Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Little Britain - The Complete First Series
Productgroup: DVD
Little Britain - The Complete First Series - movie DVD cover picture
Look Into My Eyes....

I have to agree... C'mon Amazon give us our Little Britain!! While visiting my fiance in England in February I was sucked into the crazy hysterical world of Little Britain. Ever since I came back to the States I've been searching and searching for the show on DVD. Then last week a blip in the paper said the first season was YES YES YES going to be released on August 16th.. So where is it? I know I would pre-order this just as quickly as I did the first season of Lost. So.. look into my eyes not around my eyes... You're under ... Now Amazon.. put Little Britain up for pre-order so we can keep on laughing... OK you're out..

Studio: BBC

DVD title: Druids
Productgroup: DVD
Druids - movie DVD cover picture
A good historical movie

I am not an Historian , so don't expect me to tell you if all the tiny details are like the French history (even though I have a French passport, I was not there at that time, or if I was, I do not remember). However, I have been at French school since my youngest agre, and , all in all, this movie is Correct (historically). It also explains why Vercingetorix lost (all Frenchmen who have been at school should know why anyway). That being said, I appreciated the movie itself a lot - good cast , good sc?nario , nice shots (although I would have preferred if it cold have been filmed on the actual battle field in France ). Altogether, it is just a good entertaining movie relating historical facts. To be honest I do not intend to buy it, but it is really worth watching it...

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Jacques Dorfmann
Christopher Lambert
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Max von Sydow
Inés Sastre

DVD title: Pilates Complete For Weight Loss
Productgroup: DVD
Pilates Complete For Weight Loss - movie DVD cover picture

At first I thought pilates was for flexible and physically fit people. After having my first child I gained 30 pounds and was completely out of shape. From a high recommendation, I started "Pilates Complete for Weight Loss" everyday and within three weeks I saw impressive results. As a beginner not only did I lose some of my pregnancy weight but my breathing and flexibility has improved as well. Pilates is now a part of my daily life and I hope to reach the intermediate level soon.

Studio: Bodywisdom Media, Inc.

DVD title: Twelve Kingdoms - Chapter 1 - Shoku
Productgroup: DVD
Twelve Kingdoms - Chapter 1 - Shoku - movie DVD cover picture
12 Kokuki -- An Impressive Epic Story

The Twelve Kingdoms is a very complex and at the same time very intriguing story about a high school girl, Youko, being transported to another world where she finds mysterious wild beasts, strange customs, and unfriendly people. The places in the alternate world look like ancient China (500-800 B.C.) 12 Kokuki has all the air of a Fushigi Yuugi (FY) but it is darker and more realistic than FY. It is more logical and reasonable than FY. The characters are more matured because they have to face the harsh reality from furious political fights to basic personal survival.
There are many volumes to the Twelve Kingdoms series. The first set of books is called "Tsuki no Kage - Kage no Umi" or "Sea of Shadow, Shadow of the Moon." There are 14 animated episodes devoted to this set with episode 14 as a recap. "Sea of Shadow, Shadow of the Moon" starts off by introducing us to Youko, the perfectly nice, considerate class prefect of a typical high school in Japan. She has been having nightmares lately. One day, a man called Keiki showed up in her classroom and asked her to be his master. After getting rid of some troubles, Keiki took her to an alternate world and over there Youko had to face a master plan of assassination against her. No one came to her rescue and no one came to give her shelter. No one fell in love with Youko but she became a fugitive herself being hunted by the local authorities and giant wild beasts. Feeling betrayed, Youko became very aggressive, wild, a little bit of cunning, and suspicious of people.
The story starts off with a good pace but slows down toward the middle. It picks up again from episode 8 on. I literally glued myself to the screen from episode 10 on. Scenery is stunningly beautiful and the animation is pristine. The opening scene of the opening overture, the Twelve Kingdoms Fantasia, is breathtaking. The music corresponds with the scenery by the use of Chinese fiddle. The Twelve Kingdoms Fantasia reflects the gallantry, the strength, and the courage of a warrior and the outro theme song, "Getsumei Tuuei" or "The Mystic Moon in the Shadow of the Wind," reveals the lonely heart of a warrior. The end credit song is particularly romantic, displaying the soft side of our hero.
The subsequent sets of the Twelve Kingdoms series are: Ep. 15 - 21: "Kaze no Banri - Reimei no Sora" or "Breeze of Sea, the Shore of the Mystic Palace"Ep. 22: The BookEp. 23 - 39: "Wind of a Thousand Miles, the Sky of Dawn"Ep. 40: "Riding along with the Moon"Ep. 41 - still going : "Sea God of the East, Vast Ocean of the West" - the phrase "vast ocean" in its original language is generally used as a metaphor for sadness and unhappy feelings.
I originally requested Studio Perriot to have Pioneer distribute the American version of the Twelve Kingdoms because Pioneer did such a great job with FY. Well, I just hope that Media Blasters would do a good job with translation and English dubbing with this beautiful anime. For more information about the series, check out 12Kokuki's Japanese official website. It's got pictures, character descriptions, synopsis of each episode, plus all the latest news and products. Unfortunately, the website is in Japanese but at least you can take a look at the pictures. ^_^

