Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Marathon Man
Productgroup: DVD
Marathon Man - movie DVD cover picture
They Don't Make'em Like This Anymore!!!

One of the most suspenseful movies I've seen in a long time. Aside from the stirring performances of Dustin Hoffman, Lawrence Olivier and William Devane, the cinematography and editing reminded me that they used to make movies for adults. The Dvd comes with a few interesting extras: actor rehearsals, "the making of the movie" circa 1976 (Producer Robert Evans hosts), a present day retrospective 30 years later(Once again, Hosted by Producer Robert Evans), and the trailers for the film itself(showing, in my opinion, how they used to edit better quality previews that didn't give the entire movie away)

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: John Schlesinger
Dustin Hoffman
Laurence Olivier
Roy Scheider

DVD title: Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged
Productgroup: DVD
Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged - movie DVD cover picture
AIC, beauty through music.

this video is amazing. they showcase their most beautiful songs in acoustic, orchestral brilliance. i'm not too sure how to write a review for this. on one hand, it's by far the most wonderful music ever made (definetely up there with nirvana). i never get tired of hearing this and other AIC music. the production is great. crisp and clear. they play astoundingly well for a band that hadn't been doing concerts in a while. layne's voice, although strained at times, comes off just as it is intended. so much pain, agony, and beauty in one place at one time. the lyrics are so true and from the heart, whether the literal of persoanl figurative meaning.
it killed me to see layne in such bad shape in this video. you can see it in his eyes. he's got this look like he's wishing he had a heroin fix right there while they were playing. it's quite sad.
i was just recently thinking maybe he got over it. maybe someone stepped in, and being thru with AIC meant he might be thru with his drugs. seeing as how a nirvana-reunion is "out of the question", i was hoping for an AIC reunion tour. and now it will never happen. it disgusts me that they let layne die like he did. for almost two decades he had a drug problem, and no one helped him. i'm sure he got pep-talks from friends and families, but no one helped him. look what happened to kurt. it was inevitable. someone should have done something. what a horrible loss. this video is an anti-drug commercial in itself. look what we lost. who knows what we missed? it really ruins the video for me. i'd love to just watch it for the musical and artistical value, but all i can think is how he ended up.
anyway, this movie really does show just what AIC could do. in their own worst of times, they made the best music of my generation. i have yet to see any band messure up. get this video.

Studio: Sony/Columbia

DVD title: Paycheck (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Paycheck (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

this movie was very fun too watch. and is better than watching scary movie 3.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: John Woo
Ben Affleck
Aaron Eckhart
Uma Thurman
Michael C. Hall

DVD title: Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
If not for Johansson, this movie wouldn't be worth seeing

Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola's latest work, is without question one of the finer films of the year. The stylistic transition from her last feature, The Virgin Suicides, to Lost in Translation is not exactly obvious, but nonetheless shows Coppola directing a more mature-natured picture than she previously has. Lost in Translation's subtleties are its greatest achievements, while the actor's performances are the impressive allies to a compelling story of love, life, chemistry, and respect. If at least one Oscar is not garnered from this combination of elements, I will find myself sadly disappointed.
The movie begins with Bob Harris (Bill Murray) arriving in Tokyo, Japan to shoot a commercial for a Japanese-brand whisky. Upon arriving in the country, it's immediately obvious that he is not completely up for this task. He arrives at a beautiful hotel where he is lavishly welcomed by the hotel's staff before retreating to his room to alienate himself from the experience. Charlotte, played by Scarlett Johansson, is also at the hotel. She is staying with her photographer husband while his is in the country for work.
The next evening, Charlotte sees Bob having a less than fulfilling time in the hotel's lounge and sends him a drink. Later that evening, they meet again in the lounge when both are unable to sleep. An instant bond is established and the two slowly begin to realize that they are the best suited company for one another.
Eventually Bob and Charlotte go out together on the town. In the midst of being in a completely different culture, where more than the language is a barrier, the two find themselves meeting on a much deeper level than they had originally planned. The fact that the age difference is obvious to the audience makes some of the subsequent scenes more intense. You're left to question if the two are going to take the relationship to a sexual level. You're left to question if the two are truly falling in love. You're left to question if the age really has any bearing on the chemistry that they feel together.
Therein lays the true beauty of this film. Although it would be extremely easy to have these two romantically fall in love, they're simply two people that meet on an emotional level. For lack of better words, they just understand each other. For the next couple of days they utilize their time to the fullest by enjoying their time together. They don't want the time to end, but realize that in just a few short days everything in their lives will go back to normal.
During the last evening of the trip, a fire alarm is sounded in the hotel forcing everyone outside until all is clear. At this point, Bob sees Charlotte and approaches her. The moment is uncomfortable because, through no intention of his own, Charlotte becomes aware of the fact that Bob has unexpectedly had another woman in his room the night before. Unable to deny the fact that she has become emotionally attached, Charlotte asks Bob when he is going home. He replies, "In the morning." At this point, it's in the open and the two realize just exactly how much fun they've had together over the course of their visit to Japan. This is a friendship that could very easily be taken to the next level, but somehow the two are smart enough to understand that this is something that just needs remain where it's at.
After leaving the hotel to catch his plane home, Bob sees Charlotte walking down the streets of Tokyo and implores the driver to pull over so he can say what he wanted to say earlier. Unfortunately, and fortunately, we are unable to hear what he tells Charlotte. We're only left to speculate what it is. I'm sure most people agree that it can only be one or two things. It's such a beautiful scene, though. It's one of the true highlights of cinema in the past several years.
Everything about Lost in Translation is in the right place. As I stated before, it's the subtleties that make it so great. Whether it's the witty humor of Murray, the innocence of Johansson, the brief appearances of the small handful of cast members, or the beautiful imagery of Tokyo, nothing has been overdone.
Finally, as I left the theatre, I realized just exactly how much my emotions had been played with. However, it wasn't until the second time I saw this film that I fully understood why. On some level I guess I had wanted things to turn out differently, but maturity of the writing actually made this movie ten times more enjoyable than it would have been had it ended the way I wanted it to the first time.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sofia Coppola
Scarlett Johansson
Bill Murray
Giovanni Ribisi

