Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood
Productgroup: DVD
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best comedies EVER!

Never did a movie make me laugh so hard as this did, but first of all you need to know about the black lifestyle in the ghetto which is common sense to most. If you don't like gang movies though I wouldn't suggest watching this, but I could be wrong. A brother named Ashtray learns is learning how to live in the hood from homeboys, he meets a black beauty, Dashikee, I don't know how to spell that but close enough. He wants to move out of the ghetto with her and start a new life, a new child but alot of things get in his way, mostly Toothpicks gang. There are so many funny parts in this film, I'd say the funniest are when Toothpick was at the party and was talking about being in the shower with men, the MC Hammer dream, the convient store incident and in the movies begining when the two guys get shot. I demand that you watch this film, but as I said only if your into this type of thing. Great movie! If you've seen Baby Boy then you might see some similarities.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Paris Barclay
Shawn Wayans
Marlon Wayans
Keenen Ivory Wayans

DVD title: Biography - Benjamin Franklin: Citizen of the World (A&E DVD Archives)
Productgroup: DVD
Biography - Benjamin Franklin: Citizen of the World (A&E DVD Archives) - movie DVD cover picture
A&E looks at Benjamin Franklin, the original American

The theme of Biography's look at "Benjamin Franklin" is that he was the first citizen of the world. However, it seems to me this misses the fact that Franklin was the first American, not only in terms of what the rest of the world thought about American colonists but also in terms of the ideal American citizen that has been created by our history and our culture. Here was a self-made man, who could profitably expand his printing business and take advantage of being postmaster on the on hand and on the other could refuse to patent his invention of the Franklin stove because it would help people keep warm. Here was a scientist who did seminal work on electricity and a humorist for made Poor Richard's Almanac a colonial best seller. After watching this biography it seems clear that everything we think defines the nobility of the American character, as well as some of our choicest foibles, are captured in the personage of Benjamin Franklin.
At the end of this 50 minute biography we are told that biographies focusing on Franklin the scientist, the statesman, the printer, and so on, have all been published. This speaks to the fact that we are given a rather brisk tour through the man's life. Where this biography succeeds is in how it focusing on a defining element for each facet of Franklin. Thus, for example, the scientist is epitomized by the experiments with electricity and the fabled kite flying episode. I did find the emphasis on his liaisons with a couple of French women towards the end of his life when he was the American representative (and later ambassador) dragged on a bit. I would rather find out more about Franklin's political philosophy or humorous aphorisms than have an excess of details on how he was an 18th-century sex symbol. Still, overall, this is an excellent video introduction to Franklin that will surely whet your appetite to find out more about this quintessential American.

Studio: A & E Home Video
Benjamin Franklin

DVD title: The Sopranos - The Complete Third Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Sopranos - The Complete Third Season - movie DVD cover picture

Through out television history there have been certain shows that have defined a genre: Law and Order, Seinfeld, etc. But none have come close to the defining television show: The Sopranos. Filled with witty and subtle humor, the Sopranos launches the viewer into a world filled the glamourous and the not so glamourous world of the mafia Family the Sopranos and its counterparts. The show stars James Gandolfini as panic attack ridden Tony Soprano. What most people don't know about Tony is that he runs two families, his blood family, which consists of daughter Meadow, son Anthony Jr and wife Carmela, and his other Family, worker Paulie Walnuts, nephew Christopher Multisanti, consiligere Silvio Dante and Uncle Junior Corrado Soprano. Season 3 starts right where season 2 left off, with the F.B.I investigating a murder. Although the feds try to tap their house, they get foiled, as with almost all of the goverments attempts to stop the mafia family. A new character that takes the place of fallen Richie Aprile (may God rest his soul) is the volitile Ralphy Ciffareto who is played by the talented actor Joe Pantaliano of Memento fame. Lorranie Braco (GoodFellas) plays Tony's sexy psychicatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Tony first came to her about panic attacks, but soon finds out more about himself than he could ever know. Jason Cebranone plays the tough but very dumb son of the great Jackie Aprile, Jackie Jr. Annabela Sciorra plays the all too familiar Gloria Trillo. Although this season doesn't get into the mafia aspects as much as the other two, it dwells into the differant characters more. Hilarity comes when Carmela joins Tony at therapy and Paulies does a little sniffing around. Definatley the best episode of the series so far is Pine Barrens. See this season if you can.

Studio: Warner Home Video
James Gandolfini

DVD title: Kiss - Symphony: The DVD
Productgroup: DVD
Kiss - Symphony: The DVD - movie DVD cover picture
The dubbing question answered...yes!

