Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Soylent Green
Productgroup: DVD
Soylent Green - movie DVD cover picture
Powerful Performances ask Deep Questions

This film touches on the nerve of what science fiction is all about. Man through his evolution, his experimentations, his encountering of the unknown always must confront what he has wrought. I was always impressed by Edward G. Robinson's performance in this film. It raised the meaning of realism in acting to a new height. His death scene was very moving to me and seems ever more prophetic as the days go by. I saw this film again recently and was also impressed by Charlton Heston's performance. Years ago after making "55 Days at Peking," "Planet of the Apes" and "Number One" I thought that Charlton Heston had given up on acting. I don't mean that he quit the profession but I felt that he started taking roles that were undemanding and beneath his talent. I thought he had sold out, his performance in this film being a prime example. However, I now see how wrong I was. At the time it just seemed too incredible that someone could be moved by the mere scent of a bar of soap. Such a small pleasure. However, I now see that Charlton Heston played these scenes brilliantly. The performances in this film have since transcended the shock ending of what the Soylent Green food supplement was really made of. What has come to the very nature of man in the future world of overpopulation and starvation? What has he reverted to? The powerful performances mirror these profound questions and that is the force behind this unpretentious film.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Richard Fleischer
Charlton Heston
Edward G. Robinson

DVD title: Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A wonder!

This is one of my favorite movies of all time, a movie which sparked what may well become a life long interest in the Civil War. This DVD does more than justice to it. The sound quality is amazing - during the cannonade before Picket's charge, the floor actually shakes. Even more impressive are the wealth of features. Both short films - the Gettysburg documentary, and the making of the movie - are excellent, and really do add a lot to the film. The maps are a useful tool, and the commentaries quite interesting (although it is admitted that they do not cover the entire movie).For anyone who has yet to read to book, do not miss it! Although I am quite fond of Jeff Sharra's work as well, Michael Sharra's Pultizer for this novel was more than well deserved. The movie's coverage is quite through, but the little details should not be missed.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Tom Berenger
Martin Sheen

DVD title: The Bad News Bears
Productgroup: DVD
The Bad News Bears - movie DVD cover picture
Could not get made today.

Studios would never risk making such a hard edged kiddie flick! Here we have a posse of little cretins that act like real kids, obnoxious, bratty, foul mouthed, and selfish. These kids hurl racial epithets and get slapped down by their overly competitive or alcohol abusing coaches and fathers. Matthau drives the kids around while drinking whiskey laced beer. Do not let the PG rating fool you. In other words, it's a little too close to reality for modern white washed sensitivities and has nary a trace of the sentimentality that permeates other kiddie fare. So, if you want a non offensive boring piece of trash to watch with the family, I suggest you look at the list of lame imitators, such as Little Giants, Mighty Ducks, the Sandlot, or Little Big League.

The Bad News Bears is great! When kids are allowed to act like real kids, they can be pretty convincing. The humor is derived from watching the kids deal with each other or watching Matthau deal with their exasperating antics. And it has quite a number of actually touching moments, as when loud mouthed little Tanner sticks up for Lupus, or when Matthau coaxes Ahmad out of a tree after a particularly poor performance on the field, and of course, when both coaches lose their cool in the dugout during the final game. (Parents can learn lessons from this flick as well).

So, if you have not seen this since you were a kid, check it out, there was a lot more going on than you remember, and if you are an adult wondering if you should let your eight year old see it, go for it. I turned out alright!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Michael Ritchie
Walter Matthau
Tatum O'Neal

DVD title: Cats
Productgroup: DVD
Cats - movie DVD cover picture
Thank you all

Hello I'm Jo Gibb. I play Rumpleteazer in the cats video! It was really fun making it and I'm glad that you all enjoy it! It is really cool that alot of people are making cats costumes. That would be really fun, but I still have my costume I mess around in it everyday. Drew Varley comes over to my house every once in a while. He's really sweet.

Studio: Universal Studios

DVD title: Niagara
Productgroup: DVD
Niagara - movie DVD cover picture
Marilyn and Jean and Niagara- what a treat!

