Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Abyss (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Abyss (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Very good, but...

For people who can get the full version on laser disk. It's really worth while! the VHS tape is a badly edited version of the full 4 hour fantastic film! IF you taped the TV version, the TV version is an even bigger ripoff!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: James Cameron
Ed Harris
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

DVD title: The Chronicles of Riddick (Theatrical Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Chronicles of Riddick (Theatrical Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Absolutely a worthy sequel to a sci-fi classic.

I don't bother writing reviews for products I don't really dig, unless they're really so bad that I can't in good conscience recommend them to another human being. That being out of the way, I really liked The Chronicles of Riddick. While some of the story is vague in explanation and depth, this is likely because David Twohy is partly expecting fans to have played the Xbox game, and/or to have seen the animated bridge Dark Fury. This isn't what I would call unreasonable, although I must admit that people who haven't experienced as much as they can out of the Riddick series will probably be left scratching their heads. The movie itself was stellar, in my opinion. The sets, acting, script, and production were all faithful to the first film, Pitch Black, which if you haven't seen yet, I advise you to run to the local rental store and grab it. This movie is far grander in scale than Pitch Black. Not better... not worse either. Just bigger. This is clearly a reflection of the high production values that were absent in PB, and I should add that I feel that often high-value sequels lose much of the unique indie feel of their lower-budget predecessor(s), and subsequently their quality, but this is handled tastefully and intelligently in COR. The movie, in case you don't already know, involves the character of Riddick (Vin Diesel) being dragged into a resistance against the massive galactic conquest by a race of religious fanatics under the rule of a Stalin-like tyrant. Not hugely original, but neither was PB, and both movies handle their derivitive features in an extremely competent fashion, and both, of course, benefit greatly from the addition of one of the most intense bad-guy-heroes in movie history. I absolutely recommend the film to anyone who likes any facet or sub-genre of action movies. This movie absolutely reeks of quality on a nearly all the levels one could reasonably expect it to, making it, in this man's opinion, a worthy sequel to the heart-stopping original.

Studio: Universal
Director: David Twohy
Vin Diesel
Colm Feore
Judi Dench

DVD title: Sphere
Productgroup: DVD
Sphere - movie DVD cover picture
Awsome Film

Great film, Jackson's character is so disturbing. Cool idea and an awsome movie!

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Barry Levinson
Dustin Hoffman
Sharon Stone
Samuel L. Jackson
Peter Coyote

DVD title: The Matrix
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix - movie DVD cover picture
The Undisputed Heavy Weight Champ of the World!

I wish Amazon would allow "10" Stars! Hands down, The Matrix is the greatest science fiction movie of all time. Need i say more? It has it all.

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

DVD title: Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
A Remarkable film

This is a remarkable film. well acted great story telling . overall a great feel good film. well worth the money if your planing on buying it. even the soundtrack and soundscore are worth buying.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Gary Ross
Tobey Maguire
Joan Allen
Jeff Daniels

DVD title: Rush - Rush in Rio
Productgroup: DVD
Rush - Rush in Rio - movie DVD cover picture
Joyful noise unto the world...

There are many good things about this DVD, but the following few push it well into the "strong buy" range:
-The exuberance of Brazilian fans who waited so long to see Rush.-The By-Tor and Snowdog cartoon.-The "Anthem" video.-The setlist.-The multiple angles.-"Earthshine"...fantastic!-The concert footage is way better than being there (I was there at Scranton, PA).-The documentary:--Alex Lifeson's hilarious hotel adventures.--Neil Peart practicing before a show.--Geddy Lee sticking up for Neil Peart's absence from Press Day activities.
What else do you need to know?

