Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Traffic
Productgroup: DVD
Traffic - movie DVD cover picture
Utterly Amazing

Many parents won't let their children see this because of the gritty drug content. Those parents are missing the point. No self-respecting child would get involved in drugs after viewing this film. Traffic has a realistic quality usualy only found in documentaries. The cast is so good that you forget that they're even acting. This movie deserved every oscar it garnered and then some (namely Best Picture.)

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Benicio Del Toro
Michael Douglas

DVD title: What the Bleep Do We Know!?
Productgroup: DVD
What the Bleep Do We Know!? - movie DVD cover picture
Hop on it...

I would just like to take a minute to let everyone know, this is movie is the real deal. The "real hype machine" will never jump on board something like this, so we must create our own. I will recommend this movie to everyone I bleeping know.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Marlee Matlin
Elaine Hendrix

DVD title: The Fountainhead
Productgroup: DVD
The Fountainhead - movie DVD cover picture
stark, beautiful, inspiring

This is a masterpiece that gives people of independent minds hope and reason to go on with its message of "don't compromise...follow your ideals". As an artist working in a medium that is unusual, I LOVE this movie. I put it on whenever my determination gets a little wobbly ! Strong and handsome, the fabulous Gary Cooper is perfect as Howard Roark, and Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey are also wonderful. The cinematography by Robert Burks ( who did a lot of Alfred Hitchcock's best films ) uses sharp contrasts and is brilliant in its use of shade. This film deserves 5 stars just for how it looks. Don't miss it !

Director: King Vidor
Gary Cooper
Patricia Neal

DVD title: Third Watch
Productgroup: DVD
Third Watch - movie DVD cover picture
A quality show. What's the holdup?

I agree with the reviewers here. This is such a good quality show that after 6 years, not even the 1st season is out on DVD?! With so much nonsense programming out there, this show is tops and can't wait for each new episode. I am just now catching up on the the early season episodes on A&E re-runs. It has a good cast of characters, guest roles, story lines, etc. Too bad NBC doesn't promote & back this show up as much as some of their other shows. Its their "the little engine that could" show with a good number of faithful viewers.

Hope to see the DVD's soon!!

Skipp Sudduth

DVD title: U-571 (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
U-571 (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
U-571 is Awesome!

U-571 can easily be ranked right up there with Saving Private Ryan in the war category. This movie is very realistic and although I do not know what the DVD will be like I can make a bet that it will be a very good one! I suggest anyone should buy this that likes war movies or just good action movies. Go U-571!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Matthew McConaughey
Bill Paxton
Harvey Keitel

DVD title: The Persuaders!, Set 1
Productgroup: DVD
The Persuaders!, Set 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Hugely enjoyable series

I first encountered "The Persuaders!" on a cable channel that showed episodes from the series as part of its "Mystery Friday" offerings. In a way it was a "missing link" in the transition from the great spy shows of the 1960s and the detective dramas of the 1970s, with elements from the former and foreshadowings of the latter. I was soon hooked, partly by the concept of two ridiculously wealthy men who had the freedom to stand up to the various crooks and murders they encountered, and partly by the interplay between Moore and Curtis (it's obvious that the two liked each other and had great fun doing the show).

Now A&E has released the first set of DVDs from the series' single-season run. Containing 13 episodes, they show Moore and Curtis resolving all sorts of wrongdoing as they jet set across Europe. The stories themselves are of uneven quality (everybody who enjoys the show will have their favorites; mine are "Take Seven," "Greensleeves", and "The Time and the Place"), but all of them run on the Moore-Curtis chemistry, as well as the uniformly strong performances of the other actors. As other reviewers have noted, fans of the two actors will enjoy this set, as well as those who like classic British action series from the 1960s like "The Avengers" and Moore's earlier show "The Saint," (especially since writers from both of these shows contributed scripts for this series).

