Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Shane
Productgroup: DVD
Shane - movie DVD cover picture
Jack Palance's Big Moment

SHANE is usually on anyone's list of favorite Westerns. It is a story about a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders in Wyoming. A loner named Shane (Alan Ladd) rides into the thick of the battle and settles down as a guest of one of the farmers (Van Heflin). Shane is trying to forget his past as a gunman. He is much admired by Van Heflin's son (Brandon de Wilde) and also in a seemingly innocent way by Van Heflin's wife (Jean Arthur).
The movie is filled with an abundance of memorable scenes. One is a gunfight between a hired killer (Jack Palance) and a stubborn homesteader named Frank 'Stonewall' Torrey (Elisha Cook, Jr.). It is hard to believe that Palance was not comfortable with horses as suggested by the Internet Movie Database.
The big competition for Academy awards in 1953 came from ROMAN HOLIDAY, STALAG 17 and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. In spite of the tough field, SHANE still managed to win an Oscar for best Color Cinematography and nominations for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Brandon de Wilde , Jack Palance) and Screenplay.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: George Stevens
Alan Ladd
Jean Arthur

DVD title: Miami Vice - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Miami Vice - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
The Wait Is Over!!

When Dvd's first started coming out I started thinking about what television show I would most like to see on DVD?
The answer came quickly...MIAMI VICE. I couldn't think of a better show that could take advantage of the DVD's superior picture and sound than a show like MIAMI VICE. The show incorporated so many elements like music, action, and beautiful cinematography, and I couldn't understand why MIAMI VICE wasn't one of the first shows to be released on DVD. So I waited patiently. Now the wait is over... MIAMI VICE is on DVD and I couldn't be happier.

MIAMI VICE SEASON 1 went beyond all expectations. For starters, all of the original music has been aquired for this release. This was vital in making this a sucessful release. For anyone who has purchased 21 Jump Street or Wiseguy on DVD you know what a difference not having the original songs can make! I couldn't imagine Crockett and Tubbs not driving the Daytona to any other song other than Phil Collin's " In The Air Tonight". Now this classic scene is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surrond. AWESOME!!

I had previously bought the video releases of MIAMI VICE which had substituted some of the songs with different ones which was highly dissapointing. On this collection, all of the songs are the originals. THANK GOD!

Many fans agree that Season 1 of MIAMI VICE is the best, although some of the shows in later seasons I feel were even better. It was great to see how the VICE phenomonon all began. The pastels look brighter than ever on DVD. Michael Mann's awesome vision and cutting edge cinematography can be seen in these early episodes which are now echoed by his films like COLLATERAL and HEAT. Mann is a genious!

MIAMI VICE SEASON 1 has guest stars galore like Bruce Willis and Glenn Frey. There are also some outstanding performances from a few unknowns at the time such as William Russ playing Evan in the episode of the same name. His performance in this episode is riveting! Russ would later play Roger Lococco in WISEGUY,a role which people stil remember him for to this day.And who can forget Ed O'Neil of Al Bundy fame in the episode HEART OF DARKNESS.

The extras on the DVD are great but a little too short. I would have enjoyed some audio commentary by Michael Mann or even
Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas, but you can't have everything. You do get an interview with the shows creator, Anthony Yerkovitch which was great and also a piece on Jodie Tilden, the show's costume designer who Michael Mann still uses for his movies. Her eye for fashion changed the way we dressed in the 80's or at least for me.

Overall this was completely worth the wait, the only problem now is I have to wait agonizingly for Season 2.

Studio: Universal Studios
Don Johnson

DVD title: Hoosiers
Productgroup: DVD
Hoosiers - movie DVD cover picture
A wonderful film and a terrible DVD

First things first - I absolutely love this movie!

However, the DVD has lots to be desired (I have the one disc version, not the two disc special edition). It has almost no features - including not even having English subtitles! If ever a movie had potential for little vignettes it is this one!

How about a little tribute to the real story that inspired it - the Milan miracle?

How about some information about the basketball players that played in the movie yet lost their college scholarships because the NCAA ruled that they were now professionals since they had been paid to "play" basketball?

How about some info about Indiana ending the class basketball system nearly 10 years ago (thus, no more Milan miracles). Don't worry - this is still a hot button issue in Indiana politics. Every campaign many a candidate for governor and the state legislature advocate proposals to eliminate the class basketball syestem (Keith Olbermann of MSNBC made fun of it once because it was even on one candidate's TV commercials but, dang it, to us Hoosiers this stuff is mighty important!)

