Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Best Caribbean Beaches / WAVES: Virtual Vacations
Productgroup: DVD
The Best Caribbean Beaches / WAVES: Virtual Vacations - movie DVD cover picture
WAVES Virtual Vacations DVDs

I have the following WAVES: Virtual Vacations DVDs ...
- The Best Caribbean Beaches
- The Best Virgin Island Beaches
- Hawaiian Dreams
- The Best Florida Beaches

I just received my DVDs today and love them so much that I had to hurry to write a review. The quality of the DVDs is BEAUTIFUL. I feel like I'm almost there on the beach and listening to the ocean in person. The DVDs are taking me back to my recent cruise where the first and last thing I heard each morning was the sound of the ocean.

These DVDs are going to be PERFECT when I'm relaxing and falling asleep or even just reading a book or walking on my treadmill. They're an instant escape for your mind to a happy, tranquil place.

I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I am going to!


Studio: Powerfloe Network
Director: Greg Voevodsky

DVD title: High Noon
Productgroup: DVD
High Noon - movie DVD cover picture
The classical film that was the first Adult Western

"High Noon" is the film that has been screened most often at the White House for the President of the United States. Given that this is the story of a man who stands up to considerable opposition to do the right thing, even when he is abandoned by everyone who should be rushing to his side, the idea that this is a perennial Presidential favorite is rather reassuring (as opposed to the legend of Richard Nixon watching "Patton" before deciding to invade Cambodia). You can imagine that "High Noon" has been screened at the White House once or twice in the last three years.

Regardless of any impact on America's political and military history, "High Noon" is a seminal film in the genre of Western movies. Until 1952 Hollywood was producing what we would know call the traditional western, where the good guy in the white hat defeats the bad guy in the black hat. In this format we not only followed the adventures of the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Hopalopng Cassidy, but we also knew the names of their horses (Silver, Trigger, and Topper, respectively). However, with "High Noon" (and "Shane" the following year), we had the creation of the Adult Western, which introduced the notion of moral doubt and had a hero that was going to end up kissing a woman rather than his horse. In these westerns the hero remains the moral leader of the community, but now he can make mistakes, although they are rarely fatal errors. Ironically, the hero's flawed character actually makes him even more heroic, because he has to struggle against himself as well as against the bad guys.

Director Fred Zinnemann's film contains the same elements as the Traditional Western, but with significant differences. Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is the moral lawman who protects the town of Hadleyville, but he is about to marry Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly), a Quaker who insists that he give up his job as the marshal of his western town. There is the big gunfight with the bad guys, but it takes place at the climax of the film. Except for one brief fistfight, this is much more of a psychological drama than an action film until the final scene. But the suspense of the film, especially as the clock is ticking down to twelve, becomes quite intense, helped by Elmo Williams' editing. There is a sense in which the final gunfight is almost anti-climatic, because whether Will Kane lives or dies he has made his main point. But the gunfight is also subversively different, because it is not played out in the main street of town but in the barns and back alleys, more like guerilla warfare than the traditional mano-e-mano contest.

Less than two hours after the wedding, convicted murderer Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is arriving on the noon train. Miller is coming to town to kill Kane, the man who sent him to prison, and a trio of his henchmen are waiting for their boss at the station. Everyone in town, the mayor (Thomas Mitchell), the judge (Otto Kurger), and even the former marshal (Lon Chaney), all want Kane to run away. His deputy (Lloyd Bridges) deserts him and even when Kane goes to a church to ask for help he is turned down. His new wife will leave him and he will have to stand by himself against Miller and his gang, but Kane cannot run away. The quintessential camera shot in "High Noon" is when Kane is standing alone in the street. Cinematographer Floyd Crosby (who had won an Oscar in 1931 for "Tabu"), begins with a close up of Kane, sweat streaming down his face, and his hand shaking; then the camera pulls back on a crane shot to show the marshal standing all alone in the deserted street of his town.

Cooper deservedly won his second Oscar for this role and the fact that it Gary Cooper that was up there on the silver screen showing that he was afraid made all the difference in the world. Will Kane was afraid, but he went ahead and did his job. For audiences raised on westerns up to that time it was a shocking idea, although those who had fought in World War II could probably identify with the notion. "High Noon" redefines the notion of heroism in an important way. A man can be afraid, and still act bravely. It is, in simple terms, a more adult conception of heroism. This movie is also the "24" of its time, taking place pretty much in real time. The wedding happens after 10 and all the clocks we see throughout the film ticking down to noon are in the ballpark, although I admit I have never timed them. This is just a landmark film on so many levels. For example, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh, My Darlin'" was the first song from a non-musical film to ever win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

