Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Others
Productgroup: DVD
The Others - movie DVD cover picture
Gorgeous Nicole

I jumped in the first second of the first scene. At that point, I was hooked. This is an old-fashioned horror movie with no blood and gore, it's purely psychological. Nicole Kidman and Fionnulla Flanagan were superb. Be prepared to watch this with the lights out, but don't be surprised if you turn them back on. I don't want to say to much more for fear of giving away one twist of an ending.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar
Nicole Kidman
Christopher Eccleston

DVD title: Shakespeare in Love
Productgroup: DVD
Shakespeare in Love - movie DVD cover picture
Perfect Romantic Comedy

The one thing that stands out about this great film, is not the acting, the costumes, the wonderful script. It is a very simple thing which I have always looked for in movies, and only once found: the ability to be a romantic comedy without trying. The romance comes from believable, everday things, and the comedy comes basically from observations about life that are funny, being true. Gwyneth Paltrow is of course wonderful in this film, and worthy of the Oscar she got, but the real shining point is Joe Fiennes. The fact that he escaped an Oscar nod is horrible, and I'd like to apologize on behalf of the Academy! Heartfelt, beautiful preformance. There's really not much I can say further about this film, without gushing and turning everyone off, so I'll conclude - if you haven't seen it yet, please do. Again and again and again.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: John Madden
Geoffrey Rush
Joseph Fiennes
Gwyneth Paltrow

DVD title: Crumb
Productgroup: DVD
Crumb - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best films ever made.

So it is perhaps the greatest film of it's kind ever made... but it's difficult to enjoy since the picture quality is so poor. The contrast seems very wrong and the colors are garish. It seems when I last saw this film on VHS it looked much better!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Robert Crumb

DVD title: Anaconda
Productgroup: DVD
Anaconda - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie

Anaconda is one of those movies that just seems to have it all. It definitely will take your breath away. Good plot and script make it enjoyable. Acting was very well-done especially for Jon Voight. I am really into action movies with special effects like this. I don't think there's ever been a good snake thriller like this around. It's probably the best of all snake movies. All others don't clome close to it( Python is one of another snake movies that had potential but failed to become a hit and is overly bad). You have to get this dvd. Now!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Luis Llosa
Jennifer Lopez
Jon Voight
Eric Stoltz

DVD title: The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Not enough stars in the universe...

There aren't enough stars in the universe to rate this film's accomplishments and craft. Truly one of Bergman's best (if not THE BEST). For those who are not used to and/or impatient with black and white films and subtitles, this one just might save you yet. It may take some getting used to and God forbid, you might have to use your brain (!) to see the poetic, tragi-comic moments experienced by all. I think everyone and anyone can relate to at least one of the film's characters- whether it be the performers/ artists who seem to have no valued place in the world or the errant knight who has come home. Austin Powers and the like can serve as sugared snacks, but The Seventh Seal is a feast to satiate the mind.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Gunnar Björnstrand
Max von Sydow

DVD title: The Life of Python
Productgroup: DVD
The Life of Python - movie DVD cover picture
The Pythons are Back ('cept the dead one, of course)

Words can't say how wonderful - truly wonderful - it is to see the remaining Pythons back together again. "Life of Python" provides everything but the kitchen sink in terms of history, chronology, and terrific interviews. Monty Python has always been revered as THE transcendent comedy force, and it is refreshing to see that these demi-gods are really some agreeable middle-aged men in comfortable clothing and nice homes. High Points: The lost German episode, The interviews with the Pythons, Palin and Jones talking about the birth of "Every Sperm is Sacred", and Michael Palin recreating the very 1st appearance of the "It's" man who almost always opened the show. If you're a fan, this set is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you know a fan, buy this for yourself and then tell them where they can get a copy. It's ...

Studio: A & E Home Video
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin

DVD title: Aselin Debison - Sweet is the Melody in Concert
Productgroup: DVD
Aselin Debison - Sweet is the Melody in Concert - movie DVD cover picture
Shes a singing angel whos very talented

I love her album.. i loved her dvd. She is a little girl that can really pack a punch. She is very talented. She sings better than anyone that I have heard. Even some of the kids on American Idol. She is very talented and If you like her cd...get the dvd...her music and lyrics are relaxing and the way its sung and played just hits you..She is very talented and has a good voice and SHES a gift from God to share her voice with others.

