Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Once Upon a Time in the West
Productgroup: DVD
Once Upon a Time in the West - movie DVD cover picture
Review For the Common Man

NOTE: If you liked 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly'; or 'The Searchers' or 'The Magnificent Seven' - you probably won't enjoy this film. Nonetheless, even if you have the greatest satelite/cable/TiVo system in the world this MUST be a staple in your DVD library.

OUATITW (Once Upon A Time In The West) isn't so much a western, as how the Old West was perceived by Italian filmmakers. You have to prepare yourself for extremely little dialogue, booming sound effects and the somber (albeit brilliant) muscial score. Let's put this another way folks, OUATITW played EVERY DAY for over 4 years(!) at a movie house in Paris, France - so it was kinda their version of the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show.'

There are dozens of reviews on this (that are far too long), Simply put - if you find yourself with 3 hours to spare on an overcast Sunday afternoon, treat yourself to this masterpiece. You MUST experience it in widescreen, you MUST experience it in stereo. I repeat, you will not be disappointed.

FURTHER NOTE: It sells for less than 10 bucks (brand new!) now, its worth every nickel.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Sergio Leone
Henry Fonda
Charles Bronson

DVD title: Gun Crazy
Productgroup: DVD
Gun Crazy - movie DVD cover picture
"She ain't the type that makes a happy home."

In "Gun Crazy" Bart Tare (John Dall) is raised by his big sister Ruby, and she blames his very early obsession with guns on the fact that "Bart needed a man around the house." But whatever the reason behind Bart's obsession, the fact is that he feels the need to always have a gun in his possession. After stealing some guns from a local shop, Bart is sent off to reform school. Following a stint in the army, Bart returns home. Both of his childhood friends are settled in solid careers--one is a policeman, and the other is a newspaper reporter. Bart's plans are vague. He's now a marksman and has vague plans of getting a job with Remington.
One night, Bart's friends drag him off to a carnival, and there Bart meets a British carnival sharpshooter, Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins). Laurie's baby-face sweet looks cover a heartless killer whose desire for money exceeds all else. The chemistry between Bart and Laurie is immediate. Unfortunately, Laurie wants to live the high life, and so they embark on a life of crime.
For film noir fans, this is a must-see classic. Peggy Cummins is great as the evil Laurie Starr whose overpowering need for wealth and riches (without working for it) pushes weak-willed Bart into an action-packed life of crime. Of course, things spiral into an inevitable conclusion, but the ending, in spite of its predictability, remains riveting. The film is also known as "Deadly is the Female"-displacedhuman.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Peggy Cummins
John Dall

DVD title: Padre Padrone
Productgroup: DVD
Padre Padrone - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best films ever made!

This film is definitely a beautiful film. The courage that it takes Gavino Ledda to go against his father, his master (padre padrone) is incredible. Although I do not want to sound cliche', it's quite a moving film especially for someone who has endured serious difficulties and what might be setbacks in life. Obviously if you're looking for this movie it's because you've seen it or heard good things about it, but it's a must have. Also note that it is NANNI MORETTI who plays Ledda's friend in the Army in Pisa... I give this movie more than 5 stars.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Omero Antonutti

DVD title: Live From New Zealand
Productgroup: DVD
Live From New Zealand - movie DVD cover picture
A Sweet Caress to the Soul

There is music that makes you wanna dance, there is music that is relaxing and there is this rare kind of music that touches your soul. The music of Hayley Westenra unquestionably belongs to the latter. Being blessed with a hauntingly beautiful voice that gives you goose bumps which just won't go away, Hayley is gradually bringing her talent to a perfection that is not of this world.

I have been a faithful admirer of Sarah Brightman for 18 years and I have always been positive that there cannot possibly be a voice with a clarity greater than hers. Having heard Hayley, I knew I was wrong. Her latest album she named "Pure" and the ever growing throng of Hayley's fans would right away agree that "nomen est omen".

Every song on this DVD is a masterpiece, so I would not dare make a ranking, but personally I enjoyed "May it Be", "Wuthering Heights" and "Hine e Hine" the most.

