Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Rocky (Five-Disc Boxed Set)
Productgroup: DVD
Rocky (Five-Disc Boxed Set) - movie DVD cover picture
What counts in life.

These movies must be viewed and judged as a whole experience. In every situation, words and feelings shown there is a lesson of life and an understanding that what's really important overall is love,determination and contentment. Watch them more than ones and pay attention to what is happening, open your mind and you will see the light.

Studio: MGM/UA Video
Sylvester Stallone

DVD title: God, the Devil and Bob - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
God, the Devil and Bob - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
God, the Devil and Bob - a real classic

I originally saw this animated series on the BBC a few years ago when they broadcast all of the episodes. At the time I found it to be very funny and I am glad to see that over time it still hasn't lost its charm.

I'm not surprised that over in the USA this programme was pulled after only a few episodes. A great shame. I bet those individuals who campaigned for its removal never watched it at all.

I wonder have they ever shown The Vicar if Dibley in the US?


Studio: Fox Home Entertainme

DVD title: The 72 Desperate Rebels
Productgroup: DVD
The 72 Desperate Rebels - movie DVD cover picture
Truly one of the best bad Kung Fu movies

As a child, if you watched Kung Fu theater on Saturday's and enjoyed it, this is the movie for you. This movie is by far one of the worst Kung Fu movies ever made, and I mean that in the best possible sense. It has all the intangibles for a great Kung Fu movie--unbelieveable Kung Fu action, bad sound effects, bad editing, and bad overdubs. The plot revolves around a pirate known as The Master Wu, who has surrounded himself with the best fighters from China and Vietnam. If you only watch the beginning when they are all introduced, you will be hooked. This band of fighters terrorize China during the Ming dynasty. Through their terror, they end up killing someone's father, and as we all know in Kung Fu, that means sworn revenge. The movie is non-stop action from then on, and sure the plot line gets blurry, but that's not the point. You have to see this movie to believe it. With characters like the Ghost Killer and Blind Swordsman, you can't help but love it. So, if you liked "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," but thought the cinematography and editing was too nice for Kung Fu, then try this movie out. You'll agree that "72" is truly the best of the worst.

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Bing Lin

DVD title: Rory Gallagher - Irish Tour 1974
Productgroup: DVD
Rory Gallagher - Irish Tour 1974 - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Bmg Special Products
Rory Gallagher

DVD title: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid - movie DVD cover picture
Inspired Genius

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is one of those movies that are so jaw-droppingly brilliant that you can't believe what you're seeing.
While the acting is a bit stiff in places, and Steve Martin's occasional use of "dangerous words" doesn't fit with a 40's noir film, the premise and near perfect execution of intercutting old and new films is incredible. For instance, Steve Martin's character's name is Rigby Reardon. On the surface it has that alliterative "Sam Spade" quality so you chalk it up the pastiche. Later however, actors from the old movies refer to someone off-screen as "Mr. Reardon" or "Rigby," and you realize how things were set up from the beginning. Likewise, Rigby's reaction to the words "cleaning woman" seems like just an odd quirk at first - until later, when it gives him an excuse to strangle Bette Davis. The scene of Rigby and Alan Ladd sharing a plate of cookies is simply amazing.
The DVD skimps on extras, but as it's an inexpensive title you're still getting full value for your movie purchasing dollar. Don't miss the original theatrical trailer, though; I don't recall having seen it before and Steve Martin's narration as funny as anything in the film itself (who else could include "sliding" as a major reason to see a movie?).
If you're a fan of the old 40's detective/suspense films, you'll really appreciate this movie. If you're a newcomer to the world of film noir, the movies spliced in here (conveniently listed in the end credits) are some of the best. If you're just looking for laughs, the gags are spaced out quite a bit in parts, but that gives you an opportunity to appreciate the dramatic side of Steve Martin you don't always see.
Steve Martin and Carl Reiner should be very proud to have made this movie. You should be proud to include it in your DVD library.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Carl Reiner
Steve Martin
Rachel Ward

DVD title: Arrested Development - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Arrested Development - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
A True TV Gem

There has not been a comedy on television that was this acclaimed and this inventive. Its already a classic sitcom with only 1 season! There simply hasnt been a comedy THIS good since Seinfelds glory days. The writting is amazing, the cast is fantastic, and it all comes together in a brilliant tour de force.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Jason Bateman

DVD title: Ever After - A Cinderella Story
Productgroup: DVD
Ever After - A Cinderella Story - movie DVD cover picture
The story of the REAL Cinderella

This movie is absolutely divine. It depicts an almost believable story of the "real" Cinderella. Its magic is not that of a fairy god mother but is the kind that happens when mortal humans act out of love and soulful generosity. The film has a plot that is very entertaining and characters that are fascinating.
Drew Barrymore, as always, is beautiful and real at the same time. She brings just the right balance of humanity and enchantment to the film. She creates a strong, courageous and lovable Cinderella that everyone wants to see triumphant over the constraints forced upon her by mid-evil European culture and some timelessly bad characters.
I have and will continue to watch this movie over and over.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Andy Tennant
Drew Barrymore
Anjelica Huston
Dougray Scott

DVD title: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Productgroup: DVD
The Talented Mr. Ripley - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent interpretation of the Highsmith mystery classic

It's interesting to compare director and screenwriter Anthony Minghella's interpretation with the source material, mystery novelist Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. As such we were forced to identify with Highsmith's antihero, all the better to set us up for her ironic and daring "resolution." Minghella has changed the ending, but without changing its spirit. He has Ripley committing an additional murder while throwing in a character not in the novel, Cate Blanchett's Meredith Logue. Miss Logue serves two purposes, one, she helps unravel the plot and two, she helps to objectify Tom Ripley's ambivalent sexual nature.