There are lots of stories that have sprung up about "High Noon." There are those who read "High Noon" as an allegory regarding those who stood up to the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era and refused to cooperate with their blacklisting efforts. Screenwriter Carl Foreman, cinematographer Floyd Crosby, and actor Lloyd Bridges were all blacklisted shortly after this film came out, which gives credence to the allegory idea although it would constitute more of a prediction. Then there is the story that John Wayne declared the film to be "Un-American," but then he picked up Cooper's Oscar for him at the Academy Awards the next year and apparently complained that he had not been offered the part (which actually had been offered to Gregory Peck first). I am not sure that Wayne could have pulled it off, though it would have been interesting to see him try. Jimmy Stewart did a similar role opposite the Duke in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

Studio: Republic Studios
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Gary Cooper
Grace Kelly

DVD title: Akira (Limited Special Edition Tin)
Productgroup: DVD
Akira (Limited Special Edition Tin) - movie DVD cover picture
good crisp clean animation

i've watched this over and over again for two good reasons. one is the depth and graphic nature of the script. theres always some deep moral issue or some conflict with individuality and society or whatever. and then theres the animation. a lot of people mention the end fight sequences and the distinct style. this is really really good. but what really does it for me is attention to the little things. stuff like the way smoke moves and twists, or the trail of light coming of the motorcycles. violence is present but i dont think its overdone. everything has a purpose or reason for being in this movie also theres the pace of the movie and the effects of using sound or silence. all add up to a good movie with a distinct goal by the creator. the dvd is good because the image is really crisp and the special features are ok. this version has less than the more expensive one, but i dont think it really matters. i'd just watch the feature. i recommend this to anyone except those who think they are too mature for cartoons. those people can go watch their long winded p.t. andersons (not that he's a bad director, just a little wordy). i also recommend everyone to watch it in Japanese with the subtitles. i think the jokes seem funnier and the expressions match better with its original language.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Mitsuo Iwata
Nozomu Sasaki
Mami Koyama

DVD title: Walking Tall Trilogy Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Walking Tall Trilogy Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
This 3 DVD set Walks Tall!!!

This great 3 DVD set from Rhino contains all 3 classic Walking Tall films in a cool collector's case!!! Great for Walking Tall fans!!! A nice package!!! Two thumbs up!!! A+

Studio: Wea Corp
Joe Don Baker

DVD title: Jewel Raider
Productgroup: DVD
Jewel Raider - movie DVD cover picture
Incredible film, but be careful...

I notice that Amazon is selling an Unrated version, but...Jewel Raider is an adult film--very hardcore. So it is possible, and it has been done before, that this version has the hardest parts edited out. Just be sure before you buy.

With that out of the way...

Jewel Raider is a very hot, and very action filled, take off of Tomb Raider. Penthouse Pet Angelica Costello--adult film name: Venus--plays Lara Croff, billionare heiress and globe trotting hottie. She also bears a really remarkable resemblance to Angelina Jolie when in Lara's costume.

There really isn't much of a plot--a guy wants something she has--but the sex and action is worth every penny.

The scenes:

(1) Venus has a girl/guy scene early on.

(2) She has a girl/girl scene next

(3) Her male partner has a scene with a beautiful blonde

(4) The final scene: Venus gets it on with the head bad guy.

The problem with Jewel Raider is the sex. Even though all the scenes Venus is in are great, they are very uninspired. This is the type of stuff you'd expect to see in the early '90s, not in the 21st century. And Venus is one of the most hardcore, nasty (in a good way) adult performers around. To see her in such light fare is annoying--very annoying.

Still, the thing Jewel Raider has over the competition is action. The crew hired some real stunt men and martial artists for this movie, and it shows. It probably also explains the lack of sex in this movie. Still, all the performers get in on it, Venus especially. She is throwing awesome kicks and punches, shooting guys down with her twin pistols--all while wearing skimpy, tight shorts that show a lot. Eat your heart out Lara Croft. The fight scenes are on par with a Gary Daniels movie: really cool, but obviously low budget.

The DVD comes with Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound. There isn't much in the way of special features. There is a brief behind the scenes look, which doesn't add much, but there are some awesome parts with Venus posing on the car for the JR photo shoot; and you get to see the male star--I can't remember his name--looking mad while posing for his pics; and you get to see Venus getting her hair done. She's cute, but that does not stop the boredom.

The DVD also has several trailers for other films from the same company. I must say that the Jewel Raider trailer on the dvd is not the same one available online. The online trailer shows several scenes that are not included in the film. Weird.

Anyway, buy this movie. Even thought a sequel is already in the works, good sales could facilitate a third film.

