Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1) - movie DVD cover picture

...this is a very special DVD. The fabulous movie aside, this has to be one of the most accomplished DVD's ever....everything from the guided tour of Hogwarts, to trips to Diagon Alley, to the time it takes to finally get the Philosophers Stone (which you have to find in order to reveal the deleted scenes)....everything is done so superbly & presented impeccably.....
...Overall? Fabulous!!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe

DVD title: Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Okay, listen up here

First of all, PLEASE do not pay ANY attention to all those idiots who call themselves critics but aren't able to understand a masterful film such as this. If you cannot feel the Force in this film, it's not because of the film, it's because of you. The entire Star Wars saga is a warm and beautiful story for people who can still open their heart for a wonderful story such as this, and who have no need for postmodernistic cynism and other depressive ways of expression. This film is a unique achievement, a timeless story with some of the greatest characters, music, special effects, atmosphere and simple beauty that the world of storytelling has ever known. Love it, I know I do.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: George Lucas
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman

DVD title: Castle in the Sky
Productgroup: DVD
Castle in the Sky - movie DVD cover picture
A great animated family film

This is one of the best animated family films of all time, IMHO. Moreover, virtually all of the serious rivals for this title came from the same creative mind of Hiyao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli. Specifically, other great animated family films include "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Kikki's Delivery Service." "Spirited Away" is quite good, but a bit too creepy for typical family fare - better for teenagers and adult. The one thing that sets "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" apart from Kikki and Totoro is that it is far more of a tension-filled adventure ride. Some of Myiazaki's other films, such as Princess Mononoke are not really for kids, although they are fine films in their own way.

Why is this film so good? Because it's a complete package: the animation is very well done, and the story is truly engaging and compelling.

Most Japanese anime is imaginative alright, but it is also decidedly dark or cynical or violent; and the animation itself is often jerky, stylized, and juvenile. None of these problems plague Castle in the Sky. It has imagination to burn, and the characters are well drawn, if slightly exaggerated versions of realistic people. (None of those trench-coat wearing posers) There is plenty of adventure, but not blood and gore. The animation is smooth, detailed, and cinematically composed - not a lot of flat shots. The backgrounds are wonderful.

The voice acting in the dubbed English version is first rate, particularly the two leads, Pazo (James Van der Beek) and Sheeta (Anna Paquin). And frankly, after hearing Van der Beek, I could not stand the high, thin voice of the original Japanese actor. The sound engineering is good, too. The voices are clear. Use your studio sound, if you've got it.

One aspect that I particularly enjoyed is that much of the back story is left unexplained. Laputa was once inhabited, and is now abandoned. Why? We never know. We know as much as we need to know, and then we just have to accept the rest, which is easy to do because the invented world is so fully realized. Indeed, it is fair to say that the world is more fully realized than most of the minor characters, who are for the most part one-dimensional stock characters (e.g., gruff general, silly sidekick, kooky old miner, etc.) . Some reviewers have complained that the main characters and the villain lack some depth, and they are right; but so what? This is great entertainment, not high art.

Highly recommended for people aged 6 to 60 who would love a clean, exciting, imaginative adventure.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

DVD title: Tigerland
Productgroup: DVD
Tigerland - movie DVD cover picture
must add to your collection

This isnt a ;War: movie like saving private ryan. Its about training for Vietnam. It reminded me of platoon only in boot camp. This was one of Collin Farrell's first movies. He was a great actor, he's still a great actor, and he always will be a great actor. Overall I would say this movie is a mixture of platoon and full metal jacket. You should definatly see it if you havnt. If you are one of those people who dont like war movies because of blood and guts (i dunno why you'd be reading this), its not like that at all. I cant rememer anytime when it was gory. Basicly the movie is a guy who slacks off because he wants to get thrown out, but doesnt realize the army is just going to make his life miserable. He then takes command of a squad at a boot camp named "tigerland" . Its up to him and his squad to succeed. BUY IT ITS WORTH IT

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Joel Schumacher
Colin Farrell

DVD title: Sin City
Productgroup: DVD
Sin City - movie DVD cover picture

Going to the movies can be so incredibly dissapinting these days. It seems like almost every movie that seems to have any sort of promise or tries something different falls flat on it's face in the process. Enter Sin City. Dont bother with the back story just sit down and watch. You can't help but be glued to the screen, all the characters are amazing. Marv is easy the tour de force of the movie, but there are also nice little surprises, for example the two thugs that speak to each other using elegant prose. I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you are a person who can't watch violence skip this one. Keep watching the boring predictable trash hollywood throws your way.

Studio: Dimension Home Video

DVD title: Joan of Arcadia - The First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Joan of Arcadia - The First Season - movie DVD cover picture
A gem in a constant flood of reality tv....

Well, this show is truly something. It's rather surprising a show of this quality is being put out, considering that many networks are opting to release a constant string of -hurl- reality tv shows. This show would stand out, even if that were not the situation, but because it's surrounded by reality TV, it makes you appreciate the show even more since all you have for comparison is lame reality tv.

Anyhow, Joan of Arcadia at first will make people think of that other Joan who talks to God; Joan of Arc. However, while it has eluded to be a sort of paralell to that story, the show itself is centered around a believable family and life of teenager Joan. We are not quite sure exactly why God is talking to Joan (I assume this will be played out throughout the seasons) but like her name sake, we assume she's going to do some major stuff in the future. The show doesn't show you what she does (in the future) but rather, the path she took to get there.

