Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Baron Baptiste: Live - Core Power
Productgroup: DVD
Baron Baptiste: Live - Core Power - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent short practice for focusing on your midsection

This video is part of Baron's Live! series: each video was filmed during a large, live class. Core Power is a shorter, more concentrated version of Baron's more lengthy practices such as Soul of Strength. Given that it is a power yoga workout, the practice moves along at a fairly brisk pace, although Baron also builds in time for restoration throughout.

The practice begins with several sun salutations to warm up; each downward dog is held for several breaths. Following this, Baron skips standing poses and moves directly to the floor to focus on poses which engage the entire core area, particlarly the abdominals. Baron alternates between postures to stretch and lengthen the abs--e.g., bow, camel, bridge--and those that are designed to build strength, including crunches. At times, Baron moves quickly from pose to pose, but he uses postures like boat to provide longer, isometric contractions. The practice ends with a brief svasana, but since the music continues as the credits role, you could easily hold this relaxation pose for a longer period.

I really enjoy Baron's teaching style, which I find to be very accessible for all levels (although absolute beginners to yoga will want to learn the poses elsewhere). At 23 minutes, this is an excellent short practice for days when you have less time and/or when you want to focus specially on core work.

Studio: Good Times Home Vide
Baron Baptiste

DVD title: The Truman Show
Productgroup: DVD
The Truman Show - movie DVD cover picture
Creative, thought-provoking, Carey should be proud!!

I loved this. It was creative, thought-provoking, and I can surely hope that Jim Carey is proud of himself. He was made to do this. Don't go see this movie with the expectations of a rubber-face comedy, any one who does will be P.O.ED!! It was a wonderful drama, and a gem of the movie business. It brought up a creative idea, and, might I say, the idea was so original. It was one of my favorite mobies of 1998. Two Thumbs up!! :)

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Peter Weir
Jim Carrey

DVD title: Playing by Heart
Productgroup: DVD
Playing by Heart - movie DVD cover picture

Before I saw the movie, I thought the reviews here were pretty exaggerated, or were just a really big fan of, hmm lets say Gillian Anderson *which I am, by the way* BUT this exceeds all my expectations. EVERYONE was amazing, even if the story lines were a bit subtle than your typical mall movie. But the writing was pleasantly witty and intelligent, and John Stewart CAN ACT, guys! He's great. Really wish we'd see more of the characters they created!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Willard Carroll
Angelina Jolie
Dennis Quaid
Gena Rowlands
Sean Connery
Gillian Anderson
Anthony Edwards
Ellen Burstyn
Jay Mohr
Ryan Phillippe

DVD title: The Lumiere Brothers' First Films
Productgroup: DVD
The Lumiere Brothers' First Films - movie DVD cover picture

Imagine seeing beautiful moving images from the 1890's! It's fascinating to see the buildings, clothing, and vehicles of the time.
The prints are very clear, and the commentary by Bertrand Tavernier is amusing. This is clearly a production that was made with care and love.
I'm submitting this review in the hope that sales of this wonderful disc will increase, allowing Image Entertainmment and Kino Video to continue to produce such treasures.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Lumiere Brothers
Bertrand Tavernier

DVD title: Laura
Productgroup: DVD
Laura - movie DVD cover picture
Preminger's Hauntingly Beautiful Masterpiece

LAURA is arguably Preminger's finest hour(and twenty eight minutes), one of his greatest contributions to American cinema.His breakthrough work,dreaded in production and beloved in theatrical release,many things contribute to the brilliance of this work-the lush, romantic score and theme song-the shadowy,oscar winning B&W photography , arguably best work of actors Dana Andrews,Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb, a clever screenplay,silky smooth Hollywood editing and excellent support from costars Vincent Price and Judith Anderson- it is ultimately Preminger who holds it all together until it's final,shattering image, a symbol of love,obsession and death.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Gene Tierney
Dana Andrews

DVD title: Image of an Assassination - A New Look at the Zapruder Film
Productgroup: DVD
Image of an Assassination - A New Look at the Zapruder Film - movie DVD cover picture
THE assasination film renovated using current technology...

