Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Black Dog
Productgroup: DVD
Black Dog - movie DVD cover picture
Keep on truckin'

I was expecting "Black Dog" to just be an average action movie, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Jack Crews (Patrick Swayze) has an assignment to deliver some illegal goods, but he don't know it at first. He has some riders to keep him company on the way, one of which is Earl (country singer Randy Travis). Meat Loaf also stars in this movie as the villain who tries his best to hijack the truck Patrick Swayze is driving. Things get out of hand when Jack's wife and daughter get kidnapped. Jack must find a way to save his family while also trying to stay away from the FBI who are chasing him.
I didn't see anything wrong with "Black Dog." It's one of the best action movies I've seen in awhile and I didn't lose my interest in the film the whole time I was watching it. The explosions and action scenes aren't only awesome, they're realistic. All the actors do a great job, especially Patrick Swayze and Randy Travis.
If you like great action movies, I recommend "Black Dog" as one of the best action movies of the year.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Kevin Hooks
Patrick Swayze
Meat Loaf
Randy Travis

DVD title: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea / Fantastic Voyage
Productgroup: DVD
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea / Fantastic Voyage - movie DVD cover picture

This is my favourite movie, so do not expect me to write an unbiassed review: Ernest Laszlo's CinemaScope cinematography is simply breathtaking; each single take is beautifully composed. Leonard Rosenman's atonal yet harmonic score featuring countless variations of the four-note leitmotiv (the "Proteus"-theme) is definitely one of the best film scores ever written and - moreover - an excellent example of modern orchestra music (I listen to it least once a day). The DVD picture transfer is gorgeous and a vast improvement over that fuzzy (though letterboxed)laserdisc. The anamorphically encoded picture makes full use of any widescreen TV set. The "newly created surround track" is nice, with beautiful separations especially during the airfield scene. And yet the DVD contains at least two major flaws having to be mentioned: 1. The title card is incorrect; the filmmakers' reference to the "many doctors and scientists whose knowledge and insight helped guide this production" has to appear at the end of the movie. The correct title card following the Fox logo reads: "This film will take you where no man has gone before. No eyewitness has actually seen what you are about to see. But in this world of ours where going to the moon will soon be upon us and where the most incredible things are happening all around us, someday, perhaps tomorrow, the fantastic events you are about to see can and will take place." 2. Watch the scene from 85:49 to 86:26 with the sub travelling through the subarachnoid cavity. The background is red and in the middle of that dramatic scene the color turns blue (or green). This flaw is apparent in some of the movies prints obviously due to careless treatment during the printig process; the entire scene is meant to be tinted blue (or green). The laserdisc, though technically far inferior, presented correct title card and green tinted scene; I wonder why Fox used a different print for the DVD release.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Irwin Allen

DVD title: Sesame Street - The Best of Elmo
Productgroup: DVD
Sesame Street - The Best of Elmo - movie DVD cover picture
Elmo at his Best

My son really enjoys this video, and he has about all of the newer 50 minute Elmo's World Videos. Although it is more convenient for me as a parent to pop in a 50 minute video, this 30 minute video holds his attention for the most part throughout. He loves "One Fine Face" and points to all the parts on his face as they are singing it. It is worth it for that alone. However, he also loves the segment with Julia Roberts and tries to imitate what transpires, quite humorous! The very short bit with Whoopie Goldberg, although cute, does not really interest him at this point, and it does seem a bit contrived--thankfully it is very short. Some of the songs are repeats from other videos he has, but he loves the songs, so he is enjoying it thoroughly.

Studio: Sony Wonder
Director: Emily Squires

DVD title: Cowboy Bebop Complete Sessions Collection ( Exclusive)
Productgroup: DVD
Cowboy Bebop Complete Sessions Collection ( Exclusive) - movie DVD cover picture
Rocks the Anime Show House

I personally never really cared that much for anime, until my brother came home from college with a set of Cowboy Bebop DVDs.We spent the next two weeks watching everysingle one. This Anime is unlike any i have ever seen before, touching, yet funny. They do not make fun of stereotypical people, they use a touch of humor that almost any can understand.The ending was my favorite, a very touching one, unlike most shows. I won't say more, so i won't give it away. However, Cowboy Bebop is never repetitive in its shows, each unique (perhaps why it ended so soon) and will always be a favorite of mine.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: ShinichirĂ´ Watanabe
Kôichi Yamadera
Unshô Ishizuka
Megumi Hayashibara

