Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Kathy Smith - Timesaver Lift Weights to Lose Weight
Productgroup: DVD
Kathy Smith - Timesaver Lift Weights to Lose Weight - movie DVD cover picture
Results!


I exercise regularly, mainly Body Electric, Yoga, & Pilates. I wanted to "rev" up my workouts by adding aerobics (I'm waiting for K.S.'s aerobic tapes) & fat burning weight routines. In other words, I needed to "mix up" & add variety to my workouts. This tape really does it. While yes, she does go a bit fast, & there's intro that one will eventually skip, if one has the patience to "work into" the routine, you'll catch on, adjust the levels, and end up doing a fantastic workout that will keep your workouts fresh & have your muscles thanking you! I agree that a "bench" in not really needed for some routines, but this is a slickly produced product that gets the job done. Again, this is fast-paced & there really is not "warm up" involved. I would suggest a bit of stretching before "jumping" into the routine, or "warm up" during her intro. Also, as one becomes familiar with the routines, one can (and should) have all the necessary equiptment ready, because this routine goes quickly. Beginners, go easy & split the routines; die hards, do both routines in one session unless time is a problem. If that's the case, alternate routines & work to the max!

Studio: Sony Music (Video)



DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
A+ Performances - A+ Series


Band of Brothers was by far my favorite show/film of all time! It shows us younger viewers how much our brave ancestors really did sacrifice for our freedom. I hope that they release the show on DVD or VHS.

Studio: HBO Home Video



DVD title: Independence Day (Single Disc Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Independence Day (Single Disc Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A feel good Alien movie


While I know there are better scripted films out there in this genre, I couldn?t help but enjoy this movie despite its predictable plot on the premise that it was intended to make one feel good about ones fellow human beings, and it did. While it certainly isn't cerebral by any stretch of the imagination, it is a good family film. It isn't intended to be a great work of cinematic art, but what it is intended to do it does. It appeals to the child like desire for good to overcome evil, to the desire of a parent to be able to present himself in a good light to his/her children, to the desire for world harmony in a time when it seems perilously close to wide spread destruction. As other reviewers point out, there is a little for everyone in this film: a brave, decent, pilot... president; a beautiful black stripper with a heart of gold and her adorable little boy; a computer nerd whose knowledge saves the world; an attractive, muscular, black guy to act the part of a good role model for young males; a wedding; a reconciliation--in fact several; a recovered alcoholic father of three who saves the day and makes his children proud of him again; etc. This is a film that attempts to fulfill the need for fantasy in all of us. It does so just as Harry Potter does through wish fulfillment; it just does it with more of a "boom." The film is definitely a catch all that was intended to market well by its broad spectrum approach to story telling, but that doesn't mean that it isn't an entertaining tale none the less. Like The War of the Worlds it's an "us against them" sort of film, but unlike the latter, it has it's funny moments, in fact many of them. Brent Spinner--everybody's favorite synthetic life form--gives a wonderful performance as a slightly off beat and out of step director of Area 51, while Randy Quaid does a brilliant characterization of a derelict and ditzy hero who rises to the occasion once again when duty calls. Will Smith is constantly getting off witty one liners that seem to capture the moment in pithy humor. Jeff Goldblum played Jeff Goldblum, just as he always does, but as always too is very entertaining to watch. My greatest disappointment was the women of the story. Vivica Fox, as Jasmine, had the most active and interesting role among them, her motivating force being the well being of her little boy and the man she loved. None of the other women seemed to take an active part in anything. They seemed just along for the ride, watching the drama take place in front of them, often showing less involvement than many women do over their favorite soap! A great disappointment to someone who grew up with Honey West, Emma Peel, the Girl from Uncle and other examples of active female participation in action adventures. The fine CGI finale makes one want to "salute the flag," at least of the United Nations, as humanity once again defeats those nasty aliens with our human ingenuity and determination. A fun movie for everyone in the family to watch.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Roland Emmerich
Actors:
Bill Pullman
Jeff Goldblum
Will Smith




DVD title: The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Captures the period wonderfully!


