Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Quatermass and the Pit
Productgroup: DVD
Quatermass and the Pit - movie DVD cover picture
Quatermass does battle with five million year old Martians

This movie although not strictly my favourite of the Quatermasses, is still an excellent piece of Sci-Fi cinema, and it has an absolutely brilliant cast to back it up. Andrew Kier is excellent as our intrepid hero, and a million light years away from Donlevy's more abrupt version of Quatermass in the 2 previous films. Anchor Bay have excelled themselves with this quality presentation, there are trailers galore US & UK, which are quit similar, an episode of World of Hammer the Sci-Fi one! And streets ahead of this are the commentaries by writer Kneale and director Ward-Baker which are really informative. Although I prefer the BBC 3hr version, this is a piece of cinema gold and certainly worth repeated viewings.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Roy Ward Baker
James Donald
Andrew Keir

DVD title: Soap - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Soap - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Too Bad Comedy Shows on TV now aren't this good

This was a really excellent comedy tv series while it lasted...sure beats out what's on tv now. There are many funny characters chuck and bob, Jessica, and Burt. Life is sometimes stranger than reality so this isn't always too unrealistic at times.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Billy Crystal

DVD title: Amistad
Productgroup: DVD
Amistad - movie DVD cover picture
First of all...I loved it.

First of all...I loved it. This is another one of those emotional films by Steven Spielberg, but like the others, he does a great job with a difficult story line. This is not a feel good movie, nor does it make you feel like you want to go out there and change the world; what it does do, is make you sit back and reflect upon an incident in our nation's history that will disappoint you. The story line centers around the capture, detainment, transportation and murder of men, women and children who are being brought to the United States to be slaves in 1839. The Africans on the ship "Amistad" rebel, take control of the ship, and attempt to go back to Africa to be free. Their dream for freedom is short-lived as their ship is captured by an American Naval ship and brought to the United States. The Africans (led by Djimon Hounsou) are placed on trial, they are fighting for their freedom, but their lawyers and the politicians have turned it into a fight over the issue of slavery. The Africans win the first few rounds only to have their freedom appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) is recruited to defend them. I was saddened by the role that politics played in this freedom fight and how President Martin Van Buren fought not to do what was right, but fought instead to save his re-election. Earlier I said this film won't make you want to go out and change the world...I think it's because after seeing this film you realize that these political games have been played for the past 160 years by Presidents and you are just fed up. The sad part is to those who are the victims in these political games...don't consider it a game nor do they have a fair chance to win. Bottom line...go see the film and then send President Clinton an e-mail at and thank him for not playing political games while he has been in office.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Morgan Freeman
Anthony Hopkins
Djimon Hounsou
Matthew McConaughey

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

This film is truly, well, truthful. I love the fact that some parts are completely pointless. I mean, often is pointless. Life isn't like a "story". GUMMO IS SO LIKE LIFE THAT IT HAS TO BE BOTH COMICAL AND DISTURBING TO THE VIEWER. You know that there are people like this,everywhere, all around us. Deaf-mutes,the mentally ill, paint huffers, albinos, midgets, gays, rednecks, eccentric mothers and silly little kids....I just adore the way the kids are allowed to simply be kids in this film. Some people hate this movie, I think, because they are frightened to see reality paraded on a screen. I personally loved GUMMO and I'll watch it again. We need directors like Harmony Korine to give us films that depict such realistic scenes of the beauty and ugliness of everyday life. And some of the scenes are so, so funny! I laughed and I wretched! You can't walk away from GUMMO with the delusion that everyone is a boring, bourgeosie, middle-class, middle-brow yuppie. Because Korine throws it in our face that it's simply not true...lots of people are just unapologetically weird. And THAT, my friend, is entertainment.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Harmony Korine
Nick Sutton
Jacob Sewell

DVD title: Friday the 13th - From Crystal Lake to Manhattan (8 Movies)
Productgroup: DVD
Friday the 13th - From Crystal Lake to Manhattan (8 Movies) - movie DVD cover picture
Despite the minor disappointments, this is a good boxed-set!

