Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Ten Commandments
Productgroup: DVD
The Ten Commandments - movie DVD cover picture
Under Rated

This biblical film is very under rated, and to me it is at the same stature of Ben-Hur and Spartacus. With the authentic locations and sets this really is a legendary motion picture, for over the years it has captured the hearts of many on it's annual showing on ABC. This is an epic that's worth buying.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Charlton Heston
Yul Brynner

DVD title: Sex Essentials Videos: Seductive Sex Positions
Productgroup: DVD
Sex Essentials Videos: Seductive Sex Positions - movie DVD cover picture
** Recommended ** No Other Product on the Market Compares

I picked up "Seductive Sex Positions" with moderate expectations. So many of these videos are cheaply done, with little thought to audience comfort level and quality. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the time and effort put into this production. The video is hosted by attractive ladies who provide the introduction and instruction for each of the 27 positions presented. Cheesy plots are kept to a minimum, and the actors in the video are attractive, but not plastic: they aren't obviously surgically enhanced or airbrushed to the point where they don't look real. They are in good shape, but they don't look like porn stars. In fact, they do seem like loving couples (and by that, I don't mean ugly and amateur), whether that is because they are in great relationships or are just good actors.

This video is not only a high-quality production, it seems to be a project that they took pains to make accessible to couples-as in both men and women. The focus is on sensual touching and intimacy as well as the varied positions. The positions explored are non-threatening but interesting variations on conventional positions (man on top, woman on top, side-by-side, seated and rear entry). The music is soothing and sensual, but there is no sound coming from the actors. This can be good in terms of reducing the "porn" effect of the video, but may disappoint those who are turned on by audio.

The "extras" section of the video is also well thought out: couples have the option of turning the instructional track on or off, activating the "Lovemaking" mode for visual background stimulation. Also, if you are looking to mix up the positions once you are familiar with them, you can throw on the randomizer and see if you can keep up!

This is a great video for couples who are not into porn, but who are excited about exploring their sexuality and experimenting with pleasuring each other. I would definitely recommend it. There really is no other product on the market (DVD or tape) that compares.

Studio: Victory Multimedia C

DVD title: Star Blazers:Comet Empire Part 5
Productgroup: DVD
Star Blazers:Comet Empire Part 5 - movie DVD cover picture
It?s on?

Star Blazers: The Comet Empire Part V, contains episodes 18-21 (out of 26) of the second season of the cult-favorite Americanized Japanese Anime series from the early 1980s.
In addition, the DVD also contains more animation galleries and background info on the Earth Forces and part 2 of the interview with Amy Howard and Tom Tweedy, voice actors for Nova Forrester and Mark Venture.
The Comet Empire Saga picks up where the Quest for Iscandar leaves off. Two years has passed since the events of the Quest for Iscandar. Mankind has risen out of the ashes and restored itself again to a thriving civilization. With everything seemingly returned to normal the stage is set again for the fate of mankind to take another dramatic turn for the worse as an even bigger and more treacherous foe looms in the darkness of space, threatening to destroy mankind once and for all...
In this volume the Star Force embarks on a perilous race against the Comet Empire to return to Earth and join up with the Earth Defense Forces before the White Comet and its vast Armada can launch their assault.
Here is a summary of the four episodes included on this DVD:
Episode 19: After Prince Zordar sends his advance attack Armada toward Earth, Captain Gideon takes evasive action to prepare Earth's defense forces as the Star Force rushes to return to Earth in time to join the defense. Meanwhile, Leader Desslok makes his break for freedom from Invidia's clutches.
Episode 20: As the Argo passes the Planet Broomis as it returns to Earth, Sergeant Knox and IQ-9 take a short detour to the remains of the Space Marine barracks on the planet, where an unexpected surprise awaits...
Episode 21: The action picks up!!! After finally meeting up with the Earth Defense Forces, Captain Gideon assigns the Star Force to a VERY special mission against the Comet Empire's advanced fleet.
Episode 22: It's all-out Interstellar War as the massed Earth Defense Forces square off against the Comet Empire's Advance Fleet in an Earth-shattering battle to the finish (and a shocking cliffhanger ending)!!!
In addition to the above great episodes, the DVD also contains these following exclusive (and pretty darn cool!!!) special features:
1. Part II of the interview with Amy Howard and Tom Tweedy, the voice actors who voiced Nova Forrester and Mark Venture. Among the things they discuss include the recording process, their thoughts on anime, the Yamato, their post-Star Blazer's careers and their thoughts on what Star Blazers means to them, including their interaction with Star Blazer's fans online. All-in-all, it's a nice bonus. 19 minutes.
2. The Earth Defense Forces Galleries: Two separates galleries featuring write-ups and pictures of the following:
a. Earth Command: Bios of the highest ranking officers and the command structure of the Earth Command.
b. Earth Fleet: Cool info and pics on the various classes of ships in the Earth Defense Fleet.
Summed up, the DVD extras are a great as they fill a lot of the blanks story wise and provide great background. Plus, the interviews are pretty interesting. Overall, the bonuses are a winner.
Overall, the Comet Empire saga, in my opinion, is definitely the best story arc out of all three Star Blazers sagas. This particular volume continues the slow burn to the ultra-intense showdowns between the respective forces. While this volume cranks up the intensity level, the best, believe it or not, is STILL yet to come!!!
Summed up, if you were ever a Star Blazers fan, give this (and all past and future volumes) a watch. It's great for a trip down memory lane. If you've NEVER seen Star Blazers, give it a try. It's a cult classic from the 80's (along with other Americanized anime greats like Robotech, Voltron, Transor Z, etc). The animation may look slightly dated, but the storyline still holds its own very well against anything out there today. Due to limited distribution this show may have slipped by the radar of a lot of people but it caught on like a fire with those who did catch it. Give it a watch and see what all the rage was about.
Highest Recommendation

