Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Melissa Etheridge - Live... and Alone (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Melissa Etheridge - Live... and Alone (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

I saw this tour and now I can have it to watch whenever I want. Melissa is one of my favs and this is why. She is so talented and this DVD captures it, just her and her guitar! The worst is when an entertainer can't change things up, when the concert sounds just like the CD. Melissa changed things up w/ this whole tour. She has proven to be one of the most important women entertainers of our time. This is a must have for any Melissa fan and for anyone who appreciates great rock music. This DVD will not disappoint, she dishes it up and serves it well!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Melissa Etheridge

DVD title: Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story
Productgroup: DVD
Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story - movie DVD cover picture
The greatest documentary about Muhammad Ali of all time

When you pose with Muhammad Ali for photographs what he likes to do is have you make a fist and put it up against the side of the face while he assumes a boxing pose, so you look like you are landing a heavy blow against the only man ever to win the heavyweight boxing title three times. However, when it was my turn to pose there was no way on earth I was going to pretend I was beating up on the Champ, so I just wanted to shake hands. This gave Ali a chance to give me bunny ears.

"Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story" is a six-part documentary that chronicles legendary career: (1) "The Beginning: Olympic Gold" covers his years as an amateur. There is very little about Ali's career before he began boxing (one of the stories his mother tells is how as a baby he hit her in the mouth and loosened a tooth: "his first knockout" she says proudly). (2) "The Youngest Heavyweight" looks at the start of Cassius Clay's professional career, leading up to his winning the heavyweight crown from Sonny Liston. (3) "Exile" contrasts Muhammad Ali's title defenses with the rises problems tied to both his conversion to Islam and his refusal to be drafted, which ends with him being stripped of his title.

Disc B begins with (4) "The Road Back," where it takes three years for Ali to get another fight, culminating in losing his first fight to Joe Frazier. (5) "The Rumble in the Jungle" ends with Ali winning back the title from George Foreman, after breaking his jaw and losing to Ken Norton. Finally, (6) "The Thrilla in Manila" makes the third and final fight with Joe Frazier the centerpiece for the end of Ali's career, with less attention being paid to Ali losing and winning back the title from Michael Spinks than to the final title fight with Larry Holmes, after which Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome.

Ali is not interviewed for this documentary, although he appears in some shots at the end. Talking about the champ is left to the men who worked in his corner (e.g., Angelo Dundee), the men that he fought (e.g., Ken Norton), the reporters who covered the fights (e.g., Howard Cosell), and the women that he married (e.g., Lonnie Ali). Their recollections and insights are offered in between, and sometimes during, film and video of Ali's fights, news footage, and television appearances (including Ali singing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" with the cast from the Broadway musical he did while in exile). For most of the key fights in Ali's career there are extended sequences and not just highlights. By the time you get to the Foreman and final Frazier fights it seems odd that there are commentators talking throughout the fight because most of the early fights are without commentary, and while directors Joseph and Sandra Consentino sometimes like the likes of Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee provide some insight, more often than not they just add nothing to what we are watching.

The strength of this documentary is that we get to watch Ali fight and listen to him talk more than we do the others. Even when we get to the talking heads we hear more from Dundee and journalist Jerry Izenberg than we do from Howard Cosell (which reminds me of an interesting omission: we do not get to the point following the first Liston fight when Clay yells, "I'm a bad man!"). Also, what they have to say is usually descriptive, telling what they remember, rather than trying to offer explanations for the subject. That is until the end, when there is an obvious attempt to put Ali in perspective. This is led primarily to Lonnie Ali, which is a smart move because there is nobody who is going to be more articulate on that score than Ali's wife.

The one thing I wanted more of from this 1996 television documentary was an explanation of Ali's fighting technique. At one point Angelo Dundee is talking about how Ali had three main punches with the left jab setting up his right upper cut and his left hook. So I really wanted to see some examples of this from some of these fights. But there are only a couple of times when a specific knockout punch is looked at in any detail (e.g., the "phantom" punch from the second Liston fight and the four-punch combination that dropped George Foreman). Overall the lesson is that when he was young Ali was too quick too hit, and later on when he slowed down he discovered he could take a punch. Add that throughout his career Ali was usually in better condition and was always smarter, and that is the legacy with which we are left. Clearly with Ali we are talking about the "art" of boxing, but a bit more of the "science" of the sport would be nice too.

