Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Horror Hotel
Productgroup: DVD
Horror Hotel - movie DVD cover picture
Kitchy and cool

All right. This movie is sort of a guilty pleasure and I am giving this 5 stars not because it compares to Gandhi, or anything, but rather because for its genre it gets 5 stars. This movie is set in the 1960's and centers around a town where witches were put on trial and burned in the 1600's. A woman studying witchcraft in a college course (from an overly knowledgeable professor, played by Christopher Lee) decides to go to the town of Whitewood where the witch burnings occurred in order to find more information for a term paper. Let's just say that she doesn't leave disappointed. The cinematography is pretty cool and the b&w filming adds to the atmosphere. The story is pretty well written, and the movie flows well. All in all a good movie - it has scary bits, some unintentionally funny bits and has some sixties kitch feel to it. It is the best movie that you have never heard of (well, maybe not, but it is good - check it out!)

Studio: Roan Group
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Patricia Jessel
Dennis Lotis
Christopher Lee

DVD title: Pickup on South Street - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Pickup on South Street - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Pickup Today!

If you are looking at this dvd you most likely have already seen the film and are thrilled it is finally available on this wonderful format, or you just like Samuel Fuller's work and are interested what this may be about. I just picked the dvd up today and I am extremely excited. Criterion has done it once again. The transfer is amazing and the film looks gorgeous. I have never seen the movie look so good, and the audio mix sounds great . Well done again Criterion! This is one of Fuller's best and anyone interested in his work should definitely pick this up. I was shocked to find out this was not one of Criterion's $35 dvds. To me, the extras alone are worth the $25.99. We get a 10min doc about the opening of the film in which Fuller himself explains the technical achievements and meanings he was trying to convey. We also get a 20min doc with Sam talking about the film, the studio, his fascination with his characters, and even J. Edgar Hoover. If you have never heard Sam speak, you are in for a real treat because he is at the top of his game here. I have Tigrero and The Typewriter, The Camera, and the Rifle and I feel these two new gems are a perfect fit into the limited collection of footage we have with Sam. Also Criterion throws in trailers for "Fixed Bayonets", "Pickup on South Street", "House of Bamboo", "China Gate", "Forty Guns", "Hell and High Water", "Hell and High Water" (teaser), "Shock Corridor", and "The Naked Kiss". This is one of Criterion's and Fuller's best. You should pick it up today. If you are interested in the plot read below or check out imdb.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Samuel Fuller
Richard Widmark
Jean Peters

DVD title: Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 38 - Episodes 75 & 76: The Way to Eden / Requiem for Methuselah
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 38 - Episodes 75 & 76: The Way to Eden /  Requiem for Methuselah - movie DVD cover picture
The Enterprise encounters two wise men seeking paradise

Volume 38 in the Star Trek DVD series offers up a very uneven pair of episodes from the show's final season. "The Way to Eden" is probably the episode that most smacks of the Sixties in a blatant attempt to be groovy, hip, cool, whatever. The Enterprise intercepts a stolen spacecraft carrying Dr. Sevrin (think Timothy Leary) and his followers, all young futuristic hippie types. There are seeking the legendary planet Eden in an attempt to get away from it all and back to paradise. After Spock locates Eden on the ship's computer, Sevrin and his followers take over the Enterprise. However, when they arrive at Eden they find that the planet is as deadly as it is beautiful. The storyline in "The Way to Eden" is okay, it is the transplanted hippies following their guru that grates a bit. It was bad enough when Chekhov showed up with his Beatles/Monkees wig to cater to the younger generation. I do not see any reason to have these people be earnest seekers of a more pastoral lifestyle instead of anti-establishment types. At least they groove on Spock.
On the other hand, "Requiem for Methuselah" is one of my picks for Top 10 Star Trek episodes, although admittedly it might be my most idiosyncratic selection. Rigelian fever has broken out on the Enterprise and the crew discovers the necessary antidote, ryetalyn, on an uninhabited planet in the Omega system. However, the landing party discovers a man named Flint, his robot M4 and his ward, Rayna Kapec. Slowly but surely Kirk and Spock put together the pieces of the mystery--e.g., a "new" work written in the hand of Johannes Brahms--and Flint finally tells them his fantastic story. Born on earth in Mesopotamia in 3034 B.C., he was Akharin, a soldier who was pierced in the heart in battle but did not die because of instant tissue regeneration. Apparently immortal he has lived dozens of lifetimes as Brahms, da Vinci, Solomon, Alexander, Merlin and many others (he claims to have been both Methuselah and Lazarus, and let us just ponder the implications of the latter claim, which is probably the biggest gaff in Star Trek history). Having outlived countless female companions he has constructed a woman equal to himself: Rayna is an android. However, Kirk has fallen in love with this perfect woman and refuses to let Flint have her, with tragic results. The epilogue to this episode, in which Spock seeks to ease Kirk's pain, is one of the most touching of the original Star Trek. James Daly plays Flint and brings a nice sense of weariness to the role of a man almost 6,000 years old. I have always liked this episode and Flint is one of my favorite characters from the Star Trek universe. As much as I have ambivalent feelings towards "The Way to Eden," I hold "Requiem for Methuselah" in high enough regard to end up rounding this one up on my magic scale.

