Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Kingdom Come
Productgroup: DVD
Kingdom Come - movie DVD cover picture
Like Everyman, Every Southern Family


Almost didn't watch this movie....wasn't in the mood for musicians trying to be actors....but decided what the hey, might be lighthearted and worth the video rental price...ended up really enjoying it, even coming to amazon.com to buy it. This film has many southernisms and dysfunctional-but-you-gotta-love-them familyisms. We adopted several lines in our own family "You know yo Daddy love us!" ....a certain sign that we enjoyed it! It had excellent situational comedy and Whoopi plays the most understated part of her career, and it really works!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Doug McHenry
Actors:
LL Cool J
Jada Pinkett Smith




DVD title: A Walk to Remember
Productgroup: DVD
A Walk to Remember - movie DVD cover picture
A Love Story Devoid Of Sex. An Instant Classic. Irresistible.


Adam Shankman's ("Bringing Down The House") respectful screen adaptation of the wonderful romance novel of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks is an instant classic, featuring a star performance by singer-turned-actress Mandy Moore (her first film was Disney's "The Princess Diaries"). At long last, we get a love story devoid of the sexual overtones so prevalent in today's society (I don't have anything against sex in movies, it's just that I prefer the classic romance films, like "Casablanca" and "Gone With The Wind" [see my reviews on these and others like them]). THIS film deserves to stand among them as a symbol of family-friendly (if you don't mind the mild language and subtle sexual innuendos-hey, movies aren't devoid of reality and this stuff happens every day) entertainment. Mandy Moore, fresh off her film debut, plays the preacher's down-to-earth, beautiful and "Almost ethereal" daughter Jamie Sullivan so well that I almost thought she was real. Shane West turns in an equally fine performance as the teen who, against his will, finds himself drawn to Jamie and subsequently, comes to appreciate her for who she is and what she represents. Darryl Hannah (the villainous one-eyed assassin Elle from "Kill Bill" [see my review on it]), Peter Coyote, David Andrews (Claire Danes' dad in "Terminator 3" [see my review on that one and "The Terminator" in my review of "Terminator 2"])and the rest of the cast add to the tenderness of this film, so lovingly adapted from the book on which it is based. I LOVED this movie. I nearly cried during the scene where she sang "Only Hope," the sad scenes, during the end credits and the music video. This is the role Ms. Moore was born to play. Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Adam Shankman
Actors:
Shane West
Mandy Moore (II)




DVD title: The Wicker Man
Productgroup: DVD
The Wicker Man - movie DVD cover picture
Haunting memories of a WICKER MAN....


This is not a horror movie in the generally understood sense, but since it has Christopher Lee in it, I guess people expect that it will be. But be prepared for something more cerebral: the Wicker Man won't have you leaping behind the sofa (well, not out of fright, at any rate) but it will tax your sensibilities: a sense of dawning, slowly spreading dread will get under your skin. That's a far more difficult stunt for a director to pull off.
For all this sense of dread, the Wicker Man is a considered rumination on a clash of beliefs. Woodward is superbly cast as an out-and-out prude of a Christian policeman, lured from his beat on the conventional Scottish mainland to an isolated Scottish Isle to investigate an allegation of a missing person. The isle quickly reveals itself to be (in Sgt. Howie's view) a den of disgusting iniquity, its population given over to the practice of pagan rites in place of decent, traditional Christian Values. The epicentre of activity is the local pub, the Green Man.
This is the first score the film makes: the Green Man is a figure from Celtic myth and the rituals and beliefs associated with it have been around, in the British Isles, longer than Christianity itself.
And the pagans run rings around poor, starched Sgt. Howie. Howie fulminates, he fumes, and bridles beneath his policeman's uniform, of which he barely removes even his hat. The locals, by contrast, are quite happy to remove pretty much everything, indulging in sins of the flesh in nearly every direction that Howie can turn. Christopher Lee is marvellous as the gentrified spokesperson for this way of life. He remarks to Howie that he could live with the animals: "They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins." Howie, by contrast, positively revels in weeping for his, and those of the islanders.
....
Screenplay writer Shaffer alludes to another ancient pagan mythology in developing this point: One night Howie is tempted, like Odysseus, by a singing siren in the form of Landlord's daughter Britt Ekland, knocking on the his wall and enticing him to sample her wares. By the skin of his teeth (and by dint of staying the other side of the wall) Howie retains his pyjamas and maintains his composure, though I daresay viewers will have trouble doing so: it is an extraordinarily erotic scene. But it is not gratuitous: in steadfastly refusing to give himself over to temptation, Howie unwittingly sets himself up for the awful resolution of the film.
It is difficult to discuss much of the rest of the Wicker Man without giving the game away, and this rob the film of much of its impact. Suffice to say it's a truly startling, haunting finish, the final scene instilling real dread and horror not so much in Howie's own predicament (although this is surely dreadful enough), but the viewer's realisation (which Howie himself never makes) that his whole scheme of belief will not save him or in any way mitigate his own fate.
Oddly this ending met with approval amongst church leaders, who pronounced the film profoundly Christian in depicting Howie's heroic final stance. That's not how I saw it: to my eyes the entire film is an essay in the futility of Christian thought: as he rails impotently against the inevitable fate he has brought on himself, it is Howie himself who is the Wicker (i.e., straw) Man.
And at his demise, the sun comes up on the isle, as if nothing had happened.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Robin Hardy
Actors:
Edward Woodward
Christopher Lee




