Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Herbie Rides Again
Productgroup: DVD
Herbie Rides Again - movie DVD cover picture
Very enchanting

Yeah, you should get this one. A little old lady owns Herbie, and she is trying to keep it away from the somewhat ruthless villian, Alonzo Hawk. This movie has action, especially when Hawk's men try to chase Herbie. It has romance, like when Wilibe falls in love with Nicole. Best of all, there is laughter throughout the movie. The only reason I give it 4 stars is because twards the end the movie started getting weak.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Robert Stevenson
Helen Hayes
Ken Berry
Stefanie Powers

DVD title: Rebel Without a Cause (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Rebel Without a Cause (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Forever, James Dean

Remember the first time you saw James Dean in that red jacket, white t-shirt, and jeans? He owned the screen. Here he plays an angst-ridden teenager whose parents don't understand him. He's a trouble-maker who has caused the family to move a lot. On his first day in a new school, Dean meets a girl he likes (Natalie Wood), befriends a neurotic outcast (Sal Mineo), and is involved in the death of another boy (in the classic chicky-race scene).
Every scene in this film is so familiar and so loved, thanks to the presense of James Dean. Every boy wanted to be him. Every girl wanted to be his girlfriend. And when he cried to his parents, "You're tearing me apart!" you believed it was him talking, not an actor saying a line. He was cool, sexy, and most of all, real.
Almost fifty years later, the character created by James Dean is still the essence of the misunderstood teenager coming to terms with life. They say a thing of beauty is a joy forever. That applies both to James Dean and this movie. I wonder what ever happened to the red jacket?

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Nicholas Ray
James Dean
Natalie Wood

DVD title: Horror Hotel
Productgroup: DVD
Horror Hotel - movie DVD cover picture
That Old Black Magic

The 1960 British film "City of the Dead", or as it is more popularly known in the US as "Horror Hotel", has finally been given the deluxe DVD treatment it deserves. I have seen this film countless times since I first saw it on television back in 1966 in numerous edited versions, and in varying degrees of quality. Made on a modest budget, similar to the Val Lewton chillers of the 1940s, it has remained one of my all-time favorite horror films. Stage actress Patricia Jessel (she won a Tony Award for the role of the duplicitous Christine Vole in Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution") plays Elizabeth Selwyn, burned as a witch in Whitewood, a New England village in 1692. Selwyn made a pact with Lucifer prior to her death, placed a curse on the village, and has indeed returned from the dead, running the Raven's Inn (guests check in, but don't check out!), and, basically, all of Whitewood. The citizens of the creepy, run-down village, with the exception of blind Reverend Russell (Norman McCowan) and his granddaughter Patricia (Betta St. John), are all witches, so the place isn't exactly a big "tourist draw". Enter shapely blonde co-ed Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson, daughter of director John Stevenson and actress Anna Lee) who has come to Whitewood to write a term paper on witchcraft, upon the recommendation of her professor, Alan Driscoll (a suavely sinister Christopher Lee). Miss Barlow checks into the Raven's Inn, and becomes a sacrificial victim of Ms. Selwyn and her pals on Candelmas Eve. A subsequent investigation of her disappearance, led by her brother and boyfriend, along with the assistance of Patricia Russell, leads to a hair-raising climax. The film is chock-full of horror movie cliches, but they work! Dark, film-noirish photography, loads of fog, cobweb-filled catacombs, run-down graveyards, they're all here, and they are simply perfect. This film is practically a style source for Goths! Douglas Gamley's musical score (a hybrid of horror movie meets Gregorian chant, with some jazz passages thrown in) is catchy and memorable, and the actors' performances, particularly that of the "heavies" (especially Ms. Jessel), are good , making for a very entertaining and satisfying 78 minutes. VCI has gone right to the source, the original British print, and has restored 2 minutes of footage that have been unseen in American prints, and that's only the beginning. The picture quality is superb, tho maybe a tad grainy in spots, and is presented in widescreen format. The sound quality is good, nothing spectacular, and then there are the extra features! Interviews with director John Llewellyn Moxey, Christopher Lee (that's "Sir" Christopher Lee now!), and Venetia Stevenson, talent bios, a photo gallery, the original American teaser-trailer, and fun art and graphics add immeasurably to this love letter DVD to a well-made, genuinely creepy film. If you are a fan of classic horror films, this is a must-own. If you are an aspiring horror-film maker, this is an excellent textbook example on how to make a well-crafted, tight film on a modest budget. "Those fingers through my hair, that sly, come-hither stare, that strips my conscience bare..."

