Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Audition
Productgroup: DVD
Audition - movie DVD cover picture
Honey ....? Was it good for you????????

HAH! This BRILLIANT work transcends "Love Does Strange Things to People", "Misery", "The Collector" ... ir raises the bar ....well beyond "Fatal Attraction".

You know ... to say more about this would be to really betray all of it ...

JUST remember, if you indulge in those 'Stranger In the Night' moments ..... you never quite know WHAT will be on your doorstep the following morning or lie next to you in bed!

Highly recommended for the wondering knight ..... quaint 'swordplay'.

'Play Misty For Me' .....over and over and over darling....

Would be nice to see Hilary Swank or Julia R. tackle a remake .....

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Director: Takashi Miike
Ryo Ishibashi
Eihi Shiina

DVD title: Standing In The Shadows of Motown
Productgroup: DVD
Standing In The Shadows of Motown - movie DVD cover picture
Detroit Dynamite-Motor City Magic-Motown Magic

There were many other phrases used to describe this awesome sound. I got hooked on Motown while attending Art School. Music became one of my greatest loves, and still is.
It wasn't easy to get Motown in the UK in the 60's and many a time we had to import them from the USA, I especially remember getting Marvin Gaye's "I heard it through the grapevine", what an awesome sound and still just as good. As things go I was lucky later to work as a DJ in clubs and on FM Radio in Europe and actually presented many a show about Motown. I remember that they used to call the musicians the "The Family" and there was no real credit given to them before now.
Sadly to late for some, what they gave to generations, the music they created is a legacy that never will be repeated.
I watched the DVD last night every second of it and what can I say, it brought both tears and laughter it was fantastic those guys just "grooved". Very emotional !!
If Motown moved you then, and probably still does, then this DVD and the CD are a must. God Bless The Funk Brothers and "Thanks" for all you guys gave to music, you changed music and made so much possible and sadly got so little recognition.
Motown made a big impression when I first heard that sound in the 60's and I guess that period will always have a place in my music heart.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Paul Justman
Jack Ashford
Joe Hunter
Uriel Jones

DVD title: Boys Don't Cry
Productgroup: DVD
Boys Don't Cry - movie DVD cover picture
A chilling and disturbing movie

We all know by know that Hilary Swank won a Best Actress role for her turn as Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena, but what many still don't realize is that every single person in the cast deserved at least a nomination.
People who complain that it's a simplistic story glorifying lesbianism miss the point. It's about class issues rather than sex; the people of this town are stuck in lives they hate but can't escape. All the while, cross-dresser Brandon is in their midst, attempting to live out the life she feels she must. Ms. Swank is extremely credible when she tries to pass herself off as a boy, and Chlo? Sevigny's just fantastic as Brandon's girlfriend Lana, who doesn't want to see the truth at first, and ultimately doesn't care even though she sees herself as heterosexual.
I'm not aware, personally, of how well the movie tracks the real-life events that inspired it. But director Kimberly Peirce has created something so sublime and transcendent and haunting as to become a modern-day legend.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Hilary Swank
Chloë Sevigny

DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Two words (and then some):

Escape Velocity. This series was reminiscent of the classic shareware game for the Mac created by the folks at Ambrosia. And I loved it.
I never so thoroughly enjoyed a series on television. B5, SG1, ST, and Farscape (the next best thing) all pale in comparison. As has been mentioned, the script, story, direction, acting, and special effects (clangy chimes of the billiard balls aside) were superlative. The characters were varied and interesting, all with a different story to tell (and Adam Baldwin was fantastic as Jane - perfectly casted). It's hard to imagine any other series ever coming close to the calibre of Firefly.
And thank goodness someone decided it was at least good enough for DVD-release (not long now!). Here's to anticipation of the feature film...

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Nathan Fillion

DVD title: Hamlet - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Hamlet -  Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
The Best hamlet ever!!!

I have seen this once, and will not buy any of these smaller examples of Hamlet until the BEST one is available. What could be holding this up?

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Jean Simmons

DVD title: The Time Machine
Productgroup: DVD
The Time Machine - movie DVD cover picture
better than belly

oh yes this movie is alot more better than belly. since that movie was boring and dmx can't even act.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Simon Wells
Guy Pearce
Yancey Arias

DVD title: Conquest of Space
Productgroup: DVD
Conquest of Space - movie DVD cover picture
A Wonderful Movie Finally Arrives on DVD

This DVD version of CONQUEST OF SPACE finally treats the movie with the respect it deserves and gets FIVE stars. The anamorphic 1:1.85 widescreen image is so great, crisp, and clean it's like watching the film in the theater for the first time. Three cheers for the technicians who did the transfer!

Never has the screen shown--before or since!--a better starscape than this picture (no, not even FORBIDDEN PLANET, 2001, or STAR WARS). The opening moments show a classic round von Braun space station hanging and spinning in space with an interplanetary vehicle parked nearby. Space has never been so black, nor the stars so scintillating. The score by Van Cleave underscores the sense of wonder--both eerie and majestic--inherent in these scenes.

I first saw CONQUEST OF SPACE when I was ten. This was at a time when our local theater ran Saturday "Kiddie Mantinees" for 25 cents admission during the '50s when the feature was almost always a science-fiction movie. That's how I saw INVADERS FROM MARS, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH and others for the first time. As much as I was thrilled by these movies, the one that touched me the most was CONQUEST OF SPACE.

