Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Marie Osmond's Merry Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
Marie Osmond's Merry Christmas - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Winstar Home Entertainment
Kirk Cameron
Lee Greenwood
Marie Osmond

DVD title: Pink Flamingos
Productgroup: DVD
Pink Flamingos - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent movie

The warm endearing performances, the heart felt story. Finally a movie the entire family can enjoy. Heck invite Grandma and Grandpa for this one too, they'll love it.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: John Waters
David Lochary
Mary Vivian Pearce

DVD title: Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Productgroup: DVD
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - movie DVD cover picture
Lovely town, lovely story.

The sound of the Mandolin still floats in my ear, what a beautiful movie filled with sorrow. Nicolas Cage and penelope Cruz both showed in themselves vividly the attributes of their characters in those harsh times of War and love. The plot is wonderfully twisty also.
But love was not all, the heart of the story was in the little town itself. Sitting on the cliffs above the sea, the city seemed so fragile as to be easily blown away by winds, yet, it has endured hundreds of years of human and natural diversities, surviving always with such confidence and pride. And that is because though houses can crumble and blood may flow, one thing can never be changed nor destoryed, and that is the spirite of the land, which sustains itself inside the tranquility of its air, and breeds everything within. This air is so powerful, that it could bound the gaps between nations, cure the curses of hatreds, and at last make loves happen between the most unlikely people in the most unfortunate time.
Anyway, it is a very romantic film.
P.S. The war as a whole was very much been ignored, and time phase was not clear.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Madden
Nicolas Cage
Penélope Cruz

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
New Mellenium Classic

This movie is one of the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy films around. The characters are well developed along with the story. Although the movie is slightly different than the book (omissions of some characters) it still remains a solid adventure story. Please note that the 3 star rating is for the DVD, not the movie.
The disappointing DVD released in August is a let down. It only includes theatrical trailers and some made for television specials as extras. The most aggravating of which was a promo for a better DVD version coming out in November. The extras seemed to be one big commercial for future products, not giving any real insight to the planning, producing, or character development.
My advice, borrow the DVD from a friend who got snookered into buying the August version. Wait and buy the November edition which will include more sneaks of the up-coming film along with better commentary.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

DVD title: Life Is Beautiful
Productgroup: DVD
Life Is Beautiful - movie DVD cover picture
The most wonderful story about how to cope with life's tests

This movie has just totally changed what I thought a movie could do. It tares your heart out and pounds on it with a sledge hammer then gently puts it back in your chest. Roberto Benigni is just deleightful. I loved this movie. This movie should be one of those movies that everyone must see. His wife Nicoletta Braschi also gives an excelent performance. I loved the love story in this movie. And the actors had wonderful chemistry. They don't get any better than this!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni
Nicoletta Braschi

DVD title: Edward Scissorhands (10th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Edward Scissorhands (10th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Vincent Price

This movie would had bin nothing without Vincent Price as the creator of Edward scissorhand(s). He's the one the that makes this into a real fearytale.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Tim Burton
Johnny Depp
Winona Ryder

DVD title: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney Special Platinum Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Remember the 30's

DISNEY has finally come to their senses!!! I am an avid DVD collector (200+) and I do not own a single Disney-animated DVD. Why? For years, people have been begging Disney to put their massive catalog on DVD. Disney obliged and the resulting DVDs were horrible- nothing more than inadequate upgrades from their previous VHS format. Simply put, their presentation in the ever-so-popular DVD format was RIDICULOUSLY skimpy (in terms of bonus features)!!! Do you remember the 9-DVD box set they put out in 1999 for $300? They called it "The Classic Disney DVD Collector's Set!" HA!! It was a box of tripe! The box was anything BUT "classic." It included none of the memorable DVDs of days gone by. FAST FORWARD 2 YEARS...they have sold millions of "bare-bone" DVDs and now are re-re-re-re-re-releasing them to the a format they should've been in initially! Either Disney purposely planned to MILK MILLIONS from their customer base or someone threw a brick upside their heads- finally making them comes to their senses. Whatever the case, the latter case being said in EXTREME sarcasm, Disney is finally starting to release QUALITY DVDs.
The PLATINUM 2-DISC edition of Snow White is a must have for everyone. The picture and sound on both discs are flawless. The sound on each disc is THX certified and has been remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English & French). Also, BOTH DISCS have a truckload of features including rare newsreel footage from the premiere, an insightful look at the restoration process, archaic featurettes and original trailers! WAY TO GO DISNEY! This set is truly worth every penny! My only hope is that Disney will continue to do this with future titles and re-re-re-re-re-release all of the classics (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, etc.). PRE-ORDER/BUY THIS TODAY!!!

Studio: Disney Studios
Lucille La Verne
Harry Stockwell
Adriana Caselotti

DVD title: Trekkies 1 and 2 2pk Set
Productgroup: DVD
Trekkies 1 and 2 2pk Set - movie DVD cover picture
Trekkies 1 + 2

Trekkies 1 is hilarious. Trekkies have the best sense of humour . Who could imagine golf fanatics poking fun at themselves this way. And on the serious side, the amount of charity and good will that trekkies give every day is inspiring. As a trekkie for over 30 yrs, I laughed, cryed, was slighly cringing at times but overall had fun. And if you're not a trekkie, find out what it all means. It's not so scary. You'll be surprised!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Roger Nygard
Denise Crosby

DVD title: The Burning Bed
Productgroup: DVD
The Burning Bed - movie DVD cover picture
This movie will open your eyes.

