Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Moulin Rouge (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Thank you


I am not a Christian or a Buddhist though I respect both. I am an ethical humanist. What strikes me reading these reviews is how Western capitalism is so sneaky. I respond YES that I want and need more in my life beyond illusion. Then I find this way of being in the world so difficult. My teenage daughter is also so bombarded daily with commercial crap. I can either be like Satine and accept it or I can fight it. It's so easy to delude oneself and say, "OK, I accept this or that material thing but I don't take it to heart". In my close to 50 years I have learned that this is always a mistake. What brought me to ethical culture to begin with was the realization that I must be profound and have courage in dealing with our American culture. Why do we like Satine so much? Why does Christian fall in love with her? Because diamonds and sex and energy have such an allure! You don't have to be a young person to feel it, either.

Thanks.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Actors:
Nicole Kidman
Ewan McGregor




DVD title: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
An enchanting, yet extremely unsettling film.


It's like this, "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" is based on the 1969 short story, "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" by Brian Aldiss. "A.I." somewhat bears its similarities to "Pinocchio" (1940) and was also a long-gestating project of legendary director Stanley Kubrick ("2001: A Space Odyssey"). Unfortunately, Kubrick died after his last project "Eyes Wide Shut" was filmed and he passed it along to his friend, director Steven Spielberg ("Jurassic Park", "Jaws"). "A.I." was, to me, a very challenging film for Spielberg and also, it was very enjoyable to watch if you look at it very carefully and not worrying about how long the film is, etc. The film's special effects and dazzling scenery was simply amazing, and its cast was very impressive. The film takes place in a future when the polar ice caps have melted and submerged many coastal cities, causing worldwide starvation and human dependence upon robotic assistance. Haley Joel Osment, one of the best young actors today, plays David, the first "mecha", or robot of the future, designed to experience unconditional love. David is the "son" of grief-stricken Monica Swinton (Frances O'Connor), and her husband Henry (Sam Robards), an employee of the company that built the boy. David is meant to replace the couple's hopelessly comatose son Martin, but when Martin recovers, David is abandoned and sets out to become "a real boy" worthy of his mother's affection. Along the way, he is befriended and mentored by a streetwise pleasure-providing mecha named Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) and a talking "super toy" bear named "Teddy" by his side. David's adventures take him to the Roman Circus-style "Flesh Fair", where mechas are destroyed for the amusement of humans by its leader, Lord Johnson-Johnson (Brendan Gleeson); Rouge City, where Gigolo Joe narrowly avoids capture by police; and a submerged New York City, where David's creator, Dr. Hobby (William Hurt) reveals the secrets of the boy's creation. In closing, I just have to say that I've been waiting a very long time to see "A.I. Artificial Intelligence", and that I thought it was a remarkable film to watch. I have to give a lot of credit to Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, and Frances O'Connor for their outstanding performances, especially the character of "Teddy", who has the most interesting part of this film. I now own the DVD of "A.I.", with lots of features including behind-the-scenes featurettes, early "Teddy" footage, and much, much more! Like I said, this is the most questionable film of Spielberg's career that you should not ignore the film's accomplishments, but watch and learn from it.
P.S. One more thing that I have to ask: "Is this the Steven Spielberg who gave us "Saving Private Ryan" and "Jurassic Park"...or is he a mecha too?"

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors:
Haley Joel Osment
Jude Law




DVD title: Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 39, Episodes 77 & 78: The Savage Curtain / All Our Yesterdays
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 39, Episodes 77 & 78: The Savage Curtain / All Our Yesterdays - movie DVD cover picture
STAR TREK THE ORIGINAL SERIES' LAST GASPING BREATH!


We must be reaching the end, because Volume 39 of The Star Trek DVD series contians two of the last great episodes producedin the series three season run.
At first look THE SAVAGE CURTAIN may be considered a ridiculously silly episode. This is the infamous episode where 'Abraham Lincoln' makes an appearance. True that this episodes plot is way too far out to ever actually occur but still you have to give the writers credit for their creativity even if this is too cheesy. Basically the story goes that the Enterprise crew are abducted by a friendly alien entity who takes the form of Lincoln. Lincoln insists he is who he actually is and requests that Kirk and Spock accompany him to the molten planet where (unbeknowst to our heroes) the rock like aliens, the Excalbians have organized a battle between good and evil. Pitting (good) Kirk, Spock, Lincoln and the greatest Vulcan philosopher Surak against (evil) Genghis Khan, Kahless the Unforgettable (founder of the Klingon Empire), Col.Green (someone who supposedly is a Tyrant in our future) and Zora (some fairly forgettable experimental witch tyrant here). The story has essentially an anti-war message. Some people consider this to be one of the worst episodes. I actually greatly disagee with that thought on this show. Of course it's nowhere near the best but it's effective and creative, especially considering that (by this time) the Star Trek series was on life support. Not the best but good for third season standards. Hey, at least they didn't credit Abraham Lincoln played by himself!
ALL OF OUR YESTERDAYS was the last great Star Trek episode to ever make it into production. Being only an episode away from the end of the series' three year run, in retrospect they should have ended with this one. The story essentially deals with time travel. The Enterprise journeys to Sarpeidon and Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet a peculiar old librarian (played by Ian Wolfe). It's a really effective time travle episode since this story has three settings: Present day Sarpeidon, Kirk in Sarpeidon's Victorian age, Spock and McCoy in Sarpeidon's ice age. The last setting really steals this episode. Partly because we see Spock's barbaric nature take him over. There is no doubt why Nimoy is on the front of the DVD case. He even gets an effective love interest in this story (played by Mariette Hartley). An interesting plot, great acting and a somewhat tragic ending make tihs episode one of the more memrable episodes from the tail end of the Star Trek series.
Overall this is another must. One of the better pair of episodes from the end Star Trek's wildly uneven third season. Highly recommended.

