Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Simpsons - The Complete Sixth Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Simpsons - The Complete Sixth Season - movie DVD cover picture
The Packaging is ATROCIOUS but the episodes are FANTASTIC...


As soon as I get the DVD, I place it up on my video shelf, and a few seconds later I hear a thud from the other room. The crappy DVD case fell off the shelf as it couldn't stay up and the case fell, one of the CDs fell out of their jewel case and got scratched a bit- GREAT JOB FOX!!!

But onto what is actually relevant...the episodes from this season are some of the best ever...this is about three years before the show stopped being funny or even remotely amusing (in my honest opinion), and the episodes from this season are great- "Bart of Darkness" is amusing in it's parody of 'Rear Window', "Itchy and Scratchy Land"' s biting commentary on amusement parks, the gang from Archie kicking Homer out of their gang in one of the funniest scenes in the series' history ("Sideshow Bob Roberts"), one of the best parodies in Simpsons Holloween history ('The Shining') ("Treehouse of Horror V")...I could go on and on, but that's just for Disc One!

In closing, the absolutely PITIFUL packaging is FAR, FAR outweighed by the incredible episodes...I will be paying a call to the toll free number to PAY for packaging that I should have begun with...oh well...BUY THIS DVD, and prepare to shell out more money for decent packaging, or do what I'm doing right now and put them in empty jewel cases...

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Actors:
Dan Castellaneta



DVD title: The Flintstones - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Flintstones - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
--->Move Over, Matt--->


I don't have cable. Here, on regular TV it seems the Simpsons come on, oh, lets say every other hour. At some point you begin to believe that Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons), as far as animation is concerned, is 'all'. Somewhere along the way, network TV either lost the rights, or the interest in animation, and therefore, the public has lost touch with the BIG PICTURE.
I grew up watching Hanna Barbera productions, never really realizing how much they did for the art of animation. With all the press Mr. Groening gets you would have thought he would be the one who accomplished what Hanna Barbera did. The Simpsons is great, no question. Futurama, not so great. Now, how about Scooby Doo? Jetsons? Yogi Bear? Huckleberry Hound? The Flinstones? ...And on it goes. These hallmarks of americana came from the hearts and minds of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, not to mention the other 30-50 or so MAJOR icons I haven't even mentioned. It's almost unbelieveable that two individuals could have come up with so much. It's a lot like the Beatles, but without the recoginiton.
If you have even a question of whether this set is worth the money, erase that thought. The packaging itself is worth the price to me. Besides, the transfers are clean, the sound is worthy and the comedy seems to hold up well. True, comedy has changed since H/B began creating these so long ago. Comedy itself seems to have taken on a more adult edge, even in animation, but maybe that's why these H/B shows are so refreshing. So, kick your shows off, put down the remotes, forget the car bills and the leaky roof and return to a time when comedy wasn't taken so seriously.

Studio: Warner Home Video



DVD title: Trouble in Paradise - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Trouble in Paradise - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A comic masterpiece of the highest rank


