Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: X-Men Evolution - UnXpected Changes
Productgroup: DVD
X-Men Evolution - UnXpected Changes - movie DVD cover picture
Here we go again


This DVD was wonderful. It's not meant to be real, it's just X-men for the next generation, those who don't remember the comics or the original cartoon. It's for kids. The stories are amusing, and the romantic subtext between certain characters makes me giggle (I look for the romance in *everything*, even the back of a cheerios box... it's sad...). The added scenes that WB didn't think were mature enough for original airing were also a nice perk. I plan to collect the entire series. See you Volume 2!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Scott McNeil
Christopher Judge
Meghan Black




DVD title: Gods and Monsters (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Gods and Monsters (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Beautiful, touching movie


This movie had such a small arthouse distribution when it was in the theater you'd never guess it is the gem that it is. And it is a gem.

The movie combines many great cinematic elements: depth of characters; an engaging, credible storyline; set, setting, and scenery that match the film's overall beauty; and a poignant soundtrack that gracefully fills in the background and the transitions between scenes.

Ian McKellan plays the character of James Whale exceptionally well. I'm not sure if this movie was meant for a wide audience, but if it was, it is nice to see the role of a gay man being played by a gay man. Not that James Whale is intensely gay, if you will, but as a gay man myself, I see strengths in his character that exhibit some of the best traits gay men have. Ian McKellan does his character justice by exhibiting the wit and wisdom of Whale that I don't think another actor could easily have pulled off. And that's the trick. It seems indeed easy for McKellan to exhibit the full range of his character's persona. He wins your confidence immediately.

Good acting knows no sexual orientation. Playing the decidedly straight, brooding lawn man, and new object of Whale's admiration and friendship, Clay Boone, is Brendan Fraser. Fraser plays the role with an intimacy that matches McKellan's role as Whale. From the first interaction between the two (McKellan and Fraser) Fraser earnestly portrays with earnest the not so worldly Clay Boone, blue collar laborer, and the Clay Boone who's smarter than he appears and not your average buffoon. Fraser adeptly shows the full range of intellect and emotion of Clay Boone and in turn exhibits his talent as an actor. You're given a very precise image of Clay Boone as a near-drifter in life who's smarter than the average guy but lacks the cunning to put it all together into a life as equally as rich. It's a unique contrast for a character's personality and Fraser handles it well.

The storyline surrounds the dynamics of the relationship between Whale and Boone, two people who couldn't seem to be any further apart but who are remarkably similar, as we learn. The two develop an understanding of each other and slowly learn to appreciate the other for who they are.

Whale, being in declining mental health and advanced in years, is equally as intersted in Boone's companionship as he is in the sexual awe of Boone the innocently seductive straight man. Boone is not necessarily innocent, but certainly earns the compassion of the audience with his sincerity, and likewise pursues his friendship with Whale largely out of interst, though there is some financial connection with Boone as Whale's groundskeeper. Nevertheless, a memorable bond develops between the two and you see their emotions build as friends as different in person as these two are.

The setting is the 50's (?) in Hollywood or at least LA, and primarily during the springtime, which in S. California has its own magical enchantment (coming from a NYer). Whale is an unabashedly gay former director who appears washed up to the cinema world by his irreverance (His Directorial ne plus ultra being "Bride of Frankenstein"), but who we see is still quite alive, if not angry and resentful with a streak of mild hatred. We learn that he's ultimately in great pain, physically, as the movie progresses, and mentally and emotionally, from the movie's begining to its end. The bulk of the film largely occurs at Whale's luxury home.

I find the setting at Whale's beautiful, lushly vegetative Hollywood home a perfect match for this film. Every scene is filled with this sheer beauty from the decor of the house to the house grounds and even at the few places where Whale and Boone venture away. It's the type of beauty, that like both main characters, is hidden in plain sight, yet never quite attains its due recognition. It's almost overkill in its presence, but that also helps it to blend in the background. It's always there being understatement. But play this DVD on a nice flat-panel TV and see if your eyes don't light up at the lush enchanting color of Whale's residence, inside and out. As a backdrop for the drama of this film, the settings and scenery very accurately portray Whale's environment.

The film is also accompanied by a mildly haunting score that, while not upbeat, is very hopeful, stately and not at all depressing in its portrayal of melancholy. It matches well the tone of Whale's advanced years and to a degree Boone's identity. Both characters are somewhat lost in life, Whale an aging director bereft of respect from his peers, and Boone a young former marine trying to find himself and make sense of the world around him. The music conveys this imagery well.

I think this movie is excellent and I highly recommend it. It is not really a gay movie, though it does give an honest portrayal of one gay man's life. There is very brief frontal male nudity along with nudity from behind but it's not sexual and incidental to the film's success. More accurately, the film acknowledges the value and contribution of Whale as an aging former director and brilliant, contributing, functioning member of society, who is very much gay.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Bill Condon
Actors:
Ian McKellen
Brendan Fraser
Lynn Redgrave




DVD title: Baby Babble - Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Babble - Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers - movie DVD cover picture
The Most Engaging DVD


My daughter is 10 months old and has been watching Baby Babble for several months. I do not believe it has significantly contributed to expediting her speech development, as she is developing at a normal pace. I really do not believe any DVD alone can enhance development significantly. However, this DVD is exceptionally engaging and will hold her attention the entire time it is on (which is an amazing accomplishment at this age!) This is the best overall DVD we own and I highly recommend it.




DVD title: Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade
Productgroup: DVD
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade - movie DVD cover picture
I'd give it six stars if I could...


