Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The War Zone
Productgroup: DVD
The War Zone - movie DVD cover picture
Prepare to be deeply affected

"The War Zone" is a brilliant and sordid character study of a dysfunctional family plagued by incest. This is Tim Roth's directorial debut and he clearly decided he was not going to play it safe. The film is a raw portrayal of the complex family dynamics that result from sex and sexual desire between family members.
With the help of cinematographer Seamus Mc Garvey, Roth takes an art house approach to story telling, with masterfully bleak cinematography and inspired use of the camera. Especially effective is his use of silence, increasing the discomforting tone of the entire film. His unabashed presentation of the stark depravity and the raw emotion wields the impact of a cold slap in the face, simultaneously stinging and holding our undivided attention.
The character study of Jessie (Lara Belmont) and Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is excellent, but leaves one of the most important questions nebulous. Roth flirts with the siblings' incestuous desire for one another, but leaves it implied, which I thought was inconsistent with his otherwise forthright style of storytelling. Was Tom motivated by love for his sister or by jealousy of his father's sexual competition? Was he his sister's protector or his father's rival? Both elements seem to be there, but Roth doesn't clarify. Although I have not read Alexander Stuart's book (upon which the screenplay is based), I understand that Tom's sexual jealousy was an important part of the story, so I don't understand why Roth danced around it. The story also could have benefited by a closer look into Jessie's feelings about her father. Was it strictly revulsion for repeated violations, or was she a willing participant? Again, both seem to be present, but we never really know. Moreover, the final scene fails to bring closure to the film, a closure that the viewer desperately needs after being juiced in an emotional blender. Yet, even with these unresolved issues, this is exceptional work for a first time director (or any director for that matter).
The acting is phenomenal, especially when one considers that this is the film debut for both Belmont and Cunliffe. Lara Belmont presents a young woman being torn asunder by an emotional tornado, trying to appear as if nothing is amiss especially in front of her mother. Belmont's performance is provocative and gut wrenching. Freddie Cunliffe captures the desperation of Tom's dilemma with a sullen rage that emanates from his placid exterior. Given their ages and experience, both actors give unbelievably mature performances, again a tribute to Roth's directorial ability.
This dark and unsettling film is skillfully directed and compellingly acted. I rated it a 9/10. It requires a courageous and intelligent viewer with a thick skin. It is decidedly not for the viewer who is put off by frank depictions of sex and incest. For the rest, prepare to be deeply affected.

Studio: New Yorker Films
Director: Tim Roth
Ray Winstone

DVD title: Wacky Races - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Wacky Races - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing Quality and the show still Rocks!

I couldn't wait to get this DVD and it did not let me down! The quality was so clean that I was amazed that it was from 1968!!! My 5 year old son immediately fell in love with the Slag brothers and it was so cool that I could share the joy from this show with him!!! Boys love racing competitions and seeing a clear winner and this show was right up his alley!!!!

The concept was simple but it was still so fun to watch and root for your favorite driver!!!

I'm not sure what the previous guy was looking at,...but the quality was fantastic for a show that is 37 years old!!

This is a MUST have for any serious animation collector!

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: Farscape - Season 4, Collection 5
Productgroup: DVD
Farscape - Season 4, Collection 5 - movie DVD cover picture
Best show SciFi channel ever had!

Thank God for Brian Henson! The rumors are true, a Farscape mini-series is in production now and will air on SciFi in the USA this fall (2004).
Power to the Scappers!!!

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: The Man Who Would Be King
Productgroup: DVD
The Man Who Would Be King - movie DVD cover picture
Some Movies Stand The Test Of Time

Some movies due to the fashion and other elements grow rapidly out of date but this is not one of them. This movie was made in 1975 and you do get a sense that it is not up to the current Hollywood standard in terms of special effects, Dolby surround, computer animation, and things of that nature. Despite this the movie still stands the test of time because of excellent performances, a good storyline, and a healthy dose of humor.
First off it is based off a story by Rudyard Kipling and takes place in the hinterlands of India. Two former English soldiers (Connery and Caine) who are basically scoundrels set out to set themselves up with fame and fortune.
They set out to the where no white men have been seen before and convince he locals they are gods. But look out anything that is too good is probably too good to be true or to last!
Connery and Caine complement one another in this film very well I thought and again this is not a special effects flick this is shot with real backgrounds etc for the most part. If you were ever curious to get a sense of Kipling without the book this might be a good film to check out! It is also not terribly inappropriate for younger viewers, for example they make a promise to one another not to drink or chase women while on their quest.
It is a period piece set in the late 1800s and depicts the railroads and remote countryside of colonial India in a day when might made right and individual adventurers could achieve glory and fortune. Or so legend would have it....

