Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
X2 - X-Men United (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

I just saw X2 and must say I was quite impressed. I had not seen the first X-Man nor was I familiar with the story lines, charcters or anything else about the movie before seeing it and I LOVED IT ! ! ! [.] So much so that I went out and purchased X-Man 1 and am now looking forward to X3 ! ! ! [.] The action was GREAT, the special effects were WONDERFUL and the occasional humor was A WELCOME TOUCH ! ! ! [.] GO SEE IT ! ! !

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Bryan Singer
Patrick Stewart
Hugh Jackman
Ian McKellen
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Brian Cox

DVD title: The Third Man (50th Anniversary Edition) - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Third Man (50th Anniversary Edition) - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A landmark Film Noir. Seldom equalled: will not be beaten.

The Third Man is, unquestionably, one of the greatest films of all time. It is probably the greatest British film of all too. Based on a screenplay by Graham Greene, set amidst the rubble of post-war Vienna and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard, this one was always going to be good. It was, for many years, regarded as the film noir to beat all others and is my favourite movie. Radical in it's cinematic concept and brilliantly shot by Robert Krasker, the film has more atmosphere than any film I have seen before or since.
It all starts with Holly Martins (Cotten), a drunkard who writes the type of books which used to be known as "penny dreadfuls", arriving in Vienna not long after the end of WWII on the promise of a job. It turns out that his prospective employer, Harry Lime (Welles), has been killed in an accident and Martins has arrived just in time for the funeral. Lime's friends soon make contact with the wayward Martins, who becomes convinced that his friend has been murdered, and eventually through a series of encounters, he winds up in the hands of the Military Police.
In the opinion of this reviewer, this is Cotten's best film and though I've never been a big fan of his, he suits the role admirably. I also believe this is Trevor Howard's finest performance. So good is Howard that there is little doubt over his conviction that Martins is wrong and the scene where all is revealled to him is a feature of the film. Orson Welles was an acting giant in anyone's terms although by this time he was almost universally regarded as box office poison. His characterisation of the psychopathic Lime has been the model for so many film baddies and in may ways is as sinister as Hannibal Lecter.
The cinematography is superb. Shot on the streets of bombed-out Vienna and using minimal lighting, it gives definition to the film noir genre. The lighting reflected off wet cobblestone roads and the hard shadows created by single brute arcs create a cold, stark landscape for Carol Reed's direction and the underlying suspense of the plot. Much of the film; certainly the majority of the interiors as well as nearly all the sewer scenes, were actually shot in studio in the UK but all the location stuff is real, so much so that you can even do a "Third Man" tour if you are in Vienna.
The Criterion transfer is the sharpest B&W I have ever seen and rather than being merely technically precise, really adds to the atmosphere of the film. There was an enormous number of repairs made to the original print (something like 22,000, if my memory serves me correctly) and the ultimate product is almost seemless and has a beautiful grey scale. There are a few added features, including a rather comical short of Anton Karas playing the famous theme on his zither in a London club. Karas, incidentally, a Gypsy who could not read music, was first spotted in a seedy Vienna nightclub and contracted to do the film more-or-less on the spot. It is extraordinary how much the zither adds to the film.
Reckoned by many to be the finest suspense film ever made and containing more cinematic innovation than almost anything which came afterward it, until the arrival of the French New Wave, this film wants for nothing. The acting performances are top notch, the pictures are beautiful and the plot is terrific. There is even a little wry humour at the expense of Viennese society. A cinematic gem not to be missed and essential to any serious film buff's library.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Carol Reed
Joseph Cotten
Orson Welles

DVD title: Johnny Cash - Live at Montreux 1994
Productgroup: DVD
Johnny Cash - Live at Montreux 1994 - movie DVD cover picture

Johnny cash live in 1994. I expected to see a tired Johnny Cash, but to my surprise he belts out every song with energy like the Johnny Cash we came to love. It's great to see W.S. Holland on the drums and June comes out to sing a few songs. The only complaint is Johnny's son John Carter Cash that makes a fool of himself in the background playing a guitar no one hears.

