Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
Kaiser Sozé, meet David Mamet!

Despite it's 1995 release, I only recently learned of this simply brilliant caper / mystery / thriller film masterpiece. It is extremely demanding of its audience.I rank it with the best classic mysteries, such as Hitchcock's "Rebecca", Welles' "The Third Man" and "The Lady from Shanghai", and similar films, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", "The Big Sleep", "Farewell, My Lovely", and "Laura". It compares very favorably to the more recent mystery standouts "Chinatown", "The Two Jakes", and "L.A. Confidential", in both storyline and production quality. Sets are excellent. Every actor is superb.
However, the film it rivals most closely, in my opinion, is David Mamet's utterly absorbing, and demanding, and brilliant 1987 masterpiece, starring Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna, "House of Games". It's surely no accident that con and scam artists play a major part in each! These are, after all, psychological thrillers, or chessmatches!
I dare anyone to watch both films, back to back, in either order, and not be emotionally and intellectually exhausted.And tremendously rewarded -- if not changed forever!
3/05/2004 JEM END

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Spacey
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Go see it

This animation isn't only for kids as there are some very clever send-ups of Disney as well as other cartoon characters. Then there's the terrific animation, which is fun to see by itself. The real charm of the flick is the multi-level story line, making it appealing for both adults and children, and as I mentioned, the jibes at some of the more venerated cartoon icons are well done and very funny.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy

DVD title: Gods and Generals
Productgroup: DVD
Gods and Generals - movie DVD cover picture
A Must See!

It is difficult to dislike film director Ronald Maxwell's "Gods and Generals." It's heart is in the right place. But going into the fourth hour of this lumbering extravagnaza, one begins to realize these star-crossed Civil War fans needed more vinegar and less sugar. A prequel to the far superior "Gettysburg," Maxwell and company (including producer Ted Turner) bit off far more than they could chew, stuffing the beginnings of the Civil War and three major battles into one extremely muddled film.
I suppose the most glaring weakness of "God and Generals" was the overall low-budget quality. Crowd scenes are forced, battle scenes are stilted and shots of re-enactors cheering resemble old home movies. The odd casting choices will also cause viewers to scratch their heads. It is abundantly clear the filmmakers sought unity with the film "Gettysburg," re-casting many of the same actors in their former roles (Jeff Daniels, C. Thomas Howell). So one wonders why Stephen Lang, who played the role of Pickett in "Gettysburg," was cast in the role of Stonewall Jackson in "Gods and Generals." Lang is a terrific actor, and he gives a splendid performance in this film. It's hard to imagine there were not other actors available for this meaty role.
I also had problems - and I can't believe I am going to say this - with Robert Duvall as Robert E. Lee. It is one of the few times in this actor's historic career in which he gives a weak performance. I truly believe Martin Sheen was far more vibrant and alive in the same role in "Gettysburg." And the list goes on. Jeff Daniels seemingly sleepwalking in the role of Joshua Chamberlain - a role in which he gave the finest performance of his career in "Gettysburg." A weak musical score (Bob Dylan?!) also detracts, which is odd because another highlight of "Gettysburg" was the splendid music by Randy Edelman.
Several scenes also feel so staged as to be gag-inducing. Lang certainly sinks his teeth into the role of Jackson, but his constant prayers to the Lord Almighty eventually become forced and tiresome. These scenes come off as hammy as a 19th century play. If this was intended by the filmmakers, it was a severe miscalculation.
Eventually, "Gods and Generals" must be termed un unfocused mess. The filmmakers tackled more than they could handle, jumping from one battle to another, threading it along with staged scenes in an attempt to redefine the public's perception about this brutal war. A tighter screenplay and a focus on one specific battle would have aided this leaky tugboat of a movie.
The same filmmakers who gave us the noble and spiritually uplifting "Gettysburg" also gave us "Gods and Generals." I was moved, stunned and inspired by "Gettysburg." "Gods and Generals" just left me wanting to watch "Gettysburg" again.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Jeff Daniels
Stephen Lang
Robert Duvall

DVD title: Princess Mononoke
Productgroup: DVD
Princess Mononoke - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent Movie

