Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Slamdance
Productgroup: DVD
Slamdance - movie DVD cover picture
Hitchcock-style Thriller Grabs On and Doesn't Let Go


Charles Drood (Tom Hulce) is in the wrong place at the wrong time. By no fault of his own, he is caught in the middle of a tangled web of murder, deceit, and police corruption. With few clues to go on, he must untangle the web before it entraps him completely. The plot twists in this video wend unceasingly right to the end of the movie. If you like Hitchcock, you just might enjoy this video. It's one of my favorites.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Wayne Wang
Actors:
Tom Hulce
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio




DVD title: Godspell
Productgroup: DVD
Godspell - movie DVD cover picture
Far out!


I love this movie. I grew up on the soundtrack, and the songs are still among my favorites. The movie is such a picker-upper for whenever I'm feeling down...none of the angst from Jesus Christ Superstar. Yeah, true, it's very much a 60's product, but what's wrong with a little dose of love nowadays? And it's so much more fun to watch than sitting in church...beautifully filmed in NYC.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: David Greene
Actors:
Lynne Thigpen
Katie Hanley
Victor Garber




DVD title: Mötley Crüe - Greatest Video Hits
Productgroup: DVD
Mötley Crüe - Greatest Video Hits - movie DVD cover picture
MOTLEY MAYHEM


It's about time that almost all of the Crue's videos were released on a single DVD. With 21 videos, 6 alternate versions, and 3 hidden tracks, this disc contains everything off of the Uncensored and Dr. Feelgood VHS tapes (minus the hysterical connecting bits) and most of the Decade Of Decadence VHS tape (All In The Name Of... [Live] is left off). The 3 hidden videos are Take Me To The Top, Public Enemy Number One (both early clips were briefly glimpsed on Uncensored), and Shout At The Devil '97. With a new interview with Nikki and Tommy, this collection ought to hold any diehard Crue fan until they hit the road in '04 and bring their brand of mayhem to a venue near you.

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Actors:
Motley Crue



DVD title: The Way We Laughed
Productgroup: DVD
The Way We Laughed - movie DVD cover picture
Genesi di un fenomeno mafioso


Nei panni di Amelio non avrei chiamato il film con quell'insulso titolo che non dice e non c'entra niente con la storia raccontata, io lo avrei chiamato: "Genesi di un fenomeno mafioso".

A quell'epoca la popolazione italiana usava ancora, nel linguaggio corrente il proprio dialetto. Cio' rendeva piu' evidente la diversita' di chi emigrava dal sud al nord che in certi casi diventava completa incomprensibilita'. Vi era poi un evidente differenza di stato sociale: di vera poverta' per l'emigrante, di precario e timido benessere per gli abitanti del nord. Ma proprio la precarieta' di quel pallido benessere appena raggiunto dopo i disastri della guerra, rendeva gli abitanti del nord timorosi e ipercritici verso i connazionali del sud che arrivavano pieni di speranze e illusioni spesso eccessive. Su di loro si e' quindi puntato un razzismo, purtroppo tra italiani, che e' durato per tutta una generazione e oltre.
Per opporsi al razzismo che li emarginava i meridionali si sono trovati costretti ad organizzarsi in qualcosa di simile a delle confraternite, dove i piu' capaci, quelli che disponevano di qualche amicizia, provvedevano a creare le condizioni per poter trovare uno spazio vitale. Ma gli emigranti, soprattutto quelli dalla Sicilia, non erano impregnati solo del loro dialetto, lo erano anche della loro cultura, dove la presenza della mafia era gia' dominante.
La mafia nasce appunto in sicilia come difesa della popolazione contro il latifondismo che si impadroniva di tutta la ricchezza esistente, ma all'origine era una organizzazione dedita alla solidarieta' tra i suoi adepti non una organizzazione criminale. E' solo a partire dagli anni "30, e dall'America (Chicago, ecc.), che parte la degenerazione verso il fenomeno mafioso che conosciamo oggi.
Nel film, il limitato benessere raggiunto da Giovanni attraverso la sua organizzazione, e' dovuto alla sua bravura nell' organizzare i suoi conterranei; nel trovar loro un alloggio, un lavoro, un modo per inserirsi in quella societa' che non li voleva. Ma non era un "pizzo", una tangente, era una liberalita' che i suoi conterranei volentieri gli pagavano per il servizio che lui (nominato addirittura presidente) svolgeva.
Ma e' impossibile non vedere in questa organizzazione la cellula embrionale di una cosca mafiosa.
L'analisi approfondita di questo film fa intuire quindi che i due fenomeni, razzismo e mafia, sono quasi sempre strettamente intercorrelati.


