Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Three Sovereigns for Sarah
Productgroup: DVD
Three Sovereigns for Sarah - movie DVD cover picture
The Story of My Ancestors

Imagine my delight upon finding this movie that details the experiences that my very own 7X Great Grandmother, Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyce experienced during those very dark and troubling times in Salem, Massachusetts. She very narrowly escaped with her own life after being falsely accused of witchcraft but unfortunately had no recourse to save her two sisters, my 7X Great Grandaunts, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty. Hearing some of the words actually spoken by my own ancestors makes their lives and the history I have been compiling about my genealogy so much more real. The best part is having such celebrated and distinguished actresses recreate the lives and times that my ancestors endured during that fateful year of 1692. My daughter, who is not genealogy-oriented, raved about this movie in two separate phone calls to me and has now become appreciative of her family history. I very highly recommend this movie as one of the best of the Salem Witch Trials.

Director: Philip Leacock

DVD title: The Shining
Productgroup: DVD
The Shining - movie DVD cover picture

Summary:Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is a writer looking for some time to get away from the hectic humdrum of modern life so he can focus on writing. Hearing that a a Colorado resort, The Overlook Motel, closes for the winter because of extremely deep snow but needs a maintenance person to stay there during the winter months to prevent major damage, he signs up, bringing along his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd)...
My Comments:I remember seeing this on TV (edited obviously) when I was younger, but I didn't remember much of it by the time I watched it again, just a few shots of Jack Nicholson's crazed face. I can only guess that I tried to forget it as a child so I could sleep. This must be a very disturbing movie for children seeing as how Danny's father, one of the people he is supposed to be able to trust, is trying to kill him.
Of course, I'm no longer a child and my opinions have changed. Watching this as an adult I found the movie to be absolutely entrancing. There are some problems, of course, but nothing particularly major. First, as the movie worked its way into the depths of Jack's mania my wife and I were discussing what we believed would happen (I really couldn't remember the plot, so this was a fair discussion). It wasn't that hard to guess based upon the setup - ... But despite knowing pretty much what was going to happen, there were still a number of unpredictable surprises. I found the delusional conversations with people out of the past of the motel to be particularly engaging.
The other problem I had with the movie was Shelley Duvall. Is she not the biggest whiner and wimp you have ever seen? I think it really came out in the 'making of' featurette that she is all about getting attention; she's like a spoiled child. Perhaps this worked perfectly for her role, her constant crying and giving in to Jack, but just the story itself and the performance by Jack Nicholson were probably enough to guarantee that whoever played his counterpart would be good. Not that I can really question Kubrick's decision, it did, after all, work very well, but Duvall is still whiney and annoying.
One final comment about the special featurette on the DVD... Though the behind the scenes shots included in the featurette were very interesting and gave a nice additional perspective to what was going on, Vivian Kubrick is not Stanley. Apparently she hasn't tried to hard to follow in her father's footsteps, thank goodness. I don't know how you could really spoil the 'making of' featurette of this movie because pretty much everything about the movie is fascinating, but the way she arranges the clips and includes some bizarre shots is more distracting than entertaining and educational. There isn't really much of a need to be overly artistic with a 'making of' video.
Overall, I don't think I would recommend this movie for children. However, after having seen it I think I'd like to visit the 'real' Overlook Motel (the outside shots were of Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon) to get a pictures; I drove through Fargo, ND for the same reason. It's a great movie with a classic performance by Jack Nicholas. If you want to be entertained by a classy thriller, see The Shining.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson
Shelley Duvall

DVD title: The Wanderers
Productgroup: DVD
The Wanderers - movie DVD cover picture
The original Boys from the Bronx........

"The Wanderers" is a class act and a stylish movie that has a brassy toughness to it that is both infectious and moving. It was probably overshadowed on it's release by the other gang movie of 1979 "The Warriors", but "The Wanderers" easily holds an equal footing as an excellent period piece of working class lives in 1963. The film centres around the lives of a gang of young boys in the Bronx in mid 1963 coming to terms with friendships, school, girls and other gangs. Ken Wahl ( a promising actor who for some reason never quite made it to the big time !! ) plays a great lead as the smooth talking and charismatic, Richie, the leader of the Wanderers. Richie is struggling to maintain his gangs strength and position in the local neighbourhood as well as juggling his many relationships with different girlfriends. He meets a young and attractive Karen Allen whilst out on the streets with his buddies, and from there another relationship develops. Allen plays her role with style, and even though Allen is not a great beauty, she has that unmistakable feminine charm, especially when that wonderful smile lights up her face.
What makes the movie all the more interesting is the way it goes behind the scenes into the home lives and the hopes, fears and dreams of some of the gang members. We see Joey's artistic talents put down by his fearsome, aggressive father...we see Turkey struggle with his own identity within the different gangs...and we see Richie forced to take responsibility for his actions near the film's conclusion. Backing the movie up, is a dynamite soundtrack containing some top numbers including "Stand by Me", "Runaraound Sue", "Soldier Boy" & of course "The Wanderer" !!
A movie that has charm & talent, and stands up to repeated viewings with ease...if you haven't seen it already....catch up with "The Wanderers" soon !!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Philip Kaufman
Ken Wahl
Karen Allen

DVD title: Space 1999, Set 1
Productgroup: DVD
Space 1999, Set 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Awe and mystery

I maintain a great deal of awe and respect for the originality and production values of this series. I have never before, or since, viewed a series that so effectively captures the awe, the grandure and the mystery of being in space. If you are looking for bubblegum Sci-Fi this is not it. Space:1999 is as intelligent as it is artistic as it is original. At last a format (DVD) deserving of this spectacular series.