Studio: Red Distribution, In
Johnny Cash

DVD title: The Fast and the Furious (Widescreen Tricked Out Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Fast and the Furious (Widescreen Tricked Out Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Hot cars and even hotter guys....

This movie rocked. If you like Action and really hot guys, then you have to see this movie. I have already seen it four times, I loved it. Brian(Paul Walker) is a rookie cop that is sent to investigate some truck hijackings. He joins the team of Domonic(Vin Diesel) and falls in love with Domonics sister ( Jordana Brewster). He must face one of the hardest diecesions fo his life. He must choose between his new family or his career. Please, go and see this movie.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Rob Cohen
Paul Walker
Vin Diesel

DVD title: The Soft Skin
Productgroup: DVD
The Soft Skin - movie DVD cover picture
All that Matters is The Soft Skin of The Woman You Love

When this film was released in 1964 it bombed commercially and was critically panned in every quarter, even booed at the Cannes Film Festival. Retrospective overviews and a more enlightened appreciation of Truffaut's entire body of work as a unit has done some good in enhancing its reputation, although not enough.
Truffaut was still being justly commended for his beautiful masterpiece JULES ET JIM when LA PEAU DUCE premiered, and the derision it met with can be attributed to the unfounded notion that a director cannot follow one "tour de force" with another. Reluctance and wariness greeted the film's sombre tone and downbeat ending. LA PEAU DUCE was not allowed to breathe, and therefore not allowed to intoxicate and energize its audience. Ultimately what its detractors failed to realize was that great artists do not make bad art.
The film concerns writer Pierre (Jean Desailly) and his infatuation with air stewardess Nicole (Francoise Dorleac) whom he meets on a matter of fact flight from Paris to Lisbon. Fascinated, the Balzac aficionado leaves his sensually lovely wife (Nelly Benedetti) and daughter (played to our delight by little Sabine of JULES ET JIM) in order to commit himself totally to Nicole, only to meet with unforeseen ruin.
The role of Pierre is a somewhat unsympathetic one and, although played superbly by Desailly, he would later claim that it thwarted his career. As in all of Truffaut's films, it is the complete rebuttal of machismo that serves to humanize our male protagonist - unable to consult with his common sense when touched by the Soft Skin - and also to reinforce the potent femininity of our heroine; she who lives her life from one moment to the next, engaging her most endearing whims impulsively and without the consideration of consequence.
The film's greatest performance is that of Francoise Dorleac. The sister of Catherine Deneuve, she shares with her sibling the most striking and intelligent beauty ever to grace the cinema. But where Deneuve's icy sensuality make her the perfect anti-heroine of Bunuel's BELLE DE JOUR and Truffaut's own MISSISSIPPI MERMAID (another stroke of genius from Truffaut that is sorely underrated), Dorleac's allure is one of warmth and exuberance. She smiles with her whole body, joyously and completely unaffected. This film is one of only three worthy showcases of the flair of this great enigma. She is most beautifully photographed in Polanski's ingenious CUL DE SAC, where she is visceral, fearless and elegant; and in Jacques Demy's gorgeous and effervescent LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT, the world's most beautiful sisters share the screen for what surely would not have been the only time, had not Dorleac's life been tragically cut short before her prime.
Indeed, one of Truffaut's key cinematic virtues was in directing actresses, women with whom he almost always fell in love, just as we fall in love in front of the screen. His mantra, evoking that of Jean Renoir, was that the actor take total precedence over the character. Women who are formidable, beautiful and enigmatic do not need to invoke these charms through performance. Thus in JULES ET JIM Catherine is Jeanne Moreau; in SUCH A GORGEOUS KID LIKE ME Camille is Bernadette Lafont; and in LA PEAU DUCE Nicole is Francoise Dorleac.
There is not a single shot in this film that is showy, affected or unnecessary. It is directed with such concise brilliance and tact - and by such a young man - that it can only be marvelled at. Witness Desailly's curious observation of Dorleac's feet as she changes footwear; His removal of her stockings while she sleeps (a scene relived by Truffaut with Belmondo and Deneuve in MISSISSIPPI MERMAID); And the succinct and callous manner in which the camera follows a telephone conversation - evidence of Truffaut's skilfulness in using seemingly inane components to create cinematic mastery and beauty.
You should see this film, not once but many times. It is subtle, understated and completely beautiful.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Fran├žois Truffaut