One of the best projects Marilyn was associated with. I didn't like Niagara the first time i saw it, because i thought Marilyn was only good for comedy. But this role as the sensual, unfaithful wife of Joseph Cotton's (superbly performed) troubled war veteran is one of her most memorable roles. Pleanty of indelible Marilyn images come from here: Marilyn lying seemingly naked with legs apart under bed in hotel room, purple dress standing against cabin in grammophone scene, and the entire grammophone scene. Pleanty of location shooting made good use of the beautiful location, and the motif of the song the lovers sing to each other is a beautiful touch. The suspense develops well, but i suppose it depends on what you're expecting. I found it a great sensual thriller, but this movie lives and dies with Monroe. She is captivating in every scene, and looks stunning. The belltower climax of the movie is very fine indeed, one of the best scenes she ever played in. Nods to director Hathaway for camera placement in this scene.
Best line:
(Monroe has just done a sensual walk to the grammophone and had them put it on, then had a virtual standing orgasm listening to it, and spent an entire minute of close-up singing along to it, and the happy-go-lucky honeymooner character says to her)
Honeymooner: You seem to really like this song, Mrs Loomis."
Marilyn: "There isn't any other song," she says. But its all in her face - it always was. One of the best moments in her career.

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

DVD title: The Shawshank Redemption
Productgroup: DVD
The Shawshank Redemption - movie DVD cover picture
An Awsome Movie

I first saw this movie on board a bus heading to boston, and was thrilled with this movie. It is about a man, who has been falsely accused of murder. He is then sent to the Shawshank Prison, where he spends ten years before escaping. The movie really portrayed what it can be like in prisons-- not how the guards treated people-- but hoe prisoners treat each other. During the movie, you forget that the people are convicts and criminals, and then think of them as people. During the course of the movie, we see Andy, the main character, bring dramatic changes to the prison, and how he copes with life there. He gets a library, a way for inmates to get out and do better work in the community, educates some of the people he befriends, and uncovers the scandel that the prison warden is doing. This is one of the best movies that I have ever seen, and it is plain to see why it won the nominations that it did.

Studio: Castle Rock
Director: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman

DVD title: Backstreet Boys - Video Hits, Chapter One
Productgroup: DVD
Backstreet Boys - Video Hits, Chapter One - movie DVD cover picture
Great DVD!!!

This video rock, i can see all the greatest BSB music video in just 1 dvd. But I would give this video 4 stars, becasue I think they should include thier latest music video Drowning, I love this song so much, and the video is beatuiful. Also I think they should put some very early music videos from the guys like their 1st music video "We've Got It Going On", because many BSB fans never have a chance to see this video.

Studio: Bmg/Jive/Silvertone
Backstreet Boys

DVD title: The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
More Than a Musical or Musical Theatre

First, comparisons are odius. Movies can do things that plays cannot do, and conversely. Not having seen the stageplay of "Phantom of the Opera," I had nothing to unlearn, so I came to the movie theater with an open mind, and now I am haunted by the poignancy of this unforgettable love story. We have the eternal trangle, beautifully played by the featured actors. Gerard Butler is an excellent Phantom, winning the affection, sympathy and empathy of the viewer. My main comment on his acting and singing is that he had my full attention and moved me to tears. He played an extremely difficult role most professionally and more. What is it someone wrote?--literature's "most...alluring villain." Even with all the make-up, Butler has an elusive chameleon quality that is fascinating to observe. Emmy Rossum is winning as the ingenue, under the spell of her teacher. Finally, Patrick Wilson is just as bland, wooden and sterile as he should be in the character of Raoul, pointing up the contrast between himself and the vibrant Phantom. The sets are perfectly lavish and beautiful, and the supporting cast is superb. But it is the music that, combined with the acting, makes this film so addicting. Listen to the music as you watch the chandelier being raised in the stupendous prologue. Note the menace in the organ chords as the Phantom reaches for Christine's hand and clasps it to guide her down into his labyrinthe. Pay attention to the drama and enticement of the music in the two smoldering seduction scenes. Listen to the painful exquisiteness of the "Angel of Music" love strains on the violin after Christine wakes up and goes over to where the Phantom is composing--their sweetest and tenderest moment. (Their most passionate moment occurs at the masked ball when they approach each other and are drawn to each other--no words and few strains of music here.) Feel the deep musical sobs when the Phantom sings "Stranger Than You Dreamt." Hear the eternal beauty of the soft melodies when Christine sings in the cemetery at her father's grave. Listen to the tumultuous strains, revealing the chaos of his emotions, when the Phantom is betrayed by Christine during a performance in front of an audience and decides to release the chandelier. But, most of all, feel the music swell and envelop you when the Phantom is redeemed by Christine's commitment to him. Indeed, the title song itself tells the story of the movie--the Phantom of the Opera is indeed in my mind, and I keep returning to see the movie again and again.

