Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Luther
Productgroup: DVD
Luther - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent treatment of the great Reformer!

I saw this movie in the theater, loved it, and made a note to buy it when it came out on DVD. I had to wait more than a year for the DVD, but it was worth the wait. This film is very well done, moves briskly, tells the story it needs to tell, never gets boring or talky, and is just very entertaining. This isn't just for Lutherans, but for everyone interested in church history or, for that matter, the history of western civilization.

This is probably the best version of Luther's life available. There was a 1975 film starring Stacy Keach (who did an excellent job), but that was a transcription of a stage play by John Osborne, and thus feels very stage-bound and non-cinematic. The 1953 version I've never seen and thus cannot comment on. But this latest version, with Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Firth, Claire Cox, and the late Sir Peter Ustinov, I can recommend very highly.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Eric Till
Joseph Fiennes
Alfred Molina
Peter Ustinov
Bruno Ganz

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
The Matrix Dominates Movie Making

While you wait for the sequels to come out in May and November, this movie is just what you need to see to understand before you see the sequels.
This is the modern masterpiece that changed Sci-fi cinema forever and deserved to get the acadamy award for best visual effects, the acting is just perfect and everything in this movie is just a perfect masterpiece for every Sci-fi lover's collection.

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

DVD title: The Killer - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Killer  -  Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
My favorite movie

John Woo is a brilliant genius. Chow Yun Fat is a brilliant genius. You put the two together and you have an over-the-top, action movie. It is a combination of my favorite director and actor. Of course that makes it my favorite movie. Of all-time. The shootout scenes are some of the most beautiful shootout scenes in history. John Woo and Chow Yun Fat bring about a lyrical beauty that just drives you to speechlessness. Chow's screen presence is something seldom seen elsewhere in all of cinema. I'll be honest. It is a very bloody and violent movie. But the intensity between Danny Lee and Chow Yun Fat has seldomly been paralelled anywhere in cinema. If you have never seen it before, try getting a dubbed version. At least for me, subtitled movies are hard to follow. If you want a movie that, for me, defines Hong Kong cinema, then this is the movie for you.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: John Woo
Yun-Fat Chow
Danny Lee
Sally Yeh

DVD title: Great Expectations - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Great Expectations - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Keep still, you young devil, or I'll slit your throat!

I must admit, this film was brilliant. I have never been so captivated by such powerful acting, intense storytelling, and such beautiful landscapes ... all created in the 1940s. The work that I witnessed in this film could rival that of most modern films today. For once, the acting was perfection. David Lean, the director, has this direct sense of finding the best actors for the roles. It is as if the actors really want to embody their characters. This was an acting driven film. Without strong players, I don't think it would have had such a big impact on me, but everyone involved surprised me. From the larger roles like Pip played by John Mills (flopsy, but filled with charisma and charm), to the smaller roles like Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) and Mr. Jaggers (brilliant portrayal by Francis L. Sullivan), everyone seemed in tune, prepared, and excited about their part in Lean's masterpiece. You just don't see acting like this anymore. My mind's eye, from reading the books, seemed to even been excited by what they saw. It was nearly as if Lean was reading my mind and casting accordingly. It was impressive, honestly, to say the least.

From my previous adventures into Lean's work with Brief Encounter (a personal favorite of mine) and Blithe Spirit (another immaculate tale), I knew he could tackle the voluptuous story of Great Expectations, but what I wasn't prepared for was the gorgeous scenery and ability to capture the sensation of the film. For many directors today, the lack of proper cinematography can sometimes ruin the themes or feelings of a film, and even sometimes disrupt the power of the actors, but for Lean this was no problem. His eye for filmmaking is unmatched, and his ability to create is on of Hollywood's greatest treats. Lean has this power to pull the right people, the best scenes (even with a black and white structure), and create the most intense themes that will continue to pull you deeper into a picture that you may think that you are not going to enjoy. There has yet to be one David Lean film that I have found distracting or below par. Lean's passion for creation is obvious with the work that he has done, which I think was rather visionary for the time. You can see it in Brief Encounter, and you can especially see it in this film. I cannot speak any higher of Lean because his work speaks for him. If you want to see cinema in its best form, I always suggest a David Lean film.

Finally, this film's structure was exactly what this story needed. While I will agree that it is a love story (and future adaptations would say it was more of a love story than anything else), Lean transformed it more into a story of discovery. This is a story about Pip, and his ability to be a person that many of us long to be. While some would have fled in the sight of an escaped convict, or at least turned them into the police, you see a very humble human going beyond that and reaching out his timid hand to help. This is what will change Pip forever. Even if we think we are going to loose that person throughout the film (when money enters the picture), we eventually see that Pip's honesty is true. Lean develops more of a relationship between Magwitch and Pip than he does Pip and Estella. This worked perfectly for me, because it allowed me to see Pip for who he was, and the heart that he had developed. While I am very happy with the ending to this film, the direction that Lean pushed us was perfect. The balance was never tipped and our foundation never broke, a rarity in cinema today.