Studio: Paramount Home Video



DVD title: Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Amazing!


Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
After all the hype and the crazily varied reviews, the real question is whether The Phantom Menace is up there amongst its' three predecessors as one of the best films of all time or a pale imitation of its relations. The answer: neither. Phantom Menace isn't up to standards of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. A millions details irritate and niggle. The acting is sometimes flat, Jar Jar is irritating and incomprehensible and the plot adheres to tightly to the conventions of the past films. At one point the same sequence of events is repeated twice (there is indeed always a bigger fish) and the force has now been revealed to be a bunch of tiny parasites who give birth to the chosen one - it kind of loses its mistique doesn't it! I also feel that the promotional material (and there was a lot of it!) ruined much of the films' appeal. For example, in the film, Darth Maul only reveals his two bladed lightsaber at the end of the film, but due to all the promotion we all knew about it already. So does this all mean that it was a bad film? Far from it. Although a slight disappointment for a Star Wars film, in its own right it's bloody excellent. Each of the weaker performances are matched by great turns from Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid, and, though I could have done without Jar Jar, Anakin's owner, the other computer animated character in the film, looks and acts brilliantly and sits next to Palpatine as the best character in the movie. The lightsaber battles are incredible, and Darth Maul is amazing to watch. The computer effects, far from detracting from the story, are brilliant to watch and effective within the plot. The huge council chamber is particularly notable for being mindblowingly awe-inspiring. John Barry's score is powerful and memorable, cleverly both touching on the Star Wars theme and going in new directions at the same time. The film works best when the viewer is familiar with the originals, both because of the nods to events in the future, and because of the sheer sense of excitement when the Star Wars prolouge scrolls up the screen. So it seems fair to say that this is not the unfaultable work of art that the other three Star Wars' were, but it is still one of the best fims I have ever seen. Can't wait for Episode 2. Hint: watch to the very end of the credits to hear a little referral of what is to come.
9 out of 10.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: George Lucas
Actors:
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman




DVD title: American Beauty
Productgroup: DVD
American Beauty - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie of 1999.


American Beauty is a film that summed up everything about suburbia, teenage life, midlife crisises, homosexual attitudes, and marital distress and bottled it up into a perfect 2-hour movie. I've seen it twice already, and I could watch it once a week. It truly deserved all of the praise and awards it received (execpt Spacey's Oscar should have gone to Denzel). I can't wait for the DVD to be released (as long as it is not widescreen [I HATE THAT]).Watch it, you won't regret it.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sam Mendes
Actors:
Kevin Spacey
Annette Bening




DVD title: Absolutely Fabulous Complete DVD Collection (4-Disc Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Absolutely Fabulous Complete DVD Collection (4-Disc Set) - movie DVD cover picture
Go ahead.


I don't think anything produced in the US even comes close to this. Maybe Seinfeld aproaches the quality, but still. For anyone who insists women aren't funny I urge them to avoid this and so sleep pleacefully. I truely wish America could steal Jennifer Saunders, (and Dawn French), they would certainly get paid better. But then, if we did, we'd try to turn them into Doris Day (or Cybil Shepard.) Hmm, Doris Day reminds me of a song:"...it could be Frank or Charles Manson, I would wed a tomato with pants on..." For the source of this reference, I urge you to buy "French and Saunders: The Ingenue Years" I urge you to buy 'em all, you won't be disappointed.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Absolutely Fabulous
Jennifer Saunders




DVD title: Nicholas Nickleby
Productgroup: DVD
Nicholas Nickleby - movie DVD cover picture
Superb cast bring Dickens to film life


