Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: This Is Spinal Tap - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
This Is Spinal Tap - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Hubby Thought It Was Real

My husband, who has never been a rock music fan, thought for awhile that this movie was a real documentary of a rock music band. You know that satire is great when it is rocketing along that close to the truth! Rob Reiner, director of this masterpiece, goes beyond tongue-in-cheek, to present the funniest, wickedest satire of a rock music band and the music industry itself. This film deserves a prominent spot in everyone's permanent film collection.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
Michael McKean
Christopher Guest

DVD title: Radioland Murders
Productgroup: DVD
Radioland Murders - movie DVD cover picture
Bad start that gets great fast.

As he did with "Raiders of the Lost Ark", boy-man George Lucas pays tribute to the entertainments of his childhood with a fiendishly clever movie that is paced like a machine gun. It may be too frenetic and claustrophobic for some tastes. But the creative exuberance bursting out of every frame delights me every time.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Mel Smith
Brian Benben
Mary Stuart Masterson
Ned Beatty

DVD title: Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of The Best Films of 2002

Catch Me If You Can, based on the experiences of a real life con artist, is a more light-hearted affair than one would expect from Steven Spielberg. I would agree to an extent with the Amazon reviewer who claimed this film to be "shallow", but then I think that was the whole point. Spielberg's big successes over the last decade have been the likes of `Schindler's List' and `Saving Private Ryan'; very thought heavy, serious films, I think on this one he just wanted to relax and make a movie that would entertain. And there's nothing wrong with that, after all, doesn't he deserve to more than anyone else?
It is the films three leading performances that make the film such a joy to watch. Leonardo Di Caprio very much suits the role of the conman Frank Abagnale and delivers a better performance than he does in `Gangs of New York'. The underrated Christopher Walken is also superbly witty as Abagnale's father, and as FBI agent Hanratty, Tom Hanks is as brilliant as ever. And to top it all off, there is a cameo from the beautiful Jennifer Garner.
I have to admit, the film did start very lightly, and I thought this movie was going to be a real flop, but thankfully I was proved wrong. After fifteen or so minutes, it really got going, and stayed at that level for the rest of the film. Most of the joy from the film came from watching Abagnale perform and get away with feigning as someone he isn't.
I would say that this was my favourite movie of 2002, and I preferred it to Spielberg's last film `Minority Report'. As with the alien in ET, and the soldiers in `Saving Private Ryan', `Catch Me If You Can' yet again explores the director's recurring theme of characters longing to be home.

Studio: Umvd/Dreamworks
Director: Steven Spielberg
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hanks
Christopher Walken

DVD title: Metallica - S & M with the San Francisco Symphony
Productgroup: DVD
Metallica - S & M with the San Francisco Symphony - movie DVD cover picture
Oh yessssssss! they are the best.

This is the best concert from any band rock in history, even for them will be hard to improve it in many years. Every time i see this amazing concert i convince myself i love this guys.Every track sounds great from the beginning til the end, the lights, the orchestra, every thing is beautiful here.I strongly recommend to purchase this DVD, and enjoy not just from the image-sound quality, but the special features where you can learn more about the making of and interviews to the staff.Don't think twice and buy today.

Studio: Wea/Elektra Entertainment
Director: Wayne Isham

DVD title: The Browning Version (Criterion Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
The Browning Version (Criterion Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
Probably Redgrave's Greatest Screen Performance

In a classroom of a British public school modeled on Harrow, students are waiting for their classics master, Andrew Crocker-Harris. "I don't think the Crock gets a kick out of anything," says Taplow, one of the students. "In fact, I don't think he has any feelings at all. He's just dead, that's all...He can't hate people and he can't like people. And what's more, he doesn't like people to like him. If he'd give me a chance, I think I'd quite like him." "What"" says another student. "Well, I feel sorry for him, which is more or less the same thing, isn't it?"

Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave) is a middle-aged teacher, pedantic, precise, not so much dead inside as numb. He has taught 18 years at the school as the lower fifth classics master. He was once a brilliant scholar and could see a wonderful career as a teacher. His wife, Millie (Jean Kent), has become a shrew. She had her ambitions, too, and they eroded in the face of the couple's incompatibility. Millie longs for passion, intensity and respect; Crocker-Harris can provide none. His view of love has been almost platonic. It is apparent their intimate life has been nonexistent for years. "I may have been a brilliant scholar," Crocker-Harris says at one point, "but I was woefully ignorant of the facts of life." In this mix of frustration and deadened emotion is Frank Hunter (Nigel Patrick), the charming, smart upper fifth science master, a colleague of Crocker-Harris, who is cuckolding him.

The story takes place over two days at the end of term. Crocker-Harris is having to retire because of ill health. He'll be moving to a much smaller school, earning very little money, and is resigned to further failure. No one is particularly sorry to see him go, including the avuncular head of school, Frobisher (Wilfred Hyde-White), as supple as a snake. Crocker-Harris has no illusions left about himself. He says to the new teacher who will replace him next term, "I did try very hard to communicate to the boys...some of my own joy in the great literature of the past. Of course, I...I failed. As you will fail nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine times out of a thousand. But a single success can atone, more than atone, for all the failures in the world. And sometimes, very rarely, it is true, I had that success. That, of course, was in the early years."