Studio: Roan Group
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Patricia Jessel
Dennis Lotis
Christopher Lee

DVD title: Twister
Productgroup: DVD
Twister - movie DVD cover picture
One heck of an action movie

Full of love, romance, and plenty of edghe of your seat action. This is one of Bill Paxtons movies. And definatelty worth to buy.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Jan de Bont
Helen Hunt
Bill Paxton

DVD title: Underworld (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Underworld (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Social Commentary Packaged in Action Packed Tale

Underworld is by far the slickest and most creative Vampire movie ever. The movie begins with Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a 'death dealer' who kills Lycans (Werewolves) as she recounts the tale of the six-century blood feud involving the Vampires and Lycans. Selene among other death dealers catches sight of Lycans and pursue into the subway. A gunfight follows as the Lycans draw first blood. In the melee a newly invented Ultra Violet bullet kills one of the death dealers. She pursues the Lycans into the tunnels where she discovers a den of Lycans - all ready and willing to attack. Selene returns to the Vampire abode to inform, Kraven (Shane Brolly), that something is afoot and that specifically she should investigate it. Kraven scoffs at the idea but sends someone in her stead. Trapped in the mansion Selene examines post operation photos and discovers that the target was a human.

Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) is the target of this 'man-hunt.' In defiance of Kraven's orders Selene sets out to and finds Corvin. Corvin is subsequently bitten by Lucian (Michael Sheen) - the Lycan leader (who is purported to have been slayed by Kraven) - for a sample of his blood. Corvin, it is discovered, is a descendant of gene pool that extend back to Corvinus - who, it is reputed, was able to take the Lycan, and Vampire combination without dying - a true hybrid. This brings up an interesting angle in the movie... the movie has a sub-plot playing a genetic angle that will play itself out later in the story. For now, suffice it to know that there is a strong sense of 'Us' vs. 'Them' with the Lycans seen as soiling the pure genetic line of the Vampires. The plot thickens when Selene gets wind of Kraven's duplicity and tries to find solace in Victor (Bill Nighy), earlier than was scheduled in her quest to stop Kraven. Underworld is a remarkable movie not just for the mis-en-scene, the stunning visuals, and the creative makeup of the Werewolves as well as the stellar performance of Kate Beckinsale as Selene - but because of the social commentary that underlies the movie. The notion of the preservation of the bloodline comes to presence early and everyone is good and everyone is bad - no either/or here - its all about both/and. The skillful plot turnaround with Selene, Victor and Lucian is indicative of very creative writing. Be cognizant that in order for Selene to effect the Corvin transformation he had to have been bitten by Lucian first. I am hopeful that a sequel is in the works. The movie moves on a myriad of levels and the supporting characters that help move the story along - characters like Erika (Sophia Myles) help the story along. Underworld brings together drama, social commentary, and action in one space of consideration.

As I rushed out to get this DVD, I was really impressed by the many extras that are explored in the same. One gets a real sense of the complexity of the sets, the costumes and writing by checking out the extra features. Despite the many clich?s, the movie is new, fresh, and yet deliciously dark. I wait with much anticipation, as mentioned previously, for a sequel - wishing both to see what happens to Selene and to learn more about the Vampire and Lycan past - and who knows, maybe even a future.

Miguel Llora

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Len Wiseman
Kate Beckinsale
Scott Speedman
Shane Brolly

DVD title: Ed Wood (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Ed Wood (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
An underrated gem by Tim Burton

This film is funny and touching at the same time. It tells the story of B movie directer Ed Wood, Jr. He has a lot of ambition and a huge ego that made him famous for putting out bad movies. Ed Wood becomes friends with Bela, a former Dracula superstar who is now a morphine addict whom everyone thinks is already dead. The two live off of one another- Ed uses Bela as a big name to put in his movies and Bela uses Ed to revitalize his career, even if it is an embarrassing one. The movie is very touching because of Johnny Depp's performance (Ed Wood) and Martin Laundau's performance (Bela Lugosi). The two actors have a chemistry and give a wonderful performance. The actors allow you to empathize with their characters because they actually become the characters and feel their emotions. I highly recommend this movie even if you have no former of knowledge of Ed Wood (I didn't). Although it is not completely accurate, it shows the life of Ed Wood in a different light and allows you to really like Ed Wood despite his blind optimism. I thinki that Burton saw himself in Ed Wood, and that's what makes this movie so special.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Tim Burton
Johnny Depp
Martin Landau

DVD title: Dead Leaves
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Leaves - movie DVD cover picture
An hour long adrenalin rush.

