Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 9 - Adventures of Zatoichi
Productgroup: DVD
Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 9 - Adventures of Zatoichi - movie DVD cover picture
Keep them coming guys & girls of HVE!

I just caught this one during the weekend on IFC (Independent Film Channel) here in the good ole USA. And a feeling of joy came over me, as I realized the people at HVE, (Home Vision Entertainment, who are also the distributors of the famed Criterion Collection dvd's) in conjuction with Janus Films, must be coming out with series 9, 10, and 11, in the next series of "Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman". My first thought was to come over here on Amazon, and to see if it was indeed true that they were coming out with these next 3, and to my delightful surprize, they are, on August 19th, 2003. They are all numbered, just like their famed Criterion's that they put out. But the numbers of these, are also in conjuction with how the order of the series ran. They've been showing the first 8 on IFC for so long now, and when I saw this one, I knew they must finally be putting the next 3 out. That's how they been doing them over at HVE, is putting them out by 3's. There's 26 total in the Zatoichi series, and it looks like they're going to keep going for now with them until they get them all? Hopefully, this is the case? These series of Zatoichi are so much fun to watch. I just happened one day to catch one on IFC, and I had to learn more about this man they call Zatoichi, played by the loveable Shintaro Katsu, in a very convincing role. You'd swear he was born with that cane sword in his hand, he uses it with such ease & style.These series mix adventure, with comedy as well, as Zatoichi meets foes in every town he happens upon. Helping out the weak, and needy. You can't help but love the guy.In this one titled, "The Adventures Of A Blind-Man", he happens to go to a town for the celebration of the New Year, and meets a woman who believes her father is either dead, or just missing. And another woman, who's brother was double-crossed by a gang of Yakuza's after murdering a man who the bosses wanted murdered because he knew too much. In the process the Yakuza bosses set this woman's brother up, to cover their own little scheme of corruption among the people in this town. So he's been on the run ever since and wants to go into Exile, but not before gettin these people who double-crossed him. Because the man who they double-crossed also knows too much, and they want to silence him forever. It's a game of cat & mouse. Zatoichi, being the man that he is, wants to help these two young ladies out, but also doesn't want to make anymore enemies, as that's all he pretty much has. He does what he's good at, and Zatoichi once again goes into battle to help these woman out, but not everything goes as planned, and Masseur Ichi must face one foe who believes he can take the blind-man in battle. A very exciting movie, as they usually are with the Zatoichi series.I for one, cannot wait until they come out on dvd, but will continue to watch, hopefully, the next two in the series if they continue to show them on IFC on their "Samurai Saturday's". I own all the series so far that they put out, and they are the prize of my Samurai collection that I have. Zatoichi is an overlooked folk hero of sorts, in my opinion, because he's overshadowed by the likes of Akira Kurosawa, and Tishiro Mifune. But Zatoichi holds his own, and does it with such grace & style. He is most certainly a legend in Japanese Cinema, and a well beloved, respected man in his life as an actor. Shintaro Katsu pasted away a few years back, but his memory lives on in these "Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman" series. They are a must have for any Samurai fan, and a great addition to collector's collection's everywhere, in my opinion. Rest In Peace my friend, and thanks for the memory's

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda

DVD title: The Navigator
Productgroup: DVD
The Navigator - movie DVD cover picture
A treat for all Buster Keaton fans

This collection contains six enjoyable shorts of Buster Keaton's work. Great fun for silent-film fans!

Studio: Kino Video
Buster Keaton

DVD title: Jojo's Circus - Animal a Go Go
Productgroup: DVD
Jojo's Circus - Animal a Go Go - movie DVD cover picture
Jo Jo's Circus is a GO GO!!!!

My 16 month old daughter is not supposed to watch anything, so critics and doctors say, but she is absolutely in love with Jo Jo and Goliath. She doesn't watch television, and doesn't have the desire to, from what it seems like, but she wakes up talking about Jo Jo all the time. Great video!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid

DVD title: Rock & Roll High School
Productgroup: DVD
Rock & Roll High School - movie DVD cover picture
"Do your parents know that your Ramones?"