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: John Huston
Sean Connery
Michael Caine

DVD title: Driven
Productgroup: DVD
Driven - movie DVD cover picture
driven to sucess

Either I am a Psychic, or this film is Very Predictable. I was virtually Reciting the lines that hadn't even been Said yet, but I Didn't See "Driven" for Ground-breaking Dialogue or Oscar-worthy Performances. I saw it for High Powered Car Races, Fast pace Thrills and to See Sylvester Stallone Back on Top. I got Everything I was Expecting.
Sly plays Joe Tanto, a Washed-up Formula One racer who is brought back by his friend Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) to Befriend and Help out his Troubled Hotshot Driver Jimmy Blu (Kip Pardue), who is Talented, Fast and Professional, but he's also Reckless, Young and in a bit of a Slump. He has lost the Love of racing because of all the Pressure that is on him to Win. His Manager Brother (Robert Sean Leonard) and his On-Off Girlfriend (Estella Warren) don't help his Stress Factor. Sly believes if Jimmy pulls together Off the track, he'll come together On it, so Sly has to Earn Jimmy's Trust and remind him why he began racing in the First place, for the Love of the Race. Yep, that about Sum's it all Up.
The Best Scenes include a Wild Joyride involving Two Prototype Formula One Cars and Downtown Chicago, a Car Flying through the air in Super Slow Motion, and of course, the Final Race. While a lot of the film concentrates on the Behind the Scenes stuff Formula One fans don't See, (like Handling the Pressure, how Easy it is for your Racing Career to Slip away, Relationships) Race fans are Still Treated to some of the Best Formula One Racing Ever captured on Camera, the Crashes, the Casualties, the Fear, the Sound... My god, the Sound.
The Sound is actually the most Memorable part of the film, both the Sound Effects and the Soundtrack are Mind-blowing. Renny Harlin Obviously knows how to use Music, and Every Race has a Different song that suits the Mood, even some of the Dialogue fits the scenes. (eg. Filter's "The Best Things" in the Chase through the Streets of Chicago scene)
Overall, "Driven" is a film for Fans of Speed. Critics have attacked it's Rapid fire Editing and Lack of Development, but to Please the Masses, sometimes luxuries like Story, Dialogue and Development have to take a Backseat to Flashiness, Style and Sound. "Driven" is such a film, and I Loved it.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Renny Harlin
Sylvester Stallone
Kip Pardue
Til Schweiger

DVD title: Raging Bull (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Raging Bull (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Genius Brutal Film of a Famous Boxer

"Raging Bull", released in 1980, is truly one of the greatest films released that year, receiving eight Oscar nominations and winning two (Best Actor and Best Editing). It stars Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci. Director Martin Scorsese uses his infamous genius to create this phenomenal film of world-famous boxer Jake LaMotta. This true story explores the brutal side of his life from fighting his inner demons through destructive behavior to his challenges in the ring. All have lasting effects within himself, his friends, and his family. Through these chains of events, serious consequences arise that change his future. This powerful scenery leads to a powerful conclusion. Therefore, this is not just a boxing film. This is a powerdrama.

Through the writing and the physical aspects lies one of Scorsese's best works in his long career. Unfortunately, he has yet to win an Oscar for Best Director despite multiple nominations. This unique film offers its hardhitting message through words, violence, blood, and graphic images. The overall black-and-white theme intentially explores a deeper side of Jake LaMotta's madness. Scorsese's signature directing style explores the psychological themes deeply without distracting the elaborate setting. The overall result offers a deeper examination of LeMotta's life and turbulances. Scorsese used this similar style to give "Taxi Driver" (1976) its unique genius result. However, "Raging Bull" takes this to the next level. This style has since influenced upcoming film directors and their films, including "Pi" (1998), "Requiem For a Dream" (2000), and "L.I.E." (2001).

The amazing cast adds their emotional value to this film, namely Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci. All received an Oscar nomination. Words can't possibly describe De Niro's groundbreaking performance as Jake LaMotta. His madness never loses its severity. Such acting style gives new meaning to the term "raging bull", hense the film title. Moriarty makes a strong debut in her emotional performance as Vickie, LaMotta's wife. Her reactions as a battered and neglected wife are acted beautifully. Pesci also makes a strong debut as Joey, LaMotta's brother and manager. His signature aggressive acting style offers the extended brutality of this film, yet keeping De Niro in the spotlight. This similar style made him a household name through the 1980's and the 1990's.

