyssey/Pains of Glass) - movie DVD cover picture
Get it much cheaper at

So what happened to your little button asking if we had a cheaper source? Doe the truth hurt?

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Capoeira 3
Productgroup: DVD
Capoeira 3 - movie DVD cover picture
The Best

I own Capoeira and Capoeira 2 and they where awesome. Capoeira 3 is no exception and has the best capoeira combination techniques I have seen. Prof. Eduardo Ferreira and his group are the real deal. I have learned a tremendous amount from this DVD and highly recommend it just as your other customers have recommended the other two DVD's in the series.

Studio: Yamazato Productions
Director: George Alexander

DVD title: Entourage - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Entourage - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best Show on TV!

Like most of you mildly miserable folks, I enjoy a healthy serving of shadenfreude when watching a show about handsome, successful Hollywood types. I like... scratch that... I feel unbridled glee when one of these beautiful people get hit with a shovelful of trouble and a cannonball in the gut of comeuppance. Sorry to say, you won't experience this nasty little feeling when watching this splendid half-hour of comedy (with just a lightest sprinkling of drama). It is darn near impossible to root against the five main leads as they navigate their way through the sun-soaked, egomaniacal LA mayhem.

The series has a dreamy, low-key flow that centers around the impossibly good-looking Vinnie Chase, a charming young actor on the rise who surrounds himself with a retinue of pals relocated from Queens, NY. Entourage boasts the most entertaining comedic TV duo since Jason Bateman and David Garrison went head to head in "It's Your Move." Vincent's older brother and C-list actor, the cocky and sublimely insecure Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon in his best role ever) is rarely seen without sidekick Turtle, the chubby yet confident gofer/chauffer/schemer. Everyone on the planet has met or hung out with a Turtle-kinda-guy, but probably none as impishly appealing.

The effortless badinage between these two (and the entire group) is hilarious, realistic and not too overboard with f-bombs and requisite, hackneyed guy talk. The exquisite Jeremy Piven plays fast-talking, ?ber-agent Ari Gold who is equally hysterical with his complete lack of caring or self-censoring and is creating a new language for hipsters today - "Let's hug it out." - in the vein of "Swingers." The scenes of unctuous Ari terrorizing his underlings at work are masterful, but the real fun is watching him at home trying to cut deals with his equally combative wife.

The grounded Kevin Connolly plays Vince's best friend and manager who keeps it real and is the only one looking for an honest relationship, a nice contrast to the one-nighters by the others. The characters have their faults, but because they rarely take themselves too seriously and realize just how lucky they are to be living in mansions and hanging with the vapid pretty people, you hope this odd yet functional family unit always comes out on top.

The writing, directing and editing is top-notch - subtle, wacky and always touching - and again, if I didn't make my point before, simply hilarious. One nitpick: the show goes a bit overboard with product placement, but hey, that's Hollywood, and they actually make light of it when Vinnie goes on the Jimmy Kimmel show. So all is forgiven. I just watched all of Season Two in one sitting (Thank you HBO for the free promotional weekend!) and it is as good, if not better, than the first.

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Addendum to a Previous Review

I gave this DVD another spin and I think I may have an interesting take. Previous comments such as "not for kids" or "not like the book" are a little too vague. After all, Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner cartoons got somewhat violent, along with newer Simpsons and Ichy & Scratchy. Profanity in movies seems somewhat a pre-requisite any more. HOWEVER, I feel the Best audience for this flick is for those of us who are still kids inside. I actually watched the movie a third time listening to the Commentary by Alec and Bo and was actually very entertaining in a "behind the scenes", sort of way. Anyway, not to go on, but it makes me laugh and sometimes pretty hard and that's called ENTERTAINMENT! :)

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Bo Welch
Mike Myers
Dakota Fanning
Spencer Breslin

DVD title: The NeverEnding Story
Productgroup: DVD
The NeverEnding Story - movie DVD cover picture
Nostalgia in a Box

I'm always amazed atthe number of people who will watch a movie, then turn to the person sitting next to them, and lament... "Ah, but you know what? The BOOK was better!"
No Kidding! Books often are! With a book, you can eliminate (in your mind) all those details which you dislike... and heighten the ones you like. It's YOUR daydream. With a movie... it's the director's daydream.
That said, I found this movie beautiful, poignant and very magical. Sure, I saw it for the first time as a child, but I'm not a child anymore, and I STILL love it. The characters and costumes are gorgeous, and I love some of the more archetypal characters. Also, the make-up effects and creature designing is first-rate for 1984. (Check out the faces of the racing snail and flying bat, or Valcor...beautiful work!)
All in all, fantasy doesn't come much better. There are but a few TRULY good fantasy movies (for kids) out there, that don't have unpleasant (ie: sex, profanity, nudity) scenes in them... namely, this one, ET, The Hobbit, The Secret of Nimh, The Black Cauldron, The (90s version of) Merlin, etc... Barret Oliver (D.A.R.Y.L) does an excellent job of playing a confused boy yearning both for his dead mother, and a world of fantasy.
If you haven't seen it, and aren't a complete critic who gets joy from finding faults with movies, then please see this. If you can suspend your disbelief and adult contempt of all things childish and playful, that is.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Barret Oliver
Noah Hathaway
Tami Stronach

DVD title: The Last of the Mohicans
Productgroup: DVD
The Last of the Mohicans - movie DVD cover picture
Daniel Day Lewis in one of his best movies....

