Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Point Break
Productgroup: DVD
Point Break - movie DVD cover picture
Enjoy the natural high of Point Break¿

When this movie was released in the theatres, T2 was the #1 movie. I loved T2 and when someone told me Point Break was a better movie, I thought they were crazy. Now I own both movies and I watch Point Break all the time while T2 gathers dust. Point Break is about a struggle between a rebellious surfer tribe with chief Boudy (Patrick Swazye), who lives life by their own terms, and 'the system' lead byFBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), who wants them to become productive members of society. You're never quite sure whom to rute for. You'll love to love these bad guys. Packed with action and even some comedy ..., this underrated movie ranks among my all-timefavorites. The beautiful beaches with powerful surf, one of the best chase scenes ever (right up there with Raising Arizona's) and high flying skydiving scenes make this movie perfect for DVD. I'm glad the producers have taken the time to create a quality DVD withwidescreen anamorphic picture and DTS sound. Pick this one up when you get the chance, it's a great movie with excellent replay value.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Patrick Swayze
Keanu Reeves

DVD title: Eating Out
Productgroup: DVD
Eating Out - movie DVD cover picture
A Very Fun Film

I saw this film many months ago at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Yes the guys are very hot! But the film is also a lot of fun. Director and writer Q. Allan Brocka has a way of making films with twists and turns and not merely predictable plots with ending you would expect 10 minutes into the film. This film is at times sweet and endearing, but it still has Brocka's dark and caustic edges too, producing some quite stinging and sharp lines. Numerous times I was howling with laughter after what some character said. Great film!

Studio: Ariztical Entertainm
Director: Q. Allan Brocka
Scott Lunsford
Jim Verraros
Emily Brooke Hands

DVD title: The Pianist (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Pianist (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Brilliant and ultimately redemptive