At the time I am reviewing this, TROUBLE IN PARADISE has merely been announced on DVD. No date has been announced. Nevertheless, I am extremely excited about this, because this film is one of my favorite films of all time. Without any question, this is one of the most dreadfully neglected masterpieces in the history of cinema. Hopefully the DVD version will do this film complete justice.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE is one of Lubitsch's very greatest films. Of all the great directors in the history of film, Hitchcock and Lubitsch worked more successfully within the Hollywood system than any others. As a director, Lubitsch was flawless. His mastery of all film techniques was simply unmatched, and could string together a series of shots that can take a viewers breath away. The film is filled with such moments. I think of a scene in which the highly sophisticated Kay Francis character and Miriam Hopkins subservient character are sitting beside each other in Francis's bedroom, where Francis is eating her breakfast. Both have intensely furtive expressions on their faces, Hopkins because she is a thief and is tempted to steal the jewelry that is near the bed, and Francis because she wants crudely to dunk her doughnut into her coffee without Hopkins noticing. It is a stunning juxtaposition.
And even better moment occurs a bit later in the movie. Herbert Marshall has embraced and kissed Kay Francis. The camera instantly jumps from a straight on shot of the two, to a mirror which reflects both of them. As they begin talking, the camera then jumps to yet another mirror. Then, as Francis provocatively explains that they will have the rest of their lives to express their passion to one another, the camera jumps yet again, to a shot of their embracing shadows . . . falling across a bed. The whole sequence is breathtaking in its virtuosity, and no finer example exists of what would become known as "the Lubitsch touch." Unfortunately, two years later the Hays office would have forced the censoring of such a suggestive shot, which is tragic. Indeed, in 1935 when the movie came up for re-issue, the Hays office would not approve its release, claiming that the movie was too suggestive.
Nearly everything is perfect about this film. The script is sparkling. The art direction is amazing. And the cast is beyond reproach. Herbert Marshall is perfect as the thief Monescu. Despite having only one leg (which he lost in WW I--he managed to keep his loss secret for many years through use of a prosthesis), he graced a bevy of great films in the thirties and forties. Miriam Hopkins is superb as the female thief of the film. And Kay Francis is tremendous as the intended victim of the two thieves. The three leads alone could have carried the film, but the supporting cast is just stunning. The only two films that I enjoyed Charlie Ruggles in as much as this one are the Lubitsch musical ONE HOUR WITH YOU and Howard Hawks's masterpiece BRINGING UP BABY. He has so many marvelous moments, my favorite being, perhaps, when he is arranging the place cards for a dinner party he is throwing, trying to move his romantic rival as far as possible from the object of his affection. Edward Everett Horton manages his usual superb turn. (Ironically, both Ruggles and Horton would do voiceovers on THE ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE SHOW, Horton doing, of course, the narration "Fractured Fairy Tales" and Ruggles doing the voice for Aesop.) C. Aubrey Smith for once does not portray a British general or colonel, but still manages some marvelous scenes with Marshall. And Robert Grieg, who plays Francis's butler, was a great character actor who graced a vast number of great films in the thirties and forties, but who rarely attracted much direct attention. He is hysterical in this film as he mumblingly disapproves of the nonsense going on around him.
This is a "must-see" film. Movies simply do not come any better than this one, and there are very few comedies that can match it in wit, sophistication, and elegance.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Actors:
Miriam Hopkins
Kay Francis
Herbert Marshall




DVD title: Cowboy Bebop - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Cowboy Bebop - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
Yoko Kanno's music is intact.


Normally, I wouldn't waste anybody's time by adding yet another "Cowboy Bebop rocks" review. But someone has falsely posted that the American version of the movie has some "terrible rock" instead of Yoko KANNO's excellent music.
Let me set the record straight here: the English dub of the movie keeps Yoko KANNO's original music COMPLETELY INTACT. I have also watched the movie in both its forms, the original Japanese version (downloaded) and the American version (in theatres).
The thing is, there have been rumors floating around the web for well over a year that Columbia-TriStar was replacing Yoko KANNO's music with some American rock. Many doubted the validity of the rumor, but the rumor persisted. And obviously, the rumor has been completely discredited now, after the movie's American theatrical release. If you heard any rumors about the music being replaced, then you can safely disregard them as false rumors.
As for the movie itself, the English dub is excellent (and I generally dislike dubs), and, as if anybody needed to tell you, Cowboy Bebop rocks, and the movie rocks. The only negative thing I can say about the movie is that it is a tad long, weakening the momentum and the pacing of the film. Still, that doesn't keep me from wholeheartedly recommending the movie.
Just don't listen to anybody who says that the "American version ruined the music." It is simply not true.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Actors:
Beau Billingslea
Melissa Charles




DVD title: UHF
Productgroup: DVD
UHF - movie DVD cover picture
Get 2 copies, people will borrow this and never return it...


If you loan this to someone, consider it a gift, because it will NEVER be returned. Get two "UHF" DVDs so you don't suffer needlessly. ALSO... take care who you watch this movie with. It will forever change your relationship with that person -- they will become your "UHF Buddy." Someday you'll both be watching kids play a game -- one of the kids wins, and you look at your UHF Buddy and say gleefully, "you get to drink from the FIRE HOSE!!!" And you'll both start laughing ridiculously, and people will stare at you. Or when someone you know gets ripped off in some way, your UHF buddy will say to you "What's in the box? NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! STUPID!!!!" and the laughter will erupt again. If you're not prepared to live like this for the rest of your life, perhaps you'd do well to avoid this movie. Monty Python fanatics will understand what I mean...

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Jay Levey
Actors:
Weird Al Yankovic



DVD title: Black Cadillac
Productgroup: DVD
Black Cadillac - movie DVD cover picture
Smart, scary, and funny


It starts out seeming like a familiar car chase, action flick. But the more you watch and get hooked into this compelling film, the more you realize that there is much more under the hood. It's a really fast paced nail biter and soon you'll find your self drawn into these well drawn, funny characters and the terrifying situation they find themselves in. It had me totally on the edge of my seat. And I can't say that for most big budget films I see. The acting's great, the action is great. I highly recommend it.

