Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: K-PAX
Productgroup: DVD
K-PAX - movie DVD cover picture
Do I hear Oscar Bell Ringing?

A mysterious and extraordinary mental patient, named Prot, convinces both staff and fellow patients that he comes from a utopian planet called K-PAX. While his psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Powell, is baffled by this cheerfully confident man, Prot's description of life on a planet 7,000 light years away awakens a sense of possibility among the other patients. The doctor gradually begins to witness that this so-called alien is having a remarkable effect on the mental health of the hospital's other patients. When Prot says he's going back before the summer ends, all the patients in the ward vie to go with him. As the days before Prot's announced departure from Earth race by, Dr. Powell struggles with questions of science. Determined to prove the stranger is nothing more than a tragic victim of multiple personality disorder, the doctor soon finds himself doubting his own diagnosis.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Iain Softley
Kevin Spacey
Jeff Bridges

DVD title: Forrest Gump
Productgroup: DVD
Forrest Gump - movie DVD cover picture
A touching movie!

Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies. I first saw it when I was 8 and now I have it on video and I watch it almost every week. I think it is the best movie ever made

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Tom Hanks
Robin Wright Penn
Gary Sinise
Sally Field

DVD title: Tarzan
Productgroup: DVD
Tarzan - movie DVD cover picture
Best use of CG to date, visually rich and lush, great music!

This movie comes alive combining well inked and colored panels and excellent CG, that is an improvement over techniques used in Mulan made the prior year. This is a strong story with great characters and we rank it 8th of the now 50 Disney animated films that we own. This is also some of the best music we have seen since Lion king and Beauty and the Beast. The bad guy is very bad without being darkly so as in Hunchback of ND. This may not end up as one of the new classics that, say Aladdin or Lion King have become, but this is one of Disneys best effort.

Studio: Disney Studios
Tony Goldwyn
Minnie Driver

DVD title: Karen Voight - YogaSculpt
Productgroup: DVD
Karen Voight - YogaSculpt - movie DVD cover picture
The Nordstrom of Yoga Videos

Karen's new videos will leave you refreshed and invigorated. Once I have completed this challenging video, I feel stretched, strengthened, toned and very peaceful. If you are just starting out, be patient with yourself. Yoga will develop patience, character and strength. Think of each posture as a goal; by the third or fourth time, you may achieve what you see. This video is a combination of Pilates and Yoga. Ordering a sticky mat is essential (information is included in video pamphlets) so you don't injure your muscles by slipping on a carpeted surface. There are no spiritual references and Karen's calming voice leads you through the poses in her organized way. The music is very relaxing and almost makes this the Nordstrom of Yoga videos. I recommend walking for at least one half hour before attempting the stretching exercises. This helps to warm the muscles and allow for a deeper stretch.

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Karen Voight

DVD title: Taste of Cherry - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Taste of Cherry - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Khayym at 24 FPS

Khayy?m was a few centuries before Nietzsche and Sartre in his questioning and denial of religion and god. It should also be no surprise that he was the contemporary of Khawrazmi, the Persian mathematician who has given the world the idea of zero, or NOTHING.
The abstraction of nothingness as dust is prevalent in Khayy?m's work. So it is in this presentation. The alienation of modern man from nature too ties Kiarostami and Khayy?m in an inverse manner, where Khayam saw all nature as nothing, except for the short flash of life, Kiarostami presents nature as a flash in a lifetime, of course along a long and winding road, where a single taste of cherries is equivalent to taking in the whole universe and attaining the freedom to evaluate life on YOUR own terms. If you choose to forgo cherries and mulberries to spare the ones you wish to live better, it is true shining of life.
The "naturalist" who tries to convince our hero, who is as bitter as any "Omar", that the taste of cherries is sufficient to give meaning to everything and make up for all angst, survives by stuffing birds. Are these not the same 900 year old birds who in Khayy?m's poetry ask the question of being and nothingness from atop ruins of bygone kings?
There is not enough room here to get into the cinematography and camera work in this movie. Obviously Kiarostami has watched a lot of Kurosawa too. None the less,
the final scene of the movie is simply beyond expectation. In the age of cold "media", the use of hand held video makes reality into a story, no matter how elating or how painful it might have been, it cools it to a story to be reviewed. Kiarostami uses this device to review a whole life before it is extinguished.
There must be an equivalent to "reviewing one's life" in Khayy?m's work which I have not discovered, at least not succinctly yet. Kiarostami may know it but doesn't, or can't tell us. But, so it was Khayy?m's problem.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Homayon Ershadi