Studio: New Yorker Video
Director: Gianni Amelio
Actors:
Francesco Giuffrida
Enrico Lo Verso




DVD title: Almost Famous
Productgroup: DVD
Almost Famous - movie DVD cover picture
It just gets better and better...


As an avid fan of rock and pop music, and being at an age where I can actually remember 1973, this movie is absolutely one of my favorites. I think I've watched it 5 times, and could watch it another 5...or 6...or...you get the idea. Cameron Crowe nailed the time period, the music, and the total feeling of the rock scene circa 1973 as well as his intent to give something memorable back to those who gave so generously to him in his youth. I enjoyed the "Untitled" version of the movie, though could see why come of it was left out of the theatrical release. Like Russell Hammond says in one of the restored scenes..."It's all about what you leave out." Though he's talking about music, I thought the comment to be a little ironic. But I digress. I'll probably buy more of his movies because this one definitely said ALOT to me. I've even gone out and bought some of the movies Cameron mentions in the Director's Commentary of "Untitled"...those being "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "The Apartment" just because I have such a great respect for Crowe after seeing his passion for both music and the art of film making through this movie. Jerry McGuire was good, but this movie absolutely ROCKS!!

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Cameron Crowe
Actors:
Billy Crudup



DVD title: SpongeBob SquarePants - Sponge Buddies/Nautical Nonsense
Productgroup: DVD
SpongeBob SquarePants - Sponge Buddies/Nautical Nonsense - movie DVD cover picture
Best DVD ever!!


I love spongbob and watch it everyday! This DVD is great! It has some of the best spongebob episodes and some of the Funniest quotes. There are also a few really funny songs including "When I Ripped My Pants" and "Wish I was back in Texas" This DVD is a MUST for all spongebob fans!

Studio: Paramount Home Video



DVD title: Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade
Productgroup: DVD
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade - movie DVD cover picture
A Complicated, Beautiful, Disturbing Movie


It's by far one of the best animated movies that have ever been created, in my opinion. Perhaps the people that expected an action packed cartoon were disappointed to find that Jin Roh is an animated, plot driven drama.
The first thing that struck me was the originality of the plot. It's not another sci-fi flick set in the future. Jin Roh is set in an alternate past after a World War II with a different outcome. The plot is very intricate, and to fully understand it, one might need to watch the movie more than once. This could be viewed as a positive or negative aspect, but I enjoyed the complexity. Aside from its complexity, it's also extremely unpredictable as well, which is always a plus.
The art in the movie is some of the best to date, but it's more subtle than other animated films. Expect to see dark tones that convey the cynicism in the plot. However, that's not to say that it's hazy or difficult to see at all. To the contrary, the animation is crisp and vivid, and the refreshingly Japanese looking characters are both realistic and stylized at the same time.
The darkness of animation is a reflection of Jin Roh's disturbing plot. The reality that the movie paints is a violent, pessimistic one where peace is constantly interrupted by warring factions in a bitter struggle for power. The conflict has intense ethos because of the quality of the acting of a movie, and the realism of the dialogue and actions of the characters. Although the violence is not terribly frequent and it is certainly not gratuitous, it is very vivid. This should be a consideration when deciding whether or not your child should watch this movie.
Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a fantastic movie by any standards, animated or otherwise. It can best be enjoyed by adults and mature teenagers. To those who thought it was boring, I suggest you watch it again, but this time purge any preconceived ideas you have of what an animated film should be and enjoy it for what it is, a masterful cinematic experience.

Studio: Bandai Entertainment



DVD title: A Christmas Carol
Productgroup: DVD
A Christmas Carol - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Version!


