Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Kingdom - Series One (Riget)
Productgroup: DVD
The Kingdom - Series One (Riget) - movie DVD cover picture
VHS version is better than the DVD

The Chinese DVD release is poor, with an impossible subtitle translation. Some sections of the DVD are not even subtitled at all. Lars Von Trier's speeches at the end of the episodes are not subtitled. There also seems to be some sections missing. Additionally, the DVD is not broken up into the four episodes. The VHS is superior in every way, with its increased visual and audio quality, and a superb translation.And cheap!Even if you haven't seen it, get it. It's guaranteed to change your life.

Studio: Koch Vision Entertai
Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Kirsten Rolffes
Ghita Nørby

DVD title: The Mask of Zorro
Productgroup: DVD
The Mask of Zorro - movie DVD cover picture
A new spin on an old classic

This was a great movie. It has stuff that people who have different tastes would like. There's action, comedy and even some romance. There is also good character development as the story progresses. It's a movie that doesn't seem to go overboard in one area over the other. The romance, comedy and action are balanced pretty well.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Martin Campbell
Antonio Banderas
Anthony Hopkins
Catherine Zeta-Jones

DVD title: The History of Rock and Roll
Productgroup: DVD
The History of Rock and Roll - movie DVD cover picture
Ultimate Comprehensive Rock and Roll Documentary

For many years I'd been hoping someone would make a comprehensive documentary detailing the fascinating history of rock music, which in a real sense is the history of America in the last half of the twentieth century. Then, suddenly, within a three year period, not one, but two excellent documentaries are released: this one, produced by Time-Life; and another, titled simply "Rock and Roll", produced for public television by a PBS station in Boston. "History of Rock and Roll" is marginally better and combines concert footage (some familiar, some rarely seen) with artists, producers, and arrangers, who give their reflections and interpretations of the entire era. My favorite chapter is "Guitar Heroes" which provides a fascinating history of the electric guitar and how it became such an integral part of rock and roll.
Addendum: I originally purchased the VHS edition when it was released. I just bought the DVD set for the better picuture/sound quality, of course, but also because Amazon describes it as having "80 bonus minutes". I'm halfway through,but have not yet seen any additional footage.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Elvis Presley
Jimi Hendrix

DVD title: The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Productgroup: DVD
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland - movie DVD cover picture
Now I know why Elmo is so popular

Never let it be said that I've forgotten the way to Sesame Street. It had been quite a while since my last visit, but it was great to see all of the familiar faces again: Bert & Ernie, The Count, Grover, Oscar, Big Bird, etc. I was rather surprised to see that some of the human actors I remember are still Sesame Street regulars, as well. Then there's Elmo. Up until now, I only knew Elmo from all the commercials for Elmo-related products, so it was good to finally see just what all the fuss has been about. He's a cool little monster, and it's easy to see how he has become so popular with the youngsters; I especially love the way he always refers to himself in the third person. I also was gratified to find out just what lies inside and beneath Oscar's garbage can after all these years. Throw in some music and dancing as well as a couple of notable guest appearances, and you've got yourself a movie I really enjoyed.
Elmo really loves his blanket, and he could never bear to part with it. He loves it so much that he doesn't want to share it, even for a few minutes, with one of his little friends. About this time, a series of humorous mishaps occur to land Blanket (it's essentially a character rather than an object) inside Oscar's garbage can. Elmo dives it to get it, only to be transported (along with Blanket) to Grouchland. This is a strange new world for Elmo, a place where you aren't supposed to ask for help or be kind to others. Elmo's beloved blanket ends up in the hands of the mean and greedy Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), a man who lives by the creed "Whatever I touch is mine." In order to get to Huxley's house and reclaim what is his, Elmo must overcome a number of challenges placed in his way and must even pass the ultimate challenge of the Queen of Garbage (Vanessa Williams). There is of course a message to the whole story, with children (and adults) seeing why it is important to share what you have rather than be greedy.
I'm not sure I would have wanted to see The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at the theatre, but youngsters would surely have loved such an experience. Elmo asks the audience for help on several occasions, so parents should be prepared for having their kids yell out helpful words and sounds from time to time (FYI - I wouldn't recommend sitting directly in front of your children during the Queen of Trash sequence). Parents also shouldn't worry too much about children becoming too upset over Elmo's misfortunes. Whenever things start to look bad, Bert comes out and has the movie stopped and Ernie explains to him that there's still time for a happy ending.
I have to say I really loved this movie. It is funny, the musical scenes are quite good, and I can't get enough of seeing Elmo getting down with his bad self. This movie has everything that makes Sesame Street so great, and now I'm wishing I would have bought the DVD instead of just renting it.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Gary Halvorson

DVD title: Spirited Away
Productgroup: DVD
Spirited Away - movie DVD cover picture
Another Masterpiece

The lastest offering from Studio Ghibli - Spirited Away continues the unpararelled streak of hitting cinematic home runs. Apart from Disney's Lilo and Stitch (which incidently also features the voice work of Daveigh Chase), Disney's recent run of feature length animated films has yet to produce a film which could be compared with anything Studio Ghibli has made.
Spirited Away has something for everyone: action, beautiful animation, great storyline and Bruce Lee-esque emotional content.
Like Princess Mononoke and Kiki's Delivery Service the main protagonist is a young girl who unlike nearly all girls in western animation has her own unique personality.
I would like to recommend this film to anyone and everyone. Although there are some scenes that may frighten young children (like Chihiro's parents being turned into pigs) some parental supervision may be needed.
But don't let the the scary scenes dissuade you from showing this film to kids as the themes of loyalty, hardwork, friendship and courage are worth the small scary scenes. Like Willy Wonka (but less scary).

