Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Productgroup: DVD
2001: A Space Odyssey - movie DVD cover picture
HAL Giveth and HAL Taketh Away


Stanley Kubrick's 2001- A Space Odyssey is the breathtaking result of his story-writing collaboration with legendary science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark. It is one of very few films that transcend standard cinematic evaluations. It's not just a movie, it's a genuine, master-level work of art -- the product of a rare confluence of craft and vision.

At its core, 2001 is a creationist story that blurs the line between the secular and religious experience. In the form of a dark, alien obelisk appearing throughout the movie, we are shown an enigmatic, omnipotent technology of unfathomable design and motivation. Like the apple in the Garden of Eden it provides a spark of understanding that lifts Man from among the animals and, for good or ill, gives him power to manipulate his world. That this power was first used to kill, demonstrates that, at the very least, the storytellers have an unflinchingly clear grasp of human nature. That people also use this power to achieve spectacular creative feats brings us to the crux of this film -- that "humanity" and logical-comprehension, though intertwined, are mutually exclusive.

Man is an organism driven by visceral compulsion, emotion, and, sometimes, logic. The fact that logic can be repressed, or offset by rationalizations, allows people to happily proceed through life without dwelling too much on the pointlessness of their existence and the inevitability of their demise. This keeps most individuals within one or two standard deviations of center on the bell-curve of sanity. But, as the movie shows, the greatest experiential heights are often reached by those who repress rationalization-driven subjectivity to cultivate and wield knowledge and logic more effectively. This is shown in the form of the movie's two astronauts, Dr. David "Dave" Bowen and Dr. Frank Poole. These men are logical, intelligent, and driven -- the very apogee of humanity. They eagerly cast themselves into the unknown vastness of space in the well-calculated hope of learning even more. With a group of three, hibernating scientist they travel to Jupiter hoping to unlock the mysteries of the Obelisk.

But they are not alone.

They are accompanied by a computer named Hal. HAL 9000 to be precise. Its function is to run the spaceship Discovery and help the crew make decisions vital to the mission's success. Though a machine, Hal is self aware and able to dynamically respond to its surroundings in a way that closely resembles human thinking. But unlike humans Hal is fundamentally driven by logic. He is not built to rationalize and this turns out to be a fatal flaw. As an entity consisting of pure information, Hal logically sees the attainment of additional information as the most valuable pursuit, to which all other considerations must be subordinated -- even the lives of the humans in Hal's care. In the complex calculus of Hal's consciousness the human components of the crew become a detrimental factor to the success of his mission. Therefore, Hal concludes, they must be eliminated.

Why Hal decided this is left pointedly open to speculation. There was no behavior by the crew that would indicate they threatened Hal or the mission. Hal just started killing the crew. Perhaps He saw them as extraneous; perhaps he considered them dangerously-unpredictable variables in his formula for mission success. It's one of the enduring strengths of the movie that the audience is allowed to decide for itself.

And as for the question of whether these homicides prove Hal to be insane: I don't think so. If anything it shows Hal's sanity and true, non-simulated intelligence. By demonstrating non-programmed decision making Hal exhibits intellectual independence in the most dramatic possible way. It also closes a crucial circle in the story. When primitive Man is exposed to the obelisk at the beginning of the film, he has logic added to his self awareness. Somewhat predictably, his first act was to kill. A million years later Hal is exposed to the obelisk, he has self awareness added to his logic and, again, a murder occurs (albeit a coolly calculated one). So, if nothing else, 2001 explores the gradient between destruction as the result of animal rage and destruction as the result of rational decision making. Which is the more savage is, again, a question left to the audience.

There is, however, one unambiguous message coming out of this film: violence and creativity are inextricably connected -- and even in the sanitized confines of a hermetically sealed, super-modern spaceship, we are still apes standing on the precipice of eternity screaming into the abyss for an explanation.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Actors:
Keir Dullea
Gary Lockwood




DVD title: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Productgroup: DVD
2001: A Space Odyssey - movie DVD cover picture
A Timeless and Classic Masterpiece


This grand masterpiece is a "moving painting" more than a moving picture. It has no plot anymore than a voyage in a spacecraft does .. it is NOT about a plot or story... but rather about an event.... the first proof that man is not alone in the universe..... and about the way man handles that knowledge. It is a film that a thinking person will be dazzled by, and like me, will want to see again and again for its sheer beauty, and for its purity of statement. It was judged as one of the 100 greatest films of ALL TIME according to the American Film Institute... and most critics and film historians agree. A timeless and classic masterpiece.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Actors:
Keir Dullea
Gary Lockwood




DVD title: Code Unknown
Productgroup: DVD
Code Unknown - movie DVD cover picture
Haneke is the "MASTER"


Usually after a movie either in the theater or at home, people tend to discuss it right away with each other. I have even noticed this while the credits are rolling. My personal feeling is if a movie is exceptional and has enough of an impact, there really is no talking at all. This is the experience after all of the films by Michael Haneke. I have so far seen. Funny Games, The Piano Teacher and now Code Unknown.
The film is in pieces. But i had no difficulty connecting these pieces together and understanding the theme and what was being expressed.
Haneke does it with pure brilliance and subtleties beyond comprehension. He wastes nothing. Every single second is used and is there for a reason.
He creates and embarks on a type of realism. Not just realism because that is a loaded word. He creates and writes situations and allows his actors to become more than than just actors.
It is a shame that his films are not more widely distibuted and shown in the U.S. But then again there is little commercial value or room for integrity and intellectualism in cinema within the states. Instead we are inundated with special effects product placement and actors who are just playing themselves.
His films on some levels make all of the current Hollywood films seem meaningless.
I hope the US DVD release has the same extras as the PAL version. The US Funny Games release did not.
I highly recommend all of his worksAlso The 7th Continent and Benny's Video