DVD title: The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Stunning, Beautiful Rendition Of A Classical Masterpiece

I have seen many renditions of Phantom Of the Opera throughout the years and without a doubt this one is the most beautifully Haunting. The music was amazing. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a great job putting the movie to music. Gerard Butler is dashing as the Phantom, Emmy Rossum was stunning as Christine, what a voice!, Patrick Wilson was great as Christines childhood sweetheart and gallant rescuer Raoul. Minnie Driver added a bit of comic relief as the ever arrogant and conceited "Diva" Carlotta. This movie had a little bit of something for everyone. Great Music, Haunting Set designs, Beautiful costumes, Dashing sword fighting, and that Chandelier!...I could go on an on.... I have three teenage (macho) sons and they loved the film! They talked their friends into seeing it and now I have a bunch of High School "Phantom Junkies" on my hands. The last time we went to see it I had 9 High School boys with me anxious to see it. Seriously it is really great to see teenagers appreciating the cultural experience of this movie. I highly recommend seeing it. It's just a shame that it wasn't nominated for more academy awards! I hope you love the film as much as we did.... : )

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Joel Schumacher
Gerard Butler
Emmy Rossum
Patrick Wilson

DVD title: They Died with Their Boots On
Productgroup: DVD
They Died with Their Boots On - movie DVD cover picture
Errol Flynn - The ebullient hero

As in all Errol Flynn's movies, this actor shows his ebullience and wisdom in his acting roles which enhance the film's authenticity and entertainment value. Like his predecessors in the 1950s-1960s era, Flynn continued to portray truthfulness and loyalty as the hero who believes in himself to further the cause of justice. The character of General Custer is well portrayed by Flynn who dwells into the dualistic nature of man - showing the strengths and weaknesses - courage, confidence and ingenuity as the great soldier versus - insecurity and helplessness - as the civilian citizen.Very good reproduction of colour and sound. Highly entertaining. For keeps.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Raoul Walsh
Errol Flynn
Olivia de Havilland

DVD title: Cradle Will Rock
Productgroup: DVD
Cradle Will Rock - movie DVD cover picture
A True American Film - "We Do Our Part"

I have never seen a more splendid movie, nor splendid play within a movie - which this film is about. The producer, Tim Robbins, is a saint for finally producing this wonderful play of FDR's Federal Theater Project and putting it into a modern wonderful film. The result is awesome. The theme, cast and photography are exquisite. There are no flaws in this film.

This great film serves as final justice for a great and wonderful play written for the Federal Theater Project that was never shown, yet deserved the highest accolades as one of the greatest plays ever written, produced or played. The wonder and glory of this great film is not only the initial play's great value, but the conditions of complete oppression and repression under which it was, nevertheless, written, produced, viewed and reviewed. The vision is extraordinary and actually will make other such spectacles, for example, such as the Grand Canyon, seem as they really are, in comparison, such a petty thing. Do you want to see something that makes the Grand Canyon seem petty? See "Cradle Will Rock". It is one of the greatest films and stories and chronicles of all time!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Director: Tim Robbins

DVD title: The Larry Sanders Show - The Entire First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Larry Sanders Show - The Entire First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Hey Now, It's An Instant Classic

This DVD has already in one day of ownership given me more laughs than I could ever imagine