Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The X-Files - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The X-Files - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Fans will love this

There's much to the X-Files that's hard to defend. Whole Web sites have been devoted to nitpicking the science. Attempts to fit the X-Files episodes into an entire Universe view creates conflicts between the earliest episodes and later "mythology" episodes.
But forget all of that. What makes The X-Files great are the personal strengths and flaws of Mulder and Scully and their relationship. As with so many popular shows, it is hard to reproduce the magic found here, because we don't really understand how the magic works. It's human chemistry, and its science is more myth than flying saucers.
To round out the picture of this special series, add some high quality photography, quirky support actors and beautiful externals. Of course, don't forget the often-inspired writing, including some very wry humor: Paraphrasing since I don't have my disks handy: "He's a killer, and a golfer." "Hey, I think you drooled on me." "Can I get this off my hand without betraying my cool exterior." And my favorite, from 3: "You're really disturbing me...On multiple levels."
I could go on, but why bother. Either you're a fan or your not. Not familiar with the show? Catch it on repeats and see what you think. All that said, if you are a fan, I can't recommend the DVD collections enough. I have seasons one and two, and I have seasons three and four on my list. I may go all the way to season 6 in the end.
Why spend all of the cash?
1) You get every episode, with great picture and sound. Honestly, this alone makes the sets worth having 2) You get the interviews with Chris Carter originally included with the videos. They're often full of behind the scenes info.3) You get the spots created for the FX reruns, including brief interviews with the actors. One of my favorites, long time cult villain Brian Thompson who plays the alien bounty hunter and comes across as a very mellow, soft-spoken guy.4) You get some deleted scenes as well.
What's missing on these? Well, it looks as though season four finally adds commentary for a couple episodes. This is sorely missing from seasons one and two. In fact, if you had the VHS copies already and caught the spots on FX, you don't get that much in the way of additional extras with one and two. For instance, there is no apparent direct star involvement with these sets, such as interviews with principle actors done just for these colections. After all, extras help make spending so much worth it. It's hard to have too many.
Still, those minor criticisms aside, I consider both DVD collections I own a great value. If you're a fan, you will too - especially when you're in the mood for an episode, and the World Series is on one channel, and repeats from season 8 on the other. Whip out an early one and relive the magic:
"The answers are out there. You just have to now where to look.""That's why they put the I in FBI."

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
David Duchovny

DVD title: Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Wickedly Delicious Retelling of a Classic Tales

A wicked, yet devishly delicious retelling of the classic French novel, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," "Cruel Intentions," starts an all young cast, a modern setting, and revenge only as a bunch of well-to-do kids can contrive. Sebastian Valmont (Philippe) wages a bet with his stepsister Katherine (Gellar) that he can deflower the newest girl at their prep school, Annette, (Witherspoon). If he loses, Katherine gets to keep his car. If he wins, Valmont gets to have Gellar, the object of his lust.
In his pursuit to win, Sebastian teams up with a very effeminate friend (Joshua Jackson) who helps him blackmail a footbal player hiding in the closet to find out who is badmouthing him to Annette. Mix in Katherine's determination to get even with her ex-boyfriend by ruining the reputation of his new, yet naive girlfriend Cecille (Zelma Blair) by getting her involved with her African-American violin teacher, and you have the recipe for revenge ala Upper East Side, Manhattan.
While the film's dealings with such themes as lesbianism, homsexuality, drug use, and racial dating make this a film for mature teenagers and/or young adults, the film nonetheless was one of the best films of 1999 in my opinion. The DVD version, which also contains the original theatrical trailer, associated music videos, and deleted scenes are an added bonus. The ending where Annette gets her revenge is a classic.
Keep an eye out for Swoozie Kurtz as Sebastian's therapist, and Tara Reed ("American Pie") as her daughter and the first victim of Sebastian's headgames. Christine Baranski is simply wonderful as Cecille's overprotective mother, and both Philippe and Witherspoon are so convincing as lovers, that their relationship continued even after filming was complete (they're now married and have a young daughter).
Whether you rent or buy this film, "Cruel Intentions," will provide you a with a wickedly enteratining drama that stars some of today's up and coming actors.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Roger Kumble
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ryan Phillippe
Reese Witherspoon

DVD title: Licence To Kill (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Licence To Kill (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Dalton rules!