DVD title: Northanger Abbey
Productgroup: DVD
Northanger Abbey - movie DVD cover picture
A Jane Austen fanatic who loves this movie


We all know that the BBC, with some funding from A&E, could do a great adaptation of this film (hint, hint)! But since they don't seem to be interested in doing that, fans of the Jane Austen novel this film is based on, will have to refer to this made-for-British-TV version for a quick Northanger Abbey 'fix'.
Which is not a bad way to describe the nature of this film. Its screenplay is the bare bones of JA's classic novel, which leaves much of her satire, -- not to mention her witty dialogue,-- out. What was an intriguing and entertaining satire on the popular Gothic novels of its time, was made into a dreamlike, slightly creepy, light romance. Entertaining for what it is; deeply satisfying it is not. However, there are good things about this film, that JA fans will enjoy.
The biggest of these is the strength of the film's cast. The acting is superb, and the actors well suited to their roles. Peter Firth is perfectly charming as Henry Tilney, and though deprived of some of JA's better lines from the novel, conveys those he has with just the right passion for a romantic hero. And the heroine, played wonderfully by Katharine Schlesinger, is just as the novel imagined, innocent and eager to greet the world, all wide eyes and innocence. The supporting cast is also fine, especially Googie Withers as Mrs. Allen, and the Thorpe siblings.
Other high points are the lush and colorful costumes, and the vivid and romantic setting. All the opulence of dress from the 1790's, the novel's timeframe, is preserved, including piles of curls on the head, and garrish make-up. The Roman bath scene is a unique and interesting look at what one of the popular health spas of yesterday were like. And in spite of the inappropriateness of substituting a castle for an abbey, who wouldn't want to be a guest in one like this, or think it a likely place for adventure and romance for the heroine of a Gothic tale, which Catherine Morland so wants to be?
There have been just complaints about this film. The soundtrack is a departure from the JA film norm, and takes some getting used to. John Thorpe is a leering villian, instead of a bumbling fool, as in the novel. The Gothic daydream scenes are sometimes jarring and even disturbing, different from the novel's lighter, satirical tone. But overall these little quirks, along with others, seem to work, within the peculiar context of the film's truncated, but still Gothic and romantic, world. Even the Marchioness's strange appearance adds a pinch of dream flavor to this Gothic soup.
This film is probably best viewed as its own entity, and not as an adaptation of the novel. For JA fans, a more faithful version is needed (please!) but this has strong parts enough for occasional viewing as a curiosity (or just to give the Pride and Prejudice dvd a rest)! Like the Gothic romance novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, which this film in part satirizes, it should be enjoyed by quick consumption, and like that list of laundry bills in a mysterious, old trunk, not too seriously.

Studio: Bfs Entertainment & Multimedia
Director: Giles Foster



DVD title: La Bella y la Bestia (Beauty and the Beast - Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
La Bella y la Bestia (Beauty and the Beast - Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
5 year old say "buy it"


Our 5 year old watches this very intently and loves it. It's a great story, good messages, great music and animation. Adult story line is equally good. Enjoy together.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Actors:
Robby Benson
Paige O'Hara




DVD title: Sweet Smell of Success
Productgroup: DVD
Sweet Smell of Success - movie DVD cover picture
Dark, powerful film. One of my faves.


