Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Lost Weekend
Productgroup: DVD
The Lost Weekend - movie DVD cover picture
Master of realism...

Billy Wilder seemed so consumed by a passion for unmasking human frailty and disrobing them of artifice and subtlety, though certainly not of style... From the indictment of ego, self-destruction, and the fickleness of popular culture seen in "Sunset Blvd.", to the baring of the human will to strive and survive seen in "Stalag 17", to the disguise-as-a-revelation-of-true-charact er theme of "Some Like It Hot"... Wilder consistently laid the wound of weakness open for all to see it while pointing the mocking, accusing finger at the necessary accoutrements of social convention. In "The Lost Weekend", the children of the Depression, the men and women of WW2, and the audience weaned on the Studio system were first confronted with the stark, brutal vicissitudes of a drunk, lonely novelist whose fear of writer's block is drowned under a torrent of booze. There are NO adornments here, as we hear the banshee wail of a man confronted by delirium tremens, and see that same man hurt those he loves most by loving the bottle a little more... The insecurities which feed classically-trained Ray Milland foreshadow the naturalistic, intuitive acting of Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Montgomery Clift. Moviemaking in general was not the same afterwards.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Billy Wilder
Ray Milland
Jane Wyman

DVD title: Married to the Mob
Productgroup: DVD
Married to the Mob - movie DVD cover picture
Demme's best film

MARRIED TO THER MOB is not only Jonathan Demme's best film but perhaps the single funniest comedy to emerge from Hollywood in the Eighties. Its depiction of the New York area mob enormously influenced David Chase's THE SOPRANOS on HBO, and hasn't received the recognition for this it deserves. The genius of the film is that all the film's characters (with the exceptions of Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine and Sister Carol) are all mosters of taste as well as morality, and yet none of them seem to realize this: they think everyone else likes the same furniture, and beahves in the same way, as they do. This has the effect of making their awful choices in home decor seem sublime ("I see a great house!" Alec Baldwin complains, when he looks around at the illgotten and hideous goods his mob work has won him), and their moral choices hilarious. Dean Stockwell, as the randy head of the mob family after Pfeiffer's heroine, and Mercedes Ruehl, as his dumb but jealously devoted wife, almost steal the show (there's a great moment--just two seconds, really--when Ruehl decides to surprise her husband while standing at Kennedy Airport under an advertsiing sign that says, "Miami is for Lovers": her goofy look of inspiration is priceless). But the film in the end belongs to Michelle Pfeiffer, as the hapless heroine, the widowed wife of a mob enforcer. This was the film that really made Pfeiffer a star. Years before she began to perfect the irritating mannerisms that marred her work in the Nineties, she manages to make her character's sufferings and her innate goodness seem immensely touching and also, almost bewilderingly, deeply funny. She has a great date at a salsa club with Matthew Modine's character that remains one of the greatest first dates in film history: watch especially for their little dance outside the Criminal Justice Building in the outtakes during the closing credits.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Jonathan Demme
Alec Baldwin
Michelle Pfeiffer

DVD title: Batman - Mask of the Phantasm
Productgroup: DVD
Batman - Mask of the Phantasm - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best

If I had to pick which animated movie deserves high praise, this would be one of them. The way this movie is done was actually so wel thought out, it puts most live movies to shame. First off, this movie is more about Bruce Wayne than Batman himself and shows his past with his true love. The setup is pretty much someone is going around killing off the mob bosses and the police believe its Batman. A connection is found when his once true love and her father returned who ran away from these mob bosses many years ago. Is it one of them doing it or someone else? Great movie that shows the origin of batman, and no, not the parent killing part but the true beginning with his first mission before he chose the costume. Also shows the early days of the joker and one of Bruces loves (he had many, though whats funny is that on an episode of Batman Beyond, they showed every one of Bruces past loves except for this one which was odd). Anyways a great animated movie to get and lets just say, everything about it is perfect.

Studio: Warner Studios
Kevin Conroy
Dana Delany

DVD title: Idle Hands
Productgroup: DVD
Idle Hands - movie DVD cover picture
Idle Hands

Every remotely funny line in this movie (promoted as a comedic horror movie) was shown in the preview. If you like alternative horror movies, this may be for you, but I thought the plot was weak, the dialogue contrived and the movie generally awful. The only redeeming qualities of this movie were the acting skills of Seth Green and Rodman Flender. Know what you are getting into with this "B" movie for the nineties.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Rodman Flender
Devon Sawa
Seth Green
Elden Henson

DVD title: Much Ado About Nothing
Productgroup: DVD
Much Ado About Nothing - movie DVD cover picture
If only I had learned Shakespeare this way.

