Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella
Productgroup: DVD
Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella - movie DVD cover picture
Great Plot

If you haven't heard of the story since childhood, you wouldn't know what I mean when I say it has great plot. Though the beginning of the 2nd movie doesn't match the ending of the 1st movie at all, the 2nd one outperforms the 1st one in plot though is weakened in comedy. But the idea of time travel and the ending are good. After the first time I finished watching this movie 5 years ago, I couldn't speak for hours but to think about the movie. It gives you the feeling you get after you watch the Sixth Sense but it's totally different

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Jeffrey Lau

DVD title: The Trial
Productgroup: DVD
The Trial - movie DVD cover picture
Welles at his brilliant infuriating best!!

Presumably this film has been put out to capitalise on the recent 'Citizen Kane' re-issues, although anyone who expects another film like Kane is in for a big shock!

This is a confused, confusing, brave and brilliant jewel of a movie, and as such it is as likely to enrage and confuse as much as endear itself to an audience. Although obviously based on Kafka's novel, the creative energy behind this film is 100% Welles. As for Welles, I suppose you either love him or hate him, but it's usually an extreme either way...

The film synopsis by Tom Keogh for the storyline, is commendable, but he downplays what to me is the film's greatest strength; the philosophical and allegorical atmosphere pervading the entire piece. This is what welds this film to the memory. If you want an external TV reference point to this film, then the final episode of 'The Prisoner' would be the nearest.

So be aware that this is not commercial stuff! Welles himself had problems with finance for the project, and it was filmed in Paris and Zagreb for economy reasons. Interestingly, Welles considered this film his finest achievement, and audiences and film scholars have been arguing about whether he was joking or not ever since.

Due to the box office and critical disaster that this film was, the master negative has long been considered lost. I myself have had to make do with dreadful VHS copies of theatrical prints which had probably been used previously as car fan belts, so it's a relief to see that this DVD is of good quality (In the UK it's only the Studio Canal / Warners version that's available), with lots of the contrast that this film depends on for its effect. Having said that it hasn't had the loving care lavished on it that Kane has. Not surprising, really...

If you enjoy films challenging, uncompromising, and obstinately refusing to meet an audience even close to halfway, than this film is for you. If on the other hand you watch films for entertainment only, this one will make you feel mad and/or sleepy. This is mandatory viewing for anyone who admires Welles though, I for one heartily recommend this film. Watch it with sensitivity, and you'll find it a truly unforgettable experience in a number of ways.

Better than Kane? I'm not even going to go there...!

Studio: Delta Expedition
Director: Orson Welles
Anthony Perkins

DVD title: The Fantasia Anthology (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Fantasia Anthology (3-Disc Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best reasons to become an animator!

Since I was young, Disney animation has been a staple of some of my favorite watchings. With the reniassance of disney in 1989 with "The Little Mermaid," my hope to one day work for the Walt Disney Studios and become part of that greaty legacy of animators has kept with me. Fantasia 2000 was the greatest movie recently that showcased the talents of Disney and what animation truly can be! I saw Fantasia 2000 6 times in IMAX and regular theaters. The first Fantasia was the earliest film I remember seeing. And Disney's plans to make this 3 disc set was the greatest idea so far (along with the Tarzan Collector's Edition). I've always been keen to the special effects and making of aspecials for movies on TV, and this DVD set has all. Most notable I'm looking forward to is the reinstatement of "Claire De Lune," a deleted sequence from the original, fully restored (and hopefully with original intro by Deems Taylor, Fantasia's first host). As well as the storyboards, concept art and more. Fantasia 2000 I can't wait for because of the additional commentary by Roy Disney, conductor James Levine as well as each segment's supervisor and art director. My favorite has been the "Steadfast Tin Soldier," followed by "Firebird Suite." Both seem to feel like they could have been conceived in the time of the 1940's, and the classic feel of their animation works well. "Carnival of the Animals," is the animal segment that replaces the "Dance of the Hours" segment from the first Fantasia. "Pines of Rome" has that great feel of having someone let their imagination "soar" while daydreaming. "Rhapsody in Blue" has the edge of being the most original because it deals moreso with the art style of master caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, and it's minimalist style leaves room for very spastic motion. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Pomp and Circumstance" have Mickey and Donald doing things from bringing brooms to magical life and helping Noah get the animals aboard the ark. "Symphony No 5" takes the feel of a "living painting," with the touches of giving a triumphant story of good and evil. Needless to say, I recommend this to everyone. I can stil remember seeing it in IMAX on January 3, and the impulse to see it again (saw it 3 times in 2 days, and I was from out of town).

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Leopold Stokowski

DVD title: UHF
Productgroup: DVD
UHF - movie DVD cover picture
Like "Wierd" Al? If you do you will like this.