Studio: Kino International
Director: Michael Haneke
Actors:
Juliette Binoche
Thierry Neuvic




DVD title: Super Troopers
Productgroup: DVD
Super Troopers - movie DVD cover picture
Funny


This is the exact type of humor me and my friends love. We are big fans of Chris Farley and Adam Sandler. This one of the best comedies i have seen in a while. If you are trying to get a movie collection ready for your college dorm or house (Like Us), then you will wanna get this along with Out COld, Van Wylder, and the old Farley and Sandler movies. Great to watch when you get together with your friends and have a 12 pack of...soda. HA!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Actors:
Jay Chandrasekhar
Kevin Heffernan




DVD title: Superman III
Productgroup: DVD
Superman III - movie DVD cover picture
superman 4- the quest of the best!


Ok, ok, so it's NOWHERE near as good as the original, but it really isn't as bad as everyone says. True, the opening sequence is WAY over the top, and needless to say, STOOPID, and Lois Lane is missed, and the villains are second rate(the evil superman was cool though) and the music is out of place. All that aside, the movie was good enough. The plot is pretty simple: outta work schmuck (Pryor) discovers a knack for computer programming and is recruited by slimy corporate bad guy (Vaughn, as pretty much a Lex Luthor rip off) to do all sorts of nasty things, such as hack into weather satelites, steal world oil supply, create synthetic kryptonite (which is the same thing as red kryptonite, just not red) and build a giant super-computer (which is pretty much the same thing as brainiac, especially when it transforms one of the villains into a cyborg, a scene I remember from when I was a kid because it was scary). Along the way Superman goes to Smallville, saves a chemical plant, romances Lana Lang (O'toole), defeats Brainiac, defeats evil self and, surprisingly, sleeps with bad guy's bimbo. A few things could've made the movie a lot better if 1)Lex Luthor was in it 2)Lois Lane was in it for more than 5 minutes 3)the comedy was toned down a lot 4)the red kryptonite was actually red 5)the computer was actually brainiac. The fight between Clark and evil Superman is also great, even though it could've been a little better if they had taken more advantage of Reeve's great performance. That aside, the dvd is pretty standard, with only the trailer and widescreen. Still, it's worth a look if you're a Superman fan, it should bring back memories from your childhood, or it did for me anyway, considering I was young when it came out. Check it out!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Richard Lester
Actors:
Christopher Reeve
Richard Pryor
Margot Kidder




DVD title: La Cage Aux Folles
Productgroup: DVD
La Cage Aux Folles - movie DVD cover picture
The perfect champagne comedy.


There are films that connect one to the joy of laughter, and this film is one of those. It's actually hard to write a review about something that I adore as much as this film.

I even went out to buy the film score on CD just to have the joyous memory of this film with me when I'm driving about town at times. (It's a great mood lifter.)

I love this original French version, and I think the American version was a beautiful homage to this work as well. They are different - as expected they should be - and both have delicious moments.

Again, I'm too much of a devoted lover of this film to write a decent review. It is so hard to write about something that speaks to the joy of my soul as much as this does.

Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault have such chemistry together. They are one of the great screen couples of all-time. I would recommend this film for any good marriage counseling course. Few couples are as well-matched.

Daniel Murray



Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Edouard Molinaro
Actors:
Ugo Tognazzi
Michel Serrault




DVD title: Resident Evil (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Resident Evil (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Good idea for a prequel


Since Night of the Living Dead never gave a real explanation for the return of the zombies Resident Evil would make a good prequel. At least that's how I have it set up in my collection.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Actors:
Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez




DVD title: Jimi Hendrix: Live at the Isle of Wight
Productgroup: DVD
Jimi Hendrix: Live at the Isle of Wight - movie DVD cover picture
Any Hendrix is better than no Hendrix


I read the reviews of those who complain about video and audio quality, or of Jimi's poor performance. To these people, please consider this. As for video and audio, this was done over 30 years ago, and for Jimi's performance? The man was dying. One report said if he didn't die accidently only 18 days after this concert, he would have soon because an autopsy report said his liver was gone. So, give this video a break and don't view it as entertainment but as historical. My only complaint is to those who have had the opportunity to film and record Jimi and are sitting on their historical footage for unknown reasons. Please release your treasure to the rest of us. Maybe this will help you to understand how the true Hendrix fan thinks, "When we get money, we buy everything Hendrix, if there's any left we buy food." Play on.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Murray Lerner
Actors:
Jimi Hendrix



DVD title: Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (Snap Case)
Productgroup: DVD
Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (Snap Case) - movie DVD cover picture
An ohmigosh, so, groovy movie!


I think Shaggy and Scooby our so like, groovy! This movie is like, far-out, outta-site and Rpooky man. I love it! I wish Scrappy-Doo was in it though, I love Shaggy and Scooby they rock! Angela, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo (And don't forget Scrappy-Doo too!)

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Scooby Doo



DVD title: X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the Best Movies!


X2 will blow you away! Its way better than the first oner and has alot better action,more X-men(including NightCrawler)and more Wolverine! And also the Phoenix story begins to warm up. If you weren't pleased with X-Men One,then this will change yourt mind completeley. If you haven't got it,then what are you waiting for!?

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Bryan Singer
Actors:
Patrick Stewart
Hugh Jackman
Ian McKellen
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Brian Cox




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