Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The 59 Minute Baseball Practice
Productgroup: DVD
The 59 Minute Baseball Practice - movie DVD cover picture
Little talk, much action, just as kids should be coached

As a child psychologist who has been involved with sports and children for over 20 years, I was very impressed by the way in which Schupak gets his points across in innovative fashion with, as my 'title' suggests, more demonstration and fewer words. He seems to have both a love for the game and an understanding of children - a combination that I look for myself in the coaches of my own children. I think coaching, like teaching itself, is as much an art as a science, and not every drill or suggestion is going to work for every coach and situation, but I believe that most Little League coaches would find a wealth of fun and economical (in terms of time, but $ too) ways to work with their teams.

Studio: Youth Sports Club
Youth Baseball Players
Marty Schupak

DVD title: Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (Top Hat / Swing Time / Follow the Fleet / Shall We Dance / The Barkleys of Broadway)
Productgroup: DVD
Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (Top Hat / Swing Time / Follow the Fleet / Shall We Dance / The Barkleys of Broadway) - movie DVD cover picture
Classic Astaire/Rogers films on DVD!

I debated purchasing "Top Hat" and "Swing Time" separately or getting this five disc collection. In the end the five disc collection won out. And am I glad it did!

Of all the Astaire/Rogers films I have most wanted "Top Hat," "Swing Time" and "The Gay Divorcee" (not in this set). These three films are probably the best films Fred and Ginger ever made (IMHO). The stories are fun and engaging, sprinkled with some very clever and witty bits of dialogue (from back in the day when movie studios weren't afraid to include intelligent dialogue in scripts), great production values, gloriously over-the-top art deco sets (the depiction of Venice in "Top Hat" is particularly outlandish) and classic American music. I was especially struck by "Swing Time" and the amount of standards that emerged from that one film!

Although "Follow the Fleet," "Shall We Dance" and "The Barkleys of Broadway" aren't my most favorite Astaire/Rogers musicals each film features something of value. The dance number set to "Let's Face the Music and Dance" in "Follow the Fleet" is debatably their best work on film. "Shall We Dance" features some great tunes by Gershwin. "The Barkleys of Broadway" is their only Technicolor film together and proved they could still shine together even after ten years apart.

Each film also has a nice featurette made specifically for DVD release as well as some other extras such as comedy shorts and cartoons. These extras are nice bonuses and the featurettes offer some interesting behind-the-scenes info on Fred and Ginger and their films.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Fred Astaire
Ginger Rogers

DVD title: Charmed - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Charmed - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Charmed Again!

The first season of this wonderful tv show is to be released Feb. 1st. All I can say is that it's about time!
However, I am only giving the show 5 stars and not the DVD Set. Why? Because there is not one special feature!! What is that all about? If I just wanted to watch the episodes I would have recorded them on my VCR or something... I don't think Paramount is too serious about Charmed, which needs to change if all 7 seasons are going to be released.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Shannen Doherty
Alyssa Milano

DVD title: Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
This film is not a cautionary tale

Requiem for a Dream is one of the best, and least understood, movies about drugs ever made. It is not a cautionary tale about the evils of heroin and diet pill abuse. It is about people who refuse to let go of their dreams, amd when those dreams fall the characters fall with them, hard. It is about how American society and the media twist our desires to the point where we must become drug addicts and criminals to make our little lives seem meaningful. It is about how we are then demonized and destroyed because we dare to dream. this is not a movie for the faint of heart. it contains some of the most shocking images i have ever seen on film. not shocking in a Pink Flamingoes way but shocking because you care about the characters, and so the things that happen to them are that much more horrific. Aronofsky is a visual stylist almost without equal, and no matter what you think of the film, you cannot help but be affected by its visual language, the world doesn't look quite the same when you're done watching it. it is both a dream and a nightmare, and will affect the way you look at both. of course, what brings it all home is the performances, especially Ellen Burstyn's, who deserves every award in existence. in a movie like this it would have been easy for the actors to go over the top, but it is because they stayed grounded in real human desires that the film resonates as deeply as it does. every member of the cast approaches their role with a heroic level of commitment and intensity. anyone who cares about film should not miss Requiem for a Dream. it shows us the best and worst of love, drugs, and the desire to live life passionately. it does not ask that you feel sorry for its characters, only that you recognize that they are a part of you. and it does it in a way that will continually shock and amaze you.

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

DVD title: South Park - Complete First and Second Season Pack
Productgroup: DVD
South Park - Complete First and Second Season Pack - movie DVD cover picture

I bought South Park season 1 and 2 !! And I'm so glad that I did. Being a adult that never had cable...and was only able to see South Park if I went to one of my friends houses to see it. The episodes of Season 1 and 2 are the best to me. With the episodes of the Volcano, and Mr Hankey, Flashbacks, Tweek...what can be better?? I'm totally going to ask for season 3 (when it comes out and season 4 for X-mas. That way I really do have the complete collection. The promos with Trey Parker and Matt Stone are hilarious (or a "hoot and a holler")!! Yeah, if your a fan of South's a MUST that you buy these DVD collections, M'kay?

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Boys Don't Cry
Productgroup: DVD
Boys Don't Cry - movie DVD cover picture
Being different in Fly-Over Country

After applauding Hilary Swank's Best Actress Academy Award for her role in MILLION DOLLAR BABY, I thought I'd better rent BOYS DON'T CRY, for which Swank also received an Oscar. Where have I been that I haven't seen it until now?

