Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Turtles Can Fly
Productgroup: DVD
Turtles Can Fly - movie DVD cover picture
Quite simply the best anti-war film I've ever seen


I saw this in a theater and will be showing the DVD to our peace group, The Chester County Peace Movement (www.ccpeace.org) here in West Chester, PA, in October. It is a non-political film; it is heartbreaking; it is searing; it is, quite simply, the best anti-war film I have ever seen. These children will stay in your head forever, and you will never see war again in the same light (or dark). Telling everyone about this film is a gift I am giving to the public in any way I can find.--Karen Porter, The Chester County Peace Movement, ccpeacemovement@aol.com

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Bahman Ghobadi
Actors:
Soran Ebrahim
Avaz Latif




DVD title: Renegade - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Renegade - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
MODERN DAY HORSE OPERA - AND GREAT!


This is a great set - 22 episodes and you have to see the gag lines. Actually their bluppers!

So many of us want to idealize a bad boy, one who is misunderstood or one who appears bad but is really good.
Reno Raines [Lorenzo Lamas] portrayes this attidude and a lot of skin to make some good stories come to life.
And don't forget that bike!

Did you know that Cheyenne Phillips [Kathleen Kinmont] was his wife at the time of Renegade - thought there was a close connection.

But I kept coming back to this show to see Bobby Sixkiller [Branscombe Richmond] as I thoroughly enjoy seeing a Native American playing one. I loved his droll sense of humor.
He must have been making some good money [in the program] to have that office/home on wheels.

I did like getting a looksee at the episode that had Don Swayze, and his crew, villians of course - can't remember if he got killed or not.

And Stephen J. Connell [playing Butch - the corrupt police officer] I didn't make the connection with him until I watched the interviews. Writer and actor.

Not to give a plug for another movie but I am looking for Lamas's 2004 movie RAPTOR ISLAND -- is it out yet?

Anyway RENEGADE is a great set for those who remember it from TV and anyone who wants to try something a little different.
Definitely Recommended -

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Actors:
Lorenzo Lamas



DVD title: Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Productgroup: DVD
Wes Craven's New Nightmare - movie DVD cover picture
Sleep, those little slices of death....


Wes Craven makes a Nightmare for all the kids who saw the first one when it came out and now are in their twenties and thirties facing adulthood. A post-modern horror fable that will make you afraid to look at your rubber Freddy claw, if you have one.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Wes Craven
Actors:
Heather Langenkamp
Robert Englund




DVD title: America - A Tribute to Heroes (Telethon Broadcast)
Productgroup: DVD
America - A Tribute to Heroes (Telethon Broadcast) - movie DVD cover picture
An appropriate and well-performed tribute.


I'm a New Yorker who witnessed the 9/11 attacks first-hand, and experienced the aftermath. I watched this tribute live when it first aired and I felt at that time that it was very respectfully produced, with some standout performances and very little in the way of "marketing" or promotion going on from any of the performers (with a few exceptions), as there so often is in these kinds of compilations.

The performance I remember most is actually U2's rendition of "Peace On Earth/Walk On", at which point during the live telecast I admit that I completely lost it. There were other moving performances but this is the one that affected me, and the one that I remember - not only is the version on this DVD better than what was recorded on their CD "All That You Can't Leave Behind", the lyrics summed up the whole experience perfectly for me, and it was obvious that U2 as a band was deeply moved by the experience themselves. The montage set to their song "One" also greatly affected me, although this was not a live performance.

As a tribute, this is probably the best that anyone could have done - the music is varied and the performances generally very good, and the tone is right given how close it was to 9/11. For me, it's a must-have reminder of that day, as I consider it part of my experience of going through 9/11's aftermath. It was a terrible tragedy but it's not one that we should forget.

Studio: Wea/Warner Bros.



