Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Bicycle Thief
Productgroup: DVD
The Bicycle Thief - movie DVD cover picture
It is a very wonderful movie.

This movie is definitely a classic. When I saw it for the first time, I was moved to tears. To watch Antonio go from being the happiest man on earth to being driven almost insane by a stroke of ill luck is to feel sympathy for the poor man. Existentialism and neorealism are very prevalent. Great acting on the parts of Antonio and Bruno, combined with a wonderful story make this an all-time great!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Lamberto Maggiorani
Enzo Staiola

DVD title: Boys Don't Cry
Productgroup: DVD
Boys Don't Cry - movie DVD cover picture

Boys Don't Cry is a good -- yet distrubing -- movie.
What makes it a good movie is the acting, particularly Chloe Sevigny, in my opinion. Chloe's acting is absolutely superb in a challenging and complex role. That the she was bypassed for an Oscar is an omission that I hope does not get repeated in her next movie.
What makes the movie disturbing is that it is a true story. The portrayal of lower-middle class white was pretty well done; although in one spot I think it unnecessarily relied a little to overtly on cliches when Teena discussed her dream to start her own trailer park.
One other criticism that I would like to make is that I thought Teena's character was a little under-developed. Little effort was made making her a sympathetic character. Not enough effort was made elaborating on her juvenile delinquet past. And not enough insight was given into her psyche. So well acted is her part that these shortcomings of the screenplay can be overlooked. But still, I left wanting more insight into her character.
As in "The Crying Game", the gender confusion is believably presented. "Boys" actually handles it better, than "Crying" by skipping the easy, quick, and opportunistic shock value -- and letting it unfold in a much more lengthy and dramatic way.
So a good movie, disturbing because of it's reality, and most of all....Chloe, Chloe, Chloe!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Hilary Swank
Chloë Sevigny

DVD title: Latter Days (Unrated Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Latter Days (Unrated Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the Finest Gay-Themed Films Ever Made- Splendid

I was surprised at how great this film was. Great, not in the shallow sense of "Great!" but as in greatness. And in every single sense: screenplay, direction, acting, all. There has been a glut of gay-themed films lately (Great!) but though many are either funny or quirky or sexy or trendy, there is often either a lack of real substance about them (eg., wispy slice-of-life movies like "Trick", "Drift", etc.) or a kind of stilted artificiality (often with drag films like "Girls Will Be Girls" or "Die, Mommie, Die", their good elements notwithstanding, but equally in many others as well). So many seem to be trying so hard to be "gay" films that something is lost in the process. This film towers over them-- in part because it doesn't try to-- in part because it is relentlessly honest, real, believable. The title, of course, refers to the Mormon Church: it is instructive to compare this film with another gay-themed recent work involving Mormons: "Angels in America". That play, and Mike Nichols' admittedly fine adaptation of it, has received more attention, and more recognition & kudos, than "Latter Days" probably ever will. This is not just a pity, it is an injustice: "Latter Days" may not have the wide reaching apocalyptic aspirations of "Angels in America" but it is a greater work in every important way. It is structurally better wrought; "Angels" is a very artificial work which tries for surrealism, symbolism, and realism and cannot strike a viable balance between them. It raises issues and establishes situations that are never integrated into the whole, or resolved, or even followed through. The emotions are forced, they are exterior; it is a cold work which never really engages our hearts, or even, finally, our minds. "Latter Days" sets itself more modest goals but achieves them magnificently. The confrontation of the two main characters, played so marvellously by Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss, is finely gauged and achieves something that "Angels" never does: the characters change. They grow; in part in response to each other, in part to the changed perceptions of their worlds that their relationship creates. Other reviewers on this site have dealt with the confrontation in the film of gayness and homophobic patriarchal religion (Mormonism here); I simply want to call attention to how sensitively and honestly it was dealt with. And amomg the many felicities of its admirably well-structured screenplay, I would like to mention its two views of kinds of motherhood: Mary Kay Place's character, the "biological" mother-- yet unaccepting and ultimately unloving; and Jacqueline Bisset's character, not a mother in the physical sense, but embodying all the finest aspects of mother-love to her "children" (Christian & his coworkers). And most of all, I have to praise the play of moods in this film: humor, irony, passion, guilt, grief, joy-- all ring utterly true, utterly real: and for this the formidable talents of Messers Ramsey and Sandvoss loom large, supported by the rest of this admirable cast. Some have called the arc of events in this film predictable. I cannot agree. Repeatedly, when a situation arose which felt like it was leading into a cliche, the film surprised me by not falling for it, not taking the easy route. The sex scenes were handled beautifully, some passionate, some humorous; none ever egregious or prurient. The references to AIDS as well were done in a simple, non-preachy, non-"Dark Victory" way (if you will). And this movie most of all embraces real sentiment, not sentimentality, as is too often the case with "gay" films: it made this jaded reviewer weep, a real achievement as I'm the type who sneers at sentimentality & bathos. If the scene where Christian returns Aaron's watch, and the penultimate scene, do not get you teary, you're not only coldhearted, you haven't any heart at all. I have only just recently seen "Latter Days", so my impressions may settle out, but I think it one of the best films I have seen in quite a long time, gay or otherwise. It is the finest gay film since "Maurice", but more pertinent to today's conditions; in short, it is a gem-- a Mozart concerto to "Angels in America"'s Mahler symphony. Highly recommended in every-- any-- way.

