Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Quality show that died too soon.

I remember seeing the ads for this innovative program when it was first being aired and thinking it was something I wanted to watch. However, due to work committments, I missed the first couple episodes and never found it again. Then, I heard it was cancelled after a half season. Well, soon reports of a fan following of this program developed (similar to Star Trek) and when I saw the complete series on dvd, I decided to buy it. Boy, am I glad I did.
Firefly unfortunately came out during the reality tv craze. It is a fine program with excellent characters and stories, a wonderful premise, superb acting and cast, fine effects, and a great production team. Watching the 2 hour pilot on dvd and the shows in order certainly built the characters and the plot. Apparently, Fox, when originally airing this, didn't air the episodes in the order that made sense losing a fair number of viewers along the way. This program is one of the best sci-fi series ever aired. Unfortunately, it died too soon. But, like the Phoenix, it is rising from the ashes and I am eagerly anticipating the feature movie Serenity in the fall.
One thousand plus reviews can't be wrong: if you enjoy good stories, action, humor, and a little science fiction, delve into Firefly. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Nathan Fillion

DVD title: Swimming Pool (Unrated Version)
Productgroup: DVD
Swimming Pool (Unrated Version) - movie DVD cover picture
A Puzzle for You to Solve.

Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is a middle-aged British mystery novelist. Burned out on writing and tired of the climate in London, she accepts an invitation from her publisher, John (Charles Dance), to spend some time relaxing at his villa in Southern France. The change of scenery gets her creative juices flowing, but shortly after Sarah has settled in, John's daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) turns up with plans to stay. At first Sarah is annoyed by Julie's daring and promiscuous lifestyle. But gradually Sarah takes an interest in the young woman and allows herself to be sucked into Sarah's emotional intrigues.
There is a lot that I would love to say about this film, but the nature of "Swimming Pool" is such that I can say very little that will not spoil the film for those who have not yet seen it. "Swimming Pool" is an unusual and ingenious variety of mystery. I will say this much: Pay close attention. Things are not as the seem.
Fran?ois Ozon's screenplay may be the best of 2003. It's certainly the most sinuous. I'm sure that some will say -not without some justification- that it's too clever for its own good. My one reservation about "Swimming Pool" is that it may be too subtle. Too much of the audience is left thinking that the events of the film are to be taken at face value. And the film doesn't begin to make sense if taken at face value. The audience is given enough information to figure out what has transpired. -But just enough. We do have to figure it out for ourselves. Normally, a film of this kind would explain itself a few scenes before the end. But Fran?ois Ozon has chosen not to spell anything out for his audience. I enjoyed the puzzle. It's gratifying once it clicks and everything makes sense. But I fear "Swimming Pool" is too esoteric for wide audience appeal. I give it an enthusiastic recommendation, though. "Swimming Pool" is one of the most original, clever, and intriguing movies that I've seen.
The DVD: Previews are unfortunately unavoidable. Bonus features include one theatrical trailer and deleted scenes. Most of the deleted scenes are entirely inconsequential, but one actually confuses matters, so I don't recommend them. Dubbing is available in French. Subtitles are available in French, Spanish, and English. I sure wish there were an interview with writer/director Fran?ois Ozon, but no such luck. There are more bonus features, including a commentary by Ozon (presumably in French), on the French Region 2 DVD 2-disc set for anyone who is interested.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Fran├žois Ozon
Charlotte Rampling
Ludivine Sagnier
Charles Dance

DVD title: Work and the Glory
Productgroup: DVD
Work and the Glory - movie DVD cover picture
Thoroughly enjoyable

I have not read the Gerald Lund books, which I hear are quite good, but I thought the movie was absolutely great. The acting was better than expected, the story was interesting and the overall movie effect was very entertaining. With all the trash that Hollywood throws out nowadays, this was quite refreshing to see. High on family values and religion.

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Sam Hennings

DVD title: The Howlin' Wolf Story - The Secret History of Rock & Roll
Productgroup: DVD
The Howlin' Wolf Story - The Secret History of Rock & Roll - movie DVD cover picture
A Must Have Howlin' Wolf Documentary

If you seek a good DVD that gives a description of Howlin' Wolf and his music, you should get this one. It contains some archival footage from The Wolf's gigs in the 50's and 60's and there are interviews with family members and musicians that played with The Wolf. Some bonus material is also included.