DVD title: Minority Report (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Minority Report (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Great Visionary Film


Steven Spielberg misses the mark again for me here. It was a little disappointing to me but I gave it an even rating because I thought its production design was incredible. It is a great movie to look at. The technology and the promise of a future where we survive, make this an interesting film. This movie was far more interesting that his last project AI. Just to put things in perspective ? my favorite Spielberg films are (and they are in no order), Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, E.T. Schindler?s List, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Always and Saving Private Ryan.
Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. Not much of a stretch for him and not of lot of originality. (He was much better in Risky Business and All The Right Moves.) All the other supporting cast we kind of flat, but again, the technology was incredible. Display screens, holograms, electronic spiders and ore.
Basically the premise is that three people using telepathy can predict murders and the murderers ? before they kill. They are then arrested and put in hibernation. The problem is that Tom?s character learns info that starts this race against time.
The most interesting character and the most dynamic performer came from Lois Smith. She played the inventor of the software and system that allows the psychics to do what they do. She seemed to have a lot of fun with Tom.
This is a matinee type of film or wait for the video release ? but the production design is what stands out. Take a chance if you have nothing better to do.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors:
Tom Cruise
Max von Sydow




DVD title: Equilibrium
Productgroup: DVD
Equilibrium - movie DVD cover picture
A Superb Exercise in Speculative Film Making


I can understand the urge to compare "Equilibrium" and "The Matrix". Both films feature dark, foreboding cinematography. Both films are about rebellion against a warped reality. Both films feature a reluctant, messianic protagonist. And, finally, both films rely heavily on stylistic, hyper-kinetic combat scenes that can only be described as, well, reverent. That is where the similarity ends because while "Equilibrium" has a few moments of slow-motion it's action scenes are much more original than those of "The Matrix Trilogy". No Wires, just pure crazy choreography which makes the action feel all the more authentic. The environment is also a great deal more organic in contrast to the cryptic automaton of the Matrix.
"Equilibrium", in short, manages to be entirely its own movie. Where The Matrix relies on "bending" the rules of physics in an imaginary construct of a world, "Equilibrium" goes the other way and hypothesizes the "Gun-Kata", a martial arts ballet that allows it's practitioners to predict and anticipate close quarters gun fighting and hand to hand combat. Then, through a series of precise, dance like movements, a person can take on several combatants, using exacting, fluid actions to eliminate his attackers. Given a decidedly artistic presentation within the course of the film, these rapid-fire rhapsodies are exhilarating and oddly beautiful. They glamorize death as an abstract expression of powder bursts and shrieking projectiles. The film features some of the best choreographed shootouts I have ever seen, and ends up putting anything in The Matrix Trilogy to shame.
"Equilibrium" is a film that explores what it theorizes to be the root of all worldly chaos, human emotion. The movie takes place in the near future after a third world war that leaves Earth on the verge of total destruction. From the ashes arises a government that regulates everything and everyone through mind control. The drug Prozium is hailed as the elixir to the world's problems because it suppresses human emotion and thus eliminates the possibility war. All art, music, poetry and any emotion are considered contraband and must be destroyed upon discovery.
The primary clash is between individualism and collectivism -- the notion that each person is an end to him or herself and pursues his or her own happiness, and the theory that the individual exists only to further the interests of the state. In "Equilibrium", the side of "feelings" (the side that promotes painting, music, and literature) is the side of the sovereign individual.
The film clearly suggests that emotions -- the ability to "feel" -- are what make life worth living; yet they are also the source of violence and war. At some level, this is clearly true. The joy of art, the intensity of romantic love, the pleasures of a touch or the sight of a sunrise, the fascination of a great idea -- these are the things we live for. "Crimes of passion" such as murder, domestic violence, and assault generally involve uncontrolled emotions.
In "Equilibrium", murder and war among the civilian population have been wiped out. Of course, they have been replaced by state-sponsored murder and terror. Thus, the film points out the real purpose of deadening people's emotions is to perpetuate state oppression.
This nightmare is presided over by the Big Brother-like dictator Father, and enforced by a quasi-religious order of "Clericks," whose incredible combat skills are unleashed on "sense offenders" who have gone off the drugs that keep the populace docile. John Preston (Christian Bale) is the perfect Grammaton Clerick (the government is known as the Tetragrammaton). He kills "sense offenders" without passion or guilt ... until he inadvertently fails to take his prescribed tranquilizer dose and events begin to catch up with him. Little by little, he finds himself drawn into "sense crime" and then into the resistance. I hesitate to reveal much more about the plot of "Equilibrium", jammed as it is with surprise and invention -- suffice to say, this is an intellectual rollercoaster ride, as cerebral as it is visceral; both a bleak glimpse into a possible future and a stirring tribute to the indomitable human spirit.
The creators of "Equilibrium" had to take some liberties with the very idea of emotion, of course. The drug really only eliminates the "highs" and "lows," leaving enough emotive strength for the characters to retain ambition and a visceral hatred of their enemies. Plot means conflict and human conflict is impossible without emotion.
The acting is excellent, and if you like Christian Bale as much as I do, he shines above all else. Bale is truly exceptional in bringing a real sense of emotional conflict to the character of Preston, and as the film moves on he gradually brings that emotion to the forefront. At the start of the film, and in it's many flashbacks, Preston is supposed to be this emotionless killer that doesn't realize he's actually feeling subtle emotions. Bale's performance keeps the perfect monotone voice of an emotionless character, but in his eyes shows the doubt, remorse and anger. Then as the films moves on he gradually starts changing his tone of voice, allowing the monotone to falter in key moments, until in the end he completely releases all of his emotions.
As you can tell, Equilibrium's plot draws from a rich variety of sources. There's a lot of Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World".
True, there are a few minor plot problems, but any movie that treats ideas and symbols seriously these days is a find, and one that pulls off a serious treatment of life's most fundamental questions in the context of a gripping story is a rare jewel.
"Equilibrium" is not science fiction so much as political speculation. It's that mainstay of movies, the cautionary tale, twisted into a decidedly dense and deceptive action thriller. While it may not always deliver in the thought department, we sure get some wonderful visual flourishes. And if a sci-fi film can stir your imagination, it's won most of the battle.
The creation of the enigmatic weapons battle dance, "Gun-Kata", makes the movie a see at least once exercise in speculative movie making.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Actors:
Christian Bale
Sean Bean
Taye Diggs
Emily Watson




