Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ray (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Ray (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Meet Ray Charles

Our culture is different and better because of Ray Charles. And our knowledge of him as a man and as a creative genius is complete with this movie.

Sort of like with "Fog of War," it's amazing that Ray Charles approved the script and, derivately, the way it all ends up on screen. Some screen biographies are fawning and obviously false; this one is unsparing. A womanizer and drug addict; a man who could use people ruthlessly and place himself at the center of his own universe.

All for the music. Like his screen wife says, that's all that mattered to him, it seems. But he expresses for all of us joy, love, sex, misery, longing, lonliness and just plain fun.

It was so sad when he died. But with this DVD, "Hey, everybody, Ray Charles is in town," so let the good times roll.

PS - for that tune, buy the CD called "Q's Jook Joint." Ray does it up with a big band and sounds like a young man...

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Taylor Hackford
Jamie Foxx
Kerry Washington
Regina King

DVD title: Casablanca
Productgroup: DVD
Casablanca - movie DVD cover picture
If You Don't Like "Old" Movies . . .

This is the film I reccomend to people who say they can't stand old movies. While there are a few cheesy special effects in the first 5 minutes of the film, from then on this is special. It's funny, patriotic, suspenseful, and original. Bogart is the actor every action hero tries to be; Bergman is the woman every man wishes he could win. It's a guy's guy movie, and the ultimate chick flick, and a great comedy. And if you find yourself with a tear when Bogie says "We'll always have Paris" -- welcome to Casablanca.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart
Ingrid Bergman

DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
Band of Brothers Then and Now

This mini series was incredible. Those men fought so Pearl Harbor would never happen again much like our men fight today so 9-11-01 will never happen again. This mini series needs to be put out on DVD and VHS so we can be reminded again and again how important and heroic these men were and are!!!!

Studio: HBO Home Video

DVD title: Rocket Gibraltar
Productgroup: DVD
Rocket Gibraltar - movie DVD cover picture
A rich family movie

This movie is a fine ensemble performance. There is the afther, Burt Lancaster, who is reaching the end of a full life. His children and their families are joining him for a birthday bash that will be the talk of the town. Yet this isn't about a birthday party, it is about connections.
Lancasters children are all enmeshed in thier own lives and families. But it is the children who are closest to Lancaster's charecter. He tells them stories of Vikings and valhalla and the kids take not and remember. Lancaster expresses a final wish for what to do with his body after he dies. He doesn't tell his children, maybe sensing their opposition, so instead he tells the grandchildren - maybe not expecting them to do it but convey his wish to their parents.
There is comedy, despair, anger and sadness throughout the film. It doesn't dwell on one particular emotional level, rather it touches them and moves on, as we all do in life.
The conclusion is a remarkable combination of humor, suspense, sadness and togetherness. It is worth the whole movie to just watch the last fifteen minutes.
I recommend this to anyone with families and to those who want to watch a well crafted film production. It is a keeper for any video library.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Daniel Petrie
Burt Lancaster
Suzy Amis

DVD title: Dr. No (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Dr. No (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

DR NO proves if you start our right, you stay right. This is a great "little Bond epic" that relies on it's brainpower more than anything else, bested in the cerebral department only by FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. And of course, 67 minutes after the opening credits: the bikini that emerges from the Carribean sea. RYDER: Are you looking for shells? BOND: No, I'm just looking.

Me too.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Terence Young
Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Bernard Lee

DVD title: Rush - Rush in Rio
Productgroup: DVD
Rush - Rush in Rio - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing and passionate document of a great show!

What a set-up! A major band, playing in a foreign land to a throng of rabid fans they were not aware they had. To boot, the performance was the last show of a long tour, the only chance to be caught for posterity, and due to weather and equipment delays, performed without benefit of a sound check. Totally powerful to watch these Brazilians unbridled joy in seeing a band they probably believed they would never have the opportunity to see live. See if that doesn't strike a emotional chord for you. We can take so much for granted. Equally cool is seeing the bands reaction to this huge response and the synergistic performance that follows. Amazing set list with some of the bands most challenging compositions ie: Natural Science, La Villa Strangiato, By-Tor AND Cygnus along with much of Vapour Trails as well as the expected chestnuts from throughout their long career. A bit of a historical footnote, when All the Worlds a Stage was released in 1976, people complained of audio quality, the same with Exit Stage Left in 1981!, A Show of Hands in 1988! as well as Different Stages in 1997!. The complaints ranged from too raw to too clean etc! You remember, eh !? Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..... ! You can never please all the people it seems and the truth is Rush was always a different animal live compared to the studio recordings. To my ears the sound is crisp, balanced and true. I can hear every note and beat play by Ged, Alex and Neal. The sound was mixed by longtime Rush man James "Jimbo" Barton and overseen by Alex Lifeson so you can bet it's pretty close to how the band wants you to hear it. Are you enjoying the software or stressed over hardware? The passion of this long and inspired performance far outweighs any sonic shortcomings. Let's hope it won't be another five years before the next tour. For most fans, I think this will be a joyful and well loved purchase, especially for you Brazilians of row one in Rio, 2002 !

Studio: Rounder
Director: Daniel E. Catullo

DVD title: Napoleon Dynamite
Productgroup: DVD
Napoleon Dynamite - movie DVD cover picture
Vote For Pedro!

By far the funniest movie I have seen in a long, long time. It reminds a lot of Seinfeld..The show about nothing. Napoleon..a nerdy teenager, who has no idea he is a nerd..and is just trying to get through high school. Pricelss. His brother, uncle, best friend Pedro, and the girl with the crush make the movie what it is. Freakin' Gosh, Vote for Pedro man!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jared Hess
Jon Heder
Jon Gries
Efren Ramirez

DVD title: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
a "Wonderful Wonderful Day" for SEVEN BRIDES.. fans!