Studio: A & E Home Video
Roger Moore

DVD title: Sherlock Holmes in The Spider Woman
Productgroup: DVD
Sherlock Holmes in The Spider Woman - movie DVD cover picture
Creepy thriller is one of Holmes' best

With this, the fifth film in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone, the studio dropped the great detective's name from the title, confident that other aspects of the production were powerful enough to attract audiences. "Spider Woman" was a perfect entry in which to deemphasize the appearance of Sherlock Holmes since Gale Sondergaard's performance as Andrea Spedding, aka the Spider Woman, would have been good enough to make this episode memorable even if she had matched wits with a less formidable opponent. Her character was so well received that it inspired an unofficial sequel, "The Spider Woman Strikes Back" (unofficial because she technically played another character and Holmes was not involved) in which another alumnus of the series, "Pearl of Death"'s Rondo Hatton, was also featured.
For fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, it's fun to see how screenwriter Bertram Millhauser uses Doyle's "The Dying Detective" as a source for our first glimpse of Holmes here, and, as always, Roy William Neill creates a beautifully eerie atmosphere with scenes draped in shadows the likes of which can only be found in German Expressionism (and don't miss the scene in Ordway's lab, perhaps the most frightening moment in any of the 12 films). Neill deserves more acclaim than he's received, and the fact that he never rose above the assembly line of B movie making is a damning indictment of Hollywood's inability to properly utilize its talent.
Rathbone is superb, as always, and Dennis Hoey as LaStrade also shines especially in the affecting moments early in the film when the Inspector believes his rival has died. And Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, though bumbling as amusingly as ever, is given the opportunity to demonstrate his intelligence, even showing Holmes up for once.
The only drawback to this creepy thriller is a disappointing climax. Otherwise, "Spider Woman" has bite to spare.

Studio: Mpi Media Group
Director: Roy William Neill

DVD title: X-Men
Productgroup: DVD
X-Men - movie DVD cover picture

I never really thought I'd be interested in watching X-Men. It simply never appealed to me, and the front cover of the DVD, plus the posters, doesn't really do the film justice. But I thought maybe that I'd give it a go. I was slightly disappointed by the whole film. I was expecting it to be a lot more violent, but there were very few fight scenes. As I've never read the comic books, I didn't know any of the characters, although I was quite surprised to figure out who they were for some strange reason!
X-Men starts off really strangely - it starts off in a concentration camp, in Poland, in 1944. None of this seems to relate to the rest of the film, nor does it get picked up on at all. Maybe it will in the sequel, but it seems kind of puzzling to use a scene that doesn't really relate to the rest of the movie. Unless you notice that the little boy at the start uses his "powers" to bend the gates back - but then again, it's never really explained who the little boy was. I thought it was Wolverine, but it seems more likely to be Magneto, Patrick Stewart's enemy.
I was quite impressed with the cast members in this. The names that always get batted about were Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry. But also featuring was Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin - the latter is a fantastic actress. It was bugging me when she first appeared, as I knew the face, and finally figured out that she starred as Mac in She's All That. I wasn't expecting her to be one of the main characters, as she hasn't had many big starring roles (except in Fly Away Home, but she was only young then), and was quite surprised when she appeared continually throughout. She's not really that big a name I suppose, and hasn't had a great many big roles, but I'm sure her role in this and the sequel will have boosted her name in Hollywood.
Another name who will certainly get a big boost in Hollywood is Hugh Jackman. Never heard of him before this, but he's certainly quite nice looking! (Hubba hubba ding-a-ling!) He's previously starred in little-known Australia productions, and he was plucked from obscurity to become the lead actor. He appears topless in a couple of scenes, and although the chest rug didn't do much for me, the rest of him did!
Most of the characters didn't really appeal to me, and really, the first film is all about introducing them to the audience, and what their powers are, etc. What I really enjoyed about this movie was the seeming parallel between X-Men and Labyrinth. How did you think I made that connection? Well, if you've seen Labyrinth, then you'll know that the relationship between David Bowie (his tights) and a young Jennifer Connolly seems almost wrong for a child's fairytale movie. If Labyrinth hadn't been directly aimed at children (although I still enjoy it as an adult, particularly the contents of David Bowie's tights!), then maybe they could have developed that relationship. The same can be said for the relationship between Hugh Jackman and Anna Paquin - although he seems to be more of a mentor than anything else. But it's the connection between the two, and I hope this gets developed in the sequel.
I'm looking forward to seeing the sequel, but I definitely suggest if you are watching this movie for the first time, you do NOT make the same mistake I made, and watch it complete with the extended scenes! It really interrupts the flow of the film, and is almost distracting at times - and then I couldn't find an 'obvious' option to switch the extended scenes off! A good movie despite that, with loads of extras, which will no doubt take hours to wade through (but no trailer?)! I hate DVDs that don't have the trailers for the movies - I prefer to watch the trailer first, THEN watch the film. It's a necessity.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen

DVD title: Six-String Samurai
Productgroup: DVD
Six-String Samurai - movie DVD cover picture
Ultimate in Wham-Bam Cinema!!

In a post-apocalyptic USA, Buddy, the guitar-picking, sword-swinging hero of the American rock and roll Everyman, makes his way through the music of the 50s, 60s, 70's, and 80's, demonstrating rock's neverending struggle against and victories over other music.
Performances are spectacular. As I've heard in another review, Mungia needs to direct the next Star Wars movie, and Falcon needs to be a Jedi.
This movie ROCKS!

Studio: Ryko Distribution - Video
Director: Lance Mungia
Jeffrey Falcon

DVD title: I Love Lucy - Season One (Vol. 7)
Productgroup: DVD
I Love Lucy - Season One (Vol. 7) - movie DVD cover picture
The battle of the sexes goes into high gear on "I Love Lucy"

It is interesting to rewatch the 1951-52 first season of "I Love Lucy," where the scripts were exploring the screwball possibilities of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) trying to break into the world of entertainment like her husband, Ricky (Desi Arnaz), bandleader at the Tropicana Club. The first half of the season was okay, but the second half finds the cast and writers Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, and Bob Carroll, Jr. really hitting stride. The theme of Volume 7 is on more about husbands and wives (or husbands versus wives) rather than on Lucy's show business aspirations:
Episode 24, "The Gossip" (March 24, 1952) offers another battle of the sexes as Fred (William Frawley) and Ricky bet they can keep from gossiping longer than Ethel (Vivian Vance) and Lucy. The outcome is predictable, but the journey is half the fun.
Episode 25, "Pioneer Women" (March 31, 1952) is, quite simply, the one with the twelve-foot loaf of bread. Everybody remembers the sight gag, but do you remember the premise? Fred and Ricky challenge Ethel and Lucy to a contest to see who can survive the longest without the conveniences of modern life. This means having to bake your own bread and figuring out how much yeast to use.
Episode 26, "The Marriage License" (April 7, 1952) has Lucy finding out that her marriage license to Ricky is not legally binding. The simple thing to do would be to have the paperwork done right, but Lucy insists that Ricky play out their entire courtship. Not as funny as the how the same situation played out on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" ("Laura's Little Lie," October 9, 1963), but then Petrie's had a kid, which gave that classic episode a bit more edge. Note: Elizabeth Patterson, who would play Little Ricky's baby-sitter Mrs. Trumbull appears in this episode, but as a different character.
Episode 27, "The Kleptomaniac" (April 14, 1952) hinges on Ricky finding a whole bunch of goods that Lucy has collected for a charity bazaar. Since Ricky does not know about the bazaar, he jumps to the conclusion that Lucy is a kleptomaniac and needs psychiatric help. The psychiatrist is played by Jospeh Kearns, who would go on to play Mr. Wilson on "Dennis the Menace."
This solid quartet puts Volume 7 in the top four of the nine volumes that collect the first season and the original unaired pilot (36 episodes in all). However, the top volume is the next one up, which contains one of the most famous "I Love Lucy" episodes of all time, "Lucy Does a TV Commercial." Still, what we have here is ample reason why every Monday night literally half of the nation's television sets were tuned to this classic situation comedy.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Lucille Ball
Desi Arnaz

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