This is an incredible work of art! Princess Mononoke is both compelling and invigorating. This is deffinetly one of the top 5 movies i have ever seen.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Yôji Matsuda
Yuriko Ishida
Yûko Tanaka

DVD title: Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling
Productgroup: DVD
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling - movie DVD cover picture
One of the most underrated films of all time

I've yet to read a positive review of this film. Let this be the first. This is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching film straight from Pryer's heart. If you're looking for comedy, you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for the result of one man's soul search--from hell and back--Pryor delivers here in spades. Pryor is not the best director in the world, but that matters little here. What matters--and what most critics fail to recognize--is that this is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally impactful autobioghapical film portraits ever set on film. Highly recommended.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor

DVD title: Memento (Limited Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Memento (Limited Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
MEMENTO original and cool now on DVD

I first saw Memento on Video and thought this movie rocks. Its original and thats what makes a good movie, the way its told backwards is good. It makes you confused but then the ending makes it clear, with a twist. What more could you want.
The original DVD is pretty lame and i thought it could of had more in it. I thought Memento would have more extras then this!, now the limited edition is coming out, i cant wait to get it. You haven't seen the movie before, SEE IT NOW. if you seen it and want it on DVD then wait for this to come out, don't buy the other DVD, the other one hasn't got anything on it anyway.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano

DVD title: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Productgroup: DVD
2001: A Space Odyssey - movie DVD cover picture
This movie is, "Something Wonderful"

An outstanding work. In all my life, I've never seen anything so mind boggling and brilliant. Every second of this movie was exceptional. Stanley Kubrick is a great director. Truly a movie that that has stood the test of time. The DVD has taken the movie to another level with its exceptional sound and picture quality. Well worth every penny. If you're questioning yourself about picking this movie up, please do yourself a favor and purchase it. If you do, I believe you will be very pleased. The sequel is not that bad either.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Keir Dullea
Gary Lockwood

DVD title: Chocolat (Miramax Collector's Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Chocolat (Miramax Collector's Series) - movie DVD cover picture
The power of Chocolate

Filled with enchantment, Chocolat will take you on a mystic-magical journey into a far away time to a land that could be anywhere.Johnny Depp surprised me with his subtle role as the romantic nomad...who comes to settle the wind, Juliette Binoche. The people of the village, all settled into mundane and unhappy lives are brought to life by the power of chocolate...sprinkled with a little magic.Renewing the marital passions, bring families back together, giving a woman an identity-all with the reward of LOVE in the end for Juilette Binoche.Even Alfred Molina was brought around by this power hiding the cocoa. I loved it. This video goes in my-watch again and again stack.Superb supporting cast carried the movie over any rough spots.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Lasse Hallström
Alfred Molina
Juliette Binoche
Judi Dench
Johnny Depp

DVD title: American Pie 2 (Widescreen Unrated Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
American Pie 2 (Widescreen Unrated Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Better Then The First

American Pie 2 picks up where the first one left off and it blows the first one away. Most of the time sequels are not as good, but in this case I would chose the sequel over the original any day.
The movie itself is hilarious. It is a must have. The DVD has a ton of extra features on it. It will take you 5 times as long to go through all the extras then it will to watch the movie. Most of the extras are things I personally am not interested in, but it is nice for some people. The outtakes/gag reel is the best part of the extras. Only one small easter egg though, but it is a funny one.
Overall an excellent dvd and a must have for anyone who loves a good comedy.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: James B. Rogers (II)
Jason Biggs
Seann William Scott

DVD title: Memento (Limited Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Memento (Limited Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
You Can View it Chronologically

As you can see from the many other reviews, this movie is outstanding. For those who would like to see the movie in chronological order, you should definitely buy the 2-disc "Limited Edition." The 2nd disk has a hidden feature that allows you to see the movie chronologically:

1) After inserting Disc 2, select the clock.
2) Select answer "c" 5 times for the questions that come up.
3) Select the pictures of the woman changing a tire in reverse order (3,4,1,2)

I would not use this feature if you have not seen the movie already, because it ruins the ending (or should I say the beginning?) of the movie. However, it is a great feature for watching the movie over again and understanding the logical sequence of events without feeling like you have amnesia.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano

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