Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Halloween - Resurrection
Productgroup: DVD
Halloween - Resurrection - movie DVD cover picture
Michael is great!!

Most of the people who wrote reviews for amazon are idiot's to say that h20 is better then Ressurection is plain dumb and to say that the movie was horrible is even dumber.As a horror fan I like for the icon's to live on because as the movie says true evil never really dies.So keep making Halloween movies there are still die hard horror fans around!!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Jamie Lee Curtis
Busta Rhymes

DVD title: The Big Sleep
Productgroup: DVD
The Big Sleep - movie DVD cover picture
Classic Noir

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This classic film noir has very few of techniques generally associated with noir. It contains no skewed camera angles; and though it is darkly lit, it is not overcome with murky, obscuring shadows. The hero is not down-and-out, poor, or desperate. There is no retrospective narration, or flashbacks. Yet, the Big Sleep is widely considered to be one of the very best of this genre. It is a cynical, perverse, murderous world filled with loads of confusing action and unknown motives. It is, in fact, one of the great films of one of the screens greatest actors (for my personal top 10 actors list, click here), and most talented directors.

It was directed by Howard Hawks fresh off of the successful pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall in To Have and Have Not. The two star here again and it is easy to see why they made another two films together. Based on a Raymond Chandler novel of the same name, many people complain that this film is incomprehensible. Somewhat famously it is reported that Bogart and Hawks, after arguing over who killed one of the characters, called up Chandler to get the correct answer. Chandler didn't have the slightest idea, for the novel is rather vague on this point. It's true that both the novel and film leave many plot points as to who did what to whom more than unclear, but there is so much style in both that it's hard to make a convincing argument against them.

A good deal of the confusion within the film comes from the production codes in effect at the time it was produced. Chandler's novel deals with murder, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and pornography. At the time, these things were deemed unfit to show on a movie screen and so Hawks had to hint at them using various subtle methods. For instance, when Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) is found by detective Phillip Marlow (Bogart) in the novel she is completely nude and sitting posed for a hidden camera. Since pornography is explicitly against code, in the movie she is dressed in a silky, Japanese gown. There is still a hidden camera, and its missing film becomes a catalyst for much of the action in the film. We must infer from the exotic nature of the gown that there was more than just pictures of a woman in a gown going on. There are many similar instances in the film like this. For an audience member who has not read the book, they must pay close attention to the subtext, or the film will seem baffling.

Personally, I am very much a fan of the book, and all of Chandler's work. While I appreciate that some of the finer plot points are a bit vague in this film, I also understand that the film succeeds not in the details of the story, but in a sinister sense of style. The film oozes with a dark, disquieting atmosphere. Nearly everyone Marlowe meets is hiding something, and is of less than upstanding moral character. Hawks does a great job of keeping nearly every scene in the dark or in the rain, or both. There are so many characters coming in and out of the shadows and with their own shady character that it is difficult to keep up.

Bogart, of course, does a marvelous job as Marlowe. He seems to understand a lot more information than the audience is ever given. Chandler wrote Marlowe as a detective who sticks by his own set up morals, remaining somewhat of a noble creature trying to stay afloat amongst the muck and sewers of the city. Lauren Bacall does a very good job portraying Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, in a role that is much different than the one in the book. Like many films from this era, they create a romance that wasn't really in the source material. I don't mind though, because Bogart and Bacall really sizzle.

What can I say that hasn't been said before? This is really classic noir at its best. It's got Bogart and Bacall. It was directed by Howard Hawks, written by William Faulkner from a novel by Raymond Chandler. What more could a lover of classic cinema want?

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Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Howard Hawks
Humphrey Bogart
Lauren Bacall

DVD title: O Fantasma
Productgroup: DVD
O Fantasma - movie DVD cover picture
Sergio is the reason to buy this DVD

No matter how you look at, the reason to buy "O Fantasma" is the actor play sexy Sergio. Yes the story is a downer, if well photographed. Sergio's character seems to be slowly going insane,from loner to crazy. But, you do not come across many actors in gay flicks who were born to play a role and are flat out sex personified. The star of "O Fantasma" fits the bill on both counts. Ironically, the director in his commentary talks about the star wanting to appear in his next movie, but he was not right for any of the parts and went back to his small village to live. What a shame, because he is the only real reason that this film was even released in the U.S.=== albeit a very good reason.

