Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ice Age (2-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Ice Age (2-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Laughter Galore!

Following in the steps of Monster's Inc., Ice Age is yet another hilarious example of computer generation mixed with great acting. With the coming Ice Age, the animals begin to migrate south, save for a lonely and obnoxiously cute sloth named Sid, a grumpy Mammoth called Manfred, and a group of hungry saber toothed tigers who are out for revenge on the human hunters that inhabit the land. When the tigers attack a village and one of the woman along with her baby are hunted down, Manfred and Sid save the baby from death. Unfortunately, the tigers know that the baby is alive and having failed to harm the men of the village, they attempt to get the baby for a light snack. Sending Diego to get the baby, the tigers wait in the distance. However, Diego doesn't have it easy trying to get the baby away from Manfred and Sid, so he decides to draw them north to where his pack await in an ambush. Along the way, the odd "herd" learn some valuable lessons, go through some dangerous escapades, and learn that "family" doesn't necessarily mean all the same kind. Ice Age is a great movie full of lots of good entertainment for the entire family.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
John Leguizamo
Denis Leary

DVD title: Samurai X - OVA Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Samurai X - OVA Collection - movie DVD cover picture
More Serious than the Series

Rurouni Kenshin, the TV series, is a somewhat light-hearted tale about an ex-assassin resigned to never kill again. I was honestly not a huge fan of the series, but i would rate this OVA as one of the great pieces of animation ever. It takes place during the Meiji revolution- the time when Kenshin was an assassin-a killer. Samurai X is significantly more somber than the television series. The animation is more detailed and realistic; the musical score is more refined; the story is more contemplative. This is a deep OVA that will leave you feeling for the characters. It mixes an outstanding plot with cool writing and poetic voilence. There is really no clear cut line of right and wrong, everyone has his/her own motivations. Resolve, regret, courage, love, doubt, determination, sacrafice, honor, purpose, anguish... this is a great story filled will all these, and more.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Don Juan DeMarco
Productgroup: DVD
Don Juan DeMarco - movie DVD cover picture

This was a beautiful movie and a great story of love. However, the most extraordinarily beautiful scene was when Selena was singing. Her captivating presence and voice should have been in the movie more. Her song "Tu Solo Tu" was cut from the soundtrack. I urge everyone out there to seek that song out and you will come to know how an angel sounds when she sings! Everyone involved in this movie made it special. Siempre Selena!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Jeremy Leven
Marlon Brando
Johnny Depp

DVD title: Hud
Productgroup: DVD
Hud - movie DVD cover picture
The Epitomy of Film Brilliance

This film has long been a staple in my movie-watching diet. There is not a single error I have found in any of my viewings. All I have found is the sheer perfection of a talented director, a relaxed producer who let his director have his way with the film, a triumverant of supporting acting firepower by Douglas, Neal, and de Wilde, and the best performance Paul Newman has ever given to film. One of my favorite aspects of the film is the innocence and power of the black and white picture. There have been other more modern films such as Raging Bull by Scorcese, and Spielberg's Schindler's List which turned to black and white for those same reasons. Similar to John Wayne's antihero in The Searchers, a favorite of the two afformentioned directors, Paul Newman's Hud Bannon fits the bill of the hero we love to hate. Never has an actor portrayed this type of character with the stunning greatness that Newman delivered. I encourage you to purchase this film, and share it with your friends and family. Classic films such as Hud are important to our society, and we cannot sit back and permit them to be lost and forgotten.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Martin Ritt
Paul Newman
Melvyn Douglas
Patricia Neal

DVD title: Annie Get Your Gun
Productgroup: DVD
Annie Get Your Gun - movie DVD cover picture
You're in for a real treat!

