Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Don't Look In The Basement!
Productgroup: DVD
Don't Look In The Basement! - movie DVD cover picture
Don't Look for the Widescreen!

Gotta warn you of one thing - it says above that this movie is in the widescreen format... nah-ah, it's full screen, there's no letterbox. That was kind of a downer because I'm a big fan of the director and have seen this movie many times and was looking forward to seeing what I was missing on the sides. But, aside from that, this is great - the transfer's good, the gore is (apparently) intact (I read an interview with Brownrigg once where he said they used real animal intestines in one scene and when they tore them open they'd started rotting in the heat and all the actors were about to throw up, and you only see a _little_ hint of some innards toward the end, but those may have never made it into an official print, anyway). This movie is incredibly cheap, often really funny (ol' Mrs. Callingham, gotta love her! :) ), but still has this unrelenting aura of insanity. It's goofy... but it breathes down your neck. And it's amazing that a horror movie works so well when the colors are some of the brightest you're ever going to see in a movie. My friends and I can practically quote this one word for word... even if it's not letterboxed, I'm glad that someone had the good taste to release this excellent obscurity on DVD! Completely weird and unique cheapie... definitely worth checking out if you're into the strange stuff. :)

Studio: Diamond Entertainment
Director: S.F. Brownrigg

DVD title: Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) / Jean-Pierre Vincent · Paolo Olmi - G. Furlanetto · Szymtka - Opéra National de Lyon
Productgroup: DVD
Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) / Jean-Pierre Vincent · Paolo Olmi - G. Furlanetto · Szymtka - Opéra National de Lyon - movie DVD cover picture
A wonderful production of "Le Nozze"

The Marriage of Figaro on this DVD is a good one, boasting fine acting and splendid voices.

The production is done at the Opera National de Lyon with its small and intimate stage and is performed before a live audience. Paolo Olmi conducts the orchestra. The sets have an attractive pastel quality without being overdone and the costumes fit the period for which the work was written. Also, the camera angles and video switching is well done.

This opera was one of three where Mozart used Lorenzo Da Ponte for the libretto and with the same results: a plot full of twists, suspense and surprises. Add to the words, the great music of Mozart, and you have a winning combination.

Stellar performances by Giovanni Furlanetto as Figaro, Elzbeta Szymtka as Suzanne, Ludovic Tezier as the count, Janice Watson as the Countessa and Francesca Provvisionato as Cheribino highlight the opera.

Although this cast does not have the blockbuster stars to sing the leading roles, it does have actors and actresses that seem to have a special sexy chemistry with each other that makes for a wonderful presentation. They are young, vibrant, enthusiastic and committed to the roles they are portraying onstage and yet at the same time seem to be having a great deal of fun.

A wonderful production of "Le Nozze": one you will be happy to have in your collection of great opera.

Studio: Kultur Video
Director: Maté Rabinovski

DVD title: Velvet Goldmine
Productgroup: DVD
Velvet Goldmine - movie DVD cover picture
An Excellent peice of Glam History

Don't expect a fully comprehensible plot, or that you're going to become well-acquainted with the characters, who stay as ambiguous as their respective sexualities. What you will get is an amazingly alluring portrait of glam-era London and some great music (any movie that kicks off with Eno's great "Needles in the Camel's Eye" deserves special praise). Ewan MacGregor is smashing as the Kurt Cobain-Iggy Pop hybrid Curt Wild. MacGregor and Christian Bale have a sex scene, imagine that! "Velvet Goldmine" is shallow, but nevertheless great fun.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Todd Haynes
Ewan McGregor
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Live action anime

Awesome! It really plays like a live-action anime. The first chapter seems a little stilted, but as the movie progresses, it really opens up. In a very wierd, and somewhat disturbing way, it's a barrel of laughs. The Monty Python-esque blood is a nice touch, too.
Tarentino does not disappoint with Kill Bill Vol. 1. I can't wait for the second one!

Studio: Miramax
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
Lucy Liu
Daryl Hannah
David Carradine
Michael Madsen

DVD title: Jungle 2 Jungle
Productgroup: DVD
Jungle 2 Jungle - movie DVD cover picture
An excellent movie for the whole family

Tim Allen, Martin Short and others shine in "Jungle 2 Jungle", one of the greatest Disney family films ever. The story is enjoyable, the scenery is great, the acting is top-notch, and overall, the film is hilarious. The whole family will enjoy this movie. Can't wait for a DVD release.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: John Pasquin
Tim Allen
Martin Short
JoBeth Williams

DVD title: Red River
Productgroup: DVD
Red River - movie DVD cover picture
The Duke in his first grey hair role

