Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Smoke Signals
Productgroup: DVD
Smoke Signals - movie DVD cover picture
Very "Un-Hollywood" Telling of a Universal Story

"Smoke Signals" is that most refreshing of movie projects -- one that defies many of the Hollywood conventions, yet still conveys a story to which everyone can relate.
Yes, the film (based on Native American author Sherman Alexie's "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fight in Heaven")is told from a Native perspective. The first surprise? It does not rattle off an angry tirade against white domination (not that such isn't understandable). Instead, it pokes gentle fun at the ways in which non-Indians stereotype tribal people, and often deny them a place in the contemporary world. The jokes are funny, and while many are really "inside" jokes that Native Americans will more fully appreciate, they are still appealing to a wider audience.
There are other surprises. A scene that suggests the start of a violent confrontation forgoes the "Rambo" outburst and instead gives us a contemplative and somewhat ironic turn of events. Another scene sets up the audience for expecting big trouble, only to pull the rug out and show a humorous resolution. Even so, this is a serious film in many ways. It's about how we remember a painful past, it's about finding ways to forgive even when we don't fully understand the past. It's about Native Americans... but also about being human. That's it's strong point -- it manages to humanize both the Native American characters as well as people in general all in the same stroke. This film will take on historical importance, for it goes a longer way than any previous film in fostering understanding and acceptance of First Nation people.
Besides the compelling story, this film offers you some marvelously "quirky" performances, unlike what Hollywood customarily dishes out. Thomas and Victor just become more and more endearing as the film progresses, awkward mannerisms and all. I've discussed this film with some First Nation people who absolutely love it, and they tell me that I simply MUST read Alexie's books. Good advice!

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Chris Eyre
Adam Beach
Evan Adams

DVD title: The Unforgiven
Productgroup: DVD
The Unforgiven - movie DVD cover picture
The Unforgiven (1960)

This is the best western I have ever seen. I knew it would be a classic at age 10 when I first saw it in a movie theater in Tacoma, Washington. And time has not changed that. I would give it 6 stars, if possible. The cast and their performances are brilliant, especially Charles Bickford as the clan patriarch, Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, and all the others. The music is grand and the plot is ever so interesting. No western that I have ever seen has even come close to undertaking the complexities of race relations (a term scarcely known in 1850) in the Wild West. One of the most intense scenes I have ever seen on film is when they are about to hang the old Hunter, Abe Kelsey. This is simply a John Huston masterpiece. Every camera shot is outstanding and the dialog is superb. You can never forget Kelsey's warning, "You ALL turn to devils! Devils!" Incidentally, altho I have forgotten his real name (John Wiseman?) I believe he also had a bit part in "Masada" as another type of prophet-patriarch. Forget about the fluff & huff of modern, politically correct "westerns" of today's producers, with their blow-dried hair doos. If you want an authentic western at its best, this is a must see. And you're entire family can watch it. No -F- words, of course. That in itself is testimony to another era of golden film making -- all acting, no cheapness. "The Unforgiven" goes into my book as one of the top 10, all time great movies.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: John Huston
Burt Lancaster
Audrey Hepburn

DVD title: Left Behind - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Left Behind - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
It's about time

I was so pleased and proud of the movie that words are almost impossible. Being sure not to give anything a way all I feel I can say is that this is a must see movie by all.

Studio: Cloud Ten Pictures
Director: Vic Sarin
Kirk Cameron
Brad Johnson (II)

DVD title: Baby Einstein - Numbers Nursery
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Einstein - Numbers Nursery - movie DVD cover picture
Another Great Addition to the Baby Einstein Collection

LOVE this DVD. Our 2 year old already knew his numbers, but we got this episode anyway, and he was ecstatic to see the counting on t.v. in an easy/entertaining format. He quickly began shouting out the upcoming answers. I only wish that they would go beyond number 5 - maybe to #20 would have been better. Either way, it's worth adding to your Baby Einstein DVD collection!

