Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Gordon Lightfoot - Live in Reno
Productgroup: DVD
Gordon Lightfoot - Live in Reno - movie DVD cover picture
Lightfoot Live - Need I Say More?

This is Lightfoot's first concert video, and is in fact his first officially released live recording since 1969. Recorded at the Pioneer Theater in Reno, Nevada on April 19, 2000, the video captures the warmth and intimacy of a Lightfoot concert, brought into your home for the first time.
The DVD contains 22 songs, almost the entire concert. Lightfoot performs all of his hits - songs that charted in the top 40 for him - as well as songs he wrote that were hits for others. And he includes some of his other great songs which, though never chart hits, are among the best songs ever written.
None of the hits are omitted, so you will hear If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, Carefree Highway and Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, among others. The other songs come from throughout his career, dating back to the early/mid 60s with Early Mornin' Rain and For Lovin' Me, to the title song from his latest original album, A Painter Passing Through.
Lightfoot is backed up by his band all of whom has been with him for at least 20 years, and the first two for 30 or more. They are: Terry Clements (lead guitar), Rick Haynes (bass), Barry Keane (drums and percussion) and Mike Heffernan (keyboards), and they are among the finest musicians around. The fact that they have recorded and toured with Lightfoot for so many years says volumes about them and about Lightfoot.
The full set list is: Don Quixote, I'll Prove My Love, House You Live In, Sundown, Carefree Highway, Restless, Blackberry Wine, For Lovin' Me/Did She Mention My Name (Medley), Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, Waiting For You, Fading Away, Rainy Day People, Shadows, If You Could Read My Mind, A Painter Passing Through, Make Way For The Lady, Early Mornin' Rain, Baby Step Back, Song For A Winter's Night, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Old Dan's Records, Cold On The Shoulder.
Amazing list of songs, isn't it?
(Note: I have not seen this North American release of the concert, but I have seen the UK DVD as well as the original videotape from the production company).
by Valerie Magee

Studio: Image Entertainment
Gordon Lightfoot

DVD title: The Andromeda Strain
Productgroup: DVD
The Andromeda Strain - movie DVD cover picture
A Thrilling Sci-Fi Suspense from Michael Crichton

"The Andromeda Strain" was the first of many films produced from novels written by the author Michael Crichton, whose novels-turned-film include "Westworld" (1973), "Coma" (1978), "Jurassic Park" (1993) and "Twister" (1996). Filmed in 1971, "The Andromeda Strain" may seem dated to some, but sci-fi aficionados have long enjoyed the film for its suspense and questions that it raised that may be more valid today than they were three decades ago.
The story begins in a small, isolated town in the desert where a satellite that re-entered earth's atmosphere crashed. Shortly after the crash, most of the town's residents mysteriously die. The government calls in four scientists to determine what killed the townsfolk. The scientists are Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill), Dr. Charles Dutton (David Wayne, known for his portrayal of inspector Ellery Queen in 1975 TV series of the same name), Dr. Mark Hall (James Olsen) and Dr. Ruth Leavitt (Kate Reid, known also for her role in the 1977 film "Equus"). They are taken to a top-secret government facility code-named Wildfire, an underground laboratory, to search for the cause of death and why two townspeople remained unaffected. Their quest leads to a very exciting discovery, but also several grave questions.
Special effects used in "The Andromeda Strain" were very good for the early 1970's. The design of the Wildfire facility, which earned "The Andromeda Strain" an Oscar nomination for Best Set Decoration, is somewhat reminiscent of interior designs used in "2001: A Space Odyssey". Director Robert Wise (who also directed "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (1951), "West Side Story" (1961) and "The Sound of Music" in 1965) did a brilliant job escalating the suspense and fear throughout the film. The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Editing. Other notable characters include Nurse Karen Anson (Paula Kelly, who also starred in "Sweet Charity" in 1969 and "Soylent Green" in 1973) and Peter 'Gramps' Jackson (George Mitchell).
Overall, I rate "The Andromeda Strain" with 4.5 stars out of 5, rounded up to 5 stars. If you choose not to purchase the film, you might want to consider renting it so that you can see it at least once.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Robert Wise
Arthur Hill
James Olson

DVD title: Ocean's Eleven (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Ocean's Eleven (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Multifaceted Ocean's 11

Excellent movie. In my opinion it is much better than the original, but then again this one does have Holly Marie Combs in it! Definately worth adding to your collection of DVD's. Action packed with a good story line. It's got something for everyone!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney
Brad Pitt

DVD title: The English Patient
Productgroup: DVD
The English Patient - movie DVD cover picture
As good as the book

This magnificent film captures the essence of what is an equally wonderful book -- both are beautifully described, full of interesting historical content, and emotionally just devastating. What the film added was gorgeous art direction and cinematography, and the physical intensity of Ralph Fiennes -- I thought he was perfection in this role, with the rest of the cast being outstanding as well. Watch for the lovely transition where the aerial topography fades to a close-up of rumpled sheets with the same geographic contours, and so many other breathtaking scenes. I haven't been this absorbed and bowled over by a film for a long time.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Anthony Minghella
Ralph Fiennes
Juliette Binoche
Willem Dafoe
Kristin Scott Thomas

DVD title: The Last of Sheila
Productgroup: DVD
The Last of Sheila - movie DVD cover picture
An Evening with Diane, Richard, and Raquel.

