Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Island In The Sky (Special Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Island In The Sky (Special Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Island in the Sky

I have been waitng decades for this film to come out on video. As a child I read all of Ernest Gann's books (High and the Mighty, Fate is the Hunter) and saw these movies on UHF TV, as cable didn't exist). If you want to see a great cast and some down home poignant story telling...this is the movie.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: William A. Wellman
John Wayne
Lloyd Nolan

DVD title: The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Had me humming all day!

Five stars for one of the best movies I've seen this year. Beautifully orchestrated, acted and performed, this movie version does the theatrical masterpiece proud.

Gerard Butler is so handsome and yet so intense in his portrayal of the tormented Phantom that if I were Christine (the excellent Emmy Rossum), that Raoul guy (vocally gifted Patrick Wilson) would have had to drag me out of that underground boudoir with wild horses and a bulldozer.

Wilson seemed like a teenager in love compared to the agonized yearning of the Phantom, and in a different musical he would have been hopping around a gazebo in the rain singing "Sixteen Going on Seventeen".

Minnie Driver does a fine comedy turn as Prima Donna Carlotta, and although she doesn't actually sing in the movie, she does a credit worthy number during the credits. Miranda Richardson is perfectly cast as Madame Giry, longtime keeper of the Phantom's secret. Rossum is also a casting coup, and the doe-eyed Jennifer Beal look-a-like fully captures the essence of Christine, the Phantom perpetual flava-of-the-month.

The movie had me spellbound from Act one, Scene one until the closing credits, and I highly recommend it to you.

Amanda Richards, September 12, 2005

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Joel Schumacher
Gerard Butler
Emmy Rossum
Patrick Wilson

DVD title: WWE Wrestlemania XX
Productgroup: DVD
WWE Wrestlemania XX - movie DVD cover picture
WrestleManiaXX's slogan saved me money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

45-50 Horrible PPV
50-69 Bad PPV
69-78 Decent PPV
78-85 Good PPV
85-92 Great PPV

John CEna vs Big show US championship- OK opener. Nothing to special or to horrible. As you could expect very slow paced with the Big show in it. Cena hits two FUs to win. Match Rating 6

Raw Tag titles RVd,Booker T vs La Resictance vs Dudleys vs Cade, Jindrak-NOt to good of a tag match. Could of been good though. They give no time to either tag matches. RVD,BookerT retain. Match Rating 4

Christian vs Y2J- This is where the good wrestling begins. Very good match with a good storyline. These two work good togther. Christian wins. Match rating 7.5

Evolution vs Rock&Sock Connection- Great match. Rock and Ric both mock each other. I normally am not to big of a fan of tag team action but this great. Match rating 8.5

Playboy Tag match- They should of put a different match here a stupid waste of time. Match Rating 3

Cruiserweight Open- Rey vs Ultimo Dragon vs Shannon Moore vs Funaki vs Nunzio vs Chavo vs Jamie Noble Tajiri vs AKio vs Billy Kidman- Nice match but way to short. They never give enough time to cruserweights. Chavo steals it with the help of Chavo senior.

Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar SGR Stone Cold- Takes to long to get started. When it got started it was ok. The strenght of these two is awesome. NOt to good, definetley dissapoiting.Goldberg wins. Match rating 5

Too cool vs APA vs Bashams vs Worlds greatest tag team- Nothing better than the raw tag. It was actully worst. Too Cool wins.

WWE championship Eddie vs Kurt Angle- Good match. THese two also work well togther. It wasnt short and rushed like some of the matches on here. Eddie outsmarts angle to win. match rating 9

Kane vs Undertaker- Good match but not as good as there match at WM 14. To short. ok big man match. Match rating 6.5

Beniot vs HBK vs HHH- Great match. Beniot is a great wrestler. Nice table spot. Trips taps out to the crossface. I think this is the best main event in WM history so far.(But I havent seen MICHEals vs bret) Match rating 10

This PPV got an 81 which means it is a good ppv.

Studio: Sony Music (Video)
Brock Lesnar

DVD title: Tourist Trap
Productgroup: DVD
Tourist Trap - movie DVD cover picture
Classic Horror Exploitation . . . I LOVE IT

