Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
Just one word for this movie: GREAT !!!!!!

Rented it, then I bought it. It is a really great concept

Studio: Warner Studios
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss

DVD title: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

Luhrmann's film is a modernised and very effective remake of the original Zeffirelli film. The story of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, has now been shunted into a whole new dimension. The original story is a thoroughly depressing tragedy, where two people from opposing families fall in love. They get married in secret but after Romeo kills Juliet's cousin for stabbing his best friend. He flees and Juliet's father tries to force her to marry another person she has hardly even talked to. However to avoid this she fakes her death by drinking a sleeping potion. Romeo comes back to find her `dead', and kills himself. She wakes up, finds him dead next to her and stabs herself. The grim reaper has his hands full with this one.

This film illustrates this story effectively, although to bring it into a modern setting, some clever changes have had to be made. The beginning chorus is now narrated by a newsreader which I feel was a flash of inspiration as it is a brilliant way round having to have a narrator and sets the scene to the style of the film. Some of the characters also have been updated to fit with the modern setting. The Prince is now Chief Prince who is the sheriff of the city. Also the two families are equally successful businesses with equal tower offices with equally huge signs with their respective names on the top. All of these changes however help to make the film considerably more plausible in a modern setting.

Some very clever camera angles and shots are used to create a western style showdown, at a downtown petrol station. Guns, of course, are switched from swords in the updating process, meaning that fight scenes would be a lot shorter if it weren't for Luhrmann's imagination. Clever close-ups show the guns actually have names that would have been given to swords, an interesting bit of comedy to fit the story line. Of course the show-off gun spinning and throwing goes with the western showdown, but fast camera shots give the whole sequence incredible speed. This also adds a little comic effect, if it doesn't make you dizzy! The sequence also has excellent background sound that really contributes to the pace and style of it. The Zeffirelli edition had shockingly dressed people prancing around in psychedelic tights, poking each other with pathetic swords, whereas this version is infinitely more polished and acceptable to a modern audience. Thankfully Zeffirelli's dreadful costumes have been dropped in place of even brighter Hawaiian shirts and gun holsters. This fight soon turns into a full city riot thanks to the petrol station getting torched.

After a few sweeping skyline shots showing the urban landscape of the city and the towers, the film presentation turns into a news item about the incident showing Chief Prince swooping down in his chopper and saving the day. Then both heads-of-house are given a dressing down by Chief Prince. However this seems to have one fatal flaw. The Chief warns them `on pain of death' which seems unrealistic, as the death penalty these days is saved for only the worst criminals, not squabbling families. Also he would need to go through months of legal proceedings. Zeffirelli gives the Prince a lot more authority in his version as the camera is pointing up to him on his horse from below. However, Luhrmann loses this effect by pointing the camera straight at him on the level with him sat down at a desk. Zeffirelli must have chosen the heaviest horse for the Prince he could find for this sequence because when it moves, the sound of its hooves drowns out the Prince. All you need is it to be sufficiently ugly and the ground to shake and Godzilla's back in town

Later in the film we come to the famous balcony scene, of which through most the balcony is nowhere to be seen as the swimming pool seems to have been cast for that part instead. Romeo abandons his party of drugged up and drunk friends and proceeds to break in to the Capulet mansion which, given their status, has surprisingly low security. He arrives in the pool area and hears the door opening. Leaping on to the trellis next to it in a tacky suit of armour from the party, making a ridiculous amount of noise, he manages to stay out of sight of Juliet as she comes out. She then starts to talk to herself as per the first sign of insanity. Romeo eases his way off the trellis and follows her, behind her back about an inch away. This is totally unbelievable as at that distance she would definitely know he was there. Plus his head was practically resting on her shoulder. I just hope for her sake he has not got bad breath. When he speaks to her, she leaps out of her skin and grabs him, and the resulting scream and splash into the swimming pool is just sheer comedy. The camera zooms out just in time to see both lovers plummet into the pool. Then he does a bit of explaining as to why he was hiding there and they seem to get on fine thereafter. To emphasize the urgency of the situation the camera switches between the two rapidly. Then the nurse comes out and calls for Juliet, who rudely proceeds to drown Romeo until she goes away. Not bad for a first date. Zeffirelli just has the sound of the nurse calling whereas I feel seeing her is far more interesting and engaging. Romeo then begs for a kiss and wanders off. Zeffirelli does this sequence far better having Romeo running through the trees with the camera flying alongside him with the trees in zipping past in front of him, although everybody watching is wishing for a tree to take out either the camera or Romeo. Surprisingly Luhrmann had Juliet in a fairly modest dress in this scene whereas Zeffirelli's was probably arrestably revealing at that time.

