Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Hapkido Ultimate Self-Defense
Productgroup: DVD
Hapkido Ultimate Self-Defense - movie DVD cover picture
Practical and Complete

This set of three DVDs are some of the best on the market for Hapkido self defense techniques. In addition to excellent work behind the camera--plently of angles--the teaching manner of Master Sexton is awesome. He takes the time to cover all possible situations for the student. The series concludes with a great interview with Master Sexton. A "Must Have" for every Hapkido student!

Director: N. Solorzano

DVD title: Three Stooges - Dizzy Doctors
Productgroup: DVD
Three Stooges - Dizzy Doctors - movie DVD cover picture
What can you say?

These are the stooges and they are awesome. There's some funny stuff on this DVD. It's well worth it. Get 'em while you can!

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Del Lord
Moe Howard
Larry Fine

DVD title: Ben-Hur
Productgroup: DVD
Ben-Hur - movie DVD cover picture
Vacuous fairy tale

I read every one of 217 previous reviews; trying to understand why people love this movie, but did not come to conclusion with repeated expressions like: "Ben-hur is one of the greatest movies of all time" or "The chariot race is the BEST part of the movie".. well it is definitely not like the chariot fight of Gladiator.

However, among these reviews I liked the following negative comments that I hereby revitalize to equal the determined incomprehensible comments about the GREATNESS of this stupid classic.


Certainly not a bad movie, certainly not worth 11 oscars, i guess nothing better came out that year, because this movies so long they could only make this

"Ben Hur" richly deserves its status as a gay cult film -- never before nor after was Charlton Heston so hunky.

Another is the cascade of Oscars it received - especially one to Charlton Heston for smoldering (considering that alternatives that year included Jack Lemmon in "Some Like It Hot," Cary Grant in "North by Northwest," and James Stewart in "Anatomy of a Murder"). This is not even one of Heston's best films.

While the cinematography and acting are spectacular, the over drama becomes heavy handed when it doesn't advance the story.

Jesus makes a cameo in this movie but to my great disappointment he doesn't take part in the chariot race.

I would recommend this movie for anyone looking for an in depth history of the time period, or just for someone looking for a little action and a lot of sleep.

I knew that I was not the only one having a hard time keeping mentally stimulated through this "classic" when three of the four people that were watching Ben-Hur with me were asleep at the same time.

The chariot race is great, but on the way to that race you have to face hours of suffocating piety, starting with the Star Over Bethlehem and all that.

Instead of the movie keeping the pace, I kept it myself, with a little help of the fastforward button.

You just spend ten minutes listening two the opening music, before anything happens. I first thought it was some sort of mistake. When the story finally gets started you just wish you were back with the music.)

the Charlton Heston "Ben-Hur" is so overblown that you may feel the need of an Alka-Seltzer at intermission

Remember you're a Womble! The problem with this movie is it's blatant theft from Smokey and the Bandit, they obviously believe a "Roman Twist" would confuse us.


Studio: Warner Studios
Director: William Wyler
Charlton Heston
Jack Hawkins
Stephen Boyd

DVD title: Seven Samurai - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Seven Samurai - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
This Rocks!

If the title seems to be hyperbole, I should point out that it's not just my opinion, but the opinion of almost all movie critics. This movie is on many top-ten-movies-of-all-time lists, for good reason. For many years, this movie was seen only in a shortened form, but Criterion has restored it to its original cut as first released. Not only that, but it has included a superb commentary that was so good that after I watched the DVD for the first time without commentary, I started to watch it with the commentary thinking I would spend a few minutes and was so fascinated that I watched the whole movie again just to find out what the commentator had to say! And this is a long movie, over 3 hours long, but it doesn't drag.
The basic story (ripped off by the inferior U.S. remake, The Magnificent Seven) is pretty straightforward. Bandits attack a village and take its crops and some of its women. When the villagers learn that the bandits plan to return, the decide to hire itinerant samurai to defend it, with the only pay being room and board. They find a remarkable samurai as the leader, and he recruits the other six, including an expert swordsman who lives for his art (the actor who played this part had never handled a sword before this movie, and never did learn to ride a horse!), and a crude bumbler (played by star Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son pretending to be a samurai. Incidentally, Mifune was originally considered for the part of the expert swordsman, a role which he played brilliantly in two other Kurosawa movies, Yojimbo - the basis for Clint Eastwood's hit A Fistful of Dollars, and Sanjuro. But this is no simple good versus evil story. Even though the villagers have hired the samurai, they don't trust these "heroes", and hide all their women. And it appears that in the past the villagers may have killed other samurai and hidden their armor - when the samurai discover this, they are not sure they can trust the villagers either. This ambiguity adds depth to the story. All this is gradually revealed as the remainder of the film shows the samurai training the villagers, attacking the bandits to cut down their numbers, and finally, after a few skirmishes, having the climactic battle scene in the driving rain and mud, which captures the chaos of battle as well as anything ever done in the movies. Unlike most movies where the battle scenes always seem to be staged, with the big explosion center screen and nothing much else going on, Kurosawa seems to embed you right in the action so you feel as if it is going on, not just in front of you, but all around you, off- screen as well as on. This is great movie-making, and the commentary explains how he achieved this effect. And at the end, the villagers go back to rice planting, and the samurai "heroes" stand to one side - no triumphal banquet and procession for them. Now that their job is finished, they are ignored.
As I mentioned, even though the film is long, it doesn't drag, because Kurosawa omits unneccessary exposition. One example, early on after one of the samurai is killed in battle, we have a burial scene. Mifune's character, in grief, grabs a battle flag made by the dead samurai, runs on top of one of the huts in the village and defiantly plants it on top of the roof. The camera then pans up to the hills beyond the village, where we see the bandits descending to attack the village. In a few seconds the mood changes from grief to exhilaration as the long awaited battle is joined.
On the other hand, Kurosawa also includes images which, although not strictly necessary to the main narrative line, will remain with you long after the movie is over. An example, at one point the samurai locate the bandit's hideout, and set fire to it to force the bandits out. As the samurai look into the hideout, they see a woman, captured by the bandits. In a silent scene, except for a lone flute playing plaintively on the soundtrack, this woman awakens, sees the fire off-screen, starts to cry out, then decides to remain silent, even though it means she will die a horrible death. The usual martial arts movie would never even consider having a scene like this, but this short, wordless scene speaks eloquently about this nameless woman's condition and deepens the story. It is little touches like this that linger.
Martial arts movie with incredible battle scenes, character study, social commentary, as with all great art, there are a lot of different ways you can view this movie. At the time he made it, Kurosawa said he wanted to revitalize the samurai sword movie, which he considered a dead form. He did more than that - he transformed it! A lot more could, and has, been said about this movie, but bottom line: Nobody who loves movies should miss this - it is essential!

