Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Bell, Book and Candle
Productgroup: DVD
Bell, Book and Candle - movie DVD cover picture
Quirky Romance At Its Best!!!


Adapted from the stage comedy of the same name, Bell Book and Candle stars Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, fresh from their successful teaming in Hitchcock's Vertigo. Novak plays Gillian Holroyd, a genuine, bonafide witch who runs a south seas antiquities shop. Falling in love with her neighbor, publisher Sheperd Henderson (Stewart), Gillian casts a spell on him. With help from her aunt (Elsa Lanchester), she obliges him to dump his fiancee, and ex college rival, and rush to her side. All of this goes against the grain of Gillian's Endora-like mentor Mrs. DePass (Hermione Gingold), who does her best to counterract the love spell. Meanwhile, Gillian's wacky warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) courts disaster by coauthoring a book on black magic with Sidney Redlitch (Ernie Kovacs). Legend has it that a witch can neither cry or fall in love. If she falls in love, she will lose her powers....can you guess what happens?
Rumor has it that this is the inspiration for the televisions series Bewitched. There are several striking, undeniable similarities. This film was released in 1958, and I find it just as enjoyable today as I'm sure it was then. Memorable performances by Novak as the icy-cool Gillian and Stewart in his last "romantic leading man" role drive the film. Jack Lemmon and Elsa Lanchester add a lot of quirky flavor as Gillian's spell casting family. Fast pacing, clever writing, great costumes and fabulous eye-popping technicolor make this a film worth watching over and over. It's sure to cast a spell on you too.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Richard Quine
Actors:
James Stewart
Kim Novak




DVD title: Son Volt - Live from Austin, TX
Productgroup: DVD
Son Volt - Live from Austin, TX - movie DVD cover picture
Son Volt LIVE...WOW!!


I bought the DVD last night, popped it in the machine
and was blown away. I've never even seem a glimpse
of a Son Volt performance and I was just floored.
These guys were a GREAT band!!

Studio: Red Distribution, In



DVD title: The Counterfeit Traitor
Productgroup: DVD
The Counterfeit Traitor - movie DVD cover picture
Smart, tight, suspense - fine cast


This movie entertained, taught, and inspired questions from my children. I recommend it as a teaching tool; it features a fine cast of actors and superb screenwriting. Carefully selected scenes of violence avoided the overload of gore. The scenes left an emotional impact, not a visual glorification. Innuendo of sex replaces the 'Buck Nekkid.'
My children watched watched this with me. Sadly, the children learn not much about the mass murder campaign against the Jewish people. Holocaust denial is vogue yet again.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: George Seaton
Actors:
William Holden
Lilli Palmer




DVD title: Grave of the Fireflies
Productgroup: DVD
Grave of the Fireflies - movie DVD cover picture
Moments like jewels...


"Grave of the Fireflies" is simply one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen, anime or otherwise. It is not only the tragedy of the ending that is powerful (altho I admittedly spent the last 30 minutes blubbering uncontrollably) but the little happy moments as remembered by the dead narrator Seita, that shine with an honesty & humanity rarely seen in film.
There simply isn't a cliche in this movie. Seita & his sister Setsuko are not your typical cute film kids; the world they inhabit was once a very real one albeit now long gone. The little moments are what shine especially, such as when Seita tries to pick out the melody to a nursery rhyme on his Aunt's organ to distract Setsuko from hunger, or when they go to the beach & Seita plays a chase game thru the waves with his sister to the wonderment of onlooking salt workers. Setsuko gets cranky, cries for her mother, sings tunelessly when happy & generally acts like any 5 year-old would in a similar situation. As the story progresses, & she becomes weaker from malnutrition, there is no sugar coating; she complains of diarrhea, frets & eventually becomes delusional. It was a typically small gesture that set off my tears towards the end: after Seita takes Setsuko to the doctor who can do nothing except tell him to feed her, he is carrying her down the road. An ice cart stops, the driver saws off a chunk of ice, & walks into a house to deliver it. Seita kneels with Setsuko in his arms, scoops some ice chips from the dirt & lovingly places them in Setsuko's mouth. The unbearable humanity of this gesture broke my resolve not to cry, & if you don't have tears streaming down your face by then, you probably aren't human.
Don't get "Grave of the Fireflies" because it's animated, or because you're a big Japanimation fan. Get it to be transported to Japan in 1944 & see WWII from the other side. In this period of patriotic, "Greatest Generation" propaganda, it's something every U.S. citizen should do.

Studio: Cpm/Us Manga Corps
Director: Isao Takahata
Actors:
Tsutomu Tatsumi
Ayano Shiraishi
Akemi Yamaguchi




DVD title: Talk to Her (Hable con Ella)
Productgroup: DVD
Talk to Her (Hable con Ella) - movie DVD cover picture
Almodvar Matures


I am a big fan of Almodvar and all his movies. He is one of the very few directors in film history that creates movies that are hugely artistic and commercialy successful. He managed to create a style of his own, visually and conceptually. This movie is a lot different from all his earlier movies. You can recognize his camera style, the acting, the music, and the light comedy but you will not see the strong melodrama and the camp elemets. This movie is Almodvar mixed with a bit of Bergman. This is a start of a new phase in his directing career and I am looking forward to see what he is going to do next..