Luhrmann has done a brilliant job on this film updating it and presenting it to the modern audience. The setting of the film is in an excellent location to portray the film, with scenes that fit with every aspect of the play. He has used music in this play very well to compliment the scenes, whereas Zeffirelli's drowned out the characters and was just too distracting. The only criticism of the play I have is that I find the language is harder to understand for a modern audience and so does not fit with the modern setting. However if it was updated I am sure the play would be considerably shortened given Shakespeare's wonderful talent of fabricating the dialogue to a ridiculous extent. Also it would ruin the character of the play and some of the effect would be lost. The actors interact with each other very well in this film and show friendship and hate far better than Zeffirelli, who had Tybalt just aimlessly smiling at everybody for no apparent reason. On the whole the film is a fabulous adaptation of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Leonardo DiCaprio
Claire Danes

DVD title: The Crow
Productgroup: DVD
The Crow - movie DVD cover picture
Dark, Gothic, Creepy and Cool

The Crow always has beeen and always will be one of my favorite movies. Brandon Lee was just amazing in this movie. The film is action packed, and it is THE best directed movie ever (it only slightly beats Blade Runner), but it is also very poetic. It's true this movie is violent as hell, but the violence is justified. He isn't just killing people, it's justice. this has been a cult classic for me since the first time I saw it. Visually stunning, incredibly acted and oozing with style, this is one movie no one should miss.

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Alex Proyas
Brandon Lee
Michael Wincott

DVD title: Doctor Who - The Ark In Space (Story No. 76)
Productgroup: DVD
Doctor Who - The Ark In Space (Story No. 76) - movie DVD cover picture
"Alien" Doctor Who

How can one not love Doctor Who? The classic British TV show set impressive standards for imagination and creativity, as exemplified by The Ark In Space, a perennial fan favorite. Tom Baker is in top form here, playing up the Doctor's mystery and aloofness, all the while demonstrating that he's a force for good and right. Elisabeth Sladen is charming as always in the role of sarah Jane Smith, and Ian Marter's Harry Sullivan is an hilarious deadpan to all the sci-fi madness going on. Excellent dialogue and plotting make a for a gripping story throughout.
What else can I say? This disc should be in your collection - go buy it now!

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Miracle (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Miracle (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Incredible on-ice action helps the retelling of worthy tale

I was actually very pleasantly surprised by this movie. Being old enough to have witnessed on TV the actual event this film seeks to recapture -- and a rabid hockey fan to boot -- I was drawn to it exclusively by its subject matter with somewhat low expectations. It would have been very easy for this movie to have been terribly cheesy, made-for-TV quality schlock. Instead, it is a very interesting (though most likely unavoidably idealized) look at 1980 USA Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks, with a backstory that I had no idea about, specifically that Brooks had been cut from the 1960 gold medal team a week prior to the start of those Olympics, and that he had gone into the 1980 coaching interview with a specific plan to design a team to beat the mighty Soviet Red Army team, the best in the world for the previous 15 years. Beyond all that, the movie is enjoyable on a character level. Kurt Russel does a masterful Herb Brooks and each of the players, portrayed by hockey players with some acting talent rather than vice versa, presents an interesting three-dimensional character for us to follow. But where the movie really shines is in the technical presentation of the on-ice hockey scenes. Forget Mighty Ducks and Slap Shot and the like, Miracle takes you into the action like no hockey movie before it. The hockey scenes are incredible, the action fast, the choreography utterly believable and intense, and the key scenes so faithfully recreated to match the original footage that your suspension of disbelief will be complete, you will truly feel that you witnessed the 1980 Miracle On Ice from an on-ice perspective. And the making of bonus feature on the main disc is interesting to watch as well, plus there is a whole second disc of more detailed featurettes. Certainly worth watching and, if you have any interest at all in hockey or just want a feel-good sports movie that is a cut above the formulaic comedies, well worth owning.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Kurt Russell
Patricia Clarkson
Nathan West

DVD title: The Magnificent Seven (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Magnificent Seven (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
An Epic American Western

"The Magnificent Seven" combines the great elements of a successful western...exciting story, stellar cast, scenic locations, and a legendary soundtrack. A Mexican village plagued by a gang of bandits led by Eli Wallach solicits the aid of mercenary gunfighters. Yul Brynner, with his commanding presence and black attire, recruits a band of diverse characters, including a wry-witted drifter seeking excitement; a brash young man seeking respect; a skilled craftsman seeking challenge; an opportunist seeking wealth; a tough sentimentalist seeking redemption; and a man on-the-run tormented by fear. Together they assume heroic proportions in an altruistic fight against near-impossible odds.
Elmer Bernstein's memorable musical score has achieved a lasting stature. From his rousing signature title to the haunting Spanish-flavored themes, the music teems with scope, drive, and energy. After 40 years, "The Magnificent Seven" remains vibrant, robust, and enduring...a hallmark for American westerns.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: John Sturges
Yul Brynner
Steve McQueen
Charles Bronson

DVD title: Batman - Mask of the Phantasm
Productgroup: DVD
Batman - Mask of the Phantasm - movie DVD cover picture
beatiful dark film

I sat down to watch this expecting a decent at best film, and hopful for a somewhere around good film. After all, this was just a video release, not in theaters; which usually doesn't produce more than a three star movie. What I got in Mask of the Phantasm was absoulutely jaw dropping. This movie rivals, and perhaps beats the live action Batman movies. This movie truly achieved a cinamatic experience. Without a doubt, this is one of the best, if not the best, video only releases ever!
This isn't just some brainless action cartoon. It features a spectacular plot that is full of surprises, and a story that makes you think, but of course, plenty of exciting action too.
I particularly like how we see the whole back story as to how Bruce Wayne became the infamous Batman.
If you though SubZero was good, wait until you see this! If your a fan of Live action Batman, or Batman of ANY type, I can't recomend this movie enough. Really, it's a great film even if you couldn't care less about Batman.

