Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Love Hina - Moving In (Vol. 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Love Hina - Moving In (Vol. 1) - movie DVD cover picture
Like the books, this is some awesome stuff!

They say never to judge a book (or DVD) by it's cover, but i am awfully tempted to give this thing a lower score due to the horrendous box art. geez, something better would have been a wide shot of all the characters or something. but if you look under the nastiness that dwells on the surface, you find a pretty, shiny disc inside! oh joy! your cash was not wasted! pop into your dvd player and prepare yourself for one of the greatest mangas of our time. the perfect blend of comedy, romance, and stuff, this is simply a masterpiece. however, i suggest you read the manga first, then watch this. It's interesting to see just how much they changed, and how much is similar. if you never liked any sort of anime, get this, some horror anime, and a little gundam and prepare to be transformed into a cosplayin' con-visitin' geek.

Studio: Bandai Entertainment

DVD title: The Collector
Productgroup: DVD
The Collector - movie DVD cover picture
Brilliant, despite the editing

"The Collector" falls within the "Psycho" tradition in focusing on the repressed sexual longings of a quietly alienated loner, but it's closer to "Peeping Tom" in portraying the sympathetic side of the killer. This is highlighted, first, by the performances themselves, which are superficially cold but in reality display a great deal of underlying warmth. But it's also underscored by the fact that William Wyler's madman is only an accidental murderer, his intention being only to harbor his object of desire, not murder her (murder, as it happens, being simply the "collateral" result of his own perversity).
"The Collector," in fact, is probably the most humanized portrait of a sociopath ever put on film, and Terence Stamp makes us realize in every scene just how starved for affection he is. Not even "Peeping Tom" rivals it in this respect, since the analytical approach of Michael Powell toward his deranged protagonist, not to mention the peculiar fetishism involved, prevents us from really identifying with him. By contrast, Stamp's character could easily represent any otherwise "normal" human being, who is merely more estranged and sensitive than most.
The DVD transfer of the film is fine, certainly not the best conversion of a sixties film I've seen, but still doing credit to the film. The sound is also superior, and I personally love Maurice Jarre's theme music, particularly the beautifully orchestrated version played during the closing credits.
One caution, however: this DVD has been edited slightly, and those used to seeing the brief frontal nudity of Ms. Eggar during the "seduction" sequence in the final quarter of the film will search in vain for it here. This seems to have resulted from some absurd prudery on the part of the company, but it also hurts the film, since the nudity, far from being "pornographic," highlights the intimacy of the scene, and, in addition, serves to emphasize Stamp's reaction to Eggar's slow and delicate offering of herself. Just one more example, in other words, of how the bowdlerizing of a film against the director's wishes is always a perilous exercise.

Studio: Columbia Tri/Star
Director: William Wyler
Terence Stamp
Samantha Eggar

DVD title: The Legend of Bagger Vance
Productgroup: DVD
The Legend of Bagger Vance - movie DVD cover picture
Beautiful movie!

Apparently the better a movie does at the box office, the more special features it will have when realeased on DVD. Since LBV did pretty bad at box offices here all we get on the DVD are about 8 minutes worth of "special features." First we have a 4-minute commentary by director Robert Redford that doesn't really tell us anything we don't already know. During the commentary you are treated to a slideshow of images from the film and/or of the filming process. The other special feature is a 3-minute interview section with some film footage of different cast members sharing their thoughts on the movie. We do also get production notes, which give a good summary of the movie. And we get cast and crew bios which are fairly thourough.
As for the movie itself, I believe I enjoyed it more watching it this second time around. If you keep in mind that this is a modern-day fairy tale, and you realize that golf is just an analogy for life, then any one of us can put ourselves in Matt Damon's role and realize that sometimes we just lose our swing. We can only hope that a Bagger Vance will walk into our lives and help us find our own authentic swing.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Robert Redford
Will Smith
Matt Damon

DVD title: Elizabeth
Productgroup: DVD
Elizabeth - movie DVD cover picture
A Lush, Hypnotic Drama.

"Elizabeth" is a visually stunning and powerfully written film based on one of the great monarchs in history. Some reviewers here shamelessly slam the movie based on "historical inaccuracies." They forget drama is not meant to be seen for research for tomorrow's homework assignment, the great dramatists like Shakespeare regularly re-wrote history when doing a drama. And even then, the script makes valid attempts to look behind the icon of Elizabeth (there is very substantial evidence that she was not really a virgin in the sexual sense and that Robert Dudely was a lover). Director Shekhar Kapur gives us a rich tapestry of characters and locations, feelings and history. An Indian, Kapur paints his movie with the lush textures of India, but he keeps a wonderful English feel to it all and Cate Blanchett is magnificent as Elizabeth, conveying strength, fear and compassion. Richard Attenborough, Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes all deliver noteworthy performances as well. The screenplay by Michael Hirst is smart, poetic and full of political intrigue. The music by David Hirschfelder is marvelous, it creates mood and provides some rich melodies like the love theme. What Kapur does with great success here is transport us to another world and time, we feel like onlookers viewing a great drama unfolding. There is pure suspense in how Elizabeth must find a way to survive and overcome her enemies. Someone complained here about the violence, obviously this person has not read that much history and well babe, history is pretty bloody. "Elizabeth" is a powerful experience, you can view it for the characters and drama and simply enjoy the cinematography, which is done with the eye of a painter. The costumes and light are all used to create an almost dreamy effect. And of course there is the human side of the film. It's a story about the courage to advance when thrust into a position of authority and if needing to be alert and intelligent when navigating the turbulent waters of power. "Elizabeth" is a wonderful tapestry of a movie, not to be missed by admirers of focused, intelligent and visually rich filmmaking.

