Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Aragami
Productgroup: DVD
Aragami - movie DVD cover picture
Kitamura meshes Sergio Leone style and Japanes sensabilities

I don't want to sound biased but you would be too if, without fail, you love every movie this director makes. There is a moment, in Aragami, where the one character confesses to be the said Aragami, a murderous and unstoppable god of battle, the scene plays out for what must have been almost a whole minute with complete silence and then the two characters bust out laughing. I was dying through the whole thing, it was truly joyful to watch a scene play out without a quick cut or shakey documentory style camera angle because in America we would have ruined. We would have ruined because some suit would be sitting in the editing room going "You can't just have them sit there and not talk! They have to say something!!!" No they don't have to say anything. The Japanese are doing great things with movies and styles that have been developed here in the US, Italy, and England. More and more we're seeing movies like: VERSUS, ALIVE, AZUMI, THE RETURNER, and ARAGAMI; that explore the form of cinema with the freedom of style that they are allowed. Aragami is not perfect but that is part of it's appeal. It's very short(1hour 16min) but it feels like a much longer movie (not a boring movie just longer, El Mariachi feels long too and it's fantastic) than it is. Most Japanese movies ARE hit and miss with me, I don't love them all mind you, but it's getting to a point where I feel like director Kitamura can do no wrong. Every movie he makes is exciting, cool, and yet intelligent in that he explores new directions everytime.

Not a Fanboy, just fair.

Studio: Media Blasters, Inc

DVD title: 24 - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
24 - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
"24": Season One

Catching "24" when it first aired on telvision was always a problem. Often times I would miss certain episodes and feel a little incomplete for enjoying a show I wasn't seeing all of. Luckily, the first season is on DVD (in record time, in comparison to other shows, i.e. X-Files, the Simpsons) and it's all there to watch and get addicted to again. Kiefer Sutherland plays government agent Jack Bauer who is put in charge of uncovering a plot to assassinate presidential candidate David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) sometime before the day is out. Unfortunately for Bauer, stopping this plot becomes more complicated when his own family is placed in danger. There are a lot of nifty little things to like about the show (including it's usage of split screen effects during key sequences, cliffhangers that make you want to see what happens next), and all of it is balanced out by strong performances from the cast, and some really shocking turnabouts that are dripping over with tension. By the time "24" reaches it's brutal and tragic season finale, you may be already waiting for season two...

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Kiefer Sutherland

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

The plot twist is not the best, but Fight Club is one hell of a trip. The best part of this film is the whole anti-social element that the film revolves around. You will not see a better film about anti-social political ideas that cause the plot to develop into a revolution that takes America by storm. In the wake of 911 this film was almost prophetic and it still stands out as one the best DVDs you can own. In short this movie is a plastic explosive that Hollywood let go off for the hell of it and it was well worth the risk.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

DVD title: Queer as Folk - The Complete First Season (Showtime)
Productgroup: DVD
Queer as Folk - The Complete First Season (Showtime) - movie DVD cover picture
Awesome....just Awesome

This is by far my favorite tv show.

Studio: Showtime Entertainment 2
Queer As Folk
Hal Sparks

DVD title: Napoleon Dynamite
Productgroup: DVD
Napoleon Dynamite - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie, Worthy of Recognition

Why are you reading this freakin review, idiot. We all know how you want to support Pedro and Napoleon and buy the dvd. It's got skills, like nunchuck skills, longbow skills, computer hacking skills. It teaches you how to dance and play tetherball. This movie made me a better person. and if you don't like it, then gosh! you're retarded! go talk to pedro's cousins.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jared Hess
Jon Heder
Jon Gries
Efren Ramirez

DVD title: The Wiggles - Yummy Yummy
Productgroup: DVD
The Wiggles - Yummy Yummy - movie DVD cover picture
One of my son's favorites

My 17-month-old LOVES the Wiggles. This was our first video, but certainly not our last. The minute he hears the guys start talking, he's running into the room to see them. Ok, the puppets ARE scary, but not to my child. My husband and I are the ones that they freak out. My son is glued to the TV when the puppets come on. This is good, since the segment will give me that 2 minute chance to do the quick chores that I really don't want him "helping" with (ie: loading knives into the dishwasher). The only thing we have found that he loves more that the Wiggles is Elmo. I could do without the Barney ads, though. Not fans of the big, purple dino. Now if we could just get the Wiggles to come to our town.....