Studio: Media Blasters, Inc
Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi

DVD title: Under Siege
Productgroup: DVD
Under Siege - movie DVD cover picture
Die Hard on a Battleship

Steven Seagal's best movie and a superior action flick in its own right. Seagal's acting can generously be described as "understated". However, he is very convincing as a one man wrecking ball. The production value is excellent, as no expense was spared on the casting and action scenes. Busey and Jones eat up the screen in deliberately hammy performances and Erica Eleniak is hot. Definitely worth repeated viewing.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Andrew Davis
Steven Seagal
Gary Busey
Tommy Lee Jones
Erika Eleniak

DVD title: Gilbert & Sullivan - The Gondoliers / Franks, Douglas, Maconaghie, Australian Opera
Productgroup: DVD
Gilbert & Sullivan - The Gondoliers / Franks, Douglas, Maconaghie, Australian Opera - movie DVD cover picture
The Best of G & S

The Opera Australia production of The Gondoliers, surpasses any other procduction.The cast is superb, the singing strong and in perfect pitch.The costumes lavish.Orchestral playing first rate.I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone, especially those who are now discovering Gilbert and Sullivan for the first time.There is an abundance of thoroughly singable/danceable musicthat is both thrilling to listen to and to watch.I have lived G&S for over 40 years, and this production leaves me breathless.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Martin Coombes

DVD title: Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas
Productgroup: DVD
Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas - movie DVD cover picture
Seeing Sarah in concert finally

I almost bought this DVD weeks earlier but, with the mostly good but a few hesitant reviews, decided to wait because I finally had tickets to a live performance and I was already way overbudget. I was fortunate enough to see her live in New Orleans last night (a 4+ hour drive) for the first time. Words cannot describe what seeing Sarah B. live is like and it was more than worth every penny I spent and every mile I traveled! I could not wait to get home to order this DVD! I've already rated it a 5 (even though I have not actually seen the DVD) because I saw her in a smaller arena with a smaller crowd. The people there last night knew who they were there to see and it was one of the best concert crowds I've been in. She got a long standing ovation after Nessun Dorma and that was in the middle of the show...AWESOME performance. If you are not sure about the DVD, go see Sarah B. live and see how quickly you rush home to buy it just to try to relive the whole experience!

Studio: Emi Distribution
Sarah Brightman

DVD title: The Wind and the Lion
Productgroup: DVD
The Wind and the Lion - movie DVD cover picture
It works on two levels

The struggle of Americans to come to grips with their power and position (they do not wish to be the world's cop but they find it hard to stand aside, they want to be liked but they want to do the right thing which will leave them hated) is the underlying theme of this very well done, swashbuckled movie. And yet you can put all that aside and watch it as an adventure where even the identified "bad guys" (ultimately, the Germans) show gallantry. On that level it is ideal for 12-year old boys, as the last scene between Raisuli and the small boy demonstrate. If you wish to take it deeper, then, like most movies, it will be a Rorschach into which you will project all your political ideology.
For myself, the scene with the Marine captain and the corrupt ruler struck a chord that is echoing across the world: (paraphrase from memory) "Captain, you are mad and your President Roosevelt is insane." "Yes, sir!"

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: John Milius
Sean Connery
Candice Bergen

DVD title: Down by Law - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Down by Law - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Beatnick Noir

I haven't seen all of Jarmusch's films, but I've seen plenty (Ghost Dog, Mystery Train, Stranger than Paradise, Dead Man) to know this is probably gonna go down as my favorite of them all. Jarmusch and photographer Mueller do a brilliant job setting everything up. Its style is as classic and effective as the film noirs of the 1950s, including the seedy characters, the dialogue, and the moody jazz courtesy of John Lurie, one of the film's stars. Story wise, we're dealing with two lowlifes, a pimp and a recently fired DJ, who don't know each other, who are each set up and sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit. They are thrown in a cell together, and eventually an Italian who accidentally killed a man after cheating at a game of cards (hit him with an 8-ball--CLASSIC!) and find a way to escape. John Lurie is the pimp, Tom Waits is the DJ, and Robert Benigni makes his American film debut as Bob, the Italian. (Ironically, he is the kindest, funniest, most jovial of the trio, yet he is the only one who actually is guilty of the crime he's in for).