After Roger Moore retired from Bond, Timothy Dalton took over for two of the best 007 movies of all. The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill are both great action movies, partly due to Dalton's portrail of James. Licence to Kill, the better of the two (in my opinion), sends Bond on an adventure to battle the evil druglord Sanchez, this time for revenge and not for queen and country. This is a new and grittier look at the dark side of Bond and I don't think Connery, Moore, Lazenby, or Brosnan could have achieved what Dalton did in Licence to Kill. He is probably the best Bond actor, next to Connery, to date. It's also a great action/adventure movie for anyone, even if they don't like James Bond. The action and gadgets are really good and so are the enemies. All in all, this is a wonderful movie and one of the top 5 007 films.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: John Glen (II)
Timothy Dalton
Robert Davi

DVD title: Blue (Three Colors Trilogy)
Productgroup: DVD
Blue (Three Colors Trilogy) - movie DVD cover picture

What to do after emancipation?, What is to be done when freedom is left alone by love?, What is my life going to be when I get released from my bonds? those questions are the premise of Kieslowski's "BLUE", even though, the trilogy's colours refer to France's Revolution, it reflects the director's concern and worries of people recently liberated from Soviet Union's domain. The movie mood oscilantes from love-affair ending to eeire sequences in which the main character feels fragile, defenseless and afraid of things to come after the death of her husband and daughter.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Juliette Binoche

DVD title: The Tox Box (The Toxic Avenger Box Set)
Productgroup: DVD
The Tox Box (The Toxic Avenger Box Set) - movie DVD cover picture
A Fun Movie

I agree with most of what Ton says about Toxic Avenger and the sequels.Is it a masterpiece? Yes! Is it a classic? Yeah! Is it a fun movie? Definately!! It's a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants movie that has cute chicks and off the wall violence. What more do you want in a popcorn movie? The sequels are just as fun to watch. Here's a synopsis I found on The Toxic Avenger Website:
The Toxic Avenger is a thrilling, one-of-a-kind, action-packed film loaded with adventure, horror, science-fiction and unforgettable big-budget special effects. Welcome to Tromaville, New Jersey-a small American town, which is being terrorized by criminals while the town's corrupt mayor sits idly by. Muggers, robbers and teenage punks run rampant as the citizens are helplessly victimized.
Among the residents of Tromaville is Melvin, a skinny, weak, wimp of a young man. Melvin is the janitor at the local health club, and as he goes about his daily menial tasks, he is forever teased, taunted and tormented by the strong, "beautiful" men and women of the club. That is, until Melvin becomes THE TOXIC AVENGER!!!!
A particularly nasty group of Melvin's tormentors devise a plot to embarrass and ridicule him in front of the whole town. As fate would have it, the "harmless" prank turns into a horrible accident as Melvin crashes through a third story window and lands in a vat of hazardous toxic chemicals. The rest, as they say, is history! As the toxic chemicals take hold of Melvin's body, a strange and wonderful transformation begins to take place. Through the magic of spectacular state-of-the-art special effects, Melvin the weakling turns into the huge, hulking "TOXIC AVENGER"-the first super-hero from New Jersey! The excitement is non-stop as this monstrous mess of mutated man sets out to single-handedly wipe out the forces of evil, which taint the town of Tromaville.
THE TOXIC AVENGER is non-stop entertainment that will leave viewers glowing from the fun! Copyright Troma, Inc. 2000
Thanks Troma and keep making those movies!!
The Dude from Barbados has no right to write a review and rate the movie...he hasn't even seen the movie! How could you rate a movie one star? You haven't seen the bloody movie!! I find that somewhat disrespectful to the shoppers who haven't seen the movie and it's very disrespectful to those who have and love The Toxic Avenger. So next time, please do not rate and review a movie you have not seen. I do however sugest .. to get rid of his review and his stinking one star!

Studio: Wea Corp

DVD title: Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
What an amazing film!

I just finished watching this movie for the second time. I find it to be a truly wonderful film. At first I thought it would be about sex and not really have a plot to it. When I watched it for the first time, I realized how wrong I had been. There is so much more to "Cruel Intentions" than sex. This film was one of very few that kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending made it the most wonderful. Ok, what happens I really didn't want to happen, but it made me think (and cry). When I watch this movie, I fall in love with Sebastian, hate Kathryn, and admire Annette.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Roger Kumble
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ryan Phillippe
Reese Witherspoon

DVD title: Hero (UMD Mini For PSP)
Productgroup: DVD
Hero (UMD Mini For PSP) - movie DVD cover picture
A "Hero" is born!

Despite being billed as being from Quentin Tarantino, Zhang Yimou's "Hero" (original title: "Ying Xiong") is more "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" than "Kill Bill." Visually rich, stunningly action-packed, and beautifully made, "Hero" is a unique film that takes the soul and senses on a rollercoaster ride.

Ancient China (third century B.C.) was divided into seven kingdoms, and the most powerful lord was the King of Qin (Chen Dao Ming). He wants to unite China under his own rule. But he lives in fear of his life, most particularly from a trio of deadly assassins: "Broken Sword", "Flying Snow" and "Long Sky" (Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Donnie Yen).