First, let me say that I really like this DVD. The sound is superb and you can really hear the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra better than on the CD release. The fast-paced edits are a bit much but it keeps with the fast pace of the music...The documentary/making of segment is cool, as well as the TV show appearance. Overall, this is a very entertaining DVD from THE most entertaining band in the world.
I've been a KISS fan for 27 years (seen them live 26 far) and have tons of video (mostly bootleg) of the band live. I notice all the flaws...but, live shows (especially on the scale of KISS) are rarely perfect. At this one-off show they had one chance and one chance only to get it shot and get it right.
In response to the question of dubbing? YES. Absolutely. For whatever reason I found it really easy to notice using Gene as the source. This is why: after spitting blood prior to "God Of Thunder" can see parts AFTER that song where he has no blood on him...then he does, then he doesn't...and well, you get the idea.
Especially during "Great Expectations" where they cut to him and he has perfect make-up and NO BLOOD...then cut again and there's the blood...then again NO...then again yes! In addition, notice that he has TWO (2) basses during the song...the ax and signature.
Maybe they shot footage on the stage without the audience and cut it in later? Who knows...did anyone else notice this or am I imagining it all? Just wondering.
So, there is obvious dubbing involved. And yes, sometimes with their mouths covered by the mics you can splice in any part of any song and it isn't really noticeable especially when the shot is quick...which there is a lot of in this DVD. But, in truth...SO WHAT?...everything gets cleaned up and made to be as perfect looking as possible. It's all illusion anyway...movies, tv, even KISS concerts.
With all this it still makes for one helluva DVD from an excellent band that is always fun to watch! So, just enjoy it for what it is: FUN!

Studio: Bmg Distribution (VI

DVD title: Annie (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Annie (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Wonderful CHILD's FILM

Last night, ANNIE was shown on one of the movie channels. My almost six year old grand-daughter was visiting, and when ANNIE came on, she ran into the den to watch it. She's "only" seen it a few dozen times before, but not for the last six months or so.
While I agree with many of the previous reviewers that ANNIE is corny, poorly plotted, etc., I think that they've done something right that makes all that production values stuff unimportant.
My grand-daughter invariably joins in the singing of almost every song. She gets up and dances with Annie, Molly and the gang during every dance number, and she still, figuratively, sits on the edge of her seat during the big chase scene. She, unlike the more sophisticated reviewers here, is in love with Molly. She cries when Molly cries, and feels better when Annie soothes Molly.
What more can one ask from a movie about a little red-headed orphan girl than that other little girls fall in love with her story and want to see it over and over.
I, for one, would like to see more ANNIE-like movies that can be enjoyed from a pure entertainment aspect by adults, and can get rapt attention from small children (and their grandparents).

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: John Huston
Albert Finney
Carol Burnett
Aileen Quinn

DVD title: Apocalypse Now
Productgroup: DVD
Apocalypse Now - movie DVD cover picture
anamorphic bliss if you know what it is

Having made films in hollywood for over 12 years I can with reasonable confidence make commentary on a brilliant film. First of all Joseph Conrad's novel of ivory trade morphed into our national war of shame abroad was made with the utmost insanity. I have worked with the special effects men (i cant say their name without permission)who created the most dramatic explosion on film EVER. This is not a war movie as much as it is the the filmic representation of madness defining insanity and finding that insanity was regarded as unsound if the Army didn't approve it. Thats the maddening part. Now with the crazy sub-plot aside, the visual recording of each scene which flows without a seam from one insane act of retribution against an unseen enemy and the enemy within, Apocalypse Now will stun your eyes with the proper aspect ratio (DVD/Anamorphic)cinematography at its absolute unequal.Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando gave their soul to this film. If you need more information, just find the film Mrs. Coppolla made during the filmming itself. Never get off the boat. Absolutely G....mned right...unless youre' going all the way. The metaphor of this story and the way it was made represent the duality of good and evil and how crossing the bridge, or getting off the boat take you into insanity. Insanity that is not recognized as regulation madness. Just grab a bottle of JD (or what ever you drink) and a pack of smokes and enjoy this one alone....its meant to be that way. Special recommendation: learn to love "those little black bars on the screen" they show you the whole picture...the way it was intended to be seen. Get a book called "HOW TO READ A FILM" BY James Monaco...this will explain anamorphic camera psychology and why the 133:1 TV ratio ruins the deeper parts of films transfered to video format. so long and ENJOY the TRIP.

