Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ultimate Voice Coach - Learn To Sing Like A Star!
Productgroup: DVD
Ultimate Voice Coach - Learn To Sing Like A Star! - movie DVD cover picture
Just the thing to build your voice and get ready to compete

Randy and Paula worked with voice coaches Gary Cantona and Ron Anderson to bring to the masses a great way to develop your voice and develop confidence in yourself. Whether you are singing in the shower, singing karoke with friends and family, or just trying to bring out your unique voice, you will want to own this set. It contains 1 DVD, 2 CDs and a voice manual:

- one DVD with three hours of voice lessons with Gary Cantona and Ron Anderson

- one CD with one-hour practice lessons

- one CD+G with five karaoke songs

- one manual on vocal fundamentals

If you want to develop your voice and understand professional singing techniques, this is a great place to start. There is customized trainng for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and even by age range. This is a great gift for singers, friends and family fun.

When you are ready to step up your voice training, I recommend the following:

1. The Contemporary Vocalist Improvement Course (Book and 4 CDs) by Jeannie Deva (a well known vocal trainer.)

2. Singing for the Stars (Book & 2 CDs). Vocal coach to the stars Seth Riggs puts you through your paces. He has trained Michael Jackson, Anita Baker and Natalie Cole - to name a few.

Studio: Gotham Distribution
Paula Abdul

DVD title: I Love Lucy - The Complete Third Season
Productgroup: DVD
I Love Lucy - The Complete Third Season - movie DVD cover picture
Welcome "I Love Lucy" Season Three!

I am happy that CBS and Paramount have released another season of "I Love Lucy." I have watched this series in its perpetual repeats my entire life and owning these DVD sets and being able to watch classic "Lucy" anytime I want is terrific.

I'm a big fan of "I Love Lucy" episodes set in the Ricardo's New York City apartment. Season Three contains 31 really enjoyable episodes of this variety. There are no Hollywood stars or European locales just fun situations involving Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred. Of course, there are still all of our favorite "Lucy" antics. She tries to get into Ricky's show ("The French Revue"), she fights with Ethel ("Lucy and Ethel Buy The Same Dress") and she gets into those outrageous situations only she can get into ("Bonus Bucks").

This set also includes one of my all-time favorite "I Love Lucy" episodes, "Lucy is Envious." This is the one where Lucy and Ethel pledge $500 to a charity of Lucy's snotty school friend and in order to raise the money they take a job dressing up as Martian women for a publicity stunt for a movie. The ending scene in this episode is especially funny.

As with Season Two, they have packaged the entire season (31 episodes) into a cardboard sleeve that holds five slim cases containing the five DVD discs. The whole season of classic episodes will take up a spot on your DVD shelf about two inches wide but the entertainment is much more enormous.

The extras are comparable to the Season Two set. You will find original openings and transitions, some deleted scenes used to bridge continuity when shows were rerun, some commercials that Lucy and Desi did to promote their films, etc., there are flubs, and some radio shows of Lucy's "My Favorite Husband" series. What is missing is commentaries by either Lucy experts or surviving cast members or crew. I would have found it interesting to have had "Lucy" writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh's commentaries included. Commentaries probably would have meant a bigger investment from CBS, so maybe that's why we have none.

For the most part the visual quality of the episodes is outstanding. I have never seen some of these shows look so sharp and clear with rich shades of gray and lots of picture detail. This is the good news. The bad news is there are two episodes, "Sentimental Anniversary" and "Bonus Bucks" (a favorite of mine), that are of far inferior quality. These two episodes have a muddy look with very little picture definition. When these are played side by side with the pristine episodes they really look bad. I don't know how they slipped these two poor quality transfers onto the DVD set. This is my biggest complaint. I hope CBS doesn't let this happen on any more Lucy sets.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Lucille Ball

DVD title: Mesa of Lost Women
Productgroup: DVD
Mesa of Lost Women - movie DVD cover picture
Perhaps the Best Motion Picture Ever Made

With quotes like "And they threw her down, and her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and he trod her underfoot", and the dance by Tarantella (Tandra Quinn), this is a difficult movie to surpass. Move over Welles and Rosellini, here's Ormand. This is culture at its absolute best...

Studio: Image Entertainment
Jackie Coogan

DVD title: Contact
Productgroup: DVD
Contact - movie DVD cover picture
A brilliant and profound motion picture event

