Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Notebook (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
The Notebook (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
One great movie!

I read this book a while ago and basically loved it, but time had me forget the whole story. The movie is excellent! As I watched it, it all came back! The acting is well done and the actors were perfectly choosen. Forget when others say it's too romantic- it's tells a story like no other. Even the guys/men in the cinema were choked up and admitted they enjoyed it.
If you cry easy, take the whole box of tissue. It's that good! Kudos to the cast and crew.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Gena Rowlands
James Garner
Ryan Gosling
Rachel McAdams

DVD title: Salo - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Salo - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A Lighthearted Feast For The Soul!

In the tradition of such timeless family classics as "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music," and "The Mighty Ducks 2," (not 1 or 3, i said 2 you presumptuous freaks) comes a sweet little Italian movie called "Salo". Let me tell you, you will NOT find a better movie to watch with your family this or any other year! It has a little bit of something for everyone... kids being forced to eat their own poop, fascist dicatators, beautiful scenery, kids being forced to eat their own poop....THIS MOVIE HAS IT ALL!!! You will simply not find another light-hearted comic gem quite like "Salo". It is a truly beautiful, life-affirming masterpiece.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Paolo Bonacelli

DVD title: Ran
Productgroup: DVD
Ran - movie DVD cover picture
William Akira Shakespeare Kurosawa

This film is undeniable the most notable adaptation of any work of William Shakespeare to the movie. The insights in every detail, the superb cast, the overwheelming photography, the camera's handle makes us inevitably to remind that happy sentence of Orson Welles who said once:"One film is really extraordinary , when the camera is an eye in the mind of a poet".Casually this film is made in 1985, the same year of Welles'death.Kurosawa was a truly master. Once upon a time a critical compared to Kenji Mizoguchi with Bach. If this methaphor is assumed valid, then Kurosawa would have his musical image in Ludwig van Beethoven.The amazing scene of the castle in flames, with a remarkable red that invites us to reflect about the human condition, his hunger for power, the horror generated by that unthirsty ambition. The multiple readings that concern with the violence and the passion carrying the devasting facts that appear all along this film.The opening sequences in which the three brothers are together with their father is filmed with such kind of perfection that I wouldn't wonder to know that this an obligated reference for all those students of direction. In this sense, this multiple exchange of points of view reveal us without affections of any kind,the essencial nature of the human being inmersed in the purest spirit shakesperian. Kurosawa, like the great giants of th cinema handles the camera like Gods, includes the color and the nature's elements like adittional actors (Dreams). Just remember that Akira was the first filma maker who dared film against the sun in that glorius film Rashoman from 1950. His achievements all along his brilliant career are too many and certainly, would be beyond the reach of this shorts analysis. This is one of these gems that you must see over and over, just when you admire this eternal masterpiece. To be true the others Shakespeare's versions that deseve to be carried to the desert island would be in my opinion Titus 2000 (Julie Taymor), Othelo 1953 (Welles) , Richard III 1955 (Olivier), and Throne of blood 1957(Kurosawa).But this movie is just several steps ahead all the titles above mentioned.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Tatsuya Nakadai
Akira Terao
Jinpachi Nezu
Daisuke Ryu

DVD title: Jezebel
Productgroup: DVD
Jezebel - movie DVD cover picture
"Please let it be me that goes to him"

Legend has it that Bette Davis was offered the lead in Jezebel because Warner Bothers refused to lend her out for Gone With the Wind. The decision proved to be somewhat prophetic because Bette went on to win the 1938 Best Actress Oscar for her role as Miss Julie Morrison, the spoiled, willful, and coquettish Southern Belle who unashamedly weaves a web of betrayal and seduction.

While Jezebel is most notable for Bette's fiery, strong-willed and multi-faceted performance, the film also serves as a wonderful period piece, a deftly written romantic melodrama that astutely portrays early 1850s New Orleans ante-bellum society. The world is industriously on the move, and the whole of the United States is undergoing profound change.

The abolitionist movement is gaining momentum and the South feels as though its slave-driven way of life is under threat. There are rumbling hints of war between the Northern States and to add to this, there's the constant threat and the continual scourge of yellow fever - an illness that people were convinced could be passed on through the air.

The movie begins as Julie (Davis) is courting Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda). Julie loves Preston but she's willful and young, and when she goes against his wishes and wares an inappropriate red dress to a local ball, she ends up embarrassing him and making a public spectacle of herself. Preston unceremoniously dumps her and she becomes an outcast, a wealthy recluse with only her kindly Aunt Belle (Fay Bainter) to keep her company.

