Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas
Productgroup: DVD
Sarah Brightman - Live from Las Vegas - movie DVD cover picture
Priorities - Please!

I give my five-star rating to Sarah Brightman, the back-up singers, dancers, musicians, set designers, and costumers. The DVD production and direction are another matter.

This is the second DVD of Sarah's (the other being "Harem: Desert Fantasy) in which the lighting was, at times, so bright as to nearly, or completely, obscure our view of her. I lost count of the number of times the camera wound up pointed directly into a spotlight. If this much lighting was needed for the benefit of the audience, they should have been prepared with filters for the cameras. As any fan of Sarah Brightman knows, when she is performing, it doesn't take special lighting for her to glow.

Next, the constant cutting to different camera angles, and shots of the back-up singers, musicians, and dancers, was distracting, and often took us away from key moments of Sarah's performance. When she was dancing, or singing a particularly important part of a song, I did not need a shot from the ceiling at the back of the auditorium, pointed into a spotlight, or of a piano/violin player. All of these people deserve camera time, but at the appropriate moments, not just because you have the shot. This direction, and editing, reminded me of the music video explosion in the 1980's on MTV. "Music video director" suddenly became a lucrative job, and often a gateway to bigger things. So every fledgling director pulled every video effect he/she had out of their bag of tricks, and wound up giving us some of the most horrendous music videos of all time. The purpose of these music videos, as it ought to be with a production like this one, SHOULD be to present the artist(s) in a favorable light, and compliment the music. What they wound up doing, and what happened at times here, was that the artist was obscured, and the music overwhelmed. Some artists never recovered from these disasters. I got that feeling as I watched this DVD. It seemed that they were so proud of having so many cameras covering this show, that they wanted to make sure that they used ALL of them on every song.

To sum up, this DVD is MORE than worth owning, since Sarah, cast and crew, completely overcome this misuse of artistic license, and triumph over it all. To directors, editors, cinematographers, lighting techs out there, PLEASE remember that an artist like Sarah Brightman doesn't need much embellishment (watch "La Luna" - practically bare stage most of the time - and wonderful!), and remember that in the term "musical production" "production" is the SECOND word.

Studio: Emi Distribution
Sarah Brightman

DVD title: The Long Riders
Productgroup: DVD
The Long Riders - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Western Ever

Although Walter Hill may take some artistic license here and there, this is not a whitewashed version of these events. It is a pointed, tough, and very bloody depiction of the James-Younger gang, portrayed by four sets of real life actor brothers. The performances are uniformly excellent. Even Robert and Keith Carradine are impressive.
Here the outlaws are presented as men of a peculiar honor, thieves and killers yes, but also dedicated family men who kill only upon necissity. Stacy Keach, as Frank James, particularly embodies this quasi-nobility.
This film puts one in mind of Phil Kaufman's earlier THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID, but Hill's version is grittier, bloodier, and more memorable.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Walter Hill
David Carradine
Stacy Keach
Dennis Quaid

DVD title: What's Up, Doc?
Productgroup: DVD
What's Up, Doc? - movie DVD cover picture
Priceless screwball comedy

Frankly, given a choice between "What's Up, Doc?" and the overrated "Bringing Up Baby," I'll take Bogdanovich's valentine to classic screwball comedies every time. Barbra Streisand may never again be this loose and funny on screen, and the late Madeline Kahn makes every moment a revelation.
I'll never forget seeing a retrospective screening of this movie in a theatre a few years back -- people actually started laughing at the *beginning* of scenes that they were looking forward to seeing yet again. I myself try to revisit this gem at least once a year.
Hey, where's the DVD?

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Barbra Streisand
Ryan O'Neal

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 3)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 3) - movie DVD cover picture
The Plot

If you liked the two previous movies you will love this one.(if Cuadron keeps close to the book) The new characters: Sirius Black and Remus Lupin are great. You will learn that the Nimbus series are just "toys" compared with the profesional stuff. Wonderfull new scenarios like the "wizards town", more quidditch action and new terrible creatures. Without doubt, the megablockbuster of the next year summer!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson (II)

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

This is a typical example of a perfect movie. Every time I watch it, I find more and more in it. I recommend it.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Kirk Douglas
Laurence Olivier

DVD title: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Operation 7
Productgroup: DVD
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing - Operation 7 - movie DVD cover picture
this rocks

i love these epsodes (mostly because i am in them). don't i rule? i may not have a twin buster rifle or dragon fangs, but i have the strongest beam saber! so buy this dvd! it's got some of the best episodes in the entire series. in these episodes, heero gets really close to being blown to bits inside of his own wing gundam by a virgo mobile doll when a crazy leo pilot saves him. heero goes to some mansion looking place after the leo pilot says something like: "protect master treize, i beg you" and then dies. heero, being the cold-hearted gundam pilot that he his, leaves him there..... this is taking too long. anyways, treize gives him me, the epyon to take out for a spin and heero goes nuts and kills everything that moves. there, finished.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Gordon Hunt