DVD title: Shenandoah
Productgroup: DVD
Shenandoah - movie DVD cover picture

SHENANDOAH has been a favorite since its 1965 release. It concerns the tragedy of the Anderson family during the last stages of the American Civil War. It is a story of how the pride of Charlie Anderson, the patriarch of the family, preserved the family from the strife of the conflict only to have that same pride bring suffering and death to the very footsteps of his household. After over one hundred forty years our emotions and perceptions of the Civil War are still complex and conflicted. Many movie executives worried that showing the war through the eyes of one family would risk the disfavor of entire parts of the country. Yet despite these concerns SHENANDOAH was well received on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The reason for this is clear upon viewing the movie. The setting is the Civil War but it is not about the Civil War. The story is actually an inventive retelling of the prodigal son parable from the New Testament. James Stewart is the prodigal. He is a wealthy farmer richly blessed in land and family. He has six sons, one daughter, one daughter-in-law, and in the course of the story acquires a son-in-law and a granddaughter. Yet Charlie Anderson's pride is revealed (humorously) as he prays over the family meal at the beginning of the movie. He gives thanks to God not out of real gratitude but simply because that is what he is supposed to do. But he cannot let the prayer pass without making the point that it was his family's sweat that put the food on the table-not God's. Subsequently, Charlie Anderson dutifully takes his family to church; but his behavior and manners betray a subtle disrespect for the institution. Later events also show us that Charlie Anderson feels no sense of gratitude or obligation to his beloved Virginia nor to the advancing Union forces of the country of his birth. We come to see a patriarch prideful unto himself unwilling to help and asking none of God and country-so sure of himself that if he stood firm and aloof the war would just pass him and his family by. Thus the viewer is shown that the destruction and suffering to befall the Andersons is brought about by a lost Confederate cap.

It is not that Charlie Anderson is a bad man. Throughout the movie we see he is a loving father to all his children and quite devoted husband to the memory of his wife. When he speaks with his soon to be son-in-law about marriage, Charlie Anderson actually has some perceptive things to say. (Charlie Anderson's little lecture on love may strike some as corny. But after thirty years of marriage, I can tell you that there's more behind that speech than you'd guess.) Part of the tragedy is that if Charlie Anderson were consistently a truly bad man perhaps the evil that befalls his family would largely be averted; but it is precisely because he loves his family that the gate is left wide open for the wolves to enter.

Lee's army had protected Virginia well for three years; but Union forces had finally broken through and the war was being fought in the fields and towns in the Shenandoah Valley. Fighting had been getting closer to the Anderson farm until the youngest son is taken prisoner by Union solders after being mistaken for a rebel solder (the lost cap in his procession). Charlie Anderson undertakes an understandable but truly foolish quest to retrieve his son. In the midst of two battling armies, the Anderson's go in search of Charlie's son and his captors. During this quest, the Andersons find a son-in-law; but not the son. The oldest son is killed as the Andersons are mistaken for enemy riders. Meanwhile, back at the farm, another son is killed and his wife is gang-raped and murdered while the house is looted by thieves.

Charlie Anderson returns from his quest without his youngest son and learns that by leaving to save the one he has exposed his family and farm to the worst. In trying to keep from losing one, he failed and lost three more. Charlie Anderson is a defeated and broken man. At the first meal, Charlie Anderson speaks is usual prayer only to realize what a fool he has been all his life. He has depended on God's mercy for every crumb. He was not sufficient unto himself. As blessed and strong as he was in family and land, all God had to do was remove his protection for a moment for it to all come to ruin.

Charlie Anderson's "return" in the church and his youngest son's literal return to the family strike many as sentimental; but these are the natural movements of the parable. SHENANDOAH was made in the 1960's and so does not portray war in much of the grimness we are accustomed to today. It also only indirectly touches on the subject of slavery and race-two subjects some feel should be front and center in any discussion of the American Civil War. Again, it can only be pointed out that the story isn't about the war-it is about a particular family.

SHENANDOAH has worn well over the years and bears repeated viewings. It is an excellent movie and one of Jimmy Stewart's most touching characters.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
James Stewart

DVD title: Steve Howes Remedy Live
Productgroup: DVD
Steve Howes Remedy Live - movie DVD cover picture
Simply Wonderful!

In the strictest sense, you might really have to be a fan of Steve's to appreciate this DVD - or just a devotee of great guitarists. But there is much to love here. Steve separates himself from the Yes music that he is so well known for to present a diverse mix of tunes with a very capable band backing him. It's a more intimate and relaxed feel than the typical Yes outing, and shows Steve's talents and interests to be much more widespread than would normally be expected. The styles are varied, but the playing is just to die for. For good measure, there's a Yes tune or two added for proper effect. Most stirring is the finale of Wurm; a typical Yes concert-ender which normally is played on the back end of Starship Troopers, but here pared down to feature just Steve's primary parts. As it always, it ends the show leaving just the right balance of energy and satisfaction.