"Sweet Smell of Success," the Lancaster/Curtis team-up of 1957, is a brilliant little piece of work, underappriciated as a classic film but widely praised in many circles and by fans of twisty, biting noir. The script (co-penned by Ernest Lehman of "North by Northwest" fame) is very, very dark and lets no one off the hook. The characters are all sinister and manipulative, but the film itself shares a strong moral center and the consequences of J.J. & Sidney's actions are greatly taken into account during the closing moments. Entertainment Weekly's TOP 100 MOVIES OF ALL-TIME listed the film at #49 and said it was the type of movie "you stumble upon late at night on cable tv." And they're right: I happened to flip by TCM at 2:00 am one night, caught the opening titles of "Sweet Smell of Success," and sat riveted for the entire running time.
It's great, really great. One of my favorite films, and even though the DVD itself is medicore to say the least (CRITERION! HEED MY CALL!), it holds a special place in my DVD collection.
Grade: A+

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Actors:
Burt Lancaster
Tony Curtis




DVD title: Lonesome Dove Collection (Lonesome Dove/Streets of Laredo/Dead Man's Walk)
Productgroup: DVD
Lonesome Dove Collection (Lonesome Dove/Streets of Laredo/Dead Man's Walk) - movie DVD cover picture
Truly, the stuff of legends


For whatever reasons, many of those who compile a list of their favorite westerns omit this one. Perhaps because it first appeared as a mini-series on television. In any event, the omission is regrettable because (in my opinion) this film offers superior acting under Simon Wincer's capable direction, within a compelling narrative of epic scale and theme, with seamless coordination of Douglas Milsome's cinematography with Basil Poledouris' musical score. The mini-series was based on Larry McMurtry's novel, initially with a running time of 384 minutes and later reappeared in a 240-minute version now available on DVD. Either in the full or abbreviated version, it is unsurpassed by any other western and only a few come within a day's ride of it. Opinions obviously vary but I would include Shane, My Darling Clementine, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Fort Apache among the "few" on my own list.
The primary narrative involves two former, retired, elderly but still vital Texas Rangers, Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones) and Augustus McRae (Robert Duvall), who decide to embark on one last great adventure: Accompanying about 1,000 head of cattle on a 3,000 mile drive to Montana. Of course, they require time to assemble a crew and then the herd. (In the novel, McMurtry devotes the first 85-90 pages to introducing characters, relationships, background information, current situation, issues, etc.) Call and McRae are indeed an "odd couple" and yet they now share great mutual affection and respect as well as a lengthy and colorful history, some of which is revealed in the film. The two old comrades are certainly feisty, as indicated by McRae's reaction to a discourteous bartender in San Antonio and, later, by Call's reaction to equally discourteous horse traders. They may be senior citizens but have lost little of their lethal capabilities.
Space and inclination preclude identifying all of the many sub-plots, each of which is relevant to the main narrative. Two worthy of note in this brief commentary. First, Call's gradual but reluctant acceptance of son Newt (Rick Schroder), born out of wedlock to a prostitute with whom Call was briefly involved. The second focuses on Clara Allen (Anjelica Huston) with whom McRae once had a romantic relationship and of whom he remains especially fond. When he pauses to see her en route to Montana, he learns that her husband had been incapacitated (probably permanently) by an injury and Clara now manages the family's ranch while caring for her husband and raising their two daughters. McRae leaves her again, continuing on with the herd.
There are so many perils along the way, several involving fatal or debilitating accidents. Many of the men are killed. It is beyond my comprehension to grasp the enormity and complexity of driving so many cattle for such a great distance under these conditions, amidst all the natural as well as human dangers. Devoting 240 or even 384 minutes suggests but hardly covers all that was involved. Nonetheless, Wincer, his cast, and his crew are to be commended for their magnificent achievement. What they had to overcome bears at least some resemblance to the epic tale they present so vividly and compellingly.
While seeing Lonesome Dove again recently, observing Call and McRae's once more, I was reminded of the final lines of Tennyson's Ulysses:
"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'We are not now that strength which in old daysMoved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in willTo strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Studio: Lions Gate
Actors:
Robert Duvall



DVD title: WWE Summerslam 2000
Productgroup: DVD
WWE Summerslam 2000 - movie DVD cover picture
WOW


