Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: One Hour Photo (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
One Hour Photo (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Robin Williams can pull off anything


If you haven't seen ONE HOUR PHOTO, you are missing Robin Williams' strongest dramatic performance ever. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is a genuine if not disturbing character he portrays in Sal The Photo Guy. Williams doesn't overplay or underplay his character's pathetically lonely life and his desire to connect with an attractive and well-off suburban family of 3.
Not only is Williams' performance worth noting, but the production and art direction are very important to the film's overall look and feel. The discount store where Sal works is bathed in glaring white light, and Sal's uniform is a drab, beige uniform that only highlights the perception that Sal is really invisible to the community at large. He's just another clerk in just another big-box store in big-city America. His apartment is mostly drab as well in its lack of decoration and color. This in stark contrast to the rich colors of the suburban family's home and their very busy daily lives.
ONE HOUR PHOTO is not only making a statement about modern morals. It is making an even stronger statement on the state of modern American society that has fragmented and isolated its citizens to a greater degree than we could have ever expected.
I walked away from the film feeling sympathy and even more so, great sadness and pity for Sal's character. While his actions and motives are wrong, it is hard not to feel that he is trapped in his very lonely universe with no one to care about him.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Mark Romanek
Actors:
Robin Williams
Connie Nielsen
Michael Vartan




DVD title: Gypsy 83
Productgroup: DVD
Gypsy 83 - movie DVD cover picture
A gem!


This is a wonderful movie about embracing who you are: no matter who that may be: a Stevie Nicks fan, a Goth, a gay person, an alcoholic lounge singer....all of the above. This movie doesn't really sugar coat any of the characters challenges, which is very refreshing. No happy Hollywood ending here...I agree with other reviewers that there are a few gaps in the movie, particularly in Clive's back story. A look at the deleted scenes section of the DVD will remedy to that problem. If you didn't belong in high-school and still feel like an alien in this world: you will love that movie.If you were elected Prom Queen/King and are homophobic: beware of a possible heart attack! If you are an artist at heart and haven't created in a long time: you will be inspired to come out and play."Singers are supposed to sing."( replace singers by anything you want to be!)You gotta love that motto! This movie made me want to grab my Cure c.ds and dance around twirling a fringed shawl!

Studio: Hart Sharp Video Llc
Director: Todd Stephens



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
A well-done visual feast


The importance of Master And Commander is that it shares with Crowe's earlier movie Gladiator something rare in contemporary filmmaking. Both films actually tell us a story about people and worlds strange to us. Too often in "historical" films although the dress and settings are in the past the characters display attitudes, beliefs and conflicts that reflect more modern concerns from our time. Too often what we get are contemporary "morality plays" acted out in costume dramas in either a past age or in outer space. These have their value but often fail as storytelling.
What we have in Master And Commander is a tale of a world (Napoleonic seafaring warfare) in which the characters hold to rules that are foreign to us and whom we do not immediately understand. Crowe as Aubrey drives this story according to the imperatives of command. To succeed in a mission against a superior opponent he is horribly mismatched, Crowe must summon courage, determination, and cleverness to avoid defeat several times and then finally triumph. The ship's surgeon serves as Aubrey's best friend and sometime conscience as he questions Aubrey several times whether he is pursuing his quest against the French warship out of a sense of loyalty and duty or because he doesn't want his pride to be hurt.
The truth is (as in all of us) Aubrey's motives are mixed. While he does act out of a need to do his duty as England herself is threatened with invasion, Aubrey also does not want to be bested by a French captain. Still, while his motives may be tainted, Aubrey is not dissuaded from the fight. Yet any suspicions that the ship's surgeon himself was counseling out of weakness and lack of courage are dispelled in the events to follow.
That Aubrey would succeed the viewer never doubts. But this is no simple tale of triumph. The harshness of sea life and the absolute ruthless nature of the need to maintain order under primitive conditions are not slighted. The inhumane sacrifice of good men to save the ship. The merciless whippings of lawbreakers to maintain discipline. And the bloody butchery of sea battle. All these are depicted so that the viewer makes no mistake. Finally, the heavy loss of life of seaman and officer alike in contact with the enemy.
It is a certain kind of courage to do something difficult. It takes a different kind of courage to meet a challenge when there is a very real possibility and likelihood one will lose. Would we have thought it worth the sacrifice and pain to capture just one ship from all the oceans of the world? Could we have driven others under our responsibility to suffer so much of the sake of any goal? Maybe not. But Master And Commander shows us men who did and a world we have largely forgotten.

