Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The best action film of 2002.

Exceptional film. Finally, a director who is able to illustrate Damon's talent. Amazing shots, continuous action, and no misplaced love story to water down the plot. This film contains the most exciting action sequence I have seen in years. Shame it wasn't released at a time when there wasn't 30 spy films out. Highly, highly recommend.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Doug Liman
Matt Damon
Franka Potente

DVD title: Alien Resurrection
Productgroup: DVD
Alien Resurrection - movie DVD cover picture
Spectacular return

I have to admit to being stupefied by the level of hostility aimed at Alien Resurrection in some of these reviews. True, there were flaws, but in my opinion the bonuses so greatly outweighed them that I was able to forgive them for the most part. Oddly enough, it seems to me that with just a little more attention the plot problems could have been easily solved--why put the crew of the Betty in a situation where they are able to sneak weapons aboard a military vehicle in spite of being searched by both man and machine? Why introduce a character whose shooting skills are superhuman--better in my view not to put the characters in situations where that kind of escape is needed (like avoiding Rambo-esque characters need to avoid outrunning machinegun bullets, one of my pet peeves). And why have the bad science--acid eating through inert glass, the entire "genetic memory" bit is completely bogus (knowing how to fly a spaceship is not contained within one's DNA!), it is very questionable as to whether Ripley's blood sample would contain any alien DNA, and a vaccum strong enough to suck a very large object through a tiny hole is not strong enough to suck out all the air in the compartment, killing those left behind?
In spite of these crudities, though, there was much to recommend in Alien Resurrection. In general I'm not a fan of sequels--in fact I hated Aliens (Alien 2)--because all too often they simply rehash the same story, the same characters both good and bad, the same sets and special effects, etc. But Alien Resurrection twists the Alien series in a unique way. We get plenty of the familiar but updated superbly--the alien is back, redesigned to move somewhat differently and a bit sleeker, the face-huggers and chestburster make cameos, the queen returns with a much more terrifying mouth, and of course Ripley is back again, this time as a human/alien hybrid, colder, less compassionate and more distant, much harder to empathise with. Special effects are more than superb, as is a consistent hallmark of the series. The new creature, and the hybrids 1-7 (the most harrowing scene in the film!) are spectacularly monstrous. The crew of the Betty, especially Winona Ryder as the new empathetic character Annalee Call, Ron Perlman as Crewman Johner, Dominique Pinon as the wheelchair-bound Chief Mechanic Vriess, and a very brief appearance by Michael Wincott (who recently stole the show as Gary Soneji in Along Came a Spider), are a superbly cast lot of misfits seemingly as alien as the creatures themselves. The film revels in the quirky, too; with the casting of Dan Hedaya as General Perez, in the camera shot down the throat of a "cannon-fodder" character, and in Brad Dourif's eerie mugging with the alien. Some viewers might well have found these touches distracting, but they gave a real sense of individuality from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Some critics have decried the film as simply a chase through empty rooms in which aliens occassionally pop up, but it was so much more than that--the film was an exploration of the interplay of relationships between characters, and between characters and aliens, which was far more than just kill or be killed. It has always been noteworthy that the Corporation is as inhuman as the creatures; but now the creatures are more human, with jealousies, erotic drives, planning, revenge, teamwork, murder, and natural childbirth(!); while the humans are more physically alien than ever before. Ultimately it is probably that Alien Resurrection delivered something unexpected, with subtleties beyond the typical Hollywood sequel fare, that has led to the number of unfavorable reviews. But for me, it was not only the best of the series (at least since the first) but unquestionably one of the best horror films yet made. Most highly recommended.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Sigourney Weaver
Winona Ryder

DVD title: Monstruos, Inc. (Monsters, Inc. - Spanish Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Monstruos, Inc. (Monsters, Inc. - Spanish Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Scaredy cats beware.

