Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Wild Wild West
Productgroup: DVD
Wild Wild West - movie DVD cover picture
I didn't see where it was that bad of a movie

I know a lot of people will give me a not helpful vote for giving "Wild Wild West" a good rating, but I don't care, I thought the movie wasn't that bad. Sure, it might not be much in the plot department, but it is a good comedy movie. It has a lot of funny parts such as when Will Smith and Kevin Kline are showing their inventions to each other such as a chair that can turn you upside down to where you can see under the train, and when they are both trying to impress Rita (Salma Hayek). I also thought that the movie had some decent special effects, not some of the best, but some of them such as the huge walking spider worked well enough for the movie.
I agree with everybody that "Wild Wild West" has a choppy plot and that it isn't Will Smith's best movie, but for me it worked in the comedy department, and that was enough. Bottom line: If you want to see a flawless movie in terms of plot and every other critical aspect, don't get this one. But if you just want to see a movie that will make you laugh and keep you entertained for the most part, I recommend getting "Wild Wild West."

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Will Smith
Kevin Kline
Kenneth Branagh

DVD title: Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best Series ever made

I was born in 1977, the same year Star Wars first hit the theatres, while I was in the theatre when it was first released, I of course do not remember any of the movie. The first time I actually remember seeing the movie was in 1982. Since then I have been hooked. As far as this DVD package is concerned, I probally will wait until Lucas releases a box set with all episodes 1 - 6. There is really no need to rush and get this since this package does not contain the original movies that alot of us remember from the 80's (or even 70's for the older folks :-)). I don't think the original movies can be purchased anymore, and the only way I would purchase this set when it is released in September is if Lucas decided to put the original movies on the DVD as well as the "remastered" ones. As it stands though, I will wait for all 6 to be released before I purchase.
With that out the way, I think it goes without saying that episodes IV - VI comprise the best trilogy ever to make it to the big screen.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Harrison Ford

DVD title: E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Stands the testing of time

E.T. is a favorite from my childhood along with movies like Goonies, Explorers and Monster Squad. This Limited Edition Collection is a must for Collectors. They will stop producing it after the new year. An almost flawless transfer gives a bright picture and great colors. Their is a lot of special features along with the Live performance of John Williams conducting at the 2002 premiere. I liked the 1982 version better without the new computer animation of ET. Overall this is one of the better DVD's to come out in the last several months.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Henry Thomas
Drew Barrymore
Peter Coyote

DVD title: Escaflowne - The Series (Limited Edition Boxed Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Escaflowne - The Series (Limited Edition Boxed Set) - movie DVD cover picture
An Instant Classic

Where can I begin? Escaflowne is one of the Holy Grails of anime, almost universally beloved and constantly appearing on anime fans' top ten lists. Anyone who's seen the series knows why. This show combines gorgeous animation with a genre-bending narrative and wonderful characters to produce a series that is endlessly entertaining and utterly enthralling.

The series centers around Hitomi Kanzaki, a normal high school girl who does a bit of fortune telling on the side. One day after school, she and her friends are attacked by a dragon which appears from nowhere, and subsequently saved by a mysterious boy in armor. Then Hitomi and the young man (who we learn is called Van) are swept back to his homeland of Gaea, where Hitomi gets caught up in an epic struggle to save the countries of Gaea from the evil Zaibach Empire. Oh, and did I mention that there's also this mystical mech called Escaflowne that's involved in the whole thing, too?

Escaflowne is famous for its genre-bending narrative. It is at once a fantasy adventure, a love story, a coming-of-age tale, and a mech/war series. No one facet of the story dominates the series, meaning that there is plenty in the show that will appeal to all people of all different tastes. Even more astounding is the show's breathtaking pacing. Gone is the filler that pads out most anime series. EVERY episode advances the plot and reveals new depth to the characters, and is so well written and engrossing that if you aren't careful you might just watch the entire series at once.

And given the characters that drive this tale, that wouldn't be such a bad thing. Hitomi is the perfect heroine, running the gamut from scared high schooler to mature, empowered adult. She balances her fears with her strength to create a wholly convincing and utterly likable character. Van is equally well handled, who while initially appearing brazen and rude is revealed to be a troubled prince trying to do what's right. And surrounded these two is one of the most enjoyable and well-characterized cast of characters I've ever seen in any media. Love interest and gallant knight Allen Schezar proves a great counterpoint to Van's more aggressive personality, and I challenge anyone not to fall in love with catgirl sidekick Merle (source of most of the show's humor). The antagonists are also extremely well done, with Folken and Dilandau being standouts. Folken's cool confidence gives way to a fully realized man who only wants what he considers best, and madman Dilandau is so deliciously evil that he steals the majority of the scenes he's in.

And then there's the animation! I have rarely run across a show with such high production values. The show sports scene after scene of gorgeous animation, be it characters simply walking down the street or mechs beating the crap out of each other. The show also sports some jaw-dropping locales and one of the most unique design styles in all of anime. The look of Gaea is brilliant, owing in no small part to the creative mech and costume designs as well as the show's vibrant color pallet.

Another aspect that can not be underestimated is the show's score. Musical genius Yoko Kanno has made quite the name for herself in Japan, who's name alone can generate interest in a show. How many composers can claim that? And with Escaflowne she delivers in spades, creating a rich orchestral score on par or above the standards for most feature films. Her music is also expertly used to enhance the drama, with many of the series' most memorable moments being defined by her score.