Studio: Walt Disney Video
Director: Jim Janicek

DVD title: Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

Ok, it is fine for you hardcore Star Wars people to come on here and rave about what a good movie this will be, but please, DO NOT REVEAL THE PLOT OF THE FREAKING MOVIE! You know who I'm talking to, Mr. "Anakin was deceived into becoming Darth Vader." Well, that's great that you already know what happens, but keep it as a surprise for the rest of us, for God's sake. Talk about what you think might happen, what you want to happen, what have you, but if you already know what happens, guess what? KEEP IT SECRET, YOU IDIOT. I for one don't want to know what happens until I am sitting in my seat in the theater, and I am sure I don't speak for just myself. You're not doing us a favor, numbnuts, so keep your mouth shut and force yourself to wait the grueling 3 months until the movie is released or I will personally hunt you down and murder you and all those you hold dear. Have a nice day :)

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman
Hayden Christensen

DVD title: The James Bond Collection, Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
The James Bond Collection, Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Bond At His Best

There is a lot of criticism about not putting these movies in chronological order of release, but this collection offers a taste of all the great Bond actors. From the beginning with Sean Connery all the way to the new Bond Pierce Brosnan. If you want a Bond DVD set there is no better (& no other). You won't be disappointed.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
James Bond

DVD title: The Searchers
Productgroup: DVD
The Searchers - movie DVD cover picture
John Wayne forever

It is difficult to enjoy a film with so many inaccuracies in time and place. Texas looks NOTHING like the Monument Valley of Utah, where this was shot. All of the characters are using 1892 Winchesters** and Colt Single Action metallic cartridge revolvers*** which were not manufactured until **1892 and ***1873, respectively. The idea that our "?HERO?" wants to kill an innocent white girl simply because she was captured by, and is living with, Indians is not believable. There are many other Westerns with better stories and acting, such as: Treasure of the Sierra Madre, True Grit, The Unforgiven, The Missouri Breaks, etc. . Why some people consider John Wayne (the person) as a Hero is baffling as he did nothing heroic in his entire Real-life.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: John Ford
John Wayne
Jeffrey Hunter

DVD title: 54
Productgroup: DVD
54 - movie DVD cover picture
There's Nothing you can do about being short!!

This DVD doesn't advertise it, but it does contain several deleted scenes... one of which is the Anita/Shane love scene towards the end which explains why Greg is so jealous. There are about 6 minutes of new stuff.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Mark Christopher
Ryan Phillippe
Salma Hayek
Neve Campbell
Mike Myers
Sela Ward
Breckin Meyer
Sherry Stringfield
Heather Matarazzo

DVD title: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (25th Anniversary Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (25th Anniversary Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Best video for infants and toddlers

Finally ,this wonderful video is being re-released!Our family has worn out the special anniversary edition of this movie classic that has been unavailable for years. The pictures and sound are excellent and of much better quality than the shorter VHS tapes that include segments of this full length movie. The movie version is divided into chapters that invite both short or long viewing periods.The simple problems that face the animated characters are resolved with humor and without violence. Toddlers enjoy watching the simple stories over and over again, as they learn the plot and anticipate what will happen next. Youngsters who are learning to talk, will say what is going to happen next and often say the characters lines before the character does. Problems in the story are resolved in ways that are satisfying to little ones. There are very few excellent videos available for the tiniest children that are also pleasurable for adults to watch with their children.Our family takes this one video everywhere we travel for guaranteed fun and quiet time with our youngest child.I look forward to buying the VHS tape for our family and to give as gifts to our favorite toddlers.

Studio: Disney Studios

DVD title: Dopamine
Productgroup: DVD
Dopamine - movie DVD cover picture
Elegant neuromance

A virtually perfect movie, in multiple ways. "Dopamine" delicately weaves its themes of love, intimacy, and fear of loss. All its characters are engaging and nuanced, in their various attempts to grapple with the risks of closeness--including Koy Koy, the virtual creature who flits seamlessly around and through the human drama; the digital character never intrudes in a contrived way, and stays totally believable as software development while being very endearing . Decena has a deft touch and subtle wit, never giving in to sentimentality but showing much compassion. The acting and faces are fresh, real and very Gen-Y SF. This isn't simply about a neurochemically obsessed guy, it's about a bunch of brittle, defended people trying to transcend their isolation. Watch for the fleeting synaptic "flashes" as surprisingly effective, novel exclamation points.

Studio: Sundance Channel Home Entertainment
Director: Mark Decena
John Livingston

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