Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
One of the Best!

Before I had seen the DVD, I had already seen this movie once on VHS. I loved it. I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet seen it to do so. The commentary by the writer and the director is hilarious! A WORD OF CAUTION: DO NOT LISTEN TO THE COMMENTARY DURING YOUR FIRST VIEWING.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Spacey
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: Kelly's Heroes
Productgroup: DVD
Kelly's Heroes - movie DVD cover picture
Greta Cast = Great Film

Eastwood plays Kelly the man who plans to steal gold from the nazis.Only troulbe the gold is behind emeny lines.With the Help of Telly Savalas, donald Sutherland, and Carrol O Conner.This is one funny war classic

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Brian G. Hutton
Clint Eastwood
Telly Savalas

DVD title: Broadcast News
Productgroup: DVD
Broadcast News - movie DVD cover picture
Funny and incisive. One of 1987's very best.

''It must be nice to always think you're the smartest person in the room,'' she replies, ''No, it's awful'' .... The matter of fact reply to the accusation is of the reasons why I love this movie so much. I initially saw it when it came out in 1987, and although the technology and wardrobe look dated, the film's core may be even more relevant today than it was when initially released and continues to play beautifully due to strong performances and a funny yet unusually incisive script.
Right at the center of the movie are 3 characters: Jane (Holly Hunter), a news writer-producer for the Washington bureau of a TV network. She is smart and is the "go to" person at the network as she works best under pressure and the character who responded to the remark about being the smartest person in a room. Her very best (and possibly only) friend is Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a bright, aggressive reporter, who along with Jane, have either true or self-created illusions great looks and intelligence can't coexist. Like Jane, Aaron is also very good at his job, but he wants to be on camera. During a speech that she is giving on the road, Jane meets Tom (William Hurt), an ex-sportscaster who has little education and doesn't know much about current events. But he has been hired for the Washington bureau because he looks good and has a natural relationship with the camera, and isn't that what matters?
Although billed as a romantic comedy, which it is in part, the movie does a brilliant job of how many of us use work to measure who we are and at times use it an excuse to hide from life outside of that myopic perspective. In the course of the movie, the network goes through various upheavals based on the premise that news is losing (or by now has lost) its independence and has become entertainment with talking heads who make us feel good are replacing "true" journalists. Although the script is top notch, one of the reasons that movie resonates so well, is that the actors and the director manage to make even the most partisan statements not seem as didactic as they are on paper.
None of the characters is perfect by any stretch of the imagination and the 3 leads are clearly not afraid to be dislikable. Their individual and collective effort works so well that you wind up being very interested/invested in them despite their flaws. This is without a doubt a career-defining performance by Holly Hunter who was robbed of the Oscar as it was given to Cher for her work in "Moonstruck" to "make up" for not rewarding her work in "Mask." William Hurt, a nuanced and complicated actor who was also nominated for the Oscar gives a change of pace performance as someone who's perfectly aware of his intellectual limitations but who sees no reason for them to interfere with his climb to the top. Albert Brooks is brilliant and comes very close to stealing the movie as he is hilarious and to me represents the moral conscience of the movie. He too was nominated for the Oscar and in my opinion was robbed as it was given to Sean Connery for what I think was a career award rather than his work in "The Untouchables."
Sidebar: This movie received Oscar nominations in all major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay among others), the movie was not awarded a single Oscar as it was a year with great movies such as "The Last Emperor" and show-stopping performances, as was the case with Michael Douglas in "Wall Street."
But back to the movie. Its writer/director, James L. Brooks, who hit a grand slam with "Terms of Endearment," manages not to let any character run away with the movie as he tempers their self-righteousness (as is the case with Hunter and Brooks) and good luck (William Hurt) by making them more than bumper-sticker characters. There is a great line sequence in the movie in which one reporter asks fellow reporters ''Would you tell a source you loved them just to get information?'' The immediate response, ''Yes,'' is followed by laughter all around. In essence although James L. Brooks makes a strong case that the news BUSINESS has blurred many lines, even those of us who think fall on the "right" side of said line are not presented as heroes nor are those who apparently cross it vilified. The movie is packed with many one-liners that do more than amuse and makes keen observations without beating your head with them.
This movie easily earns 5 stars and would almost be a perfect movie had it ended without a neatly tied-up last act that ALMOST, but not quite, manages to take away a movie that had only taken a single false step until then. That first false step, in my opinion, is what led to the unnecessary and forced last act. The big "surprise" and one character's reaction to it are much to do about nothing in the bigger picture.
Notwithstanding this movie makes very strong statements (a la "Network" but much more subtle) about an industry and does so un such an entertaining and intelligent manner that I have to see this movie every few years, which is something that I rarely do. The outcome is almost irrelevant when compared to the joy of seeing these smart people interact with one another. Without a doubt, this is one of 1987's best movies. Enjoy and if you have not seen this movie, you'll be happily surprised by an unbilled performance by yet another amazing actor