Maybe a special look at all of those little Indiana gyms that the movie features?

Well, maybe they don't need any of those things (except the subtitles) since I still bought the DVD and I still watch breathlessly to make sure that the last shot goes in and the championship belongs to Hickory once again.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: David Anspaugh
Gene Hackman
Barbara Hershey

DVD title: 'Allo 'Allo - The Complete Series One
Productgroup: DVD
'Allo 'Allo - The Complete Series One - movie DVD cover picture
Waiting for the rest of 'Allo, 'Allo

Why did we have to wait so long for this hilarious British comedy? I taped the show from my local (Trinidad) TV station; when the tapes of the first two series wore out I had to buy tapes from and get them 'translated' for the US system used here.
How long must I wait for the rest of the series? My 10-12 year old tapes of the rest of the series are wearing out!

Studio: BBC

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Love-Hate Relationship

Fight Club. After hearing from a few friends that they hated it, but that it reminded them of me, I puchased in on a whim. I was NOT disappointed.
A man finds himself living in a horrible, run-down old house with a close, eprsonal stranger. His life is falling apart. An insomniac, he's found the perfect support group: Fight Club. At the heart of this "support group" is pure smooth-brained violence: fist fights.
The film gets bloody at several points. This is a side effect of the plot and could possibly be wholly ignored without consequence. Ultimately the film is strong social commentary; to wear a tie... or to return to a primal state. I can say very little without giving away too much. This is a film best seen unprepared, and I can strongly recommend it to anyone.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

DVD title: Mildred Pierce
Productgroup: DVD
Mildred Pierce - movie DVD cover picture
Saint Joan

Director Michael Curtiz ("The Adventures of Robin Hood," Casablanca") brings another James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity," "The Postman Always Rings Twice") steamy pulp novel to life on the silver screen with the immortal "Mildred Pierce."
With her portrayal as the title character, Joan Crawford gives a performance that places her in such august company as Barbara Stanwyck as the bottle blonde Phyllis Dietrichson in "Double Indemnity" (1944, dir: Billy Wilder) and Lana Turner's ambitious Cora in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946, dir: Tay Garnett).
Mildred, like Cora, is a driven woman, bent on commercial success. Crawford rightly earned the Best Actress Oscar for her role as the modern businesswoman, a model of ruthless ambition, making her mark and her way in a traditionally man's world. Following her transformation from ditched housewife to waitress to restauranteurand tycoon, the viewer readily identifies with Mildred's struggle and sacrifice to make it big. "Mildred Pierce" is one of the screen's all-time inspirational portrayals of woman as efficacious heroine, a paragon of efficiency.
Yet, it is also a deeply human tragedy of Shakeperian dimensions, for Mildred is also a flawed heroine, on the same scale as Othello or Hamlet. What drives Mildred is not a clean motivation such as personal fulfillment as a businesswoman nor even a simple one such as amassing a fortune to obtain financial security. Rather, Mildred is driven by a Fatal Flaw -- insecurity and fear of failure.
For it is not the curse of the ancient Greek tragic heroes -- hubris -- but utter selflessness and altruism that brings down the House of Mildred. The object of Mildred's Mother Teresa-like compassion and sacrifice is the one person who holds veto power over her emotions and wallet, her conceited eldest daughter Veda, played by Ann Blyth. What Veda wants, Veda gets. The ultimate spoiled daughter, her lower middle-class parents give her "the best of everything" (pun intended -- another great Joan Crawford flick, also produced by Jerry Wald), from piano lessons to tailored dresses. Bent of giving Veda "everything I couldn't have," Mildred's motivation is for her daughter to not only rise above, but to blot out the family's humble and plebian origins.
After her husband, the wooden but commonsensical Bert (played by Bruce Bennett) leaves her for another woman, Mildred becomes a waitress in order provide for Veda. She even hires a maid, but never divulges to Veda the nature of how the money comes in to put food on the table. She is literally ashamed to face Veda with her workaday persona, and when confronted, makes up a story about being a waitress in order to learn the restaurant business.
So, playing the role, Mildred opens a restaurant, and to her surprise, learns she's got the knack for it. But, as she becomes more successful, and as the money rolls in, Veda's avaricious appetite grows larger. The once innocent looking bobby soxerhigh-school girl has become "a young lady of very expensive tastes," and naturally, Mildred caters to those tastes, even going so far as marrying a man she doesn't love in order to keep Veda in the lap of luxury. But that's not enough for Veda, who herself marries a boy she's not in love with, just to cash in on his fortune.
"Mildred Pierce" is an all around masterpiece: Ernest Haller's camerawork is classic 1940s noir, but with Jerry Wald's slick production, looks almost five years more modern than its later Warner's counterpart, Howard Hawks' "The Big Sleep" (1946) and looks forward to more great Wald noir with "Key Largo" and "Dark Passage." The supporting cast is stellar, in particular Eve Arden as Ida, Mildred's wisecracking pal and mentor in the restaurant business, Zachary Scott plays Monty Beragon, Mildred's weaselly Latin playboy husband, Jack Carson is the hard-nosed Wally, her slick and slippery business partner and Moroni Olson (a veteran Warner's contract player) as the detective who interrogates Mildred (a typical noir device, which sets the narrative for the movie, but with the twist that it's a woman telling the story, not the male detective, con, sap or sucker).
Max Steiner's score sobs, throbs and rumbles, with its sweet violin strains underscoring Mildred's sacrifice and humanity and plenty of foreboding low strings and brass a la Richard Wagner intoning the movie's tragic violence.
"Mildred Pierce" more than holds its own in the Cain trilogy and is a unique and first-rate movie. It will leave Joan Crawford fans on their feet cheering.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Michael Curtiz
Joan Crawford
Jack Carson

