Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Life Is Beautiful
Productgroup: DVD
Life Is Beautiful - movie DVD cover picture
Finding a meaning independent of the horror

This visually stunning film does something quite interesting, and even refreshing, which hasn't seemed to have cropped up in cinema as of late: Benigni takes the setting of Europe in the grips of World War II, and uses the stark contrast of blind and outrageous hatred against the love and eternally solid bonds of family. This is not a film about the Holocaust, and thankfully so. Benigni does not bother to tackle questions like, "Why?" or "How?" but rather eliminates any attempts to be analytical or preachy: the viewers are left feeling redeemed, and more aware of the love they have in their lives. Far too often, movies and texts about the Holocaust seem to engage in a volley of one-upmanship, in a culture bombarded by all varieties of Holocaust literature and film, we have become almost desensitized to the true nature of the event, and even more important, the bigger picture. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL doesn't attempt to grab at our sympathy for Guido, or question motives, but is a fantastic reminder that the love, bonds, and people in our lives are the most important, and that with their love and caring, even the greatest of evil can be overcome.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni
Nicoletta Braschi

DVD title: Cowboy Junkies - Open Road (Includes Audio CD)
Productgroup: DVD
Cowboy Junkies - Open Road (Includes Audio CD) - movie DVD cover picture
acoustic and plugged-in: both sides of the Cowboy Junkies

This DVD/CD set chronicles the Cowboy Junkies' 2001 "Open Road" tour, in support of their album "Open". The DVD has four segments: a picture slideshow of sorts, a plugged-in performance in Quebec, an acoustic performance in Toronto, and an interview segment. The CD has a few live tracks recorded on the tour.

The first segment of the DVD is the picture slideshow. It is instantly forgettable. If you simply put it in for background music, it's fine (after all, the songs are all live from the tour), but there is really no reason to pay attention to the video. It's like watching someone's vacation pictures set to music. It's not bad, really, but it's not something that needs to be watched again.

The second segment of the DVD is the performace of the full band in Quebec City. One of the best parts of this segment is the inclusion of the complete River Trilogy: the lilting "River Waltz", the sad "Bea's Song" (this is one of my favourite songs, and this version is perfect), and the haunting "Dragging Hooks".

The third segment of the DVD is an acoustic performance, featuring just Michael Timmins and Margo Timmins. This gives us a view into another side of the Cowboy Junkies, and one that is just as essential as with the full band. Here, the music is stripped back to the bare bones: Michael on an acoustic guitar, and Margo singing the always-insightful lyrics. They included "Thousand-Year Prayer" on this segment as well as the previous plugged-in segment, which gives us two different perspectives on that song.

The interview segment with Margo and Michael is interesting enough, although I'm not sure that it is the sort of thing that would stand up to repeating watchings. The questions that are asked are insightful, and Margo and Michael seem reasonably comfortable as they answer the questions, but I'm not sure that I will ever watch it again. They perform a handful of tracks from "Open" during this segment, including a lovely version of "Small Swift Birds".

The CD is quite lovely. The version of "Bread and Wine" is a strong one, and "Escape Is So Simple" is gorgeous and sad. I'm very glad that they included this CD. I only wish that the audio from the DVD were included here, if only to save me from having to figure out how to get it off of the DVD and into my iPod.

I have a few complaints about this release. First, a certain word in "Small Swift Birds" is blipped out in both performances of the song. Second, the documentantary slideshow really isn't all that interesting. Third, the audio quality is good, but it would be so much better if it were recorded in surround sound. Fourth, the camera work on the interview segment isn't the best; it was obviously done by someone with a single handycam mounted on a tripod. These complaints are small ones, but it's what prevents me from giving this DVD/CD set a fifth star. If Amazon allowed me, I'd give it 4.5 stars. It's close to that fifth star, but it's just shy.

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Cowboy Junkies

DVD title: Play - Playin' Around the World
Productgroup: DVD
Play - Playin' Around the World - movie DVD cover picture

PLay's first DVD was like 15 minutes long but this one was way better. Its starts with live performances n' stuff. You'll see them hangin' out on the tour bus and see their driver's trick to scare them! *wink* See them revording new songs. Learning how to surf, dancing, and all sorts of stuff. There are special features like photo gallery with some new pics. This DVD is great and you really get to know the girls!

Studio: Sony Music Entertain

DVD title: Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Words Cannot Describe!

