Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Deep Red
Productgroup: DVD
Deep Red - movie DVD cover picture
Vintage Argento

This is one of Argento's most brilliant films, and needs to be viewed in widescreen for its full impact. David Hemmings witnesses the gruesome murder of a medium who has previously sensed the presence of a psychopath at one of her sessions. Later on, like many a typical Argento hero, he thinks he has seen an important clue to the murder, but can't quite put his finger on what it is. There are further murders - a particularly nasty business involving someone's teeth, and a horrible scalding which leaves another clue. The trail eventually leads to a spooky old house, a deserted school and an extraordinary final showdown with the killer. The gruesome set-pieces are quite spectacular, the plot will keep you guessing, and the entire film is a splendid bravura example of Italian "giallo" cinema at its finest, with a great soundtrack by Goblin. I can't wait to see it on DVD.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Dario Argento
David Hemmings
Daria Nicolodi

DVD title: Leisa Hart's FitMama: Prenatal Workout
Productgroup: DVD
Leisa Hart's FitMama: Prenatal Workout - movie DVD cover picture
Fit Mama is Fantastic!

I own almost two dozen aerobic and strength training videos. Some offer challenging workouts. Others were a waste of time and money. Fit Mama is my first pregnancy video (although this will be my third child). IT IS EXCELLENT! Here is a summary:
INTRODUCTION - Leisa Hart first tells you what to expect in her video. She explains that the abdominal exercises have been modified to prevent the vertical muscles, the recti abdominis, from separating during pregnancy. Guidelines from the American College of OBGyNs are listed. Leisa recommends a frequency of 3 to 4 times per week, but completing one section at a time vs. the entire 60 minutes fit my schedule better.
SALSA (20 min) - The setting is bare: one large room with hardwood floors and two glass paneled doors in back. The participants are separated into groups. Leisa, in her third trimester, stands in the center. On her left are two women in their second trimester. Two women in their first trimester are on her right. All movements in the Salsa portion of the tape, such as the mambo cha-cha-cha, are acceptable for moms at any stage. I salsa on carpet and find it sometimes tough to slide. When Leisa introduces a new move, she performs it twice, then asks you to join her. Her arm cues make it easy to follow along. She frequently asks, "How do you feel?" so that you can monitor your intensity level.
YOGA FAT BURN (20 min) - This section helped ease my lower back pain. Leisa focuses on breathing techniques and stresses correct knee placement. In the Warrior position, the moms in the first tri put their hand on the floor, second tri put forearm to thigh, and Leisa places her hand on her thigh. But she suggest you do the position most comfortable for you. They complete 3 repetitions for each side.
LABOR AND DELIVERY PREP (6 min) - Yoga ball and strap are optional. I had neither, but performed the exercises, like Kegels, with no trouble. Different variations for the ab exercises match the stage of pregnancy.
PRENATAL STRETCH AND RELAX (8 min) - This sections includes cat stretches, breathing techniques, and positions for each stage of pregnancy. Leisa inserts helpful tips, such as the importance of laying on your left side to get nutrients to the baby.

Studio: Goldhil Home Media I
Leisa Hart

DVD title: Haibane Renmei - New Feathers (Vol. 1) With Series Box
Productgroup: DVD
Haibane Renmei - New Feathers (Vol. 1) With Series Box - movie DVD cover picture
An Anime On Par With The Best Of Studio Ghibli

"Haibane Renmei Volume 1: New Feathers" is one of the most beautifully animated, intriguiging, well-layered and fascinating DVDs ever released, and features an outstanding sound job, from the mesmerising music to the great voice cast to the general sound effects. An Earth girl dies and is reborn in a castle in some other realm, emerging from some coccoon-like structure in the same physical form, with little memory of her previous life, and is befriended by others like herself who have apparantly arrived in the same manner at different points in time. Near the castle is a small idyllic village, with village and castle both surrounded by a great stone wall, which is the source of the castle's ironclad rule: no one goes outside the wall. Ever.