Studio: Sony Music Entertain
Aselin Debison

DVD title: Melissa Etheridge - Live... and Alone (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Melissa Etheridge - Live... and Alone (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

This concert was filmed at the new Kodak Theater in Hollywood and I was at the concert for the filming. This is Melissa at her best and I would highly recommend this DVD to any Melissa fan out there. If you haven't seen her in concert, this is her best show ever (I've been to 3 of her shows). Don't miss it!!!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Melissa Etheridge

DVD title: Battle of the Bulge
Productgroup: DVD
Battle of the Bulge - movie DVD cover picture

This concerns the DVD. The rest of the review is taken from my war movie web site:

I picked up Warner's new release of BATTLE OF THE BULGE today, which is finally on DVD. Fans will LOVE this disc.

First off. The video print has been fully restored. Colors are right on target, the image is sharp and free of edge enhancement. There is hardly any damage. It looks like it could have been filmed recently!

Even better, it's presented in the PROPER 2.75:1 aspect ratio of the Cinerama exhibitions. The versions on TCM and laserdisc were 2.20:1.

The audio is an English mix using the original music and sound effects, remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. It sounds FANTASTIC. The tanks, the gunfire, the dialogue, the Frankel score - wow.

Ok now for the best parts. Most everyone knows that in 1984, when the film was released on video, it ran a mere 141 minutes. Then in the early 1990s it was re-released at 156 minutes. Well, that's still not full length.

This disc runs 170 minutes and includes all four famous missing scenes PLUS another one which expands the conflict between Ty Hardin and George Montgomery - a scene which nobody seemed to know existed!

Extras include a 5-minute trailer packed with alternate takes and dialogue snippets that never made it into the final cut.

There are two grainy black-and-white features about the making of the film which are inconsequential, but for a 1965 film, I think the extra material is quite substantial.

This classic finally got the right treatment. THANK YOU WARNER BROTHERS!

This big, bloated epic re-creation of the battle which turned the tide of World War II manages to be on the most historically inaccurate and over-blown adventure pieces ever produced. It's also one of the most entertaining war movies to grace the big screen. The combination of heroics and history shouldn't work as well as it does.

Writers John Melson, Philip Yordan and Milton Sperling remain faithful to the broad outlines of the real battle, and then fill their story with several important fictional characters, and director Ken Annakin uses a combination of Hollywood heroics and historical accuracy to deliver an entertaining tale. The film relies solely on the excellently-shot action sequences and superb acting by the leads to hold it together.

Veteran director Ken Annakin knows how to make this film work. In the lead, Henry Fonda ("Midway") seems to be having plenty of fun as Colonel Kiley. He gets to argue with people, shoot at Germans, fly in a plane, and even help fend off a Panzer attack - not bad for a civilian-turned-soldier, eh? On the flip-side, Robert Shaw ("Force 10 from Navarone") is fantastic as the fanatical Colonel Hessler, a devoted Panzer officer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his mission. Hessler brings new meaning the Hollywood-Nazi-type: he's brutal, nasty and dedicated despite the fact that he knows Germany cannot win the war.

The supporting cast is filled with the familiar faces of Charles Bronson, Ty Hardin, James MacArthur and Telly Savalas - but the real star is Hans Christian Blech ("The Longest Day"). As Conrad, the war-weary, aging German Corporal, it's his best work in a war film. Conrad wants to go home and is devoted to Hessler, until he realizes that his commander's dedication sits precariously on the edge of madness. His facial expressions - bug-eyed outbursts, sad frowns, frightened glances at strafing airplanes - have never been more convincing.

This epic was shot for the big screen using Cinerama, and the only way to appreciate the action sequences is to see this movie in widescreen. Pan-and-scan prints cut it down from a 2.7:1 ratio to 1.33:1 - that's losing more than half of the image! It was shot on the vast plains of Spain, and although it looks nothing like the brutal winter in the Ardennes forest, this scenery makes from some very impressive landscapes for which to shoot colossal battle scenes. Annakin shows tanks facing off with each other on the plains and in the snow-encrusted woods and shows hand-to-hand fighting in the streets of a French city. These scenes are set to an excellent, rousing Ben Frankel score, which only adds to the excitement. There are hundreds of extras running about, as well as several dozen loud, clanking tanks. Annakin often places his camera on the front end of a tank, train or moving car to give the viewer a "you-are-there" perspective, a technique which is ruined with the pan-and-scan process.

The dramatic effect of the serious scenes is severely hampered by preposterous Hollywood heroics and some incredibly poor special effects. Quite often, the combat and destruction look incredibly real, but there are some truly laughable shots of exploding model tanks and roaring model trains, too. The battle scenes, notably a huge tank vs. tank battle and a conclusion involving an attempted German capture of an Allied fuel dump are incredibly corny and false-looking, adding a forced jingoistic feel and over-reaching heroism which really destroyed the credibility Annakin had been working up to. A strong subplot involving an American tanker, Guffy (Telly Savalas, "The Dirty Dozen") and another, centering on the Malmedy Massacre, help to offset this cheesiness.