Studio: Tapeworm
Director: Leiji Matsumoto

DVD title: Mean Streets
Productgroup: DVD
Mean Streets - movie DVD cover picture
Classic Scorsese

The first time I saw "Mean Streets" was on a double-bill with "Straw Dogs" at a repertory film house off the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. Now I can't put my put my finger on it but I had seen "Raging Bull" shortly before this but that film did not have the visceral impact on me that "Mean Streets" did. Where do you begin with this film? The dynamic soundtrack, the neighborhood ambiance, the great editing and cinematography. Primarily this film has two great characters in Harvey Keitel's "Charlie" and Robert DeNiro's "Johnny-Boy". They couldn't be more polar opposites. Charlie is essentially a moral man who tries to make peace with the immoral world in which he inhabits. Johnny-Boy is a loose cannon, oblivious to the choices that he makes, whose world could blow up in his face and he wouldn't have a clue. Charlie is misguided by feeling that he has to make some sort of penance in reigning in Johnny-Boy. Charlie doesn't realize how impossible this task is in the world he inhabits where order and chaos co-exist and order is enforced at the point of a gun. Both Keitel and DeNiro make dynamic entrances in this film even though they had previously appeared in more obscure films. One note about the commentary track on this special edition. A gripe I've had about previous editions of Scorsese films is that they lacked a commentary track, however, maybe I should have kept my peace. His commentary doesn't seem to be specific to the action on the screen and he speaks a lot of film-school arcana. It's intermittently interesting but not greatly so.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro
Harvey Keitel

DVD title: Korngold: Portrait & Concert
Productgroup: DVD
Korngold: Portrait & Concert - movie DVD cover picture
A Most Worthy And Yet Forgotten Composer

This DVD provides us an in-depth introduction to both the life and the music of this composer. It is true that in this DVD, often his music is only played to show the genius of this composer as to how well he fulfilled the stringent requirements of the themes and moods of the various moives within exact time frames, to be composed within the shortest notice etc.

And it so happened that I finished this one right after watching Andre Previn's "Kindness of Strangers"-- quite a parallel-- as both are composers and soloists, and both wrote music for films. Andre Previn is much more well known to the general public ( because he is also a famous conductor?). But as a composer, after watching this DVD, one is compelled to say he is necessarily dwarfed by Korngold, and so is the production of the DVDs.

Viewers is of course entitled to expect the best of the two worlds in both the portrait and in the concerts, asking for perfection in this imperfect world; but if there is any justifiction for giving Kindness of the Strangers 4 stars, as the DVD stands, mostly likely they will give this one 5 stars if not more, and suffice to say that this DVD is very engaging or even instructive.

Studio: Naxos of America
Erich Wolfg Korngold

DVD title: Somewhere in Time
Productgroup: DVD
Somewhere in Time - movie DVD cover picture
A beautiful and at times difficult movie......a near classic

First of all, this is a beautiful period piece..set in 1912. The story is fairly simple though it is hard to precisely figure out whether Jane Seymour's character or Reeves's character initiated the "contact" with the other. The score by John Barry (responsible for James Bond music 1962-1985) is SUPERB and that and the scenery alone are worth the price of admission.
Jane Seymour is (and today STILL is)a stunningly beautiful woman! The chemistry between the two is excellent.
This is not a chic flick nor is it a corny old romantic story alone. It is an almost classic plot with quite a bit imagination to help it along and to update it. After all, the movie started and ended in 1979 when it was shot.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Christopher Reeve
Jane Seymour

DVD title: Coyote Ugly
Productgroup: DVD
Coyote Ugly - movie DVD cover picture
not what I thought

very cool and touching movie. Not at all what you would think from the title. I loved it. Buying it so we can watch it again and again. It is one of my favorite movies along with Matrix and the first part of Blade. Go figure that one out if you dare. Try it. I think you will love it. We did. My wifeand I both thought this move was very cool. Good mixof dance, singing, drama and love with some comedy thrown in too. And a few surprises along the way.