This film is for the true Kennedy assasination history buff. Told initially from Abraham Zapruder's perspective, the viewer gets a whole new angle on the assasination that's well told and quite informative in that much of this information (Zapruder's actions following his historic filming of the assasination) has rarely been seen/told before. We see the "trail of the tape" as it's gone from Zapruder's camera to it's current location in the National Archives, along with many interviews with key players along the way (...even one televised interview with Zapruder himself only hours after the assasination is shown). Then we follow along as the original film is painstaikingly re-photographed frame-by-frame by experts to allow it to be renovated using today's current computer technology...the result is an unbelievably clear and at the same time gruesome re-playing of that fateful day (this really makes one re-think the conspiracy theories when you see the "head-shot" as it seems almost impossible for that bullet to come from behind...). Four different presentations, some in slow motion, of the renovated film are shown along with a detailed discussion of how this was done supplement the historical "feel" of this tape to give the viewer a truly magnificent visit back to November 22, 1963 in a whole new context.

Studio: Mpi Home Video

DVD title: Alien Quadrilogy
Productgroup: DVD
Alien Quadrilogy - movie DVD cover picture
In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream With Joy

Oh yes, this sprawling 9 disc set covers just about anything and everything about the ALIEN series and a must for any serious fan of the movies. A theatrical and an alternate version (with extended and deleted scenes, especially with the second, third and fourth movies) of the four films are included. Commentary from the director, film crew and cast members are included on the alternate audio tracks. Each film have a separate disc chock full of background materials. A ninth disc contain even more supplementary materials for the first film, and trailers and promos for the other three.
ALIEN - The very first one remain my personal favorite. While it seems many fans prefer the sequel, one should be reminded there wouldn't be a sequel without the groundbreaking and often imitated but never surpassed original. The Director's Cut of ALIEN have some new scenes in it (Lambert plotting the course to the planetoid, Lambert slapping Ripey, the cocooned sequence), but there were other cuts in the film so in end it was a couple of minutes shorter than the original.
The cast and crew commentary and the background materials on ALIEN was everything a fan could hope for, almost everybody was involved: Ridley Scott, all the cast member (yes, even Sigourney Weaver) except Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto, Jerry Goldsmith, and even the reclusive HR Giger (who seems to be morphing into the likeness of his work).
Material from the Laserdisc release of ALIEN was also included, which made for a fascinating read when it comes into the genesis of the script and the structure of the film, inlcuding pages from O'Bannon's original screenplay which featured 6 male crew members.
Many of the background featurettes include alternate shots and other footages of the film never seen before (the alien's tail about to stab Brett's back, Kane actually being hauled into the ship, Veronica Cartwright falling on her butt after being sprayed with "blood", actor Jon Finch as Kane before being replaced by John Hurt). There are even more alternate deleted and extended scenes not included in ALIEN's 25th anniversary DvD release.
The 25th anniverary release have two alternate audio tracks which featured Goldsmith's original entire score for the film, but it is not included here.
ALIENS - Although I like this film a lot, ultimately, the stereotypical gung-ho attitude and over the top performance of the actors who portrayed the ill fated space marines made ALIENS a bit uncomfortable to watch at times. In any case, there is no comparing ALIENS and its predecessor: both films are in completely different genres. ALIEN is a masterpiece in suspense and horror while ALIENS is a wild shoot 'em up action flick.
Once again, the deleted scenes added depth and scope to the film. However, the scene where Ripley discovered a cocooned Burke was not included in the film, or anywhere else in the extras, which was a disappointment.
ALIEN 3- I particularly dislike this film because it made everything that happened in ALIENS totally pointless. ALIEN3 is also a bit famous (or infamous) for the epic battles that David Fincher supposedly fought with the Powers That Be at FOX. The liner notes did some attempt at damage control; but the fact that Fincher did not participate in the release (the only director from the 4 films to do so), and other reviewers' opinions to the contrary of what the liner notes claimed, one can argued that ALIEN3 WAS an artistically compromise project. Of the four films, ALIEN3 has the most in terms of extended scenes. But extended or not, the deaths of Newt, Hicks, the android Bishop and Ripley made ALIEN3 a rather depressing film to watch....and you'd think in the future, there would be an Asian who can speak unaccented English!
ALIEN RESURRECTION: A slight improvement over ALIEN3, by the time this film came along, we have known too much about the Aliens already and are no longer afraid of them. So we end up with a particularly nauseating monster made from the genes of humans and Aliens (which met an equally nauseating end). The extended version has a totally different title sequence that was almost comedic, and alternate ending had Ripley #8 and Call on Earth (won't spoil you on where they landed).
Speaking of Call, Winona Ryder was totally miscasted as the dimunitive tough talking android.
In any case, this collection has basically almost everything you want to know about the Alien series. The bonus material on the first two films are worth the price themselves. The extended scenes on the last two films made them better and improves on them.
BTW, the original ALIEN's running time was close to 3 to 4 hours. I wonder if THAT would be released for its 40th anniversary.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Sigourney Weaver
Ridley Scott