Studio: TLA Releasing
Director: C. Jay Cox
Steve Sandvoss
Wes Ramsey
Amber Benson
Jacqueline Bisset
Mary Kay Place

DVD title: Valdez Is Coming
Productgroup: DVD
Valdez Is Coming - movie DVD cover picture
Vengeance is Valdez!

Burt Lancaster gives an excellent performance as an ex-Cavalry scout and Indian fighter (until he knew better)who is reduced to the obsequious role of lackey-constable for a cabal of Arizona oligarchs and land barons. Or so it seems(they believe/wish)! VALDEZ is COMING explores in understated, incredibly compact Western-fable, themes of injustice, racism, revenge and ultimate reckoning. Bob Valdez is a gentle, humble lawman. He accepts his place in the "Guerro World" as "a good greaser" until a brutal act of conscienceless vigilante violence pricks his conscience and lights the fuse that explodes into el Guerrero, VALDEZ the WARRIOR. There are mythical qualities to this Western which soon transforms it from Cowboy movie to harsh, morality tale. There is a torture scene...a crucifixion, no less...that resonates through the film to imply what is really going on. There may be no justice for the poor and powerless in this world...depicted as a greed-ridden, self-loving bully-capitalist named Tanner palyed by Jon Cypher...who hires others to kill for him. But there may be "talon" vengeance. The eye-for-an-eye, blood-for-blood, bullet-for-bullet kind. This film reminded me very much of TOMBSTONE. "Justice is Coming!" its oriflamme proclaimed and Wyatt Earp proceeded to massacre the enemies of THE LAW. In this tale another lawman transforms into a merciless...but not quite...angel of wrath. Justice may not be served. There are ambiguities in this story...such as the fate of Susan Clark who plays a woman who murdered her husband for lust of Tanner and his wealth. But vengeance is served and it may be the only honorable substitute. Vengeance, in this stark "cowboy adventure, is the provoked honor of a man named Valdez... Watch it!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Edwin Sherin
Burt Lancaster
Susan Clark

DVD title: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Fantastic entertainment -- and it makes you think too!

Written, directed and starring John Cameron Mitchell,this film categorizes itself as a "post-punk rock neo glam rock musical". I say it's in a category of it's own. And it completely blew me away.
Hedwig is the most outrageous transsexual character that has ever graced the stage or screen. The audience gets to know Hedwig as a REAL person and not a cartoon character. We see his childhood in East Germany, his romance with an army sergeant, the pressure he feels to have a gender change operation in order to marry his love and leave the oppression of the communist world. This story and the subsequent plot complications are told in flashback against a background of original rock music, whose lyrics throb with the meaning of love and the nature of gender. The sets are original and there's even a sequence where the audience is invited to sing along by following a bouncing ball. The story races along and there are animation sequences as Hedwig searches after lost love and a quest for gender identification. The costumes and wigs are magnificent and the camerawork makes the most of the space and balance of energy. It's an elaborate production. And it also has something important to say.
I loved the lights, the action, the camera, the costumes, the music, the story. But most of all I the loved the characters. Hedwig is simply wonderful! It's not for children though, or religious fundamentalists, or people easily disturbed by transsexualism. But for anyone who wants to see a fantastic rock musical that will make you think as well as entertain, don't miss it. Recommended for those hearty few.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell
Miriam Shor

DVD title: Open Range
Productgroup: DVD
Open Range - movie DVD cover picture
Charlie Waite the way a Real Man should be

