Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Stanley Kubrick Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Stanley Kubrick Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Kubrick Was A Genius...

..and this set proves it. This set brings us 8 films directed by Stanley Kubrick. He covered it all. From romance (Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut), comedy (Dr. Strangelove), action (Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon), to horror (The Shining), experimental filmmaking (A Clockwork Orange), and even science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey). This set is a MUST for any Kubrick fan out there, a film buff, or anyone interested in his work. Recommended.

Studio: Warner Studios
Stanley Kubrick

DVD title: Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai
Productgroup: DVD
Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai - movie DVD cover picture
psycho-babble v samurai battle

Ok, I'd heard great things about this film from my sister, and if a card-carrying gangster/martial-arts/inner-city genre-hater can love this, I had to give it a go. What ever else you read about it, GHOST DOG is a truly remarkable film. It combines, on one level, the ever-present philosophies of the connoted 'ancient Japan' (Hagakure was written early 18th century- not that ancient!), the hip-hop beats of the wu-tang clan, the comic sopranoesque characters of the rather embarrassingly old, fat and senile second-rate mafiosa and yet behind all this lies hidden depths. The question of the importance of language and communication within our society, with particular reference to Lacans theories of pschoanalysis, are questioned, the codes of times gone are queried and fondly remembered, the issue of sexual equality is cleverly integrated, and overall, the entirety of the film is one which appeals to all. Admittedly, it combines some of my favorite film genres, so I'm gonna be a bit biased. In fact, for me, the only thing that could have made this film more complete would have been a martial arts showdown with a shadowy ninja, using matrix-style special effects aboard an alienesque spacecruiser. But that would be silly. A wonderful film which all should watch

Studio: Republic Studios
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Forest Whitaker
Henry Silva

DVD title: Lawman
Productgroup: DVD
Lawman - movie DVD cover picture
Michael Winners wild west film is a winner!

This is the most hardbitten of several excellent Burt Lancaster westerns from the 1970's. Burt is great as the uncompromising Lawman, an outsider who grinds through the various layers of the town harboring his quarry. Many memorable scenes and lines. Well written and directed, with fine location photography and a skilled cast of veteran performers which includes Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb and Robert Duvall. Highly recommended.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Michael Winner
Burt Lancaster
Robert Ryan

DVD title: Horatio Hornblower Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Horatio Hornblower Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
Great entertainment, marvelously done!

This is one of the best new titles to come along in quite a while. The 4 parts of this epic are spectacularly produced, marvelously written, finely acted, and are interesting, entertaining, engrossing and instructional all at once.
The detail of these productions is superb, as is the sense of place and time. Adventure, history, drama, all percolate through these works. The sea battles are astounding, the human dramas compelling. Hornblower is heroic, but believable. He is human, but his humanity is of an extraordinary sort. A compelling hero indeed!
This series is a must!

Studio: A & E Entertainment
Horatio Hornblower
Ioan Gruffudd

DVD title: Le Mans
Productgroup: DVD
Le Mans - movie DVD cover picture
An Essential Car Racing Movie!

This film provides a graphic example of a wonderful niche movie designed for, with, and by racing enthusiasts against the better sense of Hollywood types who were looking for something more formulaic and bankable. As drama or story, this film falters badly, for the plot is loosely threaded together more as an afterthought (or an excuse) for the real story behind the sequences; the race at LeMans. Steve McQueen used all of his star power and considerable charm to get this film made, but he did so not for reason of profit or gain, but because he wanted to spend the time, energy and money to race at LeMans, and the film gave him the excuse to do so.
This much said, the racing sequences are both authentic and spectacular, and one learns much about the men who race as well as the women who follow them. It gets alot of its credibility from the fact that McQueen did actually drive the car in the sequences, and that most of the drivers featured were the actual participants in the race. So throughout the 24 hour enduro, which is what Lemans is really all about, we get a very graphic notion of what it means to race and to risk everything on the performance of your senses and the machine you are driving at speeds exceeding 200 miles an hour. In this sense the movie is a terrific documentary, one that did not do well at the box office, say, compared to "Grand Prix", another terrific racing movie which was about formula drivers starring a young James Garner, Yves Montand, and Eva Marie Saint.
Yet, in the final analysis, this movie seems less contrived, more immediate, and much more about racing than any of the others I have seen. This is an interesting if flawed drama, but an intriguing look at the whole subculture of professional racing, done by someone who lived, breathed and ate from the cup of such stuff. Enjoy!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Lee H. Katzin
Steve McQueen
Siegfried Rauch
Elga Andersen

