Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Lone Ranger Classic Western Double Feature - Hi-Yo, Silver! / Legend of the Lone Ranger
Productgroup: DVD
The Lone Ranger Classic Western Double Feature - Hi-Yo, Silver! / Legend of the Lone Ranger - movie DVD cover picture
Lone Ranger will be missed and he will ride again

Sad news travels fast. Many millions of baby boomers and other fans will be shocked to hear that Clayton Moore, THE only LONE RANGER died today, December 28th 1999. He will be remembered forever as the "Masked Man".
Brentwood Home Video has the above 3 Pack in stock which features 3 Movies with Clayton and Jay Silverheels. Movies are: 1949: The Legend of the Lone Ranger 1958: The Lost City 1965: The Lone Range. Amazon.Com has this collectors pack on sale and we can ship immediately!
Happy New Year Patricia Morgan Brentwood Communications Inc.

Studio: Vci Home Video

DVD title: Triumph of the Will (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Triumph of the Will (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
No one can say we were not warned.

Hitler wrote MEIN KAMPF, he gave lectures, he wrote letters, he campaigned on the destruction of 'Capitalistic Jewry', and he had a personal film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl. She captured the anger and angst of the post World War I Germans and their enthusiasm for a leader who promised to make Deutchland great again.
TRIUMPH OF THE WILL is a triumph of film-making, and thankfully nothing else. It's hard to imagine a world that might today be overrun by the Nazi jackboot and not shudder. The black and white film along with the extraordinary camera work, massive rallies (notice the bizarre cult and occult overtones), and subtitles give us a rare -though very scripted to be sure- look into the Third Reich before it threw the world into disarray. Interestingly, we get a lot of material meant to reinforce Hitler's idea of 'volk' lifestyle: communal eating and bathing among the German military, 'normal' German women participating in what appear to be calisthenics and other dance-type arts, children being acclimated to the machinery of warfare (this is perhaps the creepiest thing about the entire film aside from Hitler mentioning in a night speech that he was there to do God's work...ugh.)
An important historical document, example of propaganda film and a painful reminder that Hitler was at least a man of his word; he spoke about taking over the world and sending superior German culture to the farthest reaches of earth, he spoke of destroying the slav and the Jew. We just didn't listen. It's funny, but someone made a comment about the President's speech after 9/11 and tried -miserably- to compare it to this film. Let's be clear on one thing: radical Islam is NO different a threat than Hitler's thousand-year-Reich, except that Hitler did not have the variety of weapons and world transport that terrorist organizations have today. Let this film be a lesson to us all: we need to rise up and fight tyranny in all forms. Our President was right then and he's still right. Those of you who think this will all go away are deluding yourselves. I don't need 'Bush propaganda' to convince me, seeing people jump out of those towers was quite enough thank you.

Studio: Synapse
Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Adolf Hitler
Hermann Göring

DVD title: Solaris
Productgroup: DVD
Solaris - movie DVD cover picture
A haunting and mesmerizing look at human loss

