Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Passport To Paris
Productgroup: DVD
Passport To Paris - movie DVD cover picture
For Anyone Who Has Wanted to Visit Paris

This was a wonderful video! The part the Olsen Twins playedvery much related to the lives of girls in either middle school orjunior high school. I have always wanted to visit Paris, and the video sort of gave me an over-view of what is in the city of Paris, and places that I might want to visit if I ever did end up going there. The Olsen Twins are GREAT actors. In my opinon, I absolutly loved the video and watch it at least once a week.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Alan Metter
Mary-Kate Olsen
Ashley Olsen

DVD title: Executioners From Shaolin
Productgroup: DVD
Executioners From Shaolin - movie DVD cover picture
What style of Kung Fu is this?!

Oh man! This is one of my all-time fave Kung Fu films. I remember rushing home from my paper delivery route so that I could enjoy the brutal and mind-blasting Kung Fu action-blast that was known as "Action Kung Fu Theatre" on Buffalo 29. This was in the early eighties before uptight network executives sold every last minute of air time to infomercials and dull reality television shows.
If you watch any of the classic Shaw Brothers films today, they will take you back to those golden pre-teen years when late night television exploded with great Kung Fu action.
This film represents the nutty and off the wall best that the Kung Fu films of the seventies genre had to offer. The Shaw brothers created Kung Fu films that were a sort of high water mark from which the genre has never recovered. Crouching Tiger got great reviews from people who don't love Kung Fu films but, the latest wave of " art " Kung Fu films lack the crazy dialogue and over-the-top fight sequences that make films like Exicutioners From Shaolin so amazing. This is Shaw Brothers style Kung Fu! Top notch Kung Fu for real fans of the genre.

Studio: Red Distribution, In

DVD title: The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Countering Muslim Terror

Although shown primarily from the Muslim terrorist perspective, Director Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film is even handed and shows the frustration the French endured in dealing with the Arab terrorists - a frustration that finally brought about the actions of fighting fire with fire.

Muslim terrorists cannot be negotiated with. They do not accept any law (other than Islam). Terrorists are single-minded. Terrorists, as the name implies, are brutal and will use anything within their power to bring about the destruction of their enemy, in this case the West. They are imbedded in our institutions and, rather than taking on the status of "citizen" of their country of choice, they respond only to their single-minded religion, which has been shown time and again.

Muslim terrorists are even more brutal than their western Marxist counterparts of the 1960s and 70s, as they act by not only committing brutal homicide, but also use brutal suicide in the act, making a homicidal-suicidal terrorist even more difficult to stop.

In Algiers, the French used brutal tactics in return. Although losing the overall war to political pressure, the French Army won the anti-terror war of Algiers by using tactics that deal with terrorism and terrorists. American and other western leaders, planners and analysts would do well to view this film.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Brahim Haggiag

DVD title: Empire of the Sun
Productgroup: DVD
Empire of the Sun - movie DVD cover picture
Emotional, heart-warming masterpiece

"Empire of the Sun" is an inspiring, emotional, and action-packed epic of a small boy in a great war. Jim Grahm ( Christian Bale) is a young boy that is raised in a wealthy British communtiy in Japan during WWII. When a revolt breaks out in the streets, Jim is ripped away from his parents and forced off on his own. He heads back to his house to find it empty and looted by Japanese soldiers. Jim runs away from home hoping to find his parents only to run into Basey ( John Malkovich) and Frank Demarest ( Joe Pantoliano). They are soldiers that take an interest in Jim's hard luck story. Unfortunately the three are captured and put into a Japanese internment camp. Jim's love for planes and unconquerable spirit soars high and free above the harsh confines of the camp. Through his eyes we see both the fascination and horror of war. But as his struggle for survival grows, his hold on his childhood weakens.
Empire of the Sun in my eyes is one of Spielberg's best films ever. It is based on the real life experiences of J.G. Ballard and really illustrates what he had to go through. The script follows his book so closely, that Ballard himself complimented Spielberg on how accurate the film was. The set designs and shot locations are incredibly realistic to the time period that the film took place in. You feel like you are witnessing a P.O.W. camp first hand as well as WWII itself. "Empire of the Sun" was also the first major Hollywood studio production ever to shoot in the People's Republic of China.
The friendship that builds between Jim and the rest of the Americans is great. Christian Bale was just flat out amazing as Jim Grahm. It was the first role of his career and in my opinion it was his best performance. The most incredible thing about it, was the fact that he was just a boy. The role was very demanding, and he did a great job with it. Christian Bale also does a nice job singing along with the musical score in this film. John Malkovich turns in a solid performance as Basie. Basie is the leader of the American soldiers within the camp, and befriends Jim taking him under his wing. Other great performances are given by Joe Pantoliano as Frank Demarest, Miranda Richardson as Mrs Victor, and Nigel Havers as Dr. Rawlins.
The DVD is definately worth the money because it offers an incredible 47 minute documentary on the making of the film entitled "The China Odyssey : Empire of the Sun". You hear facts about the war, and comments on the making of the film from Spielberg, the different actors, and the man who the film was based on - J.G. Ballard.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Steven Spielberg
Christian Bale
John Malkovich
Miranda Richardson