Excellent new `Special Edition' of the musical masterpiece SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, featuring both versions of the film plus a generous array of extras.

Set against the backdrop of settlement-era Oregon, the story concerns Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) who takes a wife in Milly (Jane Powell) before delivering her to his mountaintop ranch. The honeymoon comes to an abrupt end when Milly learns she must also keep house for Adam's six unruly - and uncouth - brothers! But after Milly teaches them the finer points of "Goin' Courtin'" they go and and find brides of their own...with diastrous, hilarious and heartwarming results.

The cast is simply amazing. Among the `Brothers' are Russ Tamblyn, Broadway dancer Marc Platt, New York City Ballet star Jacques d'Amboise and KISS ME KATE's Tommy Rall. The `Brides' include Broadway's Virginia Gibson, B-movie beauty Ruta Lee (in her film debut) and future `Catwoman' Julie Newmar.

The score has become one of the most beloved ever written and elevates the on-screen story into the high heavens. Gene DePaul and Johnny Mercer's flavoursome tunestack includes Milly's jubilant "Wonderful Wonderful Day"; her moonlight aria "When You're in Love" and the soaring "June Bride" with the girls dancing in corsets and bloomers. Adam isn't overlooked music-wise, his numbers include "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide", the syncopated and irresistible "Sobbin' Women" and the brothers' plaintive "Lonesome Polecat". Choreographer Michael Kidd's routines in this film are among his all-time best, including what many consider his Magnum Opus, the showstopping "Barn Raising Ballet". With so many talented dancers among the `Brothers' and `Brides', it's no wonder that this film is so rich in musical numbers.

This is the peak of the original M-G-M musical. It's hard to believe now, but at the time the studio heads had no faith whatsoever in the project and dismissed it as a B-movie. BRIGADOON was also being made at the same time, a film M-G-M held great hopes for, though it was SEVEN BRIDES.. that the audiences and critics fell in love with.

SEVEN BRIDES.. was actually filmed twice. It was intended for the film to be seen exclusively in the new CinemaScope but many movie theaters did not have the facilities to show films in this ratio. So an open-matte 1:78 `flat' format version of the film was made to accommodate the problem. This Special Edition contains both versions of the film. It's almost like attending two different performances of the same show. The CinemaScope version looks a treat in 16:9 enhanced widescreen, and the colours are magnificent.

Extras include an updated version of "Sobbin' Women: The Making of..." (previously seen on the first DVD edition) which features new interview footage with Jane Powell as well as Jacques d'Amboise. Audio commentary is provided by director Stanley Donen who offers listeners a rare insight into the production of this masterpiece. There are two rare newsreels ("Radio City Music Hall Premiere" and "M-G-M 30th Anniversary" which features commentary by Jane Powell and Ann Miller). Also included is the rare CinemaScope "M-G-M Jubilee Overture".

With this all-new `Special Edition', it's a "Wonderful Wonderful Day" for SEVEN BRIDES.. fans!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Stanley Donen
Howard Keel
Jane Powell

DVD title: Sleepy Hollow
Productgroup: DVD
Sleepy Hollow - movie DVD cover picture
A gothic thriller!

We think that Tim Burton produced the legend of Sleepy Hollow in the best format and the best way anyone could. This is certainly not a real horror movie, but more a type of gothic thriller with humor to ease the tension. That doesn't mean that the movie is lacking shocking scenes, because there are several scenes not suitable for individuals with heart problems. Francis Ford Coppola is the executive producer and we know he did Dracula a few years ago. The effects are very good, except for Johnny Depp being squirted with blood a few too many times, but since it's Depp it's not that annoying. Sleepy Hollow communicates the mood of a gothic thriller through its cinematography and with the supporting soundtrack very well. It almost appears to be a black and white movie, but of course it isn't, as some of the important colors emphasize certain situations, and they did a very professional job at it and this comes across very good. The musical score is also just perfect for this movie and adds a lot to tell the story and to communicate the dark, terrifying mood. We enjoyed the movie and during this season it's certainly the right movie to watch.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Tim Burton
Johnny Depp
Christina Ricci

DVD title: Aladdin (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Aladdin (Disney Special Platinum Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Great DVD Set for a Great Disney Movie

ALADDIN is the story of Aladdin. Homeless and living as a "thief," Aladdin is fascinated by a girl he sees one day in the market place. Little does he know, that girl is Princess Jasmine. Jasmine is escaping palace life and the numerous suitors who have come for her hand. By law, she must only marry a prince, but she finds all of the ones who come to call arrogant and pompous. Aladdin does not know who Jasmine is until he is captured by guards, led to him by the evil Jafar.

Jafar, the Grand Visor, is searching for the magic lamp and knows the idenity of the "diamond in the rough," who is Aladdin. He uses Aladdin to get the lamp, only to have it stolen from him when his plan to kill Aladdin fails.

It is at this point the Genie enters the tale. What an amazing character and really the drawing point of the whole movie. Voiced by Robin Williams, the Genie is funny, compassionate and carries the theme of the movie: To Be Yourself. You either know the rest of the tale from here, or need to buy this movie to see it for yourself.

This DVD set is really good. The second disc is full of interviews by the creators of the movie, with the storyboards included. The only thing missing from this set was a follow up interview with Robin Williams. I would have liked to have known how he liked the response to the Genie.

This set is worth owning and watching over and over again; whether you have kids or not.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Scott Weinger
Robin Williams
Linda Larkin
Jonathan Freeman

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