Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Simple Life 2
Productgroup: DVD
The Simple Life 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Quite The Groovy Little TV Show!

This is a fun lenient, blithe and cheery TV series. Sexy, well made, a good time for all. The happy-go-luckies Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are a delight to watch as the series' hostess with the mostest.

The locations, sets, storylines, production values, writing, directing, acting, all add up to a sexy, sensual television experience. The only quibble is I think they need to go overboard on the nudity. There's plenty now, but hey, always room for more, right?


Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Paris Hilton
Nicole Richie

DVD title: We Were Soldiers
Productgroup: DVD
We Were Soldiers - movie DVD cover picture
Been there & Done That

Envision, if you will, a landing zone about the size of a football field. Think of Grass & Brush so thick when you go prone your world becomes the 12 inches you can see. This is the real thing!!
Lived and served with the survivors of this and the related battles at Ira Drang. Col Moore is the "Man" and the 'Troopers" All American.
Missed comments and inclusion of "Hard Core" Hero Rick Rescola who ended up with the Bugle and saved lives at Ira Drang and in New York on 9-11-01.
Hollywood note: "Bullets when they hit go in with little if any marks but coming out leave horrible wounds. When you see the film and the erupting impact of bullets just realize they may not be hitting from the front and you will feel accruacy in the film.
If you haven't seen this film, get the book, Read the book and taste the truth, then watch the film knowing it is as true as Hollywood can make it yet does not tell it all.
Garry Owen!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Randall Wallace
Mel Gibson

DVD title: The X-Files - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The X-Files - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
My "X"-dream come true....

When I got a DVD player for Christmas in 1998, the stream ofvideotapes to my house virtually stopped coming in (except blank onesfor videotaping). I was thinking early on how it would be great if they released my favorite TV show (next to "Friends") on DVD: "THE X-FILES"! I think Fox already started releasing that horrid show "Ally McBeal" on videotape format? Well, anyway, the same company made a good decision to release the first season on DVD. I have to admit -- I've seen only a few of the first season shows since I watched some of the repeats and videotapes at random houses. With every 1st season episode on DVD, with no worries of "tape-wear" or commercials, and including interviews, trailers, great sound, etc. etc. make for a great viewing experience! . . . I hope they continue this trend for seasons 2 (and eventually) thru 7 -- maybe beyond. If you are a fan, preorder now because it's only another week away!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
David Duchovny

DVD title: Evolution Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Evolution Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
It's actually INTERESTING!

I salute PBS and its Boston affiliate WGBH for producing this very good introduction to evolution; without question it is the finest television program on evolution yet produced. Unfortunately it isn't perfect since it doesn't quite describe much of the substance of evolution and of Darwin's (and Alfred Russel Wallace's) Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection. Nor does it go into much depth - aside from the fossil evidence - in noting the great diversity of evidence from all of biology which indicates that evolution is not only a fact, but is truly one of the fundamental principles of science, on par with either gravity or the speed of light. Actor Liam Neeson does a splendid job narrating all nine hours of this miniseries.
The opening segment, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" is both a splendid docudrama on Darwin's discovery of Natural Selection and general overview of contemporary scientific thought on evolution. I was quite impressed with the attention given to famous scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould, and especially to Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller, who notes how he sees no conflict between his devout Roman Catholic Christianity and his research in evolutionary biology (For the record I must admit my bias since I assisted Professor Miller in his very first debate against a scientific creationist while a Brown University undergraduate, yet I am quite pleased that he remains one of the most eloquent advocates of both evolution and sound scientific high school and college education in the United States.).
The next two hours, "Great Transformations" and "Extinction!" are devoted to the fossil record's evidence for evolution. In the first hour there is an excellent segment covering paleontologist Philip Gingerich's important recent discoveries demonstrating the relatively rapid evolution of whales from land mammals distantly related to modern ungulates. The second hour discusses the role of extinction as an important agent of evolution, noting the significance of great mass extinctions in altering the earth's biota not once, but at least five times over the past half billion years of Earth's history.
Episodes 5 and 6, "The Evolutionary Arms Race" and "Why Sex?" discuss two of the most important factors responsible for evolution; coevolution and sexual reproduction. Unfortunately the "Evolutionary Arms Race" episode may be the weakest in the series, since it spends more time exploring important - though still relevant - medical issues, and not explaining how coevolution has been an important factor responsible for evolution (For example, the Red Queen Hypothesis is mentioned without stating its relevance to understanding coevolution.). Still it makes the valid point that advancements in medical research may be more likely from understanding the evolutionary nature of those organisms and genes responsible for human diseases.
The final two programs, "The Mind's Big Bang" and "What About God?" cover human evolution and the nature of science versus religion. In the latter episode I was quite impressed with the extended segment featuring part of a lecture given by evangelical Christian and professional paleontologist Keith Miller (no relation to Kenneth R. Miller) in which Miller states he sees no conflict between his religious beliefs and his acceptance of evolution as scientific fact. However, this episode could have spent more time dismissing "scientific" creationism, especially "Intelligent Design", as examples of outmoded, junk science. Instead, it tries too hard to accomodate the religious views of fundamentalist Christians who find evolution objectionable, without emphasizing evolution's scientific veracity.