DVD title: Jem - The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons
Productgroup: DVD
Jem - The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons - movie DVD cover picture
Truly Truly Truly Outrageous

I loved this series! This was a big hit in the 80's and almost forgotten which is terribly sad - but here it is on DVD.
Jem totally rocks - this set is a must have!

Studio: Wea Corp
Samantha Newark

DVD title: Hilary and Jackie
Productgroup: DVD
Hilary and Jackie - movie DVD cover picture
Gut-wrenching story of gifted cellist du Pre and sister

The book upon which this film was based was in fact written by Jackie du Pre's brother and sister. Both Piers and Hilary thoroughly supported the film and acted as consultants on the project. Neither one apologizes for the content of the story, nor for the actions of all those involved. They simply present their story as being that of a family, perhaps flawed, perhaps selfish, but just a family, much like many others. However, unlike other families, as they point out repeatedly, the du Pre family had a genius among them. Hilary and Piers emphatically repeat that they loved their sister; they just chose to present their life together as a family, warts and all.
I love this film because the people are flawed. As in life, no one is perfect; no one is a saint. As much as one can argue that Hilary, Jackie et al. are mean or selfish, their love for each other enabled their mean conduct. Jackie knew what she could do to her sister, and Hilary knew what she could handle. They were so close that hatred was the same as love among them. Because Hilary could allow her sister to have an affair with her husband, and allow this information to become public, in spite of any embarrasment she herself might feel, should tell us that her relationship with her sister, was just that, a relationship between her and her sister; this should also tell us that she really doesn't care what other people think of her actions.
Jackie du Pre was Hilary's sister, not yours and not mine. Perhaps if the viewer from San Diego was in Hilary's situation, with her background, her life experience, he/she might very well behave in the same way as Hilary did. No one can say. I don't think Hilary would honestly expect others to understand her position. However, I do believe that her attempt should be well noted.
As for the cliche love aspect of the story which will not assuage or "suck in" the "intellectuals," or the seasoned art house film connoisseurs, it is now no longer any wonder to me why great artists are never understood in their lifetime; why women like Jackie continue to suffer today. One could argue that emotional intensity on all levels, is at the base of every great artist's soul; not everyone can understand that fire; not everyone can understand Jackie du Pre's passion for the cello etc. However, when any expression of love, no matter how slight, is considered cliche or trite, I seriously wonder about the person who offers such an observation. Then again, perhaps this person would feel that he/she could produce a better movie than Hilary and Jackie and would act all of the roles better than the chosen actors. He/she could do all of this from his/her armchair and spend his/her valuable time writing slanderous reviews for I'm sure that this person will find Emily Watson spending her valuable time doing the same thing, in between her time spent filming Angela's Ashes.

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

DVD title: The Wiggles - Dance Party
Productgroup: DVD
The Wiggles - Dance Party - movie DVD cover picture
How could a true Wiggles lover complain about this one?