DVD title: Black Hawk Down
Productgroup: DVD
Black Hawk Down - movie DVD cover picture
war: what is it good for?

Currently, Black Hawk Down is only playing at four theatres nationwide. I was lucky enough to find one of them. I was not, however, lucky enough to score a ticket. Did I let that stop me? I think not. This is a brilliant movie, summed up perfectly by its epigraph: "Only the dead have seen the end of war." This movie is so good, I want to post Ridley Scott the 8 bucks I should have paid to see it. It was refreshing to see a war movie that didn't resort to hokey sentimentality but still had heart and humanity.
As an added bonus, this film is a veritable who's who of young up-and-coming British actors (if you like that sort of thing - I know I do), featuring Ewan McGregor (sigh), his Trainspotting costar Ewen Bremner, Ioan Gruffudd, Orlando Bloom, and others. It's fun to listen to them attempt American accents, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I'm easily amused, in case you haven't figured that out.
Josh Hartnett also proves he is more than eye candy. The boy can act! I hereby forgive him for Pearl Harbor.
I could go on and on, but there's no need. All you need to know is that it's amazing.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Ridley Scott
Josh Hartnett

DVD title: Scary Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Scary Movie - movie DVD cover picture
It's so funny it's scary.

You all heard about this movie called Scary Movie. Well for one thing it's the funniest movie ever made. It mainly was made to poke fun at Scream and I Know What You Did Lat Summer. That's why it's so funny. The sick jokes are the funniest. In my opinion the drug jokes are the funniest part. My favorite part is when the killer is chillin' with a group of guys and they are smoking pot out of a fish tank. This is the funniest movie ever made. Watch it tonight.

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Anna Faris
Marlon Wayans
Jon Abrahams
Carmen Electra

DVD title: About Schmidt
Productgroup: DVD
About Schmidt - movie DVD cover picture
Nicholson Delivers Another Oscar-Caliber Performance

Anyone who is a part of Corporate America can sympathize with Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson)- He's dedicated his life to his job, and mere days after retiring, he not only finds all of his files in the company's trash, but finds himself obsolete and unwanted by his former co-workers as well....His feelings of purposelessness and isolation are further compounded by the death of his Wife, and the discovery of her long-ago infidelity with his best friend.
Warren decides to hit the road in the mobile home his Wife loved, and head off to help his Daughter with her upcoming wedding. His future In-Laws, headed up by Kathy Bates, are a comedy gold-mine, and Bates provides one of the most jaw-dropping shocks/laughs in recent movie history. At it's heart, About Schmidt is a small film about the human condition, and Nicholson's wonderfully warm and restrained performance is perfect. The narrative device the film uses (Schmidt writing letters to his African Foster-child, Ndugu) allows Nicholson to show both the put-upon outer Schmidt, and the "Mad-as-hell-and-not-gonna-take-it-anymo re" inner Warren. It's nice to see Jack in a more restrained role than what he's generally known for. It's a wonderful performance in a film full of wonderful performances.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Alexander Payne
Jack Nicholson
Hope Davis
Dermot Mulroney

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