Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Heart: The Road Home
Productgroup: DVD
Heart: The Road Home - movie DVD cover picture
Spectacular


This was recorded in 1995, at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. I'm giving this DVD 5 stars in spite of the fact that it freezes occassionally, sometimes distractingly so. However, take that with a grain of salt, since my player is a first generation player, and it may or may not be the player's fault. However, I have tons of other DVDs that do not freeze. I know there is always a brief pause in all dual-layer DVDs as the player switches from one layer to the next, but this thing froze briefly about 6 different times during playback. But please bear in mind, I think it highly likely my player may not be advanced enough to handle this for whatever reason.
Aside from that though, I can find absolutely no fault with the concert, video quality, sound quality, or performance. I lost track of 'Heart' back when they switched into 'hit machine' mode in the '80s. This is my first exposure to them recently, aside from the usual radio stuff.
Most notable is the fact that Ann Wilson has apparently not been sitting idle all these years. Her voice remains absolutely astounding (I repeat ASTOUNDING!), which I know requires a lot of work to maintain. And hell, I had no idea sister Nancy could even sing, but oh yes, she can. Marvelous vocals, harmonies, and guitar playing from her. The orchestra sounds wonderful too, as do all supporting musicians.
It goes without saying that everyone who ever loved 'Heart' will greatly enjoy this. Heck, anyone who loves good music will love this.

Studio: Emi Distribution



DVD title: Great Big Sea - Great Big Dvd
Productgroup: DVD
Great Big Sea - Great Big Dvd - movie DVD cover picture
Great Big DVD


I ran accross this group by accident, but it was a MOST FORTUNATE accident. Great Big Sea is infectious, getting deep into your heart and soul. I have spent this summer listening to all of their albums and have enjoyed every one of them (although the live stuff is best). I am of Irish descent and I was searching for something new. Although they are from Newfoundland (not Irish), their music is very similiar and very enjoyable. I just can't quit listening to it...I am addicted to Road Rage and the Great Big DVD. I cannot reccommend thieir music highly enough!

Studio: Music Video Distribu



DVD title: The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Hitchcock learned from "The Thin Man"..... then kept going


Hitchcock's accomplishments are legendary. In a career spanning over five decades he directed over fifty films, and a number of them show up on the most prestigious lists of "greatest movies ever". Because his career began in the silent era and concluded with "Family Plot" half a century later he saw more change in cinema than perhaps any director in history. As a result, his career has many eras. He began with silent films in Britain, naturally progressed to "talkies" and improved and honed his craft. "The Lady Vanishes" is the next to last of his "British" films - "Jamaica Inn" followed - and I've read many film historians who feel that "Lady Vanishes" is the film that prompted Mr. Hitchcock's subsequent move to Hollywood where he began that string of masterpieces that continue to be praised years after his passing: Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo and Psycho were to follow.

"The Lady Vanishes" is an exciting, funny, entertaining film. It's a thriller, full of intrigue and sinister characters. But it also has many hilarious moments. I was going to write that the witty, breezy dialogue influenced the equally wonderful "The Thin Man". But a little research shows that "Thin Man" was released in 1934 while "Lady" came out in 1938. Like all the great directors, Hitchcock's work shows the influence of what came before, while still indelibly imprinting the film with his own style.

Margaret Lockwood plays Iris Matilda Henderson, one of those beautiful young spoiled globetrotting socialites. She's toured the world and now is engaged to some gentleman she doesn't seem to have any particular passion for. Michael Redgrave is Gilbert Redman, a witty young gent studying the folk music of Europe. They are snowed into a lodge in some fictional corner of Europe and immediately hate each other.

Stranded there with them are a collection of characters. Dame May Whitty as Miss Froy, a kindly old governess. Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford as a pair of Brits who surface periodically throughout the film for comic relief. Nothing on earth matters to them except getting back to England in time to see an important cricket match. It's a humorous look if you've ever observed and wondered about people who wrap all the important details in their life on the performance of their favorite sports team. Cecil Parker is on a trip with his mistress and wants to stay out of mysterious intrigues as much as possible.

All our characters finally board a train where Miss Henderson enjoys the pleasant company of old Miss Froy. When Miss Froy suddenly disappears Miss Henderson is at first perplexed. Her anxiety escalates as she searches the train. There is no sign of Miss Froy and all of the other passengers deny ever seeing the sweet old lady. The brash Gilbert she disliked so much back at the lodge becomes her only ally and they begin to uncover a plot of increasingly complex layers.

A fine romantic comedy, a good spy thriller, and a must for anyone who aspires to becoming a student of Hitchcock.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Actors:
Margaret Lockwood
Michael Redgrave




DVD title: Showgirls
Productgroup: DVD
Showgirls - movie DVD cover picture
Hot, steamy, sexy with great choreography


The choreography and dance sequences in this movie are awesome!!

And I love watching gorgeous nude and semi-nude human bodies in motion. And there are some great provocative scenes in this movie.

The story is a little corny and unbelievable. For example there is this scene in the very beginning of the movie where this big brute of a guy gets a little fresh with the heroine of this story, Naomi and she scares him off with a switchblade. In real life, that big burly guy would have made her eat that switchblade! She should have been packing a .45 Smith and Wesson. There are some other unlikely events in the story, too.
She is supposed to have been running the streets and hitchhiking. But she is too beautiful to have been living that kind of life! Real women that have been living a hard life like Naomi is supposed to have look like they have been living a hard life -- they resemble Charlize Theron in the movie "Monster".

