Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust
Productgroup: DVD
Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust - movie DVD cover picture
Rare: A sequel better than it's prequel


Given the history of sequels, few ever top the original movie. I'll be the first to tell you that in terms of quality and medium the original movie is somewhat cheesy. What makes it good is the story and plot. Given how infrequent a sequel occurs for anime movies I admit I entered this one thinking it was going to be OK, but not near as good as the first one. Sure I saw the trailers for it and it looked good, but how often have I been fooled on that one.

From the start the animation and audio are the first things to catch your attention. Unlike it's prequel VHDBL does not disappoint in the media department. Granted, for it's time VHD was a fine piece of work however VHDBL makes it's predecessor look like kindergarten scribble. Stunning computer and traditional animation mix seamlessly into an incredibly detailed and enfolding experience. The animators/director did an incredible job mixing interesting visual effects with camera angles and sweeps. The art style is reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell. Plenty of eye candy for all!

Many people dislike anime due to the poor audio and dubbing quality. Often the language translators lose the dialog by translating too literally, and everything comes out cheesy. No fear. The studio sprung for real voice actors (is that the voice of "Friar Tuck" a la Kevin Costner's Robin Hood I hear coming from Lefthand??) and the dialog is more gripping than the original 'D'. 5.1 surround is used to full extent providing a fantastic audio experience!

The plot is canned. 'D' is hired to slay a vampire who has kidnapped some guys daughter. On the basic premise it's a simple enough plot, that sounds pretty boring. What makes the story work and keep you riveted is the number of interconnected, and even disconnected subplots that provide mystery, intrigue, and even romance. The character interaction is virtually unmateched compared with most of the other 100+ anime titles I've seen. Of course there is a twist or two on the basic plot that I won't give away. Need I add there is also plenty of action!

If you enjoyed the original VHD I guarantee you will not be disappointed with this title. If you have no clue who Vampire Hunter 'D' is, this is a great place to start!

Studio: Urban Vision Enterta



DVD title: Goin' South
Productgroup: DVD
Goin' South - movie DVD cover picture
A real gem


I'd have to agree with all the positve reivews of this film, I've seen it a good few times as well and always end up splitting my sides laughing.
A particular favourite of mine the the "Injun" scene when the straight laced ladies from town start to get infected with Jack's carry on when they call in to see how the newly married couple are getting on.
The opening scene is one of the funniest I have ever seen as well, poor old grandma!
I could go on and on about this one, but it would be wasting your time.....buy it and laugh for yourself.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jack Nicholson
Actors:
Jack Nicholson
Mary Steenburgen




DVD title: Iron Monkey
Productgroup: DVD
Iron Monkey - movie DVD cover picture
This movie was probably the basis to The Matrix


This is one of the best martial arts flick that I've seen in awhile. The fight scenes are just incrediable and there aren't too many boring parts for those of us who just wants to see the fight scenes. There are a lot of similarities between the Matrix and this movie so you should definately see this movie first.

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Actors:
Rongguang Yu
Donnie Yen




DVD title: Metropolis
Productgroup: DVD
Metropolis - movie DVD cover picture
For silent film and art film buffs


Fritz Lang's Metropolis has been a long time favorite of mine. The imagery and representations present in the film are amzing, especially for its time. This version, with added color and a soundtrack, is more interesting and entertaining to watch than other versions I've seen. This film is definitely for those who love old silent films, art films, or who are interested in the roles between spirituality and technology, good vs. evil, and the role of spirituality and sexuality to manipulate or persuade a group of persons toward a goal. From an historical perspective, it is also interesting to notice the social roles portrayed and represented in pre-World War II Germany. Although the film is one of the best ever made, it does take patience to watch as we're so used to loud, high action Hollywood films.

