Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Kids
Productgroup: DVD
Kids - movie DVD cover picture
Uncompromising


First off, "Kids" is a phenomenal movie in absolutely every respect. Harmony Korine's script is amazing (I can already tell I am going to run out of superlatives.) It blows me away that someone so young could write something so self-assured, so masterful. The performances are impossibly real. Add to this Clark's voyeuristic, documentary style and the result is some of the most uncompromising naturalism in cinematic history.
Kids is the kind of movie that makes mainstream filmmakers blanch. It is also the kind of movie that makes mainstream film goers confused and angry. Naturalism has never been a particularly popular style of theatre. If a viewer doesn't have an appreciation for the style, he/she may think the film lacking. Naturalism depicts life objectively, imposing no value judgements. The question of value is left up to the observer, the viewer. It does not shy away from ugliness or uncomfortable situations. Naturalism is often seen as nihilistic, but that is the challenge that is presents. Being truer to life than other dramatic forms, it's meaning is more obscured.
Many have interpreted "Kids" to be a "wake up call" concerning the growing menace AIDS poses to young people (I think it was even printed on the box cover.) That is one interpretation. I see a much more sinister theme at the heart of "Kids." For me, AIDS just served as a metaphor for a diseased culture. These kids are sick mentally and emotionally. To me, these hopeless characters represent an entire generation of lost youth. Their general apathy and animalistic hedonism is a perfectly understandable response to the empty, violent, plastic, consumer/commercial culture that raised them. Yes, they are contracting AIDS; but what about those that escape it? What are they going to do with their lives? Of course, this is just my interpretation. The film itself remains objective and impartial. In fact, I think Korine would disagree with me and that is why I love this movie so much.
Watch this if you like powerful, unflinching films that challenge assumptions and make lasting impressions.

Studio: Vidmark/Trimark
Director: Larry Clark
Actors:
Leo Fitzpatrick
Justin Pierce
Chloë Sevigny




DVD title: Saving Private Ryan
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Private Ryan - movie DVD cover picture
The word "Brillant" is not strong enough . . .


There are great movies and then there are *GREAT* movies, movies that touch you in a deeply personal way. "Saving Private Ryan" is a GREAT movie, a movie that left me in tears afterwards.
Why is this such a brilliant movie? Where to begin? The direction by Steven Spielberg is magnificent. The opening 40 minutes of the movie, the bloody U.S. landing on Omaha Beach, is a stunning experience. Bullets whiz by, soldiers die and it feels like you are right there!
The acting is right on as well- Tom Hanks as Capt. Miller, the squad leader, is nothing short of brilliant. He effortlessly captures the spirit of the men who went abroad to fight- the guy who had a regular job back in the States and just wanted to do his duty and get back to it. I find it hard to believe Hanks didn't win an Oscar for this.
The music by John Williams is perfect- subtle and emotionally heartfelt. But the story is what really works- this isn't a war movie about blowing up a bridge, or stealing information. This is a war movie about how awful war is. The men aren't on a mission to kill. They are on the mission to save a life.
One of the finest movies I have ever seen in my life. Those who loved this movie as deeply as I would be interested in reading Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" or Stephen Ambrose "Citizen Soldiers". I recommend both.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors:
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon




DVD title: Sky High
Productgroup: DVD
Sky High - movie DVD cover picture
Fabulous


This movie is incredible, especially if you're fed up with American too much special effects and too little acting. Special effects are used sparingly, and the acting is beautiful--poetry in motion.

Shaku-san is gorgeous and talented, perfect for this role. She's very convincing. But, she's not alone. Her co-stars are just as good, and overall, able to draw the viewer into the world.

The story is a well-known one, the story of the Urami no Mon (or "The Gate of Rage/Vengence"), but this is an excellent telling on a personal level--beyond the legend. It's based off a manga, so it has well-developed characters and themes.

The actual movie has all the important elements for success: action (the sword scenes are lovely and intense, but aren't overdone), revenge (always a good theme for a plot line), and love (would it be anime without it?). The ending is one of the most touching I have ever seen, and Shaku-san's line "oiki nasai" is wonderful.

Definitely one of my top all-time favorite movies.

Studio: Media Blasters, Inc
Actors:
Yumiko Shaku



DVD title: A Beautiful Mind (Full Screen Awards Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A Beautiful Mind (Full Screen Awards Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Mind Isn't Such a Terrible Thing


Ron Howard has a real winner on his hands in "A Beautiful Mind", a moving tale of a brilliant but troubled mathematician. Russell Crowe's portrayal of John Nash is an incredible study in character and concetration of which few actors today are capable. We follow Nash from his college days at Princeton thourgh a life locked in a perpetual tug of war of meaning and madness. Jennifer Connolly is superb as Nash's wife and Ed Harris puts in a typically fantastic performance as the sinister government agent persuing Nash for his mathmatical talents. Elegantly woven and harsh in it's treatment at time, "A Beautiful Mind" is deserving of all accolades it has garnered since it's release. Highly recommended.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Ron Howard
Actors:
Russell Crowe
Ed Harris




