Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Productgroup: DVD
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge - movie DVD cover picture
Perfection in Recapturing a legend


I first read the Autobiography by David Bogle before seeing the movie. I think Ms. Berry did a GREAT JOB in capturing the essence of America's First Black Star! Dorothy experienced much of the same racism back then as there still is today, but she kept her dreams in sight and captured our attention. Dorothy wasn't just a pretty face, she was a remarkable woman with deep compassions for equality for all and the freedom of expression, she along with other women of her time such as Lena Horne,Ms. McDaniel ( from Gone With The Wind )and Ella Fitzgerald (just to name a few) made it possible for African Americans to be visible in the entertainment industry. HATS OFF TO A LEGEND !!!! We love you and miss you Dorothy!!!!

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Martha Coolidge



DVD title: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
Productgroup: DVD
Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense - movie DVD cover picture
All I could say when I first saw this was WOW!


My baby brother forced me to watch this video because I only knew the 2 songs that were most popular. He wanted me to see what "Talking Heads" were really about. Thanks Bro! This movie changed my music world forever. Fantastic! I learned that every song they did was synchronized and truly unique. They have no superiors.

Studio: Palm Pictures
Director: Jonathan Demme
Actors:
David Byrne



DVD title: Black Hawk Down
Productgroup: DVD
Black Hawk Down - movie DVD cover picture
Fast and Furious


This piece of work is definately a movie to see. It is a spectacular military adventure that strikes into the heart of the viewers. Although it has some cheesy lines and some unoriginal and predicatble scenes, it is yet an extremly good movie. It has action non-stop and the fire fights are very well made. But the most important thing is that the action is a minute-by-minute action as in Mark Bowdens book, which is very good.
The beginning is very good, and the music is top-notch. The sense of starvation of the Somali people is excellent, by the music and the pace in the beginning. The graphics are fantastic and clear, which makes this movie deserve one more star from my view.
The battle of Mogadishu in Somalia was the bloodiest American battle since their time in Vietnam, and indeed it was gruesome. In the movie it shows things strictly from an American prespective, which is ok, but initially there should have been some, if not more from the Somali side, as in the book. What I personally did not like about the movie is that it had some, as stated, cheesy lines and that the American soldiers were almost untouchable in a firefight (in some cases). As many have stated is that the Americans were portrayed as heros and the Somalis bad guys. Of course both sides had their reasons to fight, whether who was bad and who was good. Through out the movie we follow the Rangers and Delta units as they fight Somali militias who engage them in a fierce-fight through day and into the night, which caused the Americans some 18 dead and over a 1000 dead Somalis. There are some extremly bloody scenes and one gruesome "operation" on a leg.
Black Hawk Down is one of the few military movies to win an oscar, which I think deserves. Forget all about the politics and the cheesy stuff in the film and just enjoy it. The film crew consists of veterans: director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, oscar-winning) Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, The Rock, etc.), and Hans Zimmer (The Rock, Pearl Harbor, Gladiator) with more. Small world isn't it?
Again, watch this movie, for it will bring you to see the reality of war. If not, the reality of a good movie.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors:
Josh Hartnett



DVD title: Anne Frank - The Whole Story
Productgroup: DVD
Anne Frank - The Whole Story - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent, realistic, much better than the other versions!


Anne Frank, the Whole Story stars Ben Kinsley as Otto Frank and Hannah Taylor-Gordon as Anne. This 180 minute Israeli production starts out in Amsterdam just before WWII starts. Hannah does bear a striking resemblance to Anne...you do have to overlook her obvious Britishness. The beginning starts out in a tame atmosphere, so if you know the story you may be a bit bored with the everydayness of Anne's depiction pre-Annex. And considering the striving for authenticity Mr. van Pels (Joachim Kr?l) makes a couple jokes that were English language puns, i.e. they don't work in Dutch. But when the Franks go into hiding we begin to get engrossed. We are shown the empty annex (as it stills looks today) and soon we are seeing the story through Kingsley's eyes. And life in the Annex is given a realism where the people get on your nerves as well as Anne's. Lili Taylor does a great job as Miep Gies, the helper who saves the diary. And we are shown exactly how they are betrayed, and what happens afterwards. A segment at Westerbork Transit camp, then Auschwitz, then Bergen-Belsen, all very accurate and harrowing in depiction. Importantly we are shown what actually happened to Anne, and Kingsley's quiet sense of loss really forces empathy. At the end we are given text which shows what happened to each person in the Annex, and it says "Aside from the Bible, Anne's Diary is the world's most widely read work of nonfiction". Well, I guess noone had the guts to bring up to the producers that the Bible is a work of fiction (unless you believe in Adam and Eve, Moses, 7 day creation, etc.) This is by far the best version of Anne Frank's story on film. The 1959 one is good as the first major film ever to address the Holocaust (albeit indirectly), the 1980 Melissa Gilbert one was pathetic, so see this one and the documentaries.

