Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Productgroup: DVD
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind - movie DVD cover picture

Even though Nausicaa is the first full-length film made by Miyazaki, it is the last one I watched. In fact I have watched Howl's Moving Castle before watching Nausicaa. If Howl is the most beautiful hero Miyazaki created, then Nausicaa is the most beautiful heroine.

Miyazaki's later adventurous film usually start with a bang and the story reach a climax after a few minutes into the film e.g. Spirited away and Howl's moving castle. With Nausicaa the story moves more slowly in the beginning to pave way for the climax toward at the end of the film. I highly recommend you to watch Nausicaa because it is one of Miyazaki's best work.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best sci-fi fantasy films I have seen.

What is the Matrix? I wasn't quite sure what to expect the first time I saw The Matrix. It looked like it would yet another special-fx movie with a boring cast (Keanu Reeves) and no story. But was I pleasently surprised. Although I could still never refer to Keanu Reeves as talented actor at least I can say he has been in a movie worth shelling out $7.50 for at the theatre. The Matrix gave me a new perspective on society. In many ways we too live in a matrix--a future that is decided for us from the day we are born. It makes you wonder if what we see and do is real or maybe we are living in a dream world. It shows just exactly what can happen once you become to dependent on your own creations. Now that's a scary thought--you invent a machine to do your chores and it instead revolts against you and takes over the world. It proves that ignorance is bliss, but that if you really want to enjoy your life you need to learn new things everyday. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone.

Studio: Warner Studios
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss

DVD title: Empire of the Sun
Productgroup: DVD
Empire of the Sun - movie DVD cover picture

This film is one of my absolute favorites. My VHS copy is now on the fritz from repeated viewings and if there ever was a film MADE for DVD it's this one.
When will it be released on the format it's perfect for!?!?!
In my mind I hear the music, the rumblings, and in my mind I see the beautiful cinematography and the gorgeous choreography of the Japanese attack on Shanghai.
Please release this film on DVD!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Steven Spielberg
Christian Bale
John Malkovich
Miranda Richardson

DVD title: Street Trash
Productgroup: DVD
Street Trash - movie DVD cover picture
Street Trash -The "Citizen Kane" of gore film genre!

This is one of those films, if it was not made in the context and style it was made in would be Trash. Virtually every frame of this movie is purposeful and lends to the movie.
After not seeing this film for about 14 years it still holds its appeal.
If you like Toxic Avenger -you will adore Street Trash.
Bill Chepil is excellent as the cop. Reminds me of real people I know!
Vic Noto is a very believable Bronson. The most believeable character throughout the entire film.
James Lorinz is hilarious -see him in FrankenHooker where, if I remember correctly, plays a main part AND a similar style funny character.

Studio: Wea Corp
Director: James Muro

DVD title: Tom and Huck
Productgroup: DVD
Tom and Huck - movie DVD cover picture

When I watch a Tom Sawyer movie, or a Huck Finn movie, I'm wanting to have fun, that's all. That's why I love 'em. Maybe from Huck I expect some touching moments, but throw Tom in and I expect 99% fun. That's why I love the movies so much more than the books! This movie is easy to play off as a film targeted at Jr. High girls, with the hopes that boys will come for the adventure angle. Well, it probably didn't work out because girls just don't seem interested in the characters of Tom and Huck, no matter who the actors are, and sadly, boys nowadays just don't care about the classic characters of Tom and Huck either. I guess there just aren't enough guns and aliens. I think only the really loyal JTT and Renfro fans went to see this, and a few guys like me, who just find Tom and Huck movies so much fun! Oh, and of course Rachael Leigh Cooke is in it! On that note, I'll say, this movie was very successful! I found it quite fun! JTT doesn't seem to have had the staying power as a heartthrob now that he's grown, but to say he was miscast was all wrong. He was great. I though maybe Renfro looked a bit too old for Huck, but I think that's because I LOVE the Elijah Wood version of Huck Finn, and he was pretty darn young in that. By the way, for the best version of Huck I've seen so far, get the Elijah Wood one, I've nearly worn mine out. If you're looking for a version true to the books, forget it. They're too controversial and frankly, have some really long boring parts, therefore I doubt a movie that's true to the books will ever be made. Anyway, as for this version, sure, it's a little obvious it's targeted at young kids, but actually, it will probably be more enjoyable for those who just like fun Tom Sawyer stories. Oh, here are two things to check out. One, the wonderful music! (Also check out the REALLY Wonderful music in the Elijah Wood film) And two, for a good laugh, pay attention to the scene where Tom and Becky have gotten lost in the cave, and Judge Thatcher gets everyone together to search for them. Here's the hilarious part, for the benefit of the expected all kid audience, Judge Thatcher basically explains the whole plot of the film up to that point, so they know exactly what is going on, who's chasing Tom and Becky, and why. It really is hilarious, but believe me, it doesn't detract to the enjoyment of the movie, only adds to it! Okay, well, that's all I'll say about it, except to add that I actually bought the soundtrack in addition to the video. Now I'm off to get a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, an animated version where Tom is a cat and Huck is a fox, etc... I believe it's fairly new, from MGM, and I hear GREAT things about it. Read the reviews here on Amazon. I'll post mine after I've seen it.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Peter Hewitt
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Brad Renfro
Charles Rocket

DVD title: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Operation 1
Productgroup: DVD
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Operation 1 - movie DVD cover picture

I never thought i'd like animes with robots in them, but when I saw Gundam Wing I was awed with how cool it was! I absolutly love the show!

