Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: What the Bleep Do We Know!?
Productgroup: DVD
What the Bleep Do We Know!? - movie DVD cover picture
Scientists have open minds

I think this is one hell of a movie. I have had the pleasure (pain?) of being strongly indoctrinated by several different powerful groups in my life:
!) Catholicism - youth
2) Scientism - twenties through graduate school
3) Materialism - throughout my life, anyone who lives in our culture is totally indoctrinated after several years of watching TV alone.

I have examined carefully the tenants of each different group. With an open mind, I have determined that ALL points of view have some degree of truth in them. The trick is to approach all relative points of view with an open mind. I have experienced some of the phenomena that the movie describes. These experiences plus rational thought allow me to accept some of the basic tenets of the presentation as being "true" for me. It is no small truth that some of the greatest scientists of all time are spiritually minded people who could easily be labelled "New Agers" if you were to read their philosophical ideas. For example: Einstein, Huxley, Descartes and the list goes on and on. Small minded scientists with small ideas proudly and plentifully pontificate on a plethora of concepts for which they have no experiential and no philosophical nor intellectual capacity to judge the concomitant "truthfulness". So there!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Marlee Matlin
Elaine Hendrix

DVD title: Nostalghia
Productgroup: DVD
Nostalghia - movie DVD cover picture
Words Do No Justice, but . . .

I'm delighted to see that so many reviewers feel this is Tarkovsky's best work. Not because it necessarily is his best (they are all amazing), but because I cannot describe the sensations this film evokes. It is my favorite for no other reason. I wrote my Master's thesis on Tarkovsky and this one haunts me the most and causes giddiness even as I type. To be felt and not understood is the double plight - for the film's characters and for us.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Oleg Yankovsky
Erland Josephson
Domiziana Giordano

DVD title: Bridget Jones's Diary
Productgroup: DVD
Bridget Jones's Diary - movie DVD cover picture
I love this movie!

From the very beginning, when single thirty-something Bridget Jones begins recounting her experience at her mother's New Year's Day party, I knew I was going to like her. In fact, I completely fell in love with "Bridget Jones's Diary," a film that not only takes an upbeat approach to being single (what romantic comedy doesn't at some point?), but also employs some of the most witty, sarcastic, and quite refreshing humor I've heard in a movie this year.
Renee Zellweger plays Bridget, who works at a publishing firm in London by day, and sits on her couch eating ice cream and drinking wine by night. She dreads her mother's parties as her mother always plays matchmaker, so when she introduces Bridget to Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth, she feigns interest, and is insulted when Mark makes demeaning comments about her.
Setting out to find the right man, she begins a diary, beginning with her New Year's resolution of finding the perfect mate, who, for the time being happens to be her boss, Daniel Cleaver, played by Hugh Grant. For one glorious week, they shag, they laugh, they have dinner, and for a small time, Bridget seems happy. But once she mentions love, it's bye, bye, love, and she's single again, and soon finds herself drawn to Mark, who has a past score to settle with Daniel.
The key to making this comedy work is the casting, which is phenomenally bright. Zellweger is the perfect compliment to the portrayal of Bridget's many awkward moments, and she handles the material with such confidence and humor that her character becomes an instant smash. She plays Bridget not as a whiny, waifish martyr whose emotions are on constant overload, but as a full-figured, witty and refreshingly different single girl who looks at being single the way many of us would like to.
Hugh Grant proves that he is much better when he's playing the twit, and as Daniel, he's given the perfect chance to act as such. Colin Firth is surprisingly effective as Mark Darcy, employing a subtle wit and charm into his character that becomes engaging and, at times, humorous. Each of these actors share a warm chemistry and delightful exchanges of dialogue with Zellweger, selling us on their romances together while keeping the sap to a minimum.
What makes the movie shine is the fact that it strays from the garden variety chick flick agendas and comes out with some very original material. There are inklings of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" throughout the movie, though most of the material is given a new feel. And instead of being a boring, melodramatic yarn about yuppies in love, it becomes a bright, upbeat comedy about the single life and how one very awkward woman handles hers.
The comedy that emanates from the movie is undeniably hilarious, one of the better comedies of this year. Bridget's situations are funny because she handles them with a serious demeanor. The scene involving her trek down the fire poll is a comedic gem ("Excellent. Am national laughingstock. Have bottom the size of Brazil."), as is Bridget showing up at an outdoor party in a skimpy bunny suit after the plans were changed to formal wear.
In the end, though, what really makes this movie shine is its lead actress. Renee Zellweger is a wonderful actress, one that brings a new face and a new meaning to comedy. In "Bridget Jones's Diary," she takes Bridget's single life and turns it into some of the most funny, highly humorous moments in recent memory. The material is original and refreshing, and makes this romantic comedy a cut above the rest.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Sharon Maguire
Renée Zellweger
Colin Firth

DVD title: Lover Come Back
Productgroup: DVD
Lover Come Back - movie DVD cover picture
Doris and Rock together again!