Sound quality is extremely good - right up there with any of the best DVD concert videos. We can finally hear - with some measure of accuracy I suspect - what Steve is striving for, tone-wise, from his instrument. Both acoustic and electric come across as more than satisfying. This comes as a welcome relief from virtually all of the Yes DVD's whose sound often borders on average and many times struggles to reach that. Video quality is also quite good, with the presentation being well edited and enjoyable to watch.

While it's fun to see Steve's sons get into the act (playing capably within a controlled range, even if not up to the level of their father's enormous talent), and his sidemen on bass and guitar are obviously great musicians, the focus here is certainly Steve. And rightly so. The man seems incapable of playing a bad note. He's been a gift to me - in terms of musical enjoyment - for 35 years. This DVD finally shows the broader range of his skills, and makes me appreciate his talents even more.

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Steve Howe

DVD title: The Mummy (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Mummy (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie!

This is a cool ultimate DVD from Universal Studio,They did a great re-releasing of The Mummy.This DVD has more stuff then that the past 1999 The Mummy dvd,disc 1 has a Widescreen version,a 3 each different commentary one with director Stephen Sommers,commentary 2 with actor Brendan Fraser and commentary 3 with actor Arnold Vosloo,Oded Fehr and Kevin J O'Connor.The Mummy also has a Dts 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on disc 1 also,with a bonus materials too.Disc 2 has a fullscreen version with only Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and bonus materials also.
All you DVD fan think this two disc set is just like the disc 1 with movie only & disc 2 with hours and hours of supplemental materials,but nope! Universal produce this fabulous dvd with your favorite widescreen and fullscreen with each of disc 1 & disc 2,I give this movie 4 and a half star,but I give this DVD 5*****.So get this DVD from the Ultimate Universal!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Stephen Sommers
Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz

DVD title: The Jack Bull
Productgroup: DVD
The Jack Bull - movie DVD cover picture
A REAL cowboy picture!

Like the best of Jimmy Stewart's and Clint Eastwood's work this film shows both the action and adventure of being a cowboy along with the heartbreak that puts a hero in that situation. A great story showing how someone fighting for what's "right" can be clearly in the wrong themselves. This movie, apart from having some cool western style shooting, explores this dichotomy and shows that there are no clear or easy answers. I think it would be excellent for children to see as it is nowhere near "Hollywood" in that this film shows that actions do have consequences and doesn't value the rights to life and possession cheaply. HBO really does get behind some terrific films!

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: John Badham

DVD title: Sophie's Choice
Productgroup: DVD
Sophie's Choice - movie DVD cover picture
A Beautiful Movie.

Sophie's Choice is a wonderful film, and one of the most tragic stories I've ever heard. Meryl Streep gives a great performance as Sophie, and Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol are wonderful in supporting roles. Perhaps one of the best movies I've ever seen, and as important for everyone to see. It will break your heart.

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Meryl Streep
Kevin Kline
Peter MacNicol

DVD title: Fist of Legend
Productgroup: DVD
Fist of Legend - movie DVD cover picture
Is not this guy the best martial artist ever

After seeing Leathal Weapon 4 I wanted to see more of Jet Li. So I visited numerous Jet Li sites on the Web to decide on what movie I should see. Nearly all the sites I visited ranked Fist of a Legend amoung the best Jet Li movies (Quite often it was the highest rated). So I purchased it, here, from Amazon.
Now, after watching it I can say it deserves all the praise it gets. Since then I've seen several Jet Li films, and this is far and away the best.
It is a remake of the classic Bruce Lee film The Chinese Conection. It takes it a step further though, improving on the plot and, yes, even the martial arts. The action choreographer is definitely one of the best in the business also being the fight choreographer behind the great Jackie Chan movie Drunken Master, and more resently he even made Keanu Reeves look good in The Matrix.
Most modern Kung Fu movies (besides Jakie Chan movies) seem to use a lot of wires. What this means is that people seem to fly through the air during fight scenes. To me the effect all too often looks cheesy. Well, this movie seems to use fewer wires, and the wires they do use look alright.
Jet shows his amazing abilies throughout the movie, and he is defitily one of the best I've seen. I'd put him right up there with Bruce Lee and Jakie Chan.
In conclusion... See this movie.

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Gordon Chan
Jet Li

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