Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Canterville Ghost
Productgroup: DVD
The Canterville Ghost - movie DVD cover picture
From someone who's seen it...

...and loves it, definitely watch it! It was the inspiration for a series of novels I'm writing now, and I'd love to know which castle served as Canterville Hall in the film. Though at times Neve Campbell was a little artificial, the acting is overall quite good, especially Patrick Stewart.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Sydney Macartney

DVD title: The Black Cat
Productgroup: DVD
The Black Cat - movie DVD cover picture
This IS Fulci's film!

Look at the way this film is directed.Only Lucio Fulci can make a film wich is like this one. It is hard to explain with words how the fealing is in Fulci's movies, but it it is there in all his films, and if you are a true Lucio Fulci fan, you know that "The Black Cat" is only made by him. Not by Luigi Cozzo!!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Lucio Fulci

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
So far, the best yet

Before the movie was even released, there were tons of reviews of what may be. Well, I have to say, even though most were positive, they had no clue about what they were reviewing. The extended edition far surpasses anything we have seen thus far. In fact, it is nearly a completely different movie to its theatrical release. So much has been added, so many parts of the book added that were not there (though there are things that are not in the book at all, like the Elves coming to fight in Helms Deep, but I can accept this licence because they did fight their own wars in their area before leaving middle earth; plus, at one time men and elves fought together against the dark lord, and it is only fitting to have them do it again, even if it isn't part of the book). Many open ended questions that left you confused in the theatrical release are now answered.
The quality of the film is amazing, as are the special effects and all the other things. However, a good movie requires a great script, and the writers of this movie provided us with a fabulous script (too bad that Tolken's language, and he being an expert in language, is not as beautiful as the script writers often write; some dialogue is exactly from the book, but there are other things that are completely the creation of the writers, and they weave a spell of words that far surpasses what is in the book at times). There are times that lines said by one character in the book are given to another in the movie, but they fit so perfectly one would never question the end result.
I had no troubles with my copy; it played perfectly. I decided to watch some of disk three as well the same night, and it was very interesting to listen to how the book "Lord of the Rings" was even written. There are many different things from what you heard in the features on the first extended edition of "Fellowship of the Ring." Therefore, you are not getting a bunch of repeated information. It was interesting to discover the challenge putting the book then to script and making a movie. Some scenes from the book simply won't work in a movie (exciting to read but visually dull) and the filmers noticed this as they filmed. Of course, much was left out, however, in this movie those who remember Pippen and Merry being saved from the roots of the tree will find that that event is now put into this movie, and believe it or not, it is far more effective here than where it occurs in the actual book.
There are so many little things added, and even the familiar scenes that seem there would be nothing to change have additions that flesh them out even more. The degradation of Frodo because of the power of the ring is far more noticeable (as it is in the book), and the double mindedness of Gallum is even greater, as is his hate and lust for the ring.
Though I enjoyed the second movie when I saw it in the theatre, it seemed too war heavy, or that is about all you could really remember about it -- someone was always fighting. In this version, there is so much other going on, as in the book, that the war seems a part of a whole, not the main point of the whole. The movie also seemed to drag to me, when in the theatre. This version, though considerably longer doesn't drag at all. Like with the extended version of Fellowship, this extended version adds so much more that the story pushes itself along briskly, even though you are watching way more movie. Like with Fellowship extended version, this movie actually seems shorter and more coherent than the theatrical release was. And yes, the movie ends in the same place as it did before (no Shelob's cave at this point, and actually, I understand why; the great climax of the second book is really the victory of Helm's deep; much of the Shelob scene actually happens at the same time the world of men is actually attacking Mordor; the publisher really made a bad mistake dividing the book where he did) but are we ever aware of the evil infesting Gallum. Because of all the additional information we learn about him, and because we see the disintegration of Frodo's moral resolve far more clearly (and Sam is noticing it now, and he is beginning to understand the power of the ring), the closing scene is thrown into far greater relief than before; we know Gallum is seeking the complete ruin of everyone because of his lust for "the precious."
If you don't like the Lord of the Rings, well, I am not sure you will like this version either. If you loved it, you will be blown away. If you enjoyed it but weren't completely impressed because too many things were not explained, you will really enjoy this version for you will follow the events more clearly and become involved with the emotions more fully.

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

DVD title: Mondovino
Productgroup: DVD
Mondovino - movie DVD cover picture
An extraordinary character study and expose

It is hard to imagine that a documentary with such elemental production values, shot in jerky handycam style, could be such an incisive, touching, and powerful examination of the wine industry and its personae. But it is.

The story is of the nobility, the megapolists, the honest and stubborn traditionalists, and the tiny producers on the very margins of the industry. The culture of wine production, the interplay between producers, critics, and consultants is exposed in vivid detail. What emerges is the story of mega wine companies who, in loose alliance with some dominant American wine critics (who come across as alternately earnest and self-important fools), dominate the industry, not only in sales, but in practice--replacing traditional methods with newer Americanized ones, and in the dominance of a particular consultant, who spreads the same taste over the globe, homogenizing wines at the expense of uniqueness.