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties. Or, perhaps just the last of the three. For anyone who has heard bumps in the night, "Monsters Inc" will be an entertaining animated romp, by the talented people who made "Bug's Life" and "Toy Story." With cute animation and a fast-paced, humorous storyline, it's a treat for young and old.
The monster metropolis of Monstropolis is powered by the screams of frightened children, which are gathered every night by specially-trained Scarers that pop out of closets. Despite the power shortage, the most revered Scarer is James P. "Sully" Sullivan (who resembles The Beast with a bad blue dye job), accompanied by his talkative pal Mike Wazowski (who resembles a giant green grape with one big eyeball, and who sounds remarkably like Armin Shimerman). Sully works at Monsters Inc. power plant, and is close to breaking the all-time scare record -- if he can beat the poisonous lizard Scarer Randall (who resembles a carnivorous chameleon).
But one night, Sully finds a door to a child's room left activated -- and inadvertently lets a little toddler (whom he calls "Boo") into the monster world. She sets off a panic, as children are considered to be toxic and dangerous. Mike and Sulley find themselves in a race to return Boo back to her own world -- but find out about a dangerous plot more insidious than any ordinary monster suspects.
It's a cute "what if" concept -- what if monsters weren't frightening? What if scaring kids were their job? What if closets were really portals to another world? Fortunately the concept never runs away from the moviemakers; by treating it normally, they keep it from seeming stupid or overworked. The portrayal of monsters as ordinary guys going to work every day in a city full of monsters -- all shapes. sizes, textures and levels of furriness -- is well-done and never banged into the viewer's head. And the monsters themselves are hilariously done -- a jelly-like monster who slips through a grate. The fuzzy-faced Adorable Snowman. The undulating serpentine motions of Randall. A sluglike janitor who mops the floor while leaving a trail of slime behind him. Monster kids jumping rope with the very long tongue of their playmate.
The characters are delightful. Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) are well suited to their roles: The big quiet guy and the little self-absorbed sidekick, who has a heart of gold beneath his grating voice. Randall (Steve Buscemi) is deliciously, delightfully bad -- there's no misunderstanding, he's just nasty. "Boo" (Mary Gibbs) is remarkably well-done, very similar in motions and baby-talk to a real toddler (parents will wince when she begins to cry). Mr. Waternoose (James Coburn) is a multilayered character, with realistic motives. And Celia (Jennifer Tilly) is Mike's bewildered Medusa-haired girlfriend, who comes through in a pinch.
It's not perfect -- there's a draggy section in the middle; the plot lags between the two encounters with the Scream Extractor, and picks up after that. And the movie wouldn't be worth it if the special effects were all there were. The storyline is simple but not simplistic, quick-paced and full of extremely funny dialogue ("I'm so romantic, I could marry myself!") as well as physical comedy (mostly provided by Mike). The technical aspects and additions are just as good. Not only does the film allow you to see it in either widescreen or fullscreen, but it also allows viewers to hear the commentary from the filmmakers as the film progresses.
And, in the manner of the new "Lord of the Rings" movie," there is an second disc of extra stuff. It's too extensive and complex to fully summarize, but there is a lot to see. Younger kids might not be interested in most of it, but older kids and adults will definitely like it. There's a lighthearted tour of Pixar and the people who work there; interviews with the talented cast; explanations about basic computer graphics, storyboards, and evolving storylines. It's fascinating to hear how complex things like Sully's fur and Boo's T-shirt were made to look as real as possible, how Monstropolis was designed, and the earlier incarnations of the various characters (such as how originally Sully had tentacles instead of legs). There is a cute music video, a "Boo's Door Game," monster biographies, and much more.
But the best of the extras are the animation shorts. There is one specially created for this movie: "Mike's New Car," in which Mike shows off his wonderful new car to Sully -- except the car causes a lot more trouble than they expected. Oscar Award-winning "For the Birds," a short unrelated to the movie, is also included. It's a cute, funny little film about twittery egg-shaped little birds sitting on a power line, and the dorky heron that intrudes on them. And, most hilariously, there is a section of "Monsters Inc." bloopers (including a cameo by a "Toy Story" star), ending with the musical play "Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me," performed by Mike and the other monsters.
It's a fun animated romp -- kids can enjoy the whimsical plot, and parents can chuckle over the use of "Working Joe" workplace. Well-animated, well-written, funny and cute and packed with informative and funny extras. Definitely worth the price, and worthy of being seen again and again.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
John Goodman
Billy Crystal

DVD title: Abraham (The Bible Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Abraham (The Bible Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
One of my favorites

This is one of the best biblical movies I've ever seen.
This is potentially a very difficult movie to pull off, as it's really about people who do alot of damage to eachother before accepting God's will for them - but it works.
Richard Harris is amazing and totally sympathetic in the title role. Barbara Hershey is equally good as Sarah - you really feel for both of them when they extremely reluctantly accept that Abraham's going to have to sleep with Hagar if they're ever going to have children in a time when fertility clinics were thousands of years away. When Hagar demands some dignity as Ishmael's mother as well as a human being, you understand why this Sarah feels threatened and while not innately malicious does what she feels she has to do to protect Issac.
Abraham's relationship with Lot also plays out nicely. When God almost casually mentions His intention to destroy Sodom the look of horror on Abraham's face reminds you that this is very personal - he's about to bargain for the life of the nephew who was so close to him before they had to go their separate ways.
And of course, it just gets worse before it gets better as Abraham is tested by having to send Ishmael out into the desert with Hagar, for all he knows to his death - and finally by being asked by God to personally kill Issac...
Wonderful performances and beautiful scenery make this one a keeper. As another reviewer pointed out, scenes of animal sacrifice mean this one isn't for younger children.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Joseph Sargent

