Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fourth Season
Productgroup: DVD
Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fourth Season - movie DVD cover picture
Everybody Loves Raymond Season 4!

This is the way seasons should be rolled out on DVD. In a consistent and timely manner. Here's the episode guide for ELR Season 4:

1. Boob Job - Debra fakes a boob job because she thinks Ray has a thing for big breasts.

2. The Can Opener - Ray and Debra have a fight over a new can opener.

3. You Bet - Ray discovers that Frank's newfound interest in him is because he's been betting with the inside information Ray's giving him.

4. Sex Talk - Ray and Debra turn to Frank and Marie for advice when their sex life diminishes.

5. The Will - Ray and Debra talk about who will get the children should they die.

6. The Sister - Debra's sister visits with news that she's becoming a nun.

7. Cousin Gerard - Ray can't stand the fact that everyone thinks he's as annoying as his cousin Gerard.

8. Debra's Workout - Debra's increased sex drive raises questions with Ray.

9. No Thanks - Debra tries to handle Marie's criticism but she blows it and Marie still thinks Debra's in the wrong.

10. Left Back - Ray's afraid that he's passing on his lack of knowledge to the twins.

11. The Christmas Picture - Ray decides to get his parents a family portrait for Christmas and they love the idea, until Debra's parents show up to be in it too.

12. What's With Robert? - Everybody starts to question Robert's sexuality when he breaks up with Amy again.

13. Bully on the Bus - Ray and Debra find out that Ally's bullying a little girl on the school bus.

14. Prodigal Son - Ray is condemned by his family for not attending mass on Sundays.

15. Robert's Rodeo - While on duty, Robert is gored by a bull.

16. The Tenth Anniversary - Ray and Debra renew their wedding vows after they find out that Ray accidentally taped over their wedding with the 1991 Super Bowl.

17. Hackidu - Ray goes too great lengths to get Ally a certain Hackidu card when he negates a deal she made with another kid.

18. Debra Makes Something Good - Ray's family is amazed when Debra finally makes something good to eat.

19. Marie and Frank's New Friends - Ray and Debra's plan of getting Frank and Marie their own friends backfires when instead of going to their house they bring their friends to Ray and Debra's.

20. Alone Time - Ray starts to wonder if his marriage is in trouble when Debra wants some time alone.

21. Someone's Cranky - Ray, Debra, Marie and Frank try to figure out why Robert's been so cranky lately.

22. Bad Moon Rising - Debra is having mood swings and Ray thinks it might be PMS but whenever he brings up PMS she gets even moodier.

23. Confronting the Attacker - Robert returns to the job but loses his nerve and quits the force to become a telemarketer. He rejoins the force however after confronting the bull that gorged him.

24. Robert's Divorce - In a flashback episode we see the events surrounding Robert's divorce.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Ray Romano

DVD title: Olive, the Other Reindeer
Productgroup: DVD
Olive, the Other Reindeer - movie DVD cover picture
How the Postman Stopped Olive

The animation looks nothing like The Simpsons, which shows Matt Groening's versatility in the animation business. The story is warm and sentimental (like the specials Rudolph and Frosty) with a touch of cynicism. There seems to be a debate here whether or not Drew Barrymore was an appropriate choice as Olive. I'll just say I think she is and we'll leave it at that. However, Dan Castellaneta (aka Homer Simpson) steals the show as the disgruntled Postman ("Bah, bug, and hum!"). Like the Grinch and Scrooge (classic Christmas crabs), he's a mean one- and determined to ruin Christmas and Olive's chances as the "other reindeer"! Also, Michael Stipe (REM) plays Schnitzel in the bar scene. Kudos to Matt Groening and merry Christmas to all!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Steve Moore

DVD title: Walt Disney Treasures - The Complete Davy Crockett Televised Series
Productgroup: DVD
Walt Disney Treasures - The Complete Davy Crockett Televised Series - movie DVD cover picture
Nice Surprise!

I purchased all 4 WD Treasures DVD sets with low expectations on the Davy Crockett set. (I was born shortly after that craze, so I never had a connection or interest in it.) The DVD set was my 1st viewing. WOW! What a surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed all 5 episodes. There were great characters, beautiful scenery and good story telling. Definitely Disney!
While some reviewers didn't care for Leonard Maltin's commentary on the DVD's, I found it provided insight into the tone and characteristics of the 2 different "runs" of the show that I might not otherwise have known. The Fess Parker interview was also a nice addition. Sure I could look up this information and read about these from another source, but it fits in nicely with this format. For those who grew up with the Disney parks it's fun to see the connections to the early Frontierland.
Over all a great presentation.

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Norman Foster

DVD title: Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera (Complete Ring Cycle)
Productgroup: DVD
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera (Complete Ring Cycle) - movie DVD cover picture
Ah Jeez!--more typical snobby classical music reviewers!