DVD title: Ronald Reagan - The Great Communicator (Complete Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Ronald Reagan - The Great Communicator (Complete Set) - movie DVD cover picture
The Ultimate Tribute

I had the privilege of watching a preview of this DVD and highly recommend it for its artistry and historical completeness. Regardless of your political views, by purchasing this remarkable DVD you will not only be enriching your own knowledge of the late President and his times but providing an excellent educational resource for your children, especially if they are too young to remember the Reagan era.

Studio: Mpi Media Group
Ronald Reagan

DVD title: Gladiator
Productgroup: DVD
Gladiator - movie DVD cover picture
My Favorite

This movie was the best of the summer. Great acting, plot, and cinematography were the best. This has been my favorite movie so far this year!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Ridley Scott
Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen

DVD title: Titanic
Productgroup: DVD
Titanic - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing !

You know how one day, at a certain age in your life, you see this REALLY great film and it just haunts your mind for days on end?
And then, you turn back and see it again, and instead of thinking it was great, you could picture it on the next episode of Mystery-Science Theater?
That's how I felt about this movie. Seriously. I just have to say, I was seriously hooked into this film and hypnotized by the freakin' Enya-like music that droned on and on, letting up only when there was an action scene, when the music was then replaced by pieces of Horner's ALIENS that must have been left on the cutting room floor of that film. And I must have seriously been on something when I thought that Kate and Leo were really, really good. It took Siskel and Ebert's annual movie-trashing right before the Oscars to wake me up.
Yes, this movie is haunting and yes, for a moment, everyone DID enjoy that stupid song by Celine Dion. Now, she can proudly hoist that film up in the air and join the ranks of the other stupid "diva" singers like Houston and Streisand who think that they're so great when, in all reality, they're nothing but over-rated, over-blown lounge acts.
And I DID pick TITANIC accurately in the Oscars. Not because I liked the film that much, it's because I knew that it couldn't possibly lose due to the budget of a small country and the wanna-be epic-like production, reminscent of Forrest Gump(another piece of overrated junk that gave Tom Hanks the ultimate complex and somehow convinced himself that he could be a great serious actor).
All I have to say now is that I am sorry for EVER thinking this movie was great. It was basically the Wizard hiding behind the curtain instead. James, all I have to say is suck it up. Open up the last of your champagne, get drunk, try and call your ex-wife who thankfully left you(perhaps because she escaped the hypnotism?) and apologize to her for being such a moron to her.
Why, you ask? Because STAR WARS is coming. Everyone took their eyes off it because of TITANIC. It ain't happening again. And all you little young, teenage girls who weep and sigh when Leo shows his pre-pubescent chest to you can go ahead and tell me that nothing will ever beat TITANIC. I have news for you, ladies. When people sell-out theaters for THE WATERBOY and MEET JOE BLACK just to see the new STAR WARS trailer, I think that means that Lucas is about to repeat history. Especially when critics and box-office analysts predict that it will make $200 Million in the first week, I think that means that TITANIC will sink again.
And all the doubters will sink with them.
Good night and God Bless,
Matt Perri, Pleasanton, CA

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: James Cameron
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kate Winslet

DVD title: Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Eegah
Productgroup: DVD
Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Eegah - movie DVD cover picture

Torn between two lovers. That's the problem our intrepid fresh-feeling heroine faces. First is Arch Hall Jr., the spam colored boyfriend who endlessly sings about other women. Then there is Richard Keil without the metal teeth who has a penchant for eating shave cream. How can a girl decide? Her father is no help as he encourages Eegah to paw and maul her. But Eegah is a sensitive caveman, always remembering to carry Roxy's purse.