If you haven't yet had the pleasure, please, see this film ... Much the same as the superb PHANTASM ( released the year before ), TOURIST TRAP leaves logic behind in favor of creativity and vision, and the results are classic ... Director David Schmoller creates a claustrophobic story based on isolation and psychological terror, and in fact, THAT is what makes this film succeed: the gore is minimal ... TOURIST TRAP was released with a PG rating, but don't let that discourage you into thinking the film isn't effective or frightening ... Whenever I read reviews, I prefer not to read TOO much as to spoil the film's impact ... But briefly, as not to give anything away, TOURIST TRAP features Chuck Connors as the lonely proprietor of a forgotten wax museum ... A group of young people stumble upon the isolated oasis, and what follows is like no other horror film ever ... The feel is completely macabre, and there are disturbing hints of infantilism, bondage, telekenisis, necrophillia and transvestitism, all of which add to the disturbing and surreal feel ... One of the most frightening twists in horror is the transformation of the innocent character; when a friend is pitted against friend, or when a once happy character is transformed into something unrecognizable ... Very scary stuff ... Yes, there are situational similarities to TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and PSYCHO, but Schmoller pulls it off with such insane gusto, it works on all levels ... And I can't fail to mention the super sexy teenage Tanya Roberts, who is so hot she momentarily distracts from all the onscreen insanity :) The transfer on the DVD is very good, and the David Schmoller commentary is interestng, if a little blasie ... The only beef I have is the "40 Full Moon trailers" claim: there are only a couple trailers ( NOT nearly 40 ) for other films, all very forgettable ... In my opinion, TOURIST TRAP is a Top 5 Horror Film, and at this bargin price, you can't go wrong ...

Studio: Cult Video
Director: David Schmoeller

DVD title: Murder by Decree
Productgroup: DVD
Murder by Decree - movie DVD cover picture
Holmes and Watson; Plummer and Mason: An Excellent Film

In my view this is one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies yet made, with a strong, literate story, an outstanding cast and great atmosphere. London prostitutes have been gruesomely slaughtered by Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes enters the case. The street women are scared to death but seem to be protecting someone. One, Mary Kelly, wants to help. Another, Annie Crook, has gone missing. The more Holmes probes and searches, the more it appears that some in high places are interfering with his investigation. Annie Crook is found and the secret discovered, but not before more lives are wasted and a secret which could shake the throne is uncovered. Justice more or less triumphs, but for Holmes and Watson it is a sad, bittersweet victory.

The movie features, in my opinion, outstanding interpretations of Holmes and Watson. Christopher Plummer gives Holmes not only brilliance but also humanity. He responds deeply to the terrible injustice he finds behind the Ripper killings. Mason plays Watson as an equal partner, with humor, wisdom and courage, and with none of the blundering and bluster that Nigel Bruce imprinted on the character. The cast features Genevieve Bujold as Annie Crook and Susan Clark (great in Night Moves) as Mary Kelly. David Hemmings, Anthony Quayle, John Gielgud, Frank Finlay and Donald Sutherland give a lot of depth to the movie.

As by way of a modest spoiler, the people who made From Hell by rights should have given a modest credit line to director Clark and writer John Hopkins. One other fascinating point concerns Clark. For some reason, this appears to be by far the best movie he ever made. Clark, shortly after Murder by Decree, gave us one of the broadest and corniest movies around, Porky's, and seems to have stayed more or less at the Porky's level ever since.

If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes along with first-rate acting, I think you'll like this film. The DVD transfer is very good.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Director: Bob Clark (III)
Christopher Plummer
James Mason

DVD title: Monster
Productgroup: DVD
Monster - movie DVD cover picture
Charlize is a monster actor

This is a pretty straight ahead movie. The plot (based on the true story of convicted killer / prostitute Aileen Wuornos) is concise and there is no filler here. It gets right to the point. It doesn't rely on special fx or quick edits jotting around the time continuum or any real twists. Instead, it's main focus is on character development. In the hands of "B" actors this could only lead to a real stinker of a film. However, in the hands of director Patty Jenkins and stars Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci we are glued to the screen. Charlize in particular is amazing. I've only seen her in films where she portrays models, girlfriends, and debutantes, (Woody Allen's "Celebrity" and "The Italian Job" come to mind). But I never gave her performances much thought other than her attractive looks. Well think again. Her performance in this film puts her at the top of the acting profession. Thus, it is no surprise she won an oscar for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos. This is the number one reason to see this film. Charlize turns out to be a monster of an actress. I wonder if she will ever be able to top this performance. That in itself makes this a definite DVD to add to your collection just as a reference for future Charlize projects.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Patty Jenkins
Charlize Theron
Christina Ricci
Bruce Dern

DVD title: Spaceballs
Productgroup: DVD
Spaceballs - movie DVD cover picture
Funniest ever!

Mel Brooks is at his finest in this slapstick marvel. With Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet and John Candy as the lovable Barf, this movie excels in every detail. You won't stop laughing. I've seen it over and over again and I know I never will.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Rick Moranis
John Candy

DVD title: Big Fish
Productgroup: DVD
Big Fish - movie DVD cover picture
Burton is back

I was worried when this movie was out. Though for many years he was known as the director with the midas touch, his two most recent films(Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow), were neither the commercial success that was predicted, nor pleasing to his fans. This was all changed with Big Fish, a harkening back to the style that made him famous.