God appears to Joan in many shapes and forms, that surprisingly works for the show. At first, it was probably used to portray God as everyone's God, since this show makes the point that he is "real." By having him be every race and sex, the show becomes inclusive, as opposed to them having used the common idea of God as an old man. Or even the femminist view that God is a She.

Unfortunately, I did not start watching Joan of Arcadia right away, mostly because I was thinking- blah, another Joan of Arc story copy. However, I eventually caught an episode (there was nothing else on) and I must say, I was hooked. I have since tried to watch as much of Joan as possible, even though schedule and life does tend to get in the way.

That's one of the reasons why I would recommend buying this DVD release. For one thing, if you are like me, then you probably missed a lot of the Joan of Arc episodes- well, this is your chance to watch the first season in its entirety. If you have seen all of Joan on TV, I still recommend this, because now you will always have a copy that you can watch- even down the road, years from now, when the show is over. Think of it as securing your future entertainment for a very reasonable price.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Amber Tamblyn

DVD title: Armageddon
Productgroup: DVD
Armageddon - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: Michael Bay
Bruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Ben Affleck
Liv Tyler

DVD title: Have You Heard - Jim Croce Live
Productgroup: DVD
Have You Heard - Jim Croce Live - movie DVD cover picture
A Fitting Tribute to an Incredible Talent...

I was 10 years old when Jim Croce died. I remember being with my father when the news came on the radio. I was devistated. This was someone (other than family) that really meant something to me. Maybe because he seemed like someone who you might find on any front porch in any town smokin' on a big cigar and playing his guitar. He wasn't "a star"...he was one of us.
Only a few months prior to that tragic event I bought the 45rpm of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." From hearing it on practically every radio station and then seeing Jim and Maury perform it on "The Midnight Special" it became THE song I remember best from 1973.
I saw Jim on a few TV shows here and there, but before cable and VH-1 it was a rarity to see your favorite performers. So, when I heard that this DVD was coming out I was very excited. I've waited so long to have some visual to go along with the audio of Jim performing. This DVD will not disappoint. Having anything of this fellow Pennsylvanian performing is an incredible gift. Something about Jim's music just clicked with me and I've never stopped listening to him on a regular basis since that day I bought that first record.
I'd like to thank Ingrid and A.J. Croce for allowing me the chance to share such a wonderful gift that was and IS Jim Croce. I had the pleasure to meet A.J. a couple years ago near Pittsburgh and he was the nicest, most pleasant person that you could meet. His dad would be very proud of what a genuinely nice person his son turned out to be. And a talented musician in his own right.
The DVD includes some fun extras and commentary that really helps to gain insight into the life of the man and his music. In Jim's eyes you can FEEL what he is singing about. That's the thing I noticed the most. His eyes...that "window into the soul thing" I guess.
I have been a fan of Jim's for 30 years and now I finally can sit myself down and get a taste of what it was like to see him perform live. Nothing can replace that...but this is as close and we will ever get.

Studio: Sony Music Entertain
Jim Croce

DVD title: The Color Purple
Productgroup: DVD
The Color Purple - movie DVD cover picture

This film is absolutely outstanding. It's powerful, highly emotional and leaves you exhausted, but with an amazing feeling of triumph over adversity. I love it's gritty portrayal of a life less than glamourous and is not afraid to show the true horror of what a grim place the world can be. But and this is a very big but, if this is not a tale with a happy, uplifting and tear-jerking ending, i don't know what is. Even the hardest of men will love this film.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg
Oprah Winfrey

DVD title: Garfield and Friends, Volume Two
Productgroup: DVD
Garfield and Friends, Volume Two - movie DVD cover picture
More Garfield?! HORRAY!!!!

"You're not Sylvia! You're one of the KUNG FU CREATURES ON THE RAMPAGE!"

This line to GARFIELD fans and lovers of great television animation is what WHO'S ON FIRST is to lovers of classic slapstick!

In either case, it's here on this set. The MOTHER of Garfield episodes, "Video Airlines AKA Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage 2". If you're a harcore GARFIELD fan, you know the deal. If not, let me just warn you that you're in for some throat-clearing laughter, holding on to your belly, slapping your knees, and pounding your palms on the floor in hysteria while everyone else doubts your sanity!

There are some other equally precious perks of tom-foolery in this set. Jon buys a horrible used "car" from a shifty salesman and you have to see the results of this! The panty-waisted, Quiche-eating, sissified "Care Bears" created by the simpering do-gooder children's television killjoy watchdog types who nearly destroyed Saturday morning cartoons in the 80s are deservedly lampooned in "The Buddy bears" (Interesting to see what garfield would have done that disgusting Barney the dinosaur). Check out the Orson's Farm (later US Acres) parodies "Hamelot," (where the barnyard crew search for the "Holy Pail)" "Hog Noon," (where Orson the pig faces a childhood bully), and "Ben Hog" (must be seen to be beleived).

Hardcore Garfield fans will also be pleased to note that midway through the episodes, the bizarre and freakish original theme song for GAF "Friends are There" gives way to the classic "We're ready to party we're ready/I hope you bring lots of spaghetti" that is known and loved by fans of this show.

Garfield's class in comedy is also a must-see on this disc. The only thing I'm waiting for now (probabaly on disc 3) are GREAT MOMENTS IN STUPIDITY (where Jon stays on a broken escelator for 19 hours waiting for it to move) and the US ACRES segment in rhyme that parodies Poe's "The Raven."

If you come home from a hard day of work or are under unpleasant stress of any kind, this DVD will be just what the doctor ordered. The only thing you will suffer from after watchign this will be from laughing too hard!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme

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