Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: 8 1/2 (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
8 1/2 (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Sheer magic!


Fantastic Federico Fellini feature film. I can't wait to have this on DVD. The viewer just glides through beautiful images only Fellini could create. The Wagnerian music compliments Nino Rotta's magical score. Watch La Dolce Vita first if you've never watched a Fellini film before because this film is stricly and essentially Fellini!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Federico Fellini
Actors:
Marcello Mastroianni
Anouk Aimée




DVD title: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Silver Chair
Productgroup: DVD
The Chronicles of Narnia - The Silver Chair - movie DVD cover picture
I've read this series at least three times


I've read this series at least three times and it has never failed to enchant me as it di the first time. Whether you be adult or child this series is a must

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Alex Kirby
Actors:
David Thwaites
Camilla Power
Tom Baker




DVD title: Ikiru - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Ikiru - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Powerful examination of life


With only a year to live, Kanji Watanabe examines his life to discover that it has been a waste of time. His son, his presumed reason for working the same boring job for the last thirty years, has married and, although still living with the father, has drawn away from him, such that conversation is minimal and awkward, to the extent that Kanji is unable to tell him about his terminal cancer. For the most part, Kanji's work as the chief at city hall fills his life, but does nothing to fulfill it-- the work itself is meaninglessly mired in bureaucracy such that nothing ever really gets done, and certainly nothing of significance. In fact, the work has killed his sense of determination and initiative; it's boring.

So what does Kanji do? He skips work and tries to find meaning for his life, first in alcohol and all the partying that goes with it, and then in the company of a young lady who after one and half years at city hall is resigning her position because it's "boring." She represents perhaps the attitude he should have embraced at an earlier age. But neither the alcohol nor his attraction to this youthful spirit are able to replace the void of despair and regret inside him, residing along with the cancer. He wants desperately "to live," but doesn't know how.

Ikiru should rank as one of the most important films that examines the human life. Director Akira Kurosawa blends so many moments in this film that have remained with me, including the reflective scene in the bar where Kanji and a young writer (a young Kurosawa?) quietly talk to each other in close-up, the writer acknowledging the elder's plight, finding meaning in his despair: "Man finds truth in misfortune."

Takashi Shimura (also in Kurosawa's Rashomon and The Seven Samurai) gives an incredible performance. It's not easy to convey regret through facial expression, but he does it so believably that you become overwhelmed by his pain. The scene toward the end with him on the swing is one of those moments from the movies that you never forget.

Don't rent this film, buy it. Keep it and watch it at least once a year. Maybe it won't make a difference, maybe it won't cause you or me to adopt Kanji's it's-never-too-late, deferential and fanatical perseverance in pushing through something of significance to better humanity, but at least it will keep reminding us to.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Actors:
Takashi Shimura
Nobuo Kaneko




DVD title: A Better Tomorrow III
Productgroup: DVD
A Better Tomorrow III - movie DVD cover picture
Best of the B/T series -anita mui is as cool as chow yun fat


While you do need to see the A Better Tomorrow 1st., this is my favorite of the series. I believe that bringing a strong woman into the picture was brilliant and Anita Mui plays it to the hilt. This is not just action, but a beautiful love story done with real gangster style. Is anything cooler than watching Anita Mui slide down a 40 ft curtain blowing away viet soldiers with both guns blazing? Well maybe Chow Yun Fat sliding down after her.

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Hark Tsui
Actors:
Yun-Fat Chow
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Anita Mui




DVD title: A Christmas Carol
Productgroup: DVD
A Christmas Carol - movie DVD cover picture
Thoughtful Family Holiday Entertainment


A wonderful, classic story - not too scary. Beautifully produced, this is a great depiction of 19th century England. It provides thoughtful family holiday entertainment for Christmastime. This engaging, timeless tale tells a good story and brings a positive message: loving, sharing and giving enriches us. Kids enjoyed watching it together with the adults during the holiday season. Best for the whole family, especially ages 12-18.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Clive Donner
Actors:
George C. Scott



DVD title: Throttle (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Throttle (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Unknown Thriller


I don't recall seeing this movie in theatrical release so it may have gone straight to video. Since its better than most of the other movies I've seen this year I'm not sure why is may have gone straight to video.

The plot revolves around a youngish corporate executive involved in some mysterious dealings and now someone is trying to kill him. As he desperately fights to stay alive he's trying to figure out who's out to get him. I was on the edge of my seat through out the movie. I won't say anything else about the plot lest I give away too much other than it has a great surprise ending.

I'm glad a friend recommended this to me.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: James Seale



DVD title: Mary Poppins (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Mary Poppins (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie ever made.


This movie is a classic. Stirs the imagination and brings fanasy to life. Very well acted and produced considering the crudy book they had to work with. I love this movie so much it's so not even funny! A must see!

