Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Emma
Productgroup: DVD
Emma - movie DVD cover picture
Very enjoyable

I missed this movie when it was a New Release, because the descriptive blurb on the box calls it a "comedy" and doesn't even mention Jane Austen. I am so glad I finally discovered this movie! I've watched it twice, and enjoyed it exceedingly! I have a B.A. in English literature, and have always been a fan of Jane Austen. I have not seen the other version of this movie.
When motivated to read through the novel again after watching this movie, I came to the conclusion that the movie is BETTER than the novel, in the sense that it eliminates a lot of Austen's excessive verbiage about all the fine details of interpersonal relationships. In other words, while this movie has some great dialogue (and yes, many of the best lines are taken verbatim from the novel), it is not overwhelmed by dialogue. This is a visual film, not too intellectual.
The actors who play Emma and Mr. Knightly are wonderful, great chemistry tother. I think that the buxom woman who plays Harriet gives a believeably youthful & bashful performance. The hypochondriac father is not overdrawn, and Jane Fairfax is played by a dark-eyebrowed woman with a slight resemblance to Liz Taylor.
The photography in this movie is OUTSTANDING. Some of the scenes I had to rewind to watch over again because they were so exquisitely lovely to look at. The various scenes are expertly transitioned, sometimes humorously, and this fluid movement from scene to scene in many ways reminds me of the filmmaking in the hit movie _Titanic_.
I fervently disagree with those who dislike this movie. This is an *excellent film* for Jane Austen fans. The romantic scenes at the end were a little sappy and stererotypical, but I cried and cried. It drew such emotional response. It is such a moment of enlightenment when Emma figures out that Mr. Knightly is her husband of choice. He is so subtle and English, and they are a perfectly matched couple. Watch this movie!!!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Douglas McGrath
Gwyneth Paltrow

DVD title: Almost Famous
Productgroup: DVD
Almost Famous - movie DVD cover picture
almost perfect

Almost Famous is a rare sort of immaculate film that immediately invalidates the quality of films that have hitherto seemed acceptable in its absence. Technical flaws don't seem to exist in the film, and it is affecting much like a dream as it morphs the experience of the characters into the experience of the audience. It is therefore very deeply personally affecting, and the fact that it is well-made is almost an afterthought to its direct emotional power and ability to accurately depict the positive atmosphere emanating from music as culture.

Excusably sentimental, and somehow immune to judgments of indulgence, the film is an autobiographical dramatization of the life of its filmmaker Cameron Crowe. As William/Cameron, the excellent Patrick Fugit is able to realize his journalistic dreams as he is commissioned by Rolling Stone to tour with and write about Stillwater/The Allman Brothers Band. Along the way, he endures the expected yet endearing overprotection of his Mother, the inspiring and offbeat guidance of Lester Bangs, and the charismatic charm of the indescribably enigmatic Penny Lane.

The most significant and glaring positive aspect of the film aside from impeccable writing and truly wonderful acting from all involved is cinematography by John Toll. Capturing images clear yet whimsical, he is able to create a mood that truly does seem like the vivid yet whimsical memory as it is written. His work stands out as truly inspired as the eyes of Patrick are used as mirrors in the deflowering sequence, with the amazing lens flare as Jeff is left behind, and the dance of Penny Lane.

Almost Famous manages to capture a certain harmlessly na?ve nostalgia, making memory eternal, savory, and universally significant. With an impeccable soundtrack [and absolutely inspired Stairway to Heaven sequence on this dvd], Crowe makes a case for the true wonder that is a true, deep, and profound love for music. By lovingly recreating a culture surrounding it, the film makes one wonder why one would ever want to be involved with anything else.

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Cameron Crowe
Billy Crudup

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
One of my favorite films

I simply love the Matrix. Everything about it is wonderful. The plot, the acting, the lighting, action sequences, and the special effects all add up to make one of the best films I have ever seen. I know it isnt perfect, but I'm a sci-fi nut and kind of overlook the corny parts...

