Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Passion of the Christ (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Quite an Experience

The reaction of the moviegoers at the theater when I saw it was, I'm told, typical of many others. Some scattered weeping during the most painful moments and stunned silence at the end of the film by the entire audience.
The idea of actors speaking Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin is brilliant. It increases the illusion of actually being there.
(Remember when all WW2 films had Germans and Japanese speaking English?)
The fact that the leading actors are good but unknown also adds to the illusion of reality, as does the lack of blondness among Jesus and the apostles.
(By way of contrast, one of John Wayne's most embarassing moments was playing the Centurion drawling out the line: 'Truly this was. . .the Son. . . of God' in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" , with Max (I was a Swedish Jesus) Von Sydow as Christ.
Gibson takes you back in a time capsule. The cinematography is superb.
The film is disturbing in that it's a traditional passion play and as such pulls no punches when it comes to the 'Stations of The Cross'--it's blood and gore. As well it should be. To quote Roman Polansky, 'If violence does not upset the audience, then it's merely obscene.'
This one REALLY upsets.
Since we've all heard over and over Jesus was crucified, we seem to have gotten blase with repetition. Much like a surgeon at the sight of blood. Gibson goes out of his way to jolt the audience out of complacency.
The theme, as in all passion plays, is 'Look , this is how much God loved you, that He would suffer, etc. etc.'
Criticisms that the characters are not fleshed out enough are off base. This is 'The Passion' i.e; the last hours of the willing sacrifice of Jesus. It's got to be compact--or to get techniqual, conform to the Aristotelean unity of time. There are flashbacks thrown in, but to keep the focus on the theme you can't have Jesus patting children on the head or healing the sick for half the movie, it wouldn't work.
The film is NOT anti-semitic ( Unless you define anti-semitism as a breakaway Jewish sect, which if true, would invalidate the tenets of mainstream Judaism. i.e; Christianity ) Like Rabbi Lapin I am unsure as to be appalled or merely amused at the attacks against this film by some of the leaders of the Jewish community before the film even came out.
...>No, folks, "The Passion" is not Anti-Semitic, it's Anti-Hollywood.
It took 15 years for a star of Mel Gibson's clout to find a distributor! The others just didn't think it would make any money. After all there are no teenage leads, no hit men as protagonists, no gratuitous nudity for those of us who can't get any, and worst of all it's 'religious'-- which Hollywood equates with 'cornball' and box office death.
It would seem that the power brokers in town are way out of touch with the public. And this, boys and girls is the real controversy.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Mel Gibson
James Caviezel
Monica Bellucci

DVD title: North Dallas Forty
Productgroup: DVD
North Dallas Forty - movie DVD cover picture
A Film About Football, NOT A Football Film

I remember this coming out when I was a kid. I also remember I wasn't allowed to see it other than in its butchered form on Network Television. Now I know why.

This is a fantastic film. One thing that struck me is that for a football film, there is very little actual football in it. Which is the reason for the title of my review. This film is ABOUT football... not a football film. It's about the players in a time when the league was still young and, I dare say, corrupted by the use of pain killers and alochol. It was the hey dey of the Cowboys, the Raiders and the Steelers and football players were treated like Rock Stars.

It's the film "Any Given Sunday" wanted to be. But failed miserably at even being a cheap imitation.

If you loved 1970's films and 1970's football, this film is a must see.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Nick Nolte
Charles Durning

DVD title: Dancin' in the Street: Detroit's Greatest Legends Live on Stage
Productgroup: DVD
Dancin' in the Street: Detroit's Greatest Legends Live on Stage - movie DVD cover picture
Dancing in The Street

The performance by David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks is extroadinary. Eddie has lost some of his voice by this age but David Ruffin may just be the best Motown ever produced. At this age he demonstrates vocal ability that even Marvin or Michael never had. I only wish more concert video of these two were available. It is sad that todays musicians aren't even on the same scale of these two. I would have pruchased the DVD for twice the price.

Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD title: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Productgroup: DVD
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - movie DVD cover picture
Exceptional, completely and utterly amazing

A fun and free story about a wrighter and his so called loyer / alter ego/ more likely halicination... who venture to las vegas to work on a story... many other odd things happen during this process... you may remember this man from the sunday comics... he has spent a lot of time there wearing a pith helmet... By my observation this is no a movie to be viewd once an than disgarded but instead... to watched than to be thought deeply about.... than definatly to be watched again..... I give it four smiles.... screw them damnd stars!!!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Terry Gilliam
Johnny Depp
Benicio Del Toro

DVD title: Amelie
Productgroup: DVD
Amelie - movie DVD cover picture
Quirky, fun, and charming

I couldn't get into 'Amelie'. Many of the characters were unrealistic and ridiculous. There were some cute and funny moments, but the story doesn't go anwhere. It's just a lot of random things happenning here and there.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Audrey Tautou
Mathieu Kassovitz

DVD title: Heartworn Highways
Productgroup: DVD
Heartworn Highways - movie DVD cover picture
An excellent film with incredible performances

This film is wonderful, particularly Townes Van Zandt's moving performance of his first song, "Waitin' Round to Die".

Studio: Navarre Corporation/
Director: James Szalapski

DVD title: Secondhand Lions (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Secondhand Lions (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Colorful Characters Having Fun

A delightful cast of characters - including Haley Joel Osment, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and an animatronic lioness. The story telling within the story adds texture to the movie. And keep an eye open for the greedy visiting relatives - the wife contorts her features into some truly nasty (and funny) expressions.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Tim McCanlies
Michael Caine
Robert Duvall
Haley Joel Osment

DVD title: A Clockwork Orange
Productgroup: DVD
A Clockwork Orange - movie DVD cover picture
Future shock film offends many viewers

This is an amazing movie that I believe most people will never fully appreciate. The cinematography is outstanding, the acting is superb, and the adaptation from the novel is breathtaking. I am a die-hard Kubrick fan who is overjoyed with this film. It's a shame he had to quit with Eyes Wide Shut.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Malcolm McDowell
Patrick Magee

DVD title: Hercules in New York
Productgroup: DVD
Hercules in New York - movie DVD cover picture
Arnold's Revolution!

YES! The movie that started it all. Arnold Schwarzenegger, "THE GENIUS" was born in this riveting picture of rebellion and coming-of-age. I was cheering when Hercules (Schwarzenegger) said "no" to his father Zeus and visited Earth for the first time. Olympus was in a state of shock as the gigantic god propelled to New York City. There he beat up a group of sailors and met an annoying old man. The old man booked Hercules in some weight-lifting competitions, but Hercules lost his powers! Appalling! How dare Zeus for doing such a thing to Arnold Schwarzenegger! Then Hercules fell in love with a young lady whom she thought was odd. Funny lady. Zeus eventually let Hercules prosper and live in happiness with the mortals. Hercules got into more fights with some piddily mortal men and conquered. Rejoice! I loved this movie and it gave me hope to be a genius just like Arnold. After this monumental motion picture, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the number one deity of our country, no world.

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman

DVD title: Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

Dangerous Liaisons it's not, but when you think about it, Roger Kumble had no business turning the story into a teen movie. Even though the concept of teens stepping into the shoes of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont was a bit objectionable (no one wants to see a movie about what most kids are doing in high school...) "Cruel Intentions" was a treat.
The script was extremely faithful to Dangerous Liaisons. I was disappointed when a certain someone was actually alive to drive a car in the last few frames because when that character died in Dangerous Liaisons, the ending was much more tragic. Never-the-less, that was my only real complaint. Even the Blaine-Greg bedding was in the original, just packaged differently as the tryst between Azalan and Julie. And yes, I supposed it had to be two guys because I doubt a guy-girl romp would shock anyone in that movie. No matter what anyoen says, Sarah Michelle Gellar did a good job as Kathryn, taken from the Marquise de Merteuil. She was manipulative, wicked, and two-faced. Everything the character shoudl have been. If only the ending was different... Ryan Phillippe was a good Sebastion (a la the Vicomte de Valmont) if not for the acting talent, then for the cheap butt shot that got girls everywhere screaming. Reese Witherspoon's Annette, taken from the pious Mme. de Tourvel, was updated to a more believable girl who just wanted to make sure her first tiem was with someone she loved. Selma Blair was a hoot as the na?ve Cecile. This was an improvement from Uma Thruman, but not really comparable in the least.... All in all, Cruel Intentions may not be a masterpiece, but it is still a fantastic movie for someone out looking for a good time.
PS -- the Swoosie Kurtz throwaway was incredibly fun. She treats Valmont the same way she did when she was in Dangerous Liaisons...

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Roger Kumble
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ryan Phillippe
Reese Witherspoon

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