DVD title: Cocktail
Productgroup: DVD
Cocktail - movie DVD cover picture
Cocktails Galore!

Brian Flanagan(Tom Cruise) plans with his middle-aged buddy Doug(Bryan Brown) to open a cocktail bar Cocktails & Dreams. He studies bartending at a community college. The professor(Paul Benedict of TV's The Jeffersons) threatened to fail Brian after making a harsh comment. At his first bartending job,while fresh in college,Brian doesn't toss around the booze and glasses like novice bartenders do. As his skills improved,Brian had the patrons singing,"Addicted To Love",the late Robert Palmer's hit song. While on holiday in Jamaica with Doug and Doug's new bride(Kelly Lynch),Brian meets a pretty girl named Jordyne Mooney(Elisabeth Shue). Jordyne's girlfriend passed out on the beach after a champagne binge and a sunbath. Brian saved the girlfriend's life. Brian and Jordyne are romantically involved until Jordyne catches Brian with another woman,this one wealthy like Doug's new wife. Doug made a bet that Brian can't hook up with a wealthy woman. Brian accepted the bet since it was a dare. When Brian visits Jerry's Deli back in New York,where Jordyne works as a waitress,Jordyne drenches him with various entrees. Brian showed up at Jerry's to apologize to Jordyne for hurting her,but had no chance to do so. So Brian goes to Jordyne's penthouse apartment where he meets her father Richard(Laurence Luckinbill). Richard offers $10,000 to "get Brian out of Jordyne's life". Jordyne's is now pregnant with twins and Brian is the father. Brian tears up Richard's written check("This is how hung up on money I am."). Doug wound up drinking himself to death on a vessel. Brian returns to the Mooneys' apartment and proposes to Jordyne. At the newly opened Flanagan's,Brian and his new wife are toasted by Brian's uncle,who himself owns a tavern. Director Roger Donaldson subsequently directed 1990's CADILLAC MAN.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Director: Roger Donaldson
Tom Cruise
Bryan Brown
Elisabeth Shue

DVD title: Gone With the Wind
Productgroup: DVD
Gone With the Wind - movie DVD cover picture
best motion picture ever

It is the most breathtaking movie that I have seen in a long time and I really believe that it deserves 5 stars

Studio: Warner Home Video
Clark Gable
Vivien Leigh

DVD title: The Princess Bride (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Princess Bride (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Fantastic ecept not wide screen.

The Princes Bride is an out standing comedy that satiers not only story books but also old swash buckling movies. However there is one problem with this vidio... IT'S NOT WIDESCREEN! AAAGG! What a CRIME to commit on any clasic movie.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Rob Reiner
Cary Elwes
Mandy Patinkin
Robin Wright Penn

DVD title: Pi
Productgroup: DVD
Pi - movie DVD cover picture
Brilliant film

I was skeptical of this film at first; my girlfriend (who likes independent films a lot more than I do) urged me to go. I have to say it was probably the most excellent movie I have ever seen. It was well-acted and brilliantly-directed.
The soundtrack complements the movie better than any I have ever heard. The film was captivating, intriguing, and thought-provoking. If it weren't right now, i'd urge everyone to buy it on the spot.

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Sean Gullette
Mark Margolis

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