Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: 8MM
Productgroup: DVD
8MM - movie DVD cover picture
Disturbing and Thought Provoking

I saw 8mm in the theatres and was completely moved by it. It's a no holds barred look at a very well concealed facet of the entertainment industry. Pornography. Specifically the film deals with a "Snuff Film" or film in which an unsuspecting person is murdered, which are still only urban legends. It's also the ultimate test of good versus evil. Where as a Character who represents the good, becomes submerged in darkness and the test is put forth of "Will the character defeat this darkness and overcome it, or will he/she fall prey to the temptations offered?" It's an emotional ride to the very end. It's not for the faint hearted or easily disturbed, but it will gratify the mind as well as the soul.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Joel Schumacher
Nicolas Cage

DVD title: I, Claudius
Productgroup: DVD
I, Claudius - movie DVD cover picture
if this doesn't get you interested in history, nothing will

Engrossing, wonderfully told tale of intrigue, lust, power, deception and of course, murder that follows in the wake of the ambitions of ancient Rome's first "familia". Brilliantly adapted from the Robert Graves's intelligent novels (among my favorite works in print), this series is ranks among the greatest television's ever produced.
It comes as no surprise that this comes to us from across the water--a 30 year old BBC production that owes as much to art direction and production values (even on a TV studio using video) as to the powerful performances by Britain's premier actors.
Many of them, such as Derek Jacobi, John Rhys-Davies and Patrick Stewart (yes, that Patrick Stewart), hail from the country's Shakespearean ranks which adds extraordinary breadth as well as credible gravity to their roles. Brian Blessed gives an inspired performance as the remarkable, complex, and ultimately troubled Caesar Augustus. The absolute best, in my opinion, is Sian Phillips as his Machiavellian wife, Livia, the prime mover of the story's Byzantine plots and machinations.
This is drama of the highest order and on the grandest scale--no stupid, white trash mob family beheading each other over garbage routes--an entire Empire is their chessboard. On every level (including the far more artful and judicious use of violence), "I, Claudius" makes overrated shows like "The Sopranos" look like the cartoons they really are.
If you are not accustomed to deliberately paced, sentient drama, or particularly like Roman history, I recommend renting it first. Then sit back, and take a nibble to have a taste of what American television could and should be. (But beware of the plums and the mushrooms!)

Studio: Image Entertainment
Derek Jacobi

DVD title: Celebrity
Productgroup: DVD
Celebrity - movie DVD cover picture
It gets better every time

When I first saw CELEBRITY, I hated it just as much as most of my fellow reviewers. But, I'm a die hard Allen fan, so I saw it again. The film seemed different the second time, the message seemed more defined, but it wasn't like it had changed since the last time. The difference, I knew when it was going to end. The first time it seems to drag on and on . . and on. But the second time round, you are free to listen and absorb everything a lot easier. This is a great movie, with an excelent cast and some hilarious moments.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Woody Allen
Kenneth Branagh

DVD title: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Productgroup: DVD
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - movie DVD cover picture
A lovely comedy all can relate to

As a comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is supurb. It also excels as a warm human story. Everything that I have seen or participated in at a wedding, both good and bad, is chronicled in this movie. If you want to feel great you should experience "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". It's the funniest; I mean guffaw, rolling-in-the-aisles, movie that I have seen in decades. And, there's a plus - children enjoy it, too.

Studio: HBO Home Video
Director: Joel Zwick
Nia Vardalos
John Corbett
Michael Constantine

DVD title: On Golden Pond
Productgroup: DVD
On Golden Pond - movie DVD cover picture
One Genuine Movie Classic!

I remember with fondness having been booked into a seat next to one of Jane Fonda's production assistants flying back to Boston from Los Angeles early in the 1980s. This was how I learned of the film shooting going on that summer up in rural New Hampshire at Great Squam Lake (the actual setting for the mythical Golden Pond). I really enjoyed having an animated conversation with the young lady, who was obviously very bright and very knowledgeable about various aspects of the movie production, and made sure I was in line to see the new film when it within the following year. Evidently it was rushed through both production and release due to Henry Fonda's failing health and the desire to try to set him up for would certainly be his final attempt to receive the Academy Award that had so long eluded him. After seeing the movie, there was doubt he deserved the award he eventually received for this role of a lifetime.
It was indeed a bravura performance, one that is as quintessentially American as apple pie or the fourth of July, and one that will long endure as both a popular and critical favorite. Fonda played Norman Thayer, last of the great American curmudgeons, to perfection, and did so with such convincing energy and verve as to remove any and all doubt he knew from personal experience of what he spoke. Moreover, Everything about the production is first rate, from the splendid adaptation of the Broadway play to a screenplay to the wonderfully bucolic and even idyllic setting of one of New Hampshire's more scenic and pristine lake areas. The cast is also superb, and I was quite surprised that Katharine Hepburn did not receive an Oscar for her stellar performance as Ethel Thayer, the long suffering but devoted wife to Norman.
Also quite good is young Doug McKeon, playing the young and challenging son of the Thayer's wayward daughter's boyfriend, dumped on the elderly Thayers for the summer so the boyfriend and daughter can escape to France for a much-needed romantic escape. It is the developing relationship between Fonda's character and the young boy that ignites Thayer's compassion and warmth to show the warm and vibrant man lurking underneath that crusty exterior. In this sense, the son becomes the catalyst for Thayer's reconciliation with his daughter, which has been Ethel's most fervent hope for the summer. The movie is, for me at least, sheer magic, and I marvel at the banter and repartee written so intelligently into the script, for such wit and warmth is quite rare in today's films, which so often seem to be constructed around demographic appeal surveys rather than meaningful story lines. This one is a keeper, folks, and one you will want to see again and again. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Mark Rydell
Katharine Hepburn
Henry Fonda
Jane Fonda