The first wonderful thing about "The Last of Sheila" directed by Herb Ross is that it's a who-done-it of the first order. The writing by Tony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim is masterful and packed with insider Hollywood dish. The cast is second to none and all working at the top of their form. There are a few particular standout performances. James Mason gives us his restrained all in the pivotal roll of Phillip. He adds in the process this film to his long and distinguished list of credits. Raquel Welsh brings out for our appreciation the famous Raqui figure but also in this, her follow up to her first great roll in "Kansas City Bomber", she shows a little more of her range than most expected or allowed her at the time. Joan Hackett as Lee is touching and brilliant in one of the best rolls of her too short career. The incendiary Diane Cannon inhabits Christine and with her raucous laugh steals the show from everyone with her thinly veiled "Sue Mengers" Agent to the stars turn. "Somebody get me a glass of water and two Lesbians!" She is pure joy to watch. The second wonderful thing about "The Last Of Sheila" is that they took the time to ask Richard Benjamin, Diane Cannon and Raquel Welsh to do the directors commentary. This is one of the best commentaries I have heard. It's as if Diane, Raquel and Richard have just dropped by for a few hours, a few drinks and a walk down memory lane. They reveal in their insightful recollections what fun it was to make "The Last Of Sheila" and in the process show their intelligence, wit and wisdom about the art and business of filmmaking. At one point delighted in the sparkling humor they are both igniting in each other Diane suggests they do a T.V. show together. Richard suggests the title of "Please Watch Us". Not a bad title, and I would be there with bells on. Raquel shows a deep understanding and humor of her early career and gives some real insight into her developments as and actress. "I would play her stronger now. Not so timid." She says of her roll as Alice. It really is all quite cozy and fun. Hats off to these three wonderful talents for lending so much to the enjoyment of this film. "The Last of Sheila" is a classic film that I hope will find a new fan base due to this sparkling new DVD presentation.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Herbert Ross
Richard Benjamin
James Coburn
James Mason

DVD title: Sonic The Hedgehog - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Sonic The Hedgehog - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
Sonic the hedgehog the Movie is the best!

This movie rocks! Yes, Tails does sound like he has a cold, and Sonic sounds like a english person, but if you watch it over and over again, you get used to it. This movie features one of Dr.Robotnicks's leathel creations, METAL SONIC. Also it features the hardly seen in shows: Knuckles. And if your a girl, you'll love the girly girl Sarah. This movie is packed full of: Hummor in every corner, cool music, and hard core packed adventure. The only disapointment is that they didn't make a sequal.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Darkman III - Die Darkman Die
Productgroup: DVD
Darkman III - Die Darkman Die - movie DVD cover picture
Shows Darkman's gentle side

I liked the movie because it showed that Darkman was still able to care for others even after being alone for so long. Westlake no longer believed he had the ability to love, but when he saw that Rooker's wife and child were being neglected by this madman, he came through for them. I also like Arnold Vosloo because he has a cool sounding voice with a slight Scotts accent.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Bradford May

DVD title: Horror Express
Productgroup: DVD
Horror Express - movie DVD cover picture
A Ride Into Terror with The Kings of Horror!

Who would've beleived that in 1972, just one year before "The Exorcist" revamped the horror genre, that the two modernday Kings of Horror - Cushing & Lee would still be scoring hits, with a little-known variation on the Orient Express from Spain!Set on board the Trans-Siberian Express on the Eve of the Great War, archeologist Lee is found transporting a rare fossil thought to be the missing link of mankind. Naturally, terror ensues when the fossil thaws out, goes on the rampage and turns out to be a creature of unknown with more to it than meets the eye!Also on board of course is Cushing as a physician who becomes embroiled in the plot when the passengers start dropping like flies, backed up by a strong yet unknown cast, not least of which was Telly Savalas as a Cossack officer.This is the kind of escapist fun which was soon to become sadly missing from the movie world, until more recent years, thanks to the likes of Tim Burton and director, Stephen Sommers and his "Mummy" pictures. However, here it is presented with a nice, offbeat twist. Period detail is brought well into focus, and there is no doubt that we are in late-Tzarist Russia, complete with snowstorms and soldiers chomping on their nine-foot long beards. Whilst Lee also gets a chance to show how good he was as a potential hero, which in itself makes a welcome change.All in all, good rollicking fun from an unexpected quarter which moves wickedly to a fast-moving climax.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Eugenio Martín
Christopher Lee
Peter Cushing

DVD title: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Productgroup: DVD
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - movie DVD cover picture
Rich Characterizations Do Justice to Williams

No, this isn't quite the play, but I didn't have any trouble picking up on the theme of Brick's (Paul Newman's) struggle with homosexuality. In fact, I was surprised at the sensitivity with which the script and the actors treated the issue, considering it was 1958. More importantly (at least to me), I thought that the rich characters were true to the essence of what Williams wanted to do. Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor), has some of the "mendacity" of which Brick is so contemptuous, but has a great capacity for love, too; Big Daddy (Burl Ives) wields his wealth like a tyrant, but what he really wants (unbeknownst to him) is the connection with his family that his single-minded ambition has destroyed.

Of note: Elizabeth Taylor would appear in so many not-so-great films later in life that it's sometimes easy to forget how good she used to be. This film is a happy reminder: her performance is luminous.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Richard Brooks
Elizabeth Taylor
Paul Newman
Burl Ives

DVD title: Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies
Productgroup: DVD
Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent for beginners!

I wanted to gain flexibility and had heard yoga can be beneficial. I ordered Basic Yoga for Dummies, and think it is fabulous. I was concerned about doing the excercises properly without the aid of an instructor. This video provides step-by-step instruction explaining and illustrating the correct spinal alignment for each pose. It also explains where you should be feeling the stretch. The video is user friendly and has made me feel confident about practicing yoga. I have found the poses are harder than they look! I was actually sore the next day. I will continue working with this video over the next couple months, and will then try Beyond Basic Yoga for Dummies! I definitely recommend Basic Yoga for Dummies for any beginner!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Sara Ivanhoe

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