Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Standard Deviants - Geometry, Part 2
Productgroup: DVD
The Standard Deviants - Geometry, Part 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Geometry - Part 2 by The Standard Deviants

If you have trouble visualizing Geometry, this is the tape for you. It is entertaining as well as informative. A lot of fun watching and learning at the same time. I recommend it for any grade from middle school on up.

Standard Deviants

DVD title: Apt Pupil
Productgroup: DVD
Apt Pupil - movie DVD cover picture

Todd is a good student. Todd lives in an upper middle class home where he has all of the advantages that money can buy. Todd is also obsessed with the Holocaust. He is not Jewish but is a voyeur who is immersed in the cruelty of the Nazis to the point where it gives him a mad rush. Tom's obsession earns him an A in class and through his own detective work he comes across an ex-Nazi. He forces the man through black mail to tell him story after story about the killings. "How did it feel?" is his number one question.
Enter into the sickened mind of a young boy who thinks he has everything under control. The ex-Nazi is old and scared but after awhile he turns the table on his young torturer. As the stories progress we see that there isn't much difference in the two as they deceive and hurt other people for the sake of their sickened minds.
Adapted from Stephen King's novella, Apt Pupil, this presentation is a close up of evil and how it erodes the human spirit. Our pupil, Todd, is a willing adherent who doesn't know when to let go. As soon as he's mastered the lesson of power, Todd begins to impose his will on others. When things fall apart he absolves himself of all responsibility. The process of his transformation is fascinating and chilling. Evil is alive and well and poisons the young who are willing. Ian Mckellen and Brad Renfro give superb performances in this psychological thriller.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Brad Renfro
Ian McKellen

DVD title: A Christmas Carol
Productgroup: DVD
A Christmas Carol - movie DVD cover picture
A Holiday Must See

George C. Scott makes an outstanding Scrooge in this 1984 TV production of the Christmas classic. The story is once again told of a miser, miserable and alone. He shuns Christmas and helping others, only doing things that will increase his personal wealth. But then one fateful Christmas Eve, he's visited by four spirits who try to show him another way. Will it be enough to redeem him?
I love this story, usually enjoying it in a couple forms over the course of December. This particular film version is my favorite. Probably helps that I've watched it almost every year since it came out. The acting is superb, especially from Scott. The costumes, scenery, and effects are wonderful as well, and they stick very close to the original story. Just watching a few minutes, I get... in and want to watch the whole thing all over again.
This DVD is the perfect way to watch the film. The picture and sound are remarkably clear for an almost 20 year old made for TV film. Definitely better then my old recorded from TV tape. The film is presented in its original ratio - full frame. While it would have been nice to have an extra or two, the quality of the movie makes up for this absence in my opinion.
If you're looking for a film version of this classic story for the holidays, look no further. This movie is sure to become a tradition in your family.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Clive Donner
George C. Scott

DVD title: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Productgroup: DVD
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - movie DVD cover picture
Best of both worlds

"Best of both worlds" There's no other way to describe how hilarious, fun and brilliant are this couple acting together. Remember the chemical reaction between John Cleese and Kevin Kline hand in hand in a Fish Call Wanda? This is exactly the same kind of high comedy. You will laugh until tears in lot of scenes, maybe one of the best is the moment in which Caine inflicts punishment to Martin in his knees. Don't miss this film. The script is good, the rythm is perfect, the colour in the DVD edition is crispy and sharp. A ten over ten. My only objection is that there are no extra features besides the film. Buy it and enjoy over and over...!!!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Frank Oz
Steve Martin
Michael Caine

DVD title: Flash Gordon
Productgroup: DVD
Flash Gordon - movie DVD cover picture
This is a fun and entertaining film if you don't try to analyze it

I remember seeing Flash Gordon when I was a kid on the big screen back in the early 80's. While I knew it wasn't the greatest film in the world, I still enjoyed it. It was a fun film and what really made me enjoy it the most was the soundtrack. How can you not like a film that has music by one of the greatest bands of all time, Queen. From the opening theme song til the end credits Queen hammers this film home with great guitar riffs and drum beats. Yeah the special effects are somewhat cheesy and the acting isn't that great but the film is fun. Flash Gordon is not meant to be one of those films where you sit there and ask why that happened, or why does his/her outift look like that. You aren't supposed to pick apart and analyze this film. Flash Gordon is meant to be watched for fun. Sit back for an hour and a half and just lose yourself in the movie. I believe that if you watch this film and just take it for what it is, then you will enjoy it. And I look forward to a better DVD release with bonus material. This DVD is as bare bones as it gets.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Mike Hodges
Sam J. Jones
Melody Anderson

DVD title: Meet Joe Black
Productgroup: DVD
Meet Joe Black - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful Movie!

If you looking for a touching, romantic movie, then look no furthur than Meet Joe Black. I know Brad Pitt gets a bad wrap sometimes, but I think he gives a great performance in this film along with Anthony Hopkins. The finale at the end of this film will leave you in tears and goosebumps.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Martin Brest
Brad Pitt
Anthony Hopkins

DVD title: An American Christmas Carol
Productgroup: DVD
An American Christmas Carol - movie DVD cover picture
A Christmas Carol to be remembered

When this first aired in 1979, I enjoyed it so much I clean forgot it was "A Christmas Carol". I wanted to see it over and over again thoughout the year. When I finally got a copy on VHS, I got that wish. Now I finally got the DVD copy and am I glad. To see Henry Winkler as the best Scrooge or variation on him since Alistair Sim in the 1951 version now on DVD is a treat for the gods. Although I have both the 1984 and 1999 made for television films made with George Scott and Patrick Stewart on DVD, this version was the first attempt to bring the classic Dickens tale to the small screen. It is as just as enjoyable today as it was 20 plus years ago, and this way it will live forever. Get it now and on disc before it gets away.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Eric Till

DVD title: The Plainsman
Productgroup: DVD
The Plainsman - movie DVD cover picture
The West as it SHOULD have been!

