Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Love Letter
Productgroup: DVD
The Love Letter - movie DVD cover picture
Pure Relaxing Enjoyment

The Love Letter is one of the top feel-good movies I have ever enjoyed. It is simple yet complex. The setting in New England helps create the overall charm of the story, which is funny, enchanting, and unexpected. The characters are wonderful small town, yet not shallow, and will have you smiling all the way through.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Peter Chan
Kate Capshaw
Tom Everett Scott
Tom Selleck

DVD title: The Gods Must Be Crazy I & II
Productgroup: DVD
The Gods Must Be Crazy I & II - movie DVD cover picture
Fresh, Fruitful and Very Very Funny

The God's must be crazy and The God's must be crazy 2 are the most soul lifting and funny films you will ever have the privilage to watch. A simple documentry style that is both fresh and convincing and draws you into to the world of a bushman. Demonstrates the affects of western civilisation on a tribal but more cultured civilisation. I can't praise these films enough. I want them on DVD now!!

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Jamie Uys

DVD title: Stigmata
Productgroup: DVD
Stigmata - movie DVD cover picture
Watch this with an open mind and take it all in

When I first saw the commercials back when Stigmata was released, I cringed at the thought of a "Next Exorcist". I avoided the film up until TBS finally broadcasted it earlier this year, and I was amazed by it.
If you go into the movie believing it's the "Next Exorcist" plot-wise, you will be horribly disappointed. The only ties between the two movies are the use and discussion of religion, religious beliefs, and figures, and possession itself. The experiences of both Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) and the Exorcist's leading character, Reagan (Linda Blair) are drastically different. Whereas Reagan was possessed by a demonic spirit for cruel reasons of it's own, Frankie experiences an extremely different sort of possession. Frankie became possessed by the spirit of a recently deceased priest, Paolo Alameida.
Father Alameida, along with two other priests, had been working together to translate a document found near the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. The document is entirely in Aramaic - the language believed to be used during the time of Jesus. The three priests begin to believe that the words in this document are actually words spoken by the living Jesus Christ at the time of his last supper, telling his Disciples how to continue his church after his crucifixion.
Once word began to spread in the Catholic church about the gospel (and how damaging it's content would be to the church itself), the three priests were discommunicated and exiled, with Father Alameida relocating to Bel Quinto, Brazil, where he would head a church, and eventually commit suicide before the translation was finished.
After Frankie's mother (on vacation in Brazil at the time), sends her a rosary (that was actually stolen from the body of Father Alameida), Frankie begins experiencing wounds similar to those of Christ at the time of his crucifixion. After a priest witnesses Frankie receiving the wounds of the whip across her back in a subway, Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) is sent to investigate the possible appearance of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ.
As Andrew's time with Frankie grows, she continues receiving more and more wounds, and finds herself speaking and writing in languages she does not understand - Italian...and Aramaic. Andrew actively works to bring the meanings of the words Frankie is speaking and writing to light, thus strengthening the tension between Andrew and the Catholic church, most notably Cardinal Houseman (Jonathan Pryce), who originally exiled the three priests working on the translation.
The movie shows the negative side of what happens when churches become dictatorships. As the meanings of the words spoken and written by Frankie, as well as the reasons behind (as well as who is responsible for) her possession become clearer to Andrew, the Catholic church tries harder and harder to silence Frankie and to continue making people believe that the church is continuing the faith as Christ wanted, regardless of whether or not a simple exorcism is done to cast out the spirit of Father Alameida to keep him from using Frankie to finish the translation...or by silencing Frankie herself.
The movie is a chilling representation of fanaticism and explores hidden aspects of religion and of possession, separating it from the Exorcist and the like.
Watch the film with an open mind and open eyes and enjoy what you find hidden below the surface.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Patricia Arquette
Gabriel Byrne

DVD title: Doctor Who - The Key to Time - The Complete Adventure
Productgroup: DVD
Doctor Who - The Key to Time - The Complete Adventure - movie DVD cover picture

What's your favorite Doctor Who episode? The one you go back and watch over and over and over again, of course. That makes my all time favorites: "The Ribos Operation" and "The Pirate Planet", and those are closely followed by "The Armageddon Factor". I have not seen the DVD yet. Unlike Doctor Who, I cannot travel into the future, view it, and then return to the past and write a review on it. I'll buy it as soon as I can and then I'll watch it over and over and over again, of course.

