Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ikiru - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Ikiru - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Kurosawa's Greatest.

Simply put, this film belongs in your library. Period. Buy it now.
Oh, you're one of those people who needs to reasoned with, huh? Okay.
When people think of Kurosawa, they think of his period films - Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Ran. Those are all fantastic. Some Kurosawa films are better than others, but none of them are bad. But people forget that a large part of his career was taken up with (then) contemporary fare. What makes Ikiru special?
The comibnation of craft and content. The movie is exceptionally made. The lighting, the compositions, and the editing all do what they are meant to: come together to advance and develop the story. They do so in a way that is definitely stylish, but unlike so many modern filmmakers, they style serves the story, not the other way around. Kurosawa's camera complements, comments upon, and enhances what it captures. As a study of black and white cinematography, it is pricelessly. Some would criticize its long run time and deliberate pace, common criticisms of Kurosawa. But any story worth telling is worth telling in its own time, and the pacing is dead on for the content.
What is that content? Perennial Kurosawa collaborator Takashi Shimura (Seven Samurai) stars as Kanji Watanabe, a slug-like department head in the Tokyo city bureaucracy. He's unloved by his minions, unappreciated by his family, and unnoticed by life. The film deals with his gradual transformation upon learning that he has terminal cancer. Though often grueling, it's ultimately a triumphant movie, and not in that false, schmaltzy and sentimental way that most contemporary movies deliver.The protagonist achieves his transfiguration, but he does it silently and anoymously, and at the end, few even understand what he's done. Just like real life.
Although Japanese, and presenting a fascinating glimpse into that culture, it is also universal (Kurosawa was often criticized in his homeland for not being Japanese enough, whatever the hell that means). If you are at all interested in the history of film, or what goes into good filmmaking, or even if you just love a good story well told, you should look into this movie. Sure, it's a little pricey, but you've been good, right? Reward yourself.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Takashi Shimura
Nobuo Kaneko

DVD title: When We Were Kings
Productgroup: DVD
When We Were Kings - movie DVD cover picture
An inspirational and motivating picture

I can tell you straight out, I am not a fan of boxing. When I was given this DVD as a gift, I was very skeptical, thinking this would just be another dull documentary focusing on the 'Rumble in the Jungle'. I am very happy to say that I was proved wrong. This is more than a simple film about boxing, it deals with many issues, political and cultural. It is moving seeing Ali getting in touch with his African roots and seeing the effect of this great humanitarian on the citizens of Zaire. Norman Mailer and George Plimpton give us an indepth commentary of what it was like to know the man, and the static atmosphere in Kinsasha during the time of the training and the night of the fight. A well edited film coupled with music by BB King and James Brown among others has made this THE documentary of the decade, richly deserving the Oscar it received.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Leon Gast
Muhammad Ali
George Foreman

DVD title: Battlestar Galactica (2003 Miniseries)
Productgroup: DVD
Battlestar Galactica (2003 Miniseries) - movie DVD cover picture
A risky remake that exceeded expectations.

The original series will always be a classic because, well, it was the original. That said, if they had the technology (and perhaps the less stringent FCC rules regaurding risque) I can only wonder how the two versions would compare. The old series was strictly fantasy that started off with an epic quality but quickly desolved into episodic rehash that was probably good for the time, but is not something I'd go out of my way to watch in reruns. The new series pilot is definitely more sophisticated, both in plot, themes, and technology, as well as being a bit more current topicwise. I can't fully say that I like the reconstitution of the basic premises but I for one think that dispite some of the cliche bits, it was on the whole well conceived and well executed.

I give full kudos to the new miniseries for bringing a very classy hat tip to the old series; in the display of the all too familiar machine relics, the museum music, and especially the integration of the old style Vipers into the new series in a way that was very pertinent to the story. And I give full props for having the guts to go against the grain of die-hard fans and deviate so drastically from the original series, and not just for the sake of distinction but with an obviously thought-through script.

The highlights for me are: 1) Baltar is now more complex and in some ways sympathetic character who was a victim of his own ego rather than the simple maniacal villain with motives that were never explained. 2) Olmos brings every bit as much respect and gravitas to the show as Lorne Greene did (MacDonald was a great surprise too). 3) Updated space combat with subdued sound fx and more realistic action (not planes in space) were pretty. The sneak attack/invasion used a nice plot gimmick. 4) I like that the Galactica was a relic slated for museumhood rather than the much vaulted flagship that one would expect... and that fact was also pertinent to the plot.

The rest I was neutral about and either accept or forgive. The gender changes didn't bother me, in fact some were done very nicely. I'll miss the original Starbuck's smarminess versus the new one's brashness, but she did a good job in the role. I don't appreciate gratuitous sex-related scenes, but at least there was some point to #6's relationship with Baltar. Perfectly human robots in general are a bit cliche but I don't see a way around it here. The new tensions between characters (e.g. the XO and Starbuck) are contrived but don't hurt. The feel-good world-tribal thematic music didn't have the majestic quality I would have expected but wasn't bad. Overall, I very much enjoyed the miniseries pilot. If I had only one pet peeve it would probably be the over-use of the zoom-cam effect, but it hardly ruined an otherwise refreshing bit of sci-fi. It was a great starting point for the upcoming series.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Michael Rymer

DVD title: The Breakfast Club
Productgroup: DVD
The Breakfast Club - movie DVD cover picture
It all makes sense...........