DVD title: Anne Frank - The Whole Story
Productgroup: DVD
Anne Frank - The Whole Story - movie DVD cover picture
Great


ANNE FRANK: THE WHOLE STORY has probably been the best Anne Frank movie i have ever seen in my whole entire life. Not only was the acting sensational, but whenever I think of Anne Frank, i think of this movie version because she looks so alike to the real tennage jewish girl, who hid in the secret annexe for the last two years of her life.My whole family are totally sick of her, but i dont know how they could be seriously.I dont kno whether i could find anyone more heroic, than the frank's. This was a touching, moving movie, and i am goin to see it often in the near children.HANNAH TAYLOR GORDON was great and she deserved about tenoscars for her role in Anne Frank.

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Robert Dornhelm



DVD title: Airwolf - Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
Airwolf - Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture
AirWolf Season One


This is a wonderful DVD set. As a big Airwolf TV show fan, I was very excited that the series is finally being released on DVD. I was also happy to see that each episode is unedited, so seeing additional scenes here and there was a big surprise. The audio for each episode is Dolby Digital 2.0, but was still great on my sound system. If you're a fan of this TV show, this collection is a must. I'm very happy with it and hope the rest of the series will follow on DVD.

Studio: Universal Studios



DVD title: Shower
Productgroup: DVD
Shower - movie DVD cover picture
Thank goodness for no sex and violence


I need not add to what others have written about the themes nor the plot of this excellent film. I would merely like to add that the acting is so outstanding that, in many instances, one need not read the subtitles to understand what's transpiring. Though the plot is offbeat and the setting is in a culture vastly different from our own, the themes and the emotions are universal and are conveyed very skillfully. At the showing my wife and I attended, spontaneous applause erupted from the appreciative audience at the end of the movie. I haven't experienced that very often of late.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Yang Zhang (II)



DVD title: Dust to Dust
Productgroup: DVD
Dust to Dust - movie DVD cover picture
The war is over, but the hate won't die...


During the 1800's in North America, two worlds met head on. From the East, "civilization" marched relentlessly westward, led by the iron horse and the industrial revolution. People of the west hated and feared this massive expansion and fought with their lives to protect what eas theirs...

Studio: DML
Director: Gerald Cain



DVD title: Inu-Yasha - The Movie 2 - The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
Productgroup: DVD
Inu-Yasha - The Movie 2 - The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass - movie DVD cover picture
Someone please read


The movie was great! But WHEN IS INUYASHA MOVIE 3 COMING OUT? please someone tell me anything they know..the adult swim shows started over at like episode 56 and i was on 100! Please, i dont want to wait 4 months for new episodes if someone knows the movie 3 is coming out before then.....HELP

Studio: VIZ VIDEO



DVD title: Kagemusha - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Kagemusha - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Kagemusha: Or How I Fell In Love With Sengoku Japan


The backdrop of the story is Sengoku Japan where the daimyos of great clans vie with one other for supremacy. The ultimate goal is to become shogun to replace the now powerless Ashikaga of Kyoto. At the center of the tale is Shingen, lord of the Takeda clan, a warlord of surpassing skill, who strikes fear in the hearts of his enemies and inspires bravery and undying loyalty in his own men. Shingen is at the apex of his power, his armies threaten to crush Tokugawa Ieyasu the chief ally of his implacable foe, Oda Nubunaga. However, in an irony of fate, Shingen is mortally wounded. Shingen, along with his chief retainers are well aware that his death not only signals an end to his aspirations to crush the Tokugawa and Oda clans and to declare a Takeda shogunate, but also that it might, in fact, lead to the destruction of the Takeda clan under the leadership of his intemperate son, Katsuyori. So, a plan is devised to use a kagemusha (shadow warrior) to keep the enemies of the Takeda in check for three years (the significance of the period in question is never explained). The film is a visual masterpiece, Kurosawa has an equally good eye for epic as well as ordinary moments. Human bonds (and, perhaps, bondage) are at the heart of the story. A petty thief is torn and hollowed by having to assume the outward persona of a larger than life figure. In time his misery is comforted by the love of a child and, for a moment, he forgets... The destruction of the Takeda army at Nagashino is the predictable result of the revelation of Shingen's death. The kagemusha now half man, half ghost, watches in horror as warriors and horses are cut down; he watches their death throes and his remaining hold on a sense of self is finally lost in that danse macabre.

Kurosawa's choice of putting real historical figures in a stylized and mythical tale is somewhat problematical. It creates a number of creative constraints, while, nevertheless, taking liberties with the historical record. Regardless, it is a great movie, one that, in a number of ways, anticipates Kurosawa's final triumph, the sublime Ran.


Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Actors:
Tatsuya Nakadai
Tsutomu Yamazaki




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