Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Magnificent Seven (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Magnificent Seven (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
KUROSAWA IN CHAPS


Yul Brynner, back in the late 1950's, wanted to direct an American version of the SEVEN SAMURAI, as an western. So he bought up the movie rights. He wanted to cast Anthony Quinn in the lead, as Chris. Brynner had been directed by Quinn in the remake of THE BUCCANEER. Quinn would have been great as Chris, the leader of the Seven; and what a different film it would have been. But, alas, Brynner himself took the part, and put his own stamp of individuality on it. He walked like a cross between a panther and a ballet dancer; light on the balls of his feet. Ironically, as an actor, he was slow on the draw, and not used to Westerns. But artistically, this was never apparent in the finished film.
Many of the Seven's actors had seen the Kurosawa film, and they were very excited about transferring it to the American West. Eli Wallach, as Calvera, in just a few short scenes, found both the humor and the cruelty in the bandit chieftan. His accent and speech pattern were fairly authentic; more so certainly than the young German actor, Horst Buchholz, endeavoring to find a southwestern/Texan/Mexican drawl. Director, John Sturges, had great hopes for Horst; the camera loved him. But it was the trio of studs, Steve McQueen as Vin, Charles Bronson as O'Reilly, and James Coburn as Britt, that dominated the frame.
Steve McQueen, wearing skin-tight leather stovepipe chaps, spent a lot of time finding ways to upstage Yul Brynner. There was a rumor that he would have preferred playing Chico, the Buchholz character. McQueen's manic physical performance, lightning fast with a pistol and a quip, seemed to work well for him, and it gave him more than his share of focus. His Vin emerged as lethal, lean, and hungry; yet weary of the gunfighter's plight, and envious of the simplicity and the honor of the peasants fighting for their families and their homes.
James Coburn, as Britt, was laconic and dangerous, and living on the edge of his blade; competing mostly with himself for the next big thrill. Coburn got the part he wanted, and though he was given minimal dialogue, his deliveries were classic. This set the mold for his future career.
Charles Bronson as Bernardo O'Reilly, half-Irish, half Mexican, was solid as a rock; an experienced stone killer, and yet still a soft touch for the children of the village. His death scene touched us. He found the pulse of his character, and he was both dangerous and decent.
Robert Vaughn, as Lee, seemed uncomfortable and lost. His part had been rewritten, and expanded for him. Yet he seemed ill-suited for the part, and the genre. Even his costume seemed ill-fitting. Part of the problem was that his characters' inability to participate in the first couple of firefights left us with little sympathy for him. Later then, in his scene with the peasants, in which he admitted his fear, the emotions seemed forced and poorly conceived. His last moment heroics and death did little to balance the scales.
Brad Dexter was nearly invisible. He is the one actor in trivia games no one can remember. His character, Harry Luck, with twice the dialogue as Coburn, paled in comparison. Part of it was Dexter himself. He was a bland, middle-of-the-road, B-Movie heavy, and it was odd to cast him, and thrust him in amongst all of those young turks. He did a credible job, but he was completely outshined by the future super stars.
Vladimir Sokoloff, as the village's "old man", gave such a wonderful and touching performance, one did not realize the actor was not Latino. Like Eli Wallach, his talent as an actor transcended ethnic boundaries.
John Sturges, a veteran director of westerns, found just the right balance of action and character. Mexican farmers substituted fine for the original Japanese farmers. And brigands, or bandits, are cut from the same nasty mold no matter what the era, or geography. Kurosawa's classic runs like 3 hours in length, and it gave us much more in-depth character development; so that when these samurai began to die, we cared about them. In 1959, when SEVEN was filmed, three hour westerns were a non-existant species. Elmer Bernstein's musical score was revolutionary, and its pounding stacatto beat has become one of the most recognized pieces of music ever created for film.
This western, always listed in the top 50 best westerns, is a must-see. And the DVD version, in widescreen, is crisp and clear and colorful, and it helps us to recapture that magical feeling we had the first time we saw this film in a movie theatre.

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




DVD title: American History X
Productgroup: DVD
American History X - movie DVD cover picture
BLOWN AWAY!