Martin Scorsese's wonderfully filmed biopic of Hughes' early years is a wonderfully stylish film which captures the eccentric billionaire as he begins to develop his strangely bizarre behavior..I think Leonardo DiCaprio did a great job of acting in this film and truly captured the essence of Hughes..even down to his mannerisms..he definitely did his homework! Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Kate Hepburn was brilliant! It's amazing how Cate captured Hepburn's voice and mannerisms..she surely deserved her Oscar win! I have read several biographies on Hughes and Scorsese stays pretty close to the truth..The crash of Hughes' experimental plane in the film is amazing! One wonders how the film makers were able to put this together so realistically!

It's been quite a while since Hollywood has dished out the bucks for such a wonderful looking film and they succeeded on all fronts in my opinion..watch some of the old films from that period and compare it to this film and you can see that detail was very important to Scorcese! I think Kate Beckinsale's performance as Ava Gardner lacked a certain credibility but it was honest and forthright..This is Leonardo's picture though..

Although the film didn't win many awards it won the critic's praise..Especially Roger Ebert..he gave it 4 stars! I found his review to be pretty much on target..

It's strange that they ended the film right after Hughes made his test flight of the Spruce Goose..it would have been interesting to see him in his later years..who knows..maybe Scorcese is saving all that for a followup..or maybe not..since the box office wasn't that great from what I heard..

Great film though! If you enjoy biopics this a sure winner!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Martin Scorsese
Actors:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Cate Blanchett
Kate Beckinsale




DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
Best original sci-fi next to STAR WARS


I saw the movie twice in the theatre. However, I am sceptical of buying the DVD because of the problems people have been experiencing. If anyone has had problems watching the movie on an RCA DVD player let me know so I don't waste my money.

Studio: Warner Studios
Actors:
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss




DVD title: Eat Drink Man Woman
Productgroup: DVD
Eat Drink Man Woman - movie DVD cover picture
Man and Woman Make Love Here Before They Eat and Drink


My title suggests that this film is hedonistic but nothing could be further from the case. This film is, to be sure, sensuous in every sense of the word but it explores family relations in a meaningful and believable way. I've seen this film more times than I can remember over the past decade, mostly with mainland Chinese students. Each time I view it I find something more to appreciate, which to me marks a great film experience. In my estimation, this is Lee Ang's finest film, far surpassing the better known "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in storyline and characterization. Yes, the traditional Chinese cooking is a feast for the eyes and indeed you may work up a healthy appetite if you view this film at the wrong time of the day. But there is far more than culinary delight to this film than many of the superficial reviews here would suggest. This is essentially a story about a father who is trying to find meaning in his life separate from his intimate family relationships (i.e. three rather willful daughters). In some sense, he is a kind of King Lear, but without the tragic baggage. A widower and retired gourmet chef, the father tries to keep his daughters near him by cooking a veritable emperor's banquet for them each Sunday. Although the daughters all live at home, they lead busy urban lives in Taipei and so the weekly ritual tends to crimp their style. Still, there is much "comfort food" here in both the dishes served and the words spoken. But don't get the impression that this film is maudlin in tone; it does not, in fact, take itself too seriously and there are ample moments of earthy Chinese humor (which translates rather well across cultures) and surprise leading to farce. The pace of the film is as rapid as the final meal preparations, in keeping with Chinese custom of serving everything quickly and as fresh as possible (no egg rolls here). For this we have fabulous film editing to thank and Lee Ang's gift for balancing action with dialogue, mood for mood. And far from being an artsy fartsy foreign film laden with self-conscious style, this film resonates with real characters fleshed out in real-life situations. A Taiwanese production, it avoids the stock characterization and outright stereotyping tediously depicted in most Western productions of East Asian culture. And I dare say at the risk of searching for the exotic, that this very male reviewer found most of the women in this film to be both lovely and graceful. You can enjoy this film immensely for its traditional elements and at the same time learn a lot about contemporary Chinese habits of thought, especially since its ending is anything but predictable. Indeed, it is the ending that many of my mainland Chinese students had to wrestle with, and perhaps you will too. All in all, one of the finest films of the past decade, foreign or not.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Ang Lee
Actors:
Sihung Lung
Kuei-Mei Yang




