Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Naturally, written after the fact...

Thankfully, I'd bought the double-disc edition before it went out of production. I'm not sure if the giddy fan boy in me could have gone without seeing how they made Edward Norton see a penguin on that second disc.
The movie itself is a triumph, a nice little send-up of the corporate world in which we live. The Narrator (henceforth referred to as "Jack") lives a comfortable life: a good job with a "major" car company, a large apartment, plenty of cash, IKEA furniture ... oh, but wait. Jack can't sleep. For some reason or another, he suffers from insomnia.
After finding solace in support groups and having that taken away from him, he meets an interest person named Tyler Durden who, after a hilarious incidence, opens his home, and his philosophies, to Jack.
Tyler is the anti-yes-man. He hates everything about modern life, how everyone feel the need to fill their lives with garbage, how they're all led to believe they'll become millionaires and rock stars. It sickens him. In a world in which men have been stripped of their primal maleness, Tyler invites them into a world where they can give into their darker sides and fight it out with each other. Of course, Tyler has much deeper plans than that...
Without wanting to give away much more of the plot, you will enjoy this movie if: you've ever looked at something you "have to" like with utter contempt and disbelief, if you've ever felt within you a need for something higher than modernized life, or just plain hate suits. Sometimes, granted, Tyler's teachings seem a little shaky, but this IS a movie (and an excellent book), not a guidebook. The movie is trying to make a point, not force you to bend to its will; that's what society does.
As films go, this is probably in my top 10, definitely in my top 25 films of all time. Fincher does an amazing job directing, using CGI in inventive, sparing ways. Brad Pitt continued with his success on "Se7en" and pulls off a great Tyler. Ed Norton plays the perfect begrudged IKEA-boy. Helena Bonham Carter .... to be honest, I hated, despises her character the first time I saw this, but I find her more likable with each watching. The real surprise of this movie was Meat Loaf, who play sensitive bodybuilder Bob ... and almost outshines the two stars.
As for special features, this is a pretty darn nice collection. Mostly short documentaries on how they did some of the special effects (the penguin, the plane, Jack's catalogue apartment, the ... two special effects shots for the ending) which are interesting. The fashion designs are ... pictures of clothes. Never very interesting except to see what Tyler could've been wearing (and he wore some crazy stuff in the film). The deleted scenes actually add a bit to the movie (Tyler quitting smoking in one of them (!)).
The real gem of the second disc, at least, is the Publicity Gallery.
The commercials and trailers are nothing too special, but the Public Service announcements are sidesplitting. Sadly, there are only two, but one features Ed and the other Brad telling the audience normal theatre going procedure (where the exits are, turn of cell phones) and then end with each saying something odd... I doubt I'll be allowed to repeat Tylers's, but Jack says, out of the blue "Remember: NO ONE has the right to touch you in your bathing suit area!"
This is the one DVD collection in which the special features are equal to the film. The single-disc edition contains everything on the first disc, which is pretty much the commentary. Still, I think hunting down the double disc edition is well worth the $30 you may have to shell out to get it. I mean, what else are you going to spend it on? A duvet?

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

DVD title: Carnivale - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Carnivale - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture

I knew that this show was going to be incredible when I heard the buzz about it and saw the previews on television. Well, I watched it from start to finish, and it was unbelievable. This show even rivals my all-time favorites: Xena and The X-Files.
This show is very complex and could take some time to get into for the superficial viewer, but it's worth the experience, although it can be mind-boggling and horrific sometimes. The scariest episode was the one where one of the "hoochie coochie" dancers was garnered the fate of "scarlet" and killed to please the restless souls of evil men. In the end her soul was restless and only to serve as the tortured soul herself, but as the souless men's sex partner. On the last part of that episode when the head of the carnival glimpsed at the window and saw the "hoochie coochie" girl standing there as if she was beginning her fate in the eternity of being sad and then being pulles away to have sex by a souless man that scared the heck out of me.
The show I speak about above isn't the only horriffic or mind-boggling episode of this season, but one that scered me the most. their are many more. Bottomline, this show is unbelievably entertaining. A must see!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Rodrigo Garcia

DVD title: 2004 World Series - Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Productgroup: DVD
2004 World Series - Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals - movie DVD cover picture
2004 season and ALCS

When can we buy the DVD that shows all the Red Sox's wonderful 2004 season and the gutsiest ALCS ever? GO SOX.

