Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Angela's Ashes
Productgroup: DVD
Angela's Ashes - movie DVD cover picture
Quintessential Cinema!

I've read enough of the bad reviews of those who read the book and watched the film. Not every book material is filmable and I'd say that from one who has read the book and watched the film, the film is a great triumph. Cinema is all about moving images and every frame (the cinematography is its crowning glory) in the movie tells a thousand stories - yes, even unspoken humor in the midst of all the misery, gloom and pathos - although that scene where the priest in the confessional had to have huge ears was a bit too much. There is a remarkable feeling of contentment after watching this movie. The book leaves a sense of longing in search of more and the movie fulfills it. This is what cinema should offer. It reminded me of De Sica's neo-realist films in the 40's and 50's. Parker has not disappointed me yet.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Alan Parker
Emily Watson
Robert Carlyle

DVD title: Xena Warrior Princess - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Xena Warrior Princess - Season One - movie DVD cover picture

This is the season that started it all. The quality of Season One isn't the best, but that's the camera's doing, not the DVD. The later seasons have better special features, but this season is still necessary if you are a big Xena fan!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Lucy Lawless

DVD title: The Pride of the Yankees
Productgroup: DVD
The Pride of the Yankees - movie DVD cover picture
A Baseball Fan's Dream

Too often overlooked when considering the best sports movies of all time, "Pride Of The Yankees" does a surprisingly accurate job in portraying Lou Gehrig. As a quiet loner, an outsider from most of his teammates, Gehrig was practically attached by the hip to his overbearing mother. Doing as good a job without going into too great of detail, the viewer will get a good sense of Lou Gehrig the man. The movie is thoroughly enjoyable with world class actors Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright playing Lou and Eleanor Gehrig. Though Eleanor Gehrig isn't portrayed quite as raucous a flapper as she really was, she does a teriffic job in allowing the viewer to see how close Gehrig and his wife were. Cooper does a great job in capturing Gehrig's goofiness and clumsiness and the appearance by Babe Ruth isn't bad either. Yankee fans and baseball fans alike will fall in love with this movie. It is a true classic. If you buy it, you surely will love it.

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Sam Wood
Gary Cooper
Teresa Wright

DVD title: Cirque du Soleil - Alegria: An Enchanting Fable
Productgroup: DVD
Cirque du Soleil - Alegria: An Enchanting Fable - movie DVD cover picture
Not what you might expect. That's why I liked it.

to reinstate other reviewers' comments, this is NOT a Cirque Du Soleil performance... it is a movie ~inspired~ by Alegria; however, i'm disappointed that this is the inspiration they came up with.
the story could have worked the magical/mythical angle of joining the circus as a child -- and the wonder this represents -- but instead the story is dreary... more like children being sold into the circus; there isn't anything etherial about the film -- it's just depressing (inspite of the clown getting the girl).
there is almost none of the performances to grace the movie (there are bonus materials which basically are extended sequences of two 'performances') and -- here's the part that i felt cheated of... the music rarely appeared. the great title song, Alegria, didn't turn up until the VERY end and even then it was abridged!
i LOVE Cirque Du Soleil (why i made the mistake of rushing out to buy it w/o looking at the reviews) and this film captures none of the whimsy, wit, finesse or atmosphere of the performances.
rent it and judge for yourself before buying.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Cirque Du Soleil
Rene Bazinet

DVD title: Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. - movie DVD cover picture
Superb Film

This movie was originally much different than it turned out to be, that is, as seen in this DVD version. The first version was too balanced, too even-handed, and audiences came away thinking that maybe Fred Leuchter was right. Director Morris then made dramatic alterations to cast Leuchter -- and by extension, his ideas -- in a bad light. Reading the other reviews of this DVD, you can see that Morris' smear attempt was only partially successful.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Errol Morris
Fred A. Leuchter Jr.

DVD title: Pretear - Vol. 1
Productgroup: DVD
Pretear - Vol. 1 - movie DVD cover picture
A favorite!

I love Pretear! I saw it subtitled and I have to say that ADV did an excellent dubbing job, giving Himeno even more personality that is very relatable. I love magical girl shows and this one is a little different, but it's a great story and I reccommend it to anyone who loves Sailor Moon or Kamikaze KAitou Jeanne.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Star Wars Trilogy (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars Trilogy (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Star Wars! Sc-fi masterpieces! VHS? Yes! DVD? No!

I, like every body else who has reviewed Star Wars believe that these movies are absolutely amazing and definitely THE greatest movies ever made! The trilogy blew me away and I find it hard for a week to pass and I haven't watched at least one of my Star Wars tapes. But wait a minute! VHS quality just isn't good enough! George we love you man, but you have to stop being greedy, give us raving Star Wars fans what we want and do it A.S.A.P.!....

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Harrison Ford

DVD title: The Shining
Productgroup: DVD
The Shining - movie DVD cover picture
Great acting and filmmaking

While it's definitely not Stanley Kubrick's best film, "The Shining" is a definitely good movie. However, it's not quite up there with the likes of "The Exorcist" or "Evil Dead." The story, based on Stephen King's novel (though King hates the movie), is about the Torrance family moving to the Overlook Hotel to tend to it during the winter. The father Jack slowly begins to lose his mind and is soon chasing after his wife and son, which eventually goes outside into one of the scariest, most haunting chase scenes ever. The movie gets a little boring at times, with shots going a little longer than needed, but the story is very thick and we care for the characters. Jack Nicholson steals the show, however, in a role that will almost have you rooting for him, the villain! While it doesn't really mess with your mind, it still delivers the goods and is occasionally very, very scary.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson
Shelley Duvall

DVD title: Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best of the Terminator series - non stop action.