Studio: BBC Video
Tom Baker

DVD title: A Bronx Tale
Productgroup: DVD
A Bronx Tale - movie DVD cover picture
loved it!

this is a really great movie even though i do not watch drama or mafia movies in particular. I usually enjoy watching Action movies or anything horror if its really scary cuz i dont find alot of scary movies scary anymore they r getting too damn boring. anyways this movie is about a boy name Calogero who grows up in the streets of the Bronx in the '60's with his good natured father Lorenzo who is a bus driver teaching his son good values ( i think). Cologero is given another name which is C which im gonna use for most of this review. even though C loves his father he starts looking up to a mobster who rules the streets name Sonny. Sonny and C become friends and Sonny introduces him to Sonny's mafia life even though his father wants him to stay away from Sonny because he is a "bad man". C decides whether to get the things he want the easy way or working hard for it like his father. besides that plot there are racial tensions between Italian-Americans and African Americans. this was the 1960's there was racial tensions and racism during that time period if you know your history or taken history classes. otherwise this was a really good movie but i also recommend watching GoodFellas which is another great mob film but actually based on a true story.

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: Quantum Leap - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Quantum Leap - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Quality Drama Wrapped In A Sci-Fi Premise

You may never see another TV drama so well executed within a science fiction realm as Quantum Leap. Rarely can a show escape its' SF roots by telling such great stories. I liked the attention to history, which allowed so many thought-provoking ideas in each and every episode. Even the story involving Lee Harvey Oswald, despite the fact that I believe the JFK assassination issue has been down 'ad infinitum'.

Studio: Universal Studios

DVD title: I Am Sam
Productgroup: DVD
I Am Sam - movie DVD cover picture
Meet Sam!

Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer remind us that love is all you need in this touching story about life, love and laughter.
"I Am Sam" is the story of a mentally challenged father (Sean Penn) who enlists a high profile lawyer (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him regain custody of his daughter (played by the marvellous Dakota Fanning who would go on to appear in Steven Spielberg's "TAKEN").
At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Sam and see him working at his job in Starbucks. Soon after we see a woman giving birth to a young baby. Sam names the baby Lucy, based on a Beatles song. The mother who it turns out was homeless and just needed somewhere to stay one night didn't plan on having a baby with Sam, and so runs off later, leaving a very disoriented Sam with the baby. Sam makes the decision to take his baby home. Although their are several problems initially, Sam is helped by his fellow mentally challenged friends. Lucy reaches the age of 7 and her school teachers meet Sam and express concerns. Sam's mental age is that of a 7 year old, and they are concerned about what happens when Lucy turns 8. Eventually social services become involved and Lucy is taken away from Sam. Based on advice from his friends, Sam seeks the help of a lawyer to get Lucy back.
Sometimes when movies are advertised they are given a tag line. When this was released in the UK in 2002, a British newspaper described "I Am Sam" as the "tearjerker of the year". It can often be said that people can't dictate how you feel, and so if someone tells you the film is going to be a tearjerker then it quite often won't deliver. It's like having extremely high expectations for a movie. You are quite likely to be disappointed. I'm glad I wasn't with this, and it certainly delivered.
To be honest, the main reason I wanted to see this movie was because I'd seen such an inspired performance from Dakota Fanning in "TAKEN", that I wanted to see more here. If I hadn't wanted to see more of Dakota then I quite possibly would have missed out on this movie. All of acting in this movie from leads and the supporting cast is just perfect for this kind of movie. The direction by director and co-writer Jessie Nelson is very thought out and the director of photography has his work cut out, especially when it comes to seeing the world the way Sam would see it. I was ready for this movie not to deliver on some of the emotion, but fortunately it did, creating a very memorable movie experience.
The DVD features a Commentary by director/Co-screenwriter Jessie Nelson and it is very delicately done. Jessie Nelson is informative and has such a wonderful vocal quality. I could almost imagine her being a narrator like Dakota Fanning was on "TAKEN". Jessie Nelson is very compassionate about this project as any director should be. So much so, that this is probably the first time I'd describe a DVD commentary as being beautiful.
Also on the DVD is a Theatrical trailer and the Original Documentary: "Becoming Sam" which is a fascinating look at what it took to put the movie together, as well as Deleted and Alternate Scenes with optional director commentary. Also featured on this Region 1 US DVD version is some DVD-ROM CONTENT including Script-to-Screen, Link to Original Website and Hot Spot. The movie itself is in Widescreen anamorphic format.
I met Sam, maybe you should meet him too.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Jessie Nelson
Sean Penn
Michelle Pfeiffer

DVD title: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (25th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (25th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Camp as the proverbial row of tents

Daaahlings, what can you say about this High Camp classic that hasn't already been said? On the heels of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, the divine Tim Curry hammered the final nail into the well-nailed coffin of Establishment gender stereotyping. As you can tell from the audience reactions, the androgynous Doctor Frank persona is as liberating for females as it is for males.
A strong collection of songs from maestro Richard O'Brien drives this Gothic masterpiece, concerning the misadventures of (Damn it) Janet Weiss, played by the ravishing Susan Sarandon and her RoboNerd boyfriend Brad Majors, played by Barry Bostwick.
There are just so many classic scenes and one liners that I can only respectfully suggest that you just go right ahead and buy this puppy. While the film lures you in with a feast of archetypal significance, you are probably better advised to check your brain at the door and relax with a chill bottle of parafino.
It can be easy you know... having a good time...