Douglas McGrath's new film of one of the most underrated of Dickens's novels is a masterpiece, virtually flawless from first frame to last. Jamie Bell, BAFTA best actor winner for Billy Elliot, takes on the very difficult role of Smike, the abused young inmate of Dotheboys Hall, and rivals Christopher Plummer (as wicked uncle Ralph Nickleby) for best performance in the piece. Brilliant evocation of 1830s London and rural England, and it is great to see such luminaries as Alan Cumming, Dame Edna Everage (!) and Nathan Lane obviously enjoying themselves to the hilt. In my view, this is the best Dickens we have had on screen or television since Christine Edzard's Little Dorrit set a new standard in 1987. Run, don't walk!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Douglas McGrath
Actors:
Charlie Hunnam
Christopher Plummer
Anne Hathaway
Jim Broadbent
Jamie Bell




DVD title: Pure Country
Productgroup: DVD
Pure Country - movie DVD cover picture
George Strait is no doubt "Pure Country!"


For anyone who loves traditional country music, and who is a fan of George Strait, then you are advised to watch this very fun movie. This movie was very well made for George Strait(which was motion picture debut) as Dusty Wyatt Chandelor. As Dusty becomes more popular as a country music singer, his manager (Lesley Ann Warren) stages all his tours with smoke, strobe lights, and really loud music to where no one can even see or hear the "real" country artist. To be honest, what Strait's character goes through is more like being in one of Garth Brooks tours which is more rock & rap than it is country. So he decides to ditch it all to go back to his small town roots, and there he falls for the lovely Harley Tucker (Isabell Glasser). A very wonderful movie that has a heart and soul. Thanks for being true to country, Mr. Strait!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Christopher Cain
Actors:
George Strait
Lesley Ann Warren




DVD title: A Bug's Life (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A Bug's Life (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
JUST TO REMIND YOU PARENTS WITH YOUNG KIDS.........


I saw alot of parents comaplaining that the movie was too violent and should be rated PG. NO WAY!!! A Bug's Life only had the part were Hopper beats up flik alot. If you parents want to see some violence for your kids, Antz has alot more violence, when the ants have a battle with the termites and they start RIPPING THEIR GUTS OUT!!! Whadaya call that? violence! And Bug's Life has no bad words and antz has the "A" word and the "D" word and the "H" word and countless others....and it was alful. A Bug's Life was cheerful, funny, and for you preteens, it was DA BOMB!!! And Bug's Life isn't just for kids. Stars like David Hyde Pierce ( Fraiser) Dave Foley (News Radio) Julia Lois Dreyfus ( Sienfeld) and Kevin Spacey (American Beauty) are in the film with Pierce as the stickbug, Foley as the Hero ant,flik, Dreyfus as the Princess, and Spacey as the villain grasshopper.
So buy this movie for your kids ( and you!) instead of ANTZ.

Studio: Disney/Pixar
Actors:
Dave Foley
Kevin Spacey




DVD title: Closer (Superbit Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Closer (Superbit Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
...look 'Closer'


Lyin', cheatin' hearts abound in Closer directed by Mike Nichols.

"Try lying for a change. It's the currency of the world." That line, said by Jude Law's Dan deep within the perplexing Closer, can perhaps sum up the entire film in one quote. It's this kind of BRILLIANT, snappy dialogue that makes Closer the second best film of the year.

This is a film about human vice. Although Dan (Law) and Larry (Clive Owen) have given up smoking, they still indulge in internet sex chat rooms. Alice (Natalie Portman) is a stripper, and Anna (Julia Roberts) is in her own way a voyeur through her photography. These people are flawed, yet a flicker of humanity exists in each of them still--and it will all be gone by the end of the film. It tells us the story over the course of four years, where Dan gets invoved with Alice through a happenstance encounter, and then later meets Anna, and has an affair with her. She marries Larry, and so forth. There is couple switching, backstabbing, foulmouthes, and lyin', cheatin' hearts.

I'm going to go all the way and say that this is the best acted film since In the Bedroom, and I'll even say that it features some of the most deliciously satisfying verbal confrontations since Mike Nichols' debut in 1966 of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The volley between Larry and Anna when he confronts her about his sex habits with Dan is the best piece of acting I have seen all year. The way she says "it tastes like you but sweeter" is so cold and would be very disarming if Larry was not such a stone. Then he says "that's the spirit. Thanks for the honest. Now f*ck off and die." In a way, the scene is earthshattering to the point where we are weakened from complete and utter guilt. We are these characters. These are people. Real people.

Clive Owen and Natalie Portman give arguably the best supporting performances of the year (especially from the strip club scene), and Jude Law and Julia Roberts are also fantastic. Yes, it's difficult to stomach Roberts speaking of such matters as "coming" and oral sex, but it's great to see a change. They each inhabit the characters and brilliantly exemplify their range of complicated emotion. Closer is filled with these complicated emotions. So look Closer...I dare you.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Mike Nichols
Actors:
Natalie Portman
Jude Law
Julia Roberts
Clive Owen




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