Studio: Gotham Distribution
Director: Fritz Lang
Actors:
Alfred Abel
Brigitte Helm




DVD title: The Chronicles of Riddick (Theatrical Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Chronicles of Riddick (Theatrical Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Sweet Movie-director's cut makes it better


Directors cuts have a habit of making good films more intelligent than theatrical cuts, please let the same people responsible for this continue the series in the same fashion. This film has a bit of a paperthin plot with alot of toughguy postering, but if you can accept that, it also has more depth than just that and has a lot of interesting sci-fi adventuring going on, presented with a pretty lavish production aesthetic, and there ain't too many of these around.
The directors cut for me really is an improvement on the theatrical cut, with more story and slightly deeper and more developed characters. For an initally movie rush this might turn people of, being challenged by slightly deeper characters, but if you want something that people will watch and concentrate on in the future, or if you are a fan and want something that is worth concentrating on, director's cuts are often the solution i think.

Studio: Universal
Director: David Twohy
Actors:
Vin Diesel
Colm Feore
Judi Dench




DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Pretty Awesome


All I have to say that this film is a masterpiece !!!!as also the previous one and I am really sorry for ""eldamahj (see more about me) from Sydney, New South Wales Australia"" who made such sour statements...but it is not only about this film. I read several of his reviews and the bla..bla..bla is the same.Books and films are different, we can never expect to be an exact copy...it is simple like that. So folks never mind the sour bla..bla..,see the movie, buy the DVD or tape. It is really great to forget for 3 hours our corrupted, crazy world and look into a beautiful fantasy very, very,very well made. Hurray for Peter Jackson and all the actors and magicians who made it happen and let as enjoy this visual delight.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors:
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen




DVD title: Madman
Productgroup: DVD
Madman - movie DVD cover picture
Great Horror Movie!


I'm not sure what attracted me to this movie, but whatever it was, I'm glad I checked it out. I've always been a fan of slasher flicks (maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born in 1980, around the time the founding fathers of slasher flicks were releashed -- Halloween and Friday the 13th). The slasher genre is probably my favorite because there are so many films from which to work when reviewing a slasher.
Madman takes place at a camp, complete with kids, teenage camp counselors, and the old guy who's supposed to be making sure the teenagers are watching the kids and not having sex with one another all of the time. The old guy's name is Max (Carl Fredericks) and we start out listening to one of his "campside stories." The story he spins for everybody is that of Madman Marz. A number of years ago, Max tells us, a farmer butchered his entire family and then went to the tavern for a beer. Although the town hanged him for his crimes, Marz escaped into the woods and was never heard from again. Max warns his camp not to say the name Madman Marz above a whisper or else they'll piss Marz off and he'll come to get them. At this point, your classic punk stands up and starts mocking the whole story, screaming out "Madman Marz!"
The Max character is weird because he doesn't act like your typical old guy -- he doesn't mind the teens drinking beer, he doesn't mind scaring the hell out of the little kids, and he always seems to know more than he's letting on. I've wondered whether or not Max was actually Marz. By the end of the movie, I was still not convinced that he wasn't. Max and Marz were played by different actors, but could there be a secret in the storyline that link Max and Marz? There's also a few scenes that place Max too far away from camp to be Marz while all of the killings are taking place. You'll see this weirdness about Max that I'm talking about if you check this film out.
The gory scenes in this movie are quite good. The killer uses an axe as his murder weapon, but we also see one of the teens' heads chopped off under the hood of a pickup truck. Pretty unique, huh? There are obvious similarities beyond the gore to Friday the 13th and Halloween. The music used throughout the film is the most obvious. Others include the "woods" and "camp" themes common in nearly all of the Friday movies. These similarities do not make Madman a "ripoff" -- Madman certainly has qualities that make it standout. For example, in the beginning of the movie, Marz is introduced to us as someone very human -- Max tells us that Marz goes to the tavern and drinks a beer after slaughtering his family. Can you imagine Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees sitting down for a beer after one of their kills ... Exactly!
With all good slasher movies, there's the issue of the killer's face. In the beginning of the film, we see Marz in silhouette, revealing only his wild hair and large body. Eventually we see his face shot from several darkly lit and obscure angles. In fact, his face isn't "clearly" seen until near the end of the movie. And even then, it's shot from a moving camera looking up, a technique that has the tendency to conceal whatever it's filming.
Another commonality in slasher films is the sparing of at least one of the teens. This way, someone gets to tell their story to the cops or whoever ends up coming to rescue the camp when it's all over. My guess was that Betsy (Alexis Dubin) would be spared because of her savior-like role. I won't tell you if my assumption turned out to be true, you'll have to find out for yourself. The actress who portrayed Betsy was credited in this film as Alexis Dubin, but she previously appeared in the horror classic Dawn of the Dead as Gaylen Ross. She does an excellent job portraying the smart one of the bunch, even though she makes a few stupid decisions here and there. If I had to pick a smart one, though, it would definitely be her!
Without reservation I add Madman to my list of favorite 80's slasher movies. The DVD quality is excellent -- I only witnessed one scene in which the scream doesn't match up with the victim's mouth. This little error is forgivable considering the wonderful quality that's been preserved in this DVD. Check this one out, folks! Rating: 4 / 4.
SMITH TALKS: The Future of Movie Reviews ...


Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Joe Giannone



DVD title: Esalen Massage
Productgroup: DVD
Esalen Massage - movie DVD cover picture
Incredibly transformative approach to my massage work


I own the Esalen Massage VHS tape and I just bought the Esalen DVD -- it's fantastic. I use the remote all the time to go to specific parts of the body - and I speak english, but it's also got spanish and german soundtracks. Although the above review comments about draping and hair touching clients is true enough -- I also know from having been to Esalen that all the clients in the video were fellow massage therapists of the folks who were doing the work! So they were all friends. But it's also true that the Esalen Massage DVD is used in a lot of massage schools around the country because massage teachers like the blending of massage techniques into one, whole body massage. I know that some massage schools focus heavily on one particular approach, and that often inhibits therapists from developing massage styles that are creative and constantly evolving in order to help their clients. I tell friends that the Esalen DVD is great for couples who want to learn the basics of massage-ing each other -- you can turn it on and follow along. And I'm sure massage school instructors are quick to yell - and don't EVER drape like THAT! But it's a great tool for learning massage without getting bogged down in any particular technique. I wish I could have been one of the lucky ones on the table.

Studio: At Peace Video
Director: Steve Purcell



DVD title: Clerks - The Animated Series Uncensored
Productgroup: DVD
Clerks - The Animated Series Uncensored - movie DVD cover picture
unapprciated in its time


Around 2 years ago when South Park was at its peak, ABC attempted to buy the show from Comedy Central. ABC wanted something to combat the Simpsons. They wanted an edgey "hip" animated show. Obviously that deal fell through (can you imagine SP on ABC??) So ABC bought the rights to Clerks. It already had a cult following, so they gave it a "chance". I remember being interested in this show. They delayed it for a good while, then ran one commercial for it during the Super Bowl. "coming in May" That was the extent of the marketing campagin for Clerks. I never saw another promo, didnt know what day it aired, let alone the timeslot. So I missed it. All two episodes. I dont know why ABC expected stellar ratings right off the bat for this show, but they did. The lack of promotion, running episodes out of order, and far too great expectations killed it. (This is from the same network that gave birth to and supported the horrendous "The Critic" for over a year and a half) Obviously this show is tame compared to Clerks (movie) but it is still very entertaining. Once you get past the terrible promo, its a great ride. Highlights include the tongue-in-cheek "flashback episode" the AWESOME lawsuit episode, and the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom parody. The last episode (ToD parody) really showed promise. It contained more witty banter than the other episodes, along with the same outrageous situations from the others. Smith really reached for the core View Askew audience on this one. This show had the potential to be the torch-bearer for the ever fading Simpsons, (Futurama is entertaining in a lowbrow sense) it REALLY did. Perhaps HBO will pick it up (or even FOX. they treat animated programming right, plus there is nothing in Clerks that isnt 50 times worse than Family Guy) There is talk of an animated feature film, lets hope it happens. When was the last time you truely laughed uncontrollably during primetime? If your answer is Friends, this isnt for you. For those who rarely watch TV anymore because they are done with tired, played out programming, then buy this immediately. 20 dollars could not be spent better.

Studio: Miramax
Actors:
Brian O'Halloran
Jeff Anderson




DVD title: Lewis & Clark & George
Productgroup: DVD
Lewis & Clark & George - movie DVD cover picture
I can't wait to get this on video for my "Rose" collection..


One of the best movies I've ever seen! Rose McGowan is outstanding! The movie is exciting and funny and just plain good. A must see for any Rose fan.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Rod McCall



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