Studio: Nutech Digital Inc.
Director: Jay Jeff

DVD title: Man of a Thousand Faces
Productgroup: DVD
Man of a Thousand Faces - movie DVD cover picture

This movie is awsome! I have been in love with it for years! Cagney was wonderful! The story is so beautiful. It touches you in the heart, way down deep where you did not know you had heart. The ending was so sad. At least he was at home with love.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Joseph Pevney
James Cagney
Dorothy Malone

DVD title: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
Productgroup: DVD
Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense - movie DVD cover picture
This One Rocks!

This was on of my first Concrt DVD's that I bought and still the best. The sound quality is great! Both audio formats sound great. I use this as my reference for comparisons. The only downside is it is not DTS. Ohterwise still on of the best out there. It even sounds good very loud. I mean 1500/ channel loud! Buy it.

Studio: Palm Pictures
Director: Jonathan Demme
David Byrne

DVD title: Escaflowne - Paradise & Pain (Vol. 5)
Productgroup: DVD
Escaflowne - Paradise & Pain (Vol. 5) - movie DVD cover picture
Escaflowne Vol.5 won't play on your PS2, why?

First of all, this is truly a masterpiece worth adding to any otaku collection out there, it's incredible two thumbs up!
Yes, I guess I will join the frustrated club of people who can't get the damn disc to play on their PS2s. I don't even know myself why is that, I guess it was mastered in a different way than the others that makes it incompatible with Sony's system. Last night I was going to get ready to see it when I realized that it didn't want to play and I got this "Unable to read disc" message, I was shocked. I tried to change the Region on the PS2 settings but it did not work. I was going to send it back to Amazon but I read in time the customers reviews and found out what was wrong. It is a real shame that companies that bother to bring to America such splendid anime series don't care about translating and producing high quality products, the only thing that is going to happen is that anime otakus will question the anime quality and even think that a certain serie is not that good. It is just like Slayers first set where the Japanese sound phase was inverted and play wrong on many people DVD players.
Fortunately, I know that Escaflowne is a true winner and the animation, music, and storyline are clearly planned to achieve one of the best animated series I ever seen in my life. The music is beautifully composed and arranged properly throughout the whole series, giving viewers a feel of the story, it really makes me be part of it. I just love it! ...One thing that I don't like about the dub version is the characters voices, they just don't have the passion that the Japanese had and therefore something is missed from the original version. An example of this can be found on disc 1 in the four episode "The Diabolical Adonis" when Merle is captured by Allen's soldiers. She tells Van that Fanelia was burned down and everyone died defending their town. Check the dub version and then the original and you will see what I mean. It doesn't have the same energy nor passion to efficiently communicate the message. It's a good try though but not enough. I also discovered that if you are watching the first episode right after the prologue ends the disc stops playing and you get the same message I mentioned before. A bug? was it mastered incorrectly? who knows for sure. ...
Anyway, if any if you otaku have any problems playing this or any other disc let me know, maybe we can all do something about this situation. Bombed Bandai with millions of emails and give them a hard time perhaps? Also, if anyone knows where I can lay my hands on the Escaflowne movie let me know please.
See ya all!
Favorites series

1 Escaflowne (of course) 2 MKR 3 Slayers 4 Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: Kazuki Akane

DVD title: The 10th Kingdom
Productgroup: DVD
The 10th Kingdom - movie DVD cover picture
All I Can Say Is WOW!

I caught the last part of this movie on tv, but liked what I saw. It's a GREAT! movie. Combining a fantasy world with the real world, and the magic that can happen. The scenes are just beautiful! I was told this was a first in a series, so I cant wait until I find the nest one. Dont pass over this movie!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Kimberly Williams

DVD title: A Dirty Shame (NC-17 Rated Theatrical Version)
Productgroup: DVD
A Dirty Shame (NC-17 Rated Theatrical Version) - movie DVD cover picture
Another great film for those who like John Waters Films

If you are a fan of the films of John Waters and company, you will love this one. Mr. Waters has not lost his sense of humor or his ability to make the absurd seem normal and the normal absurd.

The casting was perfect, Tracey Ullman and Johnny Knoxville were born to star in a John Waters film. Ms. Ullman can change characters in the blink of an eye and put that to good use here. Johnny Knoxville as Ray-Ray is perfect in his role as the cult leader.

As with his other movies, those who are unprepared will be a bit taken aback, to say the least. We, on the other hand, laughed through the entire movie.

The "extras" on the DVD were as funny as the movie. The interviews with the regular patrons of the bar should not be missed.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: John Waters
Tracey Ullman
Selma Blair
Chris Isaak

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