Studio: Lyrick Studios

DVD title: Team America - World Police (Special Collector's Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Team America - World Police (Special Collector's Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Herro! Saw this movie and it's AWESOME!

I Love south park. I saw ALL the episodes and So I saw this movie and it's BETTER THAT SOUTH PARK!!!!

STORY: A young Broadway actor named Gary, is taken in by a guy who introduces him to TEAM AMERICA, a global police force. But then, a film actor's guild (F.A.G) protests against the team, saying that they're trying to blow up the world. But then North Korean terrorist Kim Jong-Il Holds a world peace festival in North Korea, Inviting them along and then Team America discover... He's fooling them and is actually trying to Blow up the world! Now it's up to TA to stop KJI!

Thoughts: An awesome movie, but only one dumb scene: The puppet sex. It's just the directors slamming the puppets together. But I liked this film, so SEE THIS DAMN DUNNY MOVIE!

All Right, Bob-that guy from nowhere, you are wrong, saying the worst movie ever! you're a real moron!

UPDATE: 30/6/05

So far, only 1/4 people found my review helpful. WTF?? dammit, I wrote oyu a LONG and SWEET review, now WHY do you hate it??

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Elle Russ

DVD title: Adaptation (Superbit Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Adaptation (Superbit Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
?The Orchid Thief? and ?Adaptation?

I come to this discussion from an odd vantage point. I am a Florida horticulturist who also dabbles in screenwriting.
I loved The Orchid Thief. I read Susan Orlean's descriptions of Florida and just kept nodding my head. She got it right. John Laroche was not only a character that I understood, but I was raised by the guy! I'm not kidding. There's so much of my father in Laroche that he immediately seemed like family. For a time my father was obsessed with crotons, for example. He obsessively collected every variety. Then one day he was done with crotons and he became obsessed with The Rubik's Cube.
Susan's reluctance to accept a single orchid also hit home. I've always felt this way, knowing that if I had one, I'd want them all. I simply will not grow orchids. Sure, I enjoy them at the orchid shows, but that's where they stay. It's not the prices, either; I could always sneak over to my neighbor's shade-house and snitch all the pups I could slit. But I'd no more bring one home than I'd take my first snort of cocaine. Some things are best left along. I commend Susan Orlean for exposing the truth about orchid addiction.
In summery, The Orchid Thief confirmed everything I've always suspected about orchid fanatics. I loved this book!
And so we come to "Adaptation".
The first thing I need to say is that I've extremely glad I saw the film before reading the book. Why hadn't I read the book? Probably had something to do with my general reluctance to get involved with orchids. Anyway, it's easy to understand why those who read and loved The Orchid Thief would be put off by "Adaptation". The film isn't so much an adaptation as it is a mutation.
The thing is, I can't recall another film where within the first few minutes I knew that I was the target viewer. "Adaptation" was brilliant, cynical and funny, and immediately found a place on my list of all-time favorite films. Charlie Kaufman (as portrayed by Nicolas Cage) is no less obsessive than Laroche; it's just that he is obsessed with himself, with his insecurities and his difficulties in approaching women. He loves the idea of adapting the screenplay, not because he has an interest in orchids, but because he loves the idea of creating something beautiful and simple, without the usual Hollywood clich?s. Identical-twin brother Donald (also portrayed by Nicolas Cage) is the opposite personality type. When carefree Donald decides to write a screenplay, Robert McKee becomes his guru, Story his bible. His enthusiasm is such that he doesn't care that his screenplay is hopelessly clich?d. While Charlie anguishes over writing a screenplay that does justice to Susan's book, Donald is having the time of his life with his ridiculous script, "The 3".
The truth of the matter is that any time a book, any book, is adapted to film, a uniquely new organism is created. Even the truest adaptation of a book is not going to be the original book. And, more often than not, the screenwriter, director and actors will insert their own interpretation/vision or political/social convictions, or else the decision will be made to make the story more commercial. "Adaptation" has great fun in showing the possible paths: Charlie, self-absorbed; Donald, clich?d. Just watch from the moment Charlie invites Donald to help him finish the script and count the movie clich?s. It's great fun, and I'm sure I didn't notice them all.
Sure, many who loved Orchid Thief will say that "Adaptation" has little to do with the book, but remember that very little in the book actually had anything to do with Laroche's story. And most of the Laroche moments are actually included in the film. Besides, Susan interjected herself into book, so why shouldn't Charlie?
Would it have been possible to write a script that was truer to the book? Of course. The script could have opened with the various orchid growers struggling to save their plants from the approaching Hurricane Andrew. No doubt Spike Jonze could have done some great stuff with visuals of growers struggling to remove plants from shade houses in 100+ mph winds. From there, we would see Laroche's destroyed nursery and the beginnings of his scheme to poach ghost orchids. I believe that this would have worked, but would have resulted in a completely forgettable film.
Well, I think that's enough for now. There's an orchid show at my local mall today. Suppose I'll wander over and look around. Promise you this: none of the orchids are coming home with me.
Sarah Mankowski

