Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: My Neighbor Totoro (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
My Neighbor Totoro (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Wonderful even with the dubbing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 / 5 of 5 / Wonderful even with the dubbing.
I try to watch my anime with the Japanese soundtrack as I took it in high-school and college and it's a reminder of how quickly you can lose it if you don't use it. The cadence and flow of the language is superior in its original format vs dubbing the vast majority of the time and subtitles are not an issue once you get used to using them. That said, Totoro only had an English dub, but wasn't too bad. Coming to Totoro from Castle in the Sky I continued by chronological trek of the Miyazaki cannon. It's a testament to the director and storywriter that 30 somethings can enjoy his films as much as the children that are ostensibly his target. Totoro centers around a couple of young siblings who move with their parents to a remote rural location in Japan, their house in the shadow of a mountainous forest overseen by the giant, shaggy, rabbit like Totoro and his helpers. It boggles my mind that something so child-like in this story can be so compelling for adults. As an avid fan of anime I've rarely been moved like I have with Miyazaki's movies and this story was one of his lightest and sweetest. The only conflict in the story is the younger sister Mei running off. The rest is a languid exploration of the area around the house and meeting with Totoro and his companions. I love the artwork on the forest and rural settings and the attention to detail these films bring. The children are never talked down to and are treated with respect and love at the same time. The adults are not dumbed down or stereotyped either. Once again, highly recommended for all ages.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Noriko Hidaka
Hitoshi Takagi

DVD title: Christine
Productgroup: DVD
Christine - movie DVD cover picture
It's one of the best movies I have seen. It kicks butt.

This movie was creatively and cleverly made to entertain and it delivers! Using eerie music and great acting by Keith Gordon as Arnie, this movie will draw you in and make you stay until it's over. It's a must see movie. YOU CAN'T MISS IT!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: John Carpenter
Keith Gordon
John Stockwell

DVD title: The Longest Day
Productgroup: DVD
The Longest Day - movie DVD cover picture
Enough with the comparisons!

These comments aren't so much about "The Longest Day" -- an incredible film, especially in light of its vintage -- but the inevitable comparisons with "Saving Private Ryan" ... TLD, with a few Hollywood touches thrown in for good measure, is an otherwise faithful depiction of one of this planet's most important events. SPR is a fictional (albeit viscerally gripping) piece that just *happens* to be set during that same invasion ... it could just as easily have been set during some other battle, or for that matter, some other *war* ... so please, enough with the comparisons!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Richard Burton

DVD title: Crest of the Stars - Complete Series Set
Productgroup: DVD
Crest of the Stars - Complete Series Set - movie DVD cover picture
Interesting, & Intelligent Sci-Fi series with Great Visuals!

Jinto and Lafiel are two young royals, who are thrown together during an interplanetary war. The Empire Abh, and the United Mankind Empires are fighting. It raises questions as for who to root for in the conflict. I believe the Abh were once humans, who have progressed through genetic manipulation, and have now rebelled. There seem to be many conflicting reasons for the conflicts, and unusual treatment for the conquered. Jinto was the offspring of a political faction and somehow made a prince.
Beyond the political intrigue, we have some of the differences in the cultures displayed through Jinto and Lafiel. Jinto spent his life on the surface; Lafiel was basically, born in space. Most of the time, it's the Vulcan like logic, and intelligence of the Abh, Lafiel making Jinto seem very impotent. Things change later in the series, when they crash, and have to survive on the land. It does appear that Abhs were modeled after Vulcan's. The pointy ears, long life spans, and stoic intelligence gives that away. Still, something is quite different in their war vs the human culture. The series has other intelligent treatments of concepts like hyperspace. I did have a bit of trouble believing that mines were an effective space weapon, but I suppose its possible. The space battles are nice and very believable action.
The main thing the series has going for it, is still the characters. The main characters and supporting players, are well developed at each point in the story. The story often plays more like a medieval era adventure, so it can seem a little choppy in places. Still, it looks like the storyteller stuck to their vision, and played out the plots of the main characters within it. When it all comes to an end you do want more, and they made two sequel series, both under the Banner of the Stars heading in the US. Its too bad such a richly created universe does not have the support to create 200 episodes like some other anime series. I guess it would cheapen the quality.

Studio: Bandai Entertainment
Director: Yasuchika Nagaoka

DVD title: Titanic
Productgroup: DVD
Titanic - movie DVD cover picture
Romance and courage in the face of disaster. I loved it!

An academy award winner!! Wonderful! Told against the backdrop of the real event this movie has everything ... a great and story of romance and courage in the face of disaster. Great and important theme. Also bravo for the technical know-how and special effects that could only be possible today. The drama flowed effortlessly and I felt I was there, feeling the reality of a ship going down. I cried often and didn't take my eyes from the screen at all and the three hours were action packed and didn't seem one bit too long.
The flaws were minor and didn't matter at all. All that mattered was this wonderful story told with an excellent script,great directing and superb acting. In the future, all movies will be judged against this one. Don't miss it.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: James Cameron
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kate Winslet

DVD title: Potty Power
Productgroup: DVD
Potty Power - movie DVD cover picture
Over the top...and perfect.

Ok, the truth is that, while I love my son tremendously, I could never muster the level of enthusiam that these people deliver. My son loves this video, and I believe he has learned from it. If nothing else, he sees potty training as a positive thing, and that is worth the 10 bucks. The woman who narrates this video is almost heroic in her presentation. Buy it.

Studio: Big Kids Productions

DVD title: Annie (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Annie (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Carol rocks!

Carol Burnett really steals the show as a crazy drunk who runs an orphanage! This wacky lush tries to bed every man she comes in contact with & it is hilarious! The lil girl playing Annie is ugly, but it is cool that Lex Luthor adopts her and the mangy mutt.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: John Huston
Albert Finney
Carol Burnett
Aileen Quinn

DVD title: Jaws (Full Screen Anniversary Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Jaws (Full Screen Anniversary Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
jawsmovie review

Maybe I'm being overcritical. The film is as great as it ever was; particularly with the clarity of DVD, but I was expecting more "bang" from the DTS version. I realize that only so much can be done with a 25 year old film and is is not a recently made action film in which you have to have a massive floor-ratteling explosion every 5 minutes or so. My main comment is that DTS did not do much more for this film than the Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Roy Scheider
Robert Shaw
Richard Dreyfuss

DVD title: My Cousin Vinny
Productgroup: DVD
My Cousin Vinny - movie DVD cover picture
Laugh till it hurts funny

This movie cracks me up everytime I see it. Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei will make you laugh till your stomach hurts. I owned this film on VHS but had to buy it on DVD for fear I would wear the tape out. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud!!!!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Joe Pesci
Marisa Tomei

DVD title: Miracle of Morgan's Creek
Productgroup: DVD
Miracle of Morgan's Creek - movie DVD cover picture
Great, hilarious wartime comedy

There are some wonderfully hilarious moments in this wartime farce, and great acting, especially by the two leads, Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken, and William Demarest (Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons!) as the angry father. This is a real gem!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Preston Sturges
Eddie Bracken
Betty Hutton
Diana Lynn

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