Have you been desensitized to violence and seem unaffected by strange sexual acts.Then step right up. This was made just for you. Even the most jaded viewer will laugh and gasp at the content of this disk.

Retro and Pandy awaken with their memories erased. They apparently have been sent to a lunar prison. This is the story of how they attempt to escape with hordes of other inmates. Strap yourself in for a crazy ride.

Are you into typical anime with realistic renderings and computer enhanced graphics? You may want to look somewhere else. This has the look of a panel comic. All the outlines are thick and black and nothing looks even remotely realistic.

Do you hate crass language? Do you also abhor sexual innuendo? Well then you're going to hate this. The entire anime is filled with sexual language and situations.

Do you dislike intense violence? Please look elsewhere. The screen is almost entirely filled with blood through the whole show.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Hiroyuki Imaishi

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A fantastic world

Peter Jacksons epos is not only worth looking, its worth looking again and again. Return of the king is the final of a big journey into imagination. The only point I dont like is that certainly my own fantasies about middleearth would be with much less violence, so I would prefer to life in this world but in the peaceful time that will come after Return of the King. But finally, how could someone make a 9 hour movie in three parts about a peaceful time? Lord of the Rings has a lot scenes of war and violence, but its surrounded of wonderful characters and fantastic environment, thanks to J.R.R Tolkien.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Viggo Mortensen
Ian McKellen
Elijah Wood

DVD title: Set It Off
Productgroup: DVD
Set It Off - movie DVD cover picture
Who's Settin' It Off Now?

Kudos to F. Gary Gray. And just think...when he initially proposed the idea no one at the big studios thought that a story about 4 women bank robbers would sell. This needs to be the movie of the year. Friendship, trying to get out of the ghetto and pulling a fast one on "the man." Doesn't get any better than that...and the cherry was the fact that one actually got away with all that loot!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: F. Gary Gray
Jada Pinkett Smith
Queen Latifah
Vivica A. Fox

DVD title: What Have You Done to Solange?
Productgroup: DVD
What Have You Done to Solange? - movie DVD cover picture
what were we doing w/ out solange?

of all the giallos i've seen in my life, this is by far my personal favorite & i've seen it nearly five times since purchasing on 01/01/04. what way to start the new year! solange has all the trappings of a wonderful classic giallo without indulging us into the graphic & extreme gore as many of the latter giallos would do. however, there is a great deal of suspense & mystery to draw you in & keep you involved til the very last scene. solange could've very well been a mainstream pyschological thriller with a bit of romantic undertone with the themes & atmosphere at hand but works well no matter genre it's filed under. the bottom line is we have gone way too long without this film & shreik show dvd has done a helluva job in presenting a crystal clear version of the classic on dvd for the entire world to see. there isn't much avaialable here in the line of extras but you do get some trailers including the original theatrical trailer for solange & there is a nice press kit included in the pack. without doubt, i feel like i got my money's worth as i usually feel when i've purchased the jean rollin films on shriek show. the story is quite complex & often eerie or seductive much like a pulp fiction paperback novel. the acting is nearly brilliant here & i can't possibly imagine any others actors who would've done a better job given the material involved. the film opens up with a creepy but cool montage of some some catholic school girls riding their bicycles across the screen in an almost blood-red lighting which basically sets us up for the chilling events which will take place in the next 104 minutes. unlike slasher films, solange offers more plot which thickens each & every second. after seeing this film, you may literally cower everytime you see a priest. GREAT FILM! i will watch this one from time to time & recommend this to everyone who loves thriller dillers or very classy horror films.

Studio: Media Blasters, Inc
Director: Massimo Dallamano

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