Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Children of Heaven
Productgroup: DVD
The Children of Heaven - movie DVD cover picture
Shoes is only a small matter....


The thing that makes this movie beautiful to me is not only the love and devotion between the two brother and sister. The fact is that they are so understanding of their parent's situation as well,their innocence,their fear, that they do not dare to inform about the lost shoes. And, their determination and resilience.
This is my first Iranian movie, and I absolutely loved it. I will definitely be looking out for others as well. The scenes of the city and slums of Teheran was an interesting insight into this city that I have never seen. There are plenty of scene that stick in my mind...the two children frantically exchanging notes, Zahra desperately looking at the teacher's watch to see the time...the running back and forth of both kids...and many other.
This is one of those movie that is excellent for family viewing as well as for kids. There are no violence, no attitude problem, no smart-mouthing. Just 2 honest, innocent , parent-respecting kids. Good news is, a vast number of these obedient and respectful kids still exist in Asia, and I certainly hope there are too, in Americas and Europe.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Majid Majidi



DVD title: Go Tell the Spartans
Productgroup: DVD
Go Tell the Spartans - movie DVD cover picture
As one who was there, I'll tell you this one is real.


This excellent but neglected film was recently released on videocassette and is well worth your purchase and viewing. I first saw it in a badly edited format on cable television, and it was still powerful. I was delighted to find that HBO had released the film on videocassette. _Go Tell the Spartans_ tells a short story that chronicles the Vietnam War in microcosm, and though ostensibly set in 1964 reveals a number of the essential, underlying flaws in the U.S. involvement that resulted in our ultimate withdrawal.
This is, however, no dreamy, introspective _Apocalypse Now_, nor is the film a weepy, self-pitying confessional like _Platoon_. With a fraction of the production budget of those films, Ted Post did a remarkable job in producing a gritty, honest, fast-paced work.
Burt Lancaster is at his understated best as the dead-ended but still professional Major Asa Barker. Craig Wasson plays the willing but inexperienced draftee, Corporal Coursey. The interplay between these two is at the heart of the film as one generation of soldiers tries its best to hand-off to another, in a war that concededly is going nowhere. The other characters represent the various types that one encounters in other, later Vietnam films (the burned-out suicidal noncom, the doper, the ticket-punching officer, the seductive villager who is a VC), but even these stereotypes are more convincingly and sympathetically played than in later, "evil U.S. imperialist" movies.
While I suspect that the author, Dan Ford, is too hard on himself in his review of the movie, he should get the credit for the concept and characters that resulted in this excellent film. As an interpretive work, this film will stand the test of time.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ted Post
Actors:
Burt Lancaster
Craig Wasson
Jonathan Goldsmith
Marc Singer




DVD title: The Swan Princess (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Swan Princess (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Beautiful Love Story and Definitley Worth Watching


This, in my opinion, is the best animated movie ever made. The story is beautiful, the characters are strong (Derek in particular), the music is wonderful, and the animation is awesome! Odette is the typical princess; blonde, blue-eyed, and kind. When captured and turned into a swan, she definitely turns into a damsel in distress, but she has a strong personality and isn't afraid of anything or anyone. Prince Derek is by far the best character. It seems awful that he insults Odette (accidentally and unknowingly, sadly-typical guy), almost kills her, and then makes a vow to the wrong Odette, but it is so hard not to love him. His archery skills are also very kick-butt which is cool. Lord Rogers and Jean-bob are also hilarious.
The music is very good as well. "This Is My Idea" is so awesome. I find it totally cool that Odette and Derek hated each other when they were kids and it was fun to see them fighting. "Far Longer Then Forever" is a beautiful song and is every bit comparable to "A Whole New World" and all those Disney songs. Although many people say that the song "Princesses on Parade" is an annoying song, I like it a lot and I think it is very catchy. Side Note-how weird would it be to have an entire ballroom full of girls swooning and actually fainting at the sight of you?
Okay-the best scenes (no huge spoilers). By far the best scene was the sequence when Derek was trying to kill Odette in swan form. This was a very powerful scene. It also shows Odette's strength, something nice to see from a DID. It was also cool when Odette chomped up those roses in her swan form. It's worth watching the movie just to see that.
Every movie has it's faults, so here are some (although they are not very bad). As much as I love the "Far Longer Than Forever" sequence, Derek and Odette's constant hand gestures got a little weird. In one part it looked like they were using sign language to convey what they were singing. The second thing-"No More Mr. Nice Guy". This is Rothbart's, the bad-guy, song. The music was fine, it just wasn't evil enough. When I heard the line "I intend to eat their lunches" I was like "what?" I mean, how weird is that? Personally I don't think putting kick me signs on people and eating people's lunches is very evil. It needed to be eviler, since he was an evil dude.
This movie is awesome and I love it to death. I'm a 15-year-old girl who can't get enough of this movie. It is a beautifully crafted, simple fairy tale. I highly recommend this movie.


Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Richard Rich
Actors:
Jack Palance
Howard McGillin




DVD title: Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates
Productgroup: DVD
Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates - movie DVD cover picture
Denise Austin is wonderful


I also was a ballet and modern dancer for 25 yrs. before I had my two children. In the Graham classes we did Pilates, and I had a incredibly strong abdomen. I had two children a yr. apart when I was 32, and thought I would bounce back. I did Denise's classes on ESPN back in 1988. I was so pleased to find she had put out her first video using Pilates. I do it every day, and just received the next video. She is extremely encouraging. I do not find her "chatty", and resent the fact that someone views her that way. She knows how to talk, explain and keep a class moving. She's an expert at it. Thanks Denise. I appreciate you.Deborah Forbeck

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Actors:
Denise Austin



DVD title: Wiseguy - Sonny Steelgrave and the Mob Arc (Season 1 Part 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Wiseguy - Sonny Steelgrave and the Mob Arc (Season 1 Part 1) - movie DVD cover picture
WISEGUY, BUT WHO WAS THE REAL GOOD GUY AND THE REAL BAD GUY?


WISEGUY, THIS IS ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOWS. THIS IS MACHISMO, AT ITS GREATEST. THE CHARACTERS OF VINNIE TERRANOVA AND SONNY STEELGRAVE, KNEW THAT IN ORDER "TO TALK THE TALK", ONE HAD "TO WALK THE WALK." PERSONALLY, I HAVE ALWAYS FELT THAT AFTER THE FIRST SEASON OF "WISEGUY", AND THE ELECTRIFYING CHARACTER OF SONNY STEELGRAVE, THE SHOW NEVER DID RISE UP AGAIN TO THAT POWERFUL LEVEL, OF THE FIRST SEASON AND WHAT "WISEGUY" WAS REALLY ALL ABOUT. YOU SEE, "WISEGUY" IS ABOUT THE THIN LINE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG...THE THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD...HOW ONE CAN USE ONE'S TRUST, AND THEN BETRAY THAT SAME TRUST. IN THE HEARTBREAKING CONCLUSION, OF THE FIRST SEASON, SONNY STEELGRAVE WASN'T THE REAL BAD GUY. THE REAL BAD GUY WAS...VINNIE...AND HE KNEW IT AND HE CARRIED THE KNOWLEDGE, OF IT...AND THE GUILT, OF IT, THOUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SERIES. TOO BAD, "WISEGUY" ENDED THE WAY, IT DID...A GREAT TELEVISION SERIES DESERVES A GREAT ENDING. GOD BLESS YOU, RAY SHARKEY, FOR CREATING TELEVISION MOST TOUGHEST...MOST TRUSTING...MOST SENSITIVE...MOST HEARTBREAKING...AND MOST MEMORABLE...GOOD GUY.

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Actors:
Ken Wahl



DVD title: Lady and the Tramp (Limited Issue)
Productgroup: DVD
Lady and the Tramp (Limited Issue) - movie DVD cover picture
A Lady and Her Tramp


They were from two diffrent world's. Lady was brought up in a very civlized world, while the Tramp lived a carefree life. It seemed quite unlikely that these two would ever meet. Lady's world suddenly changed when her owner's Jim Dear and Darling went off on vacation and Aunt Sara came to take care of the baby. Aunt Sara did not like dogs and brougt along with her two troublesome Siamese. Thinking that Lady would attack her cats, Aunt Sara took Lady to be fitted with a muzzle. Lady ran away and was chased by some bully dogs. Tramp saved Lady and then took her to the zoo where they were able to get rid of the muzzle. Lady and the Tramp began to fall in love while at an Itallian resturant, but there relationship became strain when Lady was captured and taken to the pound. It was there that she found out about all the other girls the Tramp had his eyes on. That didn't stop him from rescuing the baby from a rat. Wrongly accused, Lady's two friends, Jock and Trusty tracked down the dog catcher's wagon and prevented them from destroying the Tramp. Lady's owners were so grateful that they adopted Tramp and next Christmas, Lady and her Tramp had puppies.