Studio: Warner Studios
Kevin Conroy
Dana Delany

DVD title: That '70s Show - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
That '70s Show - Season One - movie DVD cover picture

It's about time!!!! I'm SOOOOO psyched that That 70s Show is finally hitting DVD. It seemed like every other on earth was getting released except this one. I've been a fan of T7S since the very first season back in 1998 and I think it's one of the best shows to ever hit the air waves in recent years. The past couple of seasons of the show haven't been the best, but the first three seasons are absolutely awesome and season one happens to be my absolute favorite. Great music, great clothes, great characters, and great actors equal a great show. I hope all the original music is on there though. The one bad thing about having the show on syndication is that all the original music was changed. I have the episodes from when they originally aired on FOX and those are the songs that should be on DVD. Let's hope so!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Ashton Kutcher

DVD title: The Simpsons - The Complete Sixth Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Simpsons - The Complete Sixth Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best Season.

this is one of my fav seasons it has springfeilds most wanted who shot mr burns lisa rival and bart sells his soul you cant have a simpsons dvd collection without this set

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Dan Castellaneta

DVD title: Outlaw Star (Collection 3)
Productgroup: DVD
Outlaw Star (Collection 3) - movie DVD cover picture
An amazing conclusion of a great series

Outlaw Star heats up in the last 8 episodes with the tension building until the final episode. The animation and music continue to be strong, and the plot only gets better from this point on.
Episode 19, "Law and Lawlessness", is much more than the filler episode it looks like at first glance. We are introduced to several characters from the Outlaw Star spinoff, "Angel Links", when the Outlaw Star and its crew are wrongfully arrested for being pirates after a fight in space.
Episode 20, "Cats and Girls and Space Ships", is dedicated to everyone's favorite 11-year-old computer wizard, Jim Hawking. Stationed at a space station for repairs after a fierce fight, Jim meets Hanmyo, a young girl his age also just visiting the station...
In episode 21, "Grave of the Dragon", the crew visit an ancient planet with strange man-made structures from thousands of years ago. Inside, they start to learn more about the Galactic Leyline, but it seems wherever they go, the MacDougall brothers are following them. Harry tries to convince Melfina to come with him once again, but Gene intervenes before he can take her away...
In episode 22, the mysterious scientist following the Outlaw Star crew ever since the Space Race episodes, Gwen Kahn, shows up once again. It seems he wants to find the Galactic Leyline as much as Gene and the crew does, but doesn't want to get his own hands dirty. He knows an inmate at a prison on an unforgiving planet with varying gravities who knows the coordinates of the Leyline. Unfortunately, prisoners aren't allowed visitors, and Gwen Kahn disables Melfina's personality and holds it hostage until Gene can get the coordinates.
Then there's episode 23, "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei". Can you say fan service? Now with the coordinates to the Leyline, Gene and the crew have to make one final stop before the fly into unknown territories. Gene hears of a mage who can make special Caster Shells who lives on a planet turned tourist attraction, Tenrei. Episode 23 is a combination of two things that Outlaw Star usually isn't: Comedy and gratuitous fan service. It's a nice change before the final three episodes which couldn't be more serious.
In episode 24, "Cutting the Galactic Leyline", with the Caster Shells and the coordinates of the Leyline, Gene and the crew fly off into space into the Leyline, but they're not alone. The MacDougall brothers once again followed them to it. Additionally, the remaining Anten Seven, led by Hanzako, are also looking for the Leyline. If that wasn't enough, Aisha has been tipping off the Ctarl-Ctarl ever since she joined the crew of the Outlaw Star. Now that the cast is set, the final showdown is about to begin...
In episode 25, "The Maze of Despair", everyone's finally inside the Leyline, and Melfina is abducted by an unknown force into it, and now it's a race to get to her before the MacDougall brothers or the Anten Seven do. It's here we come to many revelations. Suzuka's real motives for joining the crew of the Outlaw Star are revealed, and so are Harry MacDougall's true feelings towards Melfina. Are they really anything more than a strange obsession?
Episode 26, "Return to Space", is the conclusion to the story... Who will come out alive in the end, and will Gene choose love over the power of the Leyline? It's up to you to watch and find out!

Studio: Pioneer Video

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