Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: A Man for All Seasons
Productgroup: DVD
A Man for All Seasons - movie DVD cover picture
If you want to understand martyrdom...

This is an excellent movie. Since I can't improve on the other 5-star reviews here, let me just say that this movie really drove home to me what it means to be a martyr: it's not just someone who is killed for his or her beliefs. It's that the person can easily save him- or herself by saying a few words, but chooses not to -- on principle.

You may wonder why would anyone make such a choice? The most important and obvious reason is to honor God. But there is also a practical aspect. Such events can lead people to have a change of heart. They may pause and say, "Look what this person was willing to do for his or her beliefs! Maybe there's something to these beliefs; perhaps I should look into this." This is of course how so many became Christians after our Lord's crucifixion. This wonderful movie helps ensure that the sacrifice of Saint Thomas More continues to also have this effect on people in the present day.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Paul Scofield
Wendy Hiller
Robert Shaw

DVD title: Fireworks
Productgroup: DVD
Fireworks - movie DVD cover picture
Outstanding movie, but this DVD is CUT!!!!!

Fireworks (released internationally as "Hana-Bi") was the seventh film directed by Takeshi Kitano, Japanese comedian, novelist, essayist, short story writer, poet, critic, musician, cartoonist, painter and filmaker.
Kitano (always credited as "Beat" Takeshi as an actor) wrote the screenplay and stars as Nishi, a tough cop struggling to cope with the recent death of his daughter while caring for his leukemia stricken wife. One day, at his partner's urging, he takes a break from a stakeout to visit his wife at the nearby hospital where she's being treated. In his absence, things go terribly wrong; his partner is left crippled and another officer is killed.
Kitano plays Nishi like a man holding the weight of the world on his shoulders, struggling to maintain composure in the wake of a tragedy that has shattered the lives of people close to him. The quiet dignity with which he carries himself is compromised only by an occasional facial tic, which we see while he listens to his ex-partner reveal that his family abandoned him after the shooting and later when the dead officer's widow pours her heart to him about the emotional and financial difficulties of raising her daughter alone.
Hoping to make his wife's final days more pleasant, he borrows money from a local Yakuza, but when he falls behind on the interest payments, he becomes the subject of harrassment and threats. Determined to correct everything that's gone wrong, Nishi decides to rob a bank to pay back the Yakuza and take care of his wife, ex-partner and the widow of the slain officer. The situation escalates out of control, resulting in an understated, but powerful climax.
This film won the Golden Lion award for Best Picture at the 1997 Venice International Film Festival and propelled Kitano to the forefront of Japanese cinema. It's considered by many critics and fans to be Kitano's best movie, though I consider his 2002 release "Dolls" (unavailable on U.S. DVD) to be a strong contender for that distinction.
Now, the problem with this DVD. The transfer itself is fine. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with clear, well translated subtitles and some nice features. However, the disc is inexplicably missing aproximately 4 minutes of footage. Why a company like New Yorker Films, which specializes in art house releases, would release a truncated version of such a seminal work, is anyone's guess, but American companies have not been kind to Kitano's works. Any DVD released stateside of his films has a much better version overseas. I strongly urge anyone interested in this film to look for the uncut Korean special edition DVD (under the original title "Hana-Bi"), which is NTSC and region free (despite being labled Region 3 on the box)), so it will play on any North American DVD player. It has excellent subtitles and even costs a few dollars less than the incomplete American version.

Studio: New Yorker Films
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano
Kayoko Kishimoto

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 2
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Tarantino dialogue at it's best!

I was expecting Kill Bill, Vol 2 to be much like the first. I was surprised to find it was a completely different film! Though I loved the first, it was definitely a pleasant surprise to find the second much more mellow and more about the depth of the characters instead of blood and kung-fu fighting.
Uma Thurmon is back as The Bride, the woman who was set to be married when her ex boss and former "friends" (an assassination team) gunned her, her future husband and entire wedding party down. She got her revenge on the first two members of the Death Squad and in Vol. 2, she's back to take out the other two.. and the ringleader, Bill.
The dialogue is, as always, incredible. Quentin Tarantino just has a way with words and dialogue that keeps my attention riveted... and keeps me laughing. Since I like Tarantino's dialogue so much, it was no surprise I liked Vol.2 so much better than Vol.1! This version was much slower paced and seemed more concerned with explaining the characters and their motivations moreso than the first.
Despite being less bloody than the first, there is no shortage of great fights in Vol. 2! The final fight between Bill and the Bride is EXCELLENT. I also very much enjoyed her fight with Elle Driver, which was surprisingly funny and very well choreographed. The fight with Elle was probably one of the best fight scenes I've seen in a movie in a long long time!
As in the first, the acting is top notch. All the actors are so perfectly matched to the characters they were playing. Uma Thurmon is totally wonderful and believable as the wronged Bride bent on revenge. Michael Madsen is great as Budd, the redneck who is a lot smarter than he looks. Darryl Hannah as Elle, phenominally evil - I don't think they could possibly have cast a better person in that role. David Carradine finally gets to be seen, playing the infamous Bill. While he did an excellent job - I have a hard time buying him and the Bride as a couple... though the two definitely have some chemistry on the screen in a mentor/protoge kind of sense.
Overall, while the movie was different than Vol.1, it was still excellent! I highly recommend it, especially to Tarantino fans. 5 stars!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
David Carradine
Michael Madsen
Daryl Hannah