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Jim Sharman
Tim Curry
Susan Sarandon
Barry Bostwick
Richard O'Brien

DVD title: Far From Heaven
Productgroup: DVD
Far From Heaven - movie DVD cover picture
Melodrama is alive and well in Todd Haynes hands

First, this is a melodrama, and if you hate melodrama, you will hate this film. Not that many are made these days, and they are not for everyone. FAR FROM HEAVEN is pretty explicitly based on the films of Douglas Sirk, and if you hated WRITTEN ON THE WIND and IMITATION OF LIFE and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, you will definitely hate this. But if you like Douglas Sirk, you will love this. And yes, it is a straightforward copy of Sirk. In interviews Todd Haynes and others working on the film straightforwardly acknowledge this. Moreover, some of the background film footage for some of the scenes shot from inside cars was the exact same footage as was used in some Sirk films. And the black gardener, portrayed by Dennis Haysbert, was pretty transparently based on the Rock Hudson character in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS.
Spoiler ahead: What I have not seen mentioned is that some of the key plot elements seem borrowed from David Lean's great romantic film BRIEF ENCOUNTER. In that film, a man and woman married to others meet, become friends, fall in love, and yet do not consumate their love. Likewise, in this film. Furthermore, their final encounter is at a train station. FAR FROM HEAVEN is far too carefully made for this to be merely accidental.
In what way does FAR FROM HEAVEN differ from a Douglas Sirk film? Sirk would never have dealt with interracial love in the way that he does. In IMITATION OF LIFE, he does have a light-skinned female character who passes for white, only to be brought tragically down to earth when she fails. And there is a consciousness in many of Sirk's films about race. The way this new film differs is in bringing a deep attraction between a black man and a white woman in the 1950s to the forefront. Also, issues of homosexuality are never addressed in Sirk. Some have claimed that it was by the casting of Rock Hudson in several of his films, but it seems artificial to me to graft on what we learned twenty-five years later about Rock Hudson's sexuality. In a way, FAR FROM HEAVEN is an attempt to do a Douglas Sirk film dealing primarily with issues that were far too taboo in the 1950s for Sirk to even bring up.
Two things stand out in FAR FROM HEAVEN: the performances and the art and set design. Julianne Moore is being touted in some quarters as the probable Oscar winner for her performance. She is an outstanding actress, and she really shines in this film. I have never seen Dennis Quaid better than in this film. It is not a congenial role, but he does a great job of portraying a man who is utterly conflicted by his own sexuality, and the near impossibility of even finding conceptual categories for it in his age. Instead of being "gay," he "has a problem." Dennis Haysbert does a find job in a role that was not terribly well written. In the hands of a lesser performer, his role could have been insufferable. As far as the appearance of the film goes, the designers clearly were trying to make this film as beautiful looking as possible. They succeeded magnificently. In part this is clearly in an attempt to provide ironic contrast with the far-from-beautiful relationships at the heart of the film. But also, you get the feeling that they merely delighted in producing a film that presented the most complete presentation of an idealized 1950s community. In this they succeeded.
I don't recommend this for all, or even most, film goers. Not everyone will enjoy a good melodrama. But for those who do, this film is arguably the finest example of the genre in a couple of decades.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Todd Haynes
Julianne Moore
Dennis Quaid
Dennis Haysbert

DVD title: Lion of the Desert
Productgroup: DVD
Lion of the Desert - movie DVD cover picture
I can give it 6 stars....Don't miss it

This is well-acted film with a fine cast. The most striking feature of the film is the battle scenes which are excellent because of the military weapons, armoured vehicles, uniforms, equipment etc that have been recreated. This makes the action first class. The film is also notable for the inspirational wisdom of Omar Mukhtar who is truly a leader to die for. It is a pity other producers have not picked up from here other than "A Bridge Too Far" and "Saving Private Ryan".

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Moustapha Akkad
Anthony Quinn
Oliver Reed
Rod Steiger

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