I know Paramount had promised us that we'd get the uncut versions of the "Friday the 13th" series months before they released this boxed-set on DVD and considering the fact that these are only the original R-rated cuts, a fair amount of fans were left disappointed. However, this is NOT as bad a deal as many people are making it out to be. After all, we DO still get all eight movies on four disks (two movies per disk), plenty of blood and gore [that would even satisfy the most hardcore gore-hound], and of course the main feature: JASON HIMSELF!! Here's a[n] short overview for all the movies included here:


PART I (1980, Run time: 95 minutes, Rated R)

The one that started it all! In 1958, strange events begin to occur at the Camp Crystal Lake resort: a young boy drowns in the lake and two camp counselors are brutally murdered! 20 years later, the campsite is re-opened by a new generation of camp counselors. From there, we witness some of the most shocking (not to mention creative) death sequences ever caught on camera as they are all picked off one by one by an unseen killer!

OVERALL: *****
One of the BEST in the F13 series! It was also the movie that helped launch Kevin Bacon's movie career. (Who can ever forget the arrowhead through the throat scene?) The acting is also very well done, especially by actress Adrienne King, and the dark and disturbing atmosphere proves to be quite effective for a low-budget classic!

PART II (1981, Run time: 86 minutes, Rated R)

Once again, a new group of camp counselors experience a horrifying fate five years after the murders at Camp Crystal Lake. Relocated to a different campsite (but coincidently on the same lake), the carnage continues as a new killer lurks deep in the woods!

Not as good as the original, but still packs plenty of scares! Such stars as Amy Steel and Paul Holt give pretty convincing performances, though they cannot hold a candle next to Adrienne King. This is also the first F13 to introduce us to everyone's favorite hockey-masked psycho, Jason Voorhees!


PART III (1982, Run time: 96 minutes, Rated R)

Originally released as a 3-D feature in theaters, the DVD version [disappointingly] is only FLAT! Aside from this, the third installment is worth a look! Yet another set of camp counselors take a holiday at Camp Crystal Lake, but fall prey to the unstoppable killer known as Jason! This time, YOU are the victim!

In my opinion, this is where everything really started picking up. It's also the movie where Jason first receives his hockey mask! Despite some so-so acting (e.g. Dana Kimmell's performance) and cheesy special effects, it is still an eye-popping (literally) thrill-ride! The musical score is also SUPERB!

PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984, Run time: 90 minutes, Rated R)

After the events portrayed in Part 3, Jason's corpse is brought back to life and escapes from the town morgue! Elsewhere, a group of sex-crazed teens are on their way to the familiar Crystal Lake resort, but soon come face to face with the indestructible psycho! One by one, they meet some of the most shocking and twisted fate[s] yet! Now, it's up to whiz-kid, Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) a young boy with a talent for making monster masks and makeup. Has Jason finally met his match?

OVERALL: *****
Considered to be a favorite among fans, which is not hard to understand why. The acting is good, the atmosphere is nice and creepy, and the gore effects are some of the greatest ever used in a horror film! (Kudos to makeup artist, Tom Savini) In addition, some of the BEST death sequences are executed well in this one! (The face-crushing shower scene is guaranteed to make you cringe) Of course, as we all know, this is NOT the 'Final' Friday!

DISK 3: "Friday the 13th" Parts V & VI

Part V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985, Run time: 92 minutes, Rated R)

In this follow-up to `The Final Chapter, Tommy Jarvis (this time, played by John Shepherd) is all grown up and still traumatized by his experience as a child after brutally slaying the hockey masked murderer, Jason Voorhees! Although Jason is now believed to be dead, Tommy continues to be haunted by disturbing visions and fears that he is still alive and out there! It's seems to be his imagination at first, but it soon becomes reality! Jason's back, and this time he's after the troubled youths of an old country mental institute. But could this truly be the killer who everyone suspects, or is there something more to the story?

Many fans claim this one to be the weakest in the series, which can be understandable. The script is a little silly and uneven at times, the acting is so-so (as with Part 2 & 3), and it isn't as scary as its previous titles. Still, it is quite interesting and worth a look, despite the so-called "imposter" twist at the end.

PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986, Run time: 87 minutes, Rated R)

One dark and stormy night, Tommy Jarvis (now played by Thom Mathews) drives down the road with an old friend in order to discover for himself if the legendary killer, Jason Voorhees is really dead. But after digging up the rotting corpse, lightning strikes the ground and instantly Jason is revived from his grave and escapes the cemetery! Now, more victims fall prey to the machete-wielding maniac and returns to where all the mayhem began at Camp Crystal Lake! (Re-named "Camp Forest Green") It's a race against time, as Tommy must put Jason back in his place, or die trying!

While not exactly the best in the series, this is another favorite among fans. Compared to the previous installments, this is where things REALLY start to get campy! The acting is fine, the atmosphere is still scary, and the gore effects are still terrific! An improvement over Part 5!

DISK 4: "Friday the 13th" Parts VII & VIII

PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988, Run time: 88 minutes, Rated R)

When a young psychic girl named Tina Shepard (Lar Park-Lincoln) and her widowed mother move back to their old home (which is ironically near Camp Crystal Lake) she accidentally frees Jason from his watery grave with her gift and the body count continues. Finally, Tina and Jason duke it out in an electrifying array of special effects and explosive entertainment!

OVERALL: *****
Another great entry to the series! Personally, this is one of my favorites and it's worth a watch just for the `Carrie VS. Jason' Plot alone. `The New Blood' may not be your usual `Friday' film, but for those who are looking for something different this time around rather than the usual find-the-counselor-and-kill routine will NOT be disappointed! The acting is dull, and the script is cheesy, but Jason is much stronger than he used to be this time around! It's also the first `Friday' that stars Kane Hodder as everyone's favorite hockey-masked killer!

PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989, Run time: 100 minutes, Rated R)

The last `Friday' film included in this boxed-set finds Jason leaving good ol' Camp Crystal Lake and stalking a group of High School graduates who are on their way aboard a luxury cruise to Manhattan! Now, Jason is painting the town red (literally), as he chases the teens through the mean streets of New York, tearing apart anyone who stands in his way! Can the masked psycho be stopped for good this time?!

Not bad, though not too good either. The concept of Jason in the Big Apple is actually very interesting and fun to watch! As with Part 7, this one is also quite campy at times with the acting and script. However, there are even more awesome death scenes thrown in for your viewing pleasure! (The uppercut-and-decapitation-to-the-head scene is priceless!) Though not the last, it was followed by box-office flop, "Jason Goes to Hell" in 1993!

BONUS DISK (Not Rated)

Here we have a showcase of the special features for ALL eight of the movies:


Spanning through all eight films, with cast and crew interviews (including Betsy Palmer and gore-effects wizard, Tom Savini) behind the popular horror franchise!


A look behind the death sequences used in the movies with never-before-seen footage, drawings, and still photos that highlight the legacy of Jason Voorhees!


Interviews with cast members from all the different films who explain their death scenes and how they feel with being stalked by Mr. Voorhees on camera!


This is the feature many fans have been screaming for: Uncut footage from some of the films that reveal even more blood curdling shock with Jason dispatching his victims (such as a longer death scene from Part I with Kevin Bacon) and rare, alternative scenes! This should appeal to ANY `Friday' fan!


Many different props and collectibles from the films set on display at a convention for the fans.


Includes ALL of the theatrical trailers for Parts I-VIII!

And there you have it!

Indeed, this is a very good collection from the classic 80s slasher genre! Yes, it IS a bit of a letdown that we did not receive the uncut versions, but it's actually quite understandable, considering the fact that the deleted scenes' quality (seen in the `Cutting Room' feature) are kind of poor, while some of the other movies' footage is probably missing as well, or cannot be restored at all! Still, you gotta give credit where credit is due, and I say that the people at Paramount tried their best to bring us this Ultimate DVD set! With that in mind, these movies are fun and original and are worth watching again and again by all horror fans, young and old!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Kane Hodder

DVD title: Hollow Man (Superbit Deluxe Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Hollow Man (Superbit Deluxe Collection) - movie DVD cover picture

the script is well written enough to be entertaining and the direction and performances are good enough to hold your attention and even give you a few thrills .the special effects are probably the best I've seen since The Matrix and Kevin Bacon gives his best performance since Stir Of Echoes