Enigmatic figures from outside do come inside the wall on occasion, however. The whole wall thing is one part of this sense of dark foreboding that lingers on the periphery on an otherwise bright and wonder-filled movie. It's clear from the onset that the "Haibane Renmei" saga is going to mix darkness and intensity with light and whimsey and wonder, in the tradition of "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away". Unlike feature movies though, Haibane Renmei is a full series stretched over a number of DVDs, and it derives a great deal of its vast strength from that. If this was a hundred-minute live action film from the west, or even a 2-and-a-half hour animated feature from Asia, it would have no choice but to focus mainly on the 'major' events, and the fascinating 'slice-of-life' segments (in this new world where life is a very enigmatic thing) would be rushed through or omitted, and a smaller number of characters would be given time to develop. As it is, the show is perfectly paced, with plently of time for scenes like the new girl travelling with her friends to the various places where they each work within the village, trying to find her own niche. If you're looking for something with constant action and a major revelation every ten minutes Haibane may be too slow for you (not that there's anything wrong with that type of film - "Galerians: Rion" and "Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers" both pretty well fit that description and are tremendously great films). But if you like big actionate/dramatic moments and big revelations, PLUS a chance for subplots to flow through in their own time and enhance the whole experience, and for multiple characters to get their screen time, and for slower times to just appreciate the conceptual design and the perfect animation and the beautiful use of colrs, then you've hit the jackpot here.

The villagers are all likable, but seem to carry some shared secret they're hiding from the castle's inhabitants...or is it that they for some reason fear those inhabitants? And yes, as the "New Feathers" subtitle implies, the arrivals sprout wings shortly after their emergence at the castle.

I don't yet know how the whole 5-volume cycle is going to end, but this is a magnificent beginning for the series; pure magic shadowed by captivating hints of dark.

Studio: Geneon Entertainment
Director: Tomokazu Tokoro

DVD title: Troll/Troll 2
Productgroup: DVD
Troll/Troll 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Truly terrifying

These movies both scared the life out of me. I'm not kidding. I consider myself somewhat of a horror fan (love Child's Play, Leprechaun, Legend of Boggy Creek), but I was totally unprepared for what these movies both had to offer. Troll 1 is alone worth the price of admission, and features such stars as Sonny Bono and Julia Louis Dreyfus. Troll 2 goes more for the jugular, and the sheer adrenaline rush. I put Troll 2 on whenever I'm studying for finals - because after I see it, I can't sleep for about four days!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: John Carl Buechler
Michael Moriarty
Shelley Hack

DVD title: Doggie Cuts
Productgroup: DVD
Doggie Cuts - movie DVD cover picture

This superb video effectively covers everything from A to Z, and then some. I am a professional groomer, and I am extremely satisfied with the vast content of this video. It is the first and only grooming video that I have viewed that I would recommend for home grooming. All the essentials are there for a complete and good-looking haircut.
The Certified Master Groomer in the video is excellent, as are his easy to follow techniques, which effectively covers every basic major breed including any mixed breed dog. His simple haircutting techniques will enable the home groomer to easily cut and groom any type of hair on virtually any dog. (I was even able to pick up a few new things that will improve my own professional haircutting technique.) The quality of the video is superior. The cuts are shown in great detail--and they are not rushed--simple and easily learned, both clipping and scissoring. As a professional groomer, I was very impressed.
I was also pleased that the groomer took the necessary time to demonstrate how to keep the dogs calm and well behaved throughout the entire grooming session. This important information is helpful in calming even very aggressive dogs, which is very important for maintaining a safe grooming session. There were numerous other grooming tips throughout the entire video covering safety, preparation, hygiene (including cleaning the ears and teeth, etc.), bathing, toenail clipping, etc.
If you are serious about learning home grooming, I highly recommend the Doggie Cuts video (I purchased the DVD format) to use as your guide. Take good care of your pets! :o)

Director: Kevin M. DuVall

DVD title: The Best of Bonanza, Vol. 1
Productgroup: DVD
The Best of Bonanza, Vol. 1 - movie DVD cover picture
If you should buy this DVD

This DVD contains the following episodes:
Mr. Henry Comstock, Death on Sun Mountain, The Saga of Annie O'Toole, Paiute War, Enter Mark Twain, The Crucible, Any Friend of Walter's and Bullet for a Bride. It is one of my favorite Bonanza DVDs.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment

DVD title: The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Gimme Shelter

"Gimme Shelter", the Rolling Stones documentary, follows the Greatest ROck and Roll Band in the World on their 1969 US Tour,and at the tours finale, a free concert festival at Altamont Speedway. It also shows them at Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama laying down tracks for their next album Sticky Fingers.
It captures great performances of Jumpin Jack Flash, Satisfaction, Street Fighting Man, Honky Tonk Women and others, while you also get to hear early versions of Brown Sugar, You Gotta Move, and Wild Horses. The documentary also focuses on the efforts that were being made to create the free concert which was supposed to take place at a different park in San Fran, I think it was the Golden Gate Park or something. Things take a bad turn when the free concert gets started. The Flying Burrito Brothers play a tune and the Hells Angels, who were hired as security decided to enforce the crowd by smashing pool sticks on their heads and just basically stomping the fans on the ground. The Jefferson Airplane takes the stage next and are greeted with the same chaos from the crowd of over 300,000, and Marty Balin of the Airplane actually jumps in the crowd and gets punched in the face. I think Santana actually performed there too, but his concert footage is not included here. The day turns to night and then the Stones come out in all their stoned and wasted glory. They get things started with Sympathy For the Devil here, and a motorcycle engine starts to catch fire and explodes causing the band to stop for several minutes, then they get back in the groove and perform an excellent version of the song. Under My Thumb comes next and its definetly got an erie sound to it. As they perform it, a fan named Meredith Hunter aims a gun, and as he does so he is stabbed twice in the back by one of the Hells Angels. They go on to stab him once more in the ear and proceed to kick and stomp him to death while the Stones play on. At the end of the concert the Stones jump in a chopper and get the hell out of Altamont. The film shows a couple of replays of the murder with Mick Jagger watching and commenting. The film ends with shots of the fans leaving the show early the next morning with a rocking rendition of Gimme Shelter played live at one point during the Stones tour i guess. This is definitely a great documentary to watch and its packed full of extras like some footage of two or three songs performed on the tour. The album "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" is the perfect companion peice to "Gimme Shelter". Its a live album record on November 26th and 27th at Madison Square Garden while on that 1969 tour. Get both the cd and the dvd for a classic Stones experience.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Mick Jagger
Charlie Watts
Keith Richards (II)
Mick Taylor
Bill Wyman
Marty Balin
Ike Turner
Tina Turner

DVD title: Braveheart
Productgroup: DVD
Braveheart - movie DVD cover picture
That is the best movie of the century

"Every man dies, not every man really lives."

BRAVEHEART is an epic film that drives home the truth of the statement above in a compelling, spectacular way! Mel Gibson is masterful as both the creator of this saga and as the lead role, portraying the life and death of William Wallace.
The story of William Wallace is one of courage and sacrifice, and Gibson's portrayal of this bold Scotsman strongly reflects the attributes and ideals that make up a true fighter. BRAVEHEART is the story of how one man, William Wallace, led his countrymen in a fight for liberation against the oppressive English forces of the corrupt king of England, Edward the Longshanks. Longshanks has seized the throne from Scotland after the king of Scotland died without an heir, thus taking over Scotland and putting the people of Scotland under English rule. William Wallace builds a makeshift army of courageous peasants and strives to defeat overwhelming odds to secure the freedom of Scotland. This film depicts that freedom fight in richly-detailed splendor that gives viewers a feel for what it was like to live in the rough and dangerous medieval era. It is uncompromising and unrelenting in its realism and authenticity. The acting is top notch and down-to-earth, the characters are developed fully, and the storyline is a sweeping and inspiring true story that is presented in a powerful and compelling way. It definitely ranks as one of my top five favorite films. Mel Gibson is one who knows how to make a powerful, awe-inspiring movie! I highly recommend BRAVEHEART to anyone age 13 and up. Rated R for brutal medieval warfare. 5 stars.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
Sophie Marceau

DVD title: Good Night Gorilla & More Bedtime Stories (Scholastic Video Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Good Night Gorilla & More Bedtime Stories (Scholastic Video Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
Moons, Hats and Bedtime

A wonderful collection of animated tales based on popular children's books. I bought this one because Good-Night Gorilla and The Napping House are favorites at home.
In Good-Night Gorilla a small gorilla manages to sneak out of the zoo and takes the other animals with him to the zookeeper's house. Very true to the original book.
In How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, we learn that they do not fuss and fume and neither should you. Very interestingly done as the story moves from house to house.
Happy Birthday Moon is about a little bear who decides the Moon must have a birthday and sets out celebrate. A charming story.
The Napping House is creatively done with stills to show a house where everyone is sleeping and what happens when an awake flea comes by.
Patrick is a wonderful wordless story of a boy/man who buys a fiddle and fills the world with wonder and color.
The Paperboy tells the story of a small boy and how he runs his paper route when the rest of the world is sleeping. Illustrated with sequential stills to simulate movement.
The Hat is the story of a penniless veteran who comes across a marvelous hat that changes his fortunes around.

Studio: New Video Group

DVD title: Powder
Productgroup: DVD
Powder - movie DVD cover picture
Nobody can hold the tears in this movie, I bet it....

I can say this is one the most profound movies I ever saw in my life, and I have already seen a lot of movies, but this movie touches in every people's hearts, its mainly about prejudice when you start to watch it, but the message deep inside is even more complex than anybody can imagine...if you want to buy a movie that will teach you something about life, give a shot at this you, you wont regret it...

Studio: Hollywood Pictures
Director: Victor Salva
Mary Steenburgen
Sean Patrick Flanery

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