Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Last Temptation of Christ - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Last Temptation of Christ - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best Jesus movies


A disclaimer appears prior to the start of this movie that clearly states that this film is fiction and is not considered by Scorcese to tbe the 5th Gospel. Therefore, this film is not blasphemy.
I am a strong Christian and this is one my favorite Jesus movies. I approached this film with an open mind, reserving my criticism until the movie was over. Scorcese said that in this portrayal Jesus doesn't sin,but he does: he says after the stoning of the prostitute scene that he "wanted to kill" those people trying to stone Mary Magdelene. In scripture Christ Himself states that wanting to kill somebody is a sin. That aside, this film is not blasphemy. It simply presents the what-ifs.
You are to watch this film and ponder whether or not Jesus was tempted on the cross (Don't you think he would have felt the urge to get down?). This film is an excellent life-application tool for Christians as well. Jesus meets John the Baptist, who has a rather crazy following. His followers all run around naked, and try to exorcise their demons and pay for their sins by cutting themselves, among other things. John the Baptist tells Jesus that he prepared thw way for Jesus: with an axe. He hands Jesus the axe and tells him to wreak vengeance on those who don't obey God.
In many ways, this is a trap Christians can get into. We sometimes aren't very compassionate to sinners and act very pious. The Catholic Church in particular has a dark history of punishing sinners and pagans.
Later, Jesus changes his message from one of wrath and law to one of love and gospel. This is the way Christians should behave.
At one point jesus is sitting next to the edge of a cliff, and in a fit of anger, throws a rock over the cliff, and yells "God hates me! God want to toss me over!" We can all relate to that feeling. Sometimes we are overcome by sins that we feel that God is angry with us and wants to punish us.
The scene of most controversy is the last temptation, which is ridiculous. There is nothing sinful about Jesus getting married and then having sex with Mary. That is sex INSIDE wedlock, and the sex scene is very passive. (The scene previous to it is with Mary wearing a crown of flowers and hugging Jesus. This is their wedding. This scene is pretty passive, so people think that the next scene (sex) is premarital) It is only a temptation, it never happens. The last 30 minutes of the film are all a temptation, an exploration of Jesus' earthly life had he rejected his chosen crucifixion and lived a mortal life. On his death bed Jesus realizes his mistake and pleads to God to have him crucified. Jesus stays on the cross and saves mankind.
A very moving film. Please note that neither I nor Martin Scorsese believe that this is a true account. It simply explores the possibilities of just how human the human side of Jesus' dual nature MIGHT have been. Highly recommended. I will warn Christians considering viewing this movie that you should take the disclaimer to heart and that there is lots of nudity in this film that might offend you.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Martin Scorsese
Actors:
Willem Dafoe
Harvey Keitel
Barbara Hershey




DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Flawed, but still 5 stars


This third and final installment to Peter Jackson's cinematic interpretation of the Lord of the Rings is a triumph for all involved despite its flaws. As Frodo, Sam, and Gollum approach Mordor in the attempt to destroy the ring, the kingdoms of man face brutal attacks that must be defended against all odds. Especially compared to the second film, "The Two Towers," the action is well-balanced and tightly portrayed, with only a few scenes lasting too long. As with the others, the cinematography is captivating and even breath-taking at times. The computer graphics are, except in one or two cases, successfully integrated, with the Orc army a phenomenal achievement with its individualized "actors."
Many of the movie's difficulties derive from the translation of the book to film. The complicated nature of the story line and cast of characters cannot be easily shown with visuals, even three and a half hours of them, resulting in some confusing scenes and relationships especially for those unfamiliar with the books. The biggest, and only inexcusable, flaw for me was directorial. Jackson chooses an overly sentimental tone to "end" the film - four or five times. The music gets jacked up, the camera shows tight close-ups of supposedly meaningful expressions, the screen fades out, and, oops, here comes another scene that goes through the same throes of sentimentality. The result is akin to a symphony that sounds its big, ending notes, only to then return to the less dramatic middle of the movement. These false endings get downright annoying, and the Hollywood-type treatment mars this otherwise spectacular film.
I still give this film five stars because of the remarkable achievement of bringing this story to dramatic life. "The Return of the King" is the best of the trilogy with its nearly perfect balance of action and set-up, and with the ensemble acting really hitting its stride. Do not see this film without having seen the others, as none stands well on its own. This riveting epic will undoubtedly become a film classic. Buy the DVD.

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




DVD title: Jay Z - Fade to Black
Productgroup: DVD
Jay Z - Fade to Black - movie DVD cover picture
New found respect


I have never been a big fan of Jay-Z, not enough to actually purchase an album. I've learned lyrics to the radio cuts and I respect him for being very witty and nice with the beats. Well, this movie is awesome. So many star-studded cameos, the behind the scenes footage of his actual songwriting in his head,a story of an intelligent man who came from the bottom to the top via hip-hop. This guy doesn't write anything down and he flows like leaky water faucets. I stayed glued to the TV and the concert seemed well worth my sleep time trying to finish it off in a couple of hours. I wanted to buy every CD he ever made here on Amazon afterwards. I am a new true Jay-Z fan now.

p.s. I saw a friend in the audience a few times, she was rockin hard. Wish I lived in the NY. Young old, everybody got down at once.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Actors:
Jay-Z
Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott
Rick Rubin




DVD title: Neil Peart - A Work in Progress
Productgroup: DVD
Neil Peart - A Work in Progress - movie DVD cover picture
Finding Echoes


Outstanding! While I am a musician, I am not a percussionist. Regardless, Neil's presentation here is worthy of the price it takes to find it. He is extremely informative, clear, direct, and leads the viewer on a line which is easy to follow. I am impressed with his abilities as philosopher and perpetual student of the world as much as I am with his musical talent. Neil, fine job!

