Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Heat
Productgroup: DVD
Heat - movie DVD cover picture

Heat stands out as not only one of the five best films of the 1990s, but as one of the best thriller/action movies of all time. Why? Let me count the ways. The apex of the the film is of course, the incredible bank heist and gun battle which follows it. I have NEVER seen anything like it on film. The camera work varies at times from hand-held to steady and that gives the entire segment an heir of hyper-reality if you will-as much or even more so than more famous later examples such as 'Saving Private Ryan'. Michael Mann is one of the best film makers of the modern era, and in my opinion, and the opinion of many others, this is his best film.
It's easy to see how a film with both Pacino and De Niro would be great. But there are many other ways in which this film towers above most others, many of them due to the amazing cinematography work and editing. Observe Mann's gorgeous use of color and shadow; the blue tint as Pacino is chasing De Niro on the freeway at night, the beautiful balcony scene with Amy Brenneman (who is amazing), the final scene of the film, the color and tone of Pacino's home, the various restaurants etc. The colors are brilliant-dark is REALLY dark. Also, the pains that Mann and others have gone to in order to present the most realistic depiction of the crossing of paths and dreams; these are not cardboard characters, these are (mostly) fully fleshed out people with their own fears and goals and greed. The film retains an undercurrent of menace and fear throughout, and the action is enough for any action film buff. How nice to see such a well-rounded film these days.
As far as the DVD goes, it looks and sounds quite good. I am not a fan of Warner Bros. DVD work in general-you know they could have put a lot more on the disc than they did. But what is there is great-three different trailers for the film among other things. My only complaint is that there seem to be a few scenes in the film that literally look grainy. I swear I can see the change in the light and color on the screen as a switch is made between film and videotape elements. I have not heard anyone else mention this. An avid film viewer such as myself noticed it only after two screenings, so perhaps more casual viewers have not.
This is a film that everyone should see at least once, if only to raise the low-brow standards that so many in our culture have embraced. Essential.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Michael Mann
Al Pacino
Robert De Niro
Val Kilmer
Jon Voight

DVD title: Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles
Productgroup: DVD
Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles - movie DVD cover picture
Hound of the Baskervilles

Of the 14 Rathbone / Bruce films this is my personal favorite.Truly a timeless classic although set in Conan Doyles victorianera. For someone who has no exposure to the Holmes / Rathbonecharacter I will say this is a good way to get hooked on the series.
Strangely enough I have come to learn that the"Hound" film wasoriginally intended to be a springboard for the dashingly handsome actor Richard Greene. My reading informs me that Hollywood considered Greene too good looking to be a leading manand consequently got very little work in America. Greene didbecome "Robinhood" on TV weekly in the 1950's
The great thing about this film is it is a great whodunit which ALL the family can enjoy.

Studio: Mpi Media Group
Director: Sidney Lanfield
Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce

DVD title: Nevada Smith
Productgroup: DVD
Nevada Smith - movie DVD cover picture
Another McQueen Classic

Nevada Smith is up there with The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven as Steve McQueen's best roles. In this western, McQueen plays Max Sands, a young man bent on revenge of the three men who brutally killed his parents. The three villains are played to perfection by Karl Malden, Martin Landau, and Arthur Kennedy. Really this movie is three or four separate stories brought together by Max's revenge. Beautiful scenery throughout ranging from the mountains of the Northwest to the swamps of Louisiana with a good musical score to back up the story. Brian Keith is exceptional in his role as McQueen's mentor. This is classic McQueen. The anger he feels for these three men is obvious as he chases them around the country, even working alongside them so that he can be around in case he gets a chance to exact his revenge. The DVD does not offer any extras besides the widescreen presentation, but the movie looks better than it ever did before. A truly great western with both great characters and an excellent storyline.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Henry Hathaway
Steve McQueen
Karl Malden

DVD title: Anacondas - The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
Productgroup: DVD
Anacondas - The Hunt for the Blood Orchid - movie DVD cover picture
Why bother giving it a bad review?

If Anacondas isn't your kind of film then don't bother watching it and wasting the rental money. It's clear from the title and trailer this will only appeal to those who like this sort of thing.

Anacondas is stupid but enjoyable nonsense, anyone hoping it to be anything else is only setting themselves up for obvious disappointment.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Dwight H. Little
KaDee Strickland
Eugene Byrd
Morris Chestnut

DVD title: Monster
Productgroup: DVD
Monster - movie DVD cover picture
brilliant, but hard to watch...