Studio: Turner Home Video

DVD title: Monty Python's Life of Brian - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Monty Python's Life of Brian - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Monty Python's Life of Brian--Criterion Edition

You have to be a genius to be this silly. Monty Python has done a fantastic amount of research into Jewish history and the birth of Christianity to make a total mockery of the hypocrisy found in people who claim to practice these religions. As a deeply spiritual man, I found this film completely unoffensive. This film doesn't poke fun at those who are a part of their religion because of an informed, knowledgeable decision, but rather at those who believe what they believe despite all evidence to the contrary and can't offer any valid explanation for it. Most people have probably been embarassed by people of that sort even in there own religion. Anybody who thinks that Monty Python's sense of humor is stupid isn't smart enough to understand the vast amount of research they must have done to turn verifiable history into such a ridiculous commentary on unchanging human behaviour. From the political issue made out of Stan's irrational desire to be a woman so he could have babys (You haven't got a womb. Where's the fetus going to gestate? You gonna put it in a box?) to the embarrasing meeting where the PFJ finds out that maybe the Romans aren't so bad (Okay, they did provide the roads, the aqueduct, public sanitation, education, the wine, etc.) to Pontius Pilate's speech impedement (Who do you want weleased? And no more Wudolph the Wed-nosed Weindeer.) followed by his best friend's linguistic problems (Thampthon of Thithily the Thaduthee thtrangler wanted for theveral theditious crimeth) to the finale of optomistics on crosses singing "Always look on the bright side of life." If you don't get this epic joke and at least appreciate some of what they deleted to keep the plot tight (DVD--Criterion Edition only) I feel sorry for you. But I'm not your judge. Review this film for yourself.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Terry Jones
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Michael Palin

DVD title: Babylon 5 - The Complete Television Series (5-Pack)
Productgroup: DVD
Babylon 5 - The Complete Television Series (5-Pack) - movie DVD cover picture
So good it hurts

B5 at the time had revolutionary graphics, narrative storline, politics, and large galatic battles! It was amazing! It was almost cut and dropped by the networks many times! They said "it's not ST", yet B5 wouldn't go away. When season five ended, I felt joy at such a beautiful ending, yet I was sad.

Then hope came in Crusade, which I loved and hoped to fill that void! Then it was thoughtlesly cut, just like Firefly....when the storyline and the characters where getting awesome!

B5 was one of the best t.v. series out there, up to par with any of Joss Whedon's show like BTVS, Angel, and Firefly. It was so deep and ahead of it's time!

Now there is new hope...the new BSG. Hopefully if BSG is successfull, there will be a rennesance in Sci-Fi and maybe something new in the B5 Universe could be started!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Bruce Boxleitner

DVD title: 3rd Rock from the Sun - Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
3rd Rock from the Sun - Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture
One of my Fav. Shows of all time!!!!!

When I bought the 3rd Rock DVD a few days ago. I said "Finally 3rd Rock is on DVD". The DVD is actually great! I really liked the 1st season. It is one of my favorites. So if you like 3rd Rock, then BUY THIS DVD.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
John Lithgow

DVD title: Third Watch
Productgroup: DVD
Third Watch - movie DVD cover picture
why the wait?

Every other show is available on DVD, why not this one? My husband (and I) love this show.

We rarely purchase DVDs, but we would get this one immediately.

Skipp Sudduth

DVD title: Jackass - The Movie (Widescreen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Jackass - The Movie (Widescreen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Hilarious, disgusting, and WONDERFUL!

If you are a fan of the tv show, this is the movie you have been waiting for. It's no-holds-barred! None of the curse words has been bleeped out, and the fellas perform stunts that are just insane -- and that's really saying something! If you've never seen the tv show, you will become a faithful viewer after you see this movie.The very best, not-to-be-missed stunts: the fireworks Bam sets off his his parents' bedroom; a demented, masochistic Henry Rollins driving a Hummer over rough terrain as a guy gets tattooed in the back seat; the roller disco inside a circling tractor trailer; and all the other scenes that involve Bam Margera tormenting his parents!I like the brilliant opening shot of all the guys -- Knoxville, Wee Man, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, etc., -- speeding down the road in an oversized shopping cart as CARMINA BURANA booms in the background.Certain scenes, however, are a little difficult to endure, i.e. the yellow snow cone and the paper cuts. Yet the movie is still loads of demented fun!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Johnny Knoxville
Bam Margera
Chris Pontius

DVD title: The Wire - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Wire - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
This is the Best show on television.