There are very few negatives regarding this film. However,Raoul is just a little too good to be true. (Remember Cameron Mitchell in "Carousel," singing, "a good man ain't no fun.") He is capable, though, of grabbing the flowers for Christine from the new owners and giving them to her as if they are from him. Also, his lifting and swirling Christine around on the theatre roof just does not come off because he is not that kind of character. He treats Christine as if she is a child, humoring her when she says she was visited by the Angel of Music. He continues to disbelieve her throughout most of the story. Further, he and Christine do too much smooching, and, considering that the chemistry between them is nil, this gets tiresome. And why was not the Phantom shown, at least once, in Box 5 during a performance? We certainly saw Raoul usurping that place over and over. Also, the Phantom losing a swordfight to Raoul is unthinkable, yet it showed us that the Phantom is human. (Why did Christine say, "Not like this."? That line is clearly out of place.) Finally, it should have been brought out that the Phantom had much to do with the architecture of the underground of the opera house; hence, his calling it "my theatre."

But the positives far outweigh the negatives here. This film is a feast for the senses, a tapestry of sound, sight, color and emotion. Moreover, the Phantom knows how to treat a woman--what woman would not dream of her lover spiriting her away, leading her by the hand?--on a horse, while he walks beside?--in a boat, on water?--laying her gently and tenderly in a bed and drawing a curtain for her? Not only that, the story and its outcome are deeply moving. This is no shallow musical but a story of deep emotional and psychological pain, anger, love, empathy, sacrifice, commitment and redemption. Once Christine can truly empathize with the Phantom, he is on his way to redemption. (Note her tremulous "I-love-you" farewell to Raoul before she turns to the Phantom with her commitment.) When Christine slips that ring onto her finger, she and the Phantom become lovers and are wed (at this point she is wearing the wedding dress); that is why she had to return the ring when she and Raoul depart at the end. Christine's love and commitment are real, as demonstrated by her gently laying her hand on the Phantom's diseased and distorted face during the second kiss, and by the tears streaming down her face. The two part but not before each has sacrificed for the other. There is no greater love. The Phantom put up a terrific fight for his lady, and, in the end, won her--and let her go. He triumphed on another level also. As he drags Christine down to the dungeon after she has pulled his mask off during a performance, he asks why, why was he persecuted, blamed and hounded, not for his misdeeds, but rather for his "abhorrent face," an accident of nature. This is the key to the Phantom's nature. As the story ends, he finally triumphs over his ruined face and is hounded for his misdeeds, rather than for his appearance. Thus, in a sense, the Phantom has triumphed on two levels. Not only did he win his fair lady, but he overcame the curse of his appearance, as indicated by his having left his signature white mask behind.

Finally, it is unfair to hold the members of the cast of this movie accountable for not being the members of the cast of the stage play of the same story. They, the cast members of both productions, deserve better. Enormous effort goes into creating a film masterpiece such as "Phantom of the Opera." Let us appreciate that effort and enjoy the film for the beautiful masterpiece that it is. Indeed, I do that every few days--and join the audience in applauding every time as the film ends. Professional critics notwithstanding, some of us like this movie. In fact, this may be my favorite movie of all time.

