Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Bad Company
Productgroup: DVD
Bad Company - movie DVD cover picture
Lik the proverb says, "'Bad Company' corrupts good morals."

This is an overlooked and, unfortunately, mostly forgotten Western from the 1970s. I first saw it with my younger sisters and brother at the Mustang Drive-In in Chandler, Arizona. Also, many people may not know that members of a 70s rock band were so impressed with the movie that they chose the movie's title for their band's name.
The story is about one boy (Barry Brown) and his struggle to survive after his parents send him to the West to avoid being drafted into the Civil War. His mother makes him promise to write her over the course of his journey. The boy, being a good Methodist, promises his mother that he will and leaves the security of his home to find loneliness and hunger on the road. He meets up with a band of homeless (and possibly runaway or draft-dodging) boys like himself and travels with them towards the Western US. They have many adventures, but get themselves in trouble, too. One boy is shot and killed for stealing a pie which is cooling on a windowsill. Another boy meets a similar tragic ending. Finally, the only two left are the boys played by Barry Brown and Jeff Bridges. Jeff plays a boy who is the antithesis of Barry--bad versus good--and Jeff finally corrupts Barry by his lawless, immoral ways: having sex for money with a pioneer's wife, robbing banks, etc. Barry finally resorts to robbing banks with Jeff to replace the money Jeff had stolen from his boot. Jeff laughs when he tells Barry that he spent it on whores.
It's a good lesson for all who watch it enfold--Barry's corruption does not happen all at once; it evolves. See the movie. Many other Westerns seemed mediocre to me after I saw "Bad Company."

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Robert Benton
Jeff Bridges
Barry Brown
Jim Davis

DVD title: The Simpsons - The Complete Fourth Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Simpsons - The Complete Fourth Season - movie DVD cover picture
Every Simpsons Collector Needs This!

If you are like me, you already have the first three seasons on DVD and you are waiting for the rest of the seasons to be released. Well, the fourth season would be a great start to an expansion, and I highly suggest that you order this product. Just like all of the the other seasons, you are in for some great laughs.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Dan Castellaneta

DVD title: Empire Records
Productgroup: DVD
Empire Records - movie DVD cover picture
One Damn Good Movie!

Empire records is one of the coolest movies I've ever seen. Its the kind of movie that critics would hate, but casual viewers love. It's a funny, easy to follow movie that can be watched time and time again. Watching this Empire Records makes you want to work in a music store. I highly recommend it to young adults with a sense of humor.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Allan Moyle
Anthony LaPaglia
Debi Mazar

DVD title: Curse of the Demon / Night of the Demon
Productgroup: DVD
Curse of the Demon / Night of the Demon - movie DVD cover picture
One the great turning points in horror films

The distributor advertising this DVD as a "Double Feature" stretches the truth a bit. "Curse of the Demon" is merely the shortened American version of the British film "Night of the Demon." The American version runs thirteen minutes shorter and is by far the weaker cut of the film, if still a fine piece of work. It's a nice feature to have the complete American cut on this disk for the sake of comparison with the original, but this is hardly a "double feature." And there's no reason to watch the edited, shorter version when you have the superior British original of one of the seminal horror movies of all time on the same DVD. "Night of the Demon" hit theaters in 1957 and marked a turning point in macabre cinema. Director Jacques Tourneur had made some important 1940s horror films ("Cat People," "Leopard Man," and "I Walked with a Zombie," as well as the film noir classic "Out of the Past") that moved against the grain of the gothic fantasies that Universal produced during the 1930s. With "Night of the Demon," Tourneur cemented the idea of the modern horror film, where the terrors of the gothic, demonic, and supernatural appear within the realm of the modern, everyday world -- the essentially rational setting of the contemporary times. The success of this film would eventually lead to such movies in the following decades as "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist," which took place in the recognizable contemporary world, where the invasion of supernatural forces seemed all the more ghastly.
The screenplay comes from the short story "Casting the Runes" by master Victorian ghost story writer M. R. James. (You can find this story in an excellent and currently in-print volume of the same name.) In the story, a professor and practitioner of the black arts, Karswell, has found a way to send demonic forces against his academic foes by passing them a slip of paper covered with magical runes. The movie expands the premise: Karswell (Niall MacGinnis, who played Zeus in "Jason and the Argonauts") leads a witchcraft circle and uses his rune-tracker to send a demon after his opponent, professor Harrington. After Harrington's death, his American friend, psychologist Holden (Dana Andrews), comes to America to learn more, but scoffs at the idea that anything supernatural could lurk behind Harrington's death. Unfortunately for Holden, Karswell feels threatened enough to decide to send his murdering monster after the American.
Tourneur brilliantly films the movie in a split style, dividing between realistic, bland daytime scenes, meant to have an almost documentary feel, and increasingly warped and bizarre nighttime scenes as the curse of the demon moves closer and closer to Holden and it becomes harder for him to deny the truth of what is occurring. The demon itself is a point of controversy among film students. Tourneur was famous for keeping his horrors hidden, and some people believe that he never planned to show the demon at all, but the producer forced him to shove it up front. The appearance early in the film of the full demon might have been an error (it would have worked better to save it for the finale), but its materialization at the end is pretty incredible and it's hard to believe that Tourneur wouldn't have wanted the ending any other way. This is (excuse the pun) one hell of a demon. Designed by Ken Adam (who would later create the sets for most of the James Bond films, as well as "Dr. Strangelove"), the monster looks like it leaped from the freakiest medieval woodcut representation of Hell. The special effects and sounds accompanying it are also eerie and disturbing.
Andrews is a bit stodgy in his part, but Niall MacGinnis makes up for it with his scene-stealing role as Karswell. MacGinnis is both a bumbling, whimsical British professor (complete with a doting and scolding mother), and a cold-blooded sorcerer -- often both in one scene. The ending of the film, involving the passing of the runes, is both funny and incredibly tense, leading to one of the most stunning climaxes in horror films. Peggy Cummins as the love interest is delightfully perky and intelligent, much more so than female leads in most horror films.
The only extra on the disk is the inclusion of the American cut. However, the film is in perfect condition, and is finally shown in the original aspect ration of 1:1.66 (a typical European screen format infrequently seen in the U.S.; it's halfway between the shape of a TV screen and the typical 1:1.85 that most American movies are shot in today). "Night of the Demon" is essential horror film viewing for anyone who wants to understand the development of the genre into its current form. (And I have to repeat it, that's one helluva demon!)

