Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Kayak Roll
Productgroup: DVD
The Kayak Roll - movie DVD cover picture
Roll or Die

I finally picked this DVD up a year ago, watched it a couple times through last winter. Got it out in early spring, watched it again. Went out and still bombed a few attempts. Payed closer attention and within an hour was popping rolls fairly frequently. Excellent teaching tool, by the end of the summer I was rolling on both sides, fully loaded sea kayak. Rough water, cold water. Just put the boat away for the winter two weeks ago, here in MN, no open water left. Last thing I did before the end of the season, a couple of real cold rolls.

Studio: Performance Video
Director: Kent Ford

DVD title: Braveheart
Productgroup: DVD
Braveheart - movie DVD cover picture
Gibson's Greatest Film

Throughout the ages, oppression has taken many forms, rearing it's ugly head to deny the liberty and the rights of people everywhere, and the cry of "Freedom" and the inherent longing to be free of tyranny in any of it's many incarnations is universal and older than recorded history. Man has fought on one battlefield or another and in one arena after another in an effort to rid himself of the shackles that bind him, and he has always paid a dear price for that freedom. "Braveheart," directed by and starring Mel Gibson, is the story of one man who would not abide the despotic rule of an unworthy sovereign, and took a stand against it. A 13th Century commoner and a patriot who loved his country, Scotland, William Wallace (Gibson) burned with an unquenchable desire to be free of the British, who had murdered his father when William was just a boy. Raised by kin, Wallace nevertheless grew up wanting only to marry, work his farm and raise a family. But circumstances dictated otherwise, and without knowing what they had unleashed, the British rekindled that fire that burned within the boy, and Wallace soon left his mark on the Monarchy of King Edward I of England.
Wallace was a man of singular determination, and managed to do what no one else had ever been able to do before him: He united the clans of Scotland. Before Wallace, the clans stubbornly clung to their autonomy, changed loyalties whenever the mood struck them or the price was right, and endured the domination of the British because of it. Wallace changed all that, by convincing them that by standing together as one, they could win. And he proved it. He amassed an army and made a stand at York, and again on the battlefields of Stirling and Falkirk. With savage tenacity and courage, he never gave in nor gave up his relentless and heroic quest to make Scotland free.
Gibson brings Wallace to life with a performance worthy of the man he portrays. To achieve what he did, Wallace had to be larger than life, and that's exactly what Gibson brings to the screen. But he plays him as a man, not a hero; Gibson's Wallace is very real, and someone you can believe would be able to stand before an army and lead them into battle. In one memorable scene Wallace, mounted on a spirited horse, addresses his men-- many of whom had just joined him-- as they are about to engage the enemy at Stirling. Someone from amongst the crowd calls out, "We heard Wallace is seven feet tall!" To which Wallace replies, "I AM William Wallace!" And by the time he finishes his powerful speech (which screenwriter Randall Wallace openly confesses was liberally borrowed from Shakespeare's "Henry V"), spurring them on and preparing them for the impending battle, you believe he IS seven feet tall. It's an inspired performance through which Gibson shows you the man behind the legend, while at the same time he makes you understand just how and why the legend was born.
And, as impressive as Gibson is in front of the camera, what he does behind the camera with this film is even more impressive. The magnitude of this film is awe inspiring, and that Gibson could carry it as an actor, while directing it as well, is quite a feat, indeed. He used the bleak weather of Scotland and Ireland to great advantage in scene after scene, creating the perfect atmosphere in which to tell his story; he experimented with different camera speeds, especially when filming Catherine McCormack (Murron), which gave her a more graceful, sensuous look; he staged some of the most compelling battle sequences ever made; and he captured the intricacies of the characters-- all with an eye for detail and the ability to integrate it all into a film that took home the Oscar for Best Picture, while deservedly landing him the Award for Best Director. It was obviously a labor of love for Gibson, but the hard work paid off handsomely in the end, especially for the audience, for it is they who realize the real fruits of this endeavor-- a truly stirring and memorable motion picture.
The supporting cast includes Patrick McGoohan (Longshanks), Sophie Marceau (Isabelle), Angus MacFadyen (Robert the Bruce), Brendan Gleeson (Hamish) and Peter Hanly (Prince Edward). A film of epic proportions, "Braveheart" is emotionally involving and inspiring, with a message about the irrepressible capacity of the human spirit. Gibson put everything he had into this one, and it shows; this is his "Citizen Kane," a pinnacle of achievement that few actor/directors every attain. With brilliant cinematography (by John Toll), some of the finest editing you'll ever see (by Steven Rosenblum), terrific performances and Gibson's special touch, this is an unforgettable film that demonstrates what the magic of the movies is really all about. If you love movies, this is one you simply do not want to miss.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
Sophie Marceau

DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful show, good DVD

I was so disappointed when Firefly was cancelled and absolutely overjoyed when I learned they were releasing the entire series on DVD, including 3 episodes I had never seen. I bought the box set just a few days ago and have already watched all 14 episodes. This series has everything- an interesting plot, fascinating three dimensional characters and a fantastic setting. Fox made a big mistake when they cancelled it. I don't know why they didn't give it a better chance to succeed. It was mishandled from the very beginning- I won't go into the details, but Fox basically shot themselves in the foot here.Anyway, I would recommend this set to anyone who enjoys character development, humor, drama, romance, action, adventure, etc.There's only one downside-after watching all the episodes offered, you're left wanting more. Each character has a mystery in their past and none are solved in this box set-which is maddening, I admit. But what's there is so good, it's worth the aggravation of being left hanging. AND I've heard distant rumors that a Firefly movie may be in the works!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Nathan Fillion

DVD title: St. Elmo's Fire
Productgroup: DVD
St. Elmo's Fire - movie DVD cover picture
My favorite movie of all time...

I'm generally a pretty harsh critic, and my cinema tastes pander quite heavily towards the European side. However, this is quite simply my favorite movie of all time.
The plot is often silly, and there are a few genuinely bad cringe-inducing moments (Kevin and the prostitute, anyone?). Critically, it's a mess. And yet, it is overwhelmingly "real" as both an emotional piece, as well as a nostalgic treatise on all that was the 80's. The actors all have limited range (the brat pack were *not* thespians) - but luckily enough, the casting is dead on target (when else was Rob Lowe ever believable? ).
A thoroughly charming film, one that makes a not-so-bygone era come refreshingly alive again. Absolutely silly, and absolutely wonderful.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Joel Schumacher
Rob Lowe
Andrew McCarthy
Demi Moore

DVD title: Black Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
Black Christmas - movie DVD cover picture

This is one of my favourite Horror Movies after Halloween!A true Canadian gem that has gone unnoticed for so long... I am lucky enuff to live in the neighbourhood where this film was made! Pick up a copy and enjoy!

Studio: Music Video Distribu
Director: Bob Clark (III)
Olivia Hussey
Keir Dullea

DVD title: Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The best time I have had with films in a long time.

Too many of you people...way too many of you people have grown so cynical and jaded that you can no longer see your own hand in front of your face. I am sick and tired of hearing such nitpicking on something that is just good clean fun. For crying out loud you people act as though you had just undergone botched surgery in a Mexican prison. It's just a fun bunch of films that I had fun watching when I was 7, 10, and 13. It was fun to see them again and I am very thankful that George Lucas was able to contribute to myself discovering I should be an artist. I would tell you people to grow up but that would be a mistake. You have grown up too much and are far too critical. Watch the films with some 7 year olds and see if they talk and think as you do. I doubt it. I am ashamed to see what you have written about these films. It makes me sad.

I have more to say...