DVD title: Downfall
Productgroup: DVD
Downfall - movie DVD cover picture
Satisfied customer

Modern European history is a pastime of mine and the study I have done of Hitler's last days in his bunker was accurately portrayed by the director and the artists performing were excellent.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Bruno Ganz
Alexandra Maria Lara
Corinna Harfouch
Ulrich Matthes
Juliane Köhler

DVD title: Inu Yasha: Season 2 (5pc) (Full Sub Box)
Productgroup: DVD
Inu Yasha: Season 2 (5pc) (Full Sub Box) - movie DVD cover picture
Good but remember

Just know that this box set is only subbed...that means it will only have English Subtitles and the voices will be in Japanese

Studio: Viz Video
Inu Yasha: Season 2

DVD title: The Bad Seed
Productgroup: DVD
The Bad Seed - movie DVD cover picture
FINALLY on DVD -- a must have!

This movie is still one of my all time favorites and wears well even by today's standards, albeit being (unintentionally) "campy" in several respects. It's a classic Greek Tragedy without the annoying chorus.

Little Rhoda Penmark, creepily/perfectly played by Patty McCormack, is a bit different than her peers. When she wants something she's willing to kill and does so without the slightest compunction. Christine, Rhoda's increasingly distraught mother, slowly realizes she has unknowingly passed on this "trait" to her daughter as she discovers the identity of her biological mother, an infamous serial killer. There are plenty of histrionics to go around as Nancy Kelley (Christine) wrings her hands and pounds on her womb at each moment of new terrible insight, and then there's Hortense Daigle. She's the mother of one of Rhoda's young victims and appears several times in various stages of inebriation and overwhelming grief. Eileen Heckart still brings tears to my eyes as Hortense, as maudlin as she is. Although all of the cast is excellent (even William Hopper, whose role is blessedly small, is OK as Rhoda's clueless dad), the one other outstanding character is Leroy, the apartment house handyman. Henry Jones is the semi-literate malcontent who takes glee in spraying a hose at Rhoda's feet and ploddingly uncovers the truth about Rhoda's avaricious habits while teasing her about her heartless apathy toward her classmate's death. Rhoda takes care of Leroy with only 3 kitchen matches and a nice pile of excelsior Leroy naps on in the basement.

Christine blows all her gaskets after Leroy is barbecued and gives Rhoda a fatal dose of a "new vitamins" (cautious Rhoda asks to see the bottle the soi-disant vitamins are in), puts the child to bed, then shoots herself in the head. Luckily little Rhoda is saved by the neighbors who hear the gun shot, and in the end of the play and novel Christine dies. Not so for Hollywood in the 50s, so there is an inane contrived ending with a lachrymose, mummy-wrap-headed Christine on the phone with hubby while sneaky Rhoda ventures out into the stormy night to retrieve the penmanship medal Mom tossed in the lake where her classmate/victim Claude drowned. Boom! God strikes Rhoda with a bolt from heaven and she goes up in a bright poof.

My biggest gripe with the DVD is the ill-conceived inclusion of Charles Busch on the film commentary with Patty McCormack. It's painfully obvious he's not even familiar with the movie and he adds nothing but a few really dumb questions/comments. The commentary by McCormack is great and she adeptly deflects some of Busch's stupidity but he's still an irritant.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Nancy Kelly
Patricia McCormack

DVD title: Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Volume One
Productgroup: DVD
Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Volume One - movie DVD cover picture
Look at him, and tell me there's a god!

You must buy this.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Dave Willis (III)
Carey Means
Dana Snyder (II)

DVD title: Charmed - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Charmed - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
The best show ever

Charmed is a wonderful show and i cant wait until it is out on DVD It is well worth watching it has mystery - comedy - drama - romance - basicly it has everything you could possibly want in a show if you like Charmed you will also like Smallville and CSI dont waste your time with Buffy as the story lines are terrible and The acting is shocking as well as who wants to have a name like buffy sounds more like a power puff girl to me than a vampire slayer

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Shannen Doherty
Alyssa Milano

DVD title: American Pie (Widescreen Unrated Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
American Pie (Widescreen Unrated Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Like warm Apple Pie

Classic teenage film about what teenager's think about most...Sex and alcohol! This movie is great with all the individual problem's that most of us encountered when we were that age. Great Movie that can be watched again and again.

Studio: Universal Studios
Jason Biggs
Chris Klein
Thomas Ian Nicholas

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