The Plainsman is terrific fun, grand and old-fashioned movie-making in the best sense of the word. Gary Cooper is splendid as Wild Bill Hickok. And even though the facts are bent and twisted, there is something so honest in his portrayal of Hickok, you get the idea that he has managed to reveal the real Hickok. Jean Arthur is also wonderful, as Calamity Jane. A real flaw is James Ellison as Buffalo Bill, he throws off every scene he appears in, especially when in the same frame as the iconic Cooper. It is also less than politically correct in its treatment of Native Americans.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Gary Cooper
Jean Arthur

DVD title: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Productgroup: DVD
The Man Who Knew Too Much - movie DVD cover picture
The Man Who Know To Much

I always enjoy Alfred Hitchcock's work and when he casts actresses against their normal "type" the results are usually very pleasing. It is never more evident than in his casting "against type" of Doris Day in one of my favourite later films by this legendary director, "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his own 1934 feature was a way for him to right some of the supposed short falls that he felt remained in the original which he was never totally happy with. Here he has updated the story and while not his best work it makes an engrossing and thrilling film to watch with its many twists and turns and unexpected red herrings thrown in.
The casting of James Stewart and Doris Day in the leads was inspired and while some reviewers have complained about Doris Day being miscast in this role I believe she does an excellent job and in her career had often played women under a great deal of distress as seen in films like "Julie", and "Midnight Lace". "The Man Who Knew Too Much", relates the story of an American couple holidaying in Morocco after the doctor husband has attended a medical conference inParis. Once there they find themselves unknowingly involved in an elaborate assassination attempt to take place at a later date in London. Learning more than they want to about those involved, they find themselves the helpless targets of those wishing them to keep quiet about what they now know which results in their son being kidnapped and taken off to London to ensure the couples silence or else. The story climaxes in London where the two have gone in a desperate effort to uncover where their son is being held. The London sequences build to the climax to the story whereby it is revealed that the assassination attempt will take place during a performance at Royal Albert Hall and it becomes a race against time for the harrassed couple to save the targeted diplomat while still ensuring the safety of their captive son. The climax that takes place during the performance which is performed without any dialogue at all really is riverting Hitchcock at his very best and is one of Doris Day's finest moments as an actress.
The chemistry between James Stewart and Doris Day is wonderful and they make a very believable couple both in the beginning when they are ordinary tourists and then when the action shifts to where they find themselves hunting down the kidnappers and trying to foil the assassin. Doris indeed has a field day in the role as the anguished mother not knowing who she can trust, and her signature tune of "Que Sera Sera", also was especially created for this film. It figures importantly in the plot during the sequences when they are rescuing their son. Doris Day originally was very unimpressed with the lyrics of this song and wanted something else used in the story but as she admitted herself in her wonderful autobiography "Doris Day: Her Own Story", she was never more wrong about anything in her life and it not only became her signature tune but went on to win the Academy Award for best song that year.
The supporting cast help also to add weight to the dramatic proceedings and first and foremost the mysterious Drayton couple played by Brenda de Banzie and especially Bernard Miles are superb. Miles becomes a master of disguise throughtout the story turning from jovial tourist, to preacher, to accomplise to an assassin to great effect. It succeeds in keeping not only the worried parents but also us as the viewers wondering just who is to be trusted, what is actually real, and what will possibly happen next to surprise us. These twists and turns are the earmarks of a good thriller and here as the action accelerates Hitchcock does not disappoint us. Another strength in this story are the wonderful visuals provided by great on location photography in both Morocco and London. According to reports it was not an easy shoot for any members of the crew in particular during the Morocco sequences. The effort however was worth it as these locations add tremendously to the overall sense of mystery and danger in the story resulting in the interest in what is happening never letting up.
This Hitchcock thriller provides a very non-traditional role for Doris Day to tackle but it's one of her more appealing pieces of work in my opinion. Made just prior to her great success in the "bedroom comedies" such as the classic "Pillow Talk" it showed her dramatic talents like no other film has. If you love a good mystery with good acting, strong direction and eye popping locales then you can't go past Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much".

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart
Doris Day

DVD title: Steel Magnolias - Special Edition
Productgroup: DVD
Steel Magnolias - Special Edition - movie DVD cover picture
This movie is beyond words

This movie became the montra by which all of my sisters and my mother related to each other. Every time I would hang up the phone with my mother, I would say: "I love you more'n my luggage" and we are constantly quoting it to each other. Since my mother died from cancer at 45 in November 2000, which was accompanied by kidney failure, the movie took an all too real turn. I would have ever thought I could relate to this movie in such a real way before. It did look like she had been "driving nails up her arms." and what was once funny on television became too real to understand. I have been unable to watch the movie since she died, but it has and will forever be my life on screen.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Herbert Ross
Sally Field
Shirley MacLaine
Daryl Hannah
Olympia Dukakis
Julia Roberts

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