The heroes are the little guys: the small wine producers, the Mexican laborers, the tiny vineyards in Brazil and Argentina, and the traditionalists in Britain, France and Italy. The villains are the vapid and self-absorbed Staglins, the good cop-bad cop, bearded-clean shaven Mondavis, the MBA-speak infected French wine CEOs, the Quiet American naivete of Robert Parker and the Ugly American arrogance of Jonathan Suckling, and the oleaginous Michel Rolland, wine homogenizer to the stars. Micro-oxygenate!

This film has all the right values and will be loved and hated by all the right people. Coming from a background in a parallel industry, the portraits rang true. Enthusiastically recommended.

Studio: Thinkfilm Llc
Director: Jonathan Nossiter

DVD title: Kingdom of Heaven (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Kingdom of Heaven (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Crusading how it usually was

For those of you unsure wether Orlando bloom manages to look like he's a good actor. Lay all doubts aside. The man is magnificent!
Yeah, we never got to see the true acting possibilites, Bloom always playing second rate roles, never a primary actor. But he really can hold scenes well by the strength of his acting. And this movie proves it.

Kingdom of heaven is a wonderfully done movie by Ridley Scott (Gladiator) the history is pretty much accurate, and jerusalim is breathtaking...and huge. Some of the fighting scenes look like they could have been a cut off from LOTR, but then so did Troy. Not to say they wheren't awesome, but the part where Orlando leads his small band of horsemen into Saladin's army is a definate throwback to the scene in Return of the King, where Viggio leads his party into the circuling orcs at the gate into mordor...but I regress.

Bloom comes back looking like he did in the Pirates of the Caribbean, a little more mature and handsome, but long hair and scruffy look just the same. Alan Rickman (Hitchiker,Dragonheart)is here also, as the crusader bent on following god and the king. His scenes aren't long, but what he does have shines.

However, don't go looking to watch this movie as being light entertanment. For those who have watched Gladiator this is pretty much the same. Lots of head slashing, blood and neck cutting. Doesn't get much realistic then this. Besides, its enough just keeping up with the history portrayed in this movie to keep you focused. Otherwise you'll miss alot.

Truly enjoyable, a real feast for the history buff and those that love good movies

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Ridley Scott
Liam Neeson
Orlando Bloom
Eva Green

DVD title: Angel Sanctuary
Productgroup: DVD
Angel Sanctuary - movie DVD cover picture
Wisp of useless smoke

I just recently purchased this anime but have not yet watched it.
It has a beautiful cover and fits perfectly on the anime shelf although I would have to say that $26 is still a bit ridiculous.
And also, like alot of GOOD anime (Naruto obviously not included because is was an absolute failure that ended up as a kids show) it originated from manga comics. which is easily the main reason why im gonna watch it.
*Kicks himself for not watching it before writing a review*

Director: Kiyoko Sayama

DVD title: Hamlet - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Hamlet -  Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture

This is, as another reviewer has stated, the DEFINITAVE videorecording of "Hamlet." It has to be, since it's my favorite actor playing my favorite role from my favorite play of all times. His performance makes up for any slight iniquities the rest of the cast might have, those being a dated, rather passive Ophelia in my eyes (but it all depends on your interpretation of the role) and - well, I am quite partial to the charactor of Laertes, and I've seen better ones in my day. This one didn't leave a huge impact on the mind. GERTRUDE is wonderful, and Polonius, too. Several parts are cut, the most obvious of which being Fortinbras, but as a movie it makes it flow quite well. Very artsy - in "to be or not to be" they removed it from the scene with Ophelia and placed him atop a parapet, knife in hand...! I am willing to give other actors a try, but no one can come close to Olivier's poetic, magnetic, sympathetic and tragic HAMLET.

PS In reply to the earlier review: Yes, the Freudan interpretation of the play is used in this film, which is certainly questionable, but not as prominantly as in some others - for instance, the Mel Gibson film. And about Hamlet's age, that is one of the main problematic items on the list of Hamlet - he is a student at the university but he is said to be about thirty later in the play. Go figure - I don't think it makes much of a difference.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Jean Simmons

DVD title: Depeche Mode: The Videos 86-98
Productgroup: DVD
Depeche Mode: The Videos 86-98 - movie DVD cover picture
The grainy black and white is on purpose!

In general, I enjoyed this DVD, although my main problem with it was that the videos I was expecting to see in this collection were not on this collection. Where's "Shake the Disease," the original "Strangelove," "Halo," "Clean," "It's Called A Heart," and most importantly, "People Are People?" I can go on and on about this...
Like I said from the beginning, good DVD, but the person who compiled it left a lot of the good ones out.

