Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Dumb and Dumber
Productgroup: DVD
Dumb and Dumber - movie DVD cover picture
I'm Talking about a Little Place Called ASSSSPIN!!!

Hilarious as it was with two unemployed guys down on their luck until Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) decides that he and his pal Harry (Jeff Daniels) should get plugged into the social pipeline - all because of a briefcase left behind by the girl of Lloyd's dreams - and getting tangled up in a kidnap for ransom plot. Unknown to them, they were being pursued by two thugs, following them 2,000 miles from Providence to Aspen.

This was one of Jim Carrey's best movies, using his hilarious style of humor and acting as he had in "Liar Liar", the "Ace Ventura" series, "Cable Guy" and "Me, Myself and Irene", making the most annoying sounds, dueting "Mockingbird" with Jeff Daniels and both being dressed in the most outlandish tuxedos that seem to come from another time. This movie is sure to cause any Jim Carrey fan to roll around the floor in laughter and this is one movie that is too funny to miss out.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Jim Carrey
Jeff Daniels
Lauren Holly

DVD title: Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas
Productgroup: DVD
Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas - movie DVD cover picture
Priorities - Please!

I give my five-star rating to Sarah Brightman, the back-up singers, dancers, musicians, set designers, and costumers. The DVD production and direction are another matter.

This is the second DVD of Sarah's (the other being "Harem: Desert Fantasy) in which the lighting was, at times, so bright as to nearly, or completely, obscure our view of her. I lost count of the number of times the camera wound up pointed directly into a spotlight. If this much lighting was needed for the benefit of the audience, they should have been prepared with filters for the cameras. As any fan of Sarah Brightman knows, when she is performing, it doesn't take special lighting for her to glow.

Next, the constant cutting to different camera angles, and shots of the back-up singers, musicians, and dancers, was distracting, and often took us away from key moments of Sarah's performance. When she was dancing, or singing a particularly important part of a song, I did not need a shot from the ceiling at the back of the auditorium, pointed into a spotlight, or of a piano/violin player. All of these people deserve camera time, but at the appropriate moments, not just because you have the shot. This direction, and editing, reminded me of the music video explosion in the 1980's on MTV. "Music video director" suddenly became a lucrative job, and often a gateway to bigger things. So every fledgling director pulled every video effect he/she had out of their bag of tricks, and wound up giving us some of the most horrendous music videos of all time. The purpose of these music videos, as it ought to be with a production like this one, SHOULD be to present the artist(s) in a favorable light, and compliment the music. What they wound up doing, and what happened at times here, was that the artist was obscured, and the music overwhelmed. Some artists never recovered from these disasters. I got that feeling as I watched this DVD. It seemed that they were so proud of having so many cameras covering this show, that they wanted to make sure that they used ALL of them on every song.

To sum up, this DVD is MORE than worth owning, since Sarah, cast and crew, completely overcome this misuse of artistic license, and triumph over it all. To directors, editors, cinematographers, lighting techs out there, PLEASE remember that an artist like Sarah Brightman doesn't need much embellishment (watch "La Luna" - practically bare stage most of the time - and wonderful!), and remember that in the term "musical production" "production" is the SECOND word.

Studio: Emi Distribution
Sarah Brightman

DVD title: Dead Man on Campus
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Man on Campus - movie DVD cover picture

I, too, had rather low expectations when first seeing this movie. BUT... when Gosselaar appeared, the movie itself just lifted. I think that without Cooper, the movie would have been an utter failure. I always liked Mark-Paul portraying Zack in the ubiquitous "Saved By the Bell" series, but I say, now after seeing this movie, I know Gosselaar's talent bears no end.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Alan Cohn
Tom Everett Scott
Mark-Paul Gosselaar

DVD title: Godzilla
Productgroup: DVD
Godzilla - movie DVD cover picture
A lot of Noise - A lot of FUN!

I was almost discouraged by the bad reviews which was certainly an effect of the the very large (surely bigger than Godzilla...!) campaign. BUT it was all put to shame. A great FUN movie with excellent quality. Of course it is not realistic to have Godzilla running around the subway under Manhattan but who cares? The whole idea of a supermosnter is pretty weird anyway, isn?t it? Picture is first rate and the sound even better in Dolby Digital. When Godzilla walks around he makes our furniture walk around too! Reference quality stuff. PS My wife actually liked it too. Best Regards Anders in Stockholm

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Roland Emmerich
Matthew Broderick
Jean Reno

DVD title: Love Is All There Is
Productgroup: DVD
Love Is All There Is - movie DVD cover picture
World's Best Kept Secret

When I first saw this movie, it was at midnight on a random cable channel because I couldn't sleep. Never have I been so grateful for my insomnia! This movie was funny and rang true from begining to end. As a native New Yorker I couldn't stop laughing at every typecast Renee Taylor hit right on the nose, and the witchcraft backdrop reminded me of my grandmother. And who doesn't love the story of Romeo and Juliet? The only thing that annoyed me is I missed the ending, but I'm going to buy myself a copy!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

DVD title: Scotland, PA.
Productgroup: DVD
Scotland, PA. - movie DVD cover picture
Take a Chance

Skiing at Sundance is a waste of time. Listening to the attempt at political rhetoric coming out of Sundance is damaging to the weaker-willed individual. On the other hand, Sundance-winning side projects of accredited actors and actresses can be entirely rewarding.