Solaris is a film that not everyone will walk away embracing. Many will, in fact, walk away loathing it, carrying a reaction of boredom and anger at wasting their money to see it. But others, such as myself, will come away delighted from a wonderful, cerebral film that carries with it a heavy question: What would you do if you could regain an artificial version of something you lost?
The reason many will hate Solaris is because of its deliberately slow pace with little action or dialogue. Everything spoken and seen has a significant purpose, not a moment is wasted. And many expecting a certain genre of film won't get what they want out of it, either. It isn't science fiction exactly, and it's not really a romance or horror. It's a film that takes elements of all these to create a simple story about irreplaceable loss and what you might do if you somehow found a way to replace it with a shadow of its former self.
The film, a remake of a 1972 film of the same name, and based on a book by Stanislaw Lem, follows psychiatrist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) who is assigned to visit a space station orbiting the planet Solaris. Something strange is going on and a team sent to investigate it never returned. Kelvin, who has some experience with the crew, is the owning company's last chance before giving up on the station. When Kelvin arrives, there are only two crew members left. When his deceased wife suddenly appears at his bedside, Kelvin gets wrapped up in the strange goings-on, and tries to get to the bottom of things. But one of the themes of this film is some things in life have no answers, as Kelvin soon discovers. What really makes this film work is the way it presents questions and ideas such as these, leaving the audience time to ponder them. As Kelvin learns his resurrected wife isn't quite real, the viewer is forced to consider if they would want to live with an imitation of a lost love, or rely only on memories. And the question of the accuracy of memory is also raised. How well do we remember how people truly were?
What really aides the tone of Solaris is its mixing of genres. There are many science fiction touches, and the film seems to use much of the visual style of 2001, A Space Odyssey. But the experience is more human and intimate then that large scale film. It uses some horror elements, including an unsettling score and a potentially scary situation, much like in the film Event Horizon. But it never becomes in your face scary, it's held back a notch. There is romance through flashbacks, as Kelvin remembers the love he once had, and how he lost it. But the somber tone drowns out any happiness there once was. This mix, combined with wonderfully scripted yet simple dialogue create a haunting atmosphere that will open the door to hours of discussion after the film. Much of that discussion will revolve around the film's cryptic ending. It's a conclusion that everyone will have to decide for themselves what happens. After all, as the film so eloquently states, there are no answers, only choices.
The film uses some simple methods to keep the story flowing and avoid confusion. Most apparent is the use of blue lighting on the station, and yellow lighting on Earth to keep straight the flashbacks with present time. The results are subtle but unmistakable. Also, director Steven Soderbergh wisely keeps the film length exceptionally short, as the slow pacing of the film, a necessity to its subject, makes the film seem longer then it is. The acting is also top notch. With a very small cast, Clooney plays his role perfectly, seeming to carry a great weight of grief throughout, and Jeremy Davies as one of the remaining crew members manages to bring a little light-heartedness to the dreary nature of the film.
As stated before, this film isn't for everyone. If you look at film as simply entertainment, then skip Solaris. But if you want to see something intelligent, thought provoking and stunningly beautiful, then Solaris is highly recommended.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney
Natascha McElhone
Ulrich Tukur

DVD title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Productgroup: DVD
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - movie DVD cover picture
Better than I remember!

I've always loved this film, but I hadn't seen it for a long time. I recalled the action, the interesting use of music, and the acting performances by Eastwood and Wallach. Seeing it again, and on DVD, showed me that this is an excellent film, not just a spaghetti western. The part I find fascinating is how very bad the character played by Van Cleef truly is! I didn't recall the scenes where he slapped around a woman, tortured the rat Tucco, nor did I remember him shooting the old man near the beginning! Van Cleef is one BAD dude! This film has excellent cinematography and the story moves you through an exciting Civil War battle. You get all the action here, but you also get a film very artistically put together. Wallach really plays a great rat, and Eastwood is Eastwood... he may not say much, but his actions do tell quite a story! The dvd has some scenes cut out of the original screen version. The sound quality of the DVD is not great, that is my only complaint. I find the film better than I remember! The final showdown is a classic sequence!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood
Lee Van Cleef
Eli Wallach

DVD title: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Productgroup: DVD
2001: A Space Odyssey - movie DVD cover picture
A true classic

This film stands alone as the only film that i know of that depicts space as realistically as possible. all other filmakers who make Science Fiction movies have failed to present the one most obvious thing that you DO NOT have in space. THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE! THERE CANNOT BE ANY SOUND IN SPACE! Kudos to Kubrick for showing how it really is in space. I guess we have Lucas to blame for that as he made space exciting with those Tie-Fighters chasing the Millenium Falcon. I would love to see Star Wars with sound taken out whenever there is a shot in space. that would be TRIPPY!
but anyways, i diverge, back to 2001. this is one of the true classics of the ages and one of stanley kubrick's best, if not his best. it delves deep into a new mythology surrounding the mysterious monolith. what could it be? what influence did it have on human evolution?
it also has some of the most suspenseful scenes in modern filmwork with HAL 9000 and Dave dueling it out in space near jupiter.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Keir Dullea
Gary Lockwood

DVD title: Ikiru - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Ikiru - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Buy the Criterion DVD not an "import"

I'm not going to review "Ikiru" per se, but discuss the "import" DVD version (vs. the Criterion version).

The "import" DVD version of "Ikiru" is an official DVD release of the film by the Hong Kong company Mei Ah. It is not a bootleg (though bootleg versions may also exist).