Studio: Wgbh Pubns

DVD title: The Thin Red Line - DTS
Productgroup: DVD
The Thin Red Line - DTS - movie DVD cover picture
philosophical movie with war laying in background

About an hour of fluff and fill and 30 minutes of the WW2 action that was advertised.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Terrence Malick
Sean Penn
James Caviezel
Nick Nolte

DVD title: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
eteRNaL suNshIne oF The SPOtlesS MinD

3 words to the creators of this movie:
==== love is the only answer ====

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey
Kate Winslet
Tom Wilkinson

DVD title: UHF
Productgroup: DVD
UHF - movie DVD cover picture
Remaster for DVD!

Or failing that, just re-releasing on video would be good... Come on - whoever has the rights to this movie (you know who you are) make yourself some money and us happy at the same time. You're depriving us all of purchasing it, forcing us to watch inferior, pirated copies! Oh yeah, a review: I can honestly say that this is the greatest movie ever made (with Conan the Librarian coming a close second).

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Jay Levey
Weird Al Yankovic

DVD title: Baby Dolittle - Neighborhood Animals
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Dolittle - Neighborhood Animals - movie DVD cover picture
excellent videos for children

Our son has been watching Baby Einstein videos since he was about 3 months old. He has always been especially interested in the Neighborhood Animals DVD. It is well organized and easy to discuss the animals with him as he watches it. He is 8 months old now and still loves it. I highly recommend it!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Julie Aigner-Clark

DVD title: The Quick and the Dead
Productgroup: DVD
The Quick and the Dead - movie DVD cover picture

I'm glad that there are many positive reviews on this movie, for despite its several flaws (like numerous annoying shots of the main characters' eyes staring intently at each other to enhance suspense, Ms Stone's at times blank face when it should reflect stronger emotions, some characters so bad and revolting that they make you chuckle), I've seen it for the second time and it made me grab my chair in childish excitement.
The plot is stark simple (see above), as well as the reasons driving the main characters to participate in the murderous contest: Ms Stone - to avenge her father, the Kid (L d Caprio) - to win his father's respect, Herod (J Hackman) - to keep townsfolk submissive and to teach his best and repented "pupil" Cort (R Crow) a lesson of abeyance, others - for money (but they don`t matter).
True, leading actors carry out the plot on their steady shoulders: * R. Crow emanates sexual charisma and suppressed prowess (long before world wide fame as macho Maximus the Gladiator) even if he spends all the movie shackled and beaten. His and Stone's sex scene is short, but oh-so-steamy! *L de Caprio is well into the shape of boyish and outside haughty/inside weak-trying-to-prove-he's-better-than-hi s-father,long before downpour of post-Titanic fame. * J Hackman is the perfect scoundrel,ageing scavenger, full stop. As to * Sh Stone, she remains one of the sassiest and talented actresses for me (praise her, fore she spends 2/3 of the movie rather disheveled), despite several movie flops she's participated in. She's carried her role well, with mixed feelings of despair, indifference and revulsion (at least I can't imagine any other actress in this role).
The end is unexpected and is not a usual annoying happy-end. What more do you need? Watch and enjoy and don't compare this movie with any earlier masterpieces. Beside Darkman (1990 w. L Niesen) it may count S Raimi's best movie so far.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Sam Raimi
Sharon Stone
Gene Hackman

DVD title: Lawman
Productgroup: DVD
Lawman - movie DVD cover picture
Eastwood has Unforgiven, Lancaster has Lawman

As the unbowed and unquestionable lawman, you see how Lancaster went about making his movies: totally in charge and woe to anyone who got in his way. Maybe those cowboys he takes down one by one really symbolize directors who had run afoul of him. This film, like Eastwood's Unforgiven, is made full in the knowledge that it may be the Star's last go around in a familiar genre. And it does not disappoint.
It is almost an inverse tale of the later Unforgiven from the start in a scene of debauched cowpokes running a bit too wild in town. All the impending mayhem is launched from this initial act and cannot be stopped. But this is the lawman's side of the story, even though he too is a killer. Lancaster is the "official" hired gun trying to set things back to right, but his hunted men refuse for various reasons to be held accountable. This is not a good guy/bad guy conflict as we soon see with the terrific performance by Lee J. Cobb as the head rancher who doesn't like to be pushed around. It is also one of the first times I saw Richard Jordan and he gives a real human touch to the oft stereotypical young gunfighter role. Throw in Robert Duvall, Albert Salmi, and a half-dozen other good character actors and you've got an amazing depth of talent in a relatively little known film. But it is Burt Lancaster who is in charge here and he was never more like a prowling leopard with his trademark graceful moves and quick, efficient violence. There is some discussion about whether Lancaster should have shot the last man, but I think it was the ultimate statement of his character: weary of the miscreants he deals with, he is no longer the lawman, but an avenging angel. He is committing to action what could be remembered as Lancaster's signature catchphrase, "See you in Hell!"
The ending may leave you wanting or satisfied, but it is consistent for a man who has alienated all around him. He has done his job and is damned for it. Lawman, like the title, is quintessential Western lore, exploring an area that had been dealt with before, but never better. No Western Movie collection is complete without it.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Michael Winner
Burt Lancaster
Robert Ryan

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