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Robert Dornhelm



DVD title: Beautiful Thing
Productgroup: DVD
Beautiful Thing - movie DVD cover picture
A rare gem in cinema


Most movies of this type either follow stereotypes or are just plain unbelieveable. Beautiful Thing does neither, and thus I give it 5 stars.
Shy Jamie and athletic Ste seem like two normal young lads in the beginning of the film. After Ste can't handle the abuse from his father and brother, he decides to sleep over at his next door neighbor Jamie's house. One thing leads to another and they fall in love...and best of all, there's a happy ending. :-)
The well-chosen Mama Cass/Mama's and The Papa's soundtrack gives this movie a nostalgic, innocent feeling. It is one of the very few movies that portrays a same-sex romance as a monagamous relationship. No promiscuity here...
Again, I see this as something of a rare movie. If only there were a few more movies like this...

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Hettie MacDonald
Actors:
Linda Henry
Glen Berry




DVD title: Garden State
Productgroup: DVD
Garden State - movie DVD cover picture
If you're under 30, you'll "get it"


I saw Garden State in the theater when it was first released but wanted to see it again before writing my review. I finally viewed it on DVD recently and I have to admit, I was concerned my opinion of it would change after viewing it a second time. I was fearful it was one of those movies that, upon multiple viewings, would turn out to be not nearly as clever as I originally thought. (This seems to happen often to me with movies.)

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the film perhaps even more than I did the first time. I recall a friend of mine going to the New York premiere before it was widely released - she was excited because Zach Braff was going to be there. When I spoke to her afterwards, she said she enjoyed it but that she could see that it was Braff's first effort behind the camera. I have to disagree with that assessment.

Garden State was definitely the best movie I saw in 2004. Now, I'll admit, I didn't see a whole lot of movies in'04, but Garden State would probably beat out most other ones I could have seen.

Zach Braff stars as Andrew Largeman, a guy from New Jersey who is spending his days out in L.A. living the life of a struggling actor - that is, waiting tables and getting bit parts. He does apparently land the role of a retarded quarterback though, which is brought up several times. However, this recurring joke seems realistic, coming up about as frequently as you would expect it to.

Andrew comes home to NJ for the first time since leaving for boarding school when he was 16 - he's home because his mom has died. Along the way, he runs into his old friends from high school, with all of the meetings reminding me a lot of running into old friends in Jersey (probably the same as a lot of areas of the country, but since I'm from Jersey, I felt connected). He also meets Sam, played absolutely brilliantly by Natalie Portman. Portman evidently shocked Braff by wanting to be in the film and I have to say, if this is how she acts in every film she's in, then she'll be winning Oscars very soon. The character Sam is very vulnerable, yet strong-willed and sarcastic at the same time. We see nothing of her father, which may explain part of her guarded nature - at the same time, it also explains her emotions, which are expressed at various times in the film.

Andrew's father is also brilliantly played by Ian Holm. He has also served as Andrew's psychiatrist for years, loading him up on more drugs than one would believe possible. Witness the doctor that Andrew goes to see because of his recurring headaches, who says "With all the Lithium you've been on, it's amazing you can even hear me."

What I found odd about this film was the way it was reviewed by the mainstream media. The cover of the DVD says "Hilarious and Heartfelt." Hilarious? It's as though the curmudgeons who review movies for a living weren't even sure what this movie was. It was most certainly not a comedy, at least not foremost. There were certainly funny scenes and some good lines, but the Garden State was a drama; a story about not only Andrew Largeman, but a number of people in their mid-20s who don't have life all figured out and who are struggling with that bleak reality.

I don't expect people of older generations to find this movie to be good at all. I'm certain my parents wouldn't like it at all. But the fact is, the film truly speaks to people who are under the age of 30 and understand what it's like to be that age in the early 21st century. Thirty years ago, life was figured out by your mid-20s. People were married, had kids, knew what they wanted to do for a living for the next 30-40 years of their life... nowadays, it's not like that. Being unsure of what's coming next when you're 26 is a fairly recent phenomenon, but it's not a crazy one. Garden State explores those feelings and the psychological barriers that go along with them.