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

DVD title: Orange County
Productgroup: DVD
Orange County - movie DVD cover picture
5 star movie with a lot of heart and comedy

The thoughts I had going into "Orange County" were most likely the same thoughts many people might have about this film: I went into the theater thinking that it had the intense possibility to be just another stupid teen film that is made primarily to showcase a pop soundtrack available at stores near you and to showcase Jack Black being loud and running around (Certainly, the television spots for this film don't do much to discourage this notion). So I had large doubts about the quality of "Orange County." Luckily, my doubts were ill-founded. "Orange County" is a fantastic film that manages to play its cards just right and come out the winner.
The film stars Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks who, from the looks of this film, has leading-man status written all over him) as a high schooler who desparately wants to become a writer and, furthermore, study at Stanford University in California. Through a mishap his high school transcripts are sent under the wrong name and he is not accepted to the school. The rest of the film is a manic and laugh-out-loud attempt to try and get himself into Stanford.
It should be stated that, yes, this is a teen movie, but it's a smart teen movie with a razor sharp script (from Mike White who made the fantastic "Chuck & Buck" and has a very sharp eye for playful and humorous dialogue; he also has a hilarious cameo in the movie as an idiotic English teacher). Yes, the movie also has a pop soundtrack, but the music is smartly picked and used and, thus, enhances the story taking place. And yes, Jack Black is loud and runs around a lot, but his character is not nearly as influential on the story as the horrible TV Spots have led you to believe, and his supporting character does make for a very hysterical distraction from the main plot (In addition to a funny Jack Black, the film is also chock full of celebrity cameos that are all humorous to various degrees, most notably John Lithgow and Harold Ramis).
All in all, "Orange County" is a funny comedy in the veign of films like "There's Something About Mary." It's a crowd-pleasing film, but it's a smart and genuinely humorous crowd-pleasing film. It may not be for all tastes, but if you're looking for a laugh, you should give "Orange County" a try.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jake Kasdan
Colin Hanks
Jack Black

DVD title: In Memoriam - New York City, 9/11/01
Productgroup: DVD
In Memoriam - New York City, 9/11/01 - movie DVD cover picture
Great and Touching

I saw this when it was on tv and it was very moving. One of the only September 11th I would get. Be aware though it is sad!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Rudolph Giuliani

DVD title: Inu-Yasha - Down the Well (Vol. 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Inu-Yasha - Down the Well (Vol. 1) - movie DVD cover picture long as you haven't seen the japanese version

Inuyasha is in my top five most favorite animes (Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Seed and maybe the older UC Gundams, Rorouni Kenshin, and Trigun)Most say that the english dubbing is either terrible or really good. Now if you've seen the original japanese show than it might not be the best you've heard. Lucky for me, and i bet many others, i haven't so the english sounds just fine(except for lady Kaede's old english, how annoying >_< ...but not unbearable). The show itself is great. Good animation, a little less detailed then most but it fits the show. I personally like the japanese feudal setting, something different from all those futuristic animes. The storyline is great and there's always a lot of action to weigh out all that talking. And of course humor and there's lots of it. Most of the humor lies between inuyasha and kagome (what terrible partners those two make, but of course kagome always wins the fights^_^) but all the other characters make it all come together, or do they tear it all apart? Overall Inuyasha is a must see for all anime lovers (unless you like that annoying and pointless show DBZ^_-)


DVD title: Princess Nine - First Inning (Vol. 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Princess Nine - First Inning (Vol. 1) - movie DVD cover picture
This is better than "A League of Their Own"

This one is a keeper, one of those anime DVD's that you can pull out and show to people who claim that anime is nothing more than violence and pornography. There is no "fan service" or anything else to offend.
Princess Nine is the story of Ryo Hayakawa, a 15-year old junior high student who wanted nothing more than to skip high school and stay home to help her single mother run an Udon bar (High school is not mandatory in Japan).
There's just one thing. Ryo's father, who died while she was five years old, taught her how to pitch well. Really well. Well enough to pitch for the neighborhood league team and to strike out semi-professional baseball players. Ryo is handpicked as the core player of a girl's high school baseball team formed with the goal of reaching Japan's national high school championship.
It's hard to describe how complex this story is. Ryo plays baseball in part to maintain a connection with her deceased father. Keiko Himuro, the chairperson of the board of directors of Kisaragi High fights for the right for a girl's team to compete against the boys. Her daughter, tennis star Izumi Himuro, fights for the love and attention of her too-distant mother. Shinsaku Kido, the team's coach, is a drunkard who, I think, will try to redeem himself by coaching this team to victory. There are two potential love interests for Ryo: Her quiet and sort of geeky childhood friend and Hiroki Takasugi, the rising star of the Kisargi boy's high school baseball team. And this is only after five episodes.
Who should see this? Well, everyone, I think, but especially people who like either baseball or inspirational stories about young women. There's a certain energy to Princess Nine that makes me believe that it's going to be a classic of enduring value.

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: Tomomichi Mochizuki

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