DVD title: Bicentennial Man
Productgroup: DVD
Bicentennial Man - movie DVD cover picture
Outstandng movie - A must see for all ages

Bicentennial Man is the exploration of the the human spirit. The drive to survive and to be accepted. This movie touches on love, romance, comedy, prejudices and equality for all. Robin Williams and Elsbeth Davidtz were exceptional. The sounds track by Jmes Horner was haunting and enchanting. The Theme so by Celine Dion is breathtaking. A movie I can gladly say is the best that I have every seen. The movie does not focus on futuristic gadets and what not. The focus of the movie is change evelution and love. Something that everyone can relate to.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Robin Williams

DVD title: Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout
Productgroup: DVD
Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout - movie DVD cover picture
One of my favorites...

Without getting too verbose, this dvd is a VERY GOOD Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout. *Beginners Beware* because there's no instruction per se. The flow of the mat workout is exceptional thanks to Ana's cueing. What I really like is that she doesn't get real chatty like others I have seen. Therefore I'm able to concentrate on my form & breathing. The first time I'd used it I was sore the next day, but felt GREAT! I concur the production isn't the best but the workout itself IS. What's more important than that?

Studio: Gaiam Americas

DVD title: The Last House on the Left
Productgroup: DVD
The Last House on the Left - movie DVD cover picture
hard core horror

One of the best horror movies of the last 30 years. This movie broke new ground and is not for the squemish. This movie is like a punch in the guts that you will not forget; and a movie that I find it hard to watch because this movie takes you to the heart of brutality; after this movie you feel as though you've been assaulted.
I wish more of our contemporty horror films would dare to take audiences to the heart of darkness as courageously as Wes Craven.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Wes Craven
Sandra Cassel
Lucy Grantham

DVD title: Poirot: Death in the Clouds
Productgroup: DVD
Poirot: Death in the Clouds - movie DVD cover picture
Suchet Does It Again!

David Suchet delivers one of his very best performances in this movie adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Death in the Clouds". Murder seems always to follow Poirot, but this crime is unique, as it happens just a few feet away from him. This is the set up. The rest is up to you and Poirot to figure out. I am a great Poirot and David Suchet fan, I greatly enjoyed this movie, and I highly recommend it. The DVD is very clear, and the sound quality is quite excellent.

Studio: Acorn Media
David Suchet

DVD title: Please Don't Eat My Mother
Productgroup: DVD
Please Don't Eat My Mother - movie DVD cover picture
The movie is OK...the extras get 5 stars!!!

This a terrible movie but a terrific DVD! The movie is so bad you may want to skip it and move on to the extras. The trailer for "Street of a Thousand Pleasures" is worth the price of this DVD. Add to that the short flick, "The Voyeur" and you have a double feature (excluding the main attraction)...or should I call that the main distraction? "Please Don't Eat My Mother" is a low budget spin-off of the popular film and stage production "Little Shop of Horrors". But don't let that fool you. The only resemblance between the two is a flesh-eating plant. This one has plenty of real flesh...shapely girls from the early 70's, but "Something Weird Video" has many others far more creative, rewarding...and sexy. There's even another extra featuring porn star Rene Bond. It is shot in black and white and is called "Bound". It appears to be one of (if not) her first films. If you like the "Something Weird" legacy, add this to your collection. Its historical value of softcore beauty is best appreciated by the fact that all of the women are plastic endowments.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Carl Monson

DVD title: Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Superbit Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Superbit Collection) - movie DVD cover picture

this movie is a billion times better than gothika. since the movie wasn't even scary.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Antonio Banderas
Salma Hayek
Johnny Depp
Willem Dafoe

DVD title: Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids
Productgroup: DVD
Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids - movie DVD cover picture
Great animated fun for kids

My three year old twins love this animated movie. We recorded it with Tivo and have watched it countless times. I'm glad to find it on DVD so that I can keep it forever. It's got great computer animation and a good story for children.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Mike Fallows

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