Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Shaolin Temple
Productgroup: DVD
The Shaolin Temple - movie DVD cover picture
Jet Li's first movie rocks!!


Shortly after he became national all-around Wu Shu champion of China, Jet Li, at the age of, like, 19, made this kick-butt movie. Okay, the plot has been seen before: young martial artist goes to the Shaolin temple to train so he can take revenge on the murderer of his father. But the film goes a little deeper, since the hero cools down, learns humility and instead of getting the girl, becomes a monk. Good character development as Li wobbles between humility and burning desire for revenge. As flamboyant and action packed as Jackie Chan's movies are, Jet Li's, on the other hand, are just outstanding martial arts skill. Watch this movie for excellent examples of the martial artists being produced by the wu shu training camps in mainland China - broadswords, whip chains, three-sectional staff work, rope darts, killer long staff forms and combat, and awesome open-handed forms and combat. A real martial artists' movie.




DVD title: Noam Chomsky - Rebel Without a Pause
Productgroup: DVD
Noam Chomsky - Rebel Without a Pause - movie DVD cover picture
A glimpse into a brilliant man


I saw this film at the Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival. The theatre was sold out and we were lucky enough to have a Q and A with the director. With a miniscule budget the filmmakers set out to follow Chomsky on a week when he was lecturing in Canada. The director admitted to not being a Chomsky fan at the time he started the film but was won over but Chomsky's charm, intellect and sly sense of humor (some of which you can see in the film). I think he called Chomsky "the best read grandfather alive" and told us about Chomsky's 18-hour days lecturing and doing interviews and would often lose his voice by dinner time, but would always try and have something left for talking with the people who follow him around wanting to ask him about some issue or another.

Often, Chomsky is seen talking about dour issues (war, government oppression, etc), so it was nice to see a film that shows him with his sarcastic sense of humor and a profound love and respect for others who are passionate about the world we live in. I have seen all the Chomsky films and what sets "Rebel" apart from the others is that you actually learn what makes Chomsky tick, what makes him the most active and important intellectual around and what makes him so interesting. I have read his books but found that this film actually gave me an insight into Noam Chomsky that I never had before. What were quite profound were the stories his wife (and manager) tell about how he reads six newspapers a day and how when he cites a source it's using something close to a photographic memory. His mind is a database of articles, interviews, lectures, policy speeches, etc and he can pin point an argument with precision. In "Rebel" you see him talking about September 11th and the war in Iraq among many topics and often he gets into discussions with other academics and students on various issues and its as if people want to out-argue him, but you can't. He's too prepared, too well researched and too smart to get beaten. His story about how the mainstream media has essentially blacklisted him (or been asked by higher powers to keep him off the airwaves) is quite telling. I had no idea that NPR would bow to a call from Washington and cancel a live interview with him moments before it was scheduled to happen. That is just one of the great stories in this little gem of a documentary. Another is the story about how the Cuban Missile Crisis should have been the start of WW3 but for the disobedience of a Russian submarine captain who refused an order from Moscow to fire his missiles when his submarine was being depth charged by the American navy. I had cheers when Chomsky told the story (all true). Chomsky was right when he said the Captain should be receiving every prize known to humanity for refusing to launch his missiles.

For those who don't know Chomsky, "Rebel Without A Pause" is a good overview of the man and his topics and unlike some other films about Chomsky, gives you a glimpse into Chomsky and what makes him the intellectual and cult figure he is.
Highly recommended!

Studio: New Video Group
Director: Will Pascoe



DVD title: Opeth - Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003)
Productgroup: DVD
Opeth - Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003) - movie DVD cover picture
Opeth...Delivers the goods


I bought this DVD based on my cd selection of Opeth as well as the fact that I have never experienced this group live in concert. I enjoyed the full mellow set of "Damnation," However, the heavier set is what I truly was anticipating. My only criticism is the consistent slient breaks with the small talks between the songs...I understand the acknowledgement of any band towards its fans is always a good thing, but sometimes those minutes could be used for another possible song. Still, this does not take away from the great musical performance Opeth executes, plus furthermore, this is my opinion and only my opinion. As a whole, Opeth delivers the goods and do so with much skill, talent, and musicianship. This DVD exposes Opeth for the masters that they are in their genre of music. Five Stars.....Eximius!! opus operis.

Alex

Studio: Koch Records
Actors:
Opeth
Mikael Akerfeldt




DVD title: Manhattan Murder Mystery
Productgroup: DVD
Manhattan Murder Mystery - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful mix of Murder, Mistery and Comedy


Diane Keaton and Woody Allen make quick friends with an older couple. After the woman dies of a heart attack, Diane Keaton starts investigating on her own thinking that it was not a heart attack afterall. Woody on the other end does not believe in this murder idea and thinks his wife is getting too excited for no reason.
The movie mixes great suspense and comedy. The skepticism of woody allen and the wild (but maybe not so wild) imagination of diane keaton make for highly entertaining dialogues. The new york atmosphere of the movie is quite lovely too. The story moves fast and as Diane Keaton discovers more and more clues you find yourself seating on the edge of your seat wondering what next is going to happen.
This movie is wonderfull all the way to the end that parodies the ending of an old movie classic.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Woody Allen
Actors:
Woody Allen
Diane Keaton




DVD title: The Deep End
Productgroup: DVD
The Deep End - movie DVD cover picture
Forget "Monsters Ball" and "In The Bedroom"...


