Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: National Lampoon's European Vacation
Productgroup: DVD
National Lampoon's European Vacation - movie DVD cover picture
Humor doesn't translate

If you're American and have taken kids on vacation in Europe, then you'll identify with this film, while laughing your head off. If you're European and have watched Americans on vacation in Europe, then you may think it's a documentary. I watched this film with my (then) German girlfriend and two of her fellow history students, an American and his Belgian girlfriend. We two Americans laughed our heads off. The European women couldn't see what was so funny because, in their eyes, the film merely reflected the facts.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Amy Heckerling
Chevy Chase
Beverly D'Angelo

DVD title: Blue Streak
Productgroup: DVD
Blue Streak - movie DVD cover picture
Blue Streak Rules!

Master jewel thief Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence, Life, Bad Boys) has a big problem. A $20 million problem. Recently released from prison for the botched heist of a huge diamond, he's anxious to retrieve the hot rock which he hid at a construction site two years earlier. Unfortunately, his hiding place is now at the center of a recently completed high-security police precinct. Posing as a detective, and partnered with straight-laced rookie Carlson (Luke Wilson, Home Fries, Bottle Rocket), Miles utilizes his criminal expertise and inadvertently rises up the ranks, winning the respect of his fellow "boys in blue."
Powered by a hot soundtrack with music by Jay-Z, Foxy Brown and Tyrese featuring Heavy D, Blue Streak is a hilarious action-comedy from director Les Mayfield (Flubber, Encino Man).
Special DVD bonus: Includes hot music videos by Jay-Z, Tyrese featuring Heavy D, and So Plush featuring Ja Rule!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Les Mayfield
Martin Lawrence

DVD title: Baby Songs - Animals
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Songs - Animals - movie DVD cover picture
A Great Entertainment Value

This is the second child in my household who has enjoyed baby songs. The Animals VHS tape is his very favorite. He loves to sit and watch it. He doesn't watch anything else, but he will come to a complete stop if I put in the baby songs.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Hap Palmer

DVD title: Luis Miguel - Vivo
Productgroup: DVD
Luis Miguel - Vivo - movie DVD cover picture
He is still the best.

If you like Luis Miguel's music, you will love this DVD. The best sound and picture ever. Prepare to fall in love with Luis Miguel all over again, or for the first time.

Studio: Wea/Latina
Luis Miguel

DVD title: Crunch - Burn & Firm Pilates
Productgroup: DVD
Crunch - Burn & Firm Pilates - movie DVD cover picture
Others will notice you change too.

Get this DVD and stick with it and you will see results! You could get on that stairmaster or treadmill but you wouldn't be toning your entire body (which is key). I have been fitness conscious and physically active since my early 20s. My experience as an aerobic/step instructor from my 20s into my 30s had given me a good base of fitness knowledge. Now approaching 43 and having faced surgery induced menopause I have found it more difficult to stay fit, loose weight and get toned. Always tired due to severe sleep deprivation related to (night sweats), I fell into the pit of believing that ? hour a day on my treadmill or stairmaster (4 or 5 days a week) would be enough and it just wasn't. What I found is that I began to have sagging upper arms and a larger middle section. One day running with (very fit/ripped and trim) sister-in-law (same age as myself) I discovered that she prefers Pilates over any other workout. An instructor herself she now only teaches or takes Pilates.
I have read many of the reviews written by other people that claim this DVD doesn't make you sweat enough. To that I say work harder. This video is good but you need to put in the effort and trust me you will sweat and elevate your heart rate. If you feel like you are not sweating enough add in the arm movements earlier (once you get to know the video), use heavier weights or step fuller/wider. Or you could mix it up with treadmill/stairmaster or bike by alternating days. Mix it up anyway, so you don't get board.
As for me I have been using this video and others along with some biking and my treadmill. When I choose biking/treadmill/stairmaster over the DVDs, I always include the Ab portion of one of the DVDs. I feel good, I am sleeping better (night sweats - lessening), I AM losing weight and people are noticing. I hope I have inspired you. Good luck and get to it.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Ellen Barrett

DVD title: The Real World You Never Saw - New Orleans
Productgroup: DVD
The Real World You Never Saw - New Orleans - movie DVD cover picture

This video was the funniest thing I have ever seen. I recomend anyone to get it even if you have never seen an episode. You will learn so much about the cast and be entertained at the same time. I'm warning you, it will be hard to stop laughing!

