Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Secret Window
Productgroup: DVD
Secret Window - movie DVD cover picture
Very Good performances!!!!!!!!!!!!

Johnny Depp shows again just how talented he is by creating a realistic character that captures the audiences attention. He plays Mort Rainey, a writer experiencing writier's block after his recent divorce. Things get intersting when a stranger, Shooter, arrives at his desolated cabin in the woods, and accuses him of plagerism. Mort fights for his life trying to prove this crazy stranger wrong, but can he do it in time? This movie is wonderful and is perfect for a night with friends!

Studio: Columbia Tri/Star - Preorder
Director: David Koepp
Johnny Depp
John Turturro
Maria Bello

DVD title: Voices of a Distant Star
Productgroup: DVD
Voices of a Distant Star - movie DVD cover picture
A single man created a masterpiece

The fact that this work was done largely by one person is astounding. There is a lot of hype these days in ads from Apple, HP, Microsoft, and the like that digital media can take an individual's creativity to the next level. The creator of this short takes that hype and makes it a grounded reality. Granted, he used to work for a video game software company, so he already had a significant amount of professional experience in this field.
His interview in the extras section is required viewing. His quiet naturalness is in stark contrast to his audacity in even attempting something like this. He also has some very thoughtful things to say about the possibility of making animation into a more "personal" medium of artistic expression.
The emotional content in "Voices from a Distant Start" was without the typical melodrama and had a ring of truth to it. In that sense, it managed to escape the limitations of robot-SF anime. I found the love story to be genuinely touching. However, there were some anime conventions that he held on to that he really should have discarded. The two protagonists should have been older, and the fact that the girl was wearing her school uniform while operating her robot was ludicrous. With a few changes, it could have been a 5-star work. In this respect, the 5 minute short about a woman and her cat included in the extras section is a stronger work.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Virtual Encounters 2
Productgroup: DVD
Virtual Encounters 2 - movie DVD cover picture
I liked it

Lots of good scenes(if you know what I mean), and every naked body featured is incredibly hot. I really liked this movie.

Studio: Surrender Cinema
Director: Cybil Richards

DVD title: Dangerous Beauty
Productgroup: DVD
Dangerous Beauty - movie DVD cover picture
An Amazing Surprise

Fortunately, I was out of the country when this film was released - so I didn't know that it had done poorly at the box office and with the critics. A friend casually recommended it,and I thought, why not, anything filmed in Venice cannot be a waste of time - and I was totally amazed. What an interesting, compelling, unusual film! What a pity it didn't do better - though to judge from all the rave reviews from amazon viewers it is only because it didn't "fit in" with the usual marketing/ media/hype machines. So while it is not the best film I've ever seen, it certainly has its undeniable qualities, to start with the mesmerizing beauty of the female, and male, leads...

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Catherine McCormack
Rufus Sewell

DVD title: Dark Command
Productgroup: DVD
Dark Command - movie DVD cover picture
On to Kansas

DARK COMMAND is a good, old-fashioned western. The movie takes places in Kansas on the eve of the Civil War. Not just anywhere in Kansas, either - the movie's set in bloody Lawrence, the hotbed of guerilla activity during that war. Perhaps no guerilla leader was more notorious than Kansas's William Quantrill, the school teacher turned raider who fought against the Union until his death in 1865.

Although DARK COMMAND is a work of fiction, it doesn't try hard to hide its sources. DARK COMMAND is adapted from a novel by the talented and prolific W.R. Burnett, whose Hollywood credits include either the based-on novel and/or screenplay for such action classics as Little Caesar, the original Scarface, The Asphalt Jungle, High Sierra, and dozens of others. John Wayne plays a roustabout Texan named Bob Seton who's traveling through with dentist/barber/sidekick Andrew `Doc' Grunch (George `Gabby' Hayes.) While in Lawrence Seton meets and immediately falls for pretty Miss Mary McCloud (Claire Trevor), local belle and daughter of the president of the town's bank, a Virginian (where you were from counted a lot in Kansas prior to the Civil War.) Seton's competitor for the affections of pretty Miss McCloud, and a bit later for the office of town marshal, is schoolteacher William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon.) That the real life Quantrill was also a Lawrence, Kansas schoolteacher is, well, probably something more than a coincidence.

Of course, Cantrell loses both the election and the heart, if not the hand, of Miss McCloud to Seton. As filtered through the Hollywood lense that's more than enough justification to embark on a campaign of pillage and murder, which Pidgeon's Cantrell proceeds to do with a certain amount of righteous dignity. Raoul Walsh, whose last movie before this one was the classic gangster movie `The Roaring Twenties,' directed DARK COMMAND with his usual relentless flair. Also in 1939, the young John Wayne had finally broken through to the a-list after playing the Ringo Kid in John Ford's `Stagecoach.' `Stagecoach' co-star Clair Trevor is billed above Wayne on the credits, but this is very much a John Wayne movie. The two principals, director Walsh and star Wayne, were at strong points in their careers and this movie did nothing to derail them. Wayne wasn't an icon yet but he had the moves down - he's shy and awkward around the women folk, toweringly commanding with men. One of the text extras on the film quotes Walsh's observation that `Wayne had learned to walk and talk' by the time DARK COMMAND was filmed, and if you watch some of Wayne's earlier b-movies you'd have to agree with Walsh's shrewd assessment.