It's hard to watch this film and not think of the situation in the Middle East today. What is worse, being stuffed into cattle cars and sent to death camps or being blown up by suicide bombers (or bulldozed by machines of steel)? For me the answer to this strangely relevant question is the former. I know that the old Jewish Defense League that I recall from my college days, whose slogan was something like, "Never Again," would agree and so would most of the population of Israel. I think the terrorist Islamic groups ought to be required to view this film and/or some others like it on what happened to the Jews in Europe during the time of the Nazis so that they might have a better appreciation of why they will never be able to overrun Israel and why the United States continues to support Israel even while questioning some of Sharon's policies.
Director Roman Polanski tells the familiar horror tale, this time with a concentration on the Jews of Warsaw and in particular on the famed pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman. (The screenplay by Ronald Hardwood is based on Szpilman's memoir). Polanski spares us none of the brutality or the sadomasochism that is an inevitable interpretation of the events. He has the Jews meekly acquiesce to the increasingly horrific Nazi demands, and then has them just lie down when told to and accept a bullet through the skull.
(Actually the vast majority of the Jews were not shot, of course, since the bullets were too costly and needed elsewhere. Indeed, as long as I am doing an aside, the stupidity of the Nazis in wasting their resources in genocide contributed to their losing the war. Small irony. But of course that was a war they could not win anyway. If by some magic they could have gotten the Jews--especially Jewish physicists--to work for them, that would have been their only chance, which once again demonstrates the self-destructive nature of Hitler and his followers.)
Polanski shows us the Jews who collaborated with the Nazis and he even has a Jewish boy in the compound as they await the cattle cars selling candy at inflated prices, and then later a Nazi who talks to his Jewish workers about trading goods and says, rubbing his fingers together, "That's what you're good at, isn't it?"
It is interesting to compare The Pianist with Vittoria De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971), an entirely different sort of film, but one with a similar theme and some similar scenes as the Jews, this time Italian Jews, are loaded into the cattle cars. The experience in these films is always the same for me in at least one respect. I want so much to shout: "Do something! Don't let it happen! Charge them with the sheer mass of your bodies, if nothing else. Better to die fighting than to die like cattle." But of course I was not there. We think we know what we would do, but unless we are confronted with the actual situation, we don't know. And of course we have hindsight.
At one point, Szpilman and his brother are talking as they eat their thin soup and their bread. The brother tells him that the cattle cars are going to Treblinka but they return empty and that there are no cars containing food that go that way. He concludes, "They are exterminating us."
Polanski's point is that the Nazis were able to actually commit their ghastly mass murders (and the German populace to excuse them) because they had come to believe that Jews were not human and that they were only killing vermin. The Jews had been demonized, which is the first step toward genocide. We declare that our enemies are not human, and that allows us to kill them with moral impunity. I had a new thought while I watched this time, thinking: a respect for animals and a belief in animal rights might serve as a moral buffer so that when one group of people hate each other and begin to turn the other into animals, they will still have a step to go before they can begin the mass murders.
It is in the second half when Szpilman goes into hiding that Polanski's film distinguishes itself. Here the focus is entirely on Szpilman and his need to survive. The cinematography of the Warsaw streets, the apartments he lives in, the snow, the gray buildings, the people below in the streets, the hunger, the music that he hears in his mind but cannot play, the burned-out buildings, and then the scene in which the German officer says, "Play something" and he does. It is here that the film becomes magical and a testament to the best that is in humans. Note that the pianist has become in his beard and his persecution a Christ-like figure who never raised a hand against anyone. He is the Christ who turned the other cheek. And note that it is his ethereal talent as a great musician that saves him. This is Polanski's message and the reason he made the film. The best that is in humans can rise above the brute that is in humans.
See this for Adrien Brody, who gave it everything he had, and then some. His performance will haunt you. Polanski's clear, Hollywood-like, almost Spielbergian direction, tells the story a bit too brightly at times, and a bit too simplistically at others, but he has planned well so that in the end we see that he has told it brilliantly. For those who have never actually had the details of the Holocaust acted out for them, this will be quite an eye-opener and a chilling, depressing and deeply disturbing experience. And see it because we need to be reminded of what can happen when we give way to hate and prejudice.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Roman Polanski
Adrien Brody
Thomas Kretschmann
Frank Finlay

DVD title: Fear of a Black Hat
Productgroup: DVD
Fear of a Black Hat - movie DVD cover picture

When I watched this movie, there was a funny scene every minute. I liked the way they movie named the members of NWH Ice Cold(named after Ice Cube), Tasty Taste(named after Flavor Flav), and Tone Def(named after Tone Loc). This movie is worth every cent. Nuff Said. BUY THIS MOVIE!!!!

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Rusty Cundieff
Mark Christopher Lawrence
Larry B. Scott

DVD title: A Walk to Remember
Productgroup: DVD
A Walk to Remember - movie DVD cover picture
Mandy Moore gives a spectacular debut

I loved this movie; I saw it with my two best friends and we cried almost the whole time. I didn't think it would be that great because many singers have tried the whole acting thing and weren't very good. Mandy surprised me though; she couldn't have chosen a better movie to debut her acting skills. I could relate to a lot of her feelings being in high school myself (when I saw the movie). Shane gave a good performance also. His portrayal of a bad boy turned good, because of a girl, was very smooth. He didn't do it in just one day; he gradually did it. I think Shane and Mandy fit the parts perfectly. I also liked how the director took almost everything from the book and used it. So many movies made from books don't follow it very well.I wanted to see the movie because I read the book and I loved the it. In fact, I couldn't put it down; I finished it in one day. So, if you have seen the movie or if you haven't seen the movie, I suggest reading the book.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Adam Shankman
Shane West
Mandy Moore (II)

DVD title: The Office Special
Productgroup: DVD
The Office Special - movie DVD cover picture
A Must See for All Office Fans

I heard about these specials on the office website, and being an avid fan of the show couldn't wait to see them, but I was worried when I didn't see them on sale on amazon or anywhere else. But luckily on a trip to Britain I was able to watch both of them on the plane, and they were better than I hoped for. Now that they are finally being released on video all office fans can complete their collection, because no office collection is complete without these specials, they are absolutely critical to the show.