Studio: Wea/Warner Bros.

DVD title: Hellboy (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Hellboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Stylin', Profilin', and Raising Holy Hell!

In HELLBOY, author/illustrator Mike Mignola has conceived one of the meanest stories around. Quirky in its blend of macabre wit, searing suspense, and supernatural thrills, the ongoing Dark Horse fright fest is among the most stylish, hard-hitting, genuinely mind-blowing Sequential series ever rendered. Yet it's the author's fine line for depth and subtlety which accents HELLBOY's outrageous escapades with an intricate simplicity, marking the saga as the comic book equivalent of a musical tone poem.

Well, this past spring, Mignola hooked up with director Guillermo Del Toro and legendary character actor Ron
Perlman to bring Mignola's chilling saga to the big screen. If you missed your first chance to catch this rollicking potboiler, run, do not walk, and buy the Columbia 2-DVD set, nicely packaging the film along with deleted scenes, film & TV ads, a detailed documentary and more.
Del Toro, cast, and crew delivers a colorful roller-coaster ride which harkens back to the nail-biting pulp stories of the 1920s, and the cliffhanger matinee serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Its cunning terror opts for the majestically grotesque a la H. P. Lovecraft, amid topical monstrosities worthy of Clive Barker. HELLBOY is refreshingly free of the thudding goguery passing for "Modern Horror" a la ELM STREET's Freddie Krueger, among other cliches.

Perlman's take on Mignola's hard-bitten, acid-tongued, gold-hearted adventurer is a classic all in itself. The inner conflict between Heaven and Hell, grace and damnation, is outlined in every move he makes, and felt in the shading his voice can impart through even the lightest of lines. Catch HELLBOY's struggle in his very eyes, and begin to know what an exceptional job Perlman does here.
Speaking of knockout acting performances, don't miss Selma Blair's smouldering cool as the diffident firebrand Liz Sherman, or Karel Roden's utterly creepy brilliance as the malevolent Rasputin.

From Marco Beltrami's penetrating score to Guillermo Navarro's
unforgettable cinematography, HELLBOY is an enigmatic feast for
the eye and ear and mind. Tweaking the tale just so, while keeping
amazingly true to the heart of Mignola's text,
Del Toro's result is a maddeningly delightful,
gleefully mature film. Check it out!

Oh... and don't forget your cross.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Ron Perlman
Selma Blair
Doug Jones

DVD title: Critters
Productgroup: DVD
Critters - movie DVD cover picture
Finally, The Long Awaited DVD Arrives

There was a point in my life when I never would have thought in a million light years from now, that the Critters series would be released on DVD. Critters has to be one of my all time favorite horror/cult movies. The score was great, I never had a feeling you get when watching a horror movie where you felt something for the characters and yes, even the little Critters(a.k.a Krites; alien name). Have any of you seen those little bugs best known as rolie polies? That's what I think when I see these fury critters. Mutated rolie polies from outer space. That's a killer, right there. Cute, harmless, rolie polies that got transformed into something out of this world, with fangs, fur, and claws, oh my! Some people might mistake them for a strange bunny rabbit or something of the sort, until it faces you face to face with rows and rows of jagged teeth ready to attack you! Now the Krites like to head for the neck and stomach mostly. So, if you or I were to face one of these critters, then it would be best to wear a protection thing around your neck and probably would wanna wear a bullet proof vest or something to prevent them from eating your guts out. Yes, I know that sounds horrible, but that's the critter's nature. Eat, destroy, and eat some more. Their teeth can cut as sharp as cutting through metal, now that's sharp! And they're messy, little critters. So, if you want my advise: Stay away from the Krites as far as possible. They come mostly in packs, rarely in singles. So they are never really alone. That way, when you are alone, they can gang up on ya, and rip the flesh from your bones, just as fast as a pirana fish would. You might be asking yourself: Where do these critters come from? Well, as silly as they may seem, they come from outer space in a space ship. Yes, that's right. Outer space. In a space ship. How else would they travel? They're aliens. Man-eating fur ball aliens from outer space. How do you kill 'em you ask? With anything you got: Machine guns to knives to whatever! Just kill 'em before they kill you! Oh, I should mention that these Krites also shot posin darts from their backs and aim them at your neck and make you weak so that they will have a better chance of attacking you when unconscience. So, my guess is, to watch out for these mean, green mothers from outer space and make sure that you have protection or you can say bye-bye you. Now, enough of about the critters, and more about the DVD. I'm worried that since the price is a little lower than most normal DVDs cost, that there might not be any special features access to them. I'm one of those DVD freaks that like to explore the making-of featuretts and so forth. So, I'm hoping that this DVD isn't much of a dissapointment. But all in all, the Critters movies are still the greatest horror cults of the 80s, which makes them the number one on my horror movie list. Long-live the Critters!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Stephen Herek
Dee Wallace-Stone
M. Emmet Walsh

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