Ah! But this is Hollywood! (or rather, Las Vegas)

Oh well, despite its faults, the movie shines in its dance choreography and eroticism.

At the end, Verhoeven gets up on his soap box and asks the question, "What would you do for fame?" "Would you do anything to get to the top?" I guess with all the sensuality and striptease, he has to throw in a little moral to the story.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Actors:
Elizabeth Berkley
Kyle MacLachlan
Gina Gershon




DVD title: Slapstick Encyclopedia
Productgroup: DVD
Slapstick Encyclopedia - movie DVD cover picture
Sure to entertain for hours on end.


The Slapstick Encyclopedia is chock full of entertaining, rare movies from the earliest days of silent movies. Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Stan Laurel without Oliver Hardy, Oliver Hardy without Stan Laurel, Bustard Keaton, Hal Roach comedies, Harold Loyd in Haunted Spooks, Harry Langdon, Will Rogers, Keystone cops...all the unforgettable greats, you may have only read about in books, and rarely seen, doing the antics that once made movies so special. Included is the rarest of rare, a 1916 film starring Great black entertainer Bert Williams doing some of the comic routines that made him famous and part of America's conscience for decades after his death. Sure to entertain for hours on end.

Studio: Image Entertainment



DVD title: Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cruel Intentions (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Dark schemes and lost love - what more could a girl ask for?


The reason I liked this movie the most was that it was so refreshing. Although it does feature 'true love' it isn't half as mushy as some teen videos, and Kathryn's viciousness is brilliant - at last, someone who isn't nice! I also really enjoyed trying to work out what was going to happen next and I thought the dialogue was great (I don't think it sounded too mature and, hey, I'm a teenager myself!) I admit the ending is a bit soppy (though not half as bad as some I've seen) but at the time I found it really good. I think it's a bit unfair to attack the movie because the bad guy (or girl in this case) gets her comeuppance because if she hadn't, we'd all have felt cheated (I was cheering at the end!) I thought it was a really great film, though I guess not for little kids due to rude words, sex, etc...

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Roger Kumble
Actors:
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ryan Phillippe
Reese Witherspoon




DVD title: Cold Mountain
Productgroup: DVD
Cold Mountain - movie DVD cover picture
A mournful and beautiful film.


"Cold Mountain," Anthony Minghella's film of Charles Frazier's novel, is a mournful, beautiful and occasionally profound film about the futility of war, the persistence of love and the desperate attempts of people to survive in wartime. The quiet, delicately nuanced performances of Jude Law and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles are deeply moving, and Renee Zellweger brings much-needed comic relief as Ruby, a plain-spoken farm worker. The film's episodic structure may distract some viewers, but the vignettes are extremely powerful per se, and they allow for some wonderful supporting performances--by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Donald Sutherland, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Lucas Black, Brendan Gleeson, Ray Winstone, Jack White, Ethan Suplee and others--to be placed strategically in the movie like jewels in a crown. "Cold Mountain" makes the sad but undeniable point that at times of national tragedy, all the survivors can do is pick up the pieces, rebuild their lives as best they can, and find joy wherever they can. With fine performances, excellent music (by Sting, Jack White and others), and exquisite photography by John Seale, "Cold Mountain" lingers in our minds and hearts long after the closing credits roll.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Anthony Minghella
Actors:
Jude Law
Nicole Kidman
Renée Zellweger




DVD title: The Brown Bunny
Productgroup: DVD
The Brown Bunny - movie DVD cover picture
I Worship this Director


Since viewing Buffalo 66 at Sundace a few years ago, I am and always will be a great fan on Vincent Gallo. This movie was challenging, but ultimately very rewarding to me as a film-maker and someone who respects an independent vision in a film. And I really enjoyed the oral sex scene -- thanks Vincent!

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Vincent Gallo
Actors:
Vincent Gallo
Chloë Sevigny
Cheryl Tiegs




DVD title: Bliss
Productgroup: DVD
Bliss - movie DVD cover picture
bliss


I found this film deeply moving and intellectually stimulating, not at all what I might have expected of Hollywood. A higher level of psychological insight I have not seen in American film. On the other hand, will someone please put Leonard Maltin out of my misery?

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Lance Young
Actors:
Craig Sheffer
Sheryl Lee
Terence Stamp




DVD title: A Sea Apart
Productgroup: DVD
A Sea Apart - movie DVD cover picture
I LOVED THIS MOVIE !


As an immigrant to America, I completely related to this beautiful story. It was very well written and directed by first time feature director Ersi Danau who managed to capture the sentiment of a woman from a small island in Greece who despite living the "American dream" still secretly longs for the simple life of her childhood in paradise. I loved contrast between the scenes shot in Los Angeles and those shot in Greece. I am not sure why the last reviewer had a problem with the lighting - perhaps he just had a bad copy of the movie. The DVD copy I saw looked great. Although I am not a professional, it looked very well shot to me.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this film to any immigrant or anyone who wants to understand an immigrants point of view or and one who just wants to enjoy a well told character driven love story.

Studio: Terra Entertainment
Director: Ersi Danou



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