Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Shawshank Redemption
Productgroup: DVD
The Shawshank Redemption - movie DVD cover picture
Underrated but immortal

Every time I grow annoyed with Tim Robbins' politics I pop this DVD in or catch it on TNT for the 2,000th time.
There is not one single flawed performance in this beautiful Stephen King adaptation. From Gil Bellows (who deserves stardom after landing the role of Tommy after Brad Pitt turned it down) to the tragic James Whitmore, ever-versatile Clancy Brown (who turned up to voice a dragon in the Cartoon Network series "Samurai Jack"), sinister Bob Gunton...and who can ever possibly forget the King of Hank Williams lovesick blues singin', multitalented and underrated veteran actor William Sadler, recently seen in the equally underrated "The Battle of Shaker Heights" and soon to play in the anticipated "Wonderfalls" dramedy on Fox?
I love this movie and its observations on life, love, justice, and yes, redemption. Some have criticized Warden Norton's character as Hollywood's continued assault on religion. As Mel Gibson's PASSION OF THE CHRIST will undoubtedly prove, yes, atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, concealing human ambition. I can think of no better argument for Christ in this film than Andy DuFresne and Red. And lest we forget, Morgan Freeman played God in BRUCE ALMIGHTY.

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

DVD title: Total Recall
Productgroup: DVD
Total Recall - movie DVD cover picture
Total Recall - One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best films!

"Total Recall" is, quite simply, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best action flicks and quite obviously, one of the ones that helped build his super star status at the time of its release. When this outstanding Sci-Fi action/thriller was released, it was right in the middle of Arnold Schwarzenegger's run of films where he could seemingly do no wrong. After watching the "Imagining Total Recall" documentary, it's even more surprising to find out that the original director wasn't Paul Verhoeven and the original Douglas Quaid wasn't to be Arny but Patrick Swayze; now that would've been an almost entirely different movie. Despite the exceptional script, I doubt Patrick Swayze would've garnered the attention that Arnold did for this memorable flick.
One of the most interesting aspects behind the script of this film is the overall theme behind it, was it "real" or was it Douglas Quaid's Total Rekall experience? Another highly interesting aspect of this film is its supposed sequel which may have been scrapped for Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for and election as the Governor of Kalifornia! If you pull up the Cast and Crew Information under the Special Features section and click on Arnold's screen, you'll see a listing for Total Recall 2 (2002), something that obviously hasn't happened but who knows what will happen in the future!
Credit goes to Arnold for his performance in this film, which was an exceptional display in that his acting skills were only getting better and better; granted, he's not the best actor in the industry, but for his type of movies, he was at the top when this film was released. Sharon Stone puts on a wonderful performance in this film and this film can most certainly be directly attributed to being the one that led to her super stardom and being cast for some of her bigger roles. Ronny Cox also does another superior job of being the villain in this movie, a role he has always done well in. For Star Trek Voyager fans, it's interesting to note that Robert Picardo does the voiceover for the Johnny Cab.
"Total Recall" is just another in a long list of outstanding and somewhat gory action flicks for director Paul Verhoeven. In this genre, he can most certainly be counted among the best directors to ever take up the mantle. Phillip K. Dick, the author of the short story "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale," the story that "Total Recall" is based upon, also wrote the story that "Blade Runner" was based upon and many more; just showing what a talent this writer has been.
The Premise:
Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wakes up to find himself lying next to Lori (Sharon Stone), who he believes to have been his loving wife for the last eight years. Quaid expresses that he wishes to go to Mars but Lori doesn't want anything to do with it. As Quaid is coming home from work, he sees an advertisement for Total Rekall where he can take a virtual vacation and decides to try it. Not long after his virtual vacation begins, this action flick takes off on a breathtaking wild ride that doesn't slow down until the credits start rolling...
I highly recommend this film to any and all who're interested in seeing one of the best Sci-Fi action movies ever made. One note of caution though, this film is not for the young, faint of heart or weak of stomach as is the norm with a Paul Verhoeven film. To achieve the film he's looking for, he doesn't spare the gore at all! {ssintrepid}
Special Features:
-Audio Commentary with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Director Paul Verhoeven-"Imagining Total Recall" Documentary-Rekall's Virtual Vacations-"Visions of Mars" Featurette (This is especially interesting considering we have a rover on Mars right now)-Visual Storyboard Comparisons-Conceptual Art-Photo Gallery-Production Notes-Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots-Cast and Crew Information

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sharon Stone
Michael Ironside

DVD title: Frog and Toad Are Friends
Productgroup: DVD
Frog and Toad Are Friends - movie DVD cover picture

This and the companion video are both so spectacular they must be made available again. Anyone I have shared this video with (along with any John Matthews video) immediately wants one. John Matthews, wherever you are, we need your tapes to become available once more!!!!