Betty Hutton has always been my all time favorite when it comes to musicals. I first saw the original when I was a little girl and was just floored by Betty Hutton. She is one supercharged dynamo and her performance as Annie Oakley is the best! Annie Oakley was my childhood heroine. Even though in reality she won her man, (Frank Butler)by defeating him in a shoot out; even Annie would have appreciated the great performance Ms Hutton gave portraying her. My interest in broadway musicals was spawned by this musical. I highly recommend it!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Betty Hutton
Howard Keel

DVD title: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Productgroup: DVD
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - movie DVD cover picture
A brilliant directorial debut

After four moderately clean boys (relative to the other characters of the film) find themselves way over their heads in debt, they dream up a plan to cover their debt and put them on easy street. As they end up crossing villain after villain they are finally tracked down. Their adventures make for a perfectly insane story with a brilliant, ambiguous ending.
Guy Ritchie has a masterpiece here. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a brilliantly woven together jumble of plot twists within plot twists all culminating at the end in a perfectly neat and tidy package.
Ritchie brought music video cinematography to this movie and it could not have worked better. Each and every scene is portrayed perfectly by the toned down colors and hyper-frenetic camera play. The acting is perfect, clearly bringing across the cleverness, brutality, or sheer stupidity of the characters.
Ritchie et al. have brought the gangster film into the 90's and done an impeccable job of it. While the movie plays loudly and outrageously, there are constant subtle undercurrents and great implications concerning everyone involved. While not especially deep, LS&2SB makes for a hilariously fun ride.

Studio: Usa Films
Director: Guy Ritchie
Jason Flemyng
Dexter Fletcher

DVD title: Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the three best "Star Wars" films

"Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith", is not only by far the best of the prequel trilogy of "Star Wars" films, I believe that it may in fact be better than "Star Wars - Episode VI, Return of the Jedi". In fact, I would rate this behind "Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope" as the third best of the six "Star Wars" films (Of course the best is "Star Wars - Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back" which is light years ahead of the others with regards to both excellent acting and especially, a sterling script penned by Lawrence Kasdan and the late Leigh Brackett, a noted science fiction writer.). Indeed, of the three prequel "Star Wars" films, this is the one which deserves to be called "Star Wars", since it chronicles the end of the "Clone Wars" and the unexpected ascent to power of the malevolent Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and his young Sith apprentice Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen with an uncredited voiceover by none other than James Earl Jones at the very end of the film).

"Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith" starts off with a bang and more than a bit of an adrenaline rush with our young heroes Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Chistensen) flying Jedi fighters past duelling starships in an epic space battle high above the surface of Coruscant, the Republic's capital planet. They're on a desperate search and rescue mission, hoping to free Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from his captors; the cyborg droid General Grevious and Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), the Sith Lord commanding the Separatist forces. Aboard General Grevious' flagship, the two Jedi knights battle an entire regiment - or so it seems - of enemy droid soldiers before a final light saber duel with Count Dooku. Skywalker wins the duel, frees the Chancellor, and embarks on his first steps towards the Dark Side, thinking that he is acting only in the best interests of the Republic and its Senate. Soon he'll make two unexpected discoveries; Padme's (Natalie Portman) pregnancy, and the Chancellor's secret identity as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, which will have tragic consequences for himself and the entire Jedi Order, culminating in an epic light saber duel between himself and his erstwhile friend Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Young Anakin Skywalker must wrestle with his emotions as he dreams disturbing premonitions of Padme's death, and contends with conflicting political demands from both the Jedi Council and his new friend Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. In a surprising move, Palpatine appoints Anakin as his personal representative on the Jedi Council; it is one which is only grudgingly accepted by the Council, with Mace Windu telling Skywalker that he can only have the seat, not the honor that would normally come with it as a Jedi Master; an honor bestowed already on his old friend General Obi-Wan Kenobi. Slowly Skywalker realizes that his old, trusted friend, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, is not all that he appears to be, but indeed, that he is too the surviving Sith Lord Darth Sidious. No longer trusted by his fellow Jedi - who lead raids on Separatist forces throughout the galaxy (There's a notable sequence of Yoda leading the Wookies against Separatist forces on the Wookie homeworld.) without keeping Skywalker informed - young Anakin Skywalker makes a Faustian bargain with Palpatine/Sidious, hoping that his new knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force will save Padme, her unborn child, and the Republic's democratic government. However, Skywalker's decision to become Palpatine's new Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, will result in the Republic's downfall, replaced by a despotic Galactic Empire ruled by Palpatine, and the virtual extinction of the Jedi Order. Ultimately it will also lead to Padme's death in childbirth; the infant Luke and Leia are hidden secretly on Tatooine and Alderaan (The film ends with a memorable sunset on Tatooine as the young Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru gaze lovingly at their adopted son Luke.).