The movie is based off the relationship between a father(Ed Bloom: Ewan MaCgregor and Albert Finney) and his son Will(Billy Crudup). The relationship is a strange one, Will has little knowlege of who his father is, his father is given to telling tall tales. He has done this all his life, and seems to revel in being the center of attention. But his son tires of it and after an arguement they break contact. Until his mother calls telling him that his father is dying, and she thinks he should come home.

Ed Bloom then starts to tell his various life stories to his sons wife. They are all tall tales, and distinctly American in flavor. They range from a witch in the swamp that had a glass eye that you can see the time and manner of your death, to strange town in the boonies called Specter(you never leave because it is so perfect. These stories are done in the tall tale fashion, Ed Bloom always seems to have the answer and always comes off as charasmatic and virtuous. Ewan MacGregor always seems to have a grin on his face. But they all have the traditional Burton style of warped humor.

This is a much mellower and more family based than some of his movies, ie the dark fairy tale "Edward Scissorhands" or insane BettleGuise. Some of the stories still have that edge, ie the poor man living in the shadow of Bloom all his life and eventually has his woman stolen from him by Bloom, or the chinese singers who are also siamese twins. But the stories are usually upbeat and have a positive nature to them. His character is also made up to be the archtypical American Hero for that era. He is a sports star, good looking, charasmatic, brave, earned his own way, and served in the war receiving honors returning to his wife after it was all over.

The acting was good all around, and well cast. Ewan McGregor played his role excellently with the wide smile and thick sounthern accent. Helen Carter has two small but memorable roles and the girl who had a crush on Bloom and the witch. Danny Devito looks like he is having too much fun as the circus manager Amos Callaway.

The movie was surreal as any of Tim Burtons movies are, but he didn't let it cut into the movies emotional content. Which was the connection that the father had with his son and wife. Many consider this movie a tear jerker towards the end. Making this a great movie for a broad audience, families, couples, or fanatics of Burton's cinematic vision.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Tim Burton
Ewan McGregor
Albert Finney
Billy Crudup

DVD title: Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
No plane needed, enjoy the ride at home

I have never ridden the Disney ride and I don't think I need to. All I need is this DVD and someplace to watch it. I saw this in theaters 6 times because it was so good and I have been anxiously awaiting the DVD. People say women like this movie because of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and I say true, but I love their performance, not their looks (Although they are both attractive gentlemen). Johnny is at his comedic finest and you will not stop laughing and Orlando makes you root for the good guy even harder then normal and laugh at his comments that compliment Johnny's "uniqueness". Geoffery Rush is phenomenal and so is the actor (I am blanking on his name, sorry sir, you were still awesome) who plays Commodore Norrington (he needs way more publicity, he was phenomenal as well)...
This is by far the best movie of the year and without a doubt deserves awards for both content and actor performance. Knowing the Oscars, it will get overlooked, not enough "big names" in some over the top boring movie, so my vote goes to them by buying the DVD and encouraging others to buy it as well. Nothing says "In your face" to those who keep getting reconized for less then deserving work then getting surpassed in sales by "box office poison" Johnny Depp and his 'mates.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Gore Verbinski
Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Jonathan Pryce

DVD title: Assault on Precinct 13 (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Assault on Precinct 13 (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Hip-hop on Precinct 13

After 'Dark Star', this was Carpenter's first proper mainstream motion picture. It wasn't a hit in America (people complained that the thought of a street gang being armed with sniper rifles was unrealistic) although it was extremely popular in the punk-gripped UK. Looking at Carpenter's later work, this is possibly his best film. It has a minimalist purity - everything about the film is pared down to the absolute minimum, in exactly the way that 'Star Trek : The Motion Picture' is not. With a tiny budget there was no room for lengthy special effects sequences, and Carpenter himself directed, edited, and wrote the hip-hop, Bomb the Bass-influencing electronic soundtrack. Most of the budget went into the hiring of Panavision cameras, as Carpenter realised that you could cut much faster if you had a wider screen. And after a long build-up, Carpenter does just that, in a series of short, intense action sequences which take place mostly in the dark. Despite the cars and haircuts it hasn't dated all that badly, and it's still worth a look nowadays.
Note that both the video and DVD boxes are awful, one giving the impression that the film is 'Maniac Cop', and the other giving the impression that the film is 'Big Trouble in Little China'.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: John Carpenter
Austin Stoker
Darwin Joston
Laurie Zimmer

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