This movie is incredible! I watched it for the first time in a Fils Class and I practically hugged my professor for exposing me to this masterpiece! If you own, or have a friend with a surround sound system, pop this in, crank up the volume and sing along if you can! cuz it's a great movie and a wonderful time!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Nicole Kidman
Ewan McGregor

DVD title: Equilibrium
Productgroup: DVD
Equilibrium - movie DVD cover picture
Simply Awesome.

Don't walk, run to get this movie. If you like the Matrix, you'll love this. It's twice as good. I started to write a review and it was turning into a small book so I've decided to go with the "less is more" approach and simply say that this movie is amazing. It makes no sense that this wasn't a major blockbuster. It's the best sci-fi film since Aliens. GET THIS FILM NOW!!!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Christian Bale
Sean Bean
Taye Diggs
Emily Watson

DVD title: Seven Girlfriends
Productgroup: DVD
Seven Girlfriends - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent music and songs

The most I want to say about this movie is that it has some excellent music and songs going.
The plot is not is the words and songs that put you to thinking about love and life....
Loved it!

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Paul Lazarus

DVD title: Flawless
Productgroup: DVD
Flawless - movie DVD cover picture
Flawless is PERFECT

Great story, great characters, superb acting, amazing direction and flawless cinematography. From the highs and lows of the characters to the absolute amazing performances of these individuals, I believe it is one of my favorite movies. Yes, I believe it's true. I'm neither gay, macho or a drag queen. I just love good movie characters, and this one hits the bulls eye!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Joel Schumacher
Robert De Niro
Philip Seymour Hoffman

DVD title: Gladiator
Productgroup: DVD
Gladiator - movie DVD cover picture
Great Film!! Fully Loaded DVD!!

This DVD has to be one of the greatest buys out there. It is so loaded with extras that it has a second disk for the special features. It is loaded with trailers, 11 scenes cut from the movie, interviews with Ridley Scott and Hans Zimmer, behind the scenes features, and much much more. The DVD is way above average when it comes to features. It is also equipped with Dolby Digital sound that can turn any home entertainment system into your personal movie theater.
The movie is great! Russell Crowe gives a stellar performance. The movie is action packed and full of graphic fighting scenes. It's funny to see some of the trailers on the DVD, because they try to make this movie out to be some kind of sappy love story. This movie is about love, but the love that the trailers are refering to. The love in this movie is Maximus' love for the old emporer and for his family. It isn't sappy at all. The violence in the movie is extremely graphic, but the story line is terrific and it is wonderfully done with terrific acting and a great musical score by Hans Zimmer. If you don't have this DVD, I highly recommend you get it. It is well worth the money.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Ridley Scott
Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen

DVD title: Mulholland Drive
Productgroup: DVD
Mulholland Drive - movie DVD cover picture

(This review reveals many details about the plot, so consider yourself warned..) I think that Mulholland Drive is one of David Lynch's most complex and puzzling movies of all time.(except for maybe Lost Highway) In a nutshell-Mulholland Drive is about a character, named Dian Sewlwin, escaping reality through a dream. Only to be brought back to a horrifying reality that she has created for herself. The first half of the movie is the dream which is subtly hinted at numerous times in the movie. The movie starts with a close-up of a pillow and slowly fades to black. The dream is again hinted at with the line "I left Ontario and suddenly I'm in this dream place. The dream ends when the character cleverly named "The Cowboy" pops into Dianes room and says "time to wake up pretty girl."
Anyways, now that I'm done trying to convince you that the first half of the movie is a dream, we can return to the story now.In the "reality" portion of this film, Diane moves to Hollywood to pursue an acting career, but to no avail. That is until she meets an up and coming actress named Camilla Rhodes. Camilla helps Diane get small parts in some of her movies. They end up becoming romantically involved until Camilla meets a young Director named Adam. Diane becomes increasingly jealous which culminates to a climax with the announcement that Adam and Camilla are going to get married. This sends Diane in a rage which leads her to actually hire a hitman to kill Camilla. She regrets what she does and can't get over what she has done. The guilt becomes to much to bare. Now we're up to speed.
O.K. back to the "dream" portion of the film

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Lynch
Laura Harring
Justin Theroux

DVD title: The Transformers - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
The Transformers - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
More than meets the eye!!!

I bought this recently just out of curiosity to see if it had the same apeall as when i was younger and it did. This is the best cartoon film ever superb animation and the hammy 80's rock went perfectly along with the film. I did'nt like the fact that some of the older characters were killed off especially Optimus prime but it did'nt stop the enjoyment. Stunning!!!!.

Studio: Rhino Video
Director: Nelson Shin

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