Studio: Warner Bros Publishi
Actors:
Neil Peart



DVD title: Apocalypse Now Redux
Productgroup: DVD
Apocalypse Now Redux - movie DVD cover picture
All time favorite just got better.


I always loved Apocalypse Now but I believe the directors cut is superior. With the exception of the French Plantation segment,the new version filled in alot of gaps that needed to be filled.I remember seeing the documentary Hearts of Darkness and always wanting to see the sceens that were cut from in their entirety.I was always wishing that they would make it onto extras of a DVD but they nowhere to be found on the original DVD.And now with Redux not only do we get to see the sceens,but they are a regular part of the film.This is a good release,anybody want to buy an orginal Apocalypse Now DVD so I can buy this (LOL)

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Actors:
Marlon Brando
Martin Sheen




DVD title: Crazy/ Beautiful
Productgroup: DVD
Crazy/ Beautiful - movie DVD cover picture
I thought this film was going to be generic, but I was wrong


The trailer for Crazy/Beautiful made this film look like it was going to be just another doomed teen romance film. If any of you have seen Mad Love with Drew Barrymore, a movie that is better than you would think, well, that's what I thought I was going to get. That's not a bad thing...it's just that these kinds of films do not ever showcase great acting talent. Well, Crazy/Beautiful does showcase some amazing acting talent from Kirsten Dunst, and the script is so original and complicated, that each little turn you're seeing something that you wouldn't expect from a film of this genre. The characters are fresh and complex...far from the cardboard cutout characters in recent romance films. By the end of the film, I cared about what happened to these "ill-fated lovers", and I found the conclusion to be both realistic and emotional. It's a shame that more people won't give this film a chance since it was marketed so poorly, because this one is a true gem. Dunst deserves quite a lot of praise for the best performance of her career.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: John Stockwell
Actors:
Kirsten Dunst
Jay Hernandez




DVD title: Niagara
Productgroup: DVD
Niagara - movie DVD cover picture
Falling in lust.


In "Niagara", Marilyn Monroe portrays Rose, a sneaky, sinister temptress planning to kill off her husband George (Joseph Cotten). Why she wants George murdered instead of simply leaving him is never explained. There are plenty of sexy shots of Marilyn (a couple of them focusing on her rear end), and the clips of the Niagara Falls are also quite impressive. I should mention that although Marilyn gets top billing in the credits, she has less screen time than Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters or Casey Adams, the latter two portraying Ray and Polly Cutler, a honeymooning couple. About the DVD: the picture and sound quality is definitely an improvement over it's VHS cousin. There are a few other extras, but nothing to get excited about. The optional French dubbing is performed very well. The woman who reads Marilyn's lines sounds like her.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Henry Hathaway
Actors:
Marilyn Monroe
Joseph Cotten




DVD title: Legally Blonde
Productgroup: DVD
Legally Blonde - movie DVD cover picture
Legally Blonde


I saw this movie yesterday, and thought it was great! Its about this highschool girl who's going out with a guy named warner. The night he was supposed to propose, he dumped her, why? Because she was too dumb to be his girlfriend considering he was going to Harverd Law School. So Elle,(the main character) decides to make it her mission to win this guy back. She makes it to Harvard(pretty easily) and finds that Law School is a little harder that she thought. Through hard times, and great times, and many suprises, jokes, and even some great court cases(see the movie, u will understand)! This experience of a big "O my god, like what am I to do, I can't go to the mall today, like o no!" to a Graduate of Harverd, you can imagine how much fun this movie was!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Robert Luketic
Actors:
Reese Witherspoon
Luke Wilson




DVD title: The Simpsons - The Complete Fifth Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Simpsons - The Complete Fifth Season - movie DVD cover picture
Hate the waiting!


This is the peak of The Simpsons in my mind. I enjoyed the show up to and including season 12. Season 11 is where it started slipping (probably a lot later than most Simpsons fans would claim it started) and seasons 13 and on have been bad in my opinion. I didn't bother watching season 15 (this coming from someone who's probably seen most of the Simpsons episodes dozens of times each.) But this was definitely the top of the pile and you can't afford to miss this season.
BTW, I saw a number of people complaining about the length for each release to come out. The reason is that Matt Groening and others have to record audio commentaries on each episode (while Matt Groening is also doing the Futurama DVD commentaries) so that takes a long time with their busy schedules. It's well worth it to me, though. The audio commentaries are awesome and I can listen to them more than once. Worth the wait by far.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Actors:
Dan Castellaneta



DVD title: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
A Charlie Brown Christmas - movie DVD cover picture
Holiday Tradition


when I was growing up, during the week before Thanksgiving, I would pull out my copy of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and would watch it constantly until Christmas, its one of my FAVORITE holiday movies of all time. I recently started my own tradition with my little ones by introducing them to this movie, and each year as the holidays start to arrive they beg me to pull it out and we watch it every day until Christmas.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Bill Melendez



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