The Winter of 1961-62 was a lot warmer thanks to the delightful onscreen antics of Doris Day, Rock Hudson, and Tony Randall, the triumvirate who had made a blockbuster called "Pillow Talk" a couple of years earlier. Reteamed in "Lover Come Back", they scored an even greater success this time out. Thanks to a very funny and sharp script penned by Stanley Shapiro, who won an Oscar for "Talk", and aided by Delbart Mann's smooth direction, "Lover" was the third biggest moneymaking film of 1962, right behind "That Touch of Mink", another Day/Shapiro/Mann collaboration.
Seen today, "Lover Come Back" remains an uproarious comedy about the advertising trade in New York City. It's romantic, for sure, but it's also insightful, slightly satiric, and very sexy.
Doris and Rock play competing advertising agents. She's professional and dedicated, he's unscrupulous, if necessary, seemingly willing to do anything to land an account. When they finally meet, he pretends to be someone else and therefore she falls in love with him. When she realizes who he really is, the romance flounders, briefly, before a "bundle of joy" brings things to a happy conclusion.
Despite decades of crass comments from pundits purporting to know what they're talking about, Doris Day does not play a virgin. As in "Pillow Talk" and multiple other films, she plays a highly successful career woman who refuses to become a "notch" on some man's belt. There is never an indication that she is an "innocent", merely that she will not sleep with a man who has attempted to dupe, deceive, lie to or manipulate her. In "Lover", she offers to teach Hudson how to make love, clearly indicating that she is experienced. This fails to happen only when she realizes that Hudson, playing Jerry Webster, has been misleading her for two reels. Anyone who avoids seeing a Doris Day film for fear of being exposed to an overage girl scout should give this film a try. It may well change their preconceived notions. There is a reason why Day was repeatedly voted number one box-office attraction, male or female, as well as being a multiple Golden Globe Award Winner as World Film Favorite and winning the coveted Laurel Award from motion picture exhibitors as top female star for an unprecendented 8 consecutive years.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson are perfect together, creating a blend that is a pure delight. They play every scene with such a sense of joie de vivre, that the audience cannot help but be caught up in the onscreen tale unfolding. Once again, Tony Randall provides outstanding support, and the remaining cast members including Edie Adams, Jack Kruschen, Jack Albertson, and Ann B. Davis, are each exceptional in their individual ways.
Director Delbert Mann has stated that some scenes had to be shot a number of times due to the fact that stars Day and Hudson kept breaking up on camera, going into fits of laughter. It's apparent from the finished product that that sense of fun has been transferred directly to the finished product. "Lover Come Back" is a must see comedy treat.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Delbert Mann
Rock Hudson
Doris Day
Tony Randall

DVD title: An Altered Journey with Tim Holtz
Productgroup: DVD
An Altered Journey with Tim Holtz - movie DVD cover picture

I am totally hooked on this DVD! So far, I have tried the Brushless Watercolor and Distressing with Inks techniques. I have had excellent results with both, and can't wait to try all of the other techniques that Tim shows us here.

Even if you are a relatively new stamper, as I am, there is nothing intimidating about this DVD and the projects therein. Tim makes it all look so easy, and it really is.

Buy this DVD will not regret it! :-)

Studio: PageSage
Director: Suzanne Lamar

DVD title: Noises Off...
Productgroup: DVD
Noises Off... - movie DVD cover picture
Totally Hilarious

This was the funniest movie I have ever seen. I could watch this one over and over again and absolutely never get bored of it. :)

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Carol Burnett
Michael Caine

DVD title: What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Productgroup: DVD
What's Eating Gilbert Grape - movie DVD cover picture
excellent movie

i like this movie very much. johnny depp is brilliant as always and the supporting cast give great performances too. it's a little sad, romantic, funny and very moving.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Lasse Hallström
Johnny Depp
Leonardo DiCaprio

DVD title: I Stand Alone
Productgroup: DVD
I Stand Alone - movie DVD cover picture
Soul shattering