This movie is loosely based upon Macbeth, but don't expect Macbeth. It is not Macbeth. This movie is entitled "Scotland, PA." Nowhere within either half of the title can you find the word "Macbeth," nor is it subtitled "Just Like Macbeth." Once over this hurdle, you can sit back and enjoy the Christopher Walken hilarity. Small kids in the family? Send them into the living room. Maura drops f-bombs as though they were slowing her down.

If your goal is to avoid a film in which:

1) the world has to be saved,
2) a streetwise kid learns a lesson about life,
3) marsupials rap and wear shirts,

pick up Scotland, PA.

Studio: Sundance Channel Home Entertainment
Director: Billy Morrissette
James LeGros
Maura Tierney

DVD title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Productgroup: DVD
13 Conversations About One Thing - movie DVD cover picture
A must see brain twister film

Friend invited me to screening, so got to see it before it opened. Really got me thinking about happiness, positive and negative thinking, etc. It was just the right length, and had me laughing through all of the amusing (yet poignant) moments. The same writers/director that did "Clockwatchers," this duo really has something great going for them. I look forward to their next film.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Jill Sprecher
John Turturro

DVD title: An Evening With Sherlock Holmes - Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
An Evening With Sherlock Holmes - Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
Others will come and go, but there will always be Basil

Here is a gift to those of you who will see the "Woman In Green" about the finger murders....In the climatic scene when Henry Daniell as Moriarity dictates a suicide note and tells Holmes to "sign your name", Basil Rathbone signs his real name, including crossing the "T" in his last name.
This collection is priceless for the radio shows alone....I have all these movies on tape and some on laser disc, but I jumped at the chance to get this boxed question: when will we get the other 8 films on DVD.

Director: Roy William Neill
Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce

DVD title: Finding Nemo (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Finding Nemo (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Another great family film from Pixar

My two-year old loves Finding Nemo and I like watching it with him, too. What else can you ask for in a family film? The story has a good message about fatherly devotion and doles out plenty of good one-liners. Once again the Disney-Pixar combination is gold.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
Alexander Gould

DVD title: Blade (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Blade (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
great flick

When watching Blade the first thing you have to keep in mind is that it is primarily an action movie. It's not in the horror genre, and really isn't trying too hard to be a 'vampire movie.' It's an action movie where the bad guys happen to be vampires. That said, it is a great movie. Sure Wesley Snipes has acted better, but this is an action movie, not a drama. There are some great fight scenes (and I think Snipes was in on the fight choreography). Stephen Dorff is just plain evil in this movie (good job--really believable). It has a crips look to it and the techno soundtrack moves it all along. It's really a good movie.
The dvd is loaded with extras. There's a commentary track with Wesley Snipes, David Goyer (writer), Theo Van De Sande (dir of photography), Peter Frankfurt (producer), Kirk Petruccelli (production designer) and Stephen Dorff. And these guys give a great commentary. It's one of the better I've heard. There is also an isolated scroe with commentary by composer Mark Isham. It's almost worthless. Half the time he's talking over the music, or we're missing out on source music (music Isham didn't score and came from radios and such). It's choppy and disjointed. It would have been better to have a 15-20 minute interview with Isham and then an isolated score, with no commentary, and including all source music. As it is, it's tough to hear how important the music is to the film. This isolated score track actually makes it seem like Isham's score was unimportant. Also on the dvd are biography/filmography of cast and crew, theatrical trailer, sketches and prodcution designs. There's also the "House of Erebus" which gives the 'history' of each of the twelve tribes in the vampire ruling council. It's interesting, though not essential to the film--just a nice extra. There are four featurettes. 1) La Magra - which has the original ending and discusses the stories evolution. 2) Designing Blade 3) The Origins of Blade - which discusses comics and especially dark comics (including an interview with Stan Lee) 4) The Blood Tide - which is a look at vampire mythology and in literature. That one is a really good featurette, especially if you are interested in vampire mythology.
You can't go wrong here. It's a great vampire movie. It's a great action movie. And it's a great dvd.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Stephen Norrington
Wesley Snipes
Stephen Dorff
Kris Kristofferson
N'Bushe Wright

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