I finally got around to seeing American History X tonight after hearing much good hype and it was a great film dealing with ugly issues. Edward Norton deserved the Oscar he was nominated for and I would say this is easily his best performance, followed closely by Fight Club and Primal Fear. Edward Furlong, better known as the whiny kid who played John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, is surprisingly very good here as well. This is one of those movies that I am mad I spent money to rent when I could own this great film for around $10.00. People of all races should see this realistic film dealing with the "stuff" few like to discuss in public, but can still be seen throughout the world.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Tony Kaye
Actors:
Edward Norton
Edward Furlong




DVD title: Dragon Ball Z - The Namek Saga (Boxed Set II - Episodes 26-53)
Productgroup: DVD
Dragon Ball Z - The Namek Saga (Boxed Set II - Episodes 26-53) - movie DVD cover picture
I only wish there was more


I was very pleased with what I saw. True, they are edited and some things are cut out. But they give you the story and its something that my whole family can watch together. The only regret that I have is that I can't get all of the episodes in this good of quality. There are actually 531 episodes total. 176 are just Dragon Ball, They are before DBZ. Then there are 291 episodes of DBZ. These are my personal favorites. Then, the last are the Dragon Ball GT episodes. I didn't really like these ones, but they are good none the less. I just wish somebody (Funimation) would make all of them available in English. I have them all but some are in japanese with subtitles which makes it hard to enjoy the episode, and some are just dubbed in English. I'm sure any true dbz fan would give an arm and a leg to have them all in English. I know i would. Hopefully this will inspire more people to try to get Funimation pumping out those episodes, it would definately be worth their time.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Actors:
Dragon Ball Z



DVD title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Productgroup: DVD
The Count of Monte Cristo - movie DVD cover picture
Revenge can kill you, yet it's what kept him alive...


I was partway through the rantings of another reviewer about how much this movie strayed from a classic. And how bad this adaptation was. But you know what? I don't really care. I haven't read the book, and I likely won't. I happen to like the film. It has a decent plot, good actors and a theme someone simple-minded as myself can understand - "revenge". How often have we felt cheated in our lives? How often have we felt that we are the underdogs? This film shows us that good things will come to those who wait. That revenge is sweetest when it is well thought out and exacted with a fury.
In this story a sailer by the name of Edmond Dantes is wrongfully imprisoned when his best friend Fernand betrays him in order to steal his wife. In prison, Edmond is about to lose hope when a fellow inmate teaches him how to read/write/fight and escape from prison. At his dying breath, he tells Edmond of a buried treasure that he should use to do good. Edmond, however, has other thoughts in his mind. Edmond transforms himself into the mysterious and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo. With systematic planning, he cleverly inserts himself into high society and exacts revenge from his enemies of the past. His goal is not to kill them, but to humiliate them and let them know what it feels like to have nothing left to live for.
... The movie was fun to watch, so watch it.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Actors:
James Caviezel
Guy Pearce




DVD title: Life of Agony: River Runs Again - Live 2003
Productgroup: DVD
Life of Agony: River Runs Again - Live 2003 - movie DVD cover picture
IF YOU DON'T BUY THIS YOU ARE MISSING OUT


FIRST OFF, LET ME SAY THAT LOA IS NOT A HUGE BIG NAME BAND, BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN. IN THAT TIME FRAME, PANTERA AND WHITE ZOMBIE WERE THE RULERS. NOW THAT WE HAVE A DVD TO TAKE US BACK TO THE OLD DAYS, IT REMINDS US OF HOW MANY GREAT BANDS OUT THERE GOT OVERLOOKED. IF YOU LIKE METAL, THEN YOU LIKE LOA!! ITS THAT SIMPLE. AS TO THE DVD, THE AUDIO IS ALMOST PERFECT, THE VIDEO IS CLEAN AND IN WIDESCREEN, WHICH IS RARE. THE SONGS PERFORMED READ LIKE A GREATEST HITS CD, NO GREAT SONG IS LEFT OUT. THERE IS A VERSION OF "LET'S PRETEND" IN ACOUSTIC STYLE. I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER CONCERT DVD TO COME OUT IN A WHILE. IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF LOA, THEN SPEND YOUR 20 BUCKS HERE AND FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED, I PROMISE. AFTER 15 YEARS, I STILL APPRECIATE THEIR MUSIC, AND I WILL PUT MY REPUTATION ON THE LINE RECOMMENDING THIS TO YOU ALL. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU "LISTEN" TO THE LYRICS, THEY ARE VERY DEEP, TO THE POINT YOU MIGHT CRY, BUT HEY, THATS WHAT TRULY GREAT MUSIC IS ABOUT RIGHT? PS IF AMAZO RUNS OUT YOU CAN FIND IT IN OTHER PLACES.............ROCK ON LOA!!

Studio: Wea Corp



DVD title: Street Fighter -- Collector's Edition
Productgroup: DVD
Street Fighter -- Collector's Edition - movie DVD cover picture
Parallel Universe?