The only thing that stops this 1984 version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge could from being the best adaptation of all is that it was made for television. That is because every time we fade out for a commercial break and every time I think about how spectacular this film would look as a widescreen theatrical release, I have to be a bit disappointed. That being said, this is still a superb production, far and away the best of the made for television versions ("Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" comes second).
Scott's performance as Scrooge is very good for most of the film. You would think that since this is George C. Scott that playing a crotchety old miser would not be much of a stretch. But Scott actually does something different with Scrooge. This time around he is not bitter as much as he is worn down, more of an empty soul than a being consumed by darker emotions. Screenwriter Roger O. Hirson actually makes some excellent additions to the original story, fleshing out why the happy young Ebenezer we see in our visit to the past becomes the old Scrooge who undergoes this Yule time transformation. The only knock on the performance from my perspective is that like many fans of "A Christmas Carol" it is hard not to remember the superb performance by Alastair Sim in the 1951 film version and find the Oscar winning Scott coming second in the comparison. Still, this is arguably the most thoughtful performance of Scrooge you will see.
But even if Scott's performance is found lacking by such a strict standard (Sim's performance remains the standard by which all other Scrooge's are judged), the rest of this production is superb. The supporting cast is as fine as has ever been assembled to play the other roles: David Warner providing a nice twist on Bob Cratchit, Susanna York as his wife, Frank Finlay as the ghost of Jacob Marley, Joanne Whalley as Fan, the girl who got away from young Ebenezer, and Roger Rees as Scrooge's nephew Fred (and the film's narrator). The trio of ghostly visitors who visit Scrooge all in one night are equally strong, with Angela Pleasence as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Edward Woodward getting everybody to say "Look, its the Equalizer!" as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Michael Carter as the best Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that I have seen.
Director Clive Donner had done "Oliver Twist" for television two years earlier (as well as "The Scarlet Pimpernel"), and does another solid effort of presenting these well-known Dickensian characters and events. Production designer Roger Murray-Leach provides an old London towne that looks as great as any we have seen before for one of these films. But above all it is the cast and the thoughtful script that make this a superb adaptation. In the end my preference for the 1951 version comes down entirely to Sim's performance as the euphoric Scrooge. Fortunately, close counts for a lot when it comes to ranking favorite versions of "A Christmas Carol."

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Clive Donner
Actors:
George C. Scott



DVD title: Secrets of Kiteboarding
Productgroup: DVD
Secrets of Kiteboarding - movie DVD cover picture
secrets of kiteboarding


An incredible learning tool. Bring instructor John Holzhall to your beach through this DVD. View it a hundred times and you could be a natural at this sport.

Studio: Nova Media
Director: Robert Novaselic



DVD title: The Accused
Productgroup: DVD
The Accused - movie DVD cover picture
An Unforgettable Learning Experience


Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis star in the unforgettable 1988 film "The Accused". Its plot of a young woman, Sarah, getting raped and struggling to get past it is emotional through every second. Its hardhitting scenes, namely the rape scene, hold enough power to hit audiences' hearts like nothing else. Such events express truth in the court system about rape cases. It teaches audiences that it's difficult to convict rapists, even with a lot of evidence. The emotional stance of the film is true. The trauma and fears during and after is expressed to the fullest. Every struggle keeps audiences interested in every event, leading to a surprising conclusion. Its certain graphic scenes were necessary to film to show the issue's depth. The details prove that the writers researched rape to its fullest, which deserves them tremendous respect.
Jodie Foster's Oscar winning role (Best Actress) as Sarah is one of her career bests. She performs with every drop of heart and soul that adds to the film's powerful message. Kelly McGillis's role as Sarah's determined lawyer is wonderful. However, she was wrongfully overlooked by the Oscars for Best Actress. As a real-life rape victim, she used her own life experiences as influence for her performance quality. It resulted highly powerful. All other actors, major or minor, also performed their roles wonderfully.
"The Accused" is a great film for everyone to watch. This is sure to touch many viewers for a long time. Afterwards, keep the film playing for a few more seconds after it ends. The rape statistics shown are interesting, yet shocking.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Actors:
Kelly McGillis
Jodie Foster




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