This Movie to me rated in the top five,as one of the best movies that I have ever seen,in my 55 years of watching movies.The movie made me wish that I could have lived the life that the main character Charlie Waite lived.In the movie to me Charlie was a free man to do what ever he liked be a cow hand,or go any place he wanted.Charlie was the kind of Man that stood up for what he believed in and didn't take any bull from anyone.The gun battle looked and sounded real.We need more good Westerns like Open Range

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Robert Duvall
Diego Luna
Abraham Benrubi

DVD title: The Changeling
Productgroup: DVD
The Changeling - movie DVD cover picture
The Changeling

This film is the mother of all haunted house movies! It scared the pants off of me when I was a kid and it still does 20 years later! Never have I seen a film that comes close to matching the suspense and downright terror(without all the excessive blood and guts of today's horror films) that "The Changeling" instills in you as you watch it. The seance scene will have you crouching down in the couch and maybe even hiding under a blanket! Definite lights on in the house after you watch this film. I highly recommend this fright fest for a good night of chills!

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Peter Medak
George C. Scott
Trish Van Devere

DVD title: Holiday Heart
Productgroup: DVD
Holiday Heart - movie DVD cover picture
A Deeply Moving Inner-City Film with an All-Star Cast

The made-for-TV film "Holiday Heart", directed by Robert Townsend in 2000 and written by Cheryl L. West, is a deeply moving and engaging story involving an unusual set of characters. The main character, Holiday Heart (Ving Rhames, who is better known for his role of Luther Stickell in the 1996 "Mission Impossible" & the 2000 "Mission: Impossible II", as well as Marsellus Wallace in the 1994 "Pulp Fiction"), is an openly gay, professional female impersonator who is also deeply religious and directs a church choir. On a Halloween night while driving himself and his friend Jambalaya Blue (Johnathan Wesley Wallace) to a drag performance, his car breaks down. While trying to call for assistance, a girl about 12 years old pleads for his help. Following the girl, Niki (Jesika Reynolds), into a dilapidated apartment building, Holiday rescues her mother Wanda (Alfre Woodard, who played Lily Sloane in the 1996 "Star Trek VIII: First Contact") from her abusive boyfriend, L.T. (Ron Selmour). Taking them back to his apartment building (which he manages), Holiday becomes Niki's de facto father and good friend to Wanda. Wanting to give Niki a more stable home environment, Wanda marries the drug selling Silas (Mykelti Williamson, who played Bubba in the 1994 "Forrest Gump" and Don King in the 2001 "Ali"), who forbids Holiday from having any more contact with Niki. However, Wanda's unfortunate drug addictions drives Silas away, leaving Holiday to once again take care of Wanda and Niki; but Wanda's subsequent disappearance creates an interesting relationship between Holiday and Silas.

Though some may find the story presented in "Holiday Heart" disturbing with its starkly realistic portrayal of life in the inner city, drug addition and drug selling; it is these qualities that pull the viewer into its dark realism that allows the light within each character to shine brightly. Also, the excellent acting from Ving Rhames, Alfre Woodard and Mykelti Williamson makes this made-for-TV film truly stand out. It is no wonder that Alfre Woodard received a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of the tragic Wanda. Consequently, I rate the 2000 "Holiday Heart" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Robert Townsend

DVD title: Baby Einstein - Baby Wordsworth - First Words - Around the House
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Einstein - Baby Wordsworth - First Words - Around the House - movie DVD cover picture
Baby Wordsworth

My 3 year old Autistic son loves this DVD. He is learning some sign language as well as using some of the basic around the house words to show me in our home. My 1-1/2 year old daughter finds this video entertaining and tries to do the sign language as well. This is the best DVD from baby einstein yet. The others we really like are baby Noah, and baby Monet.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid

DVD title: The Monday Night War - WWE Raw vs. WCW Nitro
Productgroup: DVD
The Monday Night War - WWE Raw vs. WCW Nitro - movie DVD cover picture
Good DVD

This DVD tells you the story of the Monday night war in a very advanced way like they explain all the tactics they used to overcome each other, about the superstars who exchanged shows and after the era of WCW over. The DVD goes beyond wrestling and into a war of two huge companies. The media giant Ted Turner VS Vince Mchahon. The extras on the DVD were great to like Goldbeg Vs Hulk Hogan. My favorite extra is DX invading WCW like DX sending a small amoured tank with guns was just so funny. There also other good extras such as Booker T Vs Chris Benoit, Shawn Micheals and HHH VS The Leigon of Doom and The return of the Fourhorsmen. So overall I think this DVD is great and it is a must see for any wrestling fan who wants to know about the Monday Night War.

Studio: Sony Music (Video)
Vince McMahon
Eric Bischoff

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