Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Sharpe's Regiment
Productgroup: DVD
Sharpe's Regiment - movie DVD cover picture
Favourite Sharpe

This is probably my favourite Sharpe of all. It's because he is such a duck out of water in the halls of power. Sean Bean's acting is superb (as Bernard Cornwell says Sean Bean is Sharpe). I enjoy seeing Sharpe in his element in his native England when he returns to the backstreets and re-enlists. I highly recommend this series to anyone with any interest in history or anyone who enjoys good drama.

Studio: Bfs Entertainment & Multimedia
Director: Tom Clegg
Sean Bean

DVD title: Kingpin (Producer's Cut)
Productgroup: DVD
Kingpin (Producer's Cut) - movie DVD cover picture

This was one of the greatest crime series/mafia productions I have ever seen. It was captivating throughout much like the sopranos except dealing with the mexican cartel. How NBC could cancel this series is beyond me. I bought the dvd after viewing the recommendations and was blown away. If it were to land again on NBC I would be a faithful watcher of the show. How can we petition NBC to give it another try? It is injust how such low quality shows remain on the air and a show of this magnitude (which was far too short - only 6 episides) could be canceled. I highly recommend buying the dvd if you are a fan of the sopranos, scarface, godfather, casino etc... Please NBC bring back Kingpin - this is an outrage to many of its legions of fans.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Yancey Arias

DVD title: An American Werewolf in London
Productgroup: DVD
An American Werewolf in London - movie DVD cover picture
"Little Ol' Lady Got Mutilated Late Last Night..."

2 american backpackers trek across the moors, unaware of the horror awaiting them. One of them (played by Griffin Dunne) is killed by a hideous beast. His friend is only wounded, escaping with his life. Unbeknownst to him, he's been mauled by a werewolf. In the hospital, he starts having terrible nightmares of senseless violence. He gets together with his nurse (check out the lovemaking scene, done to the tune of Moondance) and everything seems fine. That is until he begins turning into a lycanthropic monster himself in a terrific transformation sequence that shows the bone-bending, muscle-tearing agony of the change in a way never done up to that time! In his human form, he keeps running into his long-dead pal, now moldering before his eyes, with pieces falling off and everything. He's back from the grave and as funny as he is creepy! AAWIL is full of humor and scares. Lots of blood. Some nudity. Watch it as part of a triple feature with Dog Soldiers & The Howling. Highly recommended...

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: John Landis
David Naughton
Jenny Agutter

DVD title: Next Stop Wonderland
Productgroup: DVD
Next Stop Wonderland - movie DVD cover picture
Found It Worth Ordering for Fun (even from overseas!)

I first got a paperback of the Japanese translation of this movie 2 months ago and loved it immediately. After reading it over and over again, I felt like getting this video, the original one. Knowing the details of every scene in advance, I found out that a few scenes are ommited or clipped short, yet as a whole, the movie is "a delightful comedy", as written on the package. Both Erin and Alan, played by Hope Davis and Alan Gelfant, are exactly what I had imagined reading the translation! I especially liked the "montage" sequence of personal ads respondents. So hilarious!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Brad Anderson (II)
Hope Davis
Alan Gelfant

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A definite improvement - but still flawed

