Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Spanish Prisoner
Productgroup: DVD
The Spanish Prisoner - movie DVD cover picture
Once Again, the Con is On

When you meet a stranger, your first impression is often very telling, and good instincts can be very valuable. Because people are not always whom or what they appear to be, which is the case in "The Spanish Prisoner," written and directed by David Mamet. As can be expected in a Mamet story, the con is on once again, and this time it involves a certain valuable formula developed by a man named Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) for a company run by a Mr. Klein (Ben Gazzara). It's a formula that will put them ahead of the Japanese for the next three to five years, and during that time it's going to make everyone in the company very rich. Only two people have access to the formula, which is written on Xerox-proof paper and kept in a safe: Joe and Mr. Klein. Joe, however, is somewhat concerned about being properly compensated for his work, as he is not a full time employee of the company, but took this particular job as a work-for-hire; and Mr. Klein has a way of putting off any talk of how much Joe can expect by telling him to wait until the "Board meeting." And it's making Joe a bit anxious.
In the meantime, Joe meets another man, Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), a wealthy businessman who ingratiates himself with Joe and in a subtle, passive-aggressive way inflames Joe's doubts about whether or not he will eventually get his due from Mr. Klein and the company. Joe has no reason to suspect that Jimmy wants anything from him; Jimmy apparently has enough irons in his own fires and he shows no real interest in whatever it is that Joe is involved in, business wise. He's merely a man who seems to know finance, and his counsel to Joe is nothing more than well-disposed advice to a friend with a mutual concern from someone with experience. Jimmy even goes so far as offering to have his lawyers look into Joe's affairs. Joe is not exactly naive, but he lacks experience in these matters. He trusts Jimmy, but he still wants to believe that Mr. Klein and the company will do right by him eventually. It's something of a conundrum, but very quickly things begin to happen that force Joe's hand and make it necessary for him to make some decisions. And it all comes down to the age old question: Who do you trust?
Mamet certainly knows how to weave a web, and what makes this one so effective is the fact that with a clever, detailed screenplay he never lets the audience in on anything more than what they have to know at any given point in time. Watching the story unfold, you never know any more than what Joe knows, which allows you to experience it all first hand, so to speak, through Joe. It all becomes very confusing very quickly, and it's supposed to be; it's what makes it so engrossing and very subtly gets you inching ever closer to the edge of your seat. You-- like Joe-- know that something is going on, but you never know exactly what or who's behind it. That it has something to do with the formula and Joe's access to it is obvious early on, but beyond that, anything goes. It's complex storytelling, and Mamet makes it even more mesmerizing with his unique touch of having his actors deliver their lines in a clipped, rhythmic manner, which combined with the plot makes this spellbinding cinema.
Campbell Scott is well cast as Joe Ross; he has the look and affects a manner completely compatible with his character. Anyone who has ever been in a position in which things are not quite clear will be able to identify with him, and Scott never lets the character get ahead of where he's supposed to be, as far as what he could possibly know and when, and it adds credibility to the fact that a con like this can be perpetrated at all. If Scott didn't do his job, it would be like having a crack in the dam, and the water would quickly come gushing out. But he does do his job, and it keeps the tension and the mystery in tact until the very end.
In a dramatic role, Steve Martin is effective playing somewhat against type in the role of Jimmy. He's convincing, and displays an aloofness that makes everything he does believable and, like Scott, he never tips his character's hand or does anything to reveal any more than he should. The winsome Rebecca Pidgeon gives an absolutely enticing performance as Susan Ricci, the "new girl" with the company who befriends Joe and gives him the encouragement he needs as he attempts to make some sense of all that is happening. Pidgeon has an extremely direct approach and employs Mamet's style of acting perfectly (few actors have been able to utilize that rhythm more effectively, in fact; Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy and Lindsay Crouse among them), and she has a quality that draws your attention, no matter who else may be in the scene with her. Arguably, it is her performance that defines the realism of Mamet's world.
The supporting cast includes Ricky Jay (George), Felicity Huffman (Pat McCune), Ed O'Neill (F.B.I. Team Leader), Paul Butler (Bookbinder) and J.J. Johnston (Doorman). With a cryptic title taken from one of the oldest con games on the books, "The Spanish Prisoner" is riveting drama that will keep you guessing until the very end. But be forewarned; like "Enemy of the State," this film has the ability to induce paranoia. It may make you take a closer look at your co-workers and neighbors, and if you don't already have a caller ID on your telephone, you'll probably want to get one, and soon. Such is the impact a film like this can have, and it's all a part of the magic of the movies.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: David Mamet
Steve Martin
Ben Gazzara

DVD title: DMX - Angel
Productgroup: DVD
DMX - Angel - movie DVD cover picture
The best rap DVD on tha planet!

I got 'em all: Up in Smoke, Bone Thugs, Welcome to Death Row, Death row uncut, but this DMX dvd is the best one that's out there!The Live material is da bomb, and the movie Angel is also very cool. The length of this dvd is over 2 and a half hours, so this is pretty much the longest of the ones I mentioned above.If you are a Rap fan, then get it!If you are a DMX fan, well, let's say you're not one if you don't got it!