Studio: Sony Wonder
Mtv-Real World

DVD title: Xena Warrior Princess - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Xena Warrior Princess - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
Anchor Bay's treatment of Davis-Panzer productions

Well here we are with the first season of "Xena: Warrior Princess" coming to DVD via Anchor Bay instead of through the official Davis-Panzer site. This is a good thing. Because from reviews I've read of the Davis-Panzer versions, the video and audio quality is abysmal on them. Davis-Panzer also produced the Highlander Series as well and of course released some of those seasons on DVD (and VHS) through their site as well with equally dismal video/audio.
Well rest easy folks. Anchor Bay is fast becoming one of the best DVD Production companies out there. I have recently purchased two Anchor Bay DVD sets and they are suppurb, both in packaging and in presentation. One being the newly remastered "The Complete Musketeers" and Davis-Panzer's "Highlander - The Series: Season One" Both products are excellent. "The Complete Musketeers" was finally given the treatment it deserved with all new correct anamorphic transfers and new documentaries. "Highlander - The Series" DVD set was also great. The newly remixed 5.1 surround is very strong and has wide soundstage. The music envelopes you with the surround speakers and the main action is very strong in the front channels. Picture quality is about good as you would expect from a early-'90s TV show. It is a good clean transfer most of the time with a small amount of grain in the the darker scenes, but those shots usually don't last long. I fully intend to buy the subsequent seasons with Season 2 coming in July.
But here we are with the start of the Xena and Hercules sets from Anchor Bay. Xena coming in late-April, and Hercules coming in mid-June. From seeing the quality of the Highlander set, I have no doubt that Anchor Bay will give Xena and Hercules the royal treatment they deserve. The sound should be awesome and the video should be probably better than the Highlander set being slightly newer series.
I must admit that I was never a faithful fan to any of these Davis-Panzer shows, but from the episodes I did see of them, I always thought that they had excellent production values with good writing and character development. So I'm excited to begin collecting the Davis-Panzer shows. Besides, they fit my genre interests.
So fear not Xena/Hercules fans, these sets should be very good. Anchor Bay is great. Should have some interesting extra features as well.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Lucy Lawless

DVD title: Romeo & Juliet
Productgroup: DVD
Romeo & Juliet - movie DVD cover picture
This has been my favorite movie since it came out in 1968!

Romeo and Juliet Directed by Franco Zeffirelli is an unforgettable movie of love written by Shakespeare, where teenagers like Leonard Whiting (Romeo), and Olivia Hussey (Juliet) made a huge production, to be able to express as the days of Shakespeare were. It is considered as a romantic tragedy movie, where our eyes, and imagination travels as you are watching the 1968's version. This movie is a play with a really high range of value for me as a reader of the book, because when you read the book first you would figure a 1968 version.
In my opinion the actors John McEnery (Mercutio), and Michael York (Tybalt) made a really good fight scene, where both ended up death, because Tybalt killed Mercutio, then Romeo got mad, fought, and killed Tybalt. That's how the big tragedy really started, because by that way Romeo got banished. Then after that, Friar Laurence (Milo O'shae) planned to fix everything, because he knew that he was going to get in trouble if he let Juliet to get marry twice, being Juliet already married to Romeo without the consent of Capulet (Salvatore Billa), and Lady Capulet (Natasha Parry). The Friar gave Juliet a poison, which made her pretend she was death, so that Romeo could go and pick her up, and they could leave Verona together. But Balthazar (Keith Skinner) who saw Juliet death, messed up the Friar's plan by telling Romeo that Juliet was death, but he didn't know that Juliet was just pretending she were death, while Romeo was expecting to get a letter from the Friar. Then Romeo went to see Juliet carrying a poison with him, and he said: "Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! And, lips, O you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death!" Then Romeo drinks the poison and die. Then a minute after that, Juliet woke up and saw Romeo death in the floor, and then she killed herself with Romeo's stake.
I love this version of the movie; it was so dramatic and ironic. But I think that is not very mature to kill itself by love. Knowing that out there are too many people. But there is always a saying that I say, "Every person is a different world", which I found out is true, because everyone thinks different. I'd like to say that this is a metaphorical experience, where I think that Shakespeare maybe thought that love is over all situations, where everyone gets confused, and lost control of the situation by taking or trying to fix everything in a very fast way, which is even worse.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Leonard Whiting
Olivia Hussey

