Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Pursuit of Happiness
Productgroup: DVD
Pursuit of Happiness - movie DVD cover picture
Good offbeat comedy. Worth a rental

The Pursuit of Happiness is a light romantic comedy about a man who is dissatisfied with his life. He thinks changing his job and relationships will make things better but winds up in more misery. It's not until the end of the movie that he realizes the things that make him happy are right in front of him. Most will want to see this movie for Amy Jo Johnson, TV's "Pink Ranger" but the other actors in this entertaining film give great performances in this fun movie.

Studio: Mti Home Video
Director: John Putch

DVD title: Practical Magic
Productgroup: DVD
Practical Magic - movie DVD cover picture
A Feel Good Movie

Although this movie may not have been a box office smash or won any awards, it's a movie that I truly enjoy watching. It's not about witches (true, the main characters are witches) but about finding true love, family ties, and the cruelty of prejudice and being an outcast to society. Something about this movie gives me hope that I could be strong enough to overcome prejudice and that my idea of the perfect man could come walking into my life, just like Sally's did.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Griffin Dunne
Sandra Bullock
Nicole Kidman

DVD title: Kolya
Productgroup: DVD
Kolya - movie DVD cover picture
Kolya touched my heart

The kid in the movie is absolutely adorable and the relationship that the man and the boy form is gorgeous. It was realistic at the end when the guy had to part with Kolya- no big happy reunion at the end, no Hollywood sappyness- just raw, real life. I loved this movie- the photography was striking showing Kolya stretch his hand out on the plane window over the clouds, showing the guy's toe sticking out of his sock. Everything was filmed at artistic angles. Delicous, a great movie to rent or buy. I personally want to own this movie- I will definately watch it again.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Jan Sverák
Zdenek Sverák
Andrei Chalimon

DVD title: Calendar Girls
Productgroup: DVD
Calendar Girls - movie DVD cover picture
Beyond Talent

Helen Mirren (Gosford Park, Mosquito Coast) is arguably the British equivalent to Meryl Streep. Based on a true story, this film never panders to the sappy or maudlin clich?s that could have destroyed it. Instead, Director Nigel Cole (Saving Grace) creates an atmosphere of true friends bonding during a sad moment and turns it into a lovely, funny story that keeps growing, seeming like it might to spin out of control. These women, all considered well past their prime, pose 'nude' for a money raising calendar for the local hospital. It is done with the kind of taste and humor only the British can pull off. It is at times, touching and hilarious. In a time when older actresses can't seem to find work, this group of talented heavyweights show the experience and talent they have used for years. This is a wonderful story.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Nigel Cole
Helen Mirren
Julie Walters
Penelope Wilton

DVD title: Memento (Limited Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Memento (Limited Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
i belive it may be the best film i've ever seen

imagine this buy the time you finish reading this sentence you will have forgotten why your even sitting at your computer.this is what Guy Pearce character is like all through this movie,he suffers from a type of memory loss due to a tragic accident.this memory defect only prevents him from remembering what happens now,everything before the accident he does remember.the movie involves him trying to find out who attacked him and killed his wife...i'm not givin nothin else up,oh i will tell you this the movie plays backwards,its hard to descibe but it relly draws you into the film making you fill part of the story as lost as the main character but picture this you suffer from this condition which only ables you to remember for a quick minute, a man calls you tells you the mans name who killed your wife all you have to do is remember the information he is telling you case closed you are drasticly looking for a pencil to right down the killers name when all of the sudden the man on the phone is gone you keep saying...remember..remeber all the sudden your dog lets out a you turn to your dog you forget you had even spoken to someone on the phone much less someone who had told you the killers identity.frustraiting heh.The director Christopher Nolan is the greatest screenwriter in hollywood,now also on my top directors list.nothing irritates me more that this film was only nominated for two academy awards(screenwriter and editing)which should win hands down but what about best diretor or best film they would definately be my choice this year.anyway if you only watch one movie in your entire life watch this one

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano

DVD title: Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Five stars, if only because the resident kook didn't like it

This film was ahead of the curve, being a high concept, innovative technical marvel for it's time. The monochrome vs. color metaphor that is the films big-draw trick and center is really about putting yourself out there and taking a chance vs. playing it safe. THAT's the metaphor. Even an eight year old child gets the point. Whether 'they' didn't understand it, or are simply deliberately twisting the meaning in the name of crypto-nazi propaganda is anyone's guess. But they're putting out bad information. If you live in 2005, and find modern media engrossing, you have to give this film it's props. The screenplay isn't brilliant, but the metaphor, and the big trick, are perfect.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Gary Ross
Tobey Maguire
Joan Allen
Jeff Daniels

DVD title: About Schmidt
Productgroup: DVD
About Schmidt - movie DVD cover picture
Examining the life of retirement...

This drama/comedy isn't for everyone, but I would say that most people over the age of forty will relate to this film. The comedy seems to relate most accurately to that age group.

Warren Schmidt's (Jack Nicholson) life is about to change and he isn't even aware of it. Warren is used to living his life by following all of the rules. This is shown right from the start of the film by him staring at the clock on his last day of work, counting down to 5:00, quitting time. This is accentuated at the retirement party thrown him that evening. Warren sits and listens to all of the pandering and makes no comments, just accepts life as it comes to him.

Life as a retiree has no structure and Warren has no idea, other than traveling with his wife and the upcoming marriage of his daughter what to do with his life. With nothing left to do Warren decides to sponsor a foster child through an outreach agency. This begins a dialogue with a foster child by the name of Ndugu. It is through the correspondence with the foster child that we gain an understanding of what Warren is thinking and feeling. He has been married to his wife Helen (June Squibb) for 42 years and really knows nothing about her. The only thing that he knows is that he is vaguely aware of some discontent with his wife and he is concerned about the upcoming marriage of his daughter, Jeannie (Hope Davis) to Randall Hertzel (Dermot Mulroney), a waterbed salesperson.

