Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Amelie
Productgroup: DVD
Amelie - movie DVD cover picture
Should have one at the Oscars!!

Amelie is the one movie, I have seen in theaters more than once. From the opening scenes of the movie, until the ending, I was in awe of everything going on. From the vibrant colors used every where, to the outstanding performances of the actors themselves, this movie is one that can be enjoyed by anyone. I've seen it 3 times in the theaters, and a male friend of mine has seen it 5 times. It is just an incredible film that will leave you wanting more.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Audrey Tautou
Mathieu Kassovitz

DVD title: Sleeping Beauty (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Sleeping Beauty (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Couldn't wait! The first movie I saw as a child.

Describing Princess Aurora's dream coming true as the prince of her dreams rescues her killing the evil, is a job that has no words to describe it. The songs that come in the DVD and Bonus section where they describe how the sleeping beauty was created are marvelous pieces of information that every disney collector should possess. There are very few good romantic novels available at the market to foster children's dreams, and sleeping beauty is one of them.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Clyde Geronimi
Mary Costa
Bill Shirley
Eleanor Audley

DVD title: Cries & Whispers - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Cries & Whispers - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
An Extremely Memorable Film Experience

There are two things that will always stand out to me about this film, which stands amongt the first rank of Ingmar Bergman's monumental body of work. Two things, I mean, above and beyond the expected brilliance of the writing and acting. Another reviewer complained about Liv Ullman's natural warmth being choked here by an unexpected characterization. One could just as easily say that it's precisely the choking of one's expectations that Bergman was aiming for, except I think that's stretching things. Quite apart from what someone thinks Ullman should act like, her performance in this film is as harrowing as all of the other sisters.
The first most memorable element of the film is the way the camera is used to characterize the three sisters. Long shots are used for the cold and distant sister, while intense close-ups are used for Ullman's intensely intimate sister. And, as one might expect, middle shots are used for the sister who holds a compromise position between these two extremes. It's not necessarily the case that this kind of filmwork is unprecedented. What makes it so amazing is how Bergman makes it completely natural, even as it is a wholly artificial, even schematic, way of filming the proceedings. There are countless other parallels in the movie (notice the wine and the eating of fish for example), but somehow he manages to create an easily "read" filmic language that at the same time is not so blatantly artsy or obvious that it becomes intrusive. The schematic nature of the cinematography is matched in the screenplay as well, where the "symbolic meaning" of the three sisters (for example, severe asexual versus unbridled hedonist) manages to be felt, and felt as completely natural, without seeming like a bunch of symbolic pawns marched around the screen for our intellectual entertainment. It is very rare to find such an ideal marriage of form and function, and it is one of the true joys of the film to behold.
The second most memorable element of the film is its overall meaning, for want of a better term. The film, shot entirely within interiors, is relentlessly grim. In addition to all of interpersonal trauma being inflicted, the center of it all is the dying sister, who succumbs to disease with truly harrowing intensity. But not even death brings relief for her, since instead of dying she continues to live on in some kind of inexplicable and frightening undeath. When a priest comes to pray for her soul, his faith breaks before our very eyes in an incredibly moving speech and he begs the dying sister to tell him if there is anything beyond the grave. And as the whole narrative slumps toward utter despair, suddenly we are outside for the first time in the movie. This memory of a bright, radiant summer afternoon, with all three sisters smiling and alive together, is voiced over with words to the effect that all of the horror of existence and dying may be redeemed by one solitary moment of perfect happiness.
Now, reject this notion or not, it is a profoundly startling and effective ending, and shows brilliantly how art cannot help being life-affirming, cannot help but to overcome even the cruelest of jokes, the human condition, by turning the vacuum of meaning that would engulf us into the pure and breath-taking vision of art. It is this fact that elevates it from fine to profound, and has ever since left an indelible impression upon me.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Harriet Andersson
Liv Ullmann

DVD title: Big Fish
Productgroup: DVD
Big Fish - movie DVD cover picture
Best Tim Burton Film EVER!

This movie made me think of my grandpa and all the crazy stories he used to tell. It is magical, beautiful, powerful, and really makes you think about your place in the world and how you affect those around you. A must see movie for everyone! Tim Burtons best film yet... and one of his brightest.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Tim Burton
Ewan McGregor
Albert Finney
Billy Crudup

DVD title: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas - movie DVD cover picture
A Christmas Classic!

My children and I watched Emmett and the gang when they first appeared on HBO years ago. We taped the show on our old VCR and my son and daughter played it over and over again...they just couldn't get enough of it and neither could I! The music is wonderful, the characters are amazing and it has a great message of love to people of all ages. Now that my kids are grown, we still watch "Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" every holiday season. It has become a wonderful, heart-warming tradition in our family and I know your family will love it, too.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Jim Henson

DVD title: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi - movie DVD cover picture
The best of the original

it is my favorite episode but to me episode 3 and this on kind of has a tie

Studio: 20TH Century Fox
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrier Fisher

DVD title: Tomorrow Never Dies (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Tomorrow Never Dies (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
This Set contains a DIFFERENT Featurette than the DVD