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Toshirô Mifune

DVD title: Robotech - Hollow Victory (Vol. 14)
Productgroup: DVD
Robotech - Hollow Victory (Vol. 14) - movie DVD cover picture
The Bittersweet Conclusion?

Robotech: Hollow Victory, contains Episodes 80 - 85, the THRILLING CONCLUSION, of the epic multi-generational Americanized anime series from the 80s, Robotech.
Robotech was the most popular of the Americanized Japanese anime series to hit American TV in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for its cutting edge animation, high-tech battle scenes, futuristic weapons (planes, tanks, motorcyles that transform into robots), cool alien invaders, and realistic and compelling storylines, Robotech swept an entire generation and put Japanese Anime forever on the map of American pop culture.
Several years after the events of the Robotech Masters saga, the earth is conquered by a deadly alien race called the Invid. Out of the ashes rises a resistance movement of Robotech freedom fighters committed to reclaiming earth and vanquishing the Invid conquerors...
The New Generation story arc chronicles Scott Bernard's freedom fighters' deadly journey across the world in search of the Invid's Reflex Point as they battle not only the merciless Invid, but also the perils of a lawless Earth full of cutthroat humans looking to survive at ANY cost....
In this volume the endgame is finally here as the Freedom Fighters finally reach Reflex Point and have their final showdown with the Invid invaders.
Here's a rundown of the episodes featured on this DVD:
Episode 80 - Birthday Blues: It's Annie's birthday and the gang throws everyone's favorite orphan her first ever REAL birthday party. Will the Invid crash this party?
Episode 81 - Hired Gun: A mysterious gunmen (who looks like Kid Rock!!!) has been killing off soldiers in the desert. Can Scott and friends stop him, or will they become just another victim?
Episode 82 - The Big Apple: In search of more Protoculture, the gang makes their way to an Invid base in New York just as Korg passes a death sentence on mankind. Can Yellow Dancer save the day? Plus, Marlene learns more about her origins.
Episode 83 - Reflex Pont: Finally arriving at Reflex Point the gang meets up with a videographer from Rick Hunter's space battalion sent to do recon. Hopelessly outnumbered they try to prevent a deadly weapon from falling into Invid hands. Plus, Marlene and the gang finally learn what she really is!!!
Episode 84 - Dark Finale: The final showdown begins as the Freedom Fighters meet up with a mass army, under the command of Admiral Rick Hunter's returning REF, to begin the Final Assault against the Invid Reflex Point. Can Marlene and Sera convince the Regess to make peace before all is destroyed?
Episode 85 - Symphony of Light: Scott and Marlene? Rand and Rook? Lancer and Sera? Scott vs. Korg? Where's Rick Hunter? It's the bittersweet conclusion to the Robotech Saga. Who will win? Who will survive? WHY WAS A SEQUEL NEVER MADE???
Many feel that the New Generation story arc is the best out of all three of the Robotech story arcs, including the Macross Saga, and with good reason. The ultra-cool mecha and the ULTRA-INTENSE action as the freedom fighters literally run and fight for their lives against the Invid and make their way through a treacherous world is just awesome!!
If you've never seen Robotech, simply put YOU MUST. The action and the drama are compelling, clearly showing why Robotech became a pop culture icon. It is the series that forever put Japanese anime on the map in the US. If you did grow up with Robotech, give these a watch again. They're great for a trip down memory lane. You can't lose!!!
Highest Recommendation