Studio: Uni/Def Jam
Mary J. Blige

DVD title: Pierrot Le Fou
Productgroup: DVD
Pierrot Le Fou - movie DVD cover picture
Godard's Most Mirthful Movie

This film explodes Hollywood conventions, while praising its auteurs,and in the process transcends all of its literary, cinematic, and artistic influences. I should caution, however, the casual observer who is not a fan of Godard's. This film is definitely not for some people. That statement has less to do with the content of the flick and more to do with its form, although if you think literary allusions are pretentious you might be as equally put off by the content. For the Godard fan, this is one of his finest efforts, carefully balancing emotion with intellect. The ending scene has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen on screen. As for Belmondo, the screen has never been visited by a cooler presence since the days of Bogart. Anna Karina, on the other hand, seems to have the ability to swallow the earth and all it contains through her magnificently large eyes.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Anna Karina

DVD title: My Best Friend's Wedding
Productgroup: DVD
My Best Friend's Wedding - movie DVD cover picture
Best Movie Ever!

How can people say this movie sucks? This is one of the best films i have ever seen..It is funny, charming, and romantic..Julia Roberts looks absolutly beautiful in this movie and i think its her best role to date..Definetly a must see!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: P.J. Hogan
Julia Roberts
Dermot Mulroney
Cameron Diaz
Rupert Everett

DVD title: Macbeth
Productgroup: DVD
Macbeth - movie DVD cover picture
A masterful adaptation of a masterpiece!

This screen adaptation of Macbeth is a veritable treat to watch .Vivid , brilliant & full-blooded_____some viewers may have been put off by the gore & nudity but I suspect they "protest too much"! Shakespeare's plays are life writ large____ murder,mayhem,treachery,debauchery,lies, truth,sacrifice,friendship,generosity___ __all cast in a majestic language .To feel squeamish at the depiction of LIFE ("warts & all")in Shakespeare is inscrutable to me .The witches' scenes are some of the best I've seen, as is the enactment of the "feast scene" where Macbeth, having murdered the king,is stricken by pangs of guilt. Most adaptations of Shakespeare are too "mannered" and anemic____Polanski's version captures the essence of this masterpiece in all its dark,brooding & bloody glory.This one is a keeper!

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Roman Polanski
Jon Finch
Francesca Annis

DVD title: South Pacific
Productgroup: DVD
South Pacific - movie DVD cover picture
A Rare and Esoteric Film

I always loved this strange and beautiful film. Has there ever been a film more misunderstood? I think the important quality about this film is that it asks the viewer not to understand it but just feel it and let that feeling linger with you forever. My hero of this film has always been John Kerr as Lieutenant Cable. He is essentially a good man but he finds himself out of place wherever he goes whether it is back home, the military or even the beautiful surroundings of the paradise of the Pacific Islands. Lieutenant Cable is such a tragic figure and John Kerr brilliantly portrays him. It is selfish of me but I always felt jealous of Rossano Brazzi as Emile De Becque. Brazzi gets the girl and the glory yet I can't get the final haunting screen image of the lifeless Lieutenant Cable out of my mind.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Joshua Logan
Rossano Brazzi
Mitzi Gaynor
John Kerr (II)

DVD title: Two-Minute Warning
Productgroup: DVD
Two-Minute Warning - movie DVD cover picture
Heston in god like performance

I remember the first time I saw this movie, I was about 16 and the film was being shown on channel 4. I was only watching out of boredom but became transfixed from start to finish. The tension is red hot, acting superb and the decision to keep the rifleman annonymous a classic. His evil shines through but you have no face to hate! I highly recommend this to younger people who think that only contemparary movies, with big explosions and expensive effects, can hold their attention. Gripping from start to finish.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Larry Peerce
Charlton Heston
John Cassavetes

DVD title: Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
ArRr! A Pirate's life for me!

Wow. I have to say I was blown away by this movie. Being an absolute Orlando Bloom fan, this movie was a must-see anyhow. The action is great throughout the entire movie, including many humorous scenes with Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrows). Intertwined into the overall story line of Jack Sparrow wanting his stolen ship back, the cursed Black Pearl, is a love story between the beautiful Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightely) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom<3). This movie is a super family movie that will make you long for the pirate's life!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Gore Verbinski
Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Jonathan Pryce

DVD title: Stealing Home
Productgroup: DVD
Stealing Home - movie DVD cover picture
A truly beautiful excursion to the my summers of my youth

Stealing home is beautiful from both a cinematic and expository point of view. It has a bittersweet charm that brings me back to the summers of my youth spent at the beach... of young love... and a time of self exploration and discovery. William McNamara gives a poignant performance and Jodie Foster is the older "girl" we were all in love with. If Bradbury's Dandelion Wine ushered you into adolescence, then Stealing Home will surely take you back.

Studio: Warner Studios
Mark Harmon
Jodie Foster

DVD title: The Deer Hunter
Productgroup: DVD
The Deer Hunter - movie DVD cover picture
The Deer Hunter (1978)

A Vietnam movie that isn't about Vietnam. Confusing? Yes, if you don't see the big picture. (no pun) The Director of the film, Michael Cimino, self-stated that he did not want this movie to be about Vietnam and I believe he succeeded. The film, rather, tells the trials and tribulations of friendship and how certain life events can bring friends closer and also tear them apart. With brilliant acting, directing, screenplay and an all-star cast I put The Deer Hunter as one of the greatest films of all time. A must see.

Studio: Umvd
Director: Michael Cimino
Robert De Niro
Christopher Walken

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