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




DVD title: Almost Famous
Productgroup: DVD
Almost Famous - movie DVD cover picture
A Triumph! Immensely Entertaining! 6 Stars Out Of 5!!


I had the awful feeling that I was going to hate this movie when I popped in this DVD for my inaugural look at the film. But my initial apprehension toward the picture vaporized almost instantly upon watching the film's first scene.

I couldn't believe how much I liked this movie. In my view, Director/Producer/Writer Cameron Crowe has done the near-impossible with this motion picture. That being: He's taken a group of people that could have been so easily looked down upon and intensely disliked, and instead turned this assorted band of musicians, groupies, mothers, sisters, and rock-n-roll managers into some of the most interesting and fun-to-watch individuals ever to share a movie set together.

Add to this mix one very likeable-right-off-the-bat young 15-year-old would-be music journalist (played to perfection by Patrick Fugit), and what you have in your midst is a highly-entertaining movie about ambition, music, a devoted mother's love, soul-searching, friendships, and chasing dreams.

Every scene in this film is a memorable one. The whole movie feels "real", in this writer's opinion. Nothing seems faked, or phonied, or Hollywoodized. A reason for this, of course, is in large part due to the fact that the film is a great deal auto-biographical, with Fugit portraying Crowe when Cameron was a teenaged writer for Rolling Stone Magazine.

And while it's rated "R" (for language and drug content), the film never once bogs itself down with the cliched rock band negativity of drugs, sex, and booze. Sure, these elements are shown through Mr. Crowe's camera lens; but it's never displayed in such a way as to be a turnoff. If this film were in the form of a book, it would indeed be described as a real "page turner". The viewer anxiously awaits the next "page" (scene).

There are two scenes in this film that are true "set pieces" in my mind (and after just seeing the movie one time). One such piece occurs as the fictional band with which our talented young "Rolling Stone" journalist ("William Miller") is travelling encounters severe turbulence on an airplane flight taking the group to its next concert date. As the severe thunderstorm batters the plane to the point where all aboard are nearly convinced they'll soon be meeting an untimely demise, one by one the passengers begin to confess their inner-most secrets and indiscretions. This fabulous scene is at the same time comical, bittersweet, and poignant. As the aircraft finally breaks free of the turbulent air, much to the delight of the exuberant pilots, our band of passengers is too mentally drained from the confessions they've just offered up to each other to join in the celebration of the fact that they are, in fact, going to survive the ordeal. The scene concludes comically with a member of the group, who has just informed everyone of a dark secret concerning sexual orientation, slamming the cockpit door closed to silence the cheers of the pilots. Great, great scene!

Another highly-memorable portion of the film takes place on the band's tour bus. Elton John can be heard on the bus radio, singing "Tiny Dancer". Gradually, the vehicle is filled with singing, as everyone begins joining Elton in belting out the tune. This scene is one to play over and over again, as the feeling of togetherness and harmony fills the bus at that moment.

The DVD presentation here is as flawless as the film contained on the disc. Picture quality is exceptional via the nice 1.85:1 Widescreen Anamorphic transfer. And the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround soundtrack is definitely robust enough to give those speakers a nice workout, especially during the many musical numbers heard throughout the movie.

There's an adequate Making-Of featurette included as well, which contains several photos of a young Cameron Crowe "on the road" as a Rolling Stone scribe.

For anyone who hasn't seen this picture who might be thinking (as I did before viewing it) that this is a movie filled with loud, obnoxious, cocaine-snorting booze-heads and the less-than-desirable environs that people of that ilk generally inhabit, let me assure you that "Almost Famous" will pleasantly surprise you.

These characters are well-written, never "over the top", and totally engaging from the first chapter of this DVD until the last.

It immediately has zoomed into my Top 25 of all-time favorite flicks!