I really wasn't sure that Carl Sagan's novel would translate very well to the big screen; after all, Sagan and his book were grounded in science, some of the most hardware-intensive scenes were left rather vague in the novel, and Sagan's atheism threatened to somehow taint the story's interplay of science and religion. This movie, though, despite the fact that it necessarily differs from Sagan's novel at times, works amazingly well, even resurrecting a powerful ending under conditions that could be criticized by some in the two words "nothing happens." Indeed, something amazing does happen, and even if it had not, one theme that I read into this story is that the journey is often more important than the destination.
This motion picture is (pardon the pun) stellar in so many ways, reflecting a rare level of commitment on the part of everyone involved. This really starts with the cast. The role of Dr. Ellie Arroway was a crucial one that, in the hands of the wrong actress, could have doomed the whole project. Any concerns along these lines, though, were dispensed with immediately upon the signing of Jodie Foster, the greatest female actress of this generation. Matthew McConaughey gives a better than average performance as Palmer Joss (the religious guy), Tom Skerritt is as unlikable as always in his role as the President's Science Advisor and frequent Arroway nemesis, and the rest of the cast excels as well. The injection of then-President Clinton and a number of CNN journalists into a number of scenes also brings a most welcome feel of reality to the profound events taking place here. The special effects are just wonderful. The opening scene is as beautiful and memorable as any scene you will find anywhere, the animation of the giant machine is extremely realistic, and the visual aspects of space travel are also a sight to behold. Not only do these great scenes delight the eyes, they remain true to the nuts and bolts of science that Sagan wanted in the movie. This movie may be long by some standards, coming in at almost two and a half hours, but there's not one wasted scene.
The story is, in a sense, not all that complicated. Ellie Arroway (Foster) finally gets a chance to realize her dream of searching for signals from outer space, only to find herself and her project stripped of funding by an unimaginative (or possibly secretive) government. She and her colleagues refuse to let the dream die, and on one remarkable day they pick up a signal. Once the signal is verified and word gets out, the public begins to wig out in a number of ways (quite overblown, in my opinion) and the government, specifically the military, swoops in to get their hands on the project. Ironically, yet very plausibly, part of the signal ends up showing a clip of Hitler opening the Munich Olympic Games (which was the first television signal broadcast over a sizable area). Arroway manages to persevere in her work, and eventually a message is discerned among the data, yielding blueprints for some type of great machine. After plenty of government haggling, the machine is built, and one person is chosen to travel in what the scientists now come to believe is some type of interstellar craft. The movie does not end here, though, not by a long shot.
I find a few aspects about this movie and Sagan's novel interesting on a personal level. Sagan was a long-time exponent of the search for extraterrestrial life, yet at a certain point in his career, he noticeably changed and became one of the most unobjective bulwarks of the movement to discredit any and all UFO sightings and encounters; some have speculated that he became a participant in the official government policy of disinformation and dismissal. I believe he would know better than most how the government would frown upon news as profound as the discovery of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, and this movie certainly does show some of the dangers inherent in the military takeover of extraterrestrial projects. I am also somewhat surprised at just how effective the juxtaposition of science and religion is presented here, given Sagan's lifelong atheism. The religious aspect of the film works more in a spiritual than a Biblical sense, yet work it does. There is obviously a lot of Sagan himself in Dr. Arroway, and this story, in both novel and motion picture form, stands as a true testament to one of the most influential scientists of modern times.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Jodie Foster
Matthew McConaughey

DVD title: Bananas
Productgroup: DVD
Bananas - movie DVD cover picture
Fielding, from the Latin, meaning strong or with strength

Others have given some of the details, but let me just add another nod for this classic. It is probably Woody's best film in spite of its 60s-ish raggedness. So many great lines, so many perfectly executed comedic scenes, brilliant, wacky, and terrific (and sharp) political satire to boot. To many contemporary viewers this movie will seem a bit dated, but shame on them. This is marvelous slapstick with a playfully intellectual edginess. It's interesting that today with our dulled and overloaded minds our comedies are so humorless. We find it hard to understand how slapstick and intellectuality go hand in hand. But praise the Lord and pass the absurd, because this low budget flick is one of the greatest comedic classics of all time--right up there with A Night At the Opera, maybe even above it.
Love and Death is hilarious and at least as heady, but this movie is a blast from start to finish. But if you don't get it, don't beat yourself about the face and head over it, just go out and rent one of those Saturday Night Live Star Turned Actor of The Week Adolescent Yuk Fests that Hollywood is cranking out at an alarming rate for your viewing pleasure and the filling of their oh so needy pockets.
But, if the codename Sapphire means something to you and you believe the greatest crimes are the crimes against human dignity then check this one out. And the DVD is a great improvement over some of the tapes I've seen. For the first time I noticed that, during Fielding's tense and unpleasantly silent dinner with Vargas, Woody is wearing a suit with all the tailor's chalk marks still visible on it.
I can only hope that someday Miss America will testify as a character witness against me. "I believe Mr. Macabre is a traitor to our country because his views are different from those of the President and others of his kind. Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not if they're too different. That makes him a subversive mother."
It's over, it's all over, the review has been consummated.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Louise Lasser

DVD title: House of 1000 Corpses
Productgroup: DVD
House of 1000 Corpses - movie DVD cover picture
Sick and Twisted

What can I say? I have never been so repulsed in my life. The blood and the gore? The story? The acting? It was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. Not knowing what to expect going in. I was transformed when I came out. It was almost real. Like it was a true story. Very well done. The acting was great. The characters were well performed. The story, killer. And the blood and gore, thumbs way up. It has been some time, since I have come out of a movie theater. With the kind of stuned look that I had on my face. Like you get when you can't believe what you just saw. Because, I couldn't. Can't wait for the sequel. It's suppose to be even more violent. Rob is a great director and I look forward to seeing more of his work. Before I forget, the little bit of comedy that was thrown into the mix. Why not? Comedy is cool, too.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Rob Zombie
Sid Haig
Bill Moseley
Sheri Moon
Karen Black