Fast forward to the '80s and '90s. The only VHS version of the film that I'm aware of could not be more terrible. The blacks are washed out due to the positively poor resolution of the tape. Even more disappointing, when the opening title sequence begins a few minutes after the start of the film, the image on the pan-and-scan VHS suddenly and unaccountably reduces in size so that the titles run in a foreshortened box surrounded by black bars on all sides. As soon as "Directed By" finishes, the movie jumps back to fill the standard TV screen. Since this sequence is one of the more dramatic moments in the film, this VHS version completely destroys the film makers' intent. Fast forward again. A couple of years ago, I discovered a Japanese Laserdisc version of the movie on E-Bay. I bought the disc hoping against hope that the Laserdisc would be an improvement over the VHS. Unfortunately it is the exact same poor resolution pan-and scan version as the VHS. But all that is in the past now thanks to this practically perfect DVD, which has restored the title sequence to its original widescreen glory.

Since this is a George Pal film, the special visual effects are as good as they could get for their time. The story about a trip to Mars has many moments of spine-tingling wonder. But, due to studio interference and pressure, the script was rushed and could have been better. The depiction of the surface of Mars was dramatic and cinematically wondrous in 1954 and knocked my socks off, but has little to do with the photographs of martian landscapes that we are familiar with today from the various NASA Mars missions.

But now I'm quibbling. This DVD is a dream come true and is the best rendering of this film since its original theatrical release in 1954. For those who wish to learn more about the production of CONQUEST OF SPACE and George Pal's other marvelous science-fiction and fantasy films, check out the out-of-print book THE FILMS OF GEORGE PAL by Gail Morgan Hickman.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Byron Haskin

DVD title: Buena Vista Social Club
Productgroup: DVD
Buena Vista Social Club - movie DVD cover picture
Beauty as it pure level

Wonderful pleasure in seeing again at home these magnificents artists from Cuba.

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Wim Wenders
Ibrahim Ferrer
Rubén González (VII)

DVD title: Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing, moving...BRILLIANT!!

How many times have you read a book and loved it, that you go to see the movie and love it as well? Not often, generally when a book catches your heart and mind, you hate the film. To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind as being one that is superb in both formats. I so love Harper Lee's book, yet the film version catches my heart in the same way. Gettysburg gets on that short list.
Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize Winning "Killer Angels" took the pivotal 3-day battle of the Civil War - Gettysburg - and gave you the pathos, the sheer frustration, the anger of a battle that slaughter so many. He gave you Lee, who did not want to fight there, a General who time and again defied all battlefield codes of do not divide your forces in the face of the enemy, who proved a defencive army could defeat a superior offence thrust. He was forced to fight where he did not want - in an offencive battle (same mistake that cost William Wallace Falkirk!). For the first time, Lee was forced fight with the loss of Jackson; with Stuart bent of rubbing the face of his father-in-law and the whole union army in the fact he could right around them, leaving Lee open with no screening, no intelligence as to where the Union army was; to one general who could not follow his orders; to Longstreet 'his old warhorse' who followed them to the letter sending men into a suicidal charge knowing he was sending them to their death.
Martin Sheen brings this Lee alive, so it's amazing to learn he was the 4th choice for the role. Tom Berringer is brilliant as Longstreet, with wonderful performances by Sam Elliot a Brig. Gen. John Buford, Jeff Daniels as Col Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the mesmerising Kevin Conway as Sgt. 'Buster' Kilrain his long suffering aid, John Diehl (Miami Vice) giving the impassioned speech as representatives of Maine soldiers who just want to go home, William Morgan Sheppard as Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble, pleading for reason in the insanity, Stephen Lang (Manhunter) as the flamboyant Pickett and most especially, the dying Richard Jordon as Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead. His speech to Longstreet is just so painful on two levels. I have always loved Jordon's work, watching him from being introduced in films to this his final role. He was a brilliant actor who died way too young, one I so miss, and his genius shines in his final hour, just as it was Armistead's final hour. It just does not get any more poignant than that.
Also, there are neat cameos of Ken Burns as Hancock's aid and Ted Turner (the film's money-bank)as Col. Waller T. Patton (uncredited).
Please note: Gods and General is the prequel to this, written by Shaara's son Jeff. Ronald F. Maxwell is the director of both films, with Jeff Daniels reprising his role as Chamberlain, as well are C. Thomas Howell as his "don't call me Lawrence" brother and Kevin Conway as his Sergeant. Stephan Lang is in this film as well, but not as Pickett, but playing Stonewall Jackson - Bill Campbell will play Pickett. Robert Duvall, the incomparable, takes over as Lee (wonder which he was 1,2 or 3 choice for Gettysburg??) and Bruce Boxleitner (????) is now playing Longstreet (I shall withhold opinions on that casting change).
In this wide-screen format, you get the full experience. Stunning realisation of Shaara's masterpiece.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Tom Berenger
Martin Sheen

DVD title: Keith Jarrett - Last Solo
Productgroup: DVD
Keith Jarrett - Last Solo - movie DVD cover picture
failure to perceive

Those who love Jarrett's music but don't like this DVD have to be loopy. People complained that there is too much of his face. If you had a DVD of Shakespeare, would you want to look at his writing hand the whole time? They don't realize who Jarrett is. He's one of history's greatest geniuses. If you don't want to see what his face looks like, then you really don't care about him or his music. You may think you do, but you don't. His body contortions are some of the strangest things I've seen--they are a performance in themselves. I didn't think people could look like this before watching Last Solo. Until you see him play, you can't really have any idea of the intensity with which he approaches his music. It can't be imagined. We're not talking about painful struggle. We're talking about ecstasy and transcendence. You have to realize who these negative reviewers must be. Do you really think the people entrusted to produce Keith Jarrett's last solo concert would be anything but masters of their art?

Studio: Image Entertainment
Keith Jarrett

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