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Kevin Bacon

DVD title: Bend It Like Beckham (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Bend It Like Beckham (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Well worth the drive

I saw this movie for the first time on a British Airways 747 on my way home from Heathrow to Dulles. I was completely bored, and cramped, in a tiny coach seat in the middle of the plane, and was quite dissappointed to notice Lord of the Rings was not on the lineup (in summer '02) as it had been on my way in, six weeks earlier. Disheartened, I flipped channels and picked the only comedy that wasn't a children's flick. This happened to be Bend it Like Beckham, which I new nothing about, but immediantly the characters drew me in. I was in to the film from the beginning, though I knew nothing about Indians in London, and had a limited understanding of soccer. Nevertheless I was fascinated by the terrific acting, and an enjoyable and not always predictable plot. I've always enjoyed film depictions of females making their way in any sport, and the fact that the main character, Jess, is Indian adds terrific flavor and purpose to the film. Nearly a year after watching the movie three times strait on the plane ride home, I went out of my way to drive to a city where it was playing, and it was well worth it once more. I still laughed most the way through, and never regretted the effort I had put into driving to see it again. I love to watch international films, because sometimes the regular fare can get a little predictable. If you like to laugh, and are looking for a completely new way of telling and looking at a story you may think you have heard before, this is for you. I could even believe the way things happened, it didn't seem as far-fetched or contrived as some movies of similar turn often do. I'm sure I will add it to my DVD case as soon as it is out. Don't miss it.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Parminder Nagra
Keira Knightley
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

DVD title: The Butterfly Effect (Infinifilm Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Butterfly Effect (Infinifilm Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

My son and I rented this movie and first watched the theatrical release and we loved it -to the point at 3:00am we started watching certain parts with the commentary and the deleted scenes. The alternate ending was beautiful and my 14 year old son and I debated which ending was better and the always interesting time line. We are getting ready to watch the directors cut to see if a new mystery pops up. No matter what version or ending you prefer it really gets you thinking about your life! Movie Lovers- Kim & Conrad

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Ashton Kutcher
Melora Walters
Amy Smart

DVD title: A Civil Action
Productgroup: DVD
A Civil Action - movie DVD cover picture
A Very Good Drama Film , But!?