I saw this movie first on the comedy channel and I thought he was doing a video parody! It Starts out like the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark but it quickly changes to a movie about a guy ("Weird" Al) Taking over a UHF station that one of his relatives (I think his father) won. When his station is moved to the top of the charts a large previously #1 TV network tries to get rid of the station. Of course Al wins and supposedly they all live happily ever after, the end.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Jay Levey
Weird Al Yankovic

DVD title: Watership Down
Productgroup: DVD
Watership Down - movie DVD cover picture
Haunting and unforgetable. Hard to explain the feeling....

This review based on DVD version.Never has movie affected me to the extent that Watership Down did. Why? Several things but in particular the rabbit's quest for freedom and to escape an evil communist regime. The rabbits cared for each other and some paid the ultimate price in their quest for freedom. And Hazel, played by John Hurt,(I call him chest buster; think of a Sci-fi film from '79 and you'll know what I mean) gave of himself unselfishly to help his fellow lovers of freedom. They had so much against them but they never gave up. Perhaps some of this generation's children should see this movie to help them appreciate what our forefathers went through coming to to what is now the U.S.A. The DVD transfer is extremely good. The audio (although has quite a bit of analog "tape hiss") has a lot of dynamic range. That along with the gorgeous score makes the DVD complete. The print wasn't flawless but most likely the best it's ever looked in a home video presentation. Maybe the production master was one also used for a laserdisc transfer. I doubt this was a special transfer for DVD. I love the score so much that I edited down audio from the movie and burned a CD of it to play in my truck. I simply cannot get enough of the music. If the soundtrack CD ever comes out, I'll buy it. You must see this movie. It will move you and probably inflict a little pain at the same time. Best of all, it's not politically correct. Also any child that's at least 7 or 8 should be able to handle this movie. This movie also made me start looking out for rabbits while driving.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Martin Rosen
John Hurt
Richard Briers
Ralph Richardson

DVD title: The Law
Productgroup: DVD
The Law - movie DVD cover picture
Gina Lollobrigida Rules!!

Gina Lollobrigida rules in this movie about life and love in a small italian fishing village.It's a must see classic!!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Jules Dassin

DVD title: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Productgroup: DVD
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! - movie DVD cover picture
See Bad Boy Banderas When He Played Young Psychos....

....this is a wild ride for average American moovy goers who are more used to more linear, the good gets rewarded, the bad gets punished type of story lines. And Almodovar considerably cleaned up his act to get the broader audiences. (I hear you saying, "What?") And his story is considerably funnier here.
Banderas played a similar role in the Almodovar flick "Matador"--which is filled with obsessions and darknesses and manic fire and snuffs. That is probably banned evvywhere. Almodovar staple Abril in "Tie..." plays the washed out actress with habits bad enuff to probably attract the mental ward types like Banderas, but since she's beautiful and semi-famous, she does not deserve this kind of malice and fear one moment and grande passion and lust the next....or is Almodovar satirising the modern love affair?
Anyway, I love "what's next" nature of his films, particularly because of the real time vibe of the story and because I don't know Spanish and have to rely on the subtitles. Some scenes zip by so fast that I find myself punching the reverse/replay button. Watch out for Abril's chair-bondage scene before the "filming cameras"...
Also, there's a slight touch of "menacing/deadly as amorous" flair capitalised on in "Hannibal".

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Victoria Abril
Antonio Banderas
Loles León
Julieta Serrano
María Barranco

DVD title: Because of Winn-Dixie
Productgroup: DVD
Because of Winn-Dixie - movie DVD cover picture
Silly? Simplistic?

Girl lonely and sad, has to leave friends because her dad moves from town to town to preach in a convenience store. Finds a dog, credits dog with making friends for her (dog causes lots of trouble). Silly and simplistic, for ages 5 - 10 only.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Wayne Wang
Annasophia Robb
Jeff Daniels
Cicely Tyson
Dave Matthews
Eva Marie Saint

DVD title: Shadow of a Doubt
Productgroup: DVD
Shadow of a Doubt - movie DVD cover picture
Best Hitchcock film ever made, bar none, even Vertigo

Easily the best Hitchock film ever made, thanks in large part to Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright, not to mention Thorton Wilder of Our Town fame.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Teresa Wright
Joseph Cotten

DVD title: In America
Productgroup: DVD
In America - movie DVD cover picture
Bawl Your Eyes Out

I watched In America with two savvy co-eds jaded by Kill Bill movies and Hollywood special effects. So I got them to watch this movie and when it was all over they were bawling their eyes out for at least an hour. This movie is very touching. It's told with a terrific script. The minor characters are bigger than life, New York low life types, very believable. The family of Irish illegals live in a horrible ruin of an apartment because the Paddy Considine can't find work as an actor, so his wife, Samantha Morton, of the short haircut, takes up the slack by waitressing. The story is told through the eyes of the oldest sister, Christy, so we have a narrator that sees the world innocently. This gives the film a fable quality, like any of this could happen in NYC, but the viewer wants the love of family and the resolution of a family tragedy to be true. I'm going to cry.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jim Sheridan
Paddy Considine
Samantha Morton
Djimon Hounsou

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