Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Outlaw Josey Wales
Productgroup: DVD
The Outlaw Josey Wales - movie DVD cover picture
Eastwood's Masterpiece

Aside from his multi-Oscar-winning 1992 film UNFORGIVEN, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, released in the summer of 1976, may very well be the pinnacle of Clint Eastwood's career both in front of and behind the camera. This is an epic western where Eastwood leaves behind the Man With No Name persona he had cultivated in the spaghetti westerns of director Sergio Leone in the 1960s. For here, he is a man with a name...and a conscience to go along with it.

Eastwood's Josie Wales is a Missouri farmer making out a quiet life for himself amidst the turbulent end of the Civil War who must watch in horror as marauding Union men tear up his land and kill his family. Joining up with a group of Confederate rebels to "set things right", Eastwood soon finds himself on the run from a Union detachment, led by his former commander (John Vernon) and a ruthless soldier (Bill McKinney, who portrayed one of the evil mountain men in DELIVERANCE). In his travails through the Southwest, he makes friends with a wise old Comanche (Chief Dan George) and makes an effort to find peace. But when the Union men close in on him, then he is forced to resort to violence.

A fairly long film, at 135 minutes, and riddled with scenes of occasional violent gunplay and sex scenes, THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES nevertheless shows a more human side to Eastwood's persona than the more modern-day Dirty Harry films. This is in large part due to the complexity of the character as laid out in the screenplay by Phil Kaufman (who was the original director, but was replaced by Eastwood after the two men clashed) and Sonia Chernus, from Forrest Carter's book "Gone To Texas." It also gives Eastwood a chance to stretch himself as an actor with some memorable one-liners, particularly in a scene involving a bounty hunter (John Davis Chandler):

Bounty Hunter: "You're a wanted man, Wales."
Wales: "Yeah. You a bounty hunter?"
Bounty Hunter: "A man's gotta do somethin' for a livin' these days."
Wales: "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy."

As is commonplace with Eastwood as a director, he gives some of his favorite fellow actors prime supporting roles for their talents, George in particular, but also Vernon, whose role as a sympathetic heavy is as rich in complexities as Eastwood's Josie Wales. John Quade, John Mitchum, Royal Dano, Sondra Locke (soon to be Eastwood's beau), Matt Clark, and Paula Trueman are among the other actors that give good support to Eastwood.

Filmed in various parts of California, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada and complete with a superb score by Jerry Fielding, who was nominated for an Oscar here (as he had been on THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS), THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES proved not only the magnitude of Eastwood's talents, but also the durability of the western genre in the morally complex world of post-Vietnam America. It is strongly recommended.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Sondra Locke

DVD title: All Thumbs - The Complete Collection
Productgroup: DVD
All Thumbs - The Complete Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Frankenthumb is the BEST!

This is a great series. Sometimes you just need a laugh, and this package will deliver. Frankenthumb is fantastic. Be sure to watch the cast interviews and other special features. These are often as good as the feature.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Steve Oedekerk

DVD title: Combat - Season 1, Campaign 1
Productgroup: DVD
Combat - Season 1, Campaign 1 - movie DVD cover picture
A Real Classic

Like most I first saw COMBAT in my early teens. For 5 years Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. was reserved for ABC and this series. As a kid of course the shoot'em ups are what grabbed you. Having not seen the series for over 30 years I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it as good as I remembered it but even better. Some really excellent scripts that put most of the dreck shown today in the trash heap where they belong. Selmur Productions spared nothing in turning the show out. They budgeted around $125,000 per episode which was quite high for the early 1960's. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason were officially the stars but this was truly an ensemble cast most of whom are sadly gone. When it came to directors the show also struck gold with the likes of Richard Donner and Robert Altman in their early days. The production values were also quite high with the company having access to acres of European type villages and buildings on MGM's back lot and the U.S. Army providing quite a few vehicles and tanks.

There is a minor controversy among some reviewers as to the order of the shows on the DVDs. They are not in order of when they were first broadcast but the order in which they were produced. So the 1st episode broadcast was "Forgotten Front" but it was the 6th episode produced."A Day In June" which is first on the first DVD , was the 11th show broadcast but the 1st produced. You can go to "" by the way to find a listing of all episodes.It has listings by order of first broadcast as well as order of production. In the end a minor quibble. What matters is that a real classic is finally available
in excellent transfers. Tuesday nights are once again reserved.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Vic Morrow

DVD title: Ah! My Goddess - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Ah! My Goddess - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
One of the most powerful anime movies I have ever seen!