Rock `n' Roll high school is what a musical should be. The Ramones are one of the greatest bands of all time. No wonder this film is a classic, how can it not be a classic. It's got everything a classic needs. Dancing, great music, great story, and of course the Ramones. Riff Randle (P.J. Stoles) loves Rock `n' Roll and the Ramones. But as the schools new principle Ms. Togar tries to destroy Rock `n' Roll and make more strict rules, Riff has to save Rock `n' Roll and the school. The kids decide they have had enough. So they go to a Ramones concert and try to get them to make a song for the school called "Rock `n' Roll high school". Now in a all new remastered DVD with special features Rock `n' Roll High School is the ultimate musical to get. The commentary in this DVD was surprisingly not boring. Allan Arkush, Richard Whitley, and Michael Finnell discuss stories of the Ramones and the hard process of making this film. Lenard Maltin interviews Roger Corman (there's only 2 minutes of this) Roger discusses that if they didn't do Rock `n' Roll High School they would have done "Disco High". What I really loved was the outtake concert of the Ramones for the concert scene. They play two extra songs "I wanna be sedated" and Sheena is a Punk Rocker". If you love the Ramones, you got to see this film and you'll love them even more. In addition to this film you should also get Ramones Raw DVD.

Studio: Image Entertainment
P.J. Soles
Vincent Van Patten

DVD title: Bad Timing - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Bad Timing - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Roeg's last great film: a troubled picture about a troubled romance

Seen a quarter of a century on, 'Bad Timing' stands out as one of Nicolas Roeg's most satisfying and complex films and yet it can be one of his hardest to discuss. It's a film I feel a little guilty about writing so little about, but even on a second viewing it's still rather overwhelming. It's interesting how it manages to be so genuinely multi-layered, more like a novel than a film - the way it mixes voyeurism, spying and emotional, psychological and legal investigation (with Keitel's investigation of the suicide scene placing him firmly in scenes as an unseen voyeur through Terry Rawlings typically brilliant editing) is remarkable enough, but the film manages to do so much more besides. And the performances are incredibly brave - how many leading men can you think of who would effectively (and quite deliberately effeminately) play the woman's role during the lovers' initial meeting? Russell in particular shows an astonishing range in what should be an impossible part, making her inability to find decent roles these days even more disappointing.

True it falls apart in the last couple of reels when the performances don't quite ring true, but it's still the last great film Nic Roeg made before settling into prolific mediocrity. It's as a brilliantly edited post-mortem into a mutually destructive relationship rather than a police mystery that it really enthralls, even when it doesn't entirely work. Much more impressive than I remembered, it's not a feelgood movie - if anything it's the date movie from hell - but it is a remarkably ambitious and accomplished one.

So why is the film so little-known and perhaps even less-seen? Well, that seems to be down to some bad luck and bad timing of its own.

In the US it hit censorship problems and in Europe it had major problems with its distribution. It was one of Rank's last full slate of British productions, so should have been guaranteed a circuit release on the Odeon chain in the UK. Unfortunately, the head of Rank Theatres was so disgusted by the film (the Rank Organisation was originally started to make religious films and many of the old guard were still in place in 1980) that he refused to book it into a single one of their theatres - the only Rank film to be so 'honored' (although he wasn't much enamoured of Eagle's Wing either). The second biggest circuit was owned by Rank's biggest rival, EMI, who weren't interested in helping out their balance sheet, so it ended up on Lew Grade's very small Classic chain. Rank's distribution in Europe was no more enthusiastic.