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Miyu Irino

DVD title: Stigmata
Productgroup: DVD
Stigmata - movie DVD cover picture
DVD Excellence

First off, Stigmata can't really be compared to the Excorcist (Stigmata deals with possesion by a priest who was trying to convey a new gospel, as with the Exorcist dealt with Satanic possesion), and all of the information regarding the Stigmata is true - just check out the included booklet. The video quality in this title is very well done, and everything comes across as cleanly as you would expect from a dvd (despite no animorphic format). The 5.1 surround is also a plus, as the eerie score comes at you from all directions. In terms of extras, you get an extra ending (which, in my opinion, makes everything fall together better), a music video, and the directors commentary. There are some disturbing images in this movie, and its not perfect in any means - but it is NOT trying to be "Excorcist 2000". Good movie, good quality = great DVD.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Patricia Arquette
Gabriel Byrne

DVD title: Midnight Cowboy
Productgroup: DVD
Midnight Cowboy - movie DVD cover picture
Lifes ups and downs

I agree wholeheartedly with the other reviews. I actually first saw this when I was very young, and was fascinated by the visual side of the film, as many of the themes went over my head. I'm sure the Jerky boys used elements of Rizzo to create some of their characters, but thats another idiom. You can tell a good film when the minds eye of the director is poured through the lens whilst simultaniously absorbing the age and culture he is filming. There are some truely classic dialogue moments, people are shown in all their glory and self loathing, a brutally honest look at what happens when you chase your dreams into a big city without a backup plan. I never tire of this timeless classic. Tutti Frutti!!

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: John Schlesinger
Dustin Hoffman
Jon Voight

DVD title: Trainer's Edge - Cardio Interval Training with Petra Kolber
Productgroup: DVD
Trainer's Edge - Cardio Interval Training with Petra Kolber - movie DVD cover picture
Fun!!! But must be a quick learner

I wanted a cardio session without any step routines and I got it. Love it!
It is very much like doing a session at the health club. ^_^ VERY fun but please be aware...the moves are quick and you must learn the routines quickly. She's got charisma and the upbeat music that is worthy of my fitness library. She is also realistic when it comes to our body's state each day. So there are three strength levels that you may choose from....I will leave it at the DVD.

Studio: Koch Vision
Petra Kobler

DVD title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Productgroup: DVD
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - movie DVD cover picture
Being Direct And Original

In some part towards the end of this film a cowboy with a single arm catches Tuco to retaliate, but instead of instantly shooting at Tuco he starts to speak, and because he has started to do so, Tuco finds an opportunity to draw his gun before he fires first and shoots at his rival. Then he says "If you'll shoot, shoot; don't talk!" which is the most appropriate sentence for that case, and so is the every other part of the film all well thought and all with a sense. Everything from the scenario to the selection of the artists... It's not a coincidence that it became so successful. And it's one of the most immitated movies I've seen, too, but I think that helps to shows its difference from the ordinary films. That's why I bought it and it is one of the just five VHS's I've bought so far.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood
Lee Van Cleef
Eli Wallach

DVD title: Shaolin Mantis
Productgroup: DVD
Shaolin Mantis - movie DVD cover picture
aka Deadly Mantis

Forced into being a Ching spy (David Chiang) is sent to infiltrate a family that is suspected of being revolutionaries. He falls in love with the daughter (Li Li-Li) and marries her. Soon after the spy finds out that the family members are revolutionaries, the family discovers the true identity of thier new son in-law and for their daughter's sake allow him to stay with them but will not let him leave thier home. Time is running out and the spy must get back to the Ching Emperior to report or his parents will be killed. The spy convinces his wife he needs to leave to visit his family. He and his wife fight side by side against her family and she is killed in the battle. He goes and creates a new style of kungfu while in hiding called mantis fist. He then returns to avenge his wife and manages to defeat the rest of the family. When he returns home with his job complete he has an interesting surprise waiting for him.
The DVD quality is what is you can expect from from a dubbed VCR tape to DVD. This is quite normal for a movie of this type and any true kung fu movie collector wouldn't worry about this.
I rate movies based upon the content, the actors, and costumes and humour. The quality of the DVD has little to do with how I rate these types of movies.This type of movie is nothing like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Iron Monkey. If your looking for movies like that don't bother watching this.

Studio: Red Distribution, In
Director: Chia-Liang Liu

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