DVD title: I Got The Hook-Up
Productgroup: DVD
I Got The Hook-Up - movie DVD cover picture
this is the tightest movie ever by p

it's hella cool one event after another just like friday good plot t

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Michael Martin
Master P
Anthony Johnson

DVD title: The Bouncing Souls: Do You Remember
Productgroup: DVD
The Bouncing Souls: Do You Remember - movie DVD cover picture
The story of the True Believers, an INCREDIBLE documentary

I was initially looking forward to the release of this DVD documentary simply because the Bouncing Souls are a great band made of of motivated, friendly individuals who make great music and have always chosen to stray from the mainstream. What I ended up watching was a band documentary of quality matched only by Scorsese's The Last Waltz.
This is no exaggeration. The "Rockums" are two guys who with a lot of determination, some video equipment, and a cracked copy of Final Cut, set out to sort through the hundreds of video tapes documented by lead singer Greg and conducted extensive interviews with not only the band, but the entire extended family of people who witnessed their history and rise to the incredible band they are.
"Do You Remember" not only allows the dynamic personalities of the Bouncing Souls and their crew to shine through in their interviews, but also SHOWS the band's evolution and oftentimes hilarious biography through the massive amounts of footage the band itself documented throughout their 15+ year history.
The documentarians did an incredible job of sifting through the massive amount of footage and came up with a neatly flowing, dynamic, emotional, and above all FUN narrative. While watching this, I forgot I was watching a documentary. In many ways it felt like an action/comedy; hilarious and action-packed at times, somber and dramatic at others.
In many ways, I feel this DVD could be enjoyed more by someone who knows nothing about the Bouncing Souls. They are undisputably charming individuals who are the same off-camera as on. This comes through beautifully in the documentary.
In addition to the Documentary is all their music videos, extra scenes, and an entire 2nd DVD containing 50 live songs played at different times in the Souls' career, all over the world.
I cannot recommend this enough. For fans of the Bouncing Souls, it's a must have. For those who aren't, it's still an incredible documentary, containing a compelling story that is universally appealing.

Studio: Mordam Records

DVD title: Event Horizon
Productgroup: DVD
Event Horizon - movie DVD cover picture
Liberate tut ame ex-infernis (free yourself from Hell)

Around the early 60's, a film called "The Haunting" dazzled critics by giving you a good psychological horror story while never showing you the ghosts. Then, in the late 70's, Disney produced a sci-fi feature called, "The Black Hole". In this, the characters learn that dealing with a black hole is not the wisest of things to do.
1997 and Paul Anderson("Mortal Kombat", "Soldier") bring you "Event Horizon" to expand on this and to even offer a what-if scenario.
Why did critics bash this? To me, this is what true horror films lack: substance. I am talking about pure psychological terror that not only gets the characters, but to the audience as well. Why the five-star reviews? Because frankly, the performances were good, the special effects were spectacular, and the stuff seen on the screen hasn't been this terrifying since 1963's "The Haunting". Now, take a bit of that film, mix in "2001" for space effects, the claustrophobia of "Alien", a dash of "The Haunting of Hell House", a cup of "The Black Hole", a pinch of "The Shining", and you wind up with one of the most brilliant psychological horror films of the year.
Sam Neill plays an astronaut who, along with a crew of astronauts, goes out to Neptune to investigate the strange "Flying Dutchman"-like appearance of a ship called, "Event Horizon". The myth goes that the ship was sent on a mission through a fold in space and never reappeared for years. Now it's back. And it's lacking the crew. The only presence that sits aboard the ship is some sort of unseen force that preys on the minds and fears of its inhabitants. But, like "The Haunting", you never know if the astronauts are dreaming what they are seeing or if this thing really exists because you only see their delusions and their psychotic reactions to them. All they do know is that the ship came from somewhere...and it is made of absolute evil.
Maltin bashed this film for not explaining what was causing the hauntings. That's the point and another Maltin-contradiction. It worked so well with "The Haunting" where you never really learned what was causing the mishaps. That's the mystery of it all and is part of what makes "Event Horizon" so much fun to watch. You don't know what is haunting the ship. And you don't want to know. Just look at what happens to the crew, as the astronauts soon find out...
Did it go to another system? Or maybe to a different dimension? Or perhaps, a place that we have yet to comprehend...?
And do we need to really need to know?
Perhaps, the answer lies in our minds, my friends, the greatest of all mysteries and one that we may never solve.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Laurence Fishburne
Sam Neill