DVD title: The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture

Aside from being a profound meditation on mans place in the universe and all that, this movie is some kind of funny. No other movie has ever made such a macabre subject seem more hillarious. The scene where the troupe-director fakes his own suicide, only to climb up a tree which death soon cuts down, and others, have a sort of irony which you would be hard-pressed to find in literature, let alone movies. One of the sayings in my life that i've recited over and over again I got from The Seventh Seal: Whichever way you turn, your ass will always be behind you. The cinematography is truly lyrical, especially the opening scenes. At the end I felt a little jibbed because having seen Woody Allens parody of the Dance of Death I didn't get all the emotional power that scene had to offer. But it affected me nonetheless. You must appreciate Bergman's courage for undertaking this project. How many other directors would have the temerity to do make a movie about the futility of life so directly and so unreservedly? Of course, if anyone else tried it it probably would have turned out indulgent and juvenille.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Gunnar Björnstrand
Max von Sydow

DVD title: Once Upon a Time in the West
Productgroup: DVD
Once Upon a Time in the West - movie DVD cover picture
The Greatest Western of all Time.

Even though Sergio Leone is Italian, he's very precise about American history in all of his westerns. Once Upon A Time In The West is based upon such American events as the opening of the western frontier and the age of the Railroad barons ( or " Robber Barons " ). The movie takes place in a small western town called Flagstone, although it's in the middle of nowhere it thrives, probably because of the Railroad ( HINT : If you look carefully at Mr. Morton's private train car, you can find out the name of the railroad ). A widow named Jill McBain ( Claudia Cardinale ), is defending the land she inhereted from her murdered husband against the greedy and powerful railroad tycoon, Mr. Morton ( Gabrielle Ferzetti ) and his pure evil gunman, Frank ( Henry Fonda!!!! ). She soon teams up with a notorious bandit, Cheyenne ( Jason Robards ), and a lonely gunfighter, Harmonica ( Charles Bronson ) to help her. But what she doesn't know is that Harmonica doesn't care that Frank might try to kill Jill, he wants revenge for something Frank did along time ago. Once Upon a Time in The West is full of important expressions, clever ironies, and Sergio Leone's famous close-up shots that truely make this movie an all-time classic.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Sergio Leone
Henry Fonda
Charles Bronson

DVD title: RahXephon - Tonal Pattern (Vol 2)
Productgroup: DVD
RahXephon - Tonal Pattern (Vol 2) - movie DVD cover picture
Rahxephon- A Strange Paradise

Having watched all of the RahXephon episodes, I can safely say to anyone who is picking up this series for the first time that you will not be dissapointed. RahXephon combines stunning artistry and storyline, with excellent character development, and a musical score that in my oppinion has yet to be topped in Anime.I first started collecting it because of its claim to being a "sequel to Evangellion" which was perhaps a bit of an exaggeration given the storyline of this series, although if you keep focused you may hear a couple of interesting references and similarities, at the risk of spreading spoilers I wont go into it, but even as a stand alone series, RahXephon performs, in a way I guess you coul say it is Eva done right, (animatd properly and with a definative ending.)Unlike most of the other mecha animes out there, RahXephon does not put alot of emphasis on combat scenes, in fact towards the middle of the show you begin to hear references to them rather than actually seeing them yourselves. This gives more screen time to the story, and allows for in depth and often deeply emotional scrutiny of character bonds. Again, I wont say anything revealing but, the nineteenth movement, wow! I havent seen anything that powerful in a series in a very long time.Ok, so there are a few dud episodes along the way, places where the story slowed down, and where the animation even seemed to change slightly, but in general this is rare and does not affect the overall picture one bit.The japanese voice acting is superb, with the english dub being also unfaultable, it does not fall into the trap of over pronounciation, or of extremly emotionless delivery, this is really important for a show such as this one but thankfully they got it right. So buy it, watch it, and enjoy it. The plot is tar thick ala Serial Experiments Lain, but if you dont get it, watch it again. The overall effect of a mixture of well chosen (not cheesy or out of date) music, superb voice acting, and beautiful surroudings make this a total must have for any fan of deep Anime.

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: Yutaka Izubuchi

DVD title: Sling Blade
Productgroup: DVD
Sling Blade - movie DVD cover picture
one memorable show, great acting

Don't miss this show, it will come back to you many times. We all loved it, very touching!

Studio: Miramax
Director: Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton
Dwight Yoakam

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