I strongly recommend that you buy this DVD. You would not want to miss out on an early concert of the artist that will one day be referred to as the "Voice of the 21st Century". At the same time you will be able to let your eyes feast on a very pretty, charming young lady that moves very elegantly to her celestial tunes. Do buy this DVD and share it with someone whom you truly love!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Hayley Westenra

DVD title: Death in Venice
Productgroup: DVD
Death in Venice - movie DVD cover picture

Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel "Death in Venice" is nothing short of a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The more I watch this film, the more I realize how perfect it is.
For those unfamiliar with Thomas Mann's 1911 novel of the same name, there are a few differences. No movie that I'm aware of follows its original book to a "T". But the changes that Italian director Visconti adds to the story are intriguing and beautiful. I don't mind his personal touches in the slightest. Indeed, the film wouldn't be nearly as good otherwise.
The intuition to make the Aschenbach character really be Jewish/Austrian famed composer Gustav Mahler and set the movie's soundtrack to that of Mahler's 3rd and 5th symphonies was brilliant. I can't say if Thomas Mann originally intended the Aschenbach character to truly be Mahler in the novel or not?
Having the main character be a tired, worn out Gustav Mahler is a brilliant masterstroke of pure genius. We're left with a film that condenses everything brilliant that is Europe. Using Mahler's own music creates a depth and haunting realism to the film as well.
The casting in this film is extraordinary! You could not have casted a better cast to play these characters anywhere. The young man who plays the beautiful Tadzio looks like a Norweignean version of a sculpted Apollo youth. His features are those of a god. His silouette against the backdrop of the sparkling sea pointing out over the waters is one the most erotically charged scenes I've ever seen in a movie. It's breathtaking really, and one almost forgets the possibly taboo homoerotic connotations such a scenario is from the standpoint of the aged Aschenbach.
I have seen many films shot in and around Venice, Italy ("the Italian Job" most recently), but none have come as close to this as personifying the city and showing it as beautifully. In my opinion, Visconti's "Death in Venice" is to Venice what Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" is to Rome.
Foreign film lovers should not miss this classic. Travelers who've been to Italy, or dream of visiting one day, also should not miss this beautiful film. I may not recommend the film to younger audiences who probably aren't ready to understand why a dying man would entertain fantasies of a physical passion for a teen boy. In such cases, I would say the film is probably unsuitable for viewers under the ages of 15 or so.
The DVD has a nice picture in 16x9 widescreen for widescreen televisions and is compressed lightly with low grain and nice blacks and contrast. The sound is stereo and in the English language, so subtitles aren't necessary. The film is also shot in glorious color in a vivid but controlled manner. When I first saw this film I was sorry that it wasn't filmed in black & white, but now that I think on it, this story works better in color and the colors of this film are gorgeous. Venice always photographs well, but I have rarely seen the old city look so sumptuous as it does here. Some grade-A, top-notch cinematography went into the making of this rich and luxurious movie.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Luchino Visconti
Dirk Bogarde

DVD title: Red Dwarf - Series 1 & 2
Productgroup: DVD
Red Dwarf - Series 1 & 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Extras Galore

Hrm, sorry kids, Cat is one of my favorites, though I tend to say that Lister is perhaps the strongest character of the lot. Nevertheless, it is all hilarious, and I urge all RD fans to buy these DVDs. Has good commentary, and fun interactive screen (though I do wish there were more to them). I am so antsy for the others to come out. Why do they have to drag out the anticipation? I suspect for monetary reasons. Such is life. Smeg happens, yeah?

Studio: Warner Home Video
Clare Grogan
Chris Barrie
Craig Charles

DVD title: The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
Productgroup: DVD
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings - movie DVD cover picture
very fun&uplifting film

a great tribute too the negro league players.overcoming racism&hustling owners.they defend themselves really well from both worlds and achieve there goals.James Earl jones,Billy Dee Williams,each give great performances.but Richard Pryor with his ricky ricardo take steals the show.a great look into the negro leagues.and very uplifting.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Badham
Billy Dee Williams
James Earl Jones
Richard Pryor

DVD title: Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago)
Productgroup: DVD
Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago) - movie DVD cover picture
Buy Buy Buy