THE SUBTITLES ON THE MEI AH VERSION ARE SO BAD THAT THE MOVIE IS NEARLY UNWATCHABLE. The English subtitles are a translation of the Chinese subtitles/translation of the original Japanese dialogue. This is evident because the Japanese characters bizarrely have Chinese names. As a result, the English grammar is atrociously poor even by typical Hong Kong standards (and this is coming from someone who watches a LOT of subtitled Hong Kong movies). Think about that for a second:

Japanese ---> Chinese ---> Garbled English ---> scratching your head trying to figure out what characters are talking about

Plus, the Mei Ah DVD is a "flipper", i.e. a double-sided disc that you need to turn over in the middle of the movie.

So my recommendation is to stick with the Criterion version. It is worth the price. If you think you can save money by buying the import version, do this instead:

1) with a magic marker write "IKIRU" on the front of a ten dollar bill
2) burn it

That will cost the same as the import DVD and will be a much more satisfying viewing experience.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Takashi Shimura
Nobuo Kaneko

DVD title: Tenchi Forever - Tenchi the Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Tenchi Forever - Tenchi the Movie - movie DVD cover picture

This is one of my favorite anime movies of all time. I got it Christmas morning and smiled. "Yea! Another good, funny Tenchi movie!" I was wrong about two things, 1: It isn't the funny sort of anime movie. 2. It isn't just another Tenchi movie. This movie is a beautiful love story between an older Tenchi and a girl named Haruna. Tenchi has no knowledge of Ryoko and Aeka. At all.Well, giving things away. The ending of the movie is extremely beautiful. and let's just say this movie is perfect for nekoshippers (Tenchi/Ryoko, yeaaa). ^-^In conclusion..........I give this flick 5 thumbs up! Yay!

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Hiroshi Negishi

DVD title: To Catch a Thief
Productgroup: DVD
To Catch a Thief - movie DVD cover picture
Great film!

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are beautifully paired in this film. It's exciting, mysterious, romantic, and overall entertaining. It's well worth seeing. The wardrobe is very good and it holds one's interest.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cary Grant
Grace Kelly

DVD title: Two Weeks Notice (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Two Weeks Notice (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
I Loved This Movie, Romance, Laughs...Buy It!!

I loved this movie! Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant are a couple of my all time favorite actors and these two were GREAT together. The chemistry between the two was wonderful! When opposites attract the laughs are plentiful and you find yourself slowly falling in love as do Grant's and Bullock's characters. Do yourself a hugh favor, pull up a chair, have popcorn ready and sit back and have a laugh.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Marc Lawrence (II)
Sandra Bullock
Hugh Grant
Alicia Witt

DVD title: The 300 Spartans
Productgroup: DVD
The 300 Spartans - movie DVD cover picture
Finally, a historically accurate movie.

At last, I watched a Hollywood film that tells the story the way it happened. The theme of the movie is the battle of Thermopylae, maybe the most important battle in the history of Europe. The Persian troups were delayed for 3 days by 300 Spartan warriors, led by Leonidas, at the narrow passage of Thermopylay (Gates of Fire). This gave time for the Athenians, Ionians, Corinthians, Macedonians and the rest of the Greeks to assemble the fleet and give the advancing Asian barbarians the final blow at Salamis.

The movie takes place on lacation, at a very scenic area, with many extras, performing excellent in man to man combat and chariot combat, too.

The classic phrases "Molon Lave", told by Leonidas to Xerxes and "I tan i epi tas", told by the Spartan mothers to their sons, are told, and explained in the movie.

The armor of the Spartan warriors is the historically accurate one, with the big Greek "L" on the front (standing for "Lacedemoniis" (Spartans in ancient Greek), they wear the red cloaks, (so no Spartan blood would be visible to the enemy). The daggers are of the correct size and not mistaken by the Sariza, and the battle cries are the appropriate ones.

The musical score is by Manos Hadjidakis, capturing the epic history in a bewildering way.

After all the "historical" epic - junk i watched lately, i was pleasantly surprised to watch this marvel that was filmed more than 40 years ago. Well done!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Rudolph Maté
Richard Egan
Ralph Richardson
Diane Baker

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