I still can't believe how truly good this movie is. It's one that could easily be viewed time and again, and enjoyed just as much with each successive screening.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Cameron Crowe
Actors:
Billy Crudup



DVD title: True Crime
Productgroup: DVD
True Crime - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies ever!


This is one of the best Clint Eastwood Movies I've ever seen! I'm not going to tell you the end, because I think you really should buy this movie! Clint Eastwood, Ev, a reporter, has taken over a case for a newspaper from a girl who has just died in a tragic car accident. She was on the case of Frank Beachum. While Ev is trying to get the facts of this case he thinks Frank is innocent. Frank got the penalty of death for killing a 20 year old storekeeper. The time is ticking and Frank only has a few hours to see his wife and daughter. This case keeps Ev busy and forgets all about his family...
Too bad I couldn't give 6 stars for this movie!!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Clint Eastwood
Actors:
Clint Eastwood
Isaiah Washington




DVD title: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town - movie DVD cover picture
Mr. Deeds is a Natural


Peerless Frank Capra comedy. Not only are all the inhabitants of Mandrake Falls Vermont pixilated, but you might be too after seeing this gem.
Cooper heads a real Capraesque cast about Longfellow Deeds who inherits millions of dollars. Douglas Dumbrille as the shifty attorney Cedar...of Cedar , Cedar, Cedar a Buddington is nasty as ever. Warren Hymer and Lionel Stander do their funny bits.
Jean Arthur is always sincere and H.B. Warner always straight as an arrow.Film reflects a time and a place where wonders still exist.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Frank Capra
Actors:
Gary Cooper
Jean Arthur




DVD title: Hitch (Fullscreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Hitch (Fullscreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Funny and fun


I wanted to watch something light and fun. I expected to like it, but I did not expect to laugh so hard. Will Smith is fantastic, but Kevin James (Albert) steals the show. Chick flick? Not so much. It appeals to both sexes. My brother and his guy friend loved it too. We all walked out laughing and doing the Qtip dance! I'm giving it five stars because it did the job of making me laugh, making my heart melt just a little bit, and all without being cheezy or corny.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Andy Tennant
Actors:
Will Smith
Eva Mendes
Kevin James (III)




DVD title: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Full Screen)
Productgroup: DVD
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Full Screen) - movie DVD cover picture
Sandra Bullock is my role model


Oh the story of mothers and daughters a never-ending battle between good and evil. This is the movie that any daughter and mother can relate too. I love this movie and watch it often.

The movie starts as a grown Sidda(Sandra Bullock)and now famous playwright talks to the Times about her childhood-telling some less than flattering things about her mother. When Sidda's mother reads the article all hell breaks loose. That's when the Ya-Yas come in good friends to Vivine they decide it's their task to help Sidda understand her mother's past so, they do what any good friend would do- kidnap Sidda and tell her the secrets the Ya-Yas have shared. Through this ordeal Sidda understands a little more about herself and the relationship she has with her mother evening learning to forgive her mother for some abuse she suffered as a child. All in all this is a hillarous coming to terms with life comedy. I found myself questioning my own relationship with my mother.

Sandra Bullock gives her best performance, while the rest of the all star cast shines just as brightly. This a movie that every mother and daughter should watch together! Perfect treat for mother's day or a girls night movie fest! All in all don't wait click the buy now button!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Callie Khouri
Actors:
Sandra Bullock
Ellen Burstyn




DVD title: Trigun Vol. 3 - Wolfwood
Productgroup: DVD
Trigun Vol. 3 - Wolfwood - movie DVD cover picture
Great!


This is a very good addition to the story of Trigun. I have watched it over 20 times and I am still not tiered of it. BUY IT!

Studio: Pioneer Video



DVD title: Scream 2
Productgroup: DVD
Scream 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Wes Craven's Done It Again!


Scream was the coolest non-creature-feature movie I have ever seen. And Scream 2 holds its own with the original! Most people who reviewed this movie on Amazon.com liked it alot. But if you look at the reviews for the Scream 2 soundtrack, most say that the movie itself sucked. No offense to them or anything but they are the kind of people who watch Teletubbies and listen to Disney scores. Scream 2 is definetly what a sequel should be!

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Director: Wes Craven
Actors:
David Arquette
Neve Campbell
Courteney Cox




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