Studio: Rhino Video
Michael J. Nelson
Joel Hodgson
Trace Beaulieu
Kevin Murphy (II)

DVD title: Mulholland Drive
Productgroup: DVD
Mulholland Drive - movie DVD cover picture
Paranoia, desire, crushed ambition, realizations of self...

This movie was not intended to be shown in one sitting. Originally conceived as a television drama (much like Twin Peaks), it only became a film when it was not picked up for a television market. David Lynch then re-imagined what he had already created and worked to fashion a film, seeking foreign producers and a distributor that trusted him. While this short history of the genesis of the film does not explain its intricacies, perhaps it will help to soothe the frustrations of someone watching the film for the first time. Can you imagine trying to piece together the entire history of the X-Files in one 3 hour sitting? It would be difficult at best.
In my opinion, one big clue to the movie is in the opening shot (not the beginning credits, but the first "film" frame). It is of a pillow and a sheet...that quickly dissolves into a rather nostalgic ride down Mulholland Drive (the road that runs behind the famous HOLLYWOOD sign). The movie does not return the viewer to that shot ... of the pillow again until Diane wakes up nearly 5/8's of the way through the film. It can be assumed that this whole portion of the film has been one long dream, a dream that gives us a great deal of insight into the personal desires and fantasies of Diane. The rest of the film is a mish-mash of (in my opinion) drug-induced daydreams and paranoia, seen through the beer-bottle goggles of Diane. She over-emphasizes the importance of things she is suspicious of, and sees things that are not really there--ultimately leading to her making some bad decisions that she cannot deal with.
Several characters appear in both worlds (the dream, and the warped/drug altered reality of the end). These characters, we assume, have had some kind of impact on Diane's life. Her fantasy/inner vision of the characters is seen in her dream, the somewhat-subjective reality of them revealed only in the latter part of the film. There are really only two characters that are enigmas: the person behind the diner, and the cowboy. In my opinion, the person behind the diner represents a drug dealer (making things happen) whom Diane buys from (who controls Pandora's box). The cowboy, to me, represents the simple, logical, American person that Diane hopes is out there, striving to right the wrongs of LA.
The dream sequence is Diane's subconscious exploring her feelings for the people and places in her life, and rewriting her experiences in a version she likes better (she is an amazing actress, who is only deterred from certain stardom because of a conspiracy, and who loves someone that would love her fully too, if only she really knew who she was). When she wakes up, she must then come to terms with her life, and muddle through the confusing haze of people and relationships in her life within LA culture...confusing matters incredibly with her drug/fantasy/day dream visions.
The movie is a masterpiece of writing, direction, cinematography, and ultimately conviction to telling an unconventional story...Lynch, Herring, Watts and others never waver in their commitment to the story...even when it gets scary, erotic, or convoluted. The result is an incredibly entertaining and though-provoking experience that will leave you wanting to see it again and talk to others about it. The casting is largely from television actors and recognizable faces (no doubt attributed to the fact that the film was originally going to be a television series), revealing and introducing some amazingly talented actors and actresses (Naomi Watts--clearly stretching beyond the matronly parts she has previously played, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, and Dan Hedaya in the most obvious occurrences).
The DVD is an interesting example of the mind of David Lynch. It was his express directive that there be no chapter breaks in the movie. It was also his express directive to disallow additional information beyond a cast list and the trailer. His reasoning is that the additional material detracts from the experience of the film. And in this case, he is right. The additional material would allow the viewer to remove him or herself from the film, reminding them that it all was make-believe and without meaning. In his own way, by starving the viewer of these extra tidbits, Lynch has created even more of an enigma for viewers to question well into the future.

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

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