Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Donnie Darko
Productgroup: DVD
Donnie Darko - movie DVD cover picture
Hypnotically awesome movie ...

This was a strangely hypnotic movie ... it started out with a weird twist and as it moved along the plot became more and more bizarre ..... but in a good way.
The end of the movie really suprised me .... with all the twists and changes within the plot, I was so completely engrossed that I didn't see the plot moving in the direction that it did!
A most excellent portrayl by Jake Gyllenhaal, as Donnie who is portrayed as a border-line schizophrenic teen, gets you totally into the movie right from the start.
I give this baby a 5+ .... absolutely brilliant! The whole cast and crew have excelled themselves and I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes movies that are different from the rest, stand out from the crowd, and make you think!
Give it a go, Kristina

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

DVD title: The Little Mermaid II - Return to the Sea
Productgroup: DVD
The Little Mermaid II - Return to the Sea - movie DVD cover picture
I wish I could give this one a billion stars!

I for one loved this movie and didn't compare it to the original. I loved the Lion King 2 (Simba's Pride) and didn't compare that one to the first one. I adore the Rescuers Down Under, but its not the same as the first one. And the sequel to Lady and the Tramp? I liked that one too. Yes, there are going to be changes when one waits years to make a sequel. I love the sequels for being movies in their own right. By the way, I am almost 22 years old and remember the first Little Mermaid very well. I've grown up on Disney, and out of the forty dvds I own, 80% of them are Disney.

Anyway, the Little Mermaid 2 is a great movie. The animation is even clearer and more beautiful than the first one, due to the changes in technology over the last decade, and the songs are just as catchy and fun. In fact, I watched it a few days ago and still have "Tip and Dash" stuck in my head. In my opinion, Disney did a great job with the story itself, making it believable and moving. The actors and actresses all give their best and it shows in the emotion the characters display. Melody is exactly what you would expect a lonely preteen princess to be--tortured by her secret desires and her need to fit in, yet her seeming inability to do so. And like all kids that age, she is convinced that she is the only one who could possibly feel this way and brushes off her mother's attempts to cheer her up with edited stories of her own childhood. She creates a situation and has to deal with the repercussions, and does so very well.

Jodi Benson proves once again that she is the only woman who could play the part of Ariel. Reprising her role from so many years ago, she now plays the part of the older, wiser, more mature mermaid-turned human, and does it perfectly. In addition to dealing with Melody's preteen anxieties, Ariel has to contend with her own feelings of loneliness and helplessness, as her years as a human and the wall that separates the castle from the sea also separates her from her family. There is a very poignant scene in which Ariel wades in the water behind the wall, just to feel the water again and to remember her life before. It moves me every time.

Eric gets a lot of screen time in this one, but he doesn't speak as much and really just stands off to the side, silently offering encouragement. He doesn't act as a prince, but a father concerned with the well-being of his only daughter and a husband worried about his wife's happiness. I don't think his voice actor is the same as in the first one. Triton's either.

I've rambled on long enough. I just want everyone to watch this movie and decide for yourselves if you like it or not. But please, don't compare it to the original. Just as younger siblings hate being compared to their older brothers and sisters, and children dislike being forced to follow in the path of their parents, so too are sequels not meant to be the exact replicas of the original films. Give the Little Mermaid 2 a chance to stand on its own.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Jodi Benson
Tara Strong
Pat Carroll

DVD title: The Upright Citizens Brigade - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Upright Citizens Brigade - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best show ever!

I can't believe this day has finally come. This is so gratifying, the most insanely funny comedy show has been released on DVD(the first season at least). After the show went off the air it was really hard to find any way to watch the episodes. I read in a previous review that if you don't find this show funny you have no soul, which is entirely true. My personal favorite is the Bucket of Truth episode. You will definitely enjoy this DVD.

Studio: Wea Corp
Matt Besser
Amy Poehler
Ian Roberts (II)

DVD title: Janis Ian - Janismania
Productgroup: DVD
Janis Ian - Janismania - movie DVD cover picture
A Dream Come True

I have been a fan of Janis for more years than I care to remember. Attending JanisMania was one of the highlights of my life! Getting to know Janis and many of her fans in such an intimate setting was fabulous! That it was held in my hometown was a bonus!

You get a much different slant than with a regular concert DVD. The Master Class was both interesting and enlightening, and the Living Room concert was more fun than I could have imagined. All of us had met only hours before, but the close-knit feel of the group comes through.

Treat yourself! Delve into a weekend of music, fun and friendship with a true artist and a bunch of folks who really appreciate what she has created.

Studio: Goldenrod Music Inc
Janis Ian

DVD title: A Little Princess
Productgroup: DVD
A Little Princess - movie DVD cover picture
I am a Princess!