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Spike Jonze
Nicolas Cage
Meryl Streep
Chris Cooper

DVD title: Donizetti - Anna Bolena / Bonynge, Sutherland, Morris, Canadian Opera Company
Productgroup: DVD
Donizetti - Anna Bolena / Bonynge, Sutherland, Morris, Canadian Opera Company - movie DVD cover picture
Sutherland/Morris/Forst Triumph in Bel Canto Classic

On May 22, 1984 Joan Sutherland gave her very first performance as Donizetti's Anna Bolena in Toronto. Two performances later, on May 28, the performance was televised with the premiere cast and quite a premiere cast it was: James Morris as Henry VIII, Judith Forst as Jane Seymour, Michael Myers as Percy and in the small role of Hervey, the as yet unknown Ben Heppner. Pirate videos have been floating around for years of this performance but what a treat it is to see this mint copy looking as if it were being telecast today! Sumptuous costumes and appropriately stern sets along with excellent camera work help the singers to bring their characters vividly to life. Even though Sutherland was definitely in her later years, there is plenty of voice left to cope with the many vocal as well as dramatic challenges of this role. It is also a great opportunity to see James Morris as Henry -- a role he rarely performed and never recorded. The role offers no vocal difficulties that Morris cannot master and he is visually the antithesis of the overweight letcher we expect Henry VIII to be. Richard Bonynge conducts with sensitivity and style, bringing a "rightness" to this performance which many modern day bel canto performances rarely deliver. As with VAI's Norma -- subtitles are permanent and not optional but this is a small drawback which can be easily overlooked and indeed a plus for those who are hearing this opera for the first time. This DVD comes highly recommended not only as an aural but a visual treat as well. Many thanks to VAI for releasing its recent DVD's (Great Opera Stars on the Bell Telephone Hour and NORMA) -- keep them coming!

Studio: Vai (Video Artists Inter.)
Director: Camillo Mastrocinque

DVD title: Left Behind - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Left Behind - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
"No Need to be Left Behind"

An absolute, thought provoking movie. If you haven't given thought to the end of this world as we know it, sci-fi aside, you need to see this movie. This is Biblically based and while the story is fiction, the facts of the Rapture of the church are true. We ALL need to be ready. Today. There will be no warning. Please see this movie and take everyone you love to see it as well. You will be very glad you did.

Studio: Cloud Ten Pictures
Director: Vic Sarin
Kirk Cameron
Brad Johnson (II)

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