The simplistic question, is Ripley homosexual? is not answered in the Highsmith novel. But, certain scenes aboard ship with the clearly gay Peter Smith-Kingsley, decides that Ripley is indeed gay. Nonetheless the psychological heart of the story, that of a man who loathes himself so much that he can only love himself by assuming the identity of another man whom he admires, is left intact. Minghella's script and direction remain true to the spirit and broad form of the novel, while improving on the dramatic quality of the story. (I don't think most movie audiences would have the patience for Highsmith's more leisurely exposition.)

Some other changes by Minghella include making Dickie's passion jazz music instead of painting, and emphasizing the rich boy/poor boy dichotomy (somewhat reminiscent of the chasm in The Great Gatsby) by making Dickie a Princeton grad and Tom a piano-playing kid who had a menial job at the university. In the book Dickie and Tom actually knew one another before Europe, while Minghella has Tom pretend that Dickie and he had previously met. Also in the book Marge Sherwood's character is almost stupid. In the movie she is intelligent and insightful. Dickie loves her and they are to be married. In the book she is just a girlfriend.

The success of this movie in large part is due to Minghella's ability to translate the novel to the screen, but also because of a very superior cast. Matt Damon as the murderous Mr. Ripley is creepy and vulnerable and entirely believable. Jude Law as the rich and spoiled, but likeable Dickie Greenleaf, is outstanding. He is an actor of charisma and subtlety. Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job in a somewhat limited role as Marge Sherwood. Cate Blanchett, whom you may recall from her outstanding work in Elizabeth (1998) is particularly good as the straight-laced and somewhat inhibited Meredith Logue who has designs on Tom Ripley's morally corrupted heart (although she thinks he's Dickie Greenleaf). She, more than anyone conveys the look and feel of the fifties. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman, whom I recall from his small part as Lester Bangs, the cynical rock critic in Almost Famous (2000), is superb as Dickie's somewhat boorish friend, Freddie Miles.

In some ways this is better than the book. (And in some ways it isn't, of course.) Minghella, who brought Michael Ondaatje's difficult novel, The English Patient, to the screen, proves once again that he knows the difference between a novel and a screenplay and how to translate the one into the other without losing the essence of the original. Incidentally, the spiffy line spoken by James Rebhorn as Dickie's father, Herbert Greenleaf, "People say you can't choose your parents, but you know you can't choose your children either," is not in the book (nor in Bartlett's Quotations) and so I presume was penned by Minghella.

Another very good movie version of the Highsmith novel is the Hitchcock-like Plein Soleil ("Purple Noon") released in 1960 from French director Rene Clement.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Anthony Minghella
Matt Damon
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jude Law

DVD title: Law & Order Special Victims Unit - The First Year
Productgroup: DVD
Law & Order Special Victims Unit - The First Year - movie DVD cover picture
Worth it, but needs more special features

Chances are that if you're thinking about buying this set, you've seen the show enough to judge the quality. The writing is top-notch, the acting is great, and the cases tend to strike an emotional chord within us who want to see sex offenders brought to justice. I won't bore you with an episode-by-episode rundown. The show is set up differently from regular Law & Order in that you actually get to know the characters from their private lives and why they react to certain crimes and criminals the way they do.Now, the question you want answered is: Is it worth the money? The series alone is. It's highly entertaining and captivating. The special features are a little scarce, with only two good but short featurettes. In my opinion, ever dvd set of a television series should really go all out with the features. Let the public in on the process! Give us some outtakes and behind the scenes goodies. We know you have them! The show gets 5 stars, the set 4. Definitely worth the 40 bucks, but it would be nice to be let in on a little more.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Christopher Meloni

DVD title: Firefly - The Complete Series
Productgroup: DVD
Firefly - The Complete Series - movie DVD cover picture
The Good, The Bad and The Stupid

The Good is Firefly. As other reviews have mentioned, it is possibly the best written show that was ever on TV. A Space Opera Western that simple cannot be compared to another show, including Joss Whendon's Buffy and Angel. That is unless you compare it's outstanding quality and originality.
The Bad is that we may never know what happened. Both the characters and the storylines are so intriguing that you just have to know more. How did Zoe and Wash fall in love? What are River's powers? The guys with the blue hands? What's the Rev's story?
The Stupid would be Fox. [People]. What more can be said except surely such short-sightedness will eventually bite them in the... My goodness, the pre-order of the series sold out in days. The show is still making fans thanks to downloads and tape sharing. Yep, [people].
So buy, watch, laugh, cry, enjoy, and keep hoping for more.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Nathan Fillion

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