This review is for the TOMORROW NEVER DIES Limited Edition Gift Pack on VHS (ASIN: 079283965X). It is a 2-tape set. It contains the video "Highly Classified: the World of 007" hosted by the late Desmond Lewelin as Q as well as TOMORROW NEVER DIES in full-frame. This video is completely different from the "Secrets of 007" found on the TOMORROW NEVER DIES DVD! As far as I know this is the only place you can get this great featurette. "Highly Classified: the World of 007" (VHS) is a good complement to "Secrets of 007" (DVD). This set comes in a metallic colored box with a raised 007 logo and also contains a copy of the script and a set of stills. No matter what you think of TOMORROW NEVER DIES this is a great set just for all the extras. I happen to like TOMORROW NEVER DIES very much. I think it is one of the best films of the series and has been maligned because it went in a completely different direction from the popular GOLDENEYE. It takes the best of the Bond formula and adds a new dimension of realism that really enhances the confrontation between Bond and the villains. Bond is not the superman or comic hero in this film. Bond is flesh and blood and very vulnerable. There is a true sense of menace and danger in this film that takes it several notches higher than many of the other films in the series.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Pierce Brosnan
Jonathan Pryce
Michelle Yeoh
Teri Hatcher

DVD title: In the Bedroom
Productgroup: DVD
In the Bedroom - movie DVD cover picture
Anyone who doesn't like this movie is absurd

Contrary to what some brainless, boring people have written about this movie, it is one of the finest films ever made. You couldn't ask for better acting or more emotion to be showcased in this incredible story of family and tragedy. Sure the story isn't new but it has never been told like this. The movie is fairly long(2 hrs 10 min) but quality movies take time to develop and unfold. Are we supposed to care that much about characters who we only see for an hour and a half? This movie takes an inside look at how the loss of a child effects the people left behind. There isn't a lot of action or violence but rather strong emotion and reality. Things many people face on a regular basis. Anyone who is bored watching this movie clearly doesn;t understand what movies are all about. This is an amazingly accurate portrayal of how death can devastate a family and leave a lasting impression. There is a surprise twist at the end of this film. Though many viewers might have seen the initial ending coming, they couldn't possibly have imagined exactly how it would play out. If there is an ounce of depth in your personality, you will notice the metaphors used by the men while explaining the process of lobster catching while out fishing, and how their words resonate and are truly understood by the main character, Tom Wilkinson, at the end of the movie. I simply can't believe that any mature person would dislike this film. Each actor gives the performance of their stellar careers.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Todd Field
Tom Wilkinson
Sissy Spacek

DVD title: The Big O (Vol. 3)
Productgroup: DVD
The Big O (Vol. 3) - movie DVD cover picture
Conclusion to a Great Series

"The Big O" volume 3 contains acts 8-10 of this (far too short) 13-episode series. In my opinion, these three episodes are some of the best in the series, including "Missing Cat" which gives some of the best insight into the Roger-Dorothy relationship. It's annoying that Bandai couldn't put more than 3 episodes on this disc considering that there's not much in the way of extras, but the series is worth it anyway.
The overall plot concerns Roger Smith, a freelance negotiator who settles disputes for a fee. His ace in the hole is Big O, a giant "megadeus" robot he pilots when his wits alone aren't enough. The setting is Paradigm City, the last civilized place left in the world after a planetwide catastrophe 40 years in the past that left the earth in ruin and caused all the citizens of Paradigm to lose their memory. Since no one really knows what happened, the city lacks any history, and people get by merely by trying not to think about it. It's a fascinating plot device that Roger ponders many times throughout the series.
If you haven't picked up the first two volumes of this series, I definitely recommend giving them a try.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Kazuyoshi Katayama

DVD title: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Double Feature (1932/1941)
Productgroup: DVD
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Double Feature (1932/1941) - movie DVD cover picture
Triple-Feature Delight!

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of my favorite stories, and this DVD contains two excellent film versions-- three, if one counts the Bugs Bunny Jekyll-Hyde animated short, which is definitely a bonus! The Audio Commentary is also an excellent feature, as it delivers a lot of fascinating information regarding both versions featured on this DVD as well as the John Barrymore version from the 1920's. Now for the main features:

The 1930's version with Fredric March is highly entertaining, and although it certainly fits the mold of a "creature feature," it carries with it an intelligence that distinguishes it from a typical monster flick. Fredric March himself is excellent in the dual role of the saint-like (and eventually tortured) Dr. Jekyll and the initially humorous, but ultimately horrifically sadistic Mr. Hyde. The ape-like Hyde make-up in this film is excellent, especially for its time, but the transformation sequence is even more impressive, as it is done fairly realistically. Also, the film sticks to the basic storyline, and the use of the fiance/dancer dichotomy adds an interesting twist to the "strange case." This is a must-see for all fans of horror movies, especially those who enjoy classic horror films.

The 1940's version of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy is also a highly entertaining and excellent film. There are those who do not consider this a horror film-- I would have to disagree with them completely. Although this film is a rather lush production of the Jekyll/Hyde story, Spencer Tracy's Hyde ends up being rather horrific in his character, all because of an effective portrayal by a more-than-capable actor. He (Tracy) manages to add a more humorous touch to both personalities (Jekyll and Hyde), and his Jekyll seems genuinely exhausted from the numerous misdeeds of his alter ego. As for the Hyde make-up, it is considerably more human-looking than the Fredric March version, but this does not make it any less effective. In keeping with the tradition of the 1930's version, Tracy's Hyde begins as a somewhat more brutish-looking man who bears relatively little resemblance to the actor, but gets increasingly hideous as the film progresses; as his deeds get worse and worse, this Mr. Hyde becomes exactly what he's meant to be: a monster, both in character and appearance. True, Mr. Hyde may not be a typical role for actor Spencer Tracy, but his excellent performance shows that he is far from miscast. Also, this version follows the basic story format as well, which qualifies it as a good adaptation of the original story.

This DVD is an excellent buy, and any purchaser will definitely get more bang for his or her buck!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Fredric March
Miriam Hopkins

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