Things come to a head when Taplow makes a gesture of friendship to Crocker-Harris. He gives his teacher a used copy of a verse translation of the Agamemnon, the Robert Browning version. Crocker-Harris' dull shell nearly breaks. Millie takes the gratuitous opportunity to say that Taplow was merely trying to curry favor. Hunter, long looking for a way to break off with Millie, sees the cracks that have appeared in Crocker-Harris. He is appalled at Millie. He discovers a greater appreciation for what destroyed Crocker-Harris' humanity, but also for what Crocker-Harris might have been. And Crocker-Harris finally faces his own feelings when he addresses the school and the boys at the end of term ceremony. The last scene we see is of Crocker-Harris walking across the school grounds, reading anew a verse translation of Agamemnon he had begun years ago and thrown out. Taplow found it and has given it back. He tells Crocker-Harris how exciting he thought it was after reading it, that it was like a real play with real people. Crocker-Harris, we believe, is beginning to rediscover what it is to be a teacher and a human being.

If any word characterizes this movie, it is restraint, and in the very best sense. Redgrave gives a superb performance as the repressed, sad Crocker-Harris. Only slowly do we see what has happened to him. Even then, as we learn more about his failures as a teacher and a husband, as pity turns into sympathy, the movie is careful not to make Millie a complete termagant. In many ways, she has become as sad and desolate as her husband. Terence Rattigan, the playwright, and Anthony Asquith, the director, have constructed a seamless story of apparent personal failure which, nonetheless, builds to a satisfying emotional ending. Redgrave, however, is what makes it work. His performance really is extraordinary.

The Criterion DVD picture is in excellent shape. There are a couple of extras.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Anthony Asquith
Michael Redgrave
Jean Kent

DVD title: Burnt by the Sun
Productgroup: DVD
Burnt by the Sun - movie DVD cover picture

This is one of the most powerful movies I can remember seeing. In many movies about the Holocaust or the gulags, the focus is on the suffering in the camps. This movie shows the idyllic life ripped apart by the paranoia of Stalin and his overwhelming cult of personality. The whole movie rings true with everything that i have read about the Soviet Union during the purges.
The pace is slow, but the acting is brilliant, the cinematography gorgeous, and the ending packs a punch.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
Nikita Mikhalkov
Ingeborga Dapkunaite

DVD title: The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Productgroup: DVD
The Unsinkable Molly Brown - movie DVD cover picture
one of the best musicals of all time

debbie reynolds shines in this rags to riches true tale. a must for true fans.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Charles Walters
Debbie Reynolds
Harve Presnell

DVD title: Gordon Lightfoot - Live in Reno
Productgroup: DVD
Gordon Lightfoot - Live in Reno - movie DVD cover picture
Impressive Collection by Lightfoot

I have to say that I was expecting a bit of flash and glam with the DVD, simply because that's what we seem to be used to these days with entertainers. This is a great DVD, because it is simply a gifted singer/songwriter sharing his music, supported by an obviously skilled and talented band. I found, as did others, that Lightfoot "up close and personal" was something to get a bit used to, but the music is magical. As I continued to watch the DVD, I was really entranced--the combination and synergy of the voice, the songs, the back-up music, and the enthuasism of the audience.

Particularly given that in late 2002 he suffered major health problems (to say the least), I'm really grateful that we have this opportunity to have this gifted entertainer recorded on DVD for posterity. I hope he continues to have many more years of success, in writing, singing, and performing.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Gordon Lightfoot

DVD title: King of Texas
Productgroup: DVD
King of Texas - movie DVD cover picture
Stellar Performances, Stellar Adaptation

Based on Shakespeare's King Lear, this story of greed and sibling rivalry over Texas territory is astounding and an attention grabber from beginning to end ! There is plenty of treachery and deceit as well for good measure. Performance by Patrick Stewart of television's Star Trek Next Generation fame is a marvel in itself as the powerful and proud John Lear, land and cattle owner of Texas. Lear bestows upon his daughters the entire Texas empire.However, the land distributed amongst them is not enough;more is never enough ! The daughters' true plan of treacherous scheming begins to unfold to the very end with a gut wrenching climax !Honorable mention to actress Marcia Gay Harden for cruel, cold, and just downright nasty performance as the cattle baron's eldest and possibly most evil daughter ! Comedian/actor David Alan Grier turns in a fine and sarcastically witty portrayal as Lear's sort of "court jester" who counterbalances the dramatic nature of the movie.Though based on Shakespeare's King Lear the story itself feels like an authentic part of early American history on how the West was won...King of Texas was originally a TNT made for t.v. movie. However, it is definitely worthy of owning on dvd format.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Uli Edel

DVD title: Chappelle's Show - Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
Chappelle's Show - Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Pros and Cons

This show is one of the funniest shows out there today. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud at while watching a show by myself and Chappelle's Show does that. Yes, some sketches (or skits as he calls them) tend to fall flat, but a lot of the sketches hit home runs like the "What Women Want" parody or R. Kelly videos.
I can't wait for the second season to come out so I can watch "True Hollywood Stories" over and over again. Give Charlie Murphy his own show where he just tells stories!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Dave Chappelle

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling))
The Chronicles of Narnia
Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time, Book 11)

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Photo Release -- Servinova, a Cisco Systems Registered Partner Company Has Started Network Testing on CISCO Aironet (PrimeZone via Yahoo! Finance)
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Wireless: Making a living from cellphone innards (International Herald Tribune)
Photo Release -- Servinova, a Cisco Systems Registered Partner Company Has Started Network Testing on CISCO Aironet (RedNova)
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