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Gordon Hunt

DVD title: The Day of the Jackal
Productgroup: DVD
The Day of the Jackal - movie DVD cover picture
This is the original, great assassination thriller.

Altough this film has a plausible and entertaining storyline, it is a whimsical and naive tale of intrigue for the modern viewer. The story deals with a plot by French political terrorists who are so inept at assasination that they must hire a "professional" killer from Britain to do their work. Action scenes are blissfuly innocent by today's standards, with the villain dispatching people with one "judo chop" or trying to use a single shot .22 magnum rifle as an assasination weapon. As a background for the much more plausible and exciting remake ("The Jackal" with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere) it is an interesting historical study. END

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Edward Fox

DVD title: Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best HBO Series

Unlike 'Sex and the City' this is actually a great HBO show. It's main humor is the fact that you as the viewer know that Larry is innocent, but everyone in the show is against him. From writing a obituary with the word "aunt" but the paper accidentally publishing [the "c word"] to accidentally being labeled a racist and a sexist, to getting his friend arrested because his coat has pot in it that he was going to give to his glaucoma-plagued father, you won't stop laughing.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Robert B. Weide

DVD title: Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
This Film is Simply Good

...and that's what I think I liked best about it. Some complain that there is no plot and no jokes, yet wonder why so many of us like it enough to give it 5-stars (or offer it so many Academy Awards). The truth is what makes this movie such a gem is that it doesn't need to come out and smack you in the head with the type of dull, predicatable nonesense like most movies do these days. It reminds me of older films; not in content or style, necessarily, but in its honest simplicity. Why is it funny? Not because its a constant joke machine, but because its just the opposite. Does someone need to fall down, curse, get hurt, or otherwise make a fool out of themselves in order to be funny? Well, to most people yes. The reason why this movie is so funny is the same reason certain scenes in Casablanca are so funny, despite the seriousness of that film's subject: dialogue. Because I haven't watched the movie lately, I'll leave it at that, and asure most of you that if you just relax and don't expect to see slapstick or stupid voices or people acting foolish, you might actually enjoy a movie that is funny in its simplicity.

Another thing worth mentioning is Bill Murray's performance. Many people, including critics who enjoyed the film, thought that Murray's Oscar nomination was unwarrented; that he was simply "being" Bill Murry. That's like saying (to use the Casablanca reference again) that Bogey was just being himself and didn't have to act to be Rick Blaine. I strongly disagree. Murray's performance isn't in your face like most of his, or other actor's , performances. True, he doesn't really have to "become" anyone, but he still has to act. He has to be convincingly lonely, upset, tired, and frustrated, all the while being funny. He doesn't just do it, it does it better than most actors could. I'd hate to see Sean Penn try that, or even Jaime Fox a great actor, but when he does "funny" he can only seem to do a certain kind of in-your-face funny...that's not what this movie needed, and thank God thats not what it tried to do.

Finally, the script. Like its humor, its simply good, and charming. All it asks of us is to give up two hours to watch to lonely Americans who find themselves in the same place, waiting for things to happen. In the end, they become great friends and they decide to go out and make things happen. It doesn't need a caper of any kind. It doens't need explosions or any kind of love affair. This is a character driven Comedic-Drama (or Dramatic-Comedy) and the chemistry between the Murray and Johansen is perfect. I can't wait to see this movie again.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sofia Coppola
Scarlett Johansson
Bill Murray
Giovanni Ribisi

DVD title: The Abyss (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Abyss (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
This is the best sci-fi film of the 80's.

Cameron had to cut an additional twenty minutes from the finished film due to his "final cut" contract with Fox. The result made a film that had interesting characters and moral complexity considerably weaker and less interesting.
With the footage added to the VHS edition (it is similiar to the laserdisc edition issued a couple of years back), the film actually becomes a richer, more consistent and rewarding experience. The additonal footage adds clarity to the plot and also makes the characters more interesting.
The plot becomes a little predictable and run of the mill by the end, but it doesn't make this flawed classic any less compelling...just a little disappointing in the end. Although Cameron tends to create films that run on a little too long, usually its justified by the action and additional shadings added to the characters.
Although shot on Super 70 (one of the first films to use this format to its advantage)so that the cropped version doesn't suffer as much from the grain problems of most video transfers, the wide screen version adds to the epic elements that make this such a watchable film.
Highly recommended.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: James Cameron
Ed Harris
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

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