Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Career Girls
Productgroup: DVD
Career Girls - movie DVD cover picture
Muz Bronte, Muz Bronte! Another Great Film From Mike Leigh!

With 1996's "Secret's and Lies," British director Mike Leigh had his first taste of what passed for commercial success in the United States. That amazing and powerful film (which has finally just been given its DVD debut in the US) won Leigh his usual praise from critics, but with the five Academy Award nominations it earned (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay) Leigh was able to garner a smattering attention from a public who had never heard of him or his movies before.

"Career Girls," which was Leigh's follow-up to "Secrets and Lies," may SOUND like it was an attempt to go mainstream, but it isn't. The plot is fairly simple. Two women, who were roommates and best friends in college, are reunited 6 or so years later and after an initial awkwardness eventual find the friendship they had once shared. It is a times funny (sometimes uproariously so) sometimes sad, sometimes even heavy. But it is always compelling and, ultimately very moving. Despite this decription this should not be dismissed as a mere "chick flick."

"Career Girls" did not duplicate the commercial success of "Secrets and Lies," and its timing of release meant that it has more or less fallen through the cracks in terms of getting DVD release. So, if ANYONE reading this has ANY influence on the powers that be, please do what you can to correct that. With the renewed attention Mike Leigh is getting for his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director (for 2004's "Vera Drake") now is the time!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Mike Leigh
Katrin Cartlidge
Lynda Steadman

DVD title: Our Hospitality/Sherlock Jr.
Productgroup: DVD
Our Hospitality/Sherlock Jr. - movie DVD cover picture
The Greatest Entertainer in his Best Form!

If you are unfamiliar with Buster Keaton's work, do yourself a favor and check out this DVD. Kino International has done an excellent job of providing high-quality movie transfers of his silent films (beware many garbage 2nd-rate DVD transfers on the market).
This DVD contains 2 Buster Keaton classics: 'Our Hospitality' and 'Sherlock Jr'. 'Our Hospitality' is the tale of a naive young man (Keaton's favorite role), who get's caught up in a generational feud between 2 families. Unknowlingly, he falls in love with the beautiful daughter of his family's sworn enemy, and of course, mayhem ensues. The stuntwork at the end is excellent and is as exciting as any modern movie.
'Sherlock Jr' is probably the best Keaton movie, and was recently rated top 20 in the American Film Institute list of best films in history. Keaton is at his best as a detective, getting into tough situations and using his arobatic body and sheer determination to get out. The movie contains a segment that is one of the most impressive sequences with Buster walking into a movie and then becoming hostage to the film's progression.
I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I wish I could give it 100 stars! The whole family will love it!

Studio: Kino Video
Buster Keaton
Joe Keaton
Natalie Talmadge

DVD title: Rabbit-Proof Fence
Productgroup: DVD
Rabbit-Proof Fence - movie DVD cover picture
a shame this won't get the recognition it deserves

This is a true story set in 1931 Western Australia, where white people stole half-aboriginal children away from their families and placed them into orphanages, hoping to force them into white society. Three young girls escape the orphanage and follow the rabbit-proof fence across the country, knowing that home is somewhere along it. The whole time they are being tracked.
This is an incredibly touching story that I think everyone needs to see. It is such a shame that this movie will not get the recognition it deserves outside of Australia, especially since America does not have a dissimilar past regarding Native Americans.
The three main characters in the film were girls from aboriginal tribes who had no previous acting experience, and they did a better job than most popular adult actors. I can not praise this film enough; I loved it so much, and knowing that it actually happened had an incredible impact on me. I don't think I'll come across a better film for a long time.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Phillip Noyce
Everlyn Sampi
Tianna Sansbury
Kenneth Branagh

DVD title: Escaflowne - The Movie (Ultimate Edition 3-Disc Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Escaflowne - The Movie (Ultimate Edition 3-Disc Set) - movie DVD cover picture
Definitely NOT the TV Series

The film is darker and more disturbing than the TV series (which is excellent in its own right). It has the same characters and settings, but a vastly different story. The artistry is fantastic, and the limited use of CG is not overbearing. The music is absolutely superb (we expect no less from Yoko Kanno) and the isolated soundtrack on the disc is a nice feature. Loneliness, isolation, and despression are a strong themes in the movie and they are presented in a way that makes you think.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Kazuki Akane

DVD title: Oasis - Live by the Sea
Productgroup: DVD
Oasis - Live by the Sea - movie DVD cover picture
A Star is Born

This video shows the early days of the best band to exist, the lyrics are powerful and it's a must have in your Music Video Collection. It's as if you were there at the Concert!

Studio: Sony Music Entertain
Director: Nigel Dick

DVD title: The Santa Clause
Productgroup: DVD
The Santa Clause - movie DVD cover picture
A Christmas favorite for years to come!