Director: João Pedro Rodrigues
Ricardo Meneses
Beatriz Torcato

DVD title: The Basketball Diaries
Productgroup: DVD
The Basketball Diaries - movie DVD cover picture
It's the story of a heroin addict.

This film is excellent. Seniors in high school should be forced to watch it. It conveys quite simply the dangers of drugs. The acting is good as well.

Studio: Ryko Distribution - Video
Director: Scott Kalvert
Leonardo DiCaprio
Lorraine Bracco

DVD title: Hannibal
Productgroup: DVD
Hannibal - movie DVD cover picture
Rarely Brilliant

Shockingly excellent. Many people have put this film down, because they are comparing it with Silence of the Lambs. Yes, they are both brilliant movies but are completly different. You have got to see.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Ridley Scott
Anthony Hopkins
Julianne Moore

DVD title: The Thing from Another World
Productgroup: DVD
The Thing from Another World - movie DVD cover picture
An American classic

A team of scientists goes to an Arctic military base to investigate a crash-landed spaceship. They retrieve a frozen creature from the ship -- then accidentally let it thaw. Chaos ensues, and the crew of the base are in a fight for their lives.
Not much money was spent on this movie, the special effects are minimal, the cast is not big-name, there are few sets used, and the story is not complex. Despite all of that, the film is a science fiction/horror classic. How? By doing everything just right and by never giving you a dull moment. A good cook can make a great stew with few ingredients, if he or she knows what he or she is doing.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Margaret Sheridan
Kenneth Tobey

DVD title: The Harvey Girls
Productgroup: DVD
The Harvey Girls - movie DVD cover picture
John Hodiak Appreciation Thread

Not much written nowadays about John Hodiak, who plays Ned Trent in this 1946 George Sidney musical, but he was a wonderful presence in the Hollywood cinema of the 1940s, and all of his pictures are worth a look. He seems strangely modern, natural in his appeal, with some of the cocky good looks and charm of our own John Travolta. THE HARVEY GIRLS is one of his rare ventures into musical comedy, and moviegoers often recall him in tougher parts: playing opposite Tallulah Bankhead in Hitchcock's LIFEBOAT, you know you'd have to have balls of steel to carry off that assignment, or zipping through Mexico with Lucille Ball in Jules Dassin's noir road trip adventure TWO SMART PEOPLE. With Judy Garland he is noticeably gentler than he usually gets on screen; you can almost feel the effort involved. He seems more like an Angela Lansbury sort of guy, hard, attracted to the glitter, out for a good time. Then something clicks and he and Garland really start to click and the picture picks right up.

The DVD features the abysmal "March of the Dogies," a piece which has so many things wrong with it, you can see why Freed cut it out, but it's fascinating in its own right and it's great that they saved it. The song is bad, the singing isn't very good, the choreography pretty basic, and it seems they tried to save it by adding more and more elements to the number, you almost expect to see if not the kitchen sink, then the village pump, added to the mix. I suppose they were also trying to accommodate Hodiak's limitations as a dancer. He's no Ray Bolger (and no John Travolta). But his magnetism carries all before it, like a buffalo stampede.

Hodiak had the misfortune to be prominently featured in some of the era's most notorious failures, like SONG OF RUSSIA and MARRIAGE IS A PRIVATE AFFAIR, but in a way this has proved his salvation for he is not cursed with the overfamiliarity with which he disregard someone we've seen a zillion times, no matter how worthy, like Clark Gable or Gary Cooper. He's always fresh and exhibits new facets to his screen personality. He died in 1955, still a stranger, after a well-publicized marriage to a fellow thespian (Anne Baxter, with whom he starred in the low-key charmer SUNDAY DINNER WITH A SOLDIER).