A final note: Do yourself a favor and watch the show subtitled. Normally I don't mind dubs (in fact, I usually prefer them), but the dub for this show sucks all life and vitality out of the story and characters. Subtitled, however, it is one of the very best anime shows money can buy.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Kazuki Akane

DVD title: Land of the Dead (Unrated Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Land of the Dead (Unrated Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Eat The Rich!

I'm glad to see George Romero back into the zombie game. 28 Days Later and the latest remake of Dawn Of The Dead were good movies and I even dealt with the fast moving zombies, but something was missing. Shaun Of The Dead, homage to Romero's earlier zombie flicks, pretty much nailed it [and the Shaun folks get a cameo as zombies in Land]. Land Of The Dead is the correct mixture of humor, social commentary, and snapping and slurping sounds. In Land, the rich folks are held up in a high rise condo in a fortified "dahntahn" Pittsburgh [recreated well in the studios and wilds of Ontario]. The poor folks are kept around to fight the zombies and scavenge goodies for the rich. The zombies are getting smarter and a zombie named Big Daddy is leading the living dead straight to Pittsburgh. Simon Baker [Riley] and Robert Joy [Charlie] play a Dominick And Eugene-style brother team who, along with Asia Argento [Slack], represent the living human heroes of our flick. Dennis Hopper [Kaufman] and John Leguizamo [Cholo] give good turns as the living human villains. The true star of the movie is Eugene Clark, who nails the role of the intellectually growing zombie leader Big Daddy [best supporting actor?...nah, the academy isn't that creative]. As a teenager, I used to hang out at the Monroeville Mall [site of the original Dawn Of The Dead] and shopped for school clothes at Kaufman's Department Store in "dahntahn", so I have strong feelings about Pittsburgh and the zombie legacy. George Romero did not let us down! Go see George Romero's land Of The Dead.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: George A. Romero
Simon Baker
John Leguizamo
Asia Argento

DVD title: Rain
Productgroup: DVD
Rain - movie DVD cover picture
The Taste of Rain....

Janey and her family spend their summers at their lakeside vacation home. The lake is a refuge for Janey and her little brother Jim. Janey tries teaching Jim to swim in the day, and at night, their parents parade them around as entertainment for their friends at their endless beach parties.
Janey seems to resent her mother and the way she treats her father. She realizes her parent's photographer friend is more than a friend to her mother...much more. Janey begins to fixate on the photographer and offers to be more than his photography subject which she ends up paying for dearly.
This film is directed by Christine Jeffs and is her first feature film. She has won awards for her Television Commercial Direction which is understandable in the film Rain through her use of slow motion photography. There are several slow motion shots that filter in and out of the film giving it a surreal yet creepy feel.
The pacing is comfortably slow and feels right for the story. The plot unfolds naturally and pulls you in for a gentle ride that unexpectedly becomes thrilling towards the panicked end. Janey is so easy to fall in love with. Her emotions are human and easy to relate to and I felt like I understood her to the core.
Actress Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki plays Janey and captured my heart with her honest performance. Her performance is very impressive, especially considering this is her first feature film and she comes across as an experienced natural. Aaron Murphy plays the little brother and he is precious and real. The casting for this film is right on and makes this character driven movie 5 stars.
This film is based on the novel Rain by Kirsty Gunn. This is one of the first times that a movie was more impressive than the book on which it was based. ...

Studio: First Look Pictures
Director: Christine Jeffs
Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki
Sarah Peirse

DVD title: Pete's Dragon (Disney Gold Classic Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Pete's Dragon (Disney Gold Classic Collection) - movie DVD cover picture

I am 21, and this is my favorite Disney flick. And almost my favorite film overall. Its so underrated. The comedy is so classic, like the Gogans beating up each other, or Red Buttons "Don't Roast me", or Doc Terminus' not-so-warm greeting by the townfolk. This movie is so unappreciated. Every time I see it I can't help but sing along. I love all the songs, I couldn't choose my favorite. This is a movie my kids will watch.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Don Chaffey
Helen Reddy
Sean Marshall

DVD title: Damn the Defiant!
Productgroup: DVD
Damn the Defiant! - movie DVD cover picture
The Wooden World

I love stories set in the wooden ship time period. This one is not a disappointment...the battle scenes and the depictment of life on a frigate are very realistic. The battle scenes well done and the characters are fully developed.
The tension on board, and the inherent conflict that occurs when the command structure is divided, is explored in a way I have never seen done as well. I think that Guiness and Bogarde are both well cast for their roles.
I think that if one is a fan of the Hornblower series this will be a movie you definately should own.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Lewis Gilbert (II)
Alec Guinness
Dirk Bogarde

DVD title: Michael Flatley - Lord of the Dance
Productgroup: DVD
Michael Flatley - Lord of the Dance - movie DVD cover picture
A lot better than Riverdance.

The music in this video is awesome, but the dancing is not believeable. The slow motion makes it so hard to enjoy the video. Feet of Flames is the same way. Other than that, it is a great video and well worth the money.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Mallet

DVD title: South Park - Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Productgroup: DVD
South Park - Bigger, Longer & Uncut - movie DVD cover picture
A Great Film

One of the finest Hollywood films of the last five years. It is intelligent, well written, beautifully made and laugh out loud funny. It is also that rarest of things: a musical with a good memorable score that actually has a brain in its head.
Make no mistake: South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut is one of the most devastating critiques of contemporary American life that we are likely to get from the movies. No one is spared. If you look closely, I'm sure you'll find yourself in there somewhere.
A terrific movie. Fast, funny, and even oddly moving. See it.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Matt Stone

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