"I am a Princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they live in rags. Even if they aren't pretty, or young, or smart, they're still princesses. All of us! Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he?"
Well no. My Dad didn't call me a princess, and that's because I'm a guy. But after seeing this movie, I was really beginning to wish I was. "A Little Princess" is quite simply amazing. It is the most magical family movie there is. I just can't recommend it high enough. I saw this at the movie theater, 7 times and it is quite easily my favorite film of all time.
Set in 1914, "A Little Princess" tells the story of a girl called Sara who goes to a strict boarding school while her father from England goes to fight the War. The school is run by a mean spirited head teacher called Miss Minchin. From the start, Miss Minchin is jealous of Sara who considers herself to be a princess. After all, her Papa has told her that she will always be his little princess. Despite the harshness of Miss Minchin, Sara continues to fill those around her with magic as she tells stories to them of a beautiful princess and her prince.
The emotion begins early in this movie, firstly being when Sara and her Papa say goodbye as he goes into war. Midway through the movie Sara hears that her Papa has been killed in battle. I have to say, when I watched this I was gone. Ok I wasn't gone yet, but I was holding the tears in. Actress Liesel Matthews who plays Sara is so genuine, and director Alfonso Cuaron definitely brings out the best in her. It is at the end which is complimented by the music of Patrick Doyle, that I really did feel a few tears going by my face. It happened just after Sara realized she may truly have lost her father forever.
The DVD itself just has a trailer and it would be great if it had more extras, but the moie is just so wonderful that you have to buy this DVD. In addition, the subtle Dolby Digital 5.1 is just right for a movie such as this.
"A Little Princess" made my heart feel so much, and I really felt like a girl, getting upset over a family movie like this. I guess I was getting in touch with my inner princess. Maybe I am a princess after all.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Liesel Matthews
Eleanor Bron
Liam Cunningham

DVD title: Baby Einstein Gift Pack Volume 3 (Baby Galileo/Baby Neptune/Baby Beethoven/Numbers Nursery)
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Einstein Gift Pack Volume 3 (Baby Galileo/Baby Neptune/Baby Beethoven/Numbers Nursery) - movie DVD cover picture

I have read scathing reviews on how Baby Einstein is a rip-off, and that it is a waste of money to buy these videos. I have found while babysitting that every child I watch from 3 months to 4 years finds something of interest in the videos and cds. It has also been written that these are bad for children because they just sit and stare at them, when clearly if these parents had watched the entire video and listened to the explanation at the end of the movie telling them that these videos were meant to be used for interaction WITH their children not as substitute entertainment and education. And while these videos are entertaining to small children, they do get a little monotonous for adults, but what child's toy doesn't begin to annoy you after about the tenth time you hear it's song or read the same silly story that your child loves so much because you do the same silly voices while you read it that you've done the last twenty times you read it for them.
These videos and cds also have wonderful soft music and sounds fit for babies' sensitive hearing and is very soothing to not only them but you. Studies show that children exposed to different kinds of music, especially classical, show a higher use of advanced brain waves than children that aren't. Studies also show that any positive interaction with your baby advances them socially and emotionally over children that are ignored. The Baby Einstein company also makes books and toys that can be used to advance your babies in other ways. So I feel that this company is exploring every avenue of development for small children. I may not have children of my own yet but all the babies I take care of love these videos and cds, and I intend to purchase them and use them WITH my own children someday.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

DVD title: Proof
Productgroup: DVD
Proof - movie DVD cover picture
Proof on DVD at last!

This is a great film, and I'm so glad it's finally been released on DVD. Basically a subtle morality tale, Proof is about the friendship that develops between Hugo Weaving, a blind man with MAJOR trust issues, and Russell Crowe, a simple dishwasher who unwittingly complicates things. Throw in some hilarious moments involving a dead cat, a blind man driving a car, and an evil housekeeper who rearranges furniture out of cruelty, and you've got a great movie. Check out this hidden gem of a movie- you won't be disappointed!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Hugo Weaving
Geneviève Picot
Russell Crowe

DVD title: Say Anything...
Productgroup: DVD
Say Anything... - movie DVD cover picture

I fell in love with john cusack after watching this movie years ago and still haven't lost my crush on him. John Cusack plays Loyd, a kickboxing optimist who wants to win the heart of high school valedictorian, Diane Court (Ione Sky). But he surprises everyone, including himself, when he actually succeeds! But Diane's over-bearing and posessive father doesn't approve of their relationship and does what he has to do to break them apart- all while being investigated by the IRS. Made in 1989 it has definitely lived up to the test of time as the best teen movie ever made - American Pie, Clueless, and Fast Times at Ridgemont have nothing on this movie! Watch it!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Cameron Crowe
John Cusack
Ione Skye

DVD title: Donnie Darko
Productgroup: DVD
Donnie Darko - movie DVD cover picture
This film haunts you and makes you think

I didn't exactly know what to expect from this film upon seeing it, but it completely blew me away. It is at once funny, gripping, and extremely creepy. Jake Gyllenhaal gives an excellent performance as the teenage schizophrenic Donnie, and although the rest of the cast is solid, he definitely carries the film. There were many moments in the film were I found myself going, "Whoa," and I had to pause it to let my brain catch up. As the plot deepens, you can see all of these elements and subplots coming together, and it is sometimes enough to widen your eyes and make you shiver as you see another piece of the puzzle snap into place. The film's culmination will stay with you for a long time. It is probably one of the best films I've ever seen about time travel (and one of the best in general), and it treats the concept with intelligence and skill. I say "Watch this movie immediately" to anyone who is willing to work some for the answers to the movies they watch.

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

DVD title: The Concert for Bangladesh
Productgroup: DVD
The Concert for Bangladesh - movie DVD cover picture
The Concert For Bangla Desh

We can only hope this will be released again someday. One of the greatest concerts, and concert films ever. Remember that this show was almost 30 years ago, with many of the participants already superstars then. 30 years later, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton are still big contributors, while Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Leon Russell are still alive and kicking. Maybe George Harrison's recent unfortunate attack will revive some interest in this.

Director: Saul Swimmer

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