DVD title: Meet Me In St. Louis (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Meet Me In St. Louis (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Corny and terrific

So this movie is chock-full of corny moments, unrealistic scenes, and generally wacky elements. My favorites:
-- the fact that Judy Garland's bangs form a perfect square, and never move, not once, throughout the whole film-- the curtain-like dress that she wears during the squaredance party at their house ... it has tassels and everything. It's like a forerunner of Maria's sewing in "The Sound of Music." -- the fact that her sister Rose is "playing" the piano by spastically moving her hands over the keys (you'd think Vincente Minelli would have taught the actress how to make it look authentic)-- The neurotic little sister Tootie, played by the fabulous Margaret O'Brien, who is a great case study for child psychologists-- the fact that Esther is gaga over "the boy next door," even though he has the personality of a carpet sweeper
So why did I give this five stars? Well, actually, it's because of all of the above -- they give the movie its quirky charm -- and so much more, including:
-- the gorgeous costumes, curtain dress excluded-- the great ensemble cast, including Marjorie Main as the cranky maid-- the sunny music: I challenge you to keep from humming along-- the atmosphere of nostalgia, joy, and fun that this movie weaves. It's a keeper, an absolute classic. I've always loved it. I always will.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Judy Garland
Margaret O'Brien

DVD title: Survivor All-Stars - The Complete Season
Productgroup: DVD
Survivor All-Stars - The Complete Season - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing Season

When you get the best of the best together to play this game you are guarenteed a great season and it delievered with player Outwititng, Outplaying and Outlasting each other. I personally was disappointed that a bunch of All-stars didn't figure out how powerful Rob and Amber was and didn't get them out. Even though i dont really consider Amber an Allstar...did anybody really notice her in the Outback. Way more entertaining people should have filed her spot. I hope they release all the seasons. I am also surprised they jumped right into Allstars. Well buy this item if you can't get enough of survivor.

How I rank the seasons:

8. Thailand (Figures their was only one allstar from here)

7. Marquesas (Nothing special)

6. Amazon (Some bright moment, not the most exciting, most exciting Jenna and Heidi taking it off)

5. Africa (Location boring, great cast though)

4. Pearl Islands (3 amazing players : Sandra, Jon, and of course Rupert)

3. Allstars (Great season, dissappointed by the result)

2. Australian Outback (So close to #1, great location, amazing cast)

1. Borneo (The thing that started it all, the oringal alliance was born in this game..Rich, Kelly , Rudy, and Sue...hey why wasn't kelly on stars...Jenna ahead of her??)

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Jeff Probst

DVD title: Hellboy (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Hellboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
great movie!

Ok i have never read the comics, i thought the idea was a bit silly and the trailers really did nothing for me, but i tried the dvd anyway and i loved the movie, it's funny, action packed, great special effects (amazing how a movie with half the buget of a matrix can do so much better!).

as a comic fan i really loved seeing a superhero battle done so well, i mean there has been nice fights in the movies but this one was really rough and tumble and fun to watch, i hope the F4 movies thing looks so well.

and the extras are amazing, 4 cartoons, 3 gerald mcboing boing cartoons that i can't figure out why they added them to the dvd but are nonethless fun and class, plus a tell tale heart creepy cartoon from the same period of about 50 years ago.

we also have an amazing 2 half hour documentary covering everything you ever wanted to know, trailers and the other normal stuff and's a must buy for any action fan or comic fan.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Ron Perlman
Selma Blair
Doug Jones

DVD title: Back to the Future - The Complete Trilogy (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Back to the Future - The Complete Trilogy (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Trilogy

If I could I would give this many more stars than 5. This is without a doubt in my mind the best trilogy ever. It beats Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and the old and new Star Wars.

To start off, the first disc/first movie. The first Back to the Future is probably the best, but I could never choose. It starts this incredibly, imaginative trilogy through time, and gives audiences the feel for time travel. The preformaces from young Michael J. Fox is phenomanal. I couldn't picture a more perfect Marty Mcfly. The same goes for Christopher Lloyd. Who else could play Doc? The whole story for it is amazing, how Marty goes back in time and stops his parents from falling in love and he has to fix it or he won't be born.

The second movie is just as good. It starts off, and immediately takes you to the future in the year 2015. You see flying cars and other very futuristic things in the future HillDale (where Marty lives). It's funny, 2015 is only 10 years away and I'm not predicting we will see a whole world full of flying cars and pizzas smaller than a CD. But the special effects were quite advanced for 1985. Crappy effects don't matter to me though.

The third, which is many peoples favorite, takes place in 1885. The old west. Cowboys, saloons, duels, the whole deal. But Marty must go back to save Doc's life when he is doomed for death after a future gunfight. Probably the most action packed BTTF movie. The last 15 minutes are very interesting also.

If you're the kind of person who loves special features, and behind the scene kind of things, you will love this. There is like 10 hours of that stuff!

Everyone is a fan of Back to the Future. It's worth every penny.

Studio: Universal Studios
Michael J. Fox

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