Studio: Warner Studios
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss

DVD title: Gosford Park - Collector's Edition
Productgroup: DVD
Gosford Park - Collector's Edition - movie DVD cover picture
Sly yet Subtle. Very Worthwile

Gosford Park is a most unusual and complex film. Its all about the "getting there," and then when it does "get there" the "gotten" only serves to compliment the "getting." Yes, there is a murder mystery, and yes it is solved, but this only further complicates the characters and their relationships to one another. The revelation of the mystery only affords a greater mystery. So, in all actuality, the ending is only the place where the movie ends and the credits begin. How Gosford Park is all this and still manages to be satisfying is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all. The plot of Gosford Park is entirely to complex to be neatly tidied up here, besides anything less than a full script would be superficial. I will say, however, that it concerns a massive group of impossibly rich characters, invited to a shooting party circa November 1932. Nearly all of these are restricted to the upstairs (aristocrats) and downstairs (servants). The first half of the film would seem to show the differences between these, but then, ironically, someone is murdered and the film takes the opposite turn. Suddenly, each of these people are all just people, and the only thing dividing them is a set of stairs and musty ideals. Each group is, after all, made up of individuals put in their place solely by chance. In the end everyone has their own specific problems and concerns, that may or may not relate to their class, and are often either paralleled or mingled with the opposite class. Do these themes resolve the movie? Well, yes and no. In the end the murder is irrelevant, and could have been substituted by any similar scandal or tragedy. It is the characters that matter. We never really find out just who everyone is, but that, the mystery left unsolved, may be the point of the movie. Gosford Park is at first all about surfaces, every character begins a caricature. However, gradually we realize that there is something never completely disclosed going on beneath the surface. Sure there are little revelations throughout, but all they really tell us is that each character is more than meets the eye. In an exact reversal of typical narrative, the characters start out simple and accessible, but end complex and mysterious. So their plights are never really resolved, they may still come away a little bit wiser for their visit. All of this is made rich by cunning direction, lush photography, and impossibly wonderful performances. That director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, Nashville) manages to drag a brilliant performance out every every member of his whopping 23-character cast is, well, like I said... impossible. But then again Altman really doesn't seem to give a damn. He is one of the most talented directors of our age, and he puts that talent to good use here. He knows the tricks of his trade very well. He can make any character an innocent, a suspect, and all with the angle of his camera. And how he handles that cast...! Speaking of which, it would take entirely to much text to detail the performances of each main character, as there are so many of them. However, there are two female performances that stand out, and seem to be garnering special attention. Maggie Smith is a show-stealer. She is so wonderfully bitchy and disdainful in her role, really giddy to behold. She manages to teeter perfectly between being a part of her class, and absolutely contemptuous of it. Then, in the opposite light is Helen Mirren. A servant, her performance is composed of subtle glances which tell us just enough of her bitterness, cynicism, and ultimate love, without completely revealing her. She is ultimately very sad, and she suppresses and reveals that sadness in just the right way. Altman openly claimed his film to be greatly influenced by the classic French film, La Regle Du Jeu, a very similar study of social classes. Does this detract from the film's originality? Not really. Upstairs-Downstairs movies are really a genre all their own. Antiwar films, interracial love stories, teen angst dramas and other specific types of movies all may express very similar themes, but they can also be very unique. Gosford Park expresses the universal ideas of La Regle, but in a different manner. It lifts the themes and settings of the earlier film, and populates them with many different characters, and situations. The tone is different as well... In Gosford Park Altman takes a very sly, farcical approach to his material. When watching it I got the feeling that he was like a kid throwing rocks into a busy anthill. His murder is his greatest rock, and one the ants spend a great deal of time figuring out how to approach. Should they swarm all over it, stand aside and laugh scornfully, hide away, or blame each other? Altman's ants all take a different approach. In the end there's just this rock sitting in the anthill, and they all leave. Besides, if anyone committed the murder it was Altman himself.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Robert Altman
Maggie Smith
Ryan Phillippe

DVD title: Seven (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Seven (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

This movie is one of the classical thriller. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman's performances were great. As everybody knows Morgan Freeman fits Criminal physiologist character %100 like "Kiss the Girl", and "Came Along a Spider" that I can name immediately. But his performance in this movie is best ever.I watched it several times already!! It is the very valuable piece of my DVD collection.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: David Fincher
Brad Pitt
Morgan Freeman
Kevin Spacey