DVD title: Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Historic Telecasts with George Szell (Mussorgsky / Beethoven / Berlioz / Mozart)
Productgroup: DVD
Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Historic Telecasts with George Szell (Mussorgsky / Beethoven / Berlioz / Mozart) - movie DVD cover picture
Morini Alone is Worth the Ticket Already

Recommended for :

(i) the nice and rather easly listening repertoire;

(ii) it gives us a much better idea of how Szell conducts;

(iii) we could readily compare Szell with his successor Sir George Solti, and

(iv) most importantly of all, we have Morini, one of the greatest violinists of the century (from the Viennese School) playing Mozart-- her footage alone is worth the ticket already, especially for those who have a ear or taste for the more refine and assuring sort of music and suffice to say that among all violinists of the past, Hilary Hann would particualarly love to see Morinin at work!

The sound is indeed quite good and the picture is more than acceptable.

Studio: Video Arts Internati
Erica Morini
George Szell

DVD title: Brazil - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Brazil - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Simply Stunning. The best DVD title I have ever purchased.

Firstly I want to mention that there's 2 current marketed versions of this film on DVD.

One of them is a single disc version and then there's this: 'THE CRITERION COLLECTION'. Do yourself a favour and only go for The Criterion version. It is simply stunning.

You get 3 DVD's. The first of which is Terry Gilliams version of the film. This is the way it was meant to be seen. The 2nd is a fantastic jam packed DVD full of awesome information, documentaries, notes, story boards etc to cover the film. In fact it claims Terry spent 3 years putting all this fantastic material together. Then if that's not enough, on the third DVD you get the controversial 'happy ending' version. This film was the way Terry did NOT want it to be viewed. The powers that be, took it out of his hands and when you watch the 2 films in sequence, the first being Terry's version, you can see why he didn't want the movie to be viewed like this. The happy ending simply detracts from the overall point of the film. Brazil is not a love story. It's the story of a man who represents on some level how most people are. That is, people just want to lead a normal life, without interference and with freedom. Brazil is a vision of how the world could and in some ways has become. The story is focused on how the powers that be get so embroiled in there own deluded world that they have lost touch with what's really going on. An 'ivory tower' situation. The film basically shows the disintegration of an innocent man who is part of an over beurocratic system that has gone too far and shows how such a system is the destroyer of freedom. The bleak ending and I will not say too much in case you havn't seen it, does actually have a good theme to it. That is that there are some things that no one has control over, that no one can get to and at the end of the day the individual will have forever.

In short this package is the best DVD set I have ever purchased. It's simply stunning. If only more DVD titles where treated with the same care. DON'T get the single disc version as it's got next to no features. Not even an audio commentary and that brings me to the last point for my conclusion.

The audio commentary by Terry is absolutely a standard in film audio commentaries for DVD's to come. Most commentaries have a bunch of begrudging actors giving the odd laugh and sounding really bored to the point that you wondered how much they where paid to be there.

Terry, puts zing and life into it. I found myself fascinated by all the care and detail he went to, all the things he wanted to put into the film but couldn't due to budget constraints, fantastic imaginative ideas that went into working out the sequences. It's like listening to a magnificent story just to hear the commentary.

If your a fan of Brazil, you deffinately should get this. If your new to the film, this will give you a real appreciation for it. It's got great picture quality. The sound is fine (no it doesn't have 5.1 surround sound, but it does have stereo surround, I don't feel Brazil is the kind of movie that needs 5.1 anyway). It's sound just mentioned is great and a far cry from the old VHS copy I used to watch. The bonus features are simply amazing and basically it's not only the best version of Brazil available it's the best DVD title I have seen to date period.

All the best and enjoy,
Sean A. Curtin

Studio: Criterion Collection
De Niro
Terry Gilliam

DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
No power in the 'verse can stop me! Except the FOX execs...

I loved watching "Firefly" when it was on TV. I didn't get to watch it regularly because of other evening commitments, but if I'd known they would air just 15 episodes before those gorram FOX execs axed the show, I would have taped those 15 religiously. This DVD has given me a chance to right that wrong.
All we can do at this point, my dear fellow fans, is show as much support for the "Firefly" franchise as we can. BUY BUY BUY the DVD! Buy one for yourself, one for your sister, one for your brother, one for your dog... And when the movie comes out (2005!!!), go see it as many times as you can, with as many people as you can!!!
The FOX network execs are obviously on some sort of mind-altering drug to cancel as show this awesome. Hopefully with enough fan support, we can show them through their drug-induced stupor that they really need to bring it back.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Nathan Fillion

DVD title: Margaret Cho - I'm the One That I Want
Productgroup: DVD
Margaret Cho - I'm the One That I Want - movie DVD cover picture
Surprisingly Inspirational

This has to be one of the best one woman shows I have ever had the opportunity to see. The material is both comedic and tragic (they go together)The well blended material about reaching the heights in Hollywood and crashing to the bottom. Never once wallowing in self pity Cho takes us on journey through self discovery and how show learned to love herself. Well written and performed the DVD is going to part of my permamanet collection. There is so much to take in that with repeated viewings one would not get bored. I cannot recommend this more. I wish there were more than five stars to give which is not something I give lightly.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Lionel Coleman

DVD title: Duel (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Duel (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
it's about time

wow they are finally putting this one onto dvd. i already put my order in and can't wait to get it. this movie is a very fast paced suspenced unboring movie. one of the best i've seen. i recomend this one.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Steven Spielberg
Dennis Weaver

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