Studio: Bmg Distribution (VI
Chester Burnett

DVD title: Rear Window (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Rear Window (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Well done suspense drama

Jimmy Stewart is a photojournalist confined to a wheelchair in his apartment with a broken leg. He spends most of his time gazing out the window at his neighbors, until one day he sees something that looks like a murder taking place. Grace Kelly plays his lover; she wants to marry him, but he thinks her pampered life makes her unsuitable for the rough life he leads. She, of course, leads the way in the dangerous murder probe they set out upon. It's to Hitchcock's credit that he had Kelly believe Stewart's story almost from the start, so we don't have to endure his trying to convince her it's true. (It also allows the picture to focus on its single point: she's no mamby-pamby and can do anything Stewart can.) The early going is rather slow - only the snappy dialogue saves it, though the suspense builds nicely near the end. Thelma Ritter is very good as Stewart's nurse - she has most of the wisecracking lines. The camera never leaves the apartment or the courtyard: Hitchcock loved the single setting idea during this time (see also ROPE AND LIFEBOAT). Definitely worth a watch.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart
Grace Kelly

DVD title: Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Shrek (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

this movie was just wonderful and both my sons have totaly enjoyed it and are still enjoying it.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy

DVD title: Das Boot - The Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
Das Boot - The Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
Very realistic account of life aboard a Wolf Pack Sub

This film is presented in 1.85 anamorphic and letterbox. It is one of the best movies for 16:9 television demonstrations. The 1.85 anamorphic side is very close to 1.78 (16:9).

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Jürgen Prochnow

DVD title: Live Aid (4 Disc Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Live Aid  (4 Disc Set) - movie DVD cover picture
The Spirit Of Live Aid Is Back 20 Years Later

As someone who was too young to remember Live Aid, I can say I can appreciate the fact that Bob Geldof finally gave permission to release this DVD.

The performances and the quality of sound for archives over 20 years old is amazing. This DVD was put together from aging archives that the BBC never threw out or destroyed from Wembley including the entire Queen performance that has become the talk of legends. MTV gave archive footage they had of the JFK/American portion of the concert. Bob Geldof wanted the footage destroyed and wanted this to only be shown as it happened that day in 1985, it seemed as if this magical event could have never been destroyed or hidden from future generations.

The performances are breath taking. Queen, Phil Collins, Sting, The Boomtown Rats, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Duran Duran, Status Quo, Paul McCartney, Ultravox, Adam Ant..

You also get a good look at how the concert was put together, how Band Aid was put together, the situation of 1984-1985 Ethiopia, and a documentary of how the aid money was delivered and spent showing the effects of it on people they were able to give food and supplies to.

So, for the price, this is a great way to remember this once in a lifetime event that moved people and brought people together to end the famine in Ethiopia. Nothing has ever matched this event, and no one has done what Bob Geldof has done and not even The Beastie Boys for Tibet.

Studio: Warner Brothers/Elektra/Atlantic
Bob Geldof

DVD title: The Man in the Iron Mask
Productgroup: DVD
The Man in the Iron Mask - movie DVD cover picture
Very good adaption of a great book

All those who read the original book by Alexandre Dumas should relize that if they followed the book they would have ran off most of the young people in the nation. They changed the ending in pretty much the same way Disney has done to all of their animated features. The acting was very well done and the atmosphere was perfect for a setting back in the time of the Musketeers. Great acting and special effects make this a very enjoyable Dumas movie

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Randall Wallace
Leonardo DiCaprio
Jeremy Irons
John Malkovich
Gérard Depardieu
Gabriel Byrne

DVD title: TotalMix - The Complete Total Body Workout System
Productgroup: DVD
TotalMix - The Complete Total Body Workout System - movie DVD cover picture
Great Results

I've had this DVD for 3 years now and still love it. I didn't do it for about 8 months and started to feel rather flabby around the butt and arms. So I pulled it out and started doing the exercises again. After only 1 week I noticed a difference. I do 1 x 10 minute arm, ab and buns session 4 mornings a week. This takes 30 minutes and the results are fantastic. I run regularly so get plenty of cardio excercise, I just wasn't as toned as I wanted to be in the butt and abs areas and of course running does nothing for the arms. This DVD combined with regular cardio work is the perfect combination.

Studio: Peter Pan Industries
Julie Upton
Quick Fix
Nancy Popp
Minna Lessig

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