I've read the other reviews, and I'm dissapointed in why some people don't like the film. First off, I believe that Criterion has once again given us a top of the line DVD transfer. The extras are great for folks that are into the "hows" and "whys" of a film, as I am, and the transfer itself is clear and beautiful to watch.

The acting may not be the best (Lurie was adequite), the dialogue and storyline are right out of the 50s, and help the mood of the entire thing. The characters are introduced perfectly so that we don't really need to know why they're being set-up. Our imagination can do the walking for us there. We know they're both kind of shady guys, and there are any number of reasons why someone would wanna see them put away, or use them so that someone else doesn't get caught.

And as far as the reviewer wondering why we don't see the dogs, only hear them; don't see the escape, only the afterwards; and don't see the prison, only their cell, the answer is simple: its an indie film made before indie's were all the rage. Jarmusch could only afford so much, and I find that he did an incredible job giving us all the necessary information without having to show us everything that was going on. The only thing I might raise an eyebrow to is Bob and Nicoletta (Benigni's real life wife) falling in love in under an hour or two. But hey, sometimes, if its worth it, you gotta suspend reality. The chemistry between the two characters is enough for me to believe they're in love, so who am I to argue!

All in all, this is one of my favorite movies to watch. Criterion did a great job with this DVD, and at the very least, its a fun flick in the noir tradition, with a bit of a smart-ass underworld, beatnick edge to it.

...but that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Tom Waits
John Lurie
Roberto Benigni

DVD title: 7th Heaven - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
7th Heaven - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
7th Heaven Rocks

Hallelujah!. That was the reaction of millions of people around the world when a show like 7th Heaven was created and put on television. A nice, clean, wholesome show for the entire family. It premiered on The WB back in 1996, and has become the network's #1 show for 5 seasons in a row!. While other, hip shows got all the attention, this quiet family drama got all the ratings. The show centers around The Camdens. A large family living in the fictitious town of Glen Oak, CA. Dad Eric Camden(Stephen Collins), is the local reverend, and his wife Annie(Catherine Hicks), is one the busiest and caring mothers around. They have 5 kids. 16 year old Matt(Barry Watson), 14 year old Mary(Jessica Biel), 12 year old Lucy(Beverly Mitchell), 10 year old Simon(David Gallagher), and little 5 year old Ruthie(Mackenzie Rossman). We can't forget their dog, Happy, either. The show centers around the lives of the clan, but also their willingness to reach out and help others that are in need. With Eric being the local reverend, it just comes with the territory. Season one is a fantastic debut season. The writers have a way of making the family realistic, even though some people criticize it for being unrealistic. As if they know every single family in the world. One of the show's strong points is hitting on issue of today. Season one will hit on teen pregnancy in the episodes "Family Secrets" and "No Funerals And A Wedding", stealing in the episode "America's Most Wanted", drugs in "Saturday", spousal abuse in "What Will People Say", racism in "The Color Of God", death in "In The Blink Of An Eye", alcoholism in "Last Call For Aunt Julie", sexual harrasment in "Brave New World", and lots more. Plus, the episodes just deal with life in general. The ups and downs of normal family living with 5 kids and two parents. Storylines like Lucy wanting to join the cheer squad in "Now You See Me", Simon wanting a dog in "Anything You Want", holidays in "Halloween", and 'Happy's Valentine", visits from the grandparents Ruth and The Colonel in "Seven Is Enough", and later on in "It's About George", and the ongoing issue of dating and boyfriends and girlfriends. The writing dealing with the issues is very real. The message is made very clear and it's those types of storylines that the writing is the strongest. Some accuse it of being preachy, but it's not. It just lays out the situation, the message, and brings a resolution, or somewhat of a resolution, to it and that's it. Not preachy. The writing does have a tendency to fall into the 'weak' category at times, but when it's hitting on all cylinders, it's got it right. The acting is the same. While Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks are pros and act circles around everyone else, the kids struggled with the acting in the earlier seasons. Not all bad, but not all great. Barry Watson was one of the best, and David Gallagher grew into an impressive young actor. Especially in the 8th season. Many moments, with Collins and Hicks, have been emmy worthy, but as usual with The WB, it goes unseen. Why is the show so popular and successful?. Because it's good. It's warm and inviting and makes you feel hope. It is supposedly so out of the norm and so ultra-unhip, but that's exactly what makes it hip and cool. People have been bombarded with nothing but violence and adult type themes and harsh language on TV for years and it's what they know. A show like this isn't going to be understood by a lot of people because it doesn't follow the norm of other shows. That's why it's good and has been such a success for so long. The show has had, and is continuing to have, the last laugh. Visiting Glen Oak and stepping inside the Camden clan's large, homey house and witnessing their life's adventures is a joy and a delight. It has truly become the ultimate family show, and thank god there are people out there who understand how badly it's needed.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Stephen Collins

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