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: James L. Brooks
William Hurt
Albert Brooks
Holly Hunter

DVD title: Grateful Dead - The Closing of Winterland
Productgroup: DVD
Grateful Dead - The Closing of Winterland - movie DVD cover picture
"Ain't Nothing Like A Grateful Dead Concert Deadheads Unite"

My title of "Ain't Nothing Like A Grateful Dead Concert" still rocks true..And this dvd is proof of that fact..Even though at this point i was still too young to see the Dead in concert..This is their famous concert to closedown The Winterland concert hall in San Franscisco CA..Started on New Years Eve Dec 31 1978 and went into New Years Day January 1 1979..Everything about this dvd makes it the Ultimate Rock DvD..Packaged perfect both inside and out..The extras are fantastic (one of them featuring new interviews with Bob Weir and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead..Bob Weir now looking somewhat like Jerry Garcia)..There are a butch of extras..More then what you find on other rock dvds by other bands..Thats the Grateful Dead for ya they always deliver as any fan/DeadHead can tell ya'..Even has in the extras as well from that night as shown locally in San Fran interview with Bob Weir and Mickey Hart at 2 am during the first break..And even the opening acts from that night are at home in these extras are performances by Blues Brothers / New Riders of the Purple Sage (that features brother of Ricky Nelson David Nelson who almost had the Weir spot in the Dead as Weir tells on the one extra)..The NROPS footage had to be intertwined with photos of the band with very little of what survives of their performance that night..Shows how important film preservation is..Among other great and insightfuLL extras that are sure to please..And of course there is the music..You get 3 sets from that night of the great Grateful Dead..Here are my personal favs from this remarkable DVD.."Sugar Magnolia" (one of the songs of my beloved Mandy and I since we met) / Big River (Johnny Cash Remake) / Friend Of The Devil (in my opinion it sounds better like this slow) / Its All Over Now (a Rolling Stones Remake) / Stagger Lee (she shot him in the .....) / From The Heart Of Me (Magickally sung by Donna Godchaux) / Samson & Delilah / Ramble On Rose / Around and Around (ROCKS!!!!) / Dark Star *The Other One* (their first SF Dark Star in over 4 years) and the rest of Set 3 i won't list it all to save space is ALL favs of mine..It includes Casey Jones and very ROCKED up version of Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode..Needless to say ALL the selections are GREAT from start to finish..The actual ending the video doesn't survive so it is shown through pictures of that night doing the song "we bid you goodnight" (with the lyric that preachers i heard complain about rock and the Grateful Dead should hear and pull out "I Love You But Jesus Loves You Best" that's evil rock music huh??)..Also on this dvd watch for "Rhythm Devils" an all out double drum assault with some other guests and suprises that almost closes in on 20 minutes..It gets weird in spots but think how it had to have sounded surrounding you at Winterland that night 25 so years ago..If you loves drums or a drummer or even thinking of being a drummer take my word you can't afford to miss this..I can only hope that the CLASSIC Grateful Dead videos will foLLow sOOnly On DVD "The Grateful Dead Movie" and our first actual Grateful Dead concert ever "Dead Ahead" yes we were there in Radio City Music HaLL In NYC)..And how about the legendary concert in Egypt by the PyramidS that was just before this concert to close Winterland..PLEASE RELEASE THEM ON DVD DEADHEADS UNITE DEMAND CLASSIC DEAD ON DVD THEN BUY FROM AMAZON.COM!!!! Lastly i say that if you been a Deadhead for years you can't miss this dvd..If you are new or want to be introduced to the Grateful Dead you can start here to witness their greatness..What a show this was..Long Live "Uncle Jerry" and memories of the One the ONLY GRATEFUL DEAD ROCK ON!!!!