Here, Swank plays Teena Brandon, a 21-year old woman with female genitalia but the sexual inclinations of a male. Ultimately, she'd like a sex change. In the meantime, she cuts her hair short, wraps up her breasts, pads the crotch of her jeans, renames herself Brandon Teena, and sets out to pick-up chicks. Now, in my corner of the world - Southern California - one could pull this off with panache. Trouble is, Brandon lives in Nebraska, and she eventually runs afoul of a couple of good ol' boys, John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Tom (Brandon Sexton), the former being the erstwhile boyfriend of Lana (Chloe Sevigny), the girl with whom Brandon develops a love relationship. The violence John and Tom eventually visit upon Brandon/Teena gives your average bigot a bad name, and reminds me why Nebraska is Flyover Country, especially when it's not pigskin season and the locals don't have Cornhusker football to keep them occupied. (Ok, ok. I admit I'm being unfair to Nebraska. After all, I'm not from Oklahoma and a Sooner fan.)

Swank's role in BOYS DON'T CRY is, in many ways, grittier and incorporates more extremes of emotion than that in MILLION DOLLAR BABY. At times, I winced and slowly sunk down in my seat, much as I did as I watched Charlize Theron's bravura performance in MONSTER, and MILLION DOLLAR BABY never elicited that reaction. Here, Hilary elevates what might otherwise be a 3 or 4-star soap opera about the lives of trailer trash to 5-star heights.

The sad part is that BOYS DON'T CRY is based on a true story. At the time the film was released, the real-life John and Tom were serving prison sentences. As for Teena, well, it's a shame she didn't live in a more tolerant, cosmopolitan environment. For some, the great empty space of America's Heartland is not the place to be.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Hilary Swank
Chloë Sevigny

DVD title: In Too Deep
Productgroup: DVD
In Too Deep - movie DVD cover picture
Donnie Brasco of the 1990s!

A superb, tense thriller that can be placed alongside "Donnie Brasco" (I mean, of course, Agent Joseph Pistone's book, not the dreadful movie, full of awful changes, inconsistencies and downright lies, that was "based" on it!). "In Too Deep" is powerful, dark, gripping and keeps you uncertain of what's going to happen till the very end. A very realistic experience, with attention paid to the tiniest details and legalities - this isn't your average brainless Tarantino flick where undercover cops go around happily shooting anyone they want whenever they feel like it; this feels almost *real*! I doubt if the movie was actually based on a true story of an undercover policeman (unless the "story" is the obvious fact that thousands of policemen risk their lives every month working undercover all over the world), but if anything like it ever happened, you can safely bet that it happened exactly the way the movie tells it. Highly recommended, especially for anyone interested in true crime. If while reading "Donnie Brasco" (NOT while watching its, ugh, "film version"...) you ever wondered what it would be like if moved to the 1990s, "In Too Deep" will answer your questions! (By the way, have you noticed that "God" looks somewhat like a thin Suge Knight, while J-Reed looks a bit like an older version of Tupac Shakur...?)

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Michael Rymer

DVD title: Elvis - '68 Comeback Special
Productgroup: DVD
Elvis - '68 Comeback Special - movie DVD cover picture
My dad loves Elvis.....

I for one, have never had an interest in Elvis. But my dad loves Elvis soooo much.... This would be the perfect gift for anyone who loves Elvis....No matter what the reason is....

Studio: A Vision
Elvis Presley

DVD title: Friends - The Complete Eighth Season
Productgroup: DVD
Friends - The Complete Eighth Season - movie DVD cover picture

This is awesome , I have been checking Amazon everyday for the chance to pre order Friends 8th season .. Now that the show is sadly over , they need to crank out these DVD's Faster ...... anyways I Can't wait to watch these on DVD !(...)

Studio: Warner Home Video
Lisa Kudrow

DVD title: Presenting Felix the Cat
Productgroup: DVD
Presenting Felix the Cat - movie DVD cover picture
Felix - the earliest cartoon superstar!

This DVD is a must for any animation or silent movie fan, as this contains the earliest surviving Felix cartoons.Felix was the first cartoon superstar, and seeing this DVD it's not suprising. Felix at that time had what other silent cartoon characters lacks - PERSONALITY. He was a survivor, always solving his problems through wit, he also helped out others but takes revenge on others who wronged him. He also talked to the audience, enabling us to be involved in his adventures. He seems real, he was a silent movie actor, creating enjoyment in the same level as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, and Mr. Bean. How sad it was that he didn't survive the sound era (initially), to be replaced by a mouse that can talk but had minimum personality!All of his cartoons are outstanding, although Felix is not in his well-known form, as he looks more like a dog than a cat! However, Otto Messmer's unique talent of storytelling and animation makes each of the Felix cartoons a true gem.Even though it's on DVD, don't expect pristine prints. Bearing in mind these cartoons are over 80 years old, some of the cartoons have some degree of decomposition, although all are watchable. Mind you, the first Felix cartoon, FELINE FOLLIES, is in a remarkably good condition! At least the cartoons are on near-indestructable DVD, providing a lifetime of enjoyment of this little piece of cartoon history.

Studio: Image Entertainment

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