When I recently viewed Gaspar Noe's film "Irreversible," I noticed with interest a scene at the beginning of the movie where an elderly man waxes philosophic about the various problems in his life to another poor soul while both men sit in a filthy, cramped room. I chuckled inwardly about Noe's in joke since anyone who has seen "I Stand Alone" recognizes the elderly gent with a bad attitude as none other than the suicidal butcher, the main character in this gripping film about the psychological free fall of a man with nothing left to lose in life. If I had to compare "Irreversible" with "I Stand Alone," I would definitely pick "Irreversible" as the better of the two in nearly every aspect of filmmaking, but "I Stand Alone" is a memorable experience nonetheless. If you thought watching Monica Bellucci suffer indignity after indignity was bad, you should watch the last twenty minutes of "I Stand Alone" for a whole knew outlook on what constitutes "disturbing." Gaspar Noe is quickly turning into my favorite "foreign" film director. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
The plot of "I Stand Alone" is frighteningly simple. The main character is an unemployed butcher, middle aged, whose life is one long series of disappointments. We learn he is the son of a French communist executed by the Nazis who eventually married, had a child, and lost his business after he killed a man he mistakenly assumed had brutalized his daughter. The incident sent his young child over the edge mentally, requiring her to check in for a lengthy stay at the local mental motel. The butcher, now on the ropes emotionally and recently released from prison, leaves his child behind to take up with an obnoxious woman and her overbearing mother because of a vague promise made by said woman to set our hero up in the meat business again. Sadly, this woman becomes pregnant and begins to berate the butcher about his taciturn nature, using the excuse of being with child to get what she wants from the relationship. The constant pressures of unemployment and the nagging from his woman causes the butcher to snap; he beats the pregnant woman viciously, and then flees when he worries that he has killed his unborn child and could again end up in prison for his actions.
Heading back to Paris and points north, the butcher wanders through the blasted landscapes of a France never seen in travel brochures. As he roams around with a diminishing supply of money and no job prospects, meeting old friends that refuse to help him and sleeping in pay by the day rat holes, the butcher engages the audience through a largely internal monologue that wallows in misogyny, racism, nihilism, and general misanthropy. This guy hates everyone and everything; he feels that the whole world is out to dump on him and seeks to pay back all of his enemies in the most vicious of ways. When he procures a gun with a few bullets in it, he begins formulating elaborate plans for bloody revenge. He'll kill the smug jerk that refused to give him a job, the man at the bar who gave him some grief over the tab, and anyone else that gets in his way. The butcher finally decides to pay a visit to his daughter since he hasn't seen her in ages, and it is during this visit that "I Stand Alone" enters its final, most horrific stage. Nothing will prepare you for the terrible final moments of Noe's movie. It's deeply disturbing, sick, morally reprehensible, and just plain nasty. Come to think of it, the whole movie is an exercise in depravity virtually certain to give most mainstream viewers conniption fits.
The best elements of "I Stand Alone" have little to do with the lengthy dialogue of the mad butcher or his rambling journeys through Paris. After awhile you get used to the run down buildings, the litter clogged streets, and the redundant blatherings of the butcher. You probably won't feel too much pity for the guy after awhile anyway, seeing as how he's such a sick, hateful soul full of loathing for his fellow man (and women, especially women). What does strike a chord is how Noe portrays this unpleasant chap. Noe rubs your nose in this guy's misery to such an extent that you shudder to think there are people like the butcher around us every day, adrift in their frustrated lives and ready to explode at any minute. In an effort to bring home the gut wrenching stresses in the butcher's existence, the director employs an unusual but very effective extreme focus camera technique--accompanied by a dramatic thudding sound--at certain important points throughout the film. There's even a flashing sign towards the end warning the viewer the movie is about to take an extreme turn just in case you wish to switch the whole thing off. Brilliant!
A few caveats are necessary with "I Stand Alone." The conclusion of the film, with its graphic violence and whirlwind dialogue, will upset viewers unaccustomed to such things. Moreover, at one point in the movie the butcher sits in an adult movie theater to be alone with his frustration. That's not too bad in and of itself since we already know the thought processes of the butcher, but we get an eyeful of the definitely XXX rated movie playing on the screen. If pornography really bothers you, take a pass on "I Stand Alone." I, however, thought Noe's a film a brilliant piece of cinema exploring the dark recesses of a man on the verge of a suicidal breakdown. If that sounds appealing to you, certainly give this one a glance. Then watch "Irreversible."

Studio: Strand Releasing Home Video
Director: Gaspar Noé

DVD title: Winners of the West
Productgroup: DVD
Winners of the West - movie DVD cover picture
"The Great Hartford Transcontinental Railroad is coming through ~ Winners of the West"

VCI Entertainment and Universal Pictures present "Winners of the West" (1940) (digitally remastered), 13 Chapters of vintage serial loaded with action sequences featuring heroes and villains Dick Foran, James Craig, Harry Woods, Roy Barcroft and Charles Stevens...there is a great deal of entertainment here for the cliffhanger fans out there...large scale Indian attacks and constant raids by badmen trying to steal locomotives from the railroad...loaded with non-stop action and boasts a cast of always life threatening chapters with overturned wagons and railroad explosions