Had I learned Shakespeare this way I just might have pursued that English degree I should have pursued rather than being scared of Shakespeare.
I love this film. I love the scenery. The acting. Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton. The subtle touches of humor. The joy in watching the evident, but denied love between Branagh and Thompson's characters.
This is a brilliant film with a brilliant cast. I would recommend this film even to non-Shakespeare fans. Fifteen minutes into it you'll have the language down and you'll absolutely love the rest of the film.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
Emma Thompson
Keanu Reeves
Kate Beckinsale

DVD title: Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A new classic

Van Helsing is the hot hit out there. What horror movie has ever put so many classic characters in one action pact movie. None, no one has. The plot is pure gold, and the effects are oscar winning. For the love of god, go see this movie.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Stephen Sommers
Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Richard Roxburgh
Shuler Hensley
Will Kemp

DVD title: Superfly
Productgroup: DVD
Superfly - movie DVD cover picture
Still Fly After All these Years

Super Fly came out in 1972 and is still controversial. Critics say that the story glorifies drugs. I disagree. Ron O Neal (a brilliant actor who simply came on the scene before his time) as Priest is an intense and intelligent character. He knows he's in a dirty game and he's sick of playing it and longs to get out. Junkies are portrayed as pitiful creatures that no one in their right mind would want to emulate. Priest's partner is a greedy, blind fool and his mentor Scatter is living proof that the game can bite you. Add this complex story to Curtis Mayfield's brilliant score and you have what may be the greatest of the blackploitaiton movies. I just want to know when this is going to come out on DVD.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Gordon Parks Jr.
Ron O'Neal
Carl Lee

DVD title: The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Realistic Jamaican Surrealism

You understand the mood wanted by the movie maker in the opening scene, where a on old greyhound-like bus comes humping along a beautiful beachside, dressed with palms and draped in thick blue air. 70ies Jamaica, yah man!

We follow Jimmy Cliff (who definitely adds something fresh to the term "natural coolness") as he moves from the countryside to the big town, Kingston. A funny scene shows Jimmy in a bus seat eating a mango, a guy asks him: "Can I hav` a peez o dat mangou?" Jimmy answers: "I got dis from mi mouther youu nou."
Jimmy makes his marks on the big city by dealing marihuana before he gets his hit on the radio; and now fame and trouble start simultaneously...

Check this out, if you`re one of those who can really dig a close study in "natural coolness", surreal but down-to-earth action, splendid dialogue and much much more...

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Perry Henzell
Jimmy Cliff

DVD title: My Fantastic Field Trip to the Planets
Productgroup: DVD
My Fantastic Field Trip to the Planets - movie DVD cover picture

I just finished watching our preview copy of My Fantastic Field Trip To The Planets with my son, Tyler, age 6. We've seen it several times now at Tyler's urging. He sings the songs that have some pretty neat tidbits about the planets in them. He was singing "93 Million Miles Away"...a song the Sun sings. He then stopped and realized that he knew the distance the Sun is from the Earth. What a seamless way to teach kids without them realizing it. I give this DVD high marks for being original. I think Chris Kattan from Saturday Night Live is in this as Mars. I can see this DVD becoming an instant classic. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

Studio: Wonderscape Entertainment

DVD title: Notorious
Productgroup: DVD
Notorious - movie DVD cover picture
One of Hitchcock's finest ever

An intriguing spy thriller, packed with Hitchcock's favourite themes and details. A good film always begins with a good script, of course, and Ben Hecht has written a dark, lively, noir-ish script, full of deception, subtle shadings, and twists. Ingrid Bergman is perfectly cast as Alicia, the "notorious" woman caught between love and duty. The character compares herself to Mata Hari, but Mata Hari was certainly never so beautiful photographed. You can tell how deeply Alfred Hitchcock was in love with Ingrid Bergman, in the many langorous close-ups. Cary Grant makes a very good Agent Devlin--this performance was in his formative years, before he became a self-parody. Claude Rains, although notably old for his part, is wonderfully conflicted and on-edge, and gives a great performance. The other "player" worth mentioning is the city of Rio de Janeiro, shot in beautiful black-and-white in all its 1940s glamour and glory. The city is as integral to the film as, say, Venice is to the 1973 film "Don't Look Now." "Notorious" is not Hitchcock's best film, by any means, but remains watchable and still remarkably fresh more than 50 years after it was made.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cary Grant
Ingrid Bergman
Claude Rains

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TopSellers at Amazon - Comedy movie DVD disks

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TopSellers at Amazon - Sci-Fi and Fantasy movie DVD disks

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
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The Traveler : A Novel
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling))
The Chronicles of Narnia
Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time, Book 11)

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