To quote an elf in the movie, "Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing." This is a wonderful funny, yet touching Holiday comedy. Adults will enjoy the jokes poking fun at the adult characters. Kids will delight in the magic and getting their "How does Santa do that?" questions answered. If you can imagine the movie "Prancer" with a comedic touch that's the closest I can come to a comparable. Tim Allen is amazing in this role. My kids have even made their own North Pole door sign and practice flying their reindeer after only one viewing! Don't miss this one.

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: John Pasquin
Tim Allen
Judge Reinhold

DVD title: Hope Floats
Productgroup: DVD
Hope Floats - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful, Heartfelt Drama

Sandra is by far one of my favorite actresses and she once again does a great job in Hope Floats. This movie is about a woman who is humiliated, has her heart broken and loses the life shes known all on one talk show. Sandra takes the hard journey of moving on. Going back to where she grew up was the best option but not a easy one. Every one she knows saw the talk show and knows exactly what she had just went through. Some were old friends and others not so friendly, but now Sandra has to pick up the pieces and move on even if she falls out of a old love and into a new one.
Great movie, great love story and a close look at how life hurts when everything changes.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Forest Whitaker
Sandra Bullock
Harry Connick Jr.

DVD title: The Who - Live in Boston
Productgroup: DVD
The Who - Live in Boston - movie DVD cover picture
Outstanding sound and image

This DVD has excellent sound mixing and the video quality is great too. The camera doesn't jump around as quickly as on the Royal Albert Hall DVD - which is a nice difference. (And no special guests) !!!. Excellent addition for anyone's collection. Pete Townshend's guitar work is the best of his career. Roger Daltrey's voice has changed since he was 25 years old, but actually sounds better than ever.

The Who still ROCK !!!

Studio: Wea Corp
The Who

DVD title: Ronin
Productgroup: DVD
Ronin - movie DVD cover picture
RONIN ROCKS! (and makes you think as well)

To dismiss RONIN as merely a great chase movie (which it surely is) or as only a well-made action/thriller (and it's that too) is missing a big part of the movie. To criticize the performances as too low-key or boring (as some have written here) is also missing the point. This is the finest glimpse into the mercenary lifestyle since THE DOGS OF WAR. The way each of the _real_ mercenaries in the crew (people who have seen the film know what I'm referring to here) acts is perfect for making the impression just how dispassionate these men must be. They are professionals hired to do a job. The lone passionate one among them stands out like a sore thumb. All the actors shine in this film, but especially DeNiro, Reno and Skaarsgard (who is ruthless in the extreme). I agree with many here that the chase scenes are the best ever done (yes, even better than THE FRENCH CONNECTION). And the gun battle in the streets of that French town is the equal of the one in HEAT (although a lot shorter). But it is the twist and turns of the plot, the world-weary cynicism that pervades the characters' lives, and the stunning photography that elevates this film into the stratosphere. Plus, the little set pieces, such as Reno and DeNiro's visit to Reno's retired friend's house, add even more depth than you would expect to an already well-textured film. RONIN is easily one of the best thrillers of this decade or even of the last quarter-century. By the way, the DVD has an optional alternate ending that is even more downbeat than the original! I'm glad the theatrical version didn't use it!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: John Frankenheimer
Robert De Niro
Jean Reno
Natascha McElhone

DVD title: The Last Time I Saw Paris
Productgroup: DVD
The Last Time I Saw Paris - movie DVD cover picture
The Last Time I Saw Liz and Van

Loved it! How can you not love a movie based on a story by the brilliant F. Scott Fitzgerald? You know there's going to be a beautiful and somewhat flighty woman, money issues and lots of drinking! All that and a great cast, including a Gabor sister (they are interchangable aren't they?), a James Bond guy, Roger Moore who is unbeliveably young, posh and just as annoying then as he is now,Donna Reed, the gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor and the lovable and oddly handsome Van Johnson. It's Paris and the War is ending, and can you believe it? Donna Reed and Elizabeth Taylor are sisters! Sounds weird, but works. Liz and Donna have an endearing father, who loves to party and lives like he has money, when in fact he has little. Van and Liz fall in love expressing sweet senitment in lovely and urgent prose, that would only work between young lovers, one a soldier and the other a young beauty, tired of war.

It's fun to get caught up in their blossoming romance and watch their love grow into a trusting relationship, that eventually gives way to some unpleasant moments, brought on by Van's attempts to write the Great American Novel and the sudden and unexpected wealth of Liz's family.

I loved seeing Paris officially light up for the first time after the war, and darling, no one can play a bed-ridden scene like Liz. Hey, don't think this is a Liz only affair, Van plays his share of sad scenes as well. But don't be dismayed, the ending is one that is redeeming and happy.

Studio: Madacy Entertainment
Director: Richard Brooks
Elizabeth Taylor
Van Johnson

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling))
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