The above review was posted last January. I am now responding to reviews posted since the dvd release of this motion picture. First, you folks who are more obsesed with Brightman and Crawford than the Phantom was with Christine need to get over it. Get thee to a produce store and compare apples and oranges instead--you will obtain similar results. Second, this movie, this story, is not, I repeat, not opera--even the productions at the Opera Populaire were not grand opera, as suggested several times in the story, if one will listen. This movie is not even musical comedy, either; rather, it is more like a light classic or an operetta. I say "more like" because this motion picture seems to be a genre unto itself. Those potential viewers who missed this movie because they were put off by the word "opera" in the title did themselves a disservice. As for Butler's voice, it was indeed operatic at times (as was Emmy Rossum's), but this production itself is not opera at all. As for Emmy Rossum, sorry, people, but I do not think she is beautiful, no, not even pretty. The only scene in which she could even faintly be called pretty is where she wakes up and is remembering that " the boat there was a man." The rest of the time she just looks washed-out, and in the scene on the roof of the opera house, she actually looks like an old lady. However, I do think that she can indeed act--her facial expressions throughout the film are wonderfully effective. As for Patrick Wilson's marvelous tenor voice, where is it? He did not do enough singing for us to know what kind of voice he has. What singing I did hear from him sounded rather mechanical to me. Finally, there are a couple of film editing mistakes. One occurs early on: The gala is in progress, Christine has sung, and Meg is looking for her. Meg starts through a doorway, and in the next cut we see her behind the new managers again, when she had already been there and gone past them toward the doorway. The second occurs when the maestro tells the ham actor, "You're fired." Behind the maestro are attendees who were not there a few minutes before (but others were)! Also, the lighting and camera distance are different from previous cuts of the maestro in these "Il Muto" sequences. Nonetheless, this is still my favorite motion picture of all time, and it does not get old with frequent viewings. Gerard Butler never fails to move me to tears at the movie's end, and I continue to savor ALW's glorious music as I view my Phantom dvd again and again and again....

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Joel Schumacher
Gerard Butler
Emmy Rossum
Patrick Wilson

DVD title: Michael Jackson: HIStory On Film, Volume II
Productgroup: DVD
Michael Jackson: HIStory On Film, Volume II - movie DVD cover picture
The King of Video

I bought the number ones dvd and the dangerous dvd as well as this dvd. Many of the videos are the same on all 3 disc however the long version of black or white on the number ones disc i beleive and the long version to "The Way You Make Me Feel is on the number ones dvd. Also the number ones goes up to 2000 with "You Rock My World" while History II goes up to 1991. You do get dirty diana on the number ones but the short version to Smooth Criminal on it. The long version to smooth criminal is on this dvd. Many of the same videos from the 80's are on History I and II dvds which is why didnt get History I. I do however have the History Book I album. The volume II dvd also has the incomplete edited version to They dont care about us which I was disappointed in. However in the book I cd it is unedited which came out before the controversial part of the video. The video is longer also. I wish they would have put You Are Not Alone and Speed Demon on the disc. Speed Demon was animated with a rabbit with Mike on a motorcycle while Leave Me Alone had an amusement park ride Mike was riding in and he got up and the miniature roller coaster built on him fell apart. Really cool.I was expecting those songs to be on the History cd as well. Thats one of the greatest songs ever that i grew up with. The dangerous cd is one of the best because it has one repeatitive songs on it because its the whole dangeous album. The songs on it arent on any of the other dvds expect remember the time which is a great video with Eddie Murphy Emon and Magic Johnson. I love In the Closet with Niomi Campbell its about my favorite song on dangerous.

Studio: Sony/Columbia
Michael Jackson

DVD title: Zulu (Michael Caine)
Productgroup: DVD
Zulu (Michael Caine) - movie DVD cover picture
An All-Time Great

this film was very well-done. It clearly shows true historical events. I saw this movie in Global Studies and fell in love with it. It shows how not Britain like very other European nation at this time the new imperialism which took place. Strongly recommended for Global studies teachers teaching the new imperialism topics in ther class. All in all very enticing war movie.

Studio: Front Row Video, Inc
Director: Cy Endfield
Richard Burton
Stanley Baker
Jack Hawkins

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