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: Robert V. Barron

DVD title: Road to Perdition (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Road to Perdition (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful All Around

You may not know it, but 2002's Road to Perdition is a comic book film. Sure it's not a superhero movie, but it's based on a graphic novel (a pretty good one at that). Take that basis for the story, toss in the star power of Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law along with Academy Award-winning Director Sam Mendes, and you get a great film that just so happened to find its origins in the pages of a "comic".
Set in 1931, Road to Perdition is really told through the perspective of 12-year old Michael Sullivan Jr, played by upcomming Tyler Hoechlin. Michael Jr. and his brother don't know what their father (Tom Hanks) does for a living, but he's about to find out. One night young Michael hides in a car as his father goes off on a job, and he learns the truth. His father is a hit man for the Irish mob.

When Michael Jr. is discovered spying on a hit, the Sullivan family is immediately put in danger, as the secret of his father's job is now known. After a tragedy occurs to other two Sullivans, father and son must hit the road and begin a journey on the road to Perdition.

The first thing one notices about the film isn't Sam Mendes direction, it isn't the strong performances by Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, or a creepy Jude Law; it's the late Conrad Hall's cinematography. Using extremely subdued flesh tones and colors, Hall was able to create a gritty and gloomy look for film set in the depression era. The cinematography in this film is gorgeous. Thankfully, the film is a more than just a pretty picture.

The entire first portion of the film is shown through the perspective of the twelve-year-old boy. It's not until after young Michael witnesses his father at work that we're allowed to see the world of Tom Hank's hit man character. It's a similar style that Spielberg used in Empire of the Sun, and for the introduction of this movie; it works well enough.

Performances all around are great. Tom Hanks pulls of a dark and quiet hit man well, who's torn between his job and protecting his son. Paul Newman is perfect as an aging Irish crime boss torn between his real son (Daniel Craig) and his adoptive son (Tom Hanks). And Jude Law is expertly creepy as a cameraman/hit man sent after the father and son.

With an amazing look, great acting, a solid score, and a good story; Road to Perdition is an excellent film. It's on my top ten all time list.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sam Mendes
Tyler Hoechlin
Tom Hanks

DVD title: Troy (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Troy (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

The entire casing for Troy feels spot on, with the possible exception of Orlando Bloom. Bloom plays the role of Paris quite well, but I don't know that I agree with the choice or if I agree with how pussified he is in the script. I feel that Pitt and Bana are spot-on in their respective roles.

Anyway, the film is a blast. Don't come here for a history lesson. I've heard a lot of people critisize the film for historical inaccuracies. So what. I don't believe that the film was intended to be an extension of your History class.

Troy is a movie that is fun to experience. Good character development (though Achilles' could have been a little better), some decent humor, and great action. The opening fight sequence is, in my opinion, a classic. It's a short sequence, but it quickly conveys who you're dealing with when you mess with a combat master like Achilles.

If you go into this film looking for a good time (and not a history lesson), you'll get exactly what you paid for.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Brad Pitt
Eric Bana
Orlando Bloom

DVD title: Enter the Dragon
Productgroup: DVD
Enter the Dragon - movie DVD cover picture
Enter the Dragon

I have always enjoyed Bruce Lee movies. He was exceptional in his techniques! I enjoyed watching his son, sad that his life ended so suddenly. He would have been good at what he learned from his father.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Robert Clouse
Bruce Lee

DVD title: Saxon - Rock Has Landed - It's Alive
Productgroup: DVD
Saxon - Rock Has Landed - It's Alive - movie DVD cover picture
The Real Thing!

YOu must be joking. Steve Dawson left SAxon years ago. Some yeasr later, Graham Oliver did the same. So, out of the blue, they decid their have the right to use the name SAXON??!!! are they out of their minds?
This is a sad DVD.

Studio: Music Video Distribu

DVD title: Halloween
Productgroup: DVD
Halloween - movie DVD cover picture
Great MOVIE.......and a GREAT DVD!!!!

John Carpenter's Halloween is a complete classic. The sequels are also pretty decent as well. Not only is this movie a classic but anchor Bay's line of halloween DVD's are outstanding. The Halloween limited edition in particular which is currently out of print, probably has the best transfer out there. The sound quality is also upgraded to Dolby 5.1 The special feaures such as the The "Halloween Unmasked" Feature is interesting, along with trailers, and tv spots. This limited edition also comes with the tv version that has 12 minutes of added scenes not shown in theaters. Since Anchor Bay releases so many different verisons of the halloween dvd the best verisions you should own is the limited editon and the 25th anniversary edition. The 25th anniversary is the only dvd that comes with the Jamie Lee Curtis and john carpenter commentary along with a new documentary entitled "A Cut Abouve the Rest" and a 25 years later re-location spot. The divimax transfer is also really nice, looks like the movie was made 5 years ago. All in all this a great dvd and a classic horror movie everyone should own.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: John Carpenter
Donald Pleasence
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tony Moran

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