Studio: Usa Films
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Cate Blanchett

DVD title: American Outlaws
Productgroup: DVD
American Outlaws - movie DVD cover picture
Guns, guys and horses!

Ok, if you want something historically accurate this film is not for you. But its not supposed to be accurate; its supposed to entertain , and boy, it does just that!Right from the starting scene in a civil war battlefield and on to the end, the thrills never stop. It'll have you sitting on the edge of your chair or jumping up and down in excitement all the way through!Farrell is an excellant Jesse (and very handsome too!), set off well by Scott Caan's equally brilliant Cole Younger. When Frank and Jesse James Return to Liberty, Missouri after the civil war, they find things greatly changed. The railroad is heading West and it needs their land. Jesse and Frank refuse to sell and create a spread of rebellion throughout their village. After seeing their Ma brutally murdered by the railroad men, the James brothers join forces with the Youngers and begin careers as outlaws in order to stop the railroad's advance.The film does have a slightly romantic edge in the form of Zie, Jesse's beautiful fiancee (Ali Larter).American Outlaws is equal to Pirates of the Caribbean for excitement, yet being shorter it doesn't even drag in the slightest. Infact, its only fault has to be that it lacks a Jack Sparrow, but with Bob Younger's wisecracks you scarcely notice it.If, like me, you lost your heart to the West long ago you'd be a fool to miss this film. Even if you ain't lost your heart to nobody, you'd still be a fool.So cowboys, saddle up; Let's Ride!!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Les Mayfield
Colin Farrell
Scott Caan

DVD title: Dead Ringer
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Ringer - movie DVD cover picture
Davis at her campiest!

What's not to love about this film? Between the Charles Busch commentary (he does a spot-on Davis impersonation reciting the film's title) and Davis holding a gun to her doppelganger's head, one can't go wrong here!

Bette sure had everyone fooled except for Henry and Duke.

Best scene: When she grabs the hot poker and let's loose with the hugest shriek! I bet that is the exact yelp she let loose with when Crawford pushed her aside and accepted Anne Bancroft's Oscar over Bette's loss. Hilarious!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Paul Henreid
Bette Davis
Karl Malden

DVD title: Equilibrium
Productgroup: DVD
Equilibrium - movie DVD cover picture
A Testament to Excellent Entertainment

It's not very often that I come out of a movie theater with a big grin on my face and goosebumps all over my skin. To put it quite bluntly, Equilibrium was that kind of movie. My all-time favorite books of all time are Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit, and seeing the trailer to this movie immediately reminded me of The Matrix and Minority Report, two other great movies that brings fond memories. But seeing Equilibrium did more than remind me of all those great novels and movies combined. It paid homage to those great stories that successfully brought it to the widescreen as opposed to just rehasing a familiar plot. To achieve such a feat is quite amazing. Mind you, this is not a mindless action flick at all. Equilibrium had a plot that was both refreshing and entertaining in the veins of its dystopian predecessors, and the fact that there were moments in the movie where my jaw would drop to the ground while saying to my friends, "Oh my gawd, did you just see that?!?!" is simply classic. Definitely a testament to great movie entertainment.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Christian Bale
Sean Bean
Taye Diggs
Emily Watson

DVD title: Gargoyles - The Complete First Season (Special 10th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Gargoyles - The Complete First Season (Special 10th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Some of the best in animation...

I've given this DVD set 5 stars even though we won't have it in our hands for 2 months. It only took ten years to have this show recognized and given the proper treatment it deserved, which includes all episodes uncut and as they originally aired. There haven't been many cartoons, or shows for that matter (animated or not) to come close to the scope of Gargoyles. The characters, animation, the history and neatly interweaving plotlines, incredible voice actors, the scope, the power and messages it conveyed has created a following that extended far beyond it's cancellation; even eight years later, people still celebrate it through art and fiction, an annual convention and a worldwide community of fans. And I know it's been a big part of my life and my imagination. Let's hope sales are high enough to warrant a season 2 release...

Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

DVD title: Metropolis (Restored Authorized Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Metropolis (Restored Authorized Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Stunning, shockingly beautiful, as expected.....

I purchased this film in advance when I saw the preview on Kino's website. It just came today, and I watched this version for the first time. This is the film which made me fall in love with silent films. My mother had an atrocious copy put out most likely by "Goodtimes" on vhs. I saw it the first time in 1988, and it has enthralled me ever since.The premise is basic; in the future, mankind is downtrodden by the brutal masters of industry. Freder is the son of one such master, Joh Frederson, the master of Metropolis. The sons of these masters are kept seperate from the workers, so they never see the devestation wrought by their fathers. Freder, Joh's son, falls in love with a worker's daughter, Maria, who is a motivational speaker in secret meetings for the workers. Freder, in his pursuit, discovers the brutal conditions the workers are subjected to, and sets against his father. Joh goes to Rotwang, a mad scientist who creates a robot to look like Maria to foment revolution to help control the workers. The story is actually very well done, but prior to this version nothing has been available at an adequate quality. With this painstakingly preserved version, this beautiful film is seen once more as it was meant to be, or as close as possible given the available footage. The restored film looks great, allowing a better print than many films half its age. The restored music score is dazzling, and the production stills, 43 minute documentary, and many other relevant features are worth the admission fee. If you like Sci Fi and/or silent films, this film is not only great, but necessary.

Studio: Kino International
Director: Fritz Lang
Alfred Abel
Brigitte Helm

DVD title: Dinotopia
Productgroup: DVD
Dinotopia - movie DVD cover picture
Dinotopia, a great movie

I had seen Dinotopia on CBS and I thought it was a good family friendly movie. You want Dinos, this has Dinos and LOTS of them. My recomondation, grab it. Kids will love this one.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Marco Brambilla

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