The extended version of The Two Towers is undeniably a better film than the one we watched in the cinema. At the end of the day it's impossible to give this version less than 5 stars.
But this review doesn't deal with the film's merits. It's an attempt to understand why the film is, ultimately, flawed - and why it doesn't manage to live up to its predecessor.
I think the answers to this stem from one simple but essential choice Peter Jackson has had to make: he's chosen a different approach to the story than Tolkien's.
Tolkien, you may remember, opted for two seperate storylines, told one after the other. The second of these deals with Frodo and Sam's journey (in)to Mordor. The first deals with the other remaining members of the Fellowship and leads to the battles at Helm's Deep and Isengard. Jackson, on the other hand, has cut up the story into three parts and then tells all three stories at one and the same time, switching from line to line and back again throughout the movie. This inevitably means that the different lines each have to be roughly equal in duration and that each line must find a resolution of sorts in a climax at the end.
With this approach, though, Jackson gets into trouble with all three lines.
His problems are least grave in the first line, since that deals with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and culminates in the natural climax of Helm's Deep. Still, all is not well even here. Had Jackson stuck to the original story he'd have been fine, but unfortunately he decided to invent new material to keep Aragorn's romance with Arwen to the fore. This material is also used to introduce a quasi-death similar to Gandalf's in Fellowship. On both counts Jackson doesn't manage things all that well: the Arwen sequences are rather muddled and distracting, whilst someone should have told Jackson that it's best not to repeat a good trick twice, lest it becomes unconvincing both times round.
The second line deals with Merry and Peppin in Fangorn Forest and should have been wonderful, given their encounter with Treebeard and the other Ents. But in order to have this line's climax (the attack on Isengard) coincide with the battle of Helm's Deep, Jackson has had to draw things out to the point of over-extension. The overall feeling I got when watching these sequences was that of Merry and Pippin being carried around almost endlessly through the forest until the Ents (in a precipitate and therefore unconvincing turn-around) decide to act. This line is not helped by the fact that Jackson does not seem to understand the Ents in the first place; they are presented as dim and comical, rather than ancient and wise.
The third line deals with Sam and Frodo (and Gollum) and must really have put Jackson in a pickle. You can merge Helm's Deep with the assault on Isengard, since they are both battles against Saruman. But where to fit in Shelob in between this? You can't, so Jackson didn't - he moved it to the third film (The Return Of the King). That left him dangling, though, since it meant that the third line would be left without any sort of climax at all. And that's where the extraordinary re-invention of Faramir comes into play. In a far cry from Tolkien's original vision, Faramir is presented as a threat, an obstacle that Frodo and Sam must surmount to continue their quest to Mount Doom.
In the theatrical version, the Faramir scenes rightly left Tolkien fans reeling in horror. Faramir an enemy? Ridiculous! But it has to said that the extended version at least makes this jump comprehensible; it is here, more than anywhere else, that the extended version surpasses the original. Still, it doesn't really work, since Jackson has to leap not once, but twice, the second jump being to get Faramir to releasing Frodo and Sam (to change him back to being a good guy, if you will). Jackson manages the first jump, but fails at the second; the reasons for Faramir's sudden turnaround are left largely unexplained.
Given all these points, a basic question arises - why get yourself into the positon where you have to fiddle around so fundamentally with the greatest story ever told? Might it be that Jackson's basic approach to The Two Towers is fundamentally wrong?
I simply don't know. I don't think anyone can really know, yet. Presumably, we'll only be able to answer this once the Return Of The King is out (the extended version, that is!).

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen

DVD title: Bear in the Big Blue House - Sense-Sational
Productgroup: DVD
Bear in the Big Blue House - Sense-Sational - movie DVD cover picture
Good for sensory awareness

It's not my absolute favorite in the series, but that's not much of a criticism as the entire series is excellent! Unlike the Potty training video which has 3 episodes, but only one dealing with the potty, this DVD contains three episodes all dealing with the senses.

"Smell-o-Rama", which deals with the sense of smell, has a guest appearance by Snook the skunk, a character I found to be not much more than a shallow stereotype and rather annoying -- I'm hoping he doesn't show up again. Other than that it was a cute episode.

"The Senseless Detectives" focuses on all five of the senses and while it doesn't go in depth over each one, it covers the basics and is a cute show. They explore new genres in the songs which I found entertaining, even though they are a bit harder to sing to.

"Water, Water Everywhere" still deals with the senses but to a lesser extent as it also focuses on (big surprise) water and it's properties (clear, wet, what shape is it?, state changes, etc.)

Like I said, it's not my favorite, but I'd still recommend it for anyone with a toddler.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid

DVD title: The British Horror Collection (Tower of Evil / Inseminoid / Horror Hospital / Curse of the Voodoo)
Productgroup: DVD
The British Horror Collection (Tower of Evil / Inseminoid / Horror Hospital / Curse of the Voodoo) - movie DVD cover picture

Can anyone tell me what is contained within this four disc box set please?

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Jim O'Connolly

DVD title: Billy Rose's Jumbo
Productgroup: DVD
Billy Rose's Jumbo - movie DVD cover picture
Another DVD vote

My collection of musicals will never be complete until this very entertaining favorite is released in DVD widescreen. (Hint, hint!)

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Charles Walters
Doris Day
Jimmy Durante

DVD title: Saving Grace
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Grace - movie DVD cover picture
laugh out loud fun

How this movie did not win any awards, I will never know. I was laughing for days after watching this clever, funny, sweet, movie....if you were not lucky enough to catch this one in theatres, buy wont be sorry.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Nigel Cole
Brenda Blethyn

DVD title: One Eyed Jacks
Productgroup: DVD
One Eyed Jacks - movie DVD cover picture

Im 60 and have seen many films. This is my favorite. Not because of the plot..its ok, but the cast is the best. Brando is my all time favorite. Malden can hold his own with anyone in this type of picture, and the rest, but Ben Johnson is the standout for me. When he blanches in the cabin on the ocean when Brando throws the table. Its one of the best scenes in any movie I,ve ever seen. I saw the movie when it first came out..bought the VHS a few years ago and keep it in the safe. I watch it once a year weather I need to or not.

Studio: Madacy Entertainment
Director: Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Karl Malden
Pina Pellicer

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