The first time I noticed that there was a Terminator 3 movie coming out was when I was at the movie theater. There above me hung a huge Terminator 3 banner, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, half showing his human face, and the other half showing his exo-skeleton machine face. I was extremely excited, being a fan of the Terminator series. I went home, watched the trailer for the movie so many times, I lost count, and counted down the days till the movie would arrive on the big screen. My father even bought advance tickets to the movie to ease my thoughts that they may sell out, which would get in the way of me seeing the movie that I knew I would love! Right after that, when the movie launched onto theaters, there I was with popcorn, waiting in line for the movie of my dreams...
When I left the movie theater, I was impressed at the fact that the movie didnt bomb. Yes, I know that a lot of sequels to a great movie turn out to be crap, but that was proved wrong with Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens (sequel to Alien), and a couple other titles. Well, this is another example to prove that statement wrong as this movie held together until the end.
The story takes place with the time being now, present day. John Connor (Nick Stahl), the soon-to-be hero in the future, lives without any type of personal information. As in saying, he doesnt have a home, no computer, nothing is in his name, and basically he lives off of the streets. This is because he's still paranoid from the fact that the machines from the future sent a machine (the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick) to terminate him so he wouldnt be alive and would never exist in the future. Anyway, he's still afraid that there may actually be a chance there is a terminator being sent from the future for a second chance in wiping him out. And boy, was he right. Out steps the T-X (Kristanna Loken), who is more powerful than the T-1000, having the same things as the last machine, but even more such as a metal exoskeleton under the liquid metal (the T-1000 was only liquid metal), and being able to change forms and shapes into anything that it sees, just like the T-1000. The only protector that John Connor can depend on is the T-101 <or T-800> (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who was his guardian in the second movie. From then on, this movie takes you on a great action experience. From car chases on a huge crane truck, to a one on one showdown between the T-101 and the T-X, this movie will not displease you one least bit (that's my opinion, though)!
Also, there will be some twists in the movie, and I will not give out the twists, as its much more enjoyable not knowing while you're watching the movie... Enjoy!
Rated R for strong sci-fi violence and action, language and brief nudity.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Nick Stahl
Kristanna Loken

DVD title: Field of Dreams (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Field of Dreams (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Grand Slam

On the surface, Field Of Dreams, seems like it belongs as an epidsode of The Twilight Zone. The cynic in me takes it one step further, and says, "there's no way I can buy into this sentimental hockum". As I watched the film for the first time, all of those concerns melted away, leaving me with a sense of wonder...normally reserved for children
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is inspired by a voice he can't ignore that will take him on a journey that will change his life forever. Supported by his wife Annie (Amy Madigan), Ray begins his special quest by turning a portion of his cornfields into a baseball diamond. Along the way he meets reclusive activist Terence Mann (James Earl Jones), the mysterious 'Doc' Graham (Burt Lancaster) and even the legendary 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson (Ray Liotta).
Adapted from W.P. Kinsella's novel "Shoeless Joe", director Phil Alden Robinson, has created a fine tribute to the sport of Baseball, the fans who love the game, and more importantly, it's a metaphor about father's and sons everywhere. Aside from a handfull of films, I don't really think of Kevin Costner, as a good actor. As Ray though, he gives one of the best perfomances of his career, ideally capturing the sense of wonder I talked about earlier. Of course it doesn't hurt that James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster are there to back you up. Both men add so much to the film, giving a sense of realism and warmth, that may have seemed artificial had lesser actors been cast. As Joe Jackson, Liotta is very effective and I had forgotten just how good he can be in a non gangster/bad guy role. For more on the life of Joe Jackson and the World Series scandal that rocked the sport, be sure to watch Eight Men Out, another winner. Field Of Dreams also boasts one of composer James Hornor's best scores.
I don't really know why I never picked up the Collector's Edition of the DVD. But after watching the Anniversary Edition 2 disc set, all I can say is, I'm glad I waited. The remastered picture and 5.1 sound very clean transfers and work well on either my TV, or, my speaker enhanced PC. The audio commentary with Robinson and the film's director of photography John Lindley is very good. Both men are well spoken, never dull, and clearly respected the source material In keeping with the father/son themes I spoke of, I especially enjoyed "...Passing Along the Pastime" - memories of father and son baseball as recounted by the director, star, and major league baseball players. The newly discovered deleted scenes are mostly throwaway stuff that was wisely cut. I was surprised to learn while watching "The Diamond in the Husks", that the baseball set made for the film still exists, and attracts tourists every year. We also get to visit the Minnesota home town of Moonlight Doc Graham. "A Look Inside Field of Dreams is a new 90-minute documentary on the film and its lasting appeal. Also included is a 48 minute segment of the Bravo channel series "From Page to Screen" on the movie. The "Field of Dreams Roundtable", with Costner and former baseball players, including Bret Saberhagen talk about the state of the game and the film. Trivia buffs will really like the topper to the set, fun facts about America's stadiums.
Field Of Dreams is not your typical "sports" movie. Indeed, it's much more than that...Even though, I never had the chance as kid to pitch baseballs with my dad, the movie allows me to dream that I can...

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Kevin Costner
Ray Liotta
James Earl Jones

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