Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
For Japanese & Hong Kong Cinema film lovers only!

The two things by which Quentin Tarantino has made a name for himself over the past decade or so since Reservoir Dogs came out is clever dialogue that is saturated with obscure pop culture references and stylized violence. In Kill Bill, his fourth film, Tarantino virtually abandons the first tier of his legacy in favor of all-out kung-fu/samurai violence. The whole movie is an obvious tribute to the B-grade kung-fu action movies of the seventies. But, like all good escapist fare, it makes you forget about the lack of plot, character development etc. with eye-popping action and violence.
The basic plot is this: an assasin thought to have been killed on her wedding day by her former employer seeks revenge after waking up from a four-year coma.
Sounds simple, but hey, do you go to action movies for the plot? No, of course not, you go for the "shock and awe" and Tarantino seems to perfectly understand that.
The one thing that shocked me about the film was how utterly violent it really was. It put the most ferocious scenes in the last three Tarantino films to shame. In fact, I thought that I had been completely desensitized to violence in media however, some of the scenes were too gross for me and frankly made my stomach churn.
If your looking for amazing action and cinematography, Kill Bill is right for you. If you're looking for the clever comedy that Tarantino is known for, pass on it; and if you are easily offended by gross, cartoonish violence, I would recommend avoiding it. This film is really not for anyone under 17.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
Lucy Liu
Daryl Hannah
David Carradine
Michael Madsen

DVD title: Lenny
Productgroup: DVD
Lenny - movie DVD cover picture
The best overlooked film ever!

Dustin Hoffman was just getting solidly established as a major Hollywood star when he took on the role of Lenny Bruce, the push-the-envelope comic whose use of profanity to poke fun at overly rigid '50s society led to numerous arrests and court cases that only fueled his fame and, ultimately, his addiction to heroin. His death by overdose left a gaping hole in American comedy that was soon filled by George Carlin and others -- none of whom would have been able to make it big if Lenny Bruce had not paved the way. Hoffman does a credible job of recreating Hoffman, especially the obsessiveness Hoffman had with his own celebrity trials and which, sadly, became the fabric of many of his later routines and drove away fans. Valerie Perrine gives a strong supporting performance as Bruce's wife (and ex-wife) and the sole somewhat stabilizing influence in his life. The gritty black-and-white technique conveys the black-and-white reality of the button-down, conformist 1950s and the manner in which the powers that be of that time pushed Bruce to the brink -- and he jumped... A great performance by Hoffman, and one that is sadly overlooked because of the harsh, gritty reality of the subject matter of this film. Excellent from beginning to end.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Bob Fosse
Dustin Hoffman
Valerie Perrine

DVD title: Sesame Street - The Best of Elmo
Productgroup: DVD
Sesame Street - The Best of Elmo - movie DVD cover picture
I can't tell you how many times my kids have watched this!

WONDERFUL! My kids will watch this over and over and over. I have had the video for 6 years and it has spent more time in our VCR than any other video we have ever owned. DEFINITE WINNER AND ELMO COULDN'T BE CUTER!

Studio: Sony Wonder
Director: Emily Squires

DVD title: Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries)
Productgroup: DVD
Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries) - movie DVD cover picture
Awsome movie!!!!

If you love Jane Austen or movies such as Sense and Sensibility and Jane Eyere you will love Prid and Prejiduce with Colin Firth this movie is the book word for word they leave nothing out! They chose the actors and actresses perfectly you will fall in love with this movie and its characters. I give Colin Firth ten stars for his acting in this movie and you will also love him in Bridget Jones' Diary where he also plays Mr. Darcy.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Simon Langton
Colin Firth
Jennifer Ehle

DVD title: Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Royal Opera
Productgroup: DVD
Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Royal Opera - movie DVD cover picture
5 for cast & conducting....0 for lighting

This is a dream cast (as the other reviewers have indicated). All the voices are up to their roles, no mean feat...and this is a delicious opera. Katia Ricciarelli is an ideal Amelia with her warm creamy tones and excellent acting ability. Domingo revels in the role of Gustavo in his juicy young voice (he's about 34 here.
Ulrica is just perfect with a voice wholly up to the demands.. an exceptional Ulrica in my mind. Renato is fine...not show-stopping, but more than up to it nonetheless. Reri Grist is fine too...again, not beyond the beyond (every Oscar I have seen live or recorded has been good to very good..this must be a vocally felicitous role in general or I have been very lucky).