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Actors:
Javier Cámara
Darío Grandinetti
Rosario Flores




DVD title: Blade II (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Blade II (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Blade II- Bloody Well Done


This is without a dought, the best action movie I have ever seen. Blade 2 starts off as Blade (Snipes) giving you a quick review about he became Blade. Very intersting. Then it has him running in a tunnel finding his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) in a tube in which the vampires have been torturing him. You dont see that. Then he brings him home. And he is talking to him and his pal Scudsy. Then as their talking the Bloodpack people come in soooo quietly that you can not hear their footstep at all. Now here comes the action. Blade is doing all this Martial arts action and is donig a GREAT job at it too! Then as he is going to kill the last person of the Bloodpack, he says we have a proposition for you. Blade listens. He says there is a SUPER VAMPIRE out on the lose. Blade is like " So let me get this strait. " You want me to kill this vampire for you"? And from there it is action, suspense and some tense moments. Much better then the first one. Blade 2 is rated "R" for Strong Persuasive violenve, language, some drug use and language. This movie has blood in it. That is a defenitly. But I think Blade 2 is better with all the blood. It makes it more exciting. It really dosent have any gore, but there are 2 parts that could make you a little grossed out. Both of them are a back reveiling a guys spine (not that bad) and a person opening up a super vampires chest. There arent that bad, but they made me a little grossed out. But then I liked it. On my scale from 0-10 Blade 2 is a Pulse Pounding, Action Packed 10! Great movie. Have fun!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Actors:
Wesley Snipes
Kris Kristofferson




DVD title: Wallace & Gromit: The First Three Adventures (1990-1995)
Productgroup: DVD
Wallace & Gromit: The First Three Adventures (1990-1995) - movie DVD cover picture
cracking good video


i do not always watch animation features but this one created by nick park was recommended to me by a friend. after watching all three on video, i was happy to hear that a dvd collection would come out with all three features.
the stories are lighthearted yet humorous. the people responsible for "wallace and grommit" have a great deal of patience and obviously love what they do. it shows in the detail and quality of the animation.
upon receiving this dvd, i was amazed to find the additional "making of" features and commentary included with the disc. it is informative to see how the features were conceived and finally produced. there are some funny moments when you watch the early sketches and animations of nick park way before wallace and grommit were ever conceived.
upon finishing this dvd, i recommend this to those who haven't already been introduced to these wonderful characters or would like to find a nice gift for those young-at-heart or admirers of animation. i look forward to seeing this studio's other works available now and in the future.

Studio: Audrey L Ward
Director: Nick Park



DVD title: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Productgroup: DVD
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - movie DVD cover picture
DTS is incredible!


Anyone that thinks it's hard to distinguish between Dolby Digital and DTS is in need of a hearing check and this DVD proves it! I've owned and enjoyed the previous DD release but it never came close in terms of accuracy and punch that the DTS edition provides. If you have the right equipment, compare the beginning battle scene when a terminator is walking into the picture from the right, blasting away at everything in sight and suddenly turns to fire at the audience. It's good with DD but you'll want to duck and avoid serious head trauma with the DTS version! And that's just one example of countless kidney-jarring scenes. I personally can't wait until more Sci-fi films are released in DTS! Incredible!

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: James Cameron
Actors:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton




DVD title: The West Wing - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The West Wing - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best news since Sports Night DVD!


Finally, West Wing fans in US can stop envying their European friends! This is one purchase no one will regret.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Martin Sheen



DVD title: Secret Agent AKA Danger Man, Set 1
Productgroup: DVD
Secret Agent AKA Danger Man, Set 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Half James Bond; Half "The Prisoner"; All Cool


Patrick McGoohan stars as British agent John Drake in this little-known but wonderful series from English TV. The show initially ran in the early 1960s, and can really be seen as a precursor to "The Prisoner," with some fans insisting that Drake actually is Number Six from the later series. I have been a fan of "The Prisoner" for years, but have only recently seen this earlier series, and honestly it took me a couple of episodes to really warm to it. Now that I have watched it, though, I am delighted to have it in my collection.

The stories are imaginative, if a bit more predictable than "The Prisoner," are extremely well acted, and are thoroughly absorbing. I have always found McGoohan to be a fascinating and convincing actor, and here he certainly does not disappoint. As Drake I believe that he is infinitely more suave than any James Bond from the big screen, appearing clever, inventive, and supremely in control.

Though the series is in black and white, the print and sound are both excellent. (The shows are so engrossing as to forget any technical shortcomings, anyway.) This is the height of cold war espionage adventure, and anyone who loves that era, complex drama, or "The Prisoner" will love this as well. I highly recommend this DVD set and series.


Studio: A & E Entertainment



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