Studio: Paramount Home Video

DVD title: What About Bob?
Productgroup: DVD
What About Bob? - movie DVD cover picture
Funny, indie-style comedy movie

Who knew Yoda would be a great movie producer? Well, there's no doubt that this is one to see at least once. There is so much great humor, and I can't tell you how many bad jokes I make about 'What About Bob' all the time. It's actually a pretty helpful movie in a way, I can identify with Bob and yet I can identify with Dr. Marvin as well. I use baby steps in real life all the time. If you just saw 'Napoleon Dynamite' and liked it, I recommend this movie!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Frank Oz
Bill Murray
Richard Dreyfuss

DVD title: Homicide Life on the Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2
Productgroup: DVD
Homicide Life on the Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Most underrated crime drama ever...

I'd forgotten just how many of the great episodes took place during the first two seasons. On this DVD you've got "Three Men and Adena," "Gone for Goode," and "Black and Blue," which are to my mind three of the best episodes I've seen. Most series take a season or two to really hit their stride, but "Homicide" was great from the get go. In fact as good as seasons three through five were, I'd have to say that I like the show best in these early episodes. When they started ignoring Ned Beatty to focus on Braugher's character it lost a little something, I liked Pembleton but Bolander was just as interesting to me, and it started to get a little gimmicky by season five or so. My only complaint about the DVDs is that the sound leaves just a little to be desired. Sure, sometimes I think they want it to be hard to hear, but there are other times where I think the sound is just a little murky for no real reason. Despite this little caveat it's still and excellent set.

Studio: A & E Home Video
Richard Belzer
Ned Beatty
Andre Braugher

DVD title: Armageddon
Productgroup: DVD
Armageddon - movie DVD cover picture
Take this movie for what it is

Take this move for what it is which is an exciting action flick. The criticism I hear for this film is that it is fast paced resembling a 2 hour commerical. My answer to that is YEAH YOUR RIGHT SO F'N WHAT!!! first off the comet that was to crash into earch was discovered 2 weeks before impact therefore, thats a reason in itself as to why the pace of this film is frantic. I 'm sure every person would be frantic with the thought that the world would end in two weeks. May be the bone headed movie critics believe that people would be relaxed enough to take a tea break. Unlike DEEP Impact which resembles a 2 hours self pitty borefest, Armegedon got it right by expressing the true nature of humanity which is self preservation by all means necessary by never excepting defeat. I enjoyed the plot sequences ,the suspense, and action pact drama, and even the comedic twists that comes along the way. Jerry Bruckheimer did a great job of countinously keeping a viewers attention with the events that lead up to the destruction of the asteroid. He was breif and to the point with the scenes. As I said, this movie is what it is which is a high impact action flick and it does a great job for being that.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: Michael Bay
Bruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Ben Affleck
Liv Tyler

DVD title: October Sky
Productgroup: DVD
October Sky - movie DVD cover picture
Well-acted, inspiring movie

I want to give this movie three words......I love it.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Joe Johnston
Jake Gyllenhaal
Chris Cooper

DVD title: Hamlet
Productgroup: DVD
Hamlet - movie DVD cover picture
A Wonderful Surprise

I admit I hadn't heard of Campbell Scott, but felt I should watch a little bit of it on principle. But -- wow! -- it was so good, I watched it all and can't wait to get the video for myself and a copy for the public library in which I work. I thought it was a very fresh piece of acting by Scott and also the supporting cast. Can't wait to see what the teenagers think of it--it's not as stodgy as the older versions like Jacobi's and Oliver's, and not as long as Branagh's excellent version.

Studio: Artisan Entertainment

DVD title: Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert
Productgroup: DVD
Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert - movie DVD cover picture

I typically don't care for musicals, operas, etc. but a friend of mine brought it to me after I had had both hands operated on and virtually could do not much of anything. I watched this amazing performance over and over again. I still watch it about every 2 weeks. There is an inside beauty to this that reaches far into the soul and stays within the heart!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: John Caird

DVD title: David Gilmour in Concert
Productgroup: DVD
David Gilmour in Concert - movie DVD cover picture
Talent Talent Talent

Gilmour has guitar chops, stage presence, as well as a body of work that even many of the great rockers would cringe jealously at. And here he is with a unique show, captured for us lucky humans on DVD. He is tasteful, never overstated in this performance. The accompanying musicians are just the right touch. Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond are, of course, awesome. Even the Division Bell numbers are right on the money. His voice is flawless, even well into his 50's. Where the hell did Pink Floyd come from? How come they were so good? I've always been convinced, even when I was a young teenager, that they can't be explained by ordinary words. My college roommate referred to them as God, I suppose the way people in the UK thought of Clapton back in the 1960's. Gilmour may not be God, but his music is probably listened to by him!

Studio: Capitol
Director: David Mallet

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