Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: City of God
Productgroup: DVD
City of God - movie DVD cover picture

After watching a few minutes of this violent masterpiece, the title rings more and more hollow. It is hard to imagine a more god forsaken place than the slums of Rio as represented in this intense and in many ways shocking film about the Brazilian underworld. The viewer, probably pretty well off if you are viewing the film on a DVD player, is thrown into a situation of modern poverty rarely observed by an outside eye. There is a big reason for that, as only the most desperate would ever live in a place described in this film.
City of God tells the story of a group of poor Brazilian youth and their experiences growing up in the ghetto. The urban jungles are just that, tightly knit communities that are ravaged by crime and shootings. Gangs square off and all sorts of unimaginable violence is freakishly ordinary. We see what this kind of environment does to kids through the life of Little Ze, a young boy who quickly is exposed to graphic crime and takes a fierce liking to it. He quickly becomes the dominant crime lord of the slums. Most of the other youth grow up much the same, either working for Ze or finding death in his employ. All is not lost however, as one boy, nicknamed Rocket, seeks a better life shooting a camera, not a gun. The story of Rocket offers a bit of hope that something good can come from this otherwise horrible situation. The story is fast paced and moves exceedingly well, as we watch Ze reach the apex of his crime enemy. Of course, it's lonely at the top, and Ze's brutality and sheer insanity begin to bring down all around him, even his long time friends. He finally gets in a war he cannot handle, and the whole city becomes a war zone as high powered weapons mix with vengeance frenzied youth.
The comparisons to the movie Traffic are apt, but I felt City of God takes the morose tone and tint technique to a whole new level. The contrasting light and darkness of the South American sun juxtaposed with the dark depths of the slum provides a dizzying sense of chaotic focus. The characters often flash by, but you feel you know them very well, and their images stay with you. City of God is edited in an interesting way, kind of patchwork, but it all makes so much sense in the end. It is a film unflinching in its brutality, never shying from seriously disturbing images. It's a movie of brilliant anarchy, where the viewer is forced to watch an ever changing environment. A must see.

Studio: Miramax Films
Alexandre Rodrigues
Leandro Firmino
Matheus Nachtergaele

DVD title: Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Very good movie, however, it's best for buffs

Gettysburgh has become one of my favorite movies of all time. As a high school history teacher, I have come to respect the and admire the valor and bravery of the soldiers of this terrible war, accurately displayed in this movie. The music adds so much to the passion and intensity of almost every scene - a truly sad movie..a truly sad war.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Tom Berenger
Martin Sheen

DVD title: Saving Private Ryan
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Private Ryan - movie DVD cover picture
This "IS" World War II

My father-in-law is a WWII veteran and was overseas for 2-1/2 years. I had always known that he had seen a lot of action but never heard him talk very much about it. He was in the D-day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, plus many-many other battles. My father-in-law went to see this movie and cried through-out most of it (especially the first 30 minutes). We later talked about it and fifty years of thoughts came forth. The initial battle sequence in the film is exactly what it was like, the sounds, the smells, your hearing, etc. He said it was like being back on the beach all over again. He told me, unless you've been in battle, it's very hard to describe what it feels like. This movie hits the mark. See this movie and then thank a WWII vet for the contributions they made to the USA.
I've read alot of the other reviews, and many people should do some reading about the invasion before they criticize it. Many keep asking where are the British, well, they were over on the Gold and Sword beaches, while the Candaians were on Juno beach. The US 4th Infantry div. attacked at Utah beach and the US 29th Infantry div and US 1st Infantry division attacked Omaha beach. This movie was about the landing at Omaha beach. Therefore, the reason you don't see any Brits in the film is because they weren't supposed to be there. They fought on the Gold and Juno beaches.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon

DVD title: The Terminator
Productgroup: DVD
The Terminator - movie DVD cover picture
Well worth the wait

I had been waiting for this movie since I bought my first DVD player. Great movie, and this disc doesn't let down. Enhanced sound, outstanding picture quality, extras people have come to expect as standard on a good disc, etc. A classic movie and a great disc.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: James Cameron
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Michael Biehn
Linda Hamilton

DVD title: The Rat Pack
Productgroup: DVD
The Rat Pack - movie DVD cover picture

This is excellent. A lot of people think Liotta was not a convincing Sinatra, but I think he's excellent - I mean Sinatra had TESTOSTERONE! Ray's a better Sinatra than any I've seen ('cept the Man Himself). Ray picks up on Sinatra's complexities - he was refreshingly childlike at times, highly volatile at times, not very educated but extremely intelligent, VERY much obsessed with Ava Gardner, his second wife, a loyal friend, an advocate of Civil Rights, all this with a desperate need to feel accepted and loved. The rest of the Pack are superb, especially Don Cheadle - I just wish Dino had more screen-time and more lines. Much of the script is based on FBI files, and is quite accurate for a film of this nature. This really happened: Sinatra got Kennedy elected to the Presidency in 1960. Some amazing historical facts that have only come to light in recent years. But most of all, this is entertaining - some GREAT lines, well-researched. It does not portray Sinatra in a all bad or all good light - just as a VERY PASSIONATE HUMAN BEING with endless energy and creativity and a need for adventure - especially in the Sands Hotel rooms...