The end of Raul Julia's esteemed career is startlingly similar to the late, great Orson Welles'.
"Street Fighter," a movie based on a toy/video game, was Mr. Julia's final film. He plays Bison, a maniacal super-villain with anti-gravity boots and delusions of godhood.
Orson Welles' last appearance (at least, his voice) was "Transformers: the Movie," based on a toy/cartoon. He played Unicron, a maniacal super-villain planet (generating his own gravity) and delusions of godhood.
Unicron is destroyed by the Autobot Matrix. Bison is destroyed in a fight-scene reminiscent of "the Matrix."
The Autobot girl Arcee, played by Susan Blu, is hot (if you're into that sort of thing). The female Street Fighter Cammy, played by Kylie Minogue, is hot (if you're into that sort of thing).
One of the Street Fighter heroes, Guile, has an annoying French-sounding accent. One of the Autobot heroes, Wheelie, is annoying (and may be French).
I can watch "TF:TM" over and over again. Hmm....I guess the similarities end there.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven E. de Souza
Actors:
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Raul Julia




DVD title: Lovesick
Productgroup: DVD
Lovesick - movie DVD cover picture
You're never too old for Lovesick(ness)!


This romantic/comedy is one of my all-time favorites! Dudley Moore plays a charming, married psychiatrist who falls in love with a young, vulnerable female patient (Elizabeth McGovern). Even though Moore's antics are exaggerated to amuse the viewer, the message has passed the test of time: Once stung by Cupid's arrow, even the most sane adult becomes slightly insane!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Marshall Brickman
Actors:
Dudley Moore
Elizabeth McGovern




DVD title: Duran Duran - Greatest - The DVD
Productgroup: DVD
Duran Duran - Greatest - The DVD - movie DVD cover picture
This DVD is "an all night party" for Room 7609


First off, I ADORE this DVD! I am so psyched to have an official DVD and not that unofficial one (which I actually reviewed on this site about 1 1/2 years ago) which left off a great deal.Secondly, I am so happy to finally have the single versions of "Girls On Film" and "The Wild Boys" as a video. All of their other video tapes have the Night Version of "Girls On Film" and The Wilder Than Wild Boys version of "The Wild Boys".Thirdly I LOVE the movie of "New Moon On Monday"! Not only is it totally awesome but you get to see Simon's stellar acting ability ("Wait a minute!... I know this man!") Hey, he was a drama student as well as a child actor.Thirdly, I love the alternate ending for the Night Version of "Girls On Film"!The only two criticisms that I have for this DVD is that on the "Dancing On The Valentine" Version of "Union Of The Snake", you don't see the animated skeleton collapsing next to Simon at the end of the video and that they don't have that cool James Bond opening for the video of "A View To A Kill".Otherwise, this DVD totally rocks my multiverse! I just hope that everything Duran Duran has released on video will finally be released on DVD as well AND that we will finally get a DVD of the entire Sing Blue Silver tour that "Arena" and "As The Lights Go Down" were taken from. That's all for now... time for some Vanilla Quik! :)

Studio: Emi Distribution
Actors:
Simon Le Bon
Duran Duran




DVD title: Waking Life
Productgroup: DVD
Waking Life - movie DVD cover picture
Visual and Mental Candy


I won't waste time critiquing parts of this movie. Suffice to say I loved the whole thing. I've never seen Rotoscoping done so well, it's a far cry from Ralph Bakshi's use of it. The lack of a plot did not bother me. The thrust of the movie is to live in the moment, totally experience it, so where it was going did not concern me. There actually was a plot, just a very straight forward one. I won't give it away though. The dialoug was wonderful--the insights into life, death and dreams very profound. I bought the DVD so I could watch it again and again to pick up what I missed. Watch this movie when you can totally devote you attention to it. I loved how they worked in clips from other famous movies, ie Dreams by Akira Kursawa, etc....

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Actors:
Richard Linklater
David Sosa
Soderbergh
Wiley Wiggins




DVD title: The Matrix Revolutions (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix Revolutions (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Everything that has an ending is good


This will be the most wanted dvd this year, after the reloaded comes the revolution, this dvd will include incredible footage and special features like:
* Future Gamer The Matrix Online - An introduction to the massive multi-player game The Matrix Online, created by the Wachowski Brothers.
* 3-D Evolution- Transition to different levels of the Matrix to view concept art, storyboards, pre-visualizations and realizations for several elements in Revolutions.
* Before the Revolution - 3-D timeline of the concurrent story development occurring in the Matrix between the Matrix trilogy, The Animatrix, and Enter the Matrix.
Will be a 2 disc edition, so there will be more hours of matrix.
(This is my first amazon review, so sorry for my bad english)

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Laurence Fishburne



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