When I put this DVD in for the first time, I yelled at my husband "You've got to see this!" We laughed so hard! The big red cardboard car, Anthony's hair and miniature drums and green polo shirt. Jeff really, who would let the narcoleptic Jeff behind the wheel? The incredibly cheap props and comstumes. Overall we think it's great. A lot of really enjoyable songs and how can you not laugh at Anthony as Captain Feathersword? Nicky Nacky Nocky Noo gets me every time. It may be old and poorly produced, but it just shows what these guys have done to get to where they are now. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

Studio: Lyrick Studios

DVD title: Backdraft
Productgroup: DVD
Backdraft - movie DVD cover picture
Simply Excellent!

Backdraft is a great one great film. Outstanding visual effects make this one a must watch. Kurt Russel, and William Baldwim play the McCaffery brothers, Robert DeNiro, and Donald Sutherland support, a great cast. Ronnie Howard's best film ever right next to Apollo 13. The sound on the dvd is excellent as all the explosions surround you with bass. However on the picture quality is where it lacks. Lots of grain, dark scenes look horundous. It's all good, great movie!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Ron Howard
Kurt Russell
William Baldwin
Robert De Niro
Donald Sutherland

DVD title: The Barchester Chronicles
Productgroup: DVD
The Barchester Chronicles - movie DVD cover picture
Hurrah for the DVD!

The previous reviewer did a wonderful job describing the series, and all I can say is ditto! I just want to add that the DVD itself is very high quality. The picture is so crisp, it looks like the movie was just made; not done in 1982! And the sound, costumes, cast is the best of quality. I never was able to see this on TV, and was thrilled when the DVD came out. I have already watched it once, and dying to watch it, again. Very faithful to Trollope's Barchester novels. What a treasure-BBC at its best!

Studio: BBC
Director: David Giles (III)

DVD title: Ninja Scroll
Productgroup: DVD
Ninja Scroll - movie DVD cover picture
One Of Modern Anime's Great Three

Three movies--Akira, Ghost In The Shell and Ninja Scroll--each broke new ground and pushed the genre in the mainstream. "Ninja Scroll" is the most fun and watchable of these efforts, and despite the fact that it was released in 1996, continues to be among, if not THE best, in ninja/swordsmanship movies.
This is one of those "three-watchers": watch once to get acquainted, twice to fully understand, and three times to get the full effect. You could very well leave impressed after your first viewing, but numerous viewings reveal more and more each time.
Wandering ninja Jubei Kibagami (based on a popular swordsman of Japanese lore) is drawn into a battle with the Eight Devils of Kimon, with the beautiful and lethal Kagero on his side, as well as a government agent. Jubei must survive battles with each of the Devils--a rock-skinned hulk, a blind swordsman, a portable wasp hive, a snake-controller, a re-animator/shadow manipulator, a wire-toting electrecutor, an explosives expert and a resurrectable boss--all the while attempting to solve a mystery revolving around gold, murdered villagers and a mysterious plague.
The animation is top-notch. It isn't thin and computer-like, as in Ghost in the Shell, but it's as close as you can get to a moving Marvel or Image Comic. Everything is lightning fast and no sounds are wasted: you'll notice every chirping bird or falling leaf with the tension that this film builds. The shots are masterfully beautiful--a charging Jubei is shown via reflection on the blind swordsman's sword held close to his face--and the animation is consistent throughout.
Not to confuse what you might have heard--the violence is extremely graphic, not the sex scenes. The sex scenes are nothing worse than what an R-rated flick might produce, but the violence is up there in the level of "Gladiator" or "Saving Private Ryan," but it's not something that goes throughout the movie so much so that it becomes disgusting.
The English dub is passable, capturing both Jubei's calm confidence as well as Kagero's fire, but like most anime, the Japanese version is the superior. The storyline remains generally the same in either version, although there are some significant, but not plot-disturbing, differences between the English and Japanese versions.
Each "Devil" is unique and cleverly thought-out, each a challenging fighter. Jubei is an anti-hero, reluctant to join the fight, and scraps his way through battles, using his smarts as well as his steel.
Definitely recommended for older fans, anime fan or not. It has anime's cliche graphic violence and nudity, but its plot, vocal performance and direction are excellent, among the best ever for the genre. Five stars doesn't do it justice.

Studio: Palm Pictures/Manga Video

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