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: George Sidney (II)
Judy Garland
Ray Bolger

DVD title: Vanishing Point
Productgroup: DVD
Vanishing Point - movie DVD cover picture
Vanishing Point

If you were a teenager in 1971, you probably saw this from the backseat of your VW bug. Windows steamed up, rainy friday night. Boone's Farm bottles hidden discreetly (next to the seat inside the driver door). Well now the video and audio are caught up to today's standard and the movie even comes closed captioned for us Jensen / Craig stereo owners playing Hair of the Dog full tilt! Remember...? "Now you're messin with a ..."When you're 15 or 16, it just makes sense that a grown up, like ex-cop Kowalski wants to drive a supercharged Dodge from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco in 15 hours. The powers that be have done a great job restoring both visual and audio to this film. The late Cleavon Little runs a very close second to the car as the take over star. You get to see Delaney, Bonnie (Bramlett) & Friends including Big Mama Thornton. And let's not forget the naked blond babe in the desert.Anyway I just was not getting the right memories sitting in my comfortable living room watching this classic so if you're missing the good old days, try this: Get some friends to help carry the big screen tv set and dvd player into the garage. Get your kids old swing set and place it between you and the screen. Put up those yellow bug light spot lights just to the right or left of where the screen is. Park your car at the bottom of the drive way. Run a bad sounding speaker out to one of the side windows. Remove one windshield wiper. Turn on sprinkler system so it simulates a heavy drizzle. About 30 minutes of the movie, run into the house and tear up a $20 bill. Bring back popcorn, nachos, cokes for the kids, cups of ice for the grown ups (still only a quarter each.) Forget napkins, and going to restroom. And go back and enjoy the movie! To add realism honk your horn, moon passers by, and flash headlights at screen!Throw trash on your lawn and drive off with speaker still in your car. Watch broken glass as your leaving. Drive around for a few hours or stop to neck. Then sneak into your own house before your teenage children get home.This is a "have fun" and enjoy movie. The bonuses are almost none existent (a 20 second TV trailer, a 1:00 minute TV trailer) and that sort of stuff.Don't criticize this one by comparing it to the new ones, just smile shake your head and reminisce. I still want that Challenger and Bullitt's Mustang AND CHARGER. No sissy toyotas in my movies!!!John Row

Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Barry Newman
Cleavon Little

DVD title: Baby Genius - Mozart and Friends
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Genius - Mozart and Friends - movie DVD cover picture

This teaches my child numbers,counting, alphabets,shows his favorite animals both in photos and in pictures. Exactly the sort of thing he will be tested for entry to his kindergarten, all this while listening to Mozart, not some annoying loud music that other videos have on, while I, the harrassed mother, gets soothed.

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Unbreakable (Vista Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Unbreakable (Vista Series) - movie DVD cover picture
just saw it in theater

I just saw this movie in the theater and I loved it. The premise is fascinating -- a comic book hero in the real world, his life depicted in realistic detail. The look of the movie is appropriately bleak -- the whole thing is sort of blue-gray. The tension between the real world and the comic book world plays out beautifully, although I don't want to say too much and give it away. I saw this movie because I loved the Sixth Sense, and like that movie this one does have a surprise ending. It caught me off guard because I wasn't trying to figure it out, but it is less astonishing than the Sixth Sense. But I think this movie relied less on the ending than the Sixth Sense did. In some ways, the ending of the Sixth Sense made the movie. That's not the case here -- it is absorbing throughout and would have been fascinating even if it did not end as it did. Like the Sixth Sense this movie is on some level about perceptions and how they are shaped by what we want to believe about ourselves. The performances are all strong. I'm not sure how great Bruce Willis's range as an actor is, but the quiet, brooding type he seems to have nailed. Samuel L. Jackson manages to convey a combination of hurt, desperation, and intelligence, all under a cover of confidence. Robin Wright Penn also gives her smaller part a lot of depth. She's not just a throwaway character -- the sort of obligatory thriller wife. This is a good part and she plays it well. The kid is good too, and manages to convey desperation as well, and is an interesting compliment to the Jackson character. At the theater, I was sitting in front of rude moviegoers who were chatting during the movie. About half way through though they shut up and on the way out I heard them talking about what had happened, so apparently this movie can get other people's attention as well.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Bruce Willis
Samuel L. Jackson

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Photo Release -- Servinova, a Cisco Systems Registered Partner Company Has Started Network Testing on CISCO Aironet (RedNova)
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