This is a great film although the story barely resembles the book (thank God because Mark Twain trashed the book.) The film was shot in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina in the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, one of the few last stands of virgin woods on the East Coast.
The setting of the story is upstate New York in the 1700's. In those days, European settlers migrated to America and moved into the interior wilderness where they settled, built homes and farms, and fell in love with each other. In some cases, they fell in love with native American Indians. The people of Appalachia are descended from them (Cherokee, Scots-Irish, Welsh, English, Dutch and German).
The story centers on the lives of two women, the Munro sisters (Scottish descent)and the men in their immediate circle. They are connected to British officers including Duncan who wishes to marry Cora Munro. Later in the film, they become involved with a rugged trio of Americans -- an Indian father and his two sons. One son (Hawkeye, played by DDL)was an orphan white boy adopted by his father Chingichgook.
At the time of the story, the French and English are at war--again! This time the two European powers are fighting over the future of "their colonies" in North America. The local folk mostly want to be left alone, but still retain some loyalty to the British and when asked to fight the French they enlist. Not Hawkeye and his family. These men get caught up in the war only when they rescue the two Munro sisters and Duncan from some really bad Indians led by Wes Studi ("Dances With Wolves").
The differences between the "Director's cut" DVD and the lazer and VCR: The "Director's cut" reinstates film edited to make the theatrical release fit the movie house agenda of 1.5 hours (turnover)-- so, it's a longer film. The new material includes more footage showing the British soldier Duncan fighting heroically at the fort the French eventually capture, and a much longer spiel at the end of the film by Chingichgook as he prays over his dead son. If you liked the film mainly for the musical score, you may be disappointed by the DVD because the score has been reshaped. The Director says he thought it was too "cloying" so he removed it. I am speaking specifically of the vocalization ("I Will Find You") that plays when Hawkeye follows Cora and tries to rescue her.
Otherwise, it's a stunning film, shot in a stunning location and although the DVD can't match the picture on the big screen it plays well on the small screen.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Michael Mann
Daniel Day-Lewis
Madeleine Stowe

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
Often lost in the praise for this movie...

is the exceptional sound design. Understandibly, everyone is captivated by the visual effects and the conceptual genius of this film, but The Matrix has one of the finest sound designs I have ever experienced in a film. I'm not just talking about the high quality of the sound, I'm talking more about the sheer artistry of the design itself. Instead of constantly overwhealming the viewer/listener with sheer quantity of sounds and loudness, the designers have created a highly refined, artistic soundscape that becomes a character in the film. They pick and choose the important sonic elements we need to hear in order to completely involve us moment-by-moment. The sonic perspective changes constantly. We constantly jump back and forth into the viewpoint of different characters--whichever perspective best emotionally supports the story. We go from an in-your face flurry of bullets and crashes and whooshes and explosions to, within the same scene, a sudden shift to hearing just the sound of one gun's bullets dropping on the floor from the point of view of one character. Brilliant! The film is mixed very well--with a wonderfully dimensional soundstage, great dynamics, clean and clear dialogue and fantastic panning effects. I love the moments when we "break through" various video display devices to enter a scene--the sonic detail and 3D effects are wonderful. I also enjoy the imaginative solutions for the question of what something not yet invented might sound like. It is obvious a lot of care and artistry went into the sound design, and that a rare synergy of all creative elements was achieved. Sound effects work hand in hand with visuals, dialogue and music to create a totally emmersive experience--a sign that the directors considered sound an important part of the process from the very beginning.

Studio: Warner Studios
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss

DVD title: NFL Films - The Oakland Raiders - The Complete History
Productgroup: DVD
NFL Films - The Oakland Raiders - The Complete History - movie DVD cover picture
Classic!!!! A must watch for any fan of the Silver 'n' Black

There are 2 discs: The first disc features the complete history of the Oakland Raiders, from 1960 through the Raider glory days and the years when they were excilled in LA, until the present with a spot on the Raidah nation!

There are also brief segments on both discs detailing: John Madden, Lanzio, the hated imaculate Reception against the Steelers, the Holy Roller vs. SD, the Heidi game against New York, the Raiderettes (a 16 minute program from a TV show back when the Raiders played in LA), Freddy Bilitnikoff, etc.

The Secound disc was my favorite. It has about 50+ minutes of almost the entire game of "Ghost to the Post" 1977 AFC Playoff battle between our Raiders and the then Baltimore Colts. You see all the old footage from the game, the TV announcers calling it, players from the game recolecting their experiences, and the NFL films narrator. I've seen this game on the DVD 2 times in the last 24 hours it's this good. The game is brilliantly explained as the last great day for Baltimore Colt fans and how they had a swift decline in the short years after before moving to Indy.

The secound disc has two AL Davis retrospectives on equality and his reclaimation projects.

Studio: Warner Home Video

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