I've seen a handful of Raoul Walsh movies in the past year and enjoy them tremendously. Pidgeon's Cantrell seems to be a prototypical Walsh heavy - he's erudite, urbane and refined, and, we suspect, substantially smarter than the hero. If Hollywood was about to fall in love with Freud Walsh definitely wasn't leading the charge. Even the presence of a maternal housekeeper, played in American Gothic style by Marjorie Main, doesn't do anything to explain what makes Cantrell tick. Cantrell is a Walsh villain, which means he's evil because he's evil and that's that. We'll have to understand him through action rather than introspection. In lesser hands this would leave us with a scowling, carpet-chewing bad guy. But DARK VICTORY'S script is tight, Walsh was a master at action dramas, and Pidgeon is too good an actor - he never drops Cantrell's courtly fa?ade, and he's all the more a menace for it.

Fans of old b-westerns will get a kick out of seeing a (very) young Roy Rogers and `Gabby' Hayes together in the same movie before they became cinema trail mates. Hayes' slightly mush-mouthed `gol-durn-it' routine can be grating, but Walsh uses him as a relatively subtle comic foil to good effect. If you've watched a few too many b-westerns chances are you'll find oddly touching the one scene between Hayes and Rogers. Rogers is in mortal danger and Hayes is his best and only hope. Hayes drops the Gabby act and lets George take over. It's a nice way for Walsh, through Hayes, to turn the tension up a notch and let us know that this is important. It's been my experience that Walsh's movies are filled with such nice touches, and it's one reason why I like them so much. DARK COMMAND has more than enough going for it to rate a strong recommendation. The script is good, performances are uniformly strong, and Walsh is a master at keeping things moving. It's a great early John Wayne western.

Studio: Republic Studios
Director: Raoul Walsh
Claire Trevor
John Wayne

DVD title: The Concert for New York City
Productgroup: DVD
The Concert for New York City - movie DVD cover picture
The concert for New York City


Studio: Sony Music Entertain

DVD title: Resident Evil - Apocalypse (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Resident Evil - Apocalypse (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Resident Evil

"Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is to be recommended to those who enjoy good action films. The movie has some breathtaking action and fight sequences that are nearly non-stop (Along with the unnecessary blood and gore, which seriously detracts from the film). The best thing about the film is Milla Jovovich and Sienna Guillory. They can look incredible and kick serious behind at the same time. Their beauty and guts give the film a great boost! Fans of films like "Aliens" and the "Terminator" trilogy will truly enjoy this one, while others may be turned off by the graphic violence. Whatever your view, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is a non-stop action epic that is sure to entertain. Grade: B+

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Alexander Witt
Milla Jovovich
Sienna Guillory
Oded Fehr

DVD title: Looney Tunes - Golden Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Truly one great way to start your WB cartoon collection!!!

Jerry Beck has done a fantastic job (so far, at least) on bringing the classic WB cartoons to DVD.
I have to say it was not easy choosing from the 1,000 cartoons made between 1930 and 1990 to be on this initial DVD set, but what was chosen represents animation history at its finest, rivaling only Disney.
I can still tell some visual difference between the pre-1948 shorts (which WB sister company Turner still owns) and the post-1948s (still owned by WB outright) in terms of graininess, but the transfer on DVD is better than what I have ever seen on TV, video, or LaserDisc. And all of them with their original credits (no altered "dubbed versions" or "credit-less Blue Ribbons" here, thank God). Even the print of "Fast And Furry-ous" (the debut of Road Runner) looks as though it was made yesterday instead of 1949 (when compared to the murky time-compressed PAL transfer we've all seen on Cartoon Network).
And I don't care what anyone else may complain about, Bosko IS represented in this set, in the form of the very first WB cartoon, "Bosko The Talknik Kid" (shown in abbreviated form on the "Toonheads: Lost Cartoons" special on disc three [which itself includes some rare stuff you'll have to see for yourself] and in its entirety at the very end of the box set).
The supplements are just as valuable...the trailers for the compilation films (though out of focus for the final 30 seconds of the second one, but considering this came off of a recently discovered reel, we are fortunate that they exist at all), the Camera One "Termite Terrace" special, storyboards, interviews (including the final appearance of Chuck Jones introducing the box set, made just before he passed on), and the aforementioned "Toonheads" special.
I do wish other landmark cartoons such as "What's Opera, Doc", "The Wild Hare", and other important shorts were included. Still, whatever is missing is made up for in other content.
Please get this will not regret it.
Th-th-th-th-th-that's all folks!!!!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Chuck Jones

DVD title: Glory
Productgroup: DVD
Glory - movie DVD cover picture
This is far and away the best movie I have ever seen.

This is a movie that honestly makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Anyone that doesn't get a reaction from this movie needs to be checked for a pulse. The acting was superb.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Edward Zwick
Matthew Broderick
Denzel Washington
Cary Elwes
Morgan Freeman

DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
Superb Retelling of the Second World War

I won't go into too much detail of the episodes as people have already described them but I will say that the series of episodes was done remarkably well.

It tells of the soldier's life during wartime and how they had to rely on each other to get by every day of bitter fighting.

Overall a great series of episodes retelling the remarkable events that Easy company faced during WWII.

Studio: HBO Home Video

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