Studio: A & E Home Video
Curt Schilling
Johnny Damon

DVD title: Shock Corridor - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Shock Corridor - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A Great American Original

Perhaps Fuller's most audacious film--the first time I saw it, my jaw was on the ground. Some take it only as a cult item, but when you realize this was made in 1963 as an indictment of Cold War paranoia and homegrown racism, you begin to appreciate exactly how ahead of the curve Sam was. While Sam Fuller's films may not be for everyone (such as the previous reviewer), there's nothing cheesy about this at all. True, Shock Corridor is very low budget. But it also has Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons) behind the camera. If it's so inept, why did John Ford often visit the set, saying he might learn something? Why did Jean-Luc Godard pay hommage to Fuller in many of his early films, even using him in Pierrot le Fou to deliver his definition of cinema ("A film is like a battleground--love, hate, action, violence, one word--emotion!")? Why has Martin Scorsese (along with Quentin Tarentino and others) called Shock Corridor is "a masterpiece"? No, when such an array of talented people find so much of worth here, then you know this is far from Ed Wood territory. Experience Sam Fuller's "Kino-Fist" style right between your eyes--he may be one of our most neglected directors.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Samuel Fuller
Peter Breck
Constance Towers

DVD title: Father Ted - The Complete Series 2
Productgroup: DVD
Father Ted - The Complete Series 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Pure class!!!

For anyone who has never seen Father don't know what you're missing.It is a laugh a minute.I would recommend it to anyone.A look at the other Reviews will give you an idea of what it's about but you have to see it to see what I mean.It is by far the funniest show I've ever seen.Great!

Studio: BBC Video

DVD title: Roswell - The Complete Third Season (The Final Chapter)
Productgroup: DVD
Roswell - The Complete Third Season (The Final Chapter) - movie DVD cover picture
Not your average teen drama...

Roswell is without a doubt one of the most amazing shows I have watched on DVD this year. It does have teen drama, but it isn't as annoying as that found on The O.C. or Dawson's Creek. The show is about outsiders (both alien and human) who are just trying to find their way in a very confusing world.

While the sci-fi aspect of the show may seem odd to WB fans, I found it quite refreshing. It brought a whole new dimension of importance to the characters' actions. It made the show not a teeny bop drama, but one that dealt with larger, adult issues.

The third installment of the series is amazing and enthralling. So suspensful, in fact, that my husband and I watched the whole third season in a weekend.

This show is very real to me. Unlike other shows I love such as Alias and 24, Roswell has characters with real emotions dealing with the pain of being different and finding their place in a world far away from home.

My only complaint with the third season is that the final episode left my husband and I with many questions. My only hope is that there is some kind of follow up to the series in addition to the hard-to-find and over priced post-series novelizations.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Jason Behr

DVD title: Orgy of the Dead
Productgroup: DVD
Orgy of the Dead - movie DVD cover picture
Funniest bad film of all time!

Another truly hilarious classic from Ed Wood (who apparently was too drunk to direct his own script). If only I could edit out all the long, boring strip teases and just leave in the camp dialogue and incredibly bad acting. (OK, I'd leave in the "Kitty Kat" and "The Bride".) So many classic lines; "More Gold!", "Easy, Shirley!", "I'm so Frightened!", "You, too, will have time for your pleasures, but only after I have had MY pleasures!" and the best, when our hero sees a strip tease act in the cemetery: "Nothing alive looks like that!". The film was made, it seems, by recruiting a bunch of amateurish "dancers" to take their clothes off (except they don't really take them off- Ah, the age of pasties...) Don't miss it!! I fell out of my chair the first time I saw the "Kitty Kat" and I'm still falling out of my chair all these years later. Something about the way that "scary" music segues into the "Alley Cat theme" rip-off, with the Kat dancer and her scratching post! It never fails...

Studio: Wea Corp
Director: Stephen C. Apostolof

DVD title: Meet Joe Black
Productgroup: DVD
Meet Joe Black - movie DVD cover picture
Meet Joe Black

I loved it. It made me feel all sort of emotions. You feel sorry for Death, that he cannot stay to love. You feel sorry for the father knowing he has to leave this world. You feel sorry for Susan knowing that this event will happen, loosing both father and love of her life. You enjoy watching the bad get their just deserts. You laugh at the idea that an adult is experiancing life for the first time. There is so much to say that I cannot get it all in but to say "See it yourself, and enjoy". You will also enjoy the music.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Martin Brest
Brad Pitt
Anthony Hopkins

DVD title: The Cadfael Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Cadfael Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Sir Derek and the Chronicles of a Truly Rare Benedictine.

When the decision was made to produce for TV several episodes from her mystery series about Brother Cadfael, that 12th century crusader turned monk turned detective who has been, ever since his creation, one of the most compassionate and unusual sleuths of literary history, novelist Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) was not entirely happy. In fact, as the series' star, Sir Derek Jacobi, explains in the extra footage provided on the now-released DVDs, Ms. Peters had very mixed feelings about giving up her brain child and entrusting it to other people who went about cutting and adjusting everything, from the storylines themselves to the way the protagonists speak and even the Chronicles' sequence, to the necessities and limitations set by the new medium. But she eventually acquiesced and at one point promised that "the next one I write, I'll make sure it's easier for you all to film."