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Rob Cohen
Ray Liotta
Joe Mantegna

DVD title: Beethoven Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 / Rostropovich, Richter
Productgroup: DVD
Beethoven Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 / Rostropovich, Richter - movie DVD cover picture
Two Masters at the Height of their Powers

Despite his enormous discography, there's not a very rich visual record of Richter. He and Rostropovich excelled in concert performance, and these DVDs convey their intensity playing some of the best music ever written for the cello. Richter once said in an interview that Beethoven is a matter of life and death, and that feeling comes through quite clearly here. There's a bonus solo piano reading of Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses, Op. 54, that is dazzling.

Studio: Emi Distribution
Mstislav Rostropovich
Sviatoslav Richter

DVD title: Charmed - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Charmed - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture

When is Charmed going to be released?! I love the show but find that I don't have the time to watch it while the reruns are being played on T.V. Also I would love to be able to watch the episodes in order so I can finally figure out what happened first. It's a great show which only got better when they got rid of Shannon Doherty and brought in the other sister. Can't wait for the DVD. Please hurry!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Shannen Doherty
Alyssa Milano

DVD title: Misery
Productgroup: DVD
Misery - movie DVD cover picture
A masterpiece of suspense!

I would find it hard to believe that too many people haven't seen this Stephen King classic, but if you haven't this is an absolute must see. James Caan is a novelist struggling to make a break for the mold he has been placed in because of the success of his series of romance novels based on his character Misery. Caan goes on vacation in the mountains to finish his newest book, which is supposed to an edgy break from his previous work. After a terrible car accident Caan is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Played by Kathy Bates), a seemingly kind and sweet nurse who offers to get him back on his feet. Annie, as it turns out, is the world's biggest Misery fan, or should I say the world's biggest deranged fan. What ensues is some of the most shocking and frightening moments in cinema history. I promise that you will be sitting on the edge of your seat for this entire movie, and there will be times that you will not be able to watch.
Kathy Bates deservedly won an Oscar for her portrayal of the devoted "Misery" fan. Her swing from one emotion to another is believable, and terrifyingly real. She does a tremendous job of making her character seem like your average next door neighbor, then like your worst nightmare. James Caan is perfect as the writer held captive in the home of this obviously unbalanced woman. He portrays a breadth of emotion as he tries to cope with his captivity. From the apprehensive beginnings, to the desperate attempts at freedom, to his eventual courage to fight back. (I also love the casting of Richard Farnsworth as the local sheriff. Has he ever played a character you didn't like?)
Rob Reiner's direction is terrific and always keeps the action moving even in the most intricate of scenes. You can see that he let's both Caan and Bates play their respective roles, and move the film along like the consummate professionals they are. The screenplay adapted from King's novel is superb, and makes this movie a suspense classic. Of all of the Stephen King novels that have been turned into big screen features, this one is very true to the book, which is what gives it its intensity. If you have never seen this movie, you really should, and if you haven't seen it for a while pick up a copy. I bet it will still shock you.

Studio: Polygram Video
Director: Rob Reiner
James Caan
Kathy Bates

DVD title: The Upright Citizens Brigade - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Upright Citizens Brigade - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
The Best TV Show Ever Made (behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

The BEST reason to pick it up: the commentary on some of the episodes. Hilarious! The UCB can milk humor from anywhere, and here they are parodying commentaries with their commentary. A wealth of funny. A plethora of comedy. An eclectic morass of genius.
Oh, and I paid for my copy using two thousand ass pennies.

Studio: Wea Corp
Matt Besser
Amy Poehler
Ian Roberts (II)

DVD title: Legally Blonde
Productgroup: DVD
Legally Blonde - movie DVD cover picture
Not so dumb blonde

This is a frothy frivolous chick flick that makes no pretence at being anything else and is all the better for it.
The story centres around rich, sorority girl Elle Woods (played so well by Reece Witherspoon) who, after being dumped by her wealthy boyfriend Warner, decides to enrol in Harvard law school (where he has gone) in order to win him back.
Elle arrives at Harvard as a vision in pink (her signature colour) and accompanied by her beloved Chihuahua, Bruiser Woods, to the disbelief of the other one says, open mouthed, "it's Malibu Barbie!".
Elle faces an uphill struggle to prove she is not a dumb blonde but deserving of her place and also has a fight on her hands to win back Warner who has got himself engaged to a prissy New England girl (Selma Blair). The movie is formulaic and holds no surprises but it doesn't matter as it is such good fun and it's great to see the loveable Elle win out...especially when she realises she doesn't need the creep she wanted back but that she has made it on her own. Sit with a bucket of popcorn and enjoy.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Robert Luketic
Reese Witherspoon
Luke Wilson

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