...this is the real deal when it comes to intimate stories, exquisitely written, directed, acted and shot. It was unfairly overlooked at Oscar time. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that there's a mini-trend that appears to be about smaller stories and performance-oriented pieces -- but compared to the above-mentioned movies that placed well in the Oscar race this year, this one is so much more self-assured, and has so much more to say, that it's truly exhilarating to watch.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Actors:
Tilda Swinton
Goran Visnjic




DVD title: Noises Off...
Productgroup: DVD
Noises Off... - movie DVD cover picture
What a riot!


My family and I are theater fanatics, and having participated in many productions, we love this movie because much of the chaos rang true. We found the movie by accident one day and couldn't stop laughing. Now, every time we go to see a show and we hear, "Ladies and Gentleman, please take your seats..." my mom and I start the whole bit with the changing times. The comedy -- both slapstick and verbal -- is brillant and pulled off with much aplomb by the great cast. Unfortunately, our copy is messed up, and the tape isn't available. *sniff*

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Actors:
Carol Burnett
Michael Caine




DVD title: Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Better than i remember....


Thanks for putting this on DVD. I bought this for my 3 year old son, thinking that it might not be as good as remembered. But I am amazed at how good the songs were and cartoons are so cute, much better than I remember. My son is already singing along and I hope this helps him learn his grammar rules easily. Our favorite is, of course, "Conjunction Junction". I hope the artists who sang on this and the people who produced it got the royalties that they deserve over the years!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Tom Warburton



DVD title: That '70s Show - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
That '70s Show - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
That 70's Show is The Best Comdey Show Ever!!!!


I love That 70's Show I have been a fan of that show since it first came on TV.That 70's Show is about this guy name Eric Forman that has a longtime girlfriend name Donna & they have friends name Jackie,Micheal,Steven & Fez that they're teenagers & they hang out together in Eric's Basement in his house.I think that Micheal Kelso & Fez are funniest characters on the show because they're both so stupid.My favorite what happens on the show is that Steven Hyde beats the crap out of Micheal.And I love Steven's Wise Crack Jokes.That 70's Show is is The Bomb!!!!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Actors:
Ashton Kutcher



DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Can't believe this show got cancelled


I liked Firefly a lot when it first aired, and watching the show again plus the 3 unaired episodes makes it all the sadder that this show was cancelled. I think any fan of Buffy, Star Trek, Farscape, or Babylon 5 who gave this show a a chance would have been quickly hooked. This is one of the best sci-fi series ever. If you didn't see it when it aired, buy this DVD because you're in for a treat.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Actors:
Nathan Fillion



DVD title: The Big Country
Productgroup: DVD
The Big Country - movie DVD cover picture
An exquisite and underrated film


The Big Country has so many fabulous elements to it that it's hard to know where to begin. The acting is universally superb and every actor is cast to perfection in their individual roles. Gregory Peck has rarely been as understated, subtle and magnificent as he is in the title character of the handsome, secure Jim McKay. He is the quintessential American character and only Peck, Jimmy Stewart, or Henry Fonda could lay claim to that mantle. Carroll Baker plays his shrewish, manipulative and petulant girlfriend to a "T." Charlton Heston is excellent in a supporting role, as are Charles Bickford and Chuck Connors, who is surprisingly effective as the drunken roustabout Buck. Jean Simmons loses her British accent and delivers a memorable, strong performance as well.
Ultimately, the best performance is delivered by Burl Ives, who won a much-deserved Academy Award in his role as the patriarch of the Hannessey clan. Watch particularly for the scene where he disrupts the Major's party and delivers a searing soliloquy on the selfishness and tyrannical tendencies of the Terrell family. This is an acting tour de force from Ives, who is every bit as powerful here as he was playing Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Another great scene is when Chuck Connors walks into the house and says, "Pa, did you want me?" Ives sneers, "I did before you was born!"
The score is incomparable, the mesmerizing string section will have you humming for days. The cinematography is eerily derivative of John Ford and the sweeping vistas makes you want to be there, in every frame.
There are some clich?s, notably the fight scene between Peck and Heston, which goes on too long and is a little contrived. The ending is also melodramatic and improbable, yet somehow a fitting climax to this wonderful movie. Rarely has an ensemble cast been so universally excellent, the acting alone makes this a truly outstanding film. I rooted for the Hannessey's throughout the film, others may opt for the Terrell's, but it doesn't really matter in the end. My highest recommendation.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: William Wyler
Actors:
Gregory Peck
Jean Simmons




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