Studio: Disney Studios
Actors:
Peggy Lee
Barbara Luddy
Larry Roberts (II)
Bill Thompson




DVD title: We Were Soldiers
Productgroup: DVD
We Were Soldiers - movie DVD cover picture
What is the value of a life?


From the opening drum-roll music, we can tell that this is going to be a good-old John Wayne war film.From the first minute we are in no doubt whatsoever that Mel Gibson is going to kick some serious ... over in 'Nam. While all around his soldiers get bla sted into oblivion, Mel and his trusty, battle-hardened, wise-cracking lieutenant survive and win in the face of overwhelming odds (not in the air, of course, where US planes barbeque both enemy and friendly infantry with napalm).Mel Gibson gives a workm anlike performance as Colonel Hal Moore, the other actors (including helicopter pilot Greg Kinnear and war-widows' heroine matriarch, Madeleine Stowe) do what is expected of them. We Were Soldiers is much less arty than Thin Red Line, for example, or Apocalypse Now. The focus here is on group heroics rather than individual struggle. It is a primarily a tribute to the resilience of the helicopter-borne US 7th cavalry division which was the first American unit to engage the Viet Cong and the wives who wait at home dreading the official telegram. This is a patriotic war film in the tradition of Black Hawk Down. Do not, therefore, expect Oscar-winning performances, painstaking character studies or high drama. This is, in fact, a patriotic, semi-propaganda war movie with the semblance of a liberal conscience - the Viet Cong soldiers are portrayed as humans with real feelings, etc. The battle scenes are well done, however, and it is at the height of the fighting that We Were Soldiers shows some sort of cinematic quality. As soon as he guns fall silent, however, the movie lurches back into a parade of clichéd phrases and comic-book dialogue. Kid's stuff, really, although the gruesome detail makes this fairly unsuitable viewing for the youngsters..

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Randall Wallace
Actors:
Mel Gibson



DVD title: The Ice Storm
Productgroup: DVD
The Ice Storm - movie DVD cover picture
I want to see this on DVD


Where's the DVD release of this excellent movie? Come on, wake up: VHS is obsolete, we need the DVD! This is one of the best movies of the 90's and it should be kept in the personal archives in DVD format.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Ang Lee
Actors:
Kevin Kline
Joan Allen




DVD title: Swiss Family Robinson (Vault Disney Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Swiss Family Robinson (Vault Disney Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
Vault Disney DVD packed with extras for a low price


What a fantastic DVD this is. The Vault Disney series is wonderful, and I hope they give more films the same treatment soon. Not only is the film beautifully restored (in its original 2:35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, and with 5.1 THX surround sound), but the DVD itself is packed with delightful extras.
There's a documentary about making "Swiss Family Robinson" that is nearly 50 minutes long and contains interviews with Sir John Mills, James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran. There's a commentary track with the latter three contributing comments about the film. There's an additional interview with MacArthur about his film work, the original theatrical trailer and television spots, radio spots, the entire story album that came out with the film, a Donald Duck cartoon, and more! If you like "Swiss Family Robinson," get this DVD -- even if you already have the VHS tape. It's worth it just to finally have a widescreen version of this family-friendly classic (the better to view the wonderful island vistas), even if you don't figure all of the wonderful extras into the bargain.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Ken Annakin
Actors:
John Mills
Dorothy McGuire




DVD title: Stalker
Productgroup: DVD
Stalker - movie DVD cover picture
Takovsky's "Stalker" is of the highest rank.


Describing Tarkovsky to those who didn't see his films is quite impossible."Stalker" is in many ways his most radical film. An uncompromising meditation on the search for truth, God, happiness. A very demanding film, not for anyone's taste, to say the least. Yet for those who do have the patience and readiness awaits a film of the highest rank, a superior work of art.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky



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