Such overall quality makes "Raging Bull" one of the most legendary boxing films released. This unique film is sure to leave audiences speechless as it has since its theatrical release. Other boxing films that fans may like are "The Hurricane" (1999), "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), and "Rocky" (1976).

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro
Cathy Moriarty
Joe Pesci

DVD title: Gun - The Complete Six Film Anthology
Productgroup: DVD
Gun - The Complete Six Film Anthology - movie DVD cover picture
A rediscovered Gem!

it's amazing what used to be on TV. Had this production been circa 2005, we would only have this on HBO.

Can you imagine these stars on broadcast TV now? No way !!! Gandolfini; Quaid; Hannah; Tilly; Sheen ; et al. Are you Kidding?

From the opening scenes of a terrorist kissing his Magic Bullet to watching Randy Quaid being humbled by Ms. Hannah ( naked and handcuffed to a golf hole), this 6 part series has it all. Terrific acting; well thought out script and Ted Demme AND Robert Altman too?

this will be one of the better series you can watch this year. One can just picture David Chase watching episode one ( COLUMBUS DAY), and declaring loudly " That's my $%&*$&^ Tony Soprano!!

buy this immediately, and watch what quality television used to be, before the Bushies took over.

Enjoy GUN, over & over.

Studio: Tango Entertainment

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Much better than the theatrical release.

This version of the movie is far better than the pared-down version released in the theater. So much more has been added to enhance the storyline and the characterization that this is worth the extra money. I haven't watched all the extras on the third and fourth discs but I don't really care for the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

DVD title: The African Queen
Productgroup: DVD
The African Queen - movie DVD cover picture
One of the top 50 films of all time.

If you have a video library, this one must be in it. A small cast, a low budget, but a great fillm based in wartime Africa and the problems two people have in trying to elude the Germans. A great ending, too! This video rates right up there with "Treasure of Sierra Madre." Well directed, great acting, and superb photography. Invite your friends over, put on the popcorn, and sit back and enjoy. Oh, yes. Take the phone off the hook.

Director: John Huston
Humphrey Bogart
Katharine Hepburn

DVD title: The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
Peckinpah's ode to the closing of the American West.....

It would be impossible for film fans to have a conversation about controversial movies throughout the years, and for the epic western, "The Wild Bunch" not to get a solid mention.
Since I first saw this film over twenty years ago, I have owned numerous versions on VHS and laser disc, and it is particularly satisfying to finally have the restored directors version, with the accompanying documentary "The Wild Bunch : An album in montage" available on DVD in true widescreen format.
Sam Peckinpah's blood and thunder tale of outlaws on the Texas/Mexican border with their own set of unique morals has been such a dynamic influence on many directors and future films since it's release way back in 1969. But what sets "The Wild Bunch" apart from it's many imitators is it's deep, almost mythical storytelling, the complex moral nature of the characters peopling the tale and the gritty passion & energy that Peckinpah infused into the entire production. William Holden and Ernest Borgnine are simply tremendous as Pike & Dutch, the leaders of the Bunch...each man with his own individuality. Ben Johnson & Warren Oates portray the crazy Gorch Brothers, Jaime Sanchez is the arrogant and fiercely partiotic Mexican, Angel...and Edmond O'Brien is the grizzly, old timer Sykes.
Additionally, Peckinpah's film features Emilio Fernandez as the bloated, evil dictator Mapache...Albert Dekker as the manipulative and remorseless railroad man, Harrigan....and Robert Ryan putting in another one of his strong performances as the ex-gang member turned reluctant bounty hunter, Deke Thornton. And a Peckinpah movie almost wouldn't be complete without the appearance of LQ Jones and Strother Martin as a pair of filthy, grave robbing bounty hunters out for the reward on the heads of the Wild Bunch.
The Wild Bunch pulls no punches in it's tale of desperado's who they themselves are desperately running out of Holden reflects in the film "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns...those days are closing fast". Whilst "The Wild Bunch" is most notorious for it's two bloody shootouts that book end the film's 144 minute running time...there is so much excitement, passion, adventure and personal conflict within the movie that can be found upon each repeated viewing of this stunning work.
A film that can be treasured and enjoyed by any true film fan....The Wild Bunch will be continually looked upon as one of the most important contributions to American cinema.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Sam Peckinpah
William Holden
Ernest Borgnine
Robert Ryan

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