Then a man called Nameless (Jet Li) arrives, announcing that he has somehow killed them. How could he have killed three incredibly powerful warriors? Not just by his impressive martial arts skills, but through his cunning as well. He uses jealousy, calligraphy, and his wits to defeat them. But the king is not convinced that Nameless is telling the whole truth, and concocts a version of his own. A game of wits starts to form between the mysterious warrior and the wily king. What is the truth behind Hero's story?

"Hero" follows in the footsteps of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." And while it doesn't cover much new ground in the fantasy martial arts area, it's a magnificent and awe-inspiring film. But despite all the wire-fu, "Hero" dips into an area that "Crouching Tiger" didn't -- it draws heavily on Akira Kurosawa's classic "Rashomon," by giving us different versions of the same story. What is the truth? That is left blurred, and eventually the people who tell the stories are more important than the truth.

Zhang Yimou creates a film where style overcomes the realistic, full of color and scenery and beauty. People slash off hundreds of oncoming arrows and leap through walls of droplets -- just try doing that in the real world. The fight scenes are, simply put, balletic. They fight while suspended over a lake as their swords dip through the water, fight to music, battle in a swirl of fallen leaves. But none of this jars the viewer if they remember that in this film, the style and beauty of the action is what makes it effective.

Jet Li and Chen Dao Ming give the best performances of this film -- they both portray intelligent, suspicious men who are playing a strange game of truth and deception. Their back-and-forth conversations are entrancing. The three assassin actors, as well as the wonderful Zhang Ziyi, are given secondary roles, but do an excellent job of imbuing them with little hints of humanity.

Zhang Yimou's first foray into the martial arts genre is a roaring success. It lacks the freshness of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," but it stands firmly on its own feet with a beautifully intricate story and amazing action scenes. A must-see.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Director: Yimou Zhang
Jet Li
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Maggie Cheung
Ziyi Zhang
Daoming Chen
Donnie Yen

DVD title: Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Diff'rent Strokes -  The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Too bad Dana isn't here to enjoy it.

My favorite character on Diff'rent Strokes was Kimberly. When I was growing up I thought she was cute. It's too bad her life went nowhere after the show and she died of a drug overdose. That aside, this was a good program, and I don't think anything like it has been done ever since. I cannot think of any show that has a family of both black and white. Sometimes the show got a little preachy, but the comedy kept the show fresh and did not distract the lesson it was trying to portray.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Gary Coleman

DVD title: Stargate SG-1 Season 4 Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Stargate SG-1 Season 4 Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent series continues

In this season we were treated to a lot of new developments. Considering team dynamics we are made aware of the importance of Daniel Jackson as he becomes "the conscience" of the team. Michael Shanks gives his best performances in the episodes where he actively challenges the authority of O'Neill like "The Other side" or "Scorched Earth". A lot of episodes in this season focus on Daniel and most of them are excellent. I particularly like the episode called "The First Ones" where Daniel becomes the hostage of a young Unas, the creature whose race were first hosts to Goa'uld.

Carter and O'Neill relationship is repeatedly touched but never gets any conclusion and what is more important the love story doesn't become the center of all the stories. Teal'c and O'Neill develop their friendship to the next level.

The humor has become the trademark of the show and in some episodes it is much better than any sitcom I have ever seen. Mostly it is due to Richard Dean Anderson's perfect comedic timing and delivery, but Christopher Judge contributes greatly with his stoic presentation.

From the technical point of view this season is a step forward. Like the previous three it is presented in widescreen 16:9 format but this time the picture is better but still some digital artifacts and a little noise is visible in some scenes. Audio quality is much better since it is true Dolby digital 5.1 surround unlike previous season which were only Dolby surround.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Richard Anderson

DVD title: Wallace & Gromit: The First Three Adventures (1990-1995)
Productgroup: DVD
Wallace & Gromit: The First Three Adventures (1990-1995) - movie DVD cover picture
Great DVD

I was introduced to Wallace and Gromit a few years ago when my brother borrowed the VHS tapes from our cousin. I loved them immediately, and when I found this DVD on sale, I snapped it up.
For the uninitiated, Wallace is a bumbling but good-hearted inventor whose creations probably wouldn't work as well as they do if not for the intervention of his genius dog, Gromit. This DVD collects their first three adventures -- "A Grand Day Out" (in which they travel to the moon because they're out of cheese), "The Wrong Trousers" (in which they get caught up in a jewel heist) and "A Close Shave" (in which they encounter a sheep-stealing cyborg and Wallace falls in love). The latter two both won Academy Awards for best animated short.
The DVD has wonderful extras -- including a commentary track with the creator and director, Nick Park, that really enlightens you as to how these characters developed. You learn tidbits like why Gromit doesn't talk, how long it took to make "A Grand Day Out" and how some of the simpler animation tricks worked.
Overall, it's a good little package for anyone who digs the cartoons, although it just leaves you craving more. I can't wait for the full-length Wallace and Gromit feature Park is working on.

Studio: Audrey L Ward
Director: Nick Park

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