Studio: Monterey Home Video

DVD title: The Yakuza
Productgroup: DVD
The Yakuza - movie DVD cover picture
Outstanding collaboration of Japanese and Hollywood film tal

A moving depiction of classical samurai values conflicting with the realities of the modern world. Features fine kenjutsu and iai performances that, though choreographed, are evocative of the actualities of close in-hand sword fencing. Explorations of the values of the classical Japanese warrior are insightful. Beautiful and horrifying.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Robert Mitchum
Ken Takakura

DVD title: The Adventures of Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark/The Temple of Doom/The Last Crusade) - Widescreen
Productgroup: DVD
The Adventures of Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark/The Temple of Doom/The Last Crusade) - Widescreen - movie DVD cover picture
Indiana Jones beats Laura Croft any day!

This trilogy boxed set features some really great bonus making of and behind the scenes extras. You get to see the collaboration between George Lucas and Stephen Speilberg during the filming which is a real treat. They look so young! This is back when George actually tried to make a good film instead of making brochures for his Effects company ILM.
Anyways, the movies are action packed just like you remember, and the image is clear and crisp. The original soundtracks for most were Stereo but we get treated to a surround mix which is pretty good! If you like Indy and his movies then you have no reason to wait, if you have never seen them before you are truly in for a treat! They just don't make them like this anymore.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Harrison Ford

DVD title: Over the Edge
Productgroup: DVD
Over the Edge - movie DVD cover picture

I too was around the same age as these kids when this movie came. I was one of those kids! I have never had a movie affect me the way this one did. I am so happy to see this come out on DVD finally. This movie also turned me onto the Ramones and Cheap Trick! Although, I dont know if I should really admit to the latter... lol!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Michael Eric Kramer
Pamela Ludwig
Matt Dillon

DVD title: Last of the Dogmen
Productgroup: DVD
Last of the Dogmen - movie DVD cover picture
Last of the Dogmen

This movie is a one of a kind! I have never seen anything like it before. It's a movie my kids can even watch without the sensorship. I'm wondering why none of the actors didn't win any awards for this movie!

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Tab Murphy
Tom Berenger
Barbara Hershey

DVD title: MacGyver - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
MacGyver - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
This DVD set is LONG overdue!

Many fans, like myself, have been waiting for MacGyver to be released on DVD for years. Most of the shows on during the same time (mid 1980s) have already been released (Knight Rider, Magnum PI, etc). For those who don't know, MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson) is a rugged government agent who works by improvising special trinkets and gadgets to get out of sticky situations (instead of using, say, guns). Part private-eye, part environmentalist, think of MacGyver as an "overgrown Boy Scout" and you have a pretty good idea of the character.

The First Season was on TV in 1985 and although it had a slow start, the ratings soon took off. In the first season, MacGyver travels all over the world and gets himself out of more than his fair share of trouble. This show is a classic of the 1980s science/action genre (Knight Rider is another good example), and should be enjoyable to those who remember the series. Unfortunately, the special effects, music, and dialogue (not to mention Richard Dean Anderson's hair styles) may seem a bit campy and dated by today's standards. The computer-effects and digital camerawork that are commonplace in action-packed television shows today were not used in the mid 1980s. Still, the show was good fun and it's great it's finally on DVD!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Richard Dean Anderson

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
An incredible film, except of course if you're a "purist"

I don't normally review many items but I do feel the need to take a moment to say how great the Two Towers was. It is a given fact that it did stray from the book at times, but as any film maker knows, when you make an adaption of a series you must make a few sacrifices in order to aid those who maybe have not read the series. I was happy despite the changes that were made. I think peter jackson did an incredible job adapting a very thick novel into and understandable and enjoyable series of films.
By the way, being a reader of Tolkien does not qualify you to make a movie.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen

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