Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Before Night Falls
Productgroup: DVD
Before Night Falls - movie DVD cover picture
Visual Poem

Schnabel's film Before Night Falls was my favorite film of 2001. Vastly underrated, and seemingly ignored by many people. The film is an astoundingly rich experience for both the eyes, ears and intellect. After viewing it it will not leave your mind quickly unlike so many of the Mc-Films that are being churned out by Holly-Wooden.I wont delve as much on the plot line as most other reviewers here have done so for me. I want to comment about the Visuals/Cinematography. Schnabel's eye view in this film is nothing short of brilliant. Tarnished, imperfectly stunning images steep this film and inhabit the frame providing atmosphere so vivid that you are smelling the cigar smoke, hearing the waves crashing on the beaches, squishing the mud between your toes, feeling the humid tropical heat. The result is a tactile sensual experience that, for some, will linger in the mind for ages. This film hit me on a very personal level and when I first saw it it was like drinking a cool glass of water after being thirsty for a very long time. The heavyness of the plot and the struggle that Arenas endures could make some people balk at taking this film on. Its not altogether pretty, the hardships he endures. But the saving grace is Javier Bardem's nuanced performance and large brown eyes that he invites us to use to view the world of his character. The poetry and depth that one experiences thru Arenas' words seem to spill from Bardem's every pore. The visuals along with his voice overs help with the effect. I highly recommend the film with one reservation. I found Jonny Depps performance as the nasty prison official as klutzy, overdone. It actually mocked the horror of the scene in my mind. A very bad decision by Schnabel in my view. It was the only blemish that I experienced.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Julian Schnabel
Javier Bardem
Johnny Depp

DVD title: Saving Private Ryan
Productgroup: DVD
Saving Private Ryan - movie DVD cover picture

This is one of the best Spielberg movies I've ever seen.It is really unforgetable.It has a magnificent cast.Even though the underlying is abi t questionable the plt is woven intricately and delicately.The way Ryan(Damon) is finally found took me a bit by surprise.However to cut a long story short this is a MASTERPIECE!!!!

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon

DVD title: Alias - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Alias - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Please O Please bring this to DVD.

Not since MacGuyver have I been hooked by a tv show. I enjoy TV as much as the next guy. However this is the best series I have seen in years. Garner simply makes this show happen. It is smart and entertaining and should no doubt be release on DVD. I would even say cost wouldn't matter. We can only hope that this will see the day of being released on DVD.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Jennifer Garner

DVD title: Return to Never Land
Productgroup: DVD
Return to Never Land - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie all u need is faith, trust & pixie dust!!!

This is the best movie i have seen in a long time , My kids watch it aleast 3 times a day .. They love it that much ..
i have never like disney Sequels before ever ....TILL this one This one rocks
My kids love the soundtrack also .. they have some great songs on this movie..

don't listin to all those bad reviews.. all you need is faith , trust & pixie dust :O) then give this movie a shot .. i'm sure you will love this one ...

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Harriet Owen
Blayne Weaver

DVD title: Hanson - Tulsa, Tokyo & the Middle of Nowhere
Productgroup: DVD
Hanson - Tulsa, Tokyo & the Middle of Nowhere - movie DVD cover picture
This video rocks.

Iv'e had this video since christmas 1998 and Iv'e seen it 100 times it is the best.

Studio: Uni/Mercury

DVD title: Pearl Harbor
Productgroup: DVD
Pearl Harbor - movie DVD cover picture
It is a great movie!!!

The movie Pearl Harbor is anticipated to be a big summer blockbuster. And why not? It has all the elements- a love story, special effects, a story of bravery, tragedy, and an all-star cast to pull it off. Though it is true the movie's beginning plods along as it sets up a love triangle, the actual bombing of Pearl Harbor is spectacular (not just fancy pyrotechnics either!). My one issue with Pearl Harbor is the intention of the movie. Because it seems to be intended for a very broad audience, the intent of the movie seems to be very broad as well. As the movie swirls around the complex feelings within the love triangle, you begin to wonder why the title "Pearl Harbor" is appropriate. Still the acting is superb, as is the cinematography, which allows the moviegoer to absorb beautiful Hawaii and driven aerial combat in the same film. The score comprises of a lush theme that touches the heart. I came away from the [behemoth of a 3 hr] movie very satisfied. A final note: look for Jon Voight as a very convincing FDR.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Michael Bay
Ben Affleck
Kate Beckinsale

DVD title: Tai Chi II
Productgroup: DVD
Tai Chi II - movie DVD cover picture
Action-packed and Entirely Enjoyable

Tai Chi II, set during the time of British imperialism and the illegal opium trade, is one of the most action-packed and well-balanced non-"Old School" kung-fu films I have ever seen, ranking up there alongside Jet Li's "The Tai Chi Master."