As a teenager in the late 90's, I find that I can relate to this movie more than I can relate to any movie made during my teen years. It has all the elements of a classic teen angst movie without all the sugary soppines and silliness that you find in almost every teen movie made nowadays. It's funny, sad, emotional, and most of all it's real.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Hughes
Emilio Estevez
Judd Nelson
Molly Ringwald
Ally Sheedy

DVD title: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (Unrated Extended Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (Unrated Extended Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

This movie is bloody hilarious. Normally I don't like "stoner" movies but the adventures of these two hapless potheads as they search out their ultimate "munchies" at White Castle never fails to have me rolling in my seat.

The bathroom scene with the "Diarrhoea Twins" will replace the campfire scene from "Blazing Saddles" as the ultimate cinematic representation of the consequences of eating too much gassy food without having Beano beforehand. And I thought girls didn't indulge in this sort of behaviour...

If nothing else, the extra feature "The Art Of The Fart" deserves an Oscar for Best Documentary.

Order up some Sliders from White Castle, pop this in and enjoy!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Danny Leiner
John Cho
Kal Penn

DVD title: Return to Lonesome Dove
Productgroup: DVD
Return to Lonesome Dove - movie DVD cover picture
very moving western tale

a friend of mine recently introduced me to return to lonesome dove. i don't care for westerns as a rule but i was completely captivated by it. voight and shroeder are both excellent. i haven't seen the other dvds in the seires but i certainly plan to.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Mike Robe

DVD title: The Tom Green Show - Subway Monkey Hour
Productgroup: DVD
The Tom Green Show - Subway Monkey Hour - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful! Hilarious!!!!

This is one of the funniest things on tv I have ever seen, and it is so wonderful that is finally out on DVD! It's a cute DVD, very basic: The full special (with some new scenes in it too), scene selection, and Bonus Features. The bonus features had some skits from the show, only some of which were really really funny. I took off a few "points" because of that, even though it is THE BEST SHOW EVER!!!! Despite that, I would definitely reccomend this to any fan of The Tom Green Show or anyone who likes that kind of real-life comedy. It is so great. Thank you so so much to Tom Green and MTV for making this!!!
P.S. Yeah! I am the first reviewer of this at this sight!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Tom Green (III)

DVD title: The Tailor of Panama
Productgroup: DVD
The Tailor of Panama - movie DVD cover picture
Superior film; it's not meant to be a regular fast actioner

Composure is key to Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan), an unscrupulous spy who realizes that the best gadgets an agent undercover uses are his cunning, his intellect, his grandeur, and his libido. All of these qualities must mold into a singular force, and the genuine spy never allows the weight of these qualities or his difficulties to come through physically, for without composure, what is a spy to be?
"The Tailor of Panama," a comeback film for "Deliverance" mastermind John Boorman, answers this question as it pits the ruthless Osnard, who can always keep his cool, with Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush), who cannot balance the many out-of-order elements of his life with the same crispness.
Both of these characters - richly textured, ingeniously conceived, totally idiosyncratic - play a game of wits that headlines a deftly rendered Hollywood thriller that ranks as one of the finest spy thrillers in years.
Attribute the film's considerable success not only to its sterling direction by Boorman, but in the picture's graceful ability to derive its story solely from its characters. "Tailor" is bereft of the boundless cliches and storytelling conventions that ultimately dictate the narrative arcs of nearly all major action pictures. It instead weaves its web and inflicts intrigue, tragedy, betrayal and sex upon its characters without ever feeling as if the writers are plunging through the Hollywood gamut.
There's hardly a chase scene in this effort, yet there's rarely a dull moment, either.
Credit must be paid to all of the performers, who inhabit their roles rather than occupying. Brosnan does a melicious variation on his James Bond persona, a risky idea that works brilliantly. Rush continues to be a superb character actor, and makes Harry into the film's heart and center, always exuding multiple dimensions and providing rich emotional facets that grace the picture with an uncommon complexity. Curtis is quite good, in a low-key manner, as Harry's intelligent and loving wife, and Brendan Gleason is outstanding as Harry's alcoholic best friend.
Boorman continues to have a nearly unmatched skill at incorporating locations and settings as to make them entirely central to the storyline, exploiting their natural beauty and local color in a manner that defies traditional "postcard views" that would be at home, say, in James Bond. The screenplay is tireless in its abundance of wit and clever turns for the story to take.
If at times improbable and perhaps too pat upon resolution, "The Tailor of Panama" is still a richly composed, exceptionally realized contemporary thriller, willing to take chances in an uncommonly simplistic era of major studio pictures.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: John Boorman
Pierce Brosnan
Geoffrey Rush

DVD title: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
One of my new favorites.....

With material that stretches the mind, but rocks you on the way, this movie encompasses everything that prove that filmed entertainment has surpassed novels as the most important artistic form. The making of documentery is especially rewarding. This disc is not for the young or faint of heart. There are mature scenes- but little nudity, violence, and the language is relatively clean. Most of the adultness of the scenes concerns sex / gender identity- which are explicitly dealt shown and dealt with, in the context of the movie.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell
Miriam Shor

DVD title: Gary Numan: In Concert
Productgroup: DVD
Gary Numan: In Concert - movie DVD cover picture

On region 1 NTSC DVD.And it's a non-authorized (by Gary) release.This is a direct transfer of the ?Skin Mechanic?VHS tape from 1989.There are 4 !!! other astonishing DVDs; Berserker-1984,Hope Bleeds-2003 and Fragment 04 (parts 1-2) NOT available on NTSC !!!.I hope somebody pities us someday and releases some of them at least.I just got the ?Dream Corrosion? VHS from Numan's site.It rocks at 2hs. 15 min. and 27 tracks,although you will have to cough up with U$ 33 like I did.Long live the master of dark industrial new wave music !!!!

Studio: Navarre Corporation/
Gary Numan

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