Studio: First Look Pictures
Director: John Murlowski



DVD title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1) - movie DVD cover picture
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


This movie, while yes it had magnificent visual effects and stunning imagery, relied solely upon that. The acting was horrible, particularly by the boy playing Harry Potter himself. The entire time he didn't show any resemblance of emotion and entirely lacked dimension. Not to mention that with all the cuts and edits of the book there is next to no character development for anyone but Potter himself. Furthermore, in comparison to the book, they cut and rewrote sequences, vital to the story that ultimately resulted in the book and movie versions being to completely different stories. Instead of developing Dumbledore, Hagrid, or any number of the supporting characters, or ACCURATELY portraying their forray into the Forbidden Forest, or accurately portraying the ending itself, or the sequence with Fluffy, they made 15-20 minute sequences of lone visual effects for the quidditch match. Not even all of the quidditch matches, just one.
Overall, this movie was just an asinine insult to any true Harry Potter fans. I would've gladly traded the entirety of the visual effects for an accurate storyline. They chopped, sliced, and diced the book to death, entirely rewriting sequences that leaves you wondering why something is happening, and why it's not even SIMILAR to the book. The only reason it got 2 stars from me is the visual effects.
If you're looking for a true life version of the book, hope that the second movie is better.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Actors:
Daniel Radcliffe



DVD title: Music for Montserrat
Productgroup: DVD
Music for Montserrat - movie DVD cover picture
Superb!


One of the best DVDs I have purchased so far! Where else could you get this calibre of talent on stage, all in the one sitting. I was simply mesmerize for the entire DVD. I hope that these gentlemen have passed on their talents to their children, otherwise what loss.

Studio: Image Entertainment



DVD title: An American Werewolf in London
Productgroup: DVD
An American Werewolf in London - movie DVD cover picture
The greatest Werewolf film ever!


1981 was The Year of the Werewolves...the furry fiends leaped onto movie screens in three major films: "The Howling," "Wolfen," and the classic of the genre, "An American Werewolf in London." There has never been a greater werewolf film, there has never been a better transformation scene, and few horror movies can match the entertaining mixture of humor and scares that writer/direction John Landis ("Animal House," "The Blues Brothers") achieved here.
Although there had been humor in horror films before this movie, "An American Werewolf in London" showed once and for all that having comedy in a horror film didn't mean that the film would lose out in the scare department. Landis makes it clear that the film is NOT a comedy -- the horror scenes are carried with dead-seriousness and shocking impact -- but there is so much quirky humor surrounding these scenes that the film becomes incredibly likable and buoyant. Most of the laughs come from seeing the old movie werewolf premise dropped into the modern day and watching the characters try to deal with it.
Actors Griffin Dunne and David Naughton, neither of whom had been in a movie before, create a wonderful 'ordinary guy' feeling to their characters of two young American boys backpacking through Europe. In rural England, they have a nasty encounter with a legendary monster, and Naughton faces the consequences of being bitten when he returns to London and takes up living with a pretty nurse (Jenny Agutter).
The transformation scene is justly famous and a milestone in visual effects. Make-up wizard Rick Baker lets the viewers watch a real-time twisting of a human body into a wolf shape: limbs stretch, snouts pop, hair grows, the body contorts...it's amazing to watch. (And on DVD, you can watch it over and over and over again). Even computer graphics can't achieve an effect as startling as this one.
This DVD offers some nice extras. The image is good, and the 5.1 Surround Sound is decent (although there's not a lot of back speaker sound). Actors Naughton and Dunne do feature commentary on the film, and provide some interesting information and sound as if they were having a great time reliving the experience. I wish that Landis had been on the commentary as well, but you can hear his thoughts on the film in an 18-minute interview. Landis is an absolute hoot to listen to; the guy is as funny as his movie, and he absolutely bursts with ideas and observations. To go along with the Landis interview is an 11-minute interview with make-up maestro Rick Baker. He provides a fascinating look at crafting what he calls "the coolest werewolf film ever made." Also included is a vintage featurette on the making of the film, although it's only about five minutes long (but you get more of wise-cracking John Landis), ten minutes of archival footage of Baker making a cast of David Naughton's hand, and an assortment of storyboards, outtakes, and production photos.
"An American Werewolf in London" is a major turning point in horror films and visual effects -- and even over twenty years later, it is still one of the most entertaining movies of its decade. It hasn't aged at all, and this DVD lets you experience it the way it should be seen (and in the company of wild-man John Landis!)

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: John Landis
Actors:
David Naughton
Jenny Agutter




DVD title: Chasing Liberty (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Chasing Liberty (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A great love story


This movie was Amazing and Matthew Good is sooo hot. Also, if you like this movie then you'll love A Walk to Remember.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Andy Cadiff
Actors:
Mandy Moore (II)
Mark Harmon
Matthew Goode




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