...aesthetically, this film was simply brilliant.
However, it was hard to watch Charlize Theron's character careen downhill for most of the last 2/3rds of the movie. The parts where she tries to go straight and does job interviews are especially painful---I kept looking away from the TV screen because it was so painful to watch---really a testament to her phenomenal acting skills.
There is a raw emotional/spiritual violence going on here and perfectly captured on screen that is far far worse than anything I saw in "Saving Private Ryan" or "Schindler's List"---it is the absolute horror and heartbreak of watching the total and relentless destruction of a human being despite all of her indomitable vitality and will. This is what I imagine it'd be like to watch somebody being buried alive, you end up wishing for a mercy killing, that someone would at least be kind of enough to shoot her first.
It's safe to say that Charlize Theron earned her Oscar every bit of the way.
Christina Ricci also puts in a very strong performance as Lee's lesbian girlfriend...I don't know what their real-life sexual orientation is, but the scenes where the two women first make out outside of a roller rink are as dizzyingly passionate as any I've ever seen on film.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Patty Jenkins
Charlize Theron
Christina Ricci
Bruce Dern

DVD title: Ali MacGraw - Yoga Mind & Body
Productgroup: DVD
Ali MacGraw - Yoga Mind & Body - movie DVD cover picture
fabulous strength, serenity

I tried this video at the recommendation of my yoga instructor. I've been looking a long time for a yoga video with more strength training, a longer running time and the flexibility to include my level of ability (beginner). This is the first yoga workout that had the challenges and duration that I was looking for in a home, yoga workout. The scenery and music are wonderful!

Studio: Warner Home Video

DVD title: The Lost Boys
Productgroup: DVD
The Lost Boys - movie DVD cover picture
Obviously dated, but a cult classic.

For those who are "traumatized" and find this movie "horrible," please step back for a second and realize this was released in 1987. I don't think this was actually meant to stand up to todays vampire movies. Back then, it had a great cast. Kiefer Sutherland (Always a favorite), Jamie Gertz (Gotta love Stars outfits), Jason Patric (pulls off the part well), and The Coreys (Nothing needs to be said about The Coreys. Pure 80's magic.) I didn't and still don't expect this movie to be some cinematic wonder, so for what 'The Lost Boys' is, it's a great movie. I would recommend it to anyone who fell in love with movies from the middle 80's and early 90's. For all you people who expect something like, "Blade" or "Interview with a Vampire," please take a moment to think about how the times and special effects have changed. I will always love this movie and it will hold a special place in my life forever.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Joel Schumacher
Jason Patric
Corey Haim

DVD title: Boiler Room
Productgroup: DVD
Boiler Room - movie DVD cover picture
boiler room

This is not the Boiler Room with Charlie Sheen. It stars Joe Estevez, Ashlie Rhey, Nicole Sassaman, and Kim Little

Studio: Red Distribution, In
Director: John Sjogren

DVD title: The Slipper and the Rose
Productgroup: DVD
The Slipper and the Rose - movie DVD cover picture

My dance teacher made us (eh.. forced) to watch this movie in edition to THE RED SHOES. At first, our entire class was bored to death with the opening scenes, but soon we were fish bait: hook, line, and sinker. We were sad to see it end, and we all agree it's fabulous in it's entirety. If you can withstand 40 minutes of boredom, you will be in for a real treat!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Bryan Forbes

DVD title: Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries)
Productgroup: DVD
Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries) - movie DVD cover picture
This is a book for all ages, all sexes, all people!!!!

My family ( my 2 daughters and myself ) saw the series on Belgian television first in 1997. We had to wait for 5 weeks before we knew whether Lizzy and Mr Darcy would fall in love. (I knew, because I already read the book several times, but I wouldn't spoil the fun). Then ,we travelled to England, just to buy the VHS, and we also found the book : "The Making of Pride and Prejudice". I already possessed the complete works of Jane Austen. My sixteen years old daughter is bewitched by everything remotely attached to Jane Austen and Regency. Of course we liked ( loved) Colin Firth and Jeniffer Ehle a lot. we are also desperately looking for similar non-austen books. END

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Simon Langton
Colin Firth
Jennifer Ehle

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