When Preston eventually appears on the scene again with a wife, Julie decides to fight to get him back. She manipulates and connives, unleashing a series of catastrophic events involving her best friend and Southern gentlemen Buck Cantrell (George Brent), who also secretly loves her. Consequently, Aunt Belle labels Julie a "Jezebel" at the most crucial plot point. Julie is eventually humbled by her experiences and ends up giving of her time, energy, and health during the deadly Yellow Jack outbreak. She is able to overcome her shallowness and selfishness, eventually becoming almost martyr to the deadly disease.

It's easy to see why Davis won the Oscar for this role, and it's one of her very best performances. Yes, she's a "Jezebel" but perhaps in name only, because she's also a naively frail young girl, whose only real fault is that, she's impetuous and doesn't really think too much before she acts or opens her mouth. Of course, she pays a bitter price for this behaviour, but the beauty of the story is that she's able to redeem herself, and hopefully find true love again.

Jezebel is a must see for diehard Bette Davis fans. Admirers of period pieces will also get a lot out of this film. The best scene is when Julie stubbornly goes to the ball - realizing what she has done, she begs Preston to take her home, but he stoically soldiers on, making her dance much to the chagrin of the other party goers, determined to teach her a lesson and show her the error of her ways.

The costumes and the sets have been sumptuously recreated, however, the movie works best at portraying Southern life during the middle of the 19th century. It's a grand, sweeping, superbly acted film, and a splendid character study of a flawed woman, and it shows the young Bette at her vampish, coquettish, and sardonic best. Mike Leonard July 05.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: William Wyler
Bette Davis
Henry Fonda

DVD title: Batman Begins (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Batman Begins (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
What chance does Gotham have, when the good people do nothing?

What can I say that hasn't been said already? I can say "WOW", but does it carry the same emotion that everyone else speaks about? I don't know, but for me, this was the best summer blockbuster that I have seen in 2005. Christopher Nolan has done his homework, stayed true to dark, graphic stories that follow this hero, and set in place a cast that equally carry the weight of this film on their shoulders. I remember saying to a friend that the reason this film worked was because of the cast. In previous Batman films, we struggled between the over-acting of some, the celebrity status of others, and some that were just plain goofy, but now Nolan has given us a cast that carries this film into a whole new ballgame. They want to be there, they want to embody their characters, they want to give birth to this Dark Knight, and they do. When I first heard about this film being in the pipeline, I was concerned about Christian Bale taking on such a role that has been demolished by the heavy-hitters of Hollywood. Could he do it? I had faith in him, but did everyone else? Apparently they did, because he is the most powerful representation of this tortured figure ever to come out of comic book Hollywood. I applaud his work, appreciated his toned down approach, and cannot wait for him to come back and prove that he is this winged freak.

Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Tom Wilkinson, the AMAZING Cillian Murphy, Linus Roache, and Ken Watanabe. With names like this you know that you are walking into greatness. I was worried at first about Caine as Alfred, but with the greatest of ease he turned what could have been the comic character of the film into this powerful voice of Wayne's conscious. It was incredible.

While I give so much credit to the actors, I need to equally pay respect to Christopher Nolan. Not since Sin City did I feel like I was watching a graphic novel, a comic, come alive on screen. His ability to frame each shot like a moment in the books, create these breathing characters that you can actually believe exist, as well as tell a story that has been corrupted by the Hollywood recycling machine takes talent and Nolan did it. I have been a huge fan of everything that Nolan has touched. I used to give Memento out for free at the video store just so people could experience the magic that he has. I was a fan of Insomnia and even Followers. I get excited to see his work because it changes with each picture. You never know what you are going to get when you watch a Nolan film, but you can guess that it will be dark and come from his heart. I saw it in his earlier films and it shined brightly in Batman Begins.

If I had to say anything negative about the film (which is hard to do) there would be two aspects that I would mention. The first is Katie Holmes. I just didn't like her character. She was underdefined and basically eye-candy for the younger Dawson's Creek audience members. She was worthless, perhaps it was the Tom Cruise media mud-bath that seems to have ruined our newspapers these days, but she just felt plain to me. She didn't make the cut. Then, there were times where you could tell that Bale was really forcing a grumbly American accent. Nothing too wrong with this, but it just felt forced. These were minor insecurities that I had with this overall brilliant film.

Outstanding. Perhaps that is a better word for it. I could see this film again and again. From the opening frame to the final moments of battle I was pulled from my theater seat directly into the film. No other Batman film has done that for me. I remember falling in love with Keaton as the Dark Knight, but I think Bale even gave him a run for his money. Nolan created the perfect tone and story for our disturbed hero. He took the goofy elements from Burton, erased Kilmer/Clooney, and brought us back to our roots. This film was perfection on a stick.