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Robert Stevenson
Actors:
Julie Andrews
Dick Van Dyke




DVD title: The Toxic Avenger
Productgroup: DVD
The Toxic Avenger - movie DVD cover picture
I LovE ToxiE!!!


I saw this movie for the first timje about a year ago. I have watched it too many times, but not ever enough. I never ever get sick of this movie. The "head-crushing" scene is what won me over. The other good part of this movie is when Toxie takes charge at a Taco-Bell like establishment. This movie is full of sick s**t. Be sure to watch this Troma Classic with friends. I also strongly recommend "Terror Firmer".

Studio: Troma
Actors:
Andree Maranda
Mitch Cohen




DVD title: The Deer Hunter
Productgroup: DVD
The Deer Hunter - movie DVD cover picture
WOW!


A friend of mine asked me a while back whether I could recommend a good film to watch.Making an earlier note that Deer Hunter was on TV that evening, I made sure to stress that on no account he should miss that film.I was very surprised to find out that not only he has not seen it yet, but he knew little about it. So I volunteered to explain why I consider the Deer Hunter one of the most beautiful films ever made.Firstly, it is not a war film a la Saving Private Ryan, Platoon or Thin Red Line, yet it is all about war. The effect of war on the human soul, though the film is set in Vietnam, it can really be any war,anywhere,at any point in time. Only the strongest will survive the cruelty,savagery and uncertainty of war,and the weaker ones will succumb to its evil grasp which will destroy them forever. This is the story of the Deer Hunter.It is also about friendship, the bond of which is continiously tested, yet survives the most 'testing' hardships.Friends from a small steel town in Pennsylvania, live a normal peaceful life, they marry, hunt deers together, and basically get on with their lives, then Vietnam happens, and they are drafted, and their whole lives irreversibaly change forever. The before and after of war/Vietnam is what the Deer Hunter is all about.The scenes in the actual war are only a very small part of the whole story, the highlight of which is probably the most legendary scene in movie history, The Russian Roulette, a nerve racking and very violent scene that cleverly reflects the insanity of war.There are so many other memorable scenes,(the wedding scene is the best wedding put on celluloid!) but there is one scene that affected me as much: Coming back from a hunting trip on the eve of their departure to Vietnam, the six friends finish their day in an empty bar, still on a high, until John (George Dzundza)plays a beautiful ballad on the piano, and suddenly they become silent, and when the last note fades, they all look at each other without saying a word, realizing the fate that awaits them, a change so perfectly captured on camera!This is all the work of a genuis of a director, Michael Cimino, whose self indulgence in his underrated masterpiece Heaven's Gate that bankrupted Universal Studios, and an unforgiving Hollywood, curtailed a true talent.But on The Deer Hunter he was the 'King of the World' and helped create an original cinematic masterpiece. All the actors give their best for him, Deniro, Walken, Savage, a still unknown Meryl Streep, and a dying John Cazale (With his untimely death, American cinema lost one of its treasures!).So..my friend was convinced and he promised to watch it, most probably because he wanted to avoid listening again to my diatribe about the film!! But he did and he called me the following day with only one word: WOW!Not only that, but he went straight and bought the film on DVD.The Deer Hunter is what the term 'my movie library' was made for!! If you have not bought it yet, you should immediately do so, and it is guaranteed you will be in awe, totally captivated by sheer genuis! WOW indeed!

Studio: Umvd
Director: Michael Cimino
Actors:
Robert De Niro
Christopher Walken




DVD title: Black Hawk Down
Productgroup: DVD
Black Hawk Down - movie DVD cover picture
Hard to watch, harder to look away


I'm an 18-year-old, red-blooded American female, so it should come as no surprise that I went to see Black Hawk Down mainly because Josh Hartnett is in it (and, okay, he was gorgeous, and gave a brilliant performance) I'd read the book, and wasn't sure if the movie would do it justice, but I wasn't disappointed. As anyone who's read the book knows, plenty was changed, but the main story, the theme, and the message remained the same. The collective performances by the entire ensemble, the direction, everything about it was striking.
Plenty of people complained about the lack of background, and how difficult it was to tell many of the charatcers apart, but to me, that just made the movie that much more realistic. I know people in the armed forces, and I've been told that THAT IS HOW IT IS. You go in, you follow orders, and sometimes you can't even tell who's on your side, let alone who an individual soldier is. As for character development? The whole point is that the soldiers, as a whole, ARE basically like on charcter. Lack of plot development? The battle IS the plot.
Ridley Scott didn't spare the audience any of the horrific details, and didn't sugarcoat the truth, and deserves to be applauded for having the guts to lay the facts bare for the audience to draw their own conclusions. Should be required viewing for anyone even considering enlisting in the armed forces.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors:
Josh Hartnett



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