The best acting in the film comes from much of the supporting cast, with highest honors going to Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Jimmy Smits (Senator Bail Organa), and the voice of Frank Oz as of course Yoda. I must also praise Ewan McGregor for giving his finest portrayal yet of Obi-Wan Kenobi, offering us much more than a tantalizing glimpse of the character as portrayed by the late Sir Alec Guinness in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Ian McDiarmid's performance is also just as splendid as the villainous Palpatine and Darth Sidious. There are epic light saber duels between Mace Windu and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and between Palpatine and Yoda that are far better than any I have seen in the original trilogy itself. The same holds true for the special effects, which are without question, the best in the series. John Williams composed over an hour of original music for the film score, combining elements from all six movies in the themes, with brilliant playing by the London Symphony Orchestra. My only disappointments are the rather unconvincing love scenes between Anakin and Padme and the rationale for Anakin's rapid descent into the Dark Side of the Force. But despite these minor caveats, I wouldn't hesitate seeing this "Star Wars" film more than once. May the Force be with us this summer!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman
Hayden Christensen

DVD title: Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
Julia should not have won the Oscar!

This is the one of the most unique and harrowing films that I have seen in some time. Definately not for everyone, but I was riveted and the last 10 minutes is a roller coaster ride you won't soon forget. It covers the various drug addictions of 4 people (I won't go into too much plot detail because it is covered here in other reviews) and is filmed with a creative vision rarely seen in films today. Employing various digital techniques and outstanding sound, the film works as an assault on our senses with the story unraveling before us in a staccato rhythm of quick cut scenes. Ellen Burstyn, as a widow addicted to diet pills, gives the performance of a lifetime and this truly shows that the Oscars are just a popularity poll. How she could have lost to Julia Roberts' Erin Brocovich is a shame because Ms. Burstyn is in a league of her own here. An extraordinary performance and film, one that linger with you for quite some time.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Ellen Burstyn
Jared Leto

DVD title: Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Two
Productgroup: DVD
Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Two - movie DVD cover picture
Great Volume 2, bring on Volume 3!!!

I snapped up Volume 1 as soon as it was available - and LOVED it! The classic cartoons in terrific shape in both video and audio. Next came this Volume 2 which I also got the day it came out. Best part of having these? Sharing them with my kids. Looney Tunes are now their favorite thing to watch, and I like these classics much better than most of the "children's" programming on Nick or Cartoon Network. Can't wait for volume 3. I'll buy them as long as they come out!

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: BASEketball
Productgroup: DVD
BASEketball - movie DVD cover picture

Baseketball is one of the greatest comedies of all time--and for all intensive purposes, a very appropiate one to the money-driven greed of professional sports. Baseketball is a very clearly a victim of the movie critics overall power to control the public's opinions and freewill in what they see at the movies. Very simply, critics are too dull and uncreative to critique these movies they love to dispise. Everyone I know loved this movie, in this department you can blame the publicity department of Universal Studios--they couldn't advertise a film to save their lives. And then, if that wasn't bad enough Universal turns around and fires a large number of executives that got this film made--what kind of message and example is this. With all these negative things taking place, in the near future we will unknowingly destroy the entire comedy genre. All this because some morons cannot take a joke. I hope Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and David Zucker work together again someday, I would hate to see the movie-making spirit of these geniuses destroyed by a blatent miscommunication between the public and the whining losers named critics with their following of humorless idiots. I loved this movie to the point that it inspires me to someday direct comedy films of my own someday. To work with the cast and crew of Baseketball would be a dream-come-true. To all the people who loved this movie, and are pissed that people literally did not see it--bring on the cult following. I'll lead us.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Zucker
Trey Parker
Matt Stone

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