DVD title: The 10 Minute Solution
Productgroup: DVD
The 10 Minute Solution - movie DVD cover picture
Great Workout


This is a great DVD if you are looking for variety and don't always have alot of time. There are hardly any props involved to do the workouts.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain



DVD title: No Doubt: Rock Steady Live
Productgroup: DVD
No Doubt: Rock Steady Live - movie DVD cover picture
GWEN STEFANI IS SOOO FRICKEN HOT!!!!


GWEN STEFANI ROCKS IN HER OWN STYLE, YELLING AND FEELING THE MUSIC COMPLETELY. ADDING A BIT OF PERSONAL FLAVOR TO EACH SONG TO MAKE THE CONCERT IN LONGBEACH (NEAR HER HOME TOWN) UNREAL FOR THOSE WHO ARE SO LUCKY TO BE THERE. HER MOVES SHOW JUST HOW MUCH SHE ADORES WHAT SHE DOES. HER SONGS MAKE HER REAL. GWEN STEFANI IS SOOOO FRICKEN HOT!!!

Studio: Universal Music & VI



DVD title: Procol Harum - Live at the Union Chapel
Productgroup: DVD
Procol Harum - Live at the Union Chapel - movie DVD cover picture
Best Procol Harum DVD by far


Excellent in every way. Sound is flawless, video is brilliant. Brooker really has great stage presence and connects with the audience. I was surprised by Geoff Whitehorn - not your typical PC player but he clicks with the group with inspired ease, in ways Robin Trower came close to but never managed. The whole group looks relaxed and having fun, like they're just jamming in their livingroom.

Standouts - Weisselklenzenact - best performance ever. Homburg - they make this look easy. Whiter Shade - the 3 verse version closes the concert.

Repent Walpurgis is not included :-( It would have been perfect in this setting. Brooker said something about the key it's in being killed off years ago.

Extras - not really necessary. Brooker answers a few interview questions. There's an alternate view track on a couple of the songs - it looks like taken from an audience member with a B&W 8mm. Nice if you want to feel like you're in the audience, but with the excellent on-stage camera work you really have a much better view than the audience got.

Woof!

Studio: Red Distribution, In
Actors:
Procol Harum



DVD title: Shall We Dance (Japanese Version)
Productgroup: DVD
Shall We Dance (Japanese Version) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Story


I just saw this as a recommendation from my school and it was totally worth it! The humor and the story involved was great! I was literally on the edge of my seat sometimes. It was my first Japanese movie and I'm so glad I saw it. Watch it now!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Masayuki Suo
Actors:
Kôji Yakusho
Tamiyo Kusakari
Naoto Takenaka




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