Studio: Touchstone Video
Director: David McNally (II)
Piper Perabo
Adam Garcia

DVD title: Big Trouble in Little China (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Big Trouble in Little China (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A lightweight flick gets a world-class DVD package

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon it isn't, but early '80's kung-fu action flick Big Trouble in Little China is more fun than it has any right to be-- and coming from director John Carpenter, best known for dark horror films and thrillers... that's a bit of a surprise. Even more surprising is the comprehensive nature of this two-disc DVD set, containing more extras than one would think extant for what is to many a corny display of Hollywood schlock. For the rest of us, this DVD is simply a must-have.
Kurt Russell is in rare form here as goofy truck driver Jack Burton, founder of some of the greatest quotes in film history ("Like I told my last wife, I said honey, I never drive faster than I can see; 'sides that it's all in the reflexes..."). When Chinatown street punks steal his truck (and his best friend's fiancee), it's up to Jack and his friend Wang to save the day. It manages to be funny without losing its integrity as a good action film, though the action here is lighter on the choreography and heavier on the special effects.
This DVD package's extras include interviews with the film's special effects crew, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, theatrical/TV trailers, and an oddly entertaining commentary from John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. The commentary is in fact the only real low point of this DVD; throughout much of it, Carpenter and Russell spend very little time discussing the movie, but at least it's evident that they're having a good time. Then again, I've never known anyone who didn't have a good time watching this film. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up today.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: John Carpenter
Kurt Russell
Kim Cattrall

DVD title: Jamaica Inn (1939)/Murder!
Productgroup: DVD
Jamaica Inn (1939)/Murder! - movie DVD cover picture
Double Bill of Murder and Mayhem, Laughton and O'Hara...Early Hitch!

"Jamaica Inn"(1939)...

The talent combined in this 1939 film is immense. Based on a novel by Daphne Du Maurier,Alfred Hitchcock skillfully directs an extraordinary cast, all turning in strong performances, that bring the characters depth and the story to life.Marueen O'Hara is amazing in her first feature role, showing us way back then what made her the great star she has been all these years. It also stars other great British actors Lelsie Banks,Emlyn Williams and Robert Newton. But it is the legendary Charles Laughton who you can't take your eyes off of in this thriller. The depth with which he portrays his multi-faceted character is simple awesome.

The story is set off a rugged coastline.A group of dangerous cut-throats are misguiding innocent vessels, causing them to crash into the rocky terrain,so they can loot all the cargo.When young and beautiful Mary(O'Hara)is on to them, she risks life and limb to try and stop them. She turns to the only one she can trust..Sir Humphrey Pengallan(Laughton)for help. But yikes!... has she even endangered herself further with this move? He may be the most deranged of all!

Where's Hitch?....Although he made an appearance in the one before this one("The Lady Vanishes"/1938) and the one after("Rebecca"/1940), he seems to have eluded us in this one!

"Murder"(1930)... is the story of one man's quest for justice.

He was the last hold out on the jury of a murder trial(of a beautiful woman of course), and was convinced to vote guilty. He is an esteemed actor, but realizes that this case was real life, has second thoughts about the woman's guilt and plays detective to try and prove her innocence, and find the real killer.Can he make his case in time or will the death penalty be be invoked? It's a thrilling game of beat the clock!

This early "talkie" stars Herbert Marshall and Norah Barring, and you will see even in this early stage of Hitch's illustrious career, his sense of style and his sense of humor mixed in with the mayhem.

Looking for Hitch: About an hour in, take a stroll with him past the scene of the crime.

Laserlight may not always be the most pristeen transfers. But considering the age of these films, they are decent and a fun view at this price for the Hitch enthusiast. Laserlight has several Hitchcock sets offered here at Amazon.

Rated separately..5 stars for "Jamaica Inn" 4 Stars for "Murder"

Get the popcorn ready and enjoy...Laurie

Studio: Laserlight Video
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Charles Laughton
Maureen O'Hara

DVD title: A Little Princess
Productgroup: DVD
A Little Princess - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie

I felt this was a great adapation of a much loved children's book. I enjoyed it much more than the older Shirley Temple version. The acting is good, the costumes and set believable and the interweaving of Hindu mythology that parallels the plot of the movie is nicely done. The one thing I did not like was the portrayal of Indians in the film, but this is also a fault of the book. They fell into the old stereotypes of Indians and India as exotic, mysterious, and mystical. The Indian servant of Mr. Randolph, though central to the plot, reminded me so much of portrayals of black servants and slaves in earlier movies, as servile, loyal, always smiling, wise beyond their station and years, and mysterious. Yet, I liked the racial reconcilliation portrayed in the friendship between Sarah and Becky and like how Becky is adopted by Sarah's father at the end. This is one part where I really loved this version much more than Shirley Temple's version in which so much was left unresolved.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Liesel Matthews
Eleanor Bron
Liam Cunningham

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