This is one of those odd, great films about a love affair. In this case it is a love affair between John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. Joanne Dru even mentions it when the two men are fighting presumably to the death. "Can't you see you love each other?" The film used a special filter that made the clouds look incedibly...cloudy.This was the first of the John Wayne films where John Wayne becomes recognizable as the bigger than life guy the impressionists still imitate. There is one scene that I can't figure out. Watch as Joanne Dru gets hit in the shoulder with an arrow. How'd they do that? Very good film. Tom Willett

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
John Wayne
Montgomery Clift
Joanne Dru

DVD title: Napoleon Dynamite
Productgroup: DVD
Napoleon Dynamite - movie DVD cover picture
Should be some Oscar nominations here. But there won't be.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I put this DVD in the player. In the first 15 minutes I was expecting the typical comedy to script itself out. After about 20 minutes I realized that I was watching a movie about nothing, and that it was all about the characters, and the story was only about the way things happened in this place at this time. There was no plot, no story, no was just about the people. And the people were people that I knew. People that everybody knows and people that everybody is. We knew these people and the recollection either makes us happy or makes us cringe because we remember how we reacted to them...Gosh.
While the script probably shouldn't be given Oscar consideration, it is too bad that the actors won't be. There should be nominations here for lead actor and at least 2 supporting, but that ain't gonna happen. It's really sad. Because "Napoleon Dynamite" wasn't a mainstream movie, the performances here will be ignored for others of lesser merit.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jared Hess
Jon Heder
Jon Gries
Efren Ramirez

DVD title: Harakiri (1962) (Sub B&W)
Productgroup: DVD
Harakiri (1962) (Sub B&W) - movie DVD cover picture

What is the nature of honor? That is the main theme of this movie. Much as the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" dealt with the nature of beauty, good and evil, by justaposing the characters' outward appearance, status, etc., with their inner-truth, this movie deals with the concept of honor in a similar fashion. The main character is an impoverished samurai who became a ronin when his master was ordered to commit ritual suicide for repairing the wall to his castle (the Shogun felt this was in preparation for war). Our main character is denied the honor of committing suicide to accompany his master and instead is tasked by his master with watching out for son. The movie shows how this once proud member of the elite samurai class deals with the hardships of daily life as a poor, single father. Throughout the movie, he is forced to make several difficult choices that affect him, his daughter, son-in-law and dying grandson. This is contrasted with the life and activities of a powerful samurai clan with which the main character becomes involved. This clan of "honorable" samurai are viewed in their elegant castle replete with Zen gardens and Buddhist artwork. The occupants of this splendid structure, however, are self-serving, scheming people who view our main character with contempt and as someone who is an embarrassment as a samurai. You can also see the palpable fear on the part of the clan members because they see how easily their fate could become the same as his. In the end, our main character shows that it is not the trappings and "things" in life that make a man honorable, but something much simpler . . . the choices one makes on a day to day basis. Oh, yeah . . . the climax of the movie features an incredible fight between the main character and the entire clan of samurai to whom he tells his story.

This movie is letter-boxed black and white and the scenery and cinematography are beautiful! The climactic battle is done in the understated, economic manner consistent with classic Japanese films and is beautiful to watch. So far, this is my favorite movie of the genre and is well worth checking out.

Studio: Panorama

DVD title: All Over The Guy
Productgroup: DVD
All Over The Guy - movie DVD cover picture
An entertaining romantic comedy

At first, I was somewhat put off by the put-downs and the slick, all-too-witty repartee between ALL the characters, but as I settled in and the MOVIE settled in, we all found common ground. By the end, I was really moved and enchanted by the terrific writing and the wonderfully understated performances of the three leads. Bucatinsky obviously knows whereof he speaks, and his touching wrap-up is guaranteed to bring tears to anyone who's been there. And you'll know if you've been THERE!

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Julie Davis
Dan Bucatinsky
Richard Ruccolo

DVD title: The Spitfire Grill
Productgroup: DVD
The Spitfire Grill - movie DVD cover picture
A touching, hypnotic character study.

After five years in prison, Percy Talbot begins anew in Gilead, Maine, where she works at the Spitfire Grill. The hidden wounds of Percy, Shelby, and Hannah bond them together. Actions and words that show the trust that grows between the women is touching. Percy, a grungy, charismatic Appalachian woman, reads The Odyssey in her spare time, and speaks eloquently and simply of her hurts, her strengths, and her observations of human nature. The beauty of New England glows in this story of hidden secrets, hope, redemption, and the power of human love. The characters are so real that, at times, I felt I was watching them on a stage rather than a screen. The lessons of love and reaching out are caught in my heart. END

Studio: Castle Rock
Director: Lee David Zlotoff
Alison Elliott
Ellen Burstyn

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