DVD title: Miss Congeniality
Productgroup: DVD
Miss Congeniality - movie DVD cover picture
Why you get your money's worth with this DVD

I held off purchasing (let alone watching) this movie for awhile, not particularly attracted by the previews I'd seen. I'm glad I finally got a chance to see this delight of a film. It showcases the comedic talents of Sandra Bullock, who's also supported by a strong cast of other actors - including Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt and Candice Bergen. I found Bullock to be believable as klutzy FBI agent Gracie Hart, forced to go undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. I really enjoyed the moments in this film when Gracie Hart didn't quite get on top of the whole beauty pageant mentality, when she slipped out of character and lets the real person, flaws and all, show. Michael Caine is superb as the man behind the woman, playing a gay beauty consultant who is nearly overwhelmed by the challenge of transforming Bullock/Gracie Hart into a credible pageant contestant. As if this weren't enough, the DVD has all the extras that provide a close-up look at the making of this film. There are some funny out takes, two documentaries, two feature-length audio commentaries (one with Bullock and co-screenwriter Mark Lawrence, the other with director Donald Petrie)...and much more. Listening to her commentary, I felt like Bullock revealed a bit of the person behind the actress and this was a special treat.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Donald Petrie
Sandra Bullock
Michael Caine

DVD title: Dream Theater - Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
Productgroup: DVD
Dream Theater - Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Wea/Elektra Entertainment

DVD title: Dragon Ball Z - The Movie - Tree of Might
Productgroup: DVD
Dragon Ball Z - The Movie - Tree of Might - movie DVD cover picture
This Movie Rules!

Amazing. Just the best thing sin The World's Strongest and Dead Zone. Terles is kind of wierd but he's still pretty cool for a villian.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Daisuke Nishio

DVD title: 12 Angry Men
Productgroup: DVD
12 Angry Men - movie DVD cover picture

I've seen the newer version with Jack Lemmon and became more involved since I was familiar with most of the actors. Although I only recognized a couple actors in this version, I still found myself getting involved. The plot is still the same, but watching the actors connect with each other is worth seeing it.
The basic plot is a group of men who are placed in a locked room to decide the fate of a young man facing a murder charge. Beyond a reasonable doubt, this movie shows you what happens behind the closed doors.
This film is ideal in the classroom for facilitating discussion on decision making and group dynamics. Although you don't hear the legal argument, you hear the pieces of it from the jurors' discussion. I highly recommend watching this.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: Sidney Lumet
Lee J. Cobb
Henry Fonda

DVD title: Spy Kids
Productgroup: DVD
Spy Kids - movie DVD cover picture
Holy Shiitake Mushrooms!

I am a rather large Banderas fan, And such Was the reason I rather begrudgingly decided to rent this DVD. However, I was taken By suprise.
This Movie is Wonderful - It appeals to all ages. The "Kid's Rule" Message, as well as The various gadgets and the spy underworld Theme appeal to Children, whereas the Delightfully Campy Villans And The Older, James Bond-esque parents appeal to The older Audiences.
While The two Child Actors Did Beautifully, And Banderas turned in his usual Solid Performance along with His Co-star Carla Guinido, I Must say that the delicious Alan Cumming truly Stole the show with his Outrageous And Loveable Floop, the Host of a Bizzare Children's show. He is truly a brilliant actor who turned in a stellar performance, switching from the extremes of Evil to Good in a single performance. I also Must say that his accent work was amazing - for those who don't know, he is scottish, and has one of the thickest accents around.
The sets and Costumes were Beautiful, and really should win some sort of award. The Music, also, was a treat, from the flamenco Guitair of the Beginning, to Danny Elfman's 'Floop's Song'. the Tim-Burtonish aspect of the Movie was also Highly appreciated, as I'm a huge Fan of his work.
All in all, a great movie. I'm waiting for the inevitable special edition so I can add this one to my collection for good.

Studio: Dimension/Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Antonio Banderas
Carla Gugino
Alexa Vega
Daryl Sabara

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