It is rare that I see a film that I feel so strongly about once it's over - Garden State is one that I really feel like I "get."

The soundtrack is excellent as well and the songs are in the exact order that they are in the film, as per writer-director-star Braff.

If you have the chance and you're under 30, check this one out. I'm willing to bet you'll understand where all the characters are coming from.


Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Zach Braff
Actors:
Zach Braff
Peter Sarsgaard
Natalie Portman




DVD title: The Little Mermaid (Limited Issue)
Productgroup: DVD
The Little Mermaid (Limited Issue) - movie DVD cover picture
Disney's "Little Mermaid" Limited Issue DVD Just TOO Little


After months of waiting, I borrowed this DVD from the library yesterday and was once again blown away by the film, appearing here fully restored and in its grand widescreen format, preserving the original 1:66:1 aspect ratio. Simply put, this is the BEST way to experience the magic of "The Little Mermaid" at home until the eagerly anticipated "Platinum Edition" DVD appears in fall 2008 -- I'd like to point out, too, that contrary to several other reviews on Amazon.com, this DVD plays great and didn't freeze on me once.
However, that's where the goodness of this disc ends.
The disc has no special features whatsoever. Oh, sure, you can switch the language to Spanish or French, but there's no juice. Not a single tidbit about the making of, no trivia game, no sing-along, nothing. For this gem of a movie, I'dve expected more. All the more reason to look forward to 2008's two-disc "Platinum Edition" reissue, which will be fully rerestored, THX certified, and bursting at the seams with bonuses.
Still, if you can find it, get this DVD -- until 2008, this is the ultumate "Little Mermaid" home entertainment experience.
***** (5/5) solely because of the supurb presentation of the film. Poor DVD, but get it anyway.

Studio: Disney Studios
Actors:
Jodi Benson
Samuel E. Wright




DVD title: Girl With a Pearl Earring
Productgroup: DVD
Girl With a Pearl Earring - movie DVD cover picture
Superb


Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson star in Girl With a Pearl Earring which both of these people gradually become attracted to one another. First off I just loved how the movie was filmed. It made me really sucked into a big glimpse how the 1600's was like. The art direction, cinematography, and the costume designs were marvelous and deserved to be nominated for the Oscars in those categories. The music was enchanting which made the movie even more beautiful. Last but certainly not least I loved the acting too. Scarlett Johansson played a very polished performance and Colin Firth did a wonderful job as the mysterious painter. Love it! Love it! The only thing I will criticize with the DVD is the bonus materials. There isn't enough there. Only two things! But otherwise, this was an EXCELLENT movie. Watch it!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Webber
Actors:
Colin Firth
Scarlett Johansson
Tom Wilkinson




DVD title: Everest (Large Format)
Productgroup: DVD
Everest (Large Format) - movie DVD cover picture
why I would never climb Mt. Everest


A little dissapointing after seeing the movie on the IMAX screen, but still has the spectacular scenery and beautiful music. Since I can't bring IMAX into my home, this is the next best thing.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Actors:
Liam Neeson



DVD title: Star Trek - The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek - The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Star Trek I: A Great Picture


I believe that ST:TMP is a great movie. I have been watching it since I was eight, (I'm 17 now) and have loved it since. What I'm going to critique now are the fans. So it has flaws. So what? Aren't people like Gene Roddenberry allowed to make mistakes from time to time. And what is this about the fifty minutes of the inner part of the alien? I found it awe-inspiring and cannot understand fans who think the scenes are low-budget. The inner parts of the probe are awe-insipiring and show just how immense the ship is. Also, people criticize Kirk in the movie. They say he was grouchy basically. So what? The reason Kirk was grouchy was, at the time, he was basically going through a mid-life crisis. Shatner's grouchiness is good acting. As we all know, desk work is not Kirk. So after being an Admiral for so long, he NEEDS to have some adventure. LKeave the man alone. The main problem of the movie is the fans. Expecting to be DAZZLED with phaser shots and explosions and ship to ship combat, they found a movie that actually makes you think a bit more boring as hell. I'm sorry, but there is more to Star Trek than explosions, phaser fights, warp speed and enemy vessels opening fire on the Enterprise. The movie was thought-provoking and wonderful, and the low ratings are undeserved. The movie: Five stars The fans: One star

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Actors:
Shatner
Nimoy
William Shatner




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