Anybody who is a Shania Twain fan must purchase this DVD, especially if they have never seen Shania live in concert. The show is energetic, fun, and showcases Shania's amazing talent. There are extra performances that were not shown on television. I am extremely pleased with the mix of songs that Shania incorperated in this concert. I've been following her career since the debut of her first album in 1993 so I love seeing her perform the Shania classics. It's refreshing to see she has not forgotten her past hits that launched her career, as some performers do. I guarantee a good time whenever you watch this incredible performance by Shania. So, do yourself a huge favor and buy a copy!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Shania Twain

DVD title: Body Double
Productgroup: DVD
Body Double - movie DVD cover picture
To be a voyeur or to be a vampire

Brian de Palma is at his best in this film. We can of course push aside the funny elements, such as the claustrophobic vampire. That is only funny, and yet it is essential in the film, because this claustrophobia explains at least two elements in the crime story. Far more interesting is the voyeurism of the main character. This voyeurism is the key of the film. He is trapped into witnessing the killing of a woman by her own husband he thinks is an Indian and a thief, by the husband himself who lends him his apartment to keep for a little while but he ensnares him in the apartment with the possibility to watch a neighbor doing strip-tease acts. And this is the serious business in the film. The crime itself is nothing. But the voyeurism is really enticing and thrilling, intellectually. First the police does not do their job because the main witness, supported though by two other witnesses, is a voyeur, so they don't trust him, even if they don't push charges against his voyeurism. Voyeurism is a crime in the US and it perverts police work and makes a witness untrustable. But what is the meaning of voyeurism in our societies ? It is the power of the eye, it is the extension of the eye. It is an essential element in man's understanding and grasping of the world. The first way for man to situate himself in the world is through his vision. So, what a man can see is fundamental for his self-positioning in the world. There is no escape here. And it is the source of a tremendous pleasure, the pleasure of belonging in a real situation. The second dimension is that voyeurism deals with what people do not hide to the outside world. In other words voyeurism is the result of exhibitionism. If people did not show what they do show, people would not try to see it. Voyeurism is more the result of exhibitionism than anything else. But we are in a film and the cinema is supposed to show things that we would normally not see. The cinema, another extension of the eye, is basically exhibitionistic. It has to show private events for itself to be in anyway effective. So Brian de Palma is speaking of his art. If voyeurism is a sex-offense, then all cinema-goers are sex-offenders and should be put behind bars. And all cinemas should be closed. And all televisions should be destroyed. In other words, society does not follow the human track that has brought humanity from blind animality, and it would have meant death and extinction, to seeing things, interpreting things, analyzing things, building theories about things. Teaching has been using the eye for centuries. In the days when we could not read, in the Middle Ages, teaching was done in churches through visual aids, such as pictures, frescos, paintings, tapestries, sculptures that all gave the faithful the possibility to see and understand the teachings of the church, the teachings of the Book. And the film shows how the voyeuristic witness is in fact perfectly human, because he tries to go beyond what he saw and understand what he saw, which leads him to the truth, to the criminal. This film is so well done at this level of the eye, that every single scene is built in a way that our eye is fascinated, titillated and led into pure pleasure, the pleasure of suspense as well as the pleasure of truth. We are turned into voyeurs in order for the film to work as a crime story. We could analyze every single camera shot to show how the camera, which is another extension of the eye, is turned into an extension of our very personal and own eyes. We see through the camera and it moves the way we would move if we were in the situation. The main character is then our bodydouble, the one through which we project ourselves into the picture. In other words there is no distance at all between us and the situation. We are in the situation and we see with our own eyes what the main character is supposed to see with his eyes. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Brian De Palma
Craig Wasson
Melanie Griffith

DVD title: Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of those rare series

Of all the documentaries that have every existed, this one out shines them all, like a new born sun.
In the span of 13 hours you will learn that the Cosmos is all that is, all that ever was and all that every will be. You will also learn some things in between.
This documentary is a shining example of our scientific knowledge and although it is some 20+ years old, it is surprisingly still highly accurate.
In the few spots where there may be discrepancies there are new and added "Cosmos Updates" that help us through. These obviously filmed prior to the death of Dr. Carl Segan.
It is a must for anyone who enjoys the science of the cosmos. From the big bang to the present day it shows us, in depth, what hydrogen atoms can do given 15 billion years of evolution

Studio: Cosmos Studios
Carl Sagan

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