Studio: BBC
Ricky Gervais

DVD title: Metropolis
Productgroup: DVD
Metropolis - movie DVD cover picture
Remarkable for its depth.

The story is familiar, almost all sci-fi fans have seen the silent Metropolis but this anime realization takes on a depth that relates to its Japanese origins. The character most realized in terms of anime style is the female robot which is also deeply attached to a small radio. Both the radio and the robot echo the reframe, "who am I." The point is that this story can be taken on numerous levels and requires a thoughtful watching. Anyone looking for the simple slash and jump of much vintage anime is apt to be disappointed although some of the visuals are quite beautiful.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Rin Tarô
Scott Weinger
Toshio Furukawa

DVD title: The Amityville Horror (2005) (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Amityville Horror (2005) (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

I just saw this movie today, I can tell you this, this was some scary @$$ $h!#. I have never seen the original Amittyville, so I do not know if this is better or worse is sure was one hell of a film. I love movies brought to us by producer Michael Bay. I have seen every movie he is involved (He is my favorite director and I cannot wait for his next film -The Island), this was just as good as last horror movie he produced, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, maybe even better. Unlike many other recent horror films, this one does not fail to deliver scares. And it is so hard to point the negative facts abou this film. Sure some of the dialogue was kinda dumb, but thnat it is. This film is very creepy and intense, and it constantly plays with your mind because you'll always wonder what's gonna happen next. Ryan Reynolds makes an impressive performance playing George Lutz. I never thought that guy could ever play solmen role after seeing Blade Trinity and Van Wilder. It is not that he was bad in those films, it is just that his characters never seemed to take things seriousely. But he sure did prove me wrong in this horror flick.
Back in the 1970's, in a the town of Amityville, a young man killed his entire family. He took a rifle and shot all of them when they were asleep. He claims that he was possesed, and that the house was "telling him to kill his family" by saying "katchem and killem". One year later family by the name of Lutz moves in to the home. The head of the family George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds) wants to this to be for him to have good start with the family because he is actually not their real dad. This seemed like their house,a big home, a great price, near the river-What go possibly go wrong. However, soon after the move in, creepy stuff starts to happen. Something always causes the dog to be barking late at night, causing George agony. Also, mysterious vioces are heard in house saying "catchem and killem".Eventually, George starts to get parnoid about any little thing that goes wrong, especially when it done by one of the kids. And if that is not enough, his little girl Chelsea (Chloe Grace Moretz) claims to have an imagery friend-JODI. However she is not imaginary, she is the ghost of the girl who was murdered in that house one year. All of these factors slowly cause George to lose his mind and persuade him to kill his family.
Anyway, this new Amityville was one terrifying horror flick. It sure as hell will send a chill down your spine especially at times when you see Jodi and other demonic forces that terrorize the family. I defnietly want to see this movie again and you should see while it is still in theaters.

Director: Andrew Douglas (IV)
Ryan Reynolds
Melissa George
Jimmy Bennett (III)

DVD title: 12 Monkeys
Productgroup: DVD
12 Monkeys - movie DVD cover picture
Visually and intellectually complex