Under director's Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor with screenplay by Charles R. Condon, George H Plympton and Basil Dickey...the cast include Dick Foran (Jeff Ramsay), Anne Nagel (Claire Hartford ), James Craig (Jim Jackson), Tom Fadden (Tex Houston ), Harry Woods (King Carter - boss & leader), Charles Stevens (Snakeye ), Roy Barcroft (Logan - henchman), Edmund Cobb (Maddox - henchman), Edward Keane (John Hartford)...another great serial provided by Universal Pictures during their heyday in the early '40s...John Hartford is in charge of building a railroad heading west and to stop him from going through his town of Blackhawk is King Carter...his henchman Snakeye is stirring up the Indians into attacking the railroad crew. in every enters our hero Jeff Ramsay and his sidekicks Tex Houston and Jim Jackson who head the crew and keep them out of Harem's way...can Carter along with Snakeye stir up the local Indian tribe under Chief War Eagle succeed in constantly raiding the railroad camp and stop the railroad from coming through...will Claire Hartford be kidnapped and possibly killed....can the trio Foran, Fadden and Craig fight their way clear of Carter's gang of thugs and save the save the day...don't miss one single episode that will keep you thrilled until the next chapter the following week.

B-Western fans keep a look out for old time players the meanest looking gang of bad guys from the stables of Hollywood with their leader Harry Woods (the best of the "B" Western heavies) and the grandson of Geronimo, famous Apache Chief actor Charlie Stevens, Trevor Bardette, Edmond Cobb, Roy Barcroft, Edgar Edwards, Bud Osborne and Tom London as henchmen...and briefly you can catch a glance of Bob Kortman, Ed Cassidy, Kermit Maynard, Bud Osborne and Iron Eyes Cody...seems almost like a class reunion of B-Western alumni...can't make a good Western without those veterans.

Disc One (1)
1. Redskins Ride Again
2. The Wreck at Red River Gorge
3. The Bridge of Disaster
4. Trapped by Redskins
5. Death Strikes the Trail
6. A Leap for Life
7. Thundering Terror
8. The Flaming Arsenal

Dick Foran
Anne Nagel
Ford Beebe (Director)
Ray Taylor (Director)

CliffHanger Promo:
BUCK ROGERS (Buster Crabbe)
DICK TRACY & G Men (Ralph Byrd)
JUNGLE GIRL (Edgar Rice Burroughs)
JUNGLE JIM (Grant Withers & Raymond Hatton)
SECRET AGENT X-9 (Lloyd Bridges)
ZORRO'S CLIFFHANGER COLLECTION (John Carroll/Reed Hadley/George J. Lewis/Linda Stirling)

Disc Two (2)
9. Sacrificed by Savages
10.Under Crashing Timbers
11.Bullets in the Dark
12.The Battle of Blackhawk
13.Barricades Blasted

Winners of the West (Dick Foran)
Adventures of Red Ryder (Don "Red" Barry)
Riders of Death Valley (Dick Foran)
Royal Mounted Rides Again (Milburn Stone)

Own them now on DVD....if you crave action, drama and plenty of adventure then this is the place for all of the above...if you enjoyed this serial check out the thrilling Johnny Mack Brown serial "Fighting with Kit Carson" (1933) from VCI Entertainment...also the latest Bobby J. Copeland's book on "Johnny Mack Brown: Up Close & Personal" is chuck full of answers to all the questions his fans had from early on...and the complete account of "Roy Barcroft:King of the Badmen", which is the title of Bobby J. Copeland's book on the life and times of "Republic Pictures Number One Villain" both books published by Empire Publishing and available on Amazon.

Great job by VCI Entertainment for releasing the digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more of the same from the '40s vintage...order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment, stay tuned once again with a top notch serial from VCI...just the way we like 'em!

Total Time: 247 mins on 2 DVD's ~ VCI Entertainment 8416 ~ (12/28/2004)

Studio: Vci/Ffi
Dick Foran

DVD title: Samurai X - Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin)
Productgroup: DVD
Samurai X - Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin) - movie DVD cover picture
Depressing but wonderful

The artwork was very different, but that doesn't take away from the story at all. In Reflection you get more of a flesh & blood sense of the characters, and Kaoru's point of veiw as far as her loyalty to Kenshin and the others. My only complaint was that the flash-backs were a bit different from how the manga and anime went. Hardly something to complain about. I'd suggest watching Trust & Betrayal first, due to the flash-back of the fight againt Enishi.(which seemed to be one of the main events stressed) As a loyal Kenshin fan it was painful to watch the real ending, him dying sick and tired and still guilty. This is one of the rare anime's that doesn't have a completely happy ending. One the other hand, we get to see Kenji for the first time, and Yahiko and Tsubame as adults. One thing to look forward to. All and all this was an enjoyable but very depressing OVA of RK, it's worth watching and I highly reccomend for the RK and period movie fans.

Studio: A.D. Vision

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