"Battle of the Bulge" is a true Hollywood epic in every sense of the word. It may not be historically accurate, but it's probably the most entertaining and engaging war film I've had the pleasure to watch. The characters are fleshed out, the scope is amazing and the direction borders on brilliance.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ken Annakin
Henry Fonda
Robert Shaw
Robert Ryan

DVD title: Casablanca
Productgroup: DVD
Casablanca - movie DVD cover picture
You must remember this...

Welcome to Casablanca, in French Morocco. The year, 1942, with the Third Reich at its height in World War II. But the multi-themed, multilayered movie of the same name, based on a Murray Burnett play originally titled "Everybody Comes To Rick's," well, is the story of people searching for hope in a hopeless world, with mixes of intrigue, danger, the eternal triangle, the rebirth of one's soul emerging out of the chasm of cynicism, and fighting for a broader cause rather than looking out for number one.
Amid the teeming masses of those who wait and wait and wait and wait to get their exit visa signed by French police prefect Louis Renault, a corrupt official with a charming air, many of them will go to Rick's Cafe Americain, where there's gambling, dodgy deals, and even an arrest that makes for an exciting evening. The owner, Rick (Richard Blaine), is an American expatriot who is completely neutral about everything, which is an asset for both the Vichy French and the Nazis. "I stick my neck out for nobody" he tells Renault, who replies "A wise foreign policy." However, it's Ferrari, the rotund owner of the Blue Parrot who tells Rick that "isolation is no longer a practical policy." Renault too shares Rick's isolationist view by telling Major Strasser, a visiting German officer, that he blows with the wind, and "the prevailing wind is from Vichy." He's just a bureaucrat doing his job, with lots of perks.
Enter, or in Rick's case, reenter, Ilsa Lund, with whom he had a whirlwind romance in Paris and with whom he was set to flee before the Gestapo got to him. Alas, there came "the wild finish-a guy on a station platform in the rain with a comical look on his face because his insides have been kicked out." Ilsa is here with her husband Victor Laszlo, a Czech resistance leader and key figure trying to unify opposition to the Third Reich. Ilsa wants to explain about that last day, but seeing what Rick has become has left her disheartened with him. And Renault is interested in keeping Laszlo in Casablanca, but also in getting some transit papers the black marketeer Ugatti passed on to Rick before his arrest. Despite Rick's neutrality, he suspects "that under that cynical shell, you're at heart a sentimentalist." that becomes true when Rick's old wounds are opened, seen all too poignantly when he places his hands in his head.
Casablanca is also a place where "human life is a commodity," where the worst elements of humanity cluster, trying to exploit those less fortunate. This is underscored by Ferrari, who swats flies at his place, demonstrating the value of human life in Casablanca. Casablanca is also a place where the Nazis have outlawed miracles. However, as things turn out, miracles do not come in the divine sense of the word. Rather, it is people who become miracles by their actions and convictions of their heart.
There are many other characters here apart from Ferrari. There's the pickpocket, Carl, Rick's waiter and accountant, Sasha, the Russian barkeep, and a Bulgarian couple hoping for their chance at freedom.
Although Ilsa's the one that's reawakened Rick's humanity, I'd argue that it's the young Bulgarian girl hoping to get out of Casablanca with her husband and approaches Rick who actually sets him on the road to losing his cynicism. She asks him "If someone loved you very much that your happiness was the only thing she wanted in the world and she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?...and he never knew, and the girl kept this bad thing locked in her heart. That would be all right, wouldn't it?" That brings into mind the flashback seen, with Rick and Ilsa the epitomy of a couple in the throes of romance, and it's quite a shock to see why he's the cynic that he is.
Parts of this movie have been used in other films. Bogie's speech to Bergman at the ending of Casablanca has been cannibalized by Woody Allen in Play It Again Sam and in the Red Dwarf story Camille, in a very bizarre way. But the most effective tribute has been the hit BBC series As Time Goes By, taken from the immortal song from Casablanca, with that as the theme song.
All the characters and actors are wonderful, with Bogie at his best, Ingrid Bergman at her loveliest, Claude Rains at his most dapper as Renault, and Sydney Greenstreet pulling in another hammy role as Ferrari. And this was one of Conrad Veidt's (Strasser) last roles, as he died of a heart attack a year later. This would have been a totally different movie had Ronald Reagan, Dennis Morgan, and Anne Sheridan played Rick, Victor, and Ilsa.
I've seen this many times and enjoyed it more everytime. What do I do when I'm in the mood for this? Yes, you guessed it again.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart
Ingrid Bergman

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