I'm not going to write my usual verbose review here. Suffice it to say that some of the unfavorable reviews here are nothing more than the haughty opinions of typical classical music snobs--you know, the kind of people who do more than anything else to discourage more people from becoming interested in "classical" (or in this case Late Romantic) music? Like every opera recording/performance--esp. one as monumental as "The Ring" cycle--this set may have its flaws, but most of the quibbles that some reviewers have with this cycle are nothing more than nitpicking. At least some negative reviewers are honest enough to admit that maybe Wagner is just "not their cup of tea" (it is certainly understandable that his grandiose gestures are not for everybody).
Let me put it this way, when one considers all the elements that it takes to bring off a successful realization of Wagner's massive conception--and to do it in the original Romantic spirit that Wagner intended (not some space age reinterpretation)--there has never been a better version of the Ring on "video" (or DVD, in this case)...nor is their likely to be, anytime soon. I would normally give this set four-and-a-half stars, but I am giving it five stars to "bring up the average" a little, since a three-and-a-half star average review is simply not acceptable--or accurate--imho.

Studio: Universal Music & VI
James Levine

DVD title: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
Productgroup: DVD
The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent Introduction

Ken Burns' Civil War is an excellent introduction to the period, told well with style. It's a documentary, not a history book. It is, however, far more accurate and balanced than other Civil War documentaries (such as the History Channel's Civil War Journal).
To hit on a couple of criticisms in other reviews, slavery as a cause of the Civil War is an argument bordering on the level of a holy war, itself. Recent magazine articles and essays have done a good job of discussing it. The result is that both Burns' view and the "Burns' is wrong, it was all about states rights" views are both simplistic. Burns' documentary does a good job of capturing the Southern view of slavery and abolition but he does over state the view of the north as abolitionist. While there were Southern abolitionists and Southern soldiers who didn't care one way or another, Burns shows quite well that without slavery there would have been no war. (The statement that the South only fought for "states rights" was actually championed in the 1880s. If states rights were the only reason for fighting the war, why did the Confederate Constitution prevent any Confederate state from passing a law against slavery, even if that state wanted to abolish it?)
To the point of Grant being the first Lt. General since Washington, Burns is both right and wrong. Winfield Scott was made Lt. General, but it was a brevet (something a little more than honorary) rank. It was a brevet specifically so that Washington would be the only man to have officially held that rank. This changed when Grant was given the rank.

Studio: PBS Home Video
Ken Burns

DVD title: Batman Begins (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Batman Begins (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best Batman Yet! Short & Sweet Review.

We Saw Batman Begins today. It was great! I'm not gonna spoil the story for you but it was sooooo cool! Batman showing how his machinary works, Bruce Wayne going thru all the torture to become A hero, Batman fighting 50 people all at once, it's just so amazing. So if you're going to see a movie this summer that is excellent, make it this one!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Christopher Nolan
Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Ken Watanabe

DVD title: The Last Unicorn
Productgroup: DVD
The Last Unicorn - movie DVD cover picture
Lovely film

The Last Unicorn is one of my favorite animated films of all time and I have waited years for this movie to be released on DVD. The soundtrack is wonderful too, and I listen to it often. You can imagine how excited I was when I got the Amazon notification that it would finally be available, so the movie itself gets 5 stars but this edition gets 1 star and deserves nothing more. This has to be the absolute worse picture quality I have ever seen on a DVD...heck the VHS copy has to be better than this. The sound quality is terrible too, sounding almost like a record, and there are absolutely no extras. Not to mention that the movie was only released in full screen, but I could have dealt with that had the rest of the DVD been done right. Artisan/FHE did such a shoddy job with this DVD that I will be very careful when picking up anything else from them in the future. I tried to return my copy, but of course since the seal was broken, they could do nothing about it so I resold it online and have ordered a no region copy of the German release, which is supposed to look and sound great. I haven't got it yet, but I recommend anyone wanting this movie to consider that for themselves. Maybe Artisan/FHE will take the hint and actually give us some credit by releasing a version of The Last Unicorn worth paying for.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Jeff Bridges
Mia Farrow
Angela Lansbury

DVD title: Dickie Roberts - Former Child Star (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Dickie Roberts - Former Child Star (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
good, no great

LOVED this movie one of the best I've ever seen. devil rabbit, insulting those punks, and the ever so hilarious:Brick wall water fall, Dickie thinks he got it all, but he don't and I do, so boom with that attitude, piece punch captain crunch, I got somethin you can't touch, bang bang choo choo train, wind me up I do my thing, no reeses pieces seven up, mess with me I'll mess you up! OH YEAH that movie rocks the house it's a must buy for all!!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Sam Weisman
David Spade
Alyssa Milano

DVD title: Finding Neverland (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Finding Neverland (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The first movie to make me cry in years

This movie is one of the most wonderful I have ever seen. It is terribly hard for movies to make me cry, but by the end of this movie, I felt so connected to the characters that I was in tears. The story is beautiful, the costumes and set are brilliant, and Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet have Oscar-quality performances.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Marc Forster
Johnny Depp
Kate Winslet
Julie Christie

DVD title: The Ref
Productgroup: DVD
The Ref - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Ted Demme
Denis Leary
Judy Davis
Kevin Spacey

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