DVD title: Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism
Productgroup: DVD
Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism - movie DVD cover picture
The Corruption Runs Deep

Once you've seen OUTFOXED you will watch all news media in a whole new light. A good deal of actual "news" footage is in there to demonstrate just how dangerous the FOX network is to our democracy. Every American should see this film and judge for themself.

Studio: The Disinformation Company
Director: Robert Greenwald

DVD title: Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2-Disc Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Pirates of the Carribean

First of all, this is the best movie you'll see this year. Yeah, so what if it was based on another Disneyland ride, this ones actually good! The acting, action and graphics are incredible. If your picky about graphics (and trust me, we all are to some degree)this movie is a jaw dropper. Everyone in this movie acts out thier part very well. They worked very well togeather and it adds to the whole of the movie! The action, for those of you looking for blood and gore, don't ecpect a whole lot but it is very intense. The ships fighting, sword fights and when the cursed pirates take it over. There is also a little twist at the end so watch very carefully! Overall a great movie and I would reccomend it to anyone. In fact it's so good my firend and I have seen it SEVEN times!!! I really hope you at least rent it because if you don't you'll be missing out on a gret movie!

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Gore Verbinski
Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Jonathan Pryce

DVD title: Hercules Unchained
Productgroup: DVD
Hercules Unchained - movie DVD cover picture
The original Hercules portrayed by the Icon!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Finally, Steve Reeves on DVD! The version sent to me was by Gemstone Entertainment; but appears to be the same version as United American Video. A few years back I was on Steve's web site and commented that I was disappointed that there were none of his films on DVD, and the reply that I got back was, "Only on VHS now; but just wait a bit longer...." Though watching Italian movies can take a little getting used to, mainly due to the editing practices, in addition to dubbing the sound in after the movie had been completed, this movie holds the test of time very well, considering that it's almost 45 years old. This edition of Hercules Unchained is a notch or two up from the edition of Hercules that I previously reviewed. The print was obviously in much better condition, as the colors are generally very good, most of the picture is sharp, and the sound is better. My only real complaint is that it's not presented in a natural widescreen format. Like I said with my Hercules review, some day I'm hoping to see a higher grade edition, in widescreen, possibly with the film digitally restored a bit better and maybe a few extras; but until then, this will more than suffice. Watching these two back to make makes for a very enjoyable afternoon or evening; so don't hesitate to check out these classics!

Studio: United American Video
Director: Pietro Francisci

DVD title: Smoke Signals
Productgroup: DVD
Smoke Signals - movie DVD cover picture
Very "Un-Hollywood" Telling of a Universal Story

"Smoke Signals" is that most refreshing of movie projects -- one that defies many of the Hollywood conventions, yet still conveys a story to which everyone can relate.
Yes, the film (based on Native American author Sherman Alexie's "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fight in Heaven")is told from a Native perspective. The first surprise? It does not rattle off an angry tirade against white domination (not that such isn't understandable). Instead, it pokes gentle fun at the ways in which non-Indians stereotype tribal people, and often deny them a place in the contemporary world. The jokes are funny, and while many are really "inside" jokes that Native Americans will more fully appreciate, they are still appealing to a wider audience.
There are other surprises. A scene that suggests the start of a violent confrontation forgoes the "Rambo" outburst and instead gives us a contemplative and somewhat ironic turn of events. Another scene sets up the audience for expecting big trouble, only to pull the rug out and show a humorous resolution. Even so, this is a serious film in many ways. It's about how we remember a painful past, it's about finding ways to forgive even when we don't fully understand the past. It's about Native Americans... but also about being human. That's it's strong point -- it manages to humanize both the Native American characters as well as people in general all in the same stroke. This film will take on historical importance, for it goes a longer way than any previous film in fostering understanding and acceptance of First Nation people.
Besides the compelling story, this film offers you some marvelously "quirky" performances, unlike what Hollywood customarily dishes out. Thomas and Victor just become more and more endearing as the film progresses, awkward mannerisms and all. I've discussed this film with some First Nation people who absolutely love it, and they tell me that I simply MUST read Alexie's books. Good advice!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Chris Eyre
Adam Beach
Evan Adams

DVD title: The Shawshank Redemption
Productgroup: DVD
The Shawshank Redemption - movie DVD cover picture
my review

I have never been a fan of prison stories, but this movie is much more than a gruesome prison tale. The way the plot is worked and the characters are portrayed really impressed me. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman did an award winning job. Never give up until the end because you will NEVER expect the ending! A class movie.

Studio: Castle Rock
Director: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman

DVD title: A Bug's Life (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A Bug's Life (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
The graphics were great.

The movie kept my attention

Studio: Disney/Pixar
Dave Foley
Kevin Spacey

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