This movie is a must have if you enjoyed the Ah! My Goddess OVA series and more so if you are amoung the many who felt that the story could've benefited from more than five episodes. The movie remains true to the OVA although there are some animation difference. For example, the coloring done on Belldandy's facial features are slightly different. I would hightly recommend that one watch the OVA series before the movie although it not a necessity. I say it because it helps to get an understanding of the characters as there is very little in the way of introduction to the three goddesses in the movie. The plot of the movie is very intriguing and is very good example of the good anime that is out there if you are willing to search for it. The soundtrack is incredible especially the song which the three goddesses sing at the end.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Hiroaki Gôda

DVD title: Luther
Productgroup: DVD
Luther - movie DVD cover picture
Luther, the man, his demons, and his reawakening

I remember seeing this movie in the local movie house and really enjoying it. Stacy Keach does an excellent job as Martin Luther as tortured soul and spiritual leader. When I first saw this film of the play, LUTHER, I enjoyed it because I love history. When I watched it about 5 years ago, as a practicing Roman Catholic, on VHS it made me appreciate and understand Luther, the man. And while I may not agree with Luther's theology, I am sympathetic to his search and understanding of God's grace. I especially like the way this film develops the relationship between Luther and his mentor, Fr. Johan Von Staupitz, who, by the way, never became a follower of Luther, remained in the Roman Catholic Church, and as a result was sent into a type of house exile by the Church, because of his relationship with the reformer.

If you like good acting, history, and a good story you will enjoy Luther.

Studio: Kino International
Director: Guy Green

DVD title: Gods and Generals
Productgroup: DVD
Gods and Generals - movie DVD cover picture
The Civil War; This time it?s personal.

Wow, this really brings it home. The war where both sides were right and fighting for freedom.
I watched this well after all the critics who totally panned this movie went on to rave about much simpler and amusing offerings. Remember that "musing" is defined as "To be absorbed in one's thoughts; engage in meditation" and "amusing" is the lack there of.
That appears to be the basis of most critics' comments; lack of thought or meditation on what they saw. The movie was too deep for them; they looked for, and did not find, a simple protagonist / antagonist relationship or a quick and complete resolution to the conflict at hand. Perhaps the critics themselves couldn't pick which side to cheer for given the complexity and conflict of the issues at hand. But it is precisely those things that define why the civil war was so tragic and why it had such a profound impact on our nation. I dare to say there are not many today who would take up arms for causes such as those.
The treatment of the topic in both script and cinematography brings the conflict deep into the heart and mind of anyone daring enough to ask the question, "what if I had to choose?" This was a very low-tech war fought with what we now consider to be antiquated tactics; this movie does not need special effects to accurately depict what took place (sorry critics).
I recommend this movie to anyone willing to let history speak for itself.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Jeff Daniels
Stephen Lang
Robert Duvall

DVD title: Jurassic Park (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Jurassic Park (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the greatest experiences in the history of cinema.

This movie was an AWESOME AWESOME experience when it was released in the theatres. Very few people will forget the experience. I know I don't

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Sam Neill
Laura Dern

DVD title: 24 - Season Three
Productgroup: DVD
24 - Season Three - movie DVD cover picture
An original, fast-paced series...

First airing in November 2001, 24 quickly established itself as one of the best television series around and solidified itself as a cult classic icon. Utilizing a novel premise, each season of 24 comprises a single day in lives of its characters, with each of the 24 episodes representing a one-hour time segment of that day. Kiefer Sutherland stars in the imminent role of Jack Bauer, a government agent periodically faced with enormous challenges within a single day. Each season is reminiscent of a fast-paced Hollywood action thriller, but it's only a busy day in the life of the heroic Bauer...

Season 3 begins almost three years after Jack's successful thwarting of a terrorist conspiracy to nuke Los Angeles. An extremely powerful drug kingpin, Ramon Salazar, has recently been captured and imprisoned due to Jack's efforts, but the Salazar case is far from over. Ramon's brother contacts federal authorities and threatens to release a deadly virus on the American public unless his brother is immediately freed. Yet again, Jack is tasked with hunting down the terrorists in a 24 hour timeframe... Will he succeed? Or will innocent people die in mass?

The 24 (Season 3) DVD features a number of breathtaking episodes including the season premiere in which a dead body is tossed just outside of a healthcare facility in Los Angeles. The Counter Terrorism Unit quickly learns that the body is infected with a deadly virus, a blatant signal of blackmail when the unit learns of a threat to release the virus at large unless drug lord Ramon Salazar is let out of prison. Meanwhile, President Palmer is preparing a presidential debate in the company of his brother (also his chief-of-staff) and his doctor (also his girlfriend), and Kim who now works at CTU with Jack has secretly been dating her father's partner, Chase Edmunds... Other notable episodes from Season 3 include (#53) in which Jack is taken hostage in an inmate riot while trying to break Ramon out of prison, and (#71) in which Jack is on the verge of discovering the location of the deadly vials...

The DVD Report

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Kiefer Sutherland

DVD title: Supergirl (Limited 2-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Supergirl (Limited 2-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
suprising dvd

what a supise that they released this dvd to us. this movie was a flop in the theatres, however i love all the same. the featured that are found here are truely remarkable! i was very pleased to see the menus and the extra stuff on these 2 discs. the commentary of the director alone is worth listing to. the listner can learn the special effect that went on making this move. some of them were very hard to come by, knowing that cgi was not even heard of at the time. i hope that they will make another supergirl or even superman for that matter. i know that w/ cgi, the effect will look so real.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Faye Dunaway
Helen Slater

DVD title: The Big Lebowski
Productgroup: DVD
The Big Lebowski - movie DVD cover picture

The Coen brothers' best film, in my opinion. Bridges is very funny and Goodman is brilliant. I'd give it six stars if I could.

Studio: Usa Films
Director: Joel Coen
Jeff Bridges
John Goodman

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