The guy who said this was the most emotional movie since Schindler's List was spot-on. I still cry at the ending, and I must have seen it a dozen times now. The most intelligent, artful, beautiful, profound and (admittedly) pessimistic anime I have seen since AKIRA.

Studio: Bandai Entertainment



DVD title: Escape from Sobibor
Productgroup: DVD
Escape from Sobibor - movie DVD cover picture
excellent. I have seen the European Version


History dramatized; Neither sugar-coated, nor melodramatic. Too graphic and true to life for young children. Effective teaching tool for high school ages.

Studio: Front Row Video, Inc
Director: Jack Gold



DVD title: Humoresque
Productgroup: DVD
Humoresque - movie DVD cover picture
"She's as complex as a Bach fugue!"


At last, HUMORESQUE is on DVD in a fairly decent print! This film, made during the mid 1940s classical music craze that gripped Hollywood (contemporaneous examples include A SONG TO REMEMBER, DECEPTION [with Bette Davis, actually shot on adjoining stages at Warners!], SONG OF LOVE and RHAPSODY IN BLUE) is one of the best and most elaborate. It is hard to imagine a film like this being made today, with huge tranches of classsical works taking up screen time and being rendered so wonderfully. Crawford is at her most maudlin and overacts sublimely. The real outstanding performance however is John Garfield who, in spite of looking like a hoodlum, convinces as a violin prodigy. The unintentionally funny lines (penned by Clifford Odets, no less, mining his play GOLDEN BOY into the bargain!) come thick and fast e.g. "Bad Manners! The infallible sign of genius" or "Martinis are an acquired taste...like Ravel!".
A grand Warner cast of stalwarts lends support and Franz Waxman adapts and arranges some marvellous music, played exquisitely by Isaac Stern. Oscar Levant contributes his usual laconic humour and also some terrific pianism. Once again, Ernest Haller works miracles with his extraordinary photography [check the anazing shot of Garfield through a Brandy glass at the party scene near the beginning - it took a day to light it]. Jean Negulesco directs with some flair, effortlessly conjuring up 1940s New York making you wish it was as hip and sophisticated today ~ and the final knockout sequence where Crawford walks into the sea (a la A STAR IS BORN) to the strains of Wagner's Liebestod in a superb arrangement for violin, piano & orchestra by Waxman, is so over the top, you can't help but love it. Superbly photographed and edited, it is almost orgasmic! No matter that Crawford's radio would have needed speakers the size of Carnegie Hall for her to be able to hear the music on the beach...that's Hollywood !

The DVD looks pretty good but the print used has clearly suffered with age. No digital restoration was possible as the original camera negative has not survived. Nice featurette on the music and a typically lavish, overblown trailer are the welcome extras. I wish there had been a commentary track as there is so much I wanted to know - for instance, was any of it shot on location and if so, where? All in all however, it's a one-of-a-kind movie and should be in every buff's collection. 5 STARS!





Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Jean Negulesco
Actors:
Joan Crawford
John Garfield




DVD title: Starsky & Hutch - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Starsky & Hutch - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
70's / 80's TV Shows


I love that many TV series are been released on DVD as seasons.But I wish they release the 70's Cop Show "CHiPs", it is one of the very best TV shows and deserve to be released on DVD. I would realy appreciate releasing all seasons of the "CHiPs" Cop Show on DVD as soon as possible.By the way I am a big fan of Starsky & Hutch and I am buying all their seasons along with most of the shows being released on DVD.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Actors:
David Soul



DVD title: Donnie Darko
Productgroup: DVD
Donnie Darko - movie DVD cover picture
??WHOA??


This movie is excellent!!! I saw this movie while i was over at a friends house and at first hardly anyone wanted to watch it becuase its sounds so lame... we were all raggin and just making fun of this movie before we even started to watch it but after it started after about 10 mins everyone was quite and got into the movie, no one moved, our eyes were stuck to the tv... this is one movie that grabs you and pulls you in!!! and after the movie ended everyone just sat there and didn't move, because we were all thinking about this movie and then at the same time most of us went WHOA...lol. because its so capitvating!! and the ending is ..whoa... if you haven't seen this movie you gotta watch it!!! it'll blow ur mind

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Richard Kelly (II)
Actors:
Jake Gyllenhaal
Mary McDonnell
Jena Malone




DVD title: Left Behind - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Left Behind - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
Left Behind a must see!


This movie is excellent. It could very well change your life if you really listen with and open mind and heart. It's message about the Truth of the end times as prophecied in the Bible is absolutely crucial to the times we live in. The imagery and the acting are very well done. It comes to the theater February 2nd 2001 -- Go see it! Also buy it! YOU DON'T WANT TO BE LEFT BEHIND!

Studio: Cloud Ten Pictures
Director: Vic Sarin
Actors:
Kirk Cameron
Brad Johnson (II)




DVD title: Amelie
Productgroup: DVD
Amelie - movie DVD cover picture
Amelie


Amelie has to be one of the best movies I have seen in my entire life! I rented it for my sister, but she talked me into watching it with her (after she had already watched it 4 times in 2 days!!). When I rented it, I totally didnt think I would fall completely in love with it. Amelie, the main character, is so wonderful! She's so sweet and simple, and you cant help but completely love her! I also greatly enjoyed the fact that it was a foreign film. Foreign films are always so interesting and creative. The color and lighting were also incredible. I would recomend this movie to ANYONE! YES, men you will like it also! My boyfriend watched it with me and he liked it so much, he asked to borrow it!! I truly believe Amelie is a movie that everyone needs to see. It is absoulty AMAZING!! Enjoy the show!!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Actors:
Audrey Tautou
Mathieu Kassovitz




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