Grade: ***** out of *****

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Christopher Nolan
Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Ken Watanabe

DVD title: Space 1999, Set 1
Productgroup: DVD
Space 1999, Set 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Amazon Is The Bomb!

On this day of 30 January 2001, I have received the two sets of Space: 1999 DVDs. They are indeed awesome! Better than any VHS and even better than either the American or Japanese Laserdiscs of the past. I was quite surprised to receive them on the release day, but kudos to! Welcome is the digitally remastered episodes, totally uncut and WOW, you can pause each episode! no more CLV Laserdisc limitations. DVDs are were it's at. Please be sure to get the whole set from A&E. I got a good feeling they have finally done it right. Getting most of the episodes in some sort of descent release order. Even putting out Year 2's Bringers of Wonder episodes (let's pray). Can't beat the price, either.

Studio: A & E Entertainment

DVD title: Verdi - Requiem / Pamela Coburn, Vinson Cole, Trudeliese Schmidt, Kurt Rydl, Enoch zu Guttenberg, European Symphony Orchestra
Productgroup: DVD
Verdi - Requiem / Pamela Coburn, Vinson Cole, Trudeliese Schmidt, Kurt Rydl, Enoch zu Guttenberg, European Symphony Orchestra - movie DVD cover picture
Not the best, but still excellent

The two best DVD performances of the Verdi Requiem are those of Karajan (from 1967) and Abbado (the recent Berlin version). Guttenberg leads a less virtuosic ensemble but still captures the excitement and grandeur of this work. His quartet of soloists is excellent (although less stellar than Karajan's); Pamela Coburn's shimmering soprano is the standout of the group. The quality of picture and sound is less spectacular than Abbado's but superior to Karajan's. If you love this music enough that you must have more than one version, I suggest that you make this DVD number three on your list.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Trudeliese Schmidt
Neubeuren Opera Choral Society
Kurt Rydl
Pamela Coburn
Vinson Cole

DVD title: Infinity's Child
Productgroup: DVD
Infinity's Child - movie DVD cover picture
Incredible ...a must have!

This DVD/video is the sequel to Planetary Traveler. It is a visual and aural feast that'll really blow you away. If you have any interest whatsoever in computer graphics and animation, you must see this -it's amazing!

Studio: Winstar Home Entertainment

DVD title: Conan the Barbarian
Productgroup: DVD
Conan the Barbarian - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie and DVD. The best sword/sorcery flick ever!

For me, Conan the Barbarian was the first movie to have the decent amount of plot elements, action, and character devlopment to be the first real sword/sorcery movie for me. After being disappointed by many other attempts and the genre, I finally gave this one a try. The results were in for me before the movie even ended.

"Conan the Barbarian" chronicals the early life of Conan the Cimmerian in oustanding detail. From the brutal attack on his childhood village, to his freedom from slavery, to his meeting of his first love Valeria, and to the defeat of his first great enemy, this movie has everything you're looking for in a movie like this.

Everything is top-notch: The cinemetograhy is beautiful, the production design is fantastic... even the acting isn't half-bad! But what realy deserves recognition is the music. The score is the best I've ever heard in a flick like this; it deserved at least an academy award nomination. The cast is also great. It inludes James Earl Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Max Von Sydow.

The direction (by John Millius of "Dillinger" fame) is great. There isn't one moment where something doesn't make sense in the movie. Also, the action is wonderful. Although there ins't much actual swordfighting, there is a lot of hacking/slashing/gore, which is pretty cool but it makes the movie a good one to keep away from the kids. (read below for more details)

The DVD is pretty good, boasting some good picture and sound quality, a 55 minute doumentary on the making of the film, a hilarious commentary with director Millius and actor Schwarzenegger, some deleted scenes, storyboards/conceptual art, and more. For special-features lovers, this DVD is sure to please.

All in all, this is a perfect movie. There is decent enough acting, great action, wonderful cinemetography and production desgin, awesome music, and an overall "epic" feel. The overall verdict is that it's a great purchase.

1981; 129 minutes; Rated R for sequences of strong violence/gore, disturbing images, multiple scenes of sexuality/nudity, and some mild language.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Milius
Arnold Schwarzenegger
James Earl Jones

DVD title: Ever After - A Cinderella Story
Productgroup: DVD
Ever After - A Cinderella Story - movie DVD cover picture
great movie

I am going to buy this movie and watch it over and over and over and over again because I will never get tired of it

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Andy Tennant
Drew Barrymore
Anjelica Huston
Dougray Scott

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