Warren must make the transition from his highly structured environment to his retirement. Helen dies suddenly and Warren is left to make the transition on his own. Warren believes that he has a close relationship with his daughter and finds out after his wife's death that it is less than perfect.

With nothing else on the horizon, Warren focuses on his discontent and decides that he must do whatever he can to stop the marriage of his daughter and her fianc?. After beginning a trip to Denver, where his daughter is located, he calls her to let her know he is on the way. She tells him that he must not arrive until a day or so before the wedding. He then decides to take a meandering trip that visits childhood memories and tourist stops on the way.

Warren finally makes his way to Denver where he meets Randall's family and he stays with his mother before the wedding. Randall's mother Roberta (Kathy Bates) seems to be someone that is still holding on to the late sixties or early seventies. She seems to feel very comfortable with herself and makes a broad pass at Warren. Warren was uncomfortable enough with the situation that he had retreat to his Adventurer.

Kathy Bates' role as Randall's mother helped to make this a funny, believable film. I always enjoy Jack Nicholson and his portrayal of Warren was wonderful. While this is a fairly slow paced film, it is worth watching as a chance to see what life might be like at that time of life. I have added this to my personal library and recommend it for those that are middle age and beyond.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Alexander Payne
Jack Nicholson
Hope Davis
Dermot Mulroney

DVD title: The Maltese Falcon
Productgroup: DVD
The Maltese Falcon - movie DVD cover picture
The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of!

'The Maltese Falcon' is the granddaddy of the modern detective movie, as well as the first of the 'film noir' genre, which should impress any film buff looking for an 'essential' film for his collection...But even if you're not, I'd STRONGLY recommend this DVD edition, as a terrific film with a first-rate cast!
Hollywood legend has it that George Raft had been cast as detective Sam Spade, in this third version of the Dashiell Hammett novel (it had been filmed 10 years earlier, with Ricardo Cortez as Spade, and a few years later, with Bette Davis in the Astor role). Raft refused to work with novice director John Huston, however, and Humphrey Bogart, fresh from his breakthrough success in 'High Sierra', inherited the role...and a legendary team was formed! Huston was a master of sharp, witty dialogue and character, and nobody could play a loner with a code of honor better than Bogart; together, they were unbeatable!
The premise involves a statue of a falcon said to have a fortune in jewels under the lead paint covering it, but this is really a tale of greed, betrayal, and murder. The cast of characters is unforgettable; in addition to Bogart's Spade, there is the beautiful and mysterious Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), slickly effeminate Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), gregarious and self-centered Kasper Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet, in his finest role), and Gutman's young, psychotic hitman (Elisha Cook, Jr.). Even the minor characters are indelibly etched, with great performances by Lee Patrick, Jerome Cowan, Barton Maclaine, and Ward Bond.
We follow Spade, as he journeys deeper and deeper into a spiderweb of deception, hunting for the statue and investigating his partner's murder, while becoming romantically involved with O'Shaughnessy. The film never loses momentum, and the climax has the kind of irony that became a John Huston trademark!
The DVD edition offers a wealth of 'extras', including a fabulous retrospective of Bogart's years at Warner Brothers, using his 'trailers' as guideposts. Hosted by Robert Osborne, of Turner Classic Movies, this documentary is worth the price of the DVD, by itself!
Treat yourself to a film you'll enjoy again and again! 'The Maltese Falcon' will be a prized film in your collection!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: John Huston
Humphrey Bogart
Mary Astor

DVD title: Aimee and Jaguar
Productgroup: DVD
Aimee and Jaguar - movie DVD cover picture
Gorgeously Emotional!!!!

A story of forbidden love in WWII Nazi Germany, "Aimee & Jaguar" follows the lives of two very different women: Felice Schragenheim, a Jewish revolutionary sneaking through Germany under a false German name. Then there is Lilly Wust (pronounced 'Voost', in German) whose husband is a Nazi soldier fighting on the Eastern front, leaving her at home with four boys. Frau Wust's babysitter, Ilse, is one of Felice's many girlfriends and when Felice is introduced to Lilly, she falls madly in love. She writes Lilly love poems and signs them as Jaguar and soon, the two are forced to accept their feelings for one another amidst the hatred and odium.
A movie of raw power, "Aimee & Jaguar" is not a story just about love but also accepting it in times of need and fear. You may find yourself crying and i admit, i cried myself (i cry endlessly when seeing Felice's and Lilly's "mistake" when coming home from the picnic, i cry every time i see that part). The love scenes here are done tastefully (and quite romantically, may i add) and the words of wisdom are...amzing. especially when Felice is talking about "Now's" and Lilly talking about "50 years of one person"...Powerful!!

Studio: Zeitgeist Video
Director: Max Färberböck
Maria Schrader
Juliane Köhler

DVD title: Twin Peaks - The First Season (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Twin Peaks - The First Season (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Extraordinary show! A must buy!

How is it that some of the worst Television series have made it onto DVD, and the beautiful, dark, sublime TP has not followed?Shame on you!I bought the whole series on vhs in the early 90's. and after watching the first season on dvd, realized the incredible beauty of David Lynch's eye that i missed the first time...why should i be forced to watch this great epic on VHS? The 2nd season is even greater than the first....shame on you to deny us the DVD version of this great, epic, 2nd season!!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: David Lynch
Kyle Maclachlan

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