The movie is cast well, with delightful and memorable characters.
The main plot revolves around the illegal opium trade propogated by the British--to the detriment of the native Chinese, the general clash of cultural values and how various segments within Chinese society adapt to the western influence. Secondarily, there is a romantic side of the plot between the main character, the very lovely leading lady, and her fiance. The film also highlights the strength and interplay of Chinese family relationships--for those reacting to the western presence in different ways--in a wonderful way (remeniscent of the Fong Sai Yuk films with Jet Li). In the end, the moral mainstay of traditional Chinese culture wins the day with a very satisfying resolution of circumstances.

The action choreography is quite well done (bravo! Yuen Woo-Ping!), making good use of multiple angles and very good use of slow motion to showcase the grace, power and superiority of Tai Chi. While there is limited use of wire, it is fairly well integrated with the rest of the fight sequence(s) and does not in any way detract from the general tone of the film, or eclipse the excellent emphasis on the Tai Chi methods.

If at all possible, get the original Hong Kong import version of this film (I bought mine for $7.99 from EDay Movie: The picture and sound quality are top-knotch, even though the English subtitles display the occasional spelling or grammatical anamoly (which I have come to expect--and even to enjoy(!)--over the years).

All tolled, a stellar offering that easily merits the top-shelf and quite possibly the top-ten in anyone's kung-fu movie collection! Along with The Tai Chi Master, Tai Chi II is easily one of the best non-"Old School" kung-fu film you are ever likely to see.

Studio: Tai Seng Video

DVD title: Patriot Games
Productgroup: DVD
Patriot Games - movie DVD cover picture
Superb political drama--Clancy's novel on the screen.

This is one of my all-time favorite political thrillers. This film successfully, and even brilliantly brings Tom Clancy's novel "Patriot Games" to the screen in an effective manner that is a delight to watch. The direction and acting are excellent. The musical score is superb, and this is one of those movies in which the soundtrack almost comes to dominate one's impression of the movie. This is not to take away from a bravo performance by Harrison Ford, who effectively pulls off his Jack Ryan character. I originally had my doubts about Ford as Jack Ryan, but Ford succeeds excellently.
The direction of this film is particularly good. The artistic direction, effectively combined with the haunting, wistful, musical score make this film unforgettable, and several cuts above the usual political thriller. This is a thoughtful, intelligent film but nevertheless contains plenty of fast-paced action. The plot moves smartly, but never features action just for the sake of action.
This is a film that most viewers will enjoy many times.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Phillip Noyce
Harrison Ford
Sean Bean

DVD title: Boiling Point
Productgroup: DVD
Boiling Point - movie DVD cover picture
Slow ,touching, and excellent action movie

This movie is boring but has enough action in it to make you love it.By i

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: James B. Harris
Wesley Snipes
Dennis Hopper

DVD title: DVD-Old-Time Banjo Styles Taught By Mike Seeger
Productgroup: DVD
DVD-Old-Time Banjo Styles Taught By Mike Seeger - movie DVD cover picture
Essential for the banjoist, fun for any lover of good music

Generally old time banjo instruction tends to be a very dogmatic, tunnel vision repetition that there is just one or another varient of clawhammer with a teacher showing that his or her way is the only way. Mike Seeger knows too much about real old time music learned from the old pickers and young, to have this approach here. This is a small--his three video set is the major--catalog of different banjo styles including finger picking and clawhammer, and astyle or two that go between.

What is also interesting is that Mike not only feaures other players, but interviews those players about playing banjo, music and their banjos, all pretty interesting and revealing. As a 40 year plus Doc Watson fan, I was impressed to hear the Doctor talk about his own banjo playing and the different styles he learned from his Dad. Watson is honest to say that he could never really figure out drop thumb frailing and that he really fakes the drop thumb style with pull on and pull offs and other picking. It was also nice to see him doing thumb lead picking on Willie Moore, a song of his I have loved since around 1971.

Likewise it was wonderful to see Kirk Sutphin and Greg Hooven two younger musicians playing banjo and fiddle and talking about playing and also talking about how individual styles developed. They were both informative and very positive to the beginner or the learner. Of course as an African American banjoist and fan, I was really please to see Etta Baker play several of her specialities, and to Joe and Odell Thompson on DVD when Odell was still living. Bob Carlin does a great job playing with Joe, but both Joe and Carlin point out it is nothing like Jo and Odell.

Of course Mike Seeger is here himself playing his banjo, instructing songs, singing and being his clear, informed, and respectful of the music and the cultures that made it self.

There is also a cameo appearance by the late Ralph Rinzler who launched the folklife program at the Smithsonian, helped bring Doc Watson and Bill Monroe to the folk music audience, was a great guitarist and mandolin player and singer with the Greenbriar Boys and was a real power along with Mike in doing the hard work that made both traditional artists and the old string band recordings available to new generations in the 1960s and 1970s.

To be sure, this is not a how to play the banjo dvd for a brand new banjoist. The video focuses on showing a variety of styles and players quickly, styles and playing that would take a while even for an experienced banjoist to learn. This also means that it is quite entertaining and can be enjoyed by anyone who likes good music and like to hear interesting people talk about what they love.


Studio: Hal Leonard Publishi
Mike Seeger

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