In health class, I watched the Burning Bed to learn about spouse abuse. I learned so much with this touching story and I've never been a big fan of Farrah Fawcett until now. Her acting was incredibly moving and I give her a lot of respect to take on this tough role. Go see this movie and it really makes you think about this abuse and the many other women who still experience it.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Robert Greenwald
Farrah Fawcett
Paul Le Mat

DVD title: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Productgroup: DVD
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? - movie DVD cover picture
Soul shattering

The Great Depression, always written with capital letters to denote the seriousness of the event, led to great problems far beyond our borders. One of the causes of the Second World War originated in a Germany plagued by economic problems far worse than what America went through. But things were bad here, too. Although far more people kept their jobs than ones who didn't, millions of Americans queued up in soup lines, wandered the country in search of work, and couldn't pay their bills. The New Deal, despite the fawning adoration these policies receive today, did little to alleviate economic woes in the long term. Some turned to crime to make ends meet, hence the rise of Dillinger and the other famous bank robbers, but some resorted to competing in particularly grotesque public spectacles referred to as dance marathons. A grinding trial of endurance for participants, dance marathons saw couples signing up to dance for extended periods of time, sometimes up to a month or longer with only short breaks for food and sleep, in order to win a bundle of money. Audiences showed up to watch, bet on, and cheer these unfortunate wretches. Fortunately, states eventually passed laws banning these scurrilous events.

"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is a cinematic adaptation of a Horace McCoy novella of the same name. The star of the picture is Gloria (Jane Fonda), a world-weary young lady who signs up for the latest contest because she has nothing left to live for. Needing a partner, she spies a shy young fellow named Robert (Michael Sarrazin) watching the proceedings from a distance and convinces him to join up as her dance mate. Competition looks fierce, though. Sailor (Red Buttons) and his partner Shirl (Allyn Ann McLerie) look like they might put out some effort despite their advanced age. So do James (Bruce Dern) and his wife Ruby (Bonnie Bedelia) who, although pregnant, helped her man win a contest in another state. One individual who definitely looks like she won't make it is glamour girl Alice (Susannah York), whose interest lies in dolling herself up like a movie star in order to draw attention from any potential talent agents in the audience. Presiding over this gladiatorial madness is the cynical emcee Rocky (Gig Young). He stands at a microphone on the stage belting out hour after hour of running commentary on the contestants, inventing wild stories about their backgrounds in order to pump up the audience. His sole purpose in life is to put on a good show, and he won't allow any of the dancers to do anything that jeopardizes that goal.

Once the contest begins, what follows is an experience that leaves the viewer as emotionally and physically drained as the contestants. Hours turn into days, days into weeks as the participants grind away on the dance floor. Couples start to slip away, either quitting and walking off voluntarily or collapsing in a heap on the floor. Tensions pull the dancers apart, with new couplings made, broken, and reformed as time goes by. When attendance starts to lag, Rocky and his cohorts, including Al Lewis and Michael Conrad as Turkey and Rollo respectively, institute a fun new game, the Derby. This barbaric ritual requires the surviving contenders to trot madly around the outer edge of the dance floor, with the woman holding on to the man's belt, in a heel and toe race of exhausting dimensions. It's a nifty way to fire up the crowds as well as pare down the number of couples. It's also one of the sickest things you're likely to see in a film. No wonder that Gloria begins to lose all hope of ever emerging from the hole that constitutes her existence. Her exchanges with Rocky take on unsavory aspects as she fervently attempts to stay in the game. It's almost as though she senses what her fate must be if she fails to win the prize. When she finally learns the truth behind the dance contest, she must make a decision of life and death importance for both her and Robert.

Every performer with significant screen time turns in a stellar performance. It's Hanoi Jane and Gig Young that steal the show, though. I hate to admit it considering her unofficial status as a traitor to the country that allowed her to live in comfort her entire life, but Fonda really drives it home with her portrayal of the exhausted Gloria. The bitterness in her eyes and her icy tones convincingly convey the impression of a human being dangling at the end of her shattered life. Just as good, if not better, is Gig Young. His is a more challenging part in that he must simultaneously express the mentality of a ruthless self-promoter while occasionally showing us his concern for the contestants, and even then you're never quite sure whether he provides comfort because of a kind heart or whether it's just another ploy to keep the show going. Whatever the case his scene with a delusional Alice ranks as among the best in a movie loaded with unforgettable moments. The talent aside, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" works so well because the film uses the cruelty of the dance marathon as a metaphor for the callous disregard people show for the less fortunate.

I'm slightly disappointed with the MGM DVD version. The only extra on the disc is a trailer, surprising considering how many Academy Awards this film won the year it came out. I've heard of an earlier Anchor Bay release with better audio and better extras, so hopefully that disc or a similar version will receive a reissue at some point in the future. I find it difficult to believe Hanoi Jane wouldn't want to do a commentary for the film, unless she's one of those people who refuse to comment about her work. I recommend both the film and McCoy's searing novella.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Sydney Pollack
Jane Fonda
Michael Sarrazin

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