I have a theory that the harsh cynical critics. You know who you are. You actually still love these films, even in their slightly altered forms and you get as silly as a schoolgirl when you watch them. These feelings that are linked to youth embarrass you and you feel conflicted therefore you consciously or unconsciously criticize the films, nitpicking at everything, writing reviews, telling George that he is out of his mind. This is all so that you can still be a part of the discussion and still exist on the fringes of something that is important to you. Of course when I see films that I do not like or I see something from my youth that no longer interests me I just move on. You won't find some big hoopla, and long winded convoluted explanations about what is not exactly to my liking. It's Georges film and he can do what ever he wants. You want something different go make your own fool film. As far as sound quality goes I felt that all 3 sounded amazing. I am using a good Bose system with 5.1 sound. Perhaps your ears are damaged in one frequency or another. Perhaps your system sucks, or you have it hooked up wrong, or your rooms acoustics suck. Or your DVD player is broken. Or you just lost that part of childhood that let you enjoy these films without being so critical and that makes you mad and you don't know why so you blame the messenger rather than look long and hard at yourself.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Harrison Ford

DVD title: The Secret of My Success
Productgroup: DVD
The Secret of My Success - movie DVD cover picture
Michael Fox Gives You a Two Hour Smile

1987's 'The Secret of my Success' was looked at by producers and possibly Mike himself as just another way to keep himself busy and broaden his fame while in the 'Family Ties' era. But 'The Secret of My Success' exploded when Michael J. Fox's talent wasnt the sole shining star of the movie..providing a great supporting cast of huge actors like Maggie Whitton, who played Fox's sensuous aunt Vera. Michael J. Fox comes to New York from a small country farm where his parents live, to give a familiar story of determination to succeed in a city that still rings true: "If I Can Make It There....." Fox gets one foot in the door of a major corporation when his jerk uncle Howard Prescott decides to hire him in the mail room. The movie is perfect for Mike, whos' tremendous acting talent lends itself well to a young boy who works his way up the ladder of a multi-national corporation headed by a creep, and on the verge of overturning. I make it sound too dark though...the movie is non-stop laughs and an uplifting story that really does put a permanant smile on your face. Along with the greatest soundtrack Ive ever heard, which if youre buying this movie you HAVE to get the CD too, with all original songs and scores by performers like Pat Benatar, Night Ranger, David Foster, and Restless Heart. I can tell you right now if you've ever watched an episode of 'Family Ties', ever saw 'Back To the Future' 5 or 6 times in the last 4 years on tv or loved Fox's reign on 'Spin City'...this movie is perfect for you. A fast-paced, hilarious, energetic and cheerful movie that's great for the whole family. It deffinately gives us one of the many great things to remember about our friend.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Herbert Ross
Michael J. Fox
Helen Slater

DVD title: Very Bad Things
Productgroup: DVD
Very Bad Things - movie DVD cover picture

I just had to put in 2 cents worth because it disappointed me that some people apparently aren't open-minded enough to notice how funny this movie is!!! There is a quite defined plot, the actors are great, and the comedy is dark so expect nothing less, in short it's Funny As Hell!!!

Studio: Usa Films
Director: Peter Berg
Cameron Diaz
Christian Slater
Daniel Stern

DVD title: Uzumaki
Productgroup: DVD
Uzumaki  - movie DVD cover picture
Creepy fun

I will simply say 'ditto' to the fact that this is a weird, fun movie. A summation of the plot is uselesss since it is impossible to fully explain what is happening (a good thing!). A tale of japanese students with odd cliques in a city ruled by spiral shapes. It should be added that the sound and music do a lot to add to the creepy atmosphere.
Lastly, it should be added that the tale has a precursor in japanese tails of a serpent who lives in a lake, wreaking havoc on a city. The story seems to take that and runs with it creating beautiful, creepy imagery that will stick with you. I TiVo'd this off IFC and found myself replaying parts just for the odd imagery. Keep an eye out for wierd visual metaphors and changes to the city. Great for anyone who liked off beat tales like Donnie Darko or Solaris.

Director: Higuchinsky

DVD title: Baby Boom
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Boom - movie DVD cover picture
A Sweet , Endearing, Funny Movie!

This is one of my all time favorites!!! Who can resist Diane Keaton and that GORGEOUS baby! At times it's hysterical and at times it makes you want to cry....but in the end it's a heart warming film. I have watched it so many times I think I literally wore out the tape. If you don't want to purchase it, do yourself a favor and at least rent won't be disappointed!

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Charles Shyer
Diane Keaton
Sam Shepard

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