BUT, the lighting for much of this is non-existent. The darkness is appropriate to the libretto, but is not compatible with viewing as well as listening. Maddening. The entire 2nd act is mainly flashes of white handkerchief or collar ruff with the occasional glimpse of a face.

Studio: Kultur
Director: John Vernon (II)

DVD title: Land of the Dead (Unrated Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Land of the Dead (Unrated Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Not just a great zombie movie; one of the best films of the year.

This is a terrific zombie movie that plays with all of the conventions. Laughs, scares, social commentary, and plenty of gore. All of the recent zombie crop -- and there have been many, including 28 Days After, Shaun of the Dead, and a remake of Romero's own Dawn of the Dead with an upscale cast -- have been very good (and the opening montage of Dawn of the Dead was even better than that) but they have all of them been conventional in a way that this one is not. Romero invented the conventions, and he bends and plays with them to create a poignant humanity (a zombie movie with poignant humanity . . . who'd a thunk it?) that lingers long after the final credits. The movie is also a feast of movie references, homages, and in-jokes. All in all, this is one of the finest movies of the year, in any genre.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: George A. Romero
Simon Baker
John Leguizamo
Asia Argento

DVD title: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - A Day at the Circus (with Toy)
Productgroup: DVD
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - A Day at the Circus (with Toy) - movie DVD cover picture
A Red Sweater, A Warm Smile and Memories To Last A Lifetime

Mister Rogers is a classic. A show that began in my parents time, that raised most children in my generation and now my children love it as well. What an amazing show that can span so many generations and yet be loved by all. Mister Rogers is one of those nice people who just make you feel good about yourself. I read him say once that the three feet between him and the children sitting in their homes from California to New York was sacred space and he dedicated his life to honor that space and those children. Such an amazing man. Anyone who has watched the show with their children know how delighted they get when he comes on the screen.

Mister Rogers Neighborhood is an educational springwell and a delight to watch. If you want the best for your kids, this is a MUST-HAVE DVD!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Fred Rogers

DVD title: Crusade - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Crusade - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Brainless TV executives

Crusade was to put it shortly a screw up from day one. The problem was not with the creator, cast, central idea, stories or potential for it to last 5 seasons which was the plan all of which were excellent. As other reviewers have stated if this had gone all the way I am sure it would proudly have stood alongside Babylon 5. Instead some cretinous short sited moronic powers that be tried to put pressure on JMS to turn this into Baywatch in space. He quite rightly pulled the plug rather than watch the show degenerate into something it was not meant to be. Over the course of the 13 episodes we were only given tantalising glimpses of what could have been. Gary Cole in particular was excellent as the mercurial Matthew Gideon. I knew he was absolutely right for the role as he brought that essential blend of authority, and humour while being of-kilter at the same time. The rest of the cast over the 13 episodes showed signs of settling well into their characters. The search for the cure to the Drakh plague was only the beginning of the story and was due to take in the long term consequences of shadow Technology not just the virus. Buy this set and wonder what would have come next. I personally imagine that Gideon would have found the cure and at the end married Captain Lochley. One can only hope that the story mght be finished in some way at some time but in the meantime I will make up my own ending. Buy this set and dream. Peace. Out.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Peter Woodward

DVD title: The Last Unicorn
Productgroup: DVD
The Last Unicorn - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best films of all time

I can't remember when I first saw this, but I really enjoyed watching every so often, now even after all these years, it still brings a tear to my eyes.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Jeff Bridges
Mia Farrow
Angela Lansbury

DVD title: Tru Calling - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Tru Calling - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Do critics even know good tv anymore??

I had never watched this show on TV before buying this package, and I bought it on "faith" that Eliza Dushku would not star in a show that was not well made and fun to watch. It was even better then I expected, while the first episode did have a few kinks that needed to be worked out, but midseason the show had hit its stride and I was extremely interested in the story lines. After finishing this box set I couldnt wait to start watching this show on TV and was deeply saddened to find that fox had canceled it. It seems like lately all tv shows have become so redudant. If its not reality tv, csi or law and order it no longer deserves to be on the air waves. This upsets me because the networks are taking away the shows that give there network something different and something new and interesting. I know that this show would have built up a "TRU" fanbase if only it had been given the chance with a second season.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Eliza Dushku

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