Studio: Rounder
Director: Daniel E. Catullo

DVD title: Outbreak
Productgroup: DVD
Outbreak - movie DVD cover picture

"In war, truth is the first casualty." - Aeschylus.
In 1989, a secret U.S. Army SWAT team was called in after an Ebola outbreak among monkeys in a Reston, VA lab; a mere ten miles from Washington, D.C. They eventually determined that this particular strain wasn't contagious for humans - others, however, are; capable of producing a 90% mortality rate within a matter of days. The incident produced Richard Preston's bestselling book "The Hot Zone," on which this movie is loosely based (another project involving Robert Redford and Jodie Foster eventually folded).
Like the Reston Ebola strain, the (fictitious) Motaba virus at the center of Wolfgang Petersen's "Outbreak" is brought to the U.S. by an infected monkey, caught near a village in the Zairean (now: Congolese) Motaba Valley. Unlike the Reston Ebola it is contagious for humans, with a 100% mortality rate within a single day. And unlike any known Ebola strain it is airborne, i.e. not only transmitted by direct human-to-human contact.
Officially nobody has any prior knowledge of the virus at the time of its apparent first hit. In fact, once they've overcome their shock about its gruesome effects, USAMRIID Colonel Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman) and his assistants, Majors Schuler and Salt (Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr.) - in Zaire to provide medical assistance - are downright ecstatic to have discovered a new virus; a once-in-a-lifetime event for most scientists, if it happens at all. What they don't know is that their own superiors, Brig.Gen. Billy Ford (Morgan Freeman) and Maj.Gen. Donald McClintock (Donald Sutherland) have encountered this virus before, albeit non-airborne, in a mercenary camp in 1967 ... and on McClintock's orders, firebombed the camp to secretly develop a biological weapon. Now McClintock insists that their knowledge remain secret even after a first Motaba outbreak in Boston, brought about by the Californian animal lab worker (Patrick Dempsey) who has unwittingly smuggled the carrier monkey out to sell it to a pet store; and after another outbreak in Cedar Creek, CA, transmitted through the pet store owner and a lab technician infected by his blood. McClintock's solution is the same as 30 years earlier: Firebomb the contaminated area and everybody in it, keep your weapon and be done with it.
But unlike 1967, complete secrecy is no longer an option, as not only Colonel Daniels's team but also his ex-wife Robby (Rene Russo), who is now with the CDC and has helped contain the Boston outbreak, is aware of the virus's presence. Thus, McClintock opts for the reverse strategy, obtains a presidential OK for his "Operation Clean Sweep" - after a dramatic presentation to the assembled cabinet resulting in the conclusion that the "bug" is capable of spreading to the entire country, including D.C., within a mere 48 hours; and the admonishment "Be compassionate, but be compassionate globally" - and orders Ford to get Daniels out of the way and keep him "in line."
Daniels, however, who has long earned a reputation for following orders rather selectively, rushes to Cedar Creek, to work alongside Robby and her team trying to contain the virus. In short order Ford and McClintock show up as well, and soon the town is crawling with soldiers, who seal it off to the outside world and implement a curfew, to prevent a further spread of the virus but also in preparation of "Operation Clean Sweep." A frantic race ensues; pitting Daniels and Salt, who set out to search for the host animal to develop an antiserum, against their own comrades.
The premise of "Outbreak" is entirely believable; as evidenced by the 1989 Virginia incident - after all, it was mere luck that the Reston strain didn't prove contagious for humans - and by the fact that, as is public knowledge, various kinds of viral strains do exist in the U.S. and other countries; at the very least for experimental purposes. While their military use is banned under the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, there still is no functioning control mechanism in place (which was/is also a factor in the Iraq WMD debate). And although the U.S. is a signatory to both aforementioned instruments and has previously stated its non-use policy, the Bush government abandoned international discussions on the issue in 2001.
So, "Outbreak" addresses enormously important concerns; and it does so compellingly and with a stellar cast. Dustin Hoffman imbues his Colonel Daniels with tremendous compassion but also a great sense of humor; and his snappy exchanges with Russo's Robby Keough and his team are a delight, especially those with Kevin Spacey, who in 1995 burst into movie audiences' collective awareness with this film, the Oscar-winning "Usual Suspects" and "Se7en." Morgan Freeman brings all his sensitivity to the movie's most intricate role, General Ford, who is caught between being party to McClintock's scheme and realizing its profound immorality. Then-27-year-old Cuba Gooding Jr. may have been a bit young to play a Major, but he certainly stands his ground; and few actors can portray a villain as menacingly as Donald Sutherland, although the script gives him little opportunity for true complexity.
Unfortunately, "Outbreak" gets the full "Hollywood thriller" treatment, complete with dramatic score, two-dimensional villain, cliched ending and reliance on a few coincidences too many. This (and some plot inconsistencies) somewhat reduces its effect, preventing a good movie from becoming a truly great one - although its 'copter chases are pure eye candy; and it certainly helps that they were shot by Michael Ballhaus, arguably the business's best cameraman. But for the importance of its subject alone, and its outstanding cast, "Outbreak" is worth all the notice it has received.
"[The Cedar Creek population] are casualties of war. ... I'd give them all a medal if I could. But they *are* casualties of war." - "Outbreak," Maj.Gen. Donald McClintock.
"[N]o massacre has occurred ... no further action is warranted." - From the initial Department of the Army investigation report on the March 16, 1968 My Lai incident (Vietnam).

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Dustin Hoffman
Rene Russo
Morgan Freeman

DVD title: Oklahoma!
Productgroup: DVD
Oklahoma! - movie DVD cover picture
People Will Say I'm In Love!!!

I am a BIG fan of musicals. My favorite kind of movie is a musical from "Easter Parade" to "My Fair Lady" but I could not stand "Oklahoma!". I found it very boring with really nothing to uphold the plot. It's only worth viewing if you count some of the songs and dances. What got me the most was the plot. It was so annoying how they went back in forth. I was like just go out with him to the stupid dance!!! The other actress was equally annoying...(the one who wanted to marry the salesman) But, that's just my opinion.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Gordon MacRae
Gloria Grahame

DVD title: To Live and Die in L.A. (Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
To Live and Die in L.A. (Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best crime movies ever, equals French Connection

This movie makes my top ten list regardless of genre, let alone my top ten crime movie list. It is packed with action, complex characters, and a driving complimentary sound track by Wang Chung. Petersen plays a cop with two sides, one the straight and narrow, the other a definitely darker side; Pankow is great as an eager but anxious new cop who matures during the movie; Dafoe is the highlight of the movie: evil encapsulated in a sophisticated style; Stockwell plays a high-class lawyer who knows who butters his bread; Turturro is an excellent middle-end hood.The grit and heat of L.A. are captured magnificently, the realism (no black and white, but real everyday grey realism) permeates every scene, the chase scenes equal or surpass the French Connection and Bullit, and the music keeps beat with the fast paced action.This movie is phenomenal. Thank goodness it finally arrives on DVD.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Director: William Friedkin
William L. Petersen
Willem Dafoe

DVD title: Zulu Dawn
Productgroup: DVD
Zulu Dawn - movie DVD cover picture
The Thin Red Line is Bent

This is a more than a fair representation of the British colonial presumptions and arrogance existing during the reign of Queen Vistoria and before. England's ignorance of the Zulu potential to wage effective war against a modern army of that time is most evident and their blunders, both on a diplomatic and military basis are compelling to watch. It is a superlative film in everyway. The cast is at it's very best and the photography is stunning. This film and Zulu ( 1964) should be in every film and history buffs collection. It is a crying shame that this is not readily available or released in DVD.

Studio: Tango Entertainment
Director: Douglas Hickox

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