Overall, I was more than impressed with this film. David Lean continues to prove that he was a formidable director at his time, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in more of his work. This film wasn't just about Lean though, it was the actors that carried it and built such a solid story. The reason this movie is so enjoyable to watch is because you don't see the actors, but instead the characters that they represent. They carry this film on their shoulders and never let it fall or slip. Whether you have read the story a million times or just once, or even never, this is a film that will capture your attention and excite your mind. I read a review that stated it was "intelligent", and I couldn't agree more. Lean forces you to think and commands your attention. I just wish more films were made like this today. If I could have experienced cinema in the 1940s, I think I would have been a very happy man!

Grade: ***** out of *****

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: David Lean
John Mills
Valerie Hobson

DVD title: Hilary and Jackie
Productgroup: DVD
Hilary and Jackie - movie DVD cover picture
Absolutely Brilliant !

See this movie ! It will break your heart, lift and then dash your spirits, enlighten you, elate you, confound you, and beat you over the head with its music and its truth.

Studio: Usa Films
Director: Anand Tucker
Emily Watson
Rachel Griffiths

DVD title: The Mummy (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Mummy (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Freakiest film I'd seen in years

I remember my dad taking me to see this movie in spring of 1999 when I was in 8th grade, and it had me awake all night thinking a mummy would come! Freaky fun, The Mummy is one of the most incredible flicks of that year, and one of the most successful as well. It rocks!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Stephen Sommers
Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz

DVD title: Brian's Song
Productgroup: DVD
Brian's Song - movie DVD cover picture
One Of The Best Ever!

This would have to be classified as one of the best ever.The movie depicts the friendship of Brian Picolo and Gale Sayers.The two become roommates and as a result intimate friends. As football buffs well know Gale Sayers became one of the best running backs in this history of the game. This fine movie shows the careers of the two football players from up close. Brian Picolo is stricken with cancer. The support shown him by his friens Gale Sayers is very moving and touching. The characters of Picolo and Sayers are well played by Billy Dee Williams and James Caan. The plot is well above average. I could hardly wait for a new year to roll around so thar I could see Brian's Song again. Be forewarned,this is a tear jerker but also one of the better movies you will ever see.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Buzz Kulik
James Caan
Billy Dee Williams

DVD title: Strauss - Die Fledermaus / Kleiber, Coburn, Perry, Bayerische Staatsoper
Productgroup: DVD
Strauss - Die Fledermaus / Kleiber, Coburn, Perry, Bayerische Staatsoper - movie DVD cover picture
Act 3 is Very Funny for Some People

This is an outstanding production with Carlos Kleiber's direction providing an important part of the overall excellence. The other reviewers have dealt with this but I just need to add that the female leads, Rosalinde(Pamela Coburn) and Adele (Janet Perry) are superb both vocally and in their comic acting. The only problem I have is that the VHS tape is recorded at a very high level and some distortion results. Hopefully, this is remedied in the DVD version. I am prompted to write this review to present an alternative way of looking at Act 3 which is the morning after a New Year's Eve Party. Frosch (Franz Muxeneder), the jailer, is a drunk and the beginning of Act 3 features his drunken monologue which I find the funniest part of the opera. Opinions obviously vary on this Act 3, but it is a traditional part of Fledermaus, and I think most viewers will find this excellent comedy, consistent with what has gone before. I complained about the sound on the VHS tape, but the DVD sound quality is quite good.

Studio: Uni/Deutsche Grammophon
Director: Brian Large

DVD title: What a Way to Go
Productgroup: DVD
What a Way to Go - movie DVD cover picture
It's about time!

I've been waiting forever for this movie to come out on tape or DVD. FINALLY! This is an excellent flick, I highly recommend it. Louisa (Shirley MacLaine) goes through a series of husbands searching for a simple life, but each time she marries poor and they become rich - then die and leave all the money to her! It's very cute & funny. Her marriage to Pinky (Gene Kelly) is really cute. I forget who plays her bohemian artist hubby but that bit is really funny.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Shirley MacLaine
Paul Newman
Robert Mitchum

DVD title: The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
We've Been Waiting!

What in the world took the "GOLDEN GIRLS" THIS LONG to Dvd??? THANKFULLY at last we have season One. But we WANT THEM ALL and YES we want the "GOlden Place" also! TO Rose, sophia, Dorthy and blance..THANK YOU FOR BEING OUR FREINDS!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Betty White

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