DVD title: Suspiria
Productgroup: DVD
Suspiria - movie DVD cover picture
It all seems so absurd, fantastic!

Narration from Suspiria: "Suzy Banyon decided to perfect her ballet studies at the most famous school for dancing in Europe. She chose the celebrated Tamm Academy of Freiborg. One day, at nine in the morning, she left Kennedy Airport, New York, and arrived in Germany at 10:40 PM, local time."
So begins a journey that the American girl would never have anticipated in her wildest dreams. A student, Patty Newman, is seen leaving the in the pouring rain scared... That is nothing compared to the gruesome manner of her death at her girlfriend's flat. It ends with the painted ceiling glass bulging out and shattering towards the foyer, followed by Patty's garrotted, bloody body crashing downward from a worm's eye view. Exquisite! Bulging is also used in Inferno when the body of Mark's fellow student crashes down in front of him.
Suzy is the only likeable character here. She is pretty, shy, humble, but most important of all, she is intelligent and intuitive, which helps her during her stay. And Jessica Harper makes her a credible unique person the viewer roots for.
Alida Valli is also effective as the forbidding Miss Tanner, a typical supervisor-type Guardian. 1940's star Joan Bennett (Madame Blanc) is a more tempered Guardian, but nevertheless gives the presence that she is in charge. I don't know who plays the fat piggy-eyed servant. The character, who plays a semi-important role here, seems to have been raised on ugly pills all her life.
This movie if anything, is representative of Dario Argento's wild use of lights. Red and blue are the key colours here. The exterior of the academy is red, as are the carpeted panels in the hallways. My favorite use of red is when the girls are in the practice hall, converted to a makeshift dormitory. The hall is bathed in a hellish red glare. The shape of the directress behind Suzy and Sarah is nothing compared to the guttural, asthmatic snores emanating from that mysterious personage. Creepy with a capital creep! Red is also the colour of blood, and there is a lot of that here, as well as the wine Suzy has to drink during her restricted diet.
Blue light is seen when Ms. Tanner marches up the attic to find out where the maggots are coming from. The creatures fall down through ceiling cracks and into dorm rooms, causing mass hysteria among the girls. Suzy freaks out, but that's nothing compared to the reaction of the other girls. Pandemonium, to say the least. The way Argento stages their emergence is unexpected and gradual.
And Goblin's wild and weird score of screams, insanely pounding drums, guitars, echoing hisses of "witch" and of course sighs (Suspiria is Italian for sigh) might as well mirror Argento's perverse mind.
Suspiria is more a triumph of design and suspense rather than logic (e.g. why kill Daniel the pianist?), and it's important to remember that in order to enjoy this stunning film. American and British horror have nothing on this masterpiece!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Dario Argento
Jessica Harper
Stefania Casini

DVD title: Little House on the Prairie - The Complete Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
Little House on the Prairie - The Complete Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture
A Little House Review

This show is great, even for other world-citizens besides the Americans. Altough the whole show is actually upgraded with a lot of romanticism it will present to the viewer a period of rest, honesty and courage people who cares for each other. Moreover it behold a good and positiv morality. Although it is an example of Invention of tradition, it shows a part of the American dreams and roots which is missing in Europe!I hope the DVD will be subtitled in the future with Dutch language. (Holland, Europe)

Studio: Goldhil Home Media I
Michael Landon

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