I can't really say much more, if you have a brain, Buy this show.

Best show on tv.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Wood Harris

DVD title: Infinity's Child
Productgroup: DVD
Infinity's Child - movie DVD cover picture
a new standard for the "trip" genre

What can I say about this title, except that it's another classic from the people who brought you Planetary Traveler. Infinity's Child Carries on from where PT left off so if you've seen the first then this is a must, but even if you haven't this movie can stand up on it's own merits. If you've ever used the software package Bryce then you'll be watching this production wondering on just how they did some of the effects, which is why they have included some of the actual scene files used in the production on the DVD so you can load them up and see just how they did them, even if you don't have bryce there is a demo included on the disc. If I had to grumble it would be about the length of the movie I would have like it to have been longer but then I guess thats the beauty of it as you can just whack it in your player and mellow out after work (which I have done on countless occasions). Bottom line is whether your into Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) or not Infinity's Child is a welcome change from the usual movies. I have also heard that Rodney L'Ongnion is involved in a new project called Wonderverse so if you like this you can be sure that wonderverse is gonna be something special.

Studio: Winstar Home Entertainment

DVD title: Batman
Productgroup: DVD
Batman - movie DVD cover picture
The first and the best. period.

Tim Burton's classic Batman revived the superhero movie genre in 1989. Burton's dark gritty vision of the dark knight is taken from the 1940's Batman comic, an iconic character who is a terrifying urban legend to the underworld of criminals. Burton's Gotham is a bleak place where there is no hope except for the protection provided by the mysterious Batman. He is the only force keeping the fragile city from tearing itself apart. In the opening scene we see how something as innocent as going to the movies in this town can become a terrifying experience in this town for both the family of victims and the superstitious cowardly lot of criminals. Michael Keaton is perfectly cast as Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne. Keaton easily shifts between characters in this dual role, going from Batman's menacing presence to Bruce's Wayne's tormented spirit and his boyish charm. He gives a breakthrough performance here; this is the role that forced people to take his acting seriously. While many comic book fans complain about Burton's choice of casting Keaton to this day, I have no problems with it. He is clearly the best actor for the role available in 1989. We take for granted how Keaton becomes both characters and blends into the role so seamlessly. I doubt his contemporaries of the era (Kevin Costner, Kurt Russel, Sylvester Stallone, or Michael Douglas) would have blended into the role so well. Jack Nicholson is perfectly cast as his arch nemesis the Joker. The well-written story by Samm Hamm and Warren Skarren is loosely based on the golden age Batman from 1939. Batman patrols Gotham City while DA Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) is about to go after mob boss Carl Grissom (a great Jack Palance) so he sends his lieutenant Jack Napier to destroy the evidence at Axis chemichals. Bruce gets wind of this and goes into action as batman; Photographer Vicky Vale and Reporter Alexander Knox (Kim Basinger and a scene stealing Robert Wuhl) want to figure out the mystery of the bat. The story's first act ends with Jack Napier's tragic transformation into the joker.The psychopathic Joker is bent on destroying Gotham City first by killing off Grissom and taking over his mob. He then uses Axis chemicals to produce smylex and as a "joke" he puts the lethal chemichal in household products unsuspecting consumers buy. Batman must figure out what themystery of the killer products is while trying to protect Vicky Vale from the advances of the joker. In the end of the second act, He gives Vale the information and the joker is foiled. However, the joker is obsessed with Vale and destroying Gotham. So in a final campaign to meet his goals, he has a party in Gotham Square where he plans on killing the populace with Smylex gas. Thankfully the batman is there to save the day in the thrilling conclusion.Director Tim Burton does an excellent job in adapting the comic making sure the character fits the original dark vision of the late Batman creator Bob Kane. Comics Purists mistakenly complain that this Batman kills however, Burton's is true to his source material. In the Golden Age Batman did kill and in the original Batman #1 they did plan on killing the Joker before bringing him back to life in the last panel of the second Joker story. I highly recommend you own this film on VHS or DVD.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Tim Burton
Michael Keaton
Jack Nicholson

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