DVD title: Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Master and Commander Review


Peter Weir has created one of the truly great – not a word to be thrown about lightly – movies of 2003, a 19th century age of sail epic starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. Based on two (with smaller plot threads from others) of Patrick O’Brian’s well known Aubrey series of novels, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a story told with grace, daring, a bit of humor, conflict, and human bonding, on a level far beyond other movies of its ilk.
Crowe plays the role of captain of the HMS Surprise, Patrick Aubrey. A long-time veteran of the Royal Navy, Aubrey is faced with the daunting task of hunting down and stopping the French privateer Acheron, a strong, overpowering frigate that (as it turns out) was built in America and sold to the French (the frigate itself is a sister of sorts to the USS Constitution). Aubrey is initially surprised by the Acheron in a fogbank and after taking a beating, retreats and thus begins a sequence of events – a cat and mouse game that flip-flops repeatedly as the two captains try to get the upper hand.
Accompanying Aubrey is his good friend, Stephen Maturin, the ship’s doctor (played by Mr. Bettany). The two are very much contrasting characters that seem to have very little in common, except their love of music and their friendship. One failing in the movie is that the viewer is not really shown why they are friends, or Maturin’s role as a spy, though this is hinted at. Both Aubrey and Maturin are played skillfully by Mr. Crowe and Mr. Bettany, and the other actors, especially that the very young Max Pirkis as Midshipman Blakeney, are well cast as various members of the crew.
Weir (and subsequently O’Brien’s) depiction of life aboard a ship in the era is wonderfully authentic; the Surprise is packed full of food, livestock, timbers, rope, and crewmen. Everything is shoved aside when the ship clears for battle. Sand is poured on the floor to absorb blood as he tends to the wounded. They are seemingly very much in the middle of nowhere, and only occasionally see land or another ship.
The naval battle sequences are some of the best that have been ever captured on film. Like Saving Private Ryan, the effect of sound during battle is piercing, loud, and bone-jarring at times. This is no-holds barred combat, and every shot does damage, splinters wood, destroys rigging, tears canvas, and kills men. The hand-to-hand sequences are a little to shaky – probably better suited to the small screen better.
Effects work and cinematography are simply fantastic throughout. Master and Commander uses a well-tuned mixture of real-size ships, mock-ups, miniatures (by Peter Jackson’s WETA), computer-graphics, and nearly everything else thrown in for good measure. A lot of this movie was filmed in a giant tub, but it’d be nearly impossible to tell. It should be noted that the Galapagos Islands sequence was filmed there, the first movie allowed to do so.
It’s annoying that they had to combine two novels and change some of the plot elements (the privateer was originally an American ship during the War of 1812), and some may scoff that Aubrey would have even taken on such a larger ship. Some may claim that Master and Commander is boring; it is not a popcorn action movie, but more of a deliberately-paced period adventure that far surpasses in intelligence and moviemaking most of the action movies released this year. Look for numerous Oscars come next Spring. Master and Commander is the real deal.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Peter Weir
Actors:
Russell Crowe
Paul Bettany
James D'Arcy
Billy Boyd




DVD title: Erotic Witch Project Collector's Edition DVD
Productgroup: DVD
Erotic Witch Project Collector's Edition DVD - movie DVD cover picture
Very Good


This movie is a great spoof. Anyone who has seen the Blair Witch Project should definetly see this. Even if you have not seen the BWP, check this movie out. I laughed a lot during this movie and so did my friends. The extra footage is cool as well. All-in-all, a must see.