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Dana Andrews
Peggy Cummins

DVD title: The Mummy Returns (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Mummy Returns (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Not An Oscar Winner, but a Great Action Movie

If you are expecting great serious action then this movie isn't for you, but if you are like me an enjoy action movies this is one of them. While a typical script this movie offers non-stop action, it kind of reminds me of the Indiana Jones series. It kind of brings back the kid in me. A terrific film, I personally would recommend it.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Stephen Sommers
Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz

DVD title: Gilmore Girls - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Gilmore Girls - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
the best show ever

o my god, if you have not seen or heard about the GIlmore Girls you must have been living under a rock. It is the best show ever. If you have not tuned in before this is the time. The show is so addictive its like a healthy drug. THe show is about a mother, Lorelai, and her sixteen year old daughter, Rory. They have the Best relationship for a mother and her daughter. I highly recomend this show and i can't wait til the DVD is released.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Lauren Graham

DVD title: Jeremiah Johnson
Productgroup: DVD
Jeremiah Johnson - movie DVD cover picture
soul searching

The combination of Pollack and Redford created one of the most spectacular movies ever. You'll want to watch this movie over and over for all the nuances. Heart-rending and touching, the story will take you to another place and help you forget the hustle and bustle of modern life. This wide screen version is the only way to go...

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Sydney Pollack
Robert Redford
Will Geer

DVD title: The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Breaks your heart ...

I made up my mind before walking into see the movie that I would watch the whole thing and not turn away. Because, after all, Christ did this for me. I thought the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane was visually stunning. The movie grabbed my attention from the very start and I was absorbed. As far as crying, I cried right after Peter and Jesus locked eyes after Peter denied him three times. Peter was heart-broken, a very powerful scene. I cried at the magnitude of the scourging. I thought back that this is the way it could have been, maybe more, maybe less. I cried when Mary had a flashback to the boy Jesus when he fell and hurt himself. She ran to comfort him. Then she ran to comfort him as he fell with the cross. She seemed to give him strength to carry on. Jesus' words to his mother, "Mother, watch me as I make all things new", gave me chills. I thought the climatic scence was when the tear fell from heaven and struck the ground after Jesus died on the cross. I couldn't help it, I cried with God.
No movie, I mean none, has ever affected me this emotionally, ever. The Jesus of Nazerath TV mini-series did a little, but nothing like The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson has created a classic. I'm sure they will be talking about this movie 100 years from now.
These questions were posed to me by a friend. Here are my answers.
Q. Who or what was the baby that Satan was holding while Jesus was being scourged? A. After the scourging, Satan holds a grotesque child in mockery of the old Adam, and also of Mary's eventual piet? (i.e., a painting or sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding and mourning over the dead body of Jesus).
Q. How long (miles) was the via dolorosa? A. The existing via dolorosa in the old city of Jeruselem is probably less than a mile.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Mel Gibson
James Caviezel
Monica Bellucci

DVD title: DVD-Classical Guitar -Seven Easy Pieces
Productgroup: DVD
DVD-Classical Guitar -Seven Easy Pieces - movie DVD cover picture
A Helping Hand

This is an excellent presentation of the seven pieces. I especially enjoyed learning Tarrega's "Adelita" and Bach's "Sarabande". Hand offers some views on interpretation and ornamentation as well, such as his discussion on the traditional baroque approach to Bach vs. his more romantic approach for the guitar. I would recommend buying his other DVD first, "Classical Guitar: Technique & Musicianship" in order to lay some groundwork for these pieces as they are not for the novice. Hand is one of the best classical guitarists in the world, and is gifted as an instructor as well which isn't always the case with great musicians. Between these two videos and the accompanying sheet music any intermediate level (which includes the ability to read music) fingerstyle guitarist should be able to become proficient in beginning to intermediate level classical guitar repertoire. Highly recommended.

Studio: Hal Leonard Publishi
Frederic Hand

DVD title: Hidalgo (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Hidalgo (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A favourite - for the horses, actors and scenery!

I missed this movie at the cinema, to my regret, as I love the wide screen DVD release. "Hidalgo" is one of those horse movies that reminds me why, as a kid, I was so horse crazy! The human personalities have sufficient depth to keep us interested in what happens to them while T.J. (as Hidalgo) and his equine co-stars steal the show. In fact, Hopkin's horse is one of the great 'characters' of this movie. I like John Fusco's work, and Joe Johnston has the right directorial touch for this movie. It's a great yarn, beautifully shot on location in Morocco, and Viggo manages the lead role extremely well, and displays an obvious raport with his four-legged co-star!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Joe Johnston
Viggo Mortensen
Zuleikha Robinson
Omar Sharif

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