DVD title: The Remains of the Day (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Remains of the Day (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Subtle and Lovely

This is not a fast-paced, action-packed, Hollywood kind of movie. It's more akin to reading a book than watching a film. That is not to say that this is at all dull or boring.
Remains of the day is a lovely, and even tragic at times, movie about love and the more sweeping themes of life and death, among the reserved and proper English class of housemaids, butlers,and the multitudes of servants employed by large country houses in the early half of the 20th Century.
The story revolves around Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as the heads of their respective sexes in the household and the deep affection they have for one another, but that Hopkins cannot exhibit. Thomspon's character is outgoing and a bit too modern for Hopkin's somber and traditional disposition.
The story tells of their meeting, and then follows an older Hopkins as he remembers his younger days and Thompson, as he travels to see her one last time.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: James Ivory
Anthony Hopkins
Emma Thompson

DVD title: Dolls
Productgroup: DVD
Dolls - movie DVD cover picture
Sorrow and Loss

A truly great film. Kitano has always been one of the most remarkable of film artists: a moving combination of extreme violence and extreme tenderness -- sort of a Japanese mixture of Peckinpah & Max Ophuls. Who else, other than Nicholas Ray, can claim such a range? "Dolls" -- released to empty houses back in 2002, and finally making it to the cinematically barren shores of the USA in '05 -- is Kitano at his most tender. Three stories are interwoven, and the dolls of the title refer, of course, to those among us -- a vanishing breed -- whose depth of love is just too strong for the world. They live in a world beyond ours. Characters such as this once held a prime place in the focus of world art. (Balzac made a career of them.) No more, outside of hearts such as Kitano's. Much, I imagine, in this movie comes from his life. The aging Yakuza(wonderfully played by Tatsuya Mihasi)is Kitano the guilty husband. The lonely celebrity disfigured by car accident leads back to Kitano's near-death in a motorcycle crack-up. Perhaps the lonely woman embodied by Chieko Matsubara and the main character Sawako is the director's dual valentine of apology to his loyal wife. Where it all comes from doesn't really matter. What does matter are some of the most moving moments in modern cinema: the fade out on the groupie madly in love with the pretty pop star, as he rocks out, headphones on, alone in his bedroom; the moment of recognition by Mihasi as he sees Chieko Matsubara still waiting, years later, at their chosen bench; Sawako holding up her angel necklace, as she and her lover gaze back into time, seeing the moment when the necklace was first given to her; the groupie and the pop star "smelling the roses"; the incomparable moment when Matsumoto, Miho Kanno's betrayer, realizes his fate is forever linked with hers, and he leads her toward the road they must take together. Kitano's films have always been about the struggle to protect love(romantic and fraternal) through violence. "Hana-bi"(literal translation: "Fire Flower") is the greatest of these works. Here, there is no violence. Only the sadness at the end of all roads taken to embody love, at the cost of everything else. The music by Joe Hisaishi and the photography by Katsumi Yanagishima are beyond compare. An absolutely must see film.

Studio: Umvd/Visual Entertai
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Miho Kanno
Hidetoshi Nishijima
Tatsuya Mihashi
Kyôko Fukada
Tsutomu Takeshige

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling))
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