Studio: A & E Entertainment

DVD title: Kiss of the Dragon (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Kiss of the Dragon (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Dragon Kiss totally rocks.

Well ladies and gentlemen, here it is at last. Jet Li's first starring role in a descent american film. I was a major NON-fan after the kung fu collapse that was ROMEO MUST DIE, but then I had to swallow my pride when he proved himslef to me in THE ONE. I instantly became a fan, so I rented this straight away after THE ONE, and let me tell you, Jet Li appears to be hell bent on erasing any memory I have of ROMEO. Li plays Chinese inspector Liu Jian, whose brought to France to aid the arrest of a Chinese drug lord and his French partner. But it turns out htat Richard (Tcheky Karyo),the Parisian police commissioner, is the partner, under orders to kill the drug lord if he nears capture. Not only does Richard do just that, but he also kills a hooker, and pins both murders on Liu. Liu now must use his martial arts skills to fight his way out and clear his name. This movie has everything I expected out of a Jet Li movie once I became a fan, and I think his english gets better with every American film he does. Watch as he sigle handedly topples a karate class of 25, and as he faces two exceptional oppenants in the final fight. And why exactly is it called KISS OF THE DRAGON. You don't want to know. Jet Li, your'e the man.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Chris Nahon
Jet Li
Bridget Fonda

DVD title: Nightmare Alley
Productgroup: DVD
Nightmare Alley - movie DVD cover picture
Where is the trailer?

It is great to finally have this favorite film available.

Did anyone notice that what is supposed to be the "theatrical trailer" is not a trailer at all? It is just several clips strung together. I have the original trailer (which could have been better) and it is not what is on the DVD.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Edmund Goulding
Tyrone Power
Coleen Gray
Joan Blondell

DVD title: Kiss The Girls
Productgroup: DVD
Kiss The Girls - movie DVD cover picture
A Serial Killer Thriller!

This is one of my favorite serial killer movies. The acting is superb, the plot is told very convincingly, and the scary mystery is worth a watch more than once.
The acting... some of the best acting by a couple of the best actors in thrillers. morgan Freeman(Se7en/Shawshank Redemption) gives another stunning performance which thankfully, he was recently awarded for. Ashley Judd(Double Jeopardy/High Crimes) gives you acting that is so believable... you want to see her other movies. Cary Elwes(The Crush/Saw) who I thought gave his best performance in what i would say is his best movie, in everyway. Gary Fleder directed this to perfection... another great mystery of his I liked was Don't Say A Word, with (michael Douglas).
I never read the book for this, like I hadn't for a lot of movies. Still, I can't compare a movie to a book... I only compare it to what I expected. Kiss the Girls was way over my expectations. It makes Gothika and all the Scream films look ridiculous... being a serial killer mystery like those.
If you hadn't watched this movie... please give it a try. I haven't talked about the story one bit, and already you know it sounds surprisingly interesting. It won't be a waste of your money, I promise!

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Gary Fleder
Morgan Freeman
Ashley Judd
Cary Elwes

DVD title: Once Upon a Time in the West
Productgroup: DVD
Once Upon a Time in the West - movie DVD cover picture
Sergio Leone is the only one

This movie set the ultimate standard when it comes to quality in western movies. Perhaps we will never see such brilliance again. Sergio Leone has made a flawless film, accompanied by a flawless and immortal soundtrack composed by the living legend Ennio Morricone. Morricone's main theme is one of the most beautifull pieces I have heard in my life, and represents some of the best in film music.I wish that there was something that I could put my finger on, but it's just impossible! This movie is an example of pure perfection - a masterpiece!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Sergio Leone
Henry Fonda
Charles Bronson

DVD title: All About My Mother
Productgroup: DVD
All About My Mother - movie DVD cover picture
Spanish Masterpiece!

I saw this movie in Barcelona, Spain over the summer and never have I enjoyed a better movie than "Todo Sobre Mi Madre." The whole script was hilarious and was carefully planned, making it very interesting. It also had a lot of sad parts to it which made one feel like as if they were there. Hopefully this movie, this masterpiece, will win the Oscar for Best Foriegn Movie, because not only was it off the wall funny, but it also had some sense, to which can make one believe that the story could actually be true. It is a Spanish Masterpiece!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cecilia Roth
Marisa Paredes

DVD title: The Rules of the Game - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Rules of the Game - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Renoir's vision of the disappearing French aristocracy...

Rules of the Game is a film that displays the dishonesty of the French aristocracy and the rules that they play by in order to remain in good standards with their upper class. It begins with Andr?, a heroic pilot, that has crossed the Atlantic in order to display his love for Christine. However, Andr? is rejected by Christine as she does not appear when he lands on French soil. Christine's husband, Robert, is attempting to put an end to a long love affair with his mistress, but is incapable of breaking up the affair. The four of them are united with a large group of aristocrats at their chateau for a weekend hunting party and this is where the game truly begins and the rules are set into action, which are even mimicked by the servants. Rules of the Game is directed by the cinematic genius Renoir and this shines through in this film as the story unfolds. It should also be mentioned that this film nearly got destroyed during World War II, but was reconstructed in 1959 in order for coming generations to be able to view Renoir's vision of the disappearing French aristocracy.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Jean Renoir
Nora Gregor
Marcel Dalio

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