It only takes twelve monkeys, strategically placed throughout the world, to kill five billion people with a mutant virus. (Actually glass canisters are used.)
The central character, James Cole, played with heavyweight restraint by Bruce Willis, is a convict from the future where the survivors live underground, leaving the surface to the animals. He and other nonconformists live in cages and are made to "volunteer" to go back in time to search for the original virus before it mutated in 1996. Problem is they keep getting the destination year screwed up. Once they send him to 1917 and land him naked in the middle of a battle from World War I, where he gets shot in the leg. Another time they send him to 1990 where he ends up in a mental institution and meets attractive co-star Madeleine Stowe, who plays psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly, leading to an interesting subplot: shrink falls in love with her mentally disturbed patient. Brad Pitt entertains as Jeffrey Goines, a hyperactive nut case, son of a sick virologist, and leader of an animal rights activist group. He is crazy/wise.
The film is heavily populated by unfeeling, semi-competent scientists, mental patients and their caretakers. There are all sorts of apocalyptic fools ranting and raving about the end of the world, etc. Most of human society as we know it is in shadow, off camera. There's an understandable terror of psychoactive drugs among the patients. Thorazine in particular is mentioned. Cole's body is continually being assaulted by hypodermics, electrodes, the fists and boots of the guards and other hard objects. His face is continually smeared with blood. One gets the idea that director Terry Gilliam had a bad dream and wanted to share.
Regardless, this brooding, atmospheric yarn is the best cinematic sci-fi I have seen since Blade Runner (1982); and it is no co-incidence that it was scripted in part by the gifted David Peoples who helped write the screen play for Blade Runner. Never mind that time travel to the past is an absurdity. We're forced to rise above that because Gilliam presents time similar to the way Kurt Vonnegut did in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), namely that all time is happening "simultaneously" and especially right now, forever. Notice that when James Cole dies Dr. Railly is not sad because Cole lives on in the person of his younger self, the child at the airport watching his death. This will be the case for eternity.
In typical Gilliam style there are a number of funny bits in the script. After Cole beats up the pimp to save Dr. Railly, and forces a trade of teeth (to evade the trackers implanted in his teeth), and the cops come, the pimp says, all hurt, "I was attacked by a coked-up whore and a crazy dentist." Another nice touch is to have the virologist father of crazy visionary Jeffrey Goines sound like a southern politician instead of your usual mad scientist. I also liked it when psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly said, "Psychiatry is the latest religion...I'm in trouble. I'm losing my faith." She's right: psychiatry and clinical psychology in general is a secular religion less than two hundred years old that we as a society ought to regard with suspicion.
In short this is not your usual Bruce Willis outing. The action/adventure stuff is secondary to story and character development and to the social and political statements of the film, the more important of which is to protest the suppression of the individual by the larger society. The forces of evil really are those who dictate what is normal and those who enforce conformity. This film is commercially successful because many of us feel the constraints of society and can readily identify with Cole's struggle. What is worse, Thorazine and Prozac or marijuana and beer? Anyone who identified even in the slightest with this film can answer that question. The second statement is that humans are ruining the planet and should be killed to save the animals. This melancholy idea is not so far-fetched. That some cult of nuts (or visionaries, as you like) might someday infect humanity with a deadly virus so that the flora and fauna of the planet might resume their natural state is at least plausible.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Terry Gilliam
Bruce Willis
Madeleine Stowe
Brad Pitt

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 2
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Volume 2 successfully completes and concludes Volume 1

I saw a lot of great movies in 2003, and while Kill Bill Volume 1 wasn't my personal favorite, it was the most genius film of 2003 that I saw, and for that matter, the most genius film I'd seen in awhile. Volume 2 is more dramatically oriented than its predecessor, which seemed to be centered around huge action sequences. So if you're expecting more Volume 1 style action, you might be dissapointed. Personally, I wish there had been more action, but that might have ruined the film because every character that dies dies a clever, ironic death. And in Elle Driver's case, her death seems like a sick joke, but it's still funny as hell and you don't feel ripped off.
I didn't mean to spoil Elle's death for anybody reading this that hasn't seen the movie, but you should know what characters die regardless of seeing the movie or not. Basically, the audience knows loosely what will happen by instinct if they've seen Volume 1, and Volume 2 isn't great because you're in suspense, but it's great because you basically know what will happen but you're satisfied by seeing how it happens. Because Tarantino plays this out perfectly, Kill Bill Volume 2 is satisfying to the last minute.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
David Carradine
Michael Madsen
Daryl Hannah

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