ONE OF THE BEST SUMMERSLAMS.
HERE ARE THE MATCHES.
1.TOO COOL AND RIKISHI VS RIGHT TO CENSOR 8 OUT 10
NICE OPENER.
2.ROAD DOGG VS X PAC 7 OUT OF 10
SWEET.
3.INTERCONTENENTEL TITLE
CHYNA AND EDDIE VS TRISH AND VAL VENIS 8 OUT 0F 10
4.HARDCORE TITLE
SHANE MCMAHON VS STEVE BLACKMAN 10 OUT OF 10
AMZING HARDCORE ACTIVITIE P.S. NICE BUMP BY SHANE.
5.2 OUT OF 3 FALLS
CHRIS BENOIT VS CHRIS JERICHO 9 OUT OF 10
PRETTY SHORT THESE TWO COULD HAVE PUT UO MORE OF UN EFFORT BUT STILL A GREAT MATCH.
6.TLC
HARDYS VS DUDLEYS VS EDGE AND CHRISTION 10 OUT OF 10
TABLE!TABLES! BROKEN BODIES EVERY WHERE I DON'T WANT TO SAY ALOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BUY IT TO BELEIVE IT.
7.STINK FACE THONG MATCH
TERRY VS KAT 10 OUT OF 10
AFTER IT WAS OVER I WAS SWEATING EVERY WHERE.
8.UNDERTAKER VS KANE 9 OUT OF 10
IT WAS REALLY LIKE A STREET FIGHT KANE GETS UNMASKED!
9.WWF CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
ROCK VS HHH VS KURT ANGLE 10 OUT OF 10
ANGLE WAS REALLY HURT BUT HE CAME BACK LATER IN THE MATCH IT WAS STILL GREAT ROCK GOT HIT WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER

OVERALL I SUGGEST YOU BUY IT FIND IT ANY WAY YOU CAN.P.S. I WAS LUCKY I FOUND IT AT FUTURE HOP ON DVD FOR 25 BUCKS

Studio: WWF HOME VIDEO/TITAN SPORTS
Actors:
Triple H
Chris Jericho
Jerry Lawler
Undertaker
Chyna
Kurt Angle
Dudley Boyz
The Rock




DVD title: The Flintstones - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Flintstones - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Great!!!!!!


Greetings from FixitLand!

Having not yet seen this DVD set (but look forward to!), but having much experience with "The Flintstones" going back to its first-run days, I can assure Ms. Gibson that the "weird 'new' music" she complains about is indeed the *original* program theme (as many reviewers have pointed out). When "The Flintstones" was first syndicated in 1966-67, the first two seasons' original themes were lopped off and an edited print of the 1962 theme was added on. Don't believe it? Look at the copyright date at the end of the syndicated first- and second-season episodes: "COPYRIGHT (C) 1962..." Also, note that part of the *audio* in the opening theme is excised ("...courtesy of Fred's two feet") and at that point picture and sound no longer sync. There is no 'pop' as Dino's head pops through the car roof, and *silence* as the "camera" goes to and zooms into the movie screen. For YEARS I had hoped to once again see and hear the original theme, and only recently (on the Cartoon Network) did I finally get my wish. Now, with this DVD, I can see it at will. Looking forward to getting a copy!

J. E. Knox

Studio: Warner Home Video



DVD title: Dead Alive
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Alive - movie DVD cover picture
Jackson's zombie opus is horror-comedy at its best!


Peter Jackson's take on the zombie-film has been described as the goriest and bloodiest film ever put onto celluloid. I will most honestly agree with that statement. I caught the film on cable last night and it hasn't lost its shock and awe after repeated viewings. One thing people always seem to forget is that Jackson's Dead Alive is also one of the funniest horror films out there. Where Romero's zombie films piled dread upon dread until one is almost smothered by it, Jackson balances the grand guignol looks of his film by injecting a hefty load of humor and classic one-liners.

It's such a surprise that someone who made Dead Alive also ended up creating the definitive fantasy-trilogy that everyone is now gunning for: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I just hope that Jackson can take time after filming King Kong to get back to his roots and make another film in the same vein as Dead Alive. Especially now that Romero has gotten the money to film the fourth film in his Dead Saga, zombies are now the "in" monsters of horror cinema.

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors:
Timothy Balme
Diana Peñalver
Elizabeth Moody
Ian Watkin




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