"A Civil Action" is based on a true legal case; two corporations poisoned the water supply of a town in Massachusetts with carcinogens, for years, 'til they were finally taken to court in 1981, by the families of eight child leukemia victims, who sued them.
I have to say up front that I have not, as yet, read the book, so I have no idea how faithful the screen adaptation is to the characters or events portrayed. Nor do I have any legal training, so I cannot argue procedural points and inaccuracies etc, so I will be reviewing the film for what it is, a film I enjoyed enormously in the cinema when it was first released, then bought on DVD.
For me, "A Civil Action" is about the sins, and ultimate redemption, of an amoral, sleaze-bag, ambulance chasing, personal injury lawyer named Jan Schlichtmann, played to perfection by John Travolta. His sins are many, but chief amongst them are, greed - DUH, he's a LAWYER! - avarice, and the one that brings about his ultimate downfall, pride.
We are introduced to the way Mr Schlichtmann operates in a blackly funny prologue. This shows said sleaze-bag lawyer pushing one of his wheelchair bound clients into court, arranging his pillows, getting him a drink, wiping away the resultant drips and drools. All the while jury members desperately try to choke back their tears, and the defending lawyers in the medical malpractice case equally desperately try to settle before the trial proper begins by writing increasingly large numbers on a pad for Schlichtmann to approve. While this is all going on Mr Schlichtmann gives a wonderfully deadpan voiceover, explaining how much you can expect to receive for various types of injury; loss of limb, blindness, death etc. Next we see our hero striding purposefully down the street, passing a traffic accident, handing his card to both parties, and moving on without hardly breaking step!
But the film is not a one-man-show. It has an excellent core cast comprising Tony Shalhoub and William H Macey as Schlichtmann's partners, Kathleen Quinlan and a pre "Sopranos" James Gandolfini as grieving parents. Dan Hedaya as the owner of the plant at the center of the story, John Lithgow as the trial judge, and last, but definitely NOT least, Robert Duval, the main defending lawyer, and Schlichtmann's nemesis, Jerome Facher.
After the opening prologue, we see that Schlichtmann's practice has inherited the "poisoning" case, but can do nothing with it because they can't find anyone to sue! Schlichtmann decides that he will personally visit the defendants and tell them that - sorry! - there's nothing to be done. While there he discovers that there is indeed someone to sue, the land and plant are owned by two of America's major corporations... these people, and his practice, are sitting on, as he describes it, "a gold mine!" The case continues, overwhelming evidence is gathered, Schlichtmann and his team talk about hundreds of millions of $'s in compensation for the aggrieved families of Woburn, Massachusetts... with a healthy percentage going to the practice itself of course! Unfortunately Schlichtmann's fatal weakness is his pride; the defendants are willing to settle out of court, but Schlichtmann is determined to take the case to trial and get the families, not only their money, but also an apology from all those concerned.
There is a beautiful scene where Facher and Schlichtmann are out in a corridor awaiting a jury's decision. Facher asks Schlichtmann what he hopes will happen, Schlichtmann replies that he hopes the jury will see the "truth," after sitting through the endless procedural BS'ing and maneuvering that has made up the case. Facher is aghast, and tells Schlichtmann that he should know that, "...a courtroom isn't a place to look for the truth." This certainly supports my own rather cynical view that there is "Justice," and there is the "Law." Unfortunately, they are rarely one and the same.
The blurb on the jacket claims that "A Civil Action" is, "The best legal thriller ever." I personally believe this quote does the film a major disservice; by calling it a "thriller" it gives the audience the idea that this is going to be something formulaic and Hollywood, with the requisite "Hollywood" ending, it's not. It's based on true events and shows the legal system here in the USA stripped bare, it shows the impartial brutality of the adversarial system, and how one mans flaws can be amplified by that system, 'til they consume not only him, but all those around him.
I think this is an excellent film, as are the performances of all concerned. But be warned, this is NOT a "feel good" movie, unlike "Erin Brockovich," with which it shares many surface similarities, and it is this that probably explains why it pretty much bombed here in the US, but was a big hit in the UK. There is a bitter-sweet ending, given to us in a coda which shows the ultimate price Mr Schlichtmann paid for his involvement in the case, and what he is doing now. And yes, for those of us out there who ever doubted it, "A Civil Action," the film credited with re-launching ol' swivel hips' career, proves, once and for all, that John Travolta CAN act!

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: Steven Zaillian
John Travolta
Robert Duvall
Kathleen Quinlan

DVD title: Everyone Says I Love You
Productgroup: DVD
Everyone Says I Love You - movie DVD cover picture
Sublime, delightful, utterly charming

Who woulda thought the Woodman could do something like this? Even as recently as 1996,when this film came out, Woody still had major chops, as witnessed by this perfect musical. This is a sublime blend of whimsy, romance, and wit. It's hard not to say that when you see a roomful of ghosts singing and rhumbaing to "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think"), or when a hospital staff and crippled patients sing and dance about love, marriage, and parenthood.
It's also touching to see Tim Roth as a tough escaped convict sing a love song to Drew Barrymore; the juxtaposition of these two opposites brings out the feeling much more than a singing citizen ever could have. And Woody and Goldie's flight-filled romantic rendition of "I'm Through With Love" on the banks of the Seine is utterly charming, making the heart float as lightly as Goldie does during her dancing.
Woody evokes Groucho Marx in an ensemble dance number about Captain Spalding (sung in French, no less!), and individually, when talking to Goldie, complete with glasses, eyebrows, and mustache--and he does a more than passing fair version of Mr. Marx himself.
One subplot about a girl in her twenties going through six or seven boyfriends in the course of the film is a hoot, and there's even a tinge of political satire as well--in the shape of a Young Republican who undergoes a magical transformation.
This will make you smile all the way through. If only Woody had the panache now that he showed so well in this film. This one's superb Woody Allen.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Goldie Hawn
Julia Roberts
Edward Norton

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