Studio: Tapeworm
Director: John Clark Matthews

DVD title: The Night of the Hunter
Productgroup: DVD
The Night of the Hunter - movie DVD cover picture
Childhood itself is under attack

It does not surprise me to see so many negative reviews. Almost every film I would call a masterpiece gets the same treatment. In this case most of the naysayers focus on the heightened style of the film. It is not meant to be realistic. It is a parable.
Many talk about Mitchum as the sole villian of the film. I believe that is incorrect. The film is full of villians. From the moment their father burdens John with the stolen money and swears him to secrecy, John and his sister Pearl are no longer able to function as children. They are under attack from every angle. Their mother fails to protect them. The townspeople they live with gossip about them, judge them and even chase them with torches after Mitchum's trial. The other children in the film fare no better. Ruby is used by young men. Lillian Gish's Willa Harper has a whole house full of children who have been abandoned by the adults in their lives. It is her character alone in this film that understands that being an adult means protecting the innocence of the young. Her final scenes with John, Pearl and with Ruby are extremely moving. So too is the moment at the end in John can keep his father's secret no longer - wailing, "No...No...Noooo" finally tantruming like a child instead of acting as one of the only "adult" characters in the film up to that point.
It is interesting to me that a film with such a post-modern visual aesthetic comes down so squarely on the side of faith and innocence. Too bad we so rarely see that juxtaposition in the rest of our culture. A masterpiece pure and simple.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Charles Laughton
Robert Mitchum
Shelley Winters

DVD title: Only the Strong
Productgroup: DVD
Only the Strong - movie DVD cover picture
One of my favorite movies of all time!

This movie is a good movie to introduce someone to Capoeira but its not a good movie about Capoeira. For starters how come the cousin of the bad guy was so wimpy? if my cousin knew how to play Capoeira then I would know how to as well. If they both were from Brazil then so were their parents and if one knew how to play the other would as well. Capoeira is more then just flipping around and playing the Berimbau-Ago-go and Atabque its about playing like the African-Brazilian Slaves that was forced to play this beautiful game. If u like the movie then start to look up Capoeira. Viva Capoeira, Camara' Bola Oito....AkA jay

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Sheldon Lettich
Mark Dacascos
Stacey Travis

DVD title: Lion of Oz
Productgroup: DVD
Lion of Oz - movie DVD cover picture

Kids who know The Wizard Of OZ will love this colerful movie! KIDS WILL LOVE IT! 2 thums UP for LION OF OZ!

Studio: Sony Wonder
Director: Tim Deacon

DVD title: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (30th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (30th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

Equally as excellent as MARY POPPINS, this fantastic part live, part animated film is made memroable by both performances and magnificent visual effects. Superb from beginning to end this is another in a huge line of Disney classics thats ageless in appeal.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Robert Stevenson
Angela Lansbury
David Tomlinson
Roddy McDowall

DVD title: Gilmore Girls - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Gilmore Girls - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Kept Secret On the WB

This show is amazing. No, it is not a reality series (Thank God). It also does not contain special effects, vulgarities, or explicit sexual content. However, it still manages to be one of the smartest, funniest, most sarcastic, and yet, ironically, the warmest shows on television. It has the quick banter of the 30s, but it still mangages to reference what's going on in pop culture right now. You must buy this DVD!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Lauren Graham

DVD title: Beyond the Gates of Splendor
Productgroup: DVD
Beyond the Gates of Splendor - movie DVD cover picture
A view from the inside

My family and I live in Panama and we were involved in the filming of "End of the Spear", a soon-to-be-released feature film made by the same production company and based on the stories in this documentary. I can testify to the very high caliber of the director and all the people involved in making these films. This documentary is well-made, and makes this true story of missionaries gripping and relevant. By the end you feel like you have met these men and understood their story.

It tells the story of 5 missionaries and their families. They were trying to reach a savage group of killers, the Waoranis of Ecuador, with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through a number of misunderstandings, the Waoranis killed these men, not understanding that they wanted to be friends. Years later several family members of the murdered missionaries tried again to reach the Waoranis. They lived among them and shared God's love with them, and today the Waorani culture and people have transformed. Today the murderers of those missionaries are like family members to the missionaries' families. The story is told through film footage, still photos and interviews with surviving participants. The Waoranis' interviews are in their language, with English subtitles.

This film is appropriate for all ages. It's refreshing to see the story of people so dedicated to an ideal that they will die for it. And then to see these former savage killers, together with the families of those they killed - wow, it's powerful stuff. Near the end of the shoot here in Panama, we spent an incredible evening meeting both the Waoranis featured in the documentary and several of the family members of the missionaries. The joy and love you see in this film is authentic. The forgiveness and genuine peace among these people, we saw it in them in person.

Be sure to go see "End of the Spear", due to be released in January 2006. A lot of the events in it are based on this documentary and the reminiscences you see in it.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Jim Hanon

DVD title: Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India
Productgroup: DVD
Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India - movie DVD cover picture
A must see movie

This movie was wonderful!!!! Although the movie is 4 hours long, the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat. I'm usually not a fan of musicals but I truly enjoyed watching Lagaan! I highly recommend this movie!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Aamir Khan
Raghuvir Yadav

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