While the thirteen episodes that were eventually produced are, thus, not entirely true to the individual Chronicles they are based on, they are closer than many other movie or TV versions of famous works of literature. Most importantly, they maintain not only the core story lines but also the historical authenticity, atmosphere and spirit set by Ms. Peters's books in a marvelous fashion. And Sir Derek Jacobi brings both the wealth of his experience and skill and all of his own shrewdness, intelligence, sense of humor and empathy to the role of the medieval Benedictine sleuth and thus truly becomes Cadfael - for the thousands of new fans who are discovering the series through its enactment for TV just as much as for us who loved the books before they were ever transposed to a visual medium. A tremendous cast of supporting actors rounds out an overall excellent production; to mention just a few, Julian Firth as the ambitious and narrow-minded Brother Jerome, Terrence Hardiman as Abbot Radolfus and Sean Pertwee (and later Eoin McCarthy) as Under-Sheriff Hugh Beringar, who joins Cadfael in his investigations whenever, as is so often the case, these transcend the world of monastic life and require the administration of secular justice as well as clerical insight. Several episodes also feature noted guest stars.

The episodes are not entirely in the same order as the books; however, as most of the cross-references between the books have been eliminated in the screen versions, this is no great harm (although the lacking cross-references are probably one of the things avid readers of the books will find missing). The DVDs also provide background information on Ellis Peters, Sir Derek Jacobi and a number of the individual episodes' other actors.

Summary of the individual episodes:

"One Corpse Too Many" (second Chronicle): King Stephen lays siege to Shrewsbury Castle and, finally victorious, orders the surviving defenders to be executed. But then there's an extra corpse, who clearly wasn't executed. Whodunnit - and why?

"Monk's Hood" (third Chronicle): Cadfael's and Shrewsbury Abbey's honor is at stake when a guest is found poisoned by Cadfael's own potions ... and the sheriff's sergeant over-eagerly jumps to the wrong conclusions.

"The Leper of St. Giles" (fifth Chronicle): A leper's grim fate is unexpectedly intertwined with the story of an orphaned heiress, due to be wedded for money's sake to a despicable old baron, and her lover; who is everybody's favorite suspect when the groom turns up dead.

"The Sanctuary Sparrow" (seventh Chronicle): A young singer is accused of robbery and murder and, hunted by a mob, seeks shelter in the Abbey.

"St. Peter's Fair" (fourth Chronicle): While traders arrive from near and far, townsfolk claim a share of the Abbey's dues from the annual fair. Then a merchant is found murdered - but there's more to this than meets the eye!

"The Virgin in the Ice" (sixth Chronicle): After the sack of Worcester by Empress Maud, a nun, a young nobleman and his sister get lost in the Marshes. Cadfael rushes to the rescue - and meets a messenger from his own past!

"The Devil's Novice" (eighth Chronicle): The Abbey accepts a novice with a troubling zeal for monastic life (but not its virtues), who may or may not be connected to the death of a cleric traveling through his home village.

"A Morbid Taste for Bones" (first Chronicle): The monks mount an expedition to Wales to retrieve the bones of a local saint after a young monk claims to have seen the saint in a vision in which she asked that her bones be brought to Shrewsbury. The mission runs into serious trouble when the local lord, who has opposed it, is found murdered.

"The Raven in the Foregate" (twelfth Chronicle): Cadfael must solve the mystery behind two deaths; one of a young woman who (unsuccessfully) sought his spiritual advice, the other of the priest to whom Cadfael sent her: the new priest in Shrewsbury's foregate, an ambitious, power-hungry cleric in direct allegiance with King Stephen.

"The Rose Rent" (thirteenth Chronicle): A grieving young widow, beset by suitors, gives her house to the abbey for a single rose's annual rent. But her gift of beauty turns bloody when the emissary delivering the rose, a young monk, is found murdered.

"The Pilgrim of Hate" (tenth Chronicle): A cripple, his sister and two brothers on a painful pilgrimage meet at the Abbey during the annual feast of St. Winifred. Soon, the question arises whether religion is primarily penance or faith in God's love of mankind.

"The Potter's Field" (seventeenth Chronicle): The discovery of the bones of a woman in a field once belonging to a potter turned monk leads Cadfael to unveil a harrowing tale of love, loss and a deadly wager.

"The Holy Thief" (nineteenth Chronicle): Competitors for the possession of St. Winifred's relics show up in Shrewsbury! Then the holy bones disappear, a monk is found murdered - and a tonsured troubadour finds his lady love.

Studio: Acorn Media Publishi
Derek Jacobi

DVD title: Where Eagles Dare
Productgroup: DVD
Where Eagles Dare - movie DVD cover picture
Clint and Richard at their action-packed best....

Not only do their performances standout in this war film, but the music enhances the action scenes in a way that few film scores do, this flick is worth it for the soundtrack alone. Richard Burton leads a team of British commandos and one American Ranger, Clint Eastwood, high into the Alps to rescue an American General just days before D-Day. As the plot twists and turns, it reveals the excellent writing and storytelling that Alistair MacLean lends to every book he's written. Richard Burton's character has more facets than a well-cut diamond and Clint Eastwood's role show how an actor can do more with less. The scenery, filmed onsite in Alpine castle, is amazing and the supporting cast was well selected for this movie. While this title never seems to appear on either Burton's or Eastwood's list of career highlights, you will find this WWII film to be an unsung gem.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Brian G. Hutton
Richard Burton
Clint Eastwood

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