Studio: Ei Independent Cinema
Director: John Bacchus



DVD title: Outrageous
Productgroup: DVD
Outrageous - movie DVD cover picture
Something Dazzling


After seeing bits and pieces of this wonderful film on the late show, I wanted more and needed to find this film. after years of searching, i finally obtained a copy and have watched this warm,real and touching story about being yourself. And having a hell of a GOOD TIME enough times to know that i would gladly introduce anyone to this movie and let them see what being yourself really means. "Something Dazzling" After reading other reviews on this page,I now feel at peace knowing what had become of the main star Craig Russell his too short film,and female impersonation career will be missed by our generation and the next..

Studio: Hens Tooth Video
Director: Richard Benner



DVD title: The Stepford Wives (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Stepford Wives (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One Of The Funniest Films of 2004


I don't know about you...but I prefer my satire subtle. I would rather be zinged by one-liners than bored by predictability. And I certainly don't want to sit and roll my eyes in the dark at jokes that fall flat. Tongue-in-cheek? No way! Hammer-handed is more like it! Screenwriter Paul Rudnick...do we thank you for 92 minutes of sparkling repartee? Not! How about director Frank Oz? Where were you when it was decided to base an entire movie on these 2004 Stepford women, all dressed in retro pastel florals, with paste-on smiles and one line responses? "The Stepford Wives" plays more as a series of silly, stereotypical vignettes than as a motion picture. There was real comedic potential to be explored here - and the opportunity was totally squandered. What a waste!

Nicole Kidman! Matthew Broderik! Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Bette Midler! The movie has a terrific cast - great actors all. So, who put the wooden words in their mouths? Someone wake-up! What's wrong with this picture? Where's the credible plot? I loved the 1975 horror-thriller and was looking forward to the remake and some good laughs. I should have stayed home.

Joanna Eberhart, (Nicole Kidman), a Type A, obsessively driven career woman, is fired from her job as cable network president because of a PR SNAFU. She has a nervous breakdown and hubby Walter, (Matthew Broderick), moves the family to the upscale, gated suburban community of Stepford, CT for R&R. The Eberhart family soon discovers that life in Stepford is a bit on the twisted side. Here the sun always shines, as do the children and the house. All the wives are carbon copies of June Cleaver crossbred with Marilyn Monroe - and all blondes too. The women-wives never have a hair out of place. Their nails are always manicured, dresses perfectly pressed - that's right - dresses! They even exercise in high heels and dresses - the same floral pastels. OK. We get it. Next joke! Meals are all on time, Dad's time, of course, and all meals are made from scratch. A feminist's nightmare landscape - on the money - repeatedly! How and why do these women, er, sex kitten bimbos, do this?? Ask their hubbies. Ooops. We can't. The guys, excuse me, the shlubby hubbies, are all hanging out at the Men's Club, back-slapping over what a cushy life they lead.

Why don't any of the Stepford newcomer couples notice the strange doings? My question would presume there is something remotely believable in the screenplay which would merit a question. A five year-old would pick up on the "Stepfordish" ambiance a few minutes into the film, (the reference is to the 1975 film with the credible automaton wives). Don't the kids see what's happening to Mommy? So, why don't Nicole and Matt, to say nothing of the extremely sly and witty Ms. Midler, see the weirdness taking place right under their collective noses? I guess it's called Bigtime Bucks!!

Mr. Rudnick's remade updates just don't jive. The women of Stepford are no longer anonymous housewives but high power professionals who attended Ivy League schools. Women who work at home aren't good enough for Hollywood? They have to be surgeons and judges before they decide to stay at home? Wives are not turned into robots but instead have microchips imbedded in their brains to control them. So, if she's not a robot, how come when you put an ATM card in her mouth dollar bills come out? And why, when you push a remote, does her [...] size increases? Duh! The ending is gratuitous, convoluted and just plain sloppy. Ok. I'll tell it like it is, no holds barred. This was the single worst ending to a film that I have ever seen - especially a remake where someone should have known better. It deserves an award!! And I will be happy to give one - 1 Star. Your fired!!
JANA

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Frank Oz
Actors:
Nicole Kidman
Matthew Broderick
Bette Midler




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