(Of course, Roeg's next film and most expensive, Eureka, had even bigger problems, being pulled a couple of weeks after opening due to a libel lawsuit that kept it on the shelf for years. Since then, despite the not really successful brave try with Cold Heaven, he seems to be little more than a director for hire on a slew of disappointing pictures and cable movies.) As a result, it's been very hard to track down since its original release, but it's well worth the effort if you're looking for challenging fare.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Art Garfunkel
Theresa Russell

DVD title: The Lost Battalion
Productgroup: DVD
The Lost Battalion - movie DVD cover picture
365 Movies A Year

My son returned from Baghdad last May after a year. It was his third deployment (Desert Storm and Bosnia). He married a woman 9 years his junior and I really don't think she understands what war means, so after watching it, I am buying a copy to send to her and my son. They have 3 beautiful children and I think the movie will help their marriage. Since she is just 25, she doesn't really understand the horrors of war. Since my son has come home, things haven't been well in their marriage. Perhaps, this movie will give her some insight. The bonus features will help my son realize that his wife and mother went through the war vicariously and it wasn't easy on the home front, either. The features will also help the general, uninformed public realize that the casualties of war are NOT just the dead, but those who come home maimed and wish they were dead. It was a realistic movie based on true events. The characters were fleshed out enough for us to feel deep remorse when they died or were injured. I recommend this movie to the younger people. Hurry and watch it before the next election, if you are old enough to vote!

Studio: A & E Entertainment
Director: Russell Mulcahy

DVD title: Licence To Kill (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Licence To Kill (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Bond at his Best!

This was all in all a great 007 film. Okay, maybe it didn't quite follow the usual formula but the plot was very well designed, the criminals were excellent, and in my opinion Timothy Dalton portrayed the 00 agent with blood-thirsty finesse. There were only two problems I saw with this movie. First, Talisa Soto as the girlfriend of the primary villain Franz Sanchez is a complete joke. She has to be one of the least attractive and most uninteresting Bond girl in the series. Second, Milton Krest, a henchman of drug lord Franz Sanchez, is not nearly evil enough. He has an important role in this movie and should act the part! All in all, this was a spectacular hit and in my opinion, one of the better ones since thunderball, goldfinger, and on her majesty's secret service. This movie is WELL worth watching!

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: John Glen (II)
Timothy Dalton
Robert Davi

DVD title: Jumpin' Jack Flash
Productgroup: DVD
Jumpin' Jack Flash - movie DVD cover picture
It's a gas gas gas

Best Whoopie movie eve

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Penny Marshall
Whoopi Goldberg
Stephen Collins

DVD title: Bob Dylan - Don't Look Back
Productgroup: DVD
Bob Dylan - Don't Look Back - movie DVD cover picture
Love minus zero

This is by far one of the best glimpes of Dylan you can get on tape, minus bootlegs that are floating out there. If you are a devout Dylan fan or merely a fair weather fan (do they exist?) and have not seen this yet, you are in for a treat. There are so many amazing scenes that made me stop in my tracks, cooking, talking, smoking, whatever I was doing at the time a scene such as when he plays 'love minus zero no limit' acoustic, and I swear, chills and a tear of unexplainable emotion in rhetoric surfaced. And every time I watch this documentary, the same emotions arise in me...there is a scene where Joan Baez sings bits of, 'love is just a four letter' and 'Percy's son'.....just beautiful, I wish that she would have recorded a version of 'Percy's song' as well as the former on an album. In short, I have had 2 copies of this tape, both of which have been ruined somehow in the hustle and bustle of life, and currently I am living in a foreign country but suddenly wanted to watch this again, so I came to and when I was browsing the site is said, "Do you want to write a review?" and I thought, why not, I have something to say about this. If you are a Dylan fan...

Studio: New Video Group
Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Bob Dylan

DVD title: Pure Country
Productgroup: DVD
Pure Country - movie DVD cover picture
The best country movie I've seen in a long time.

I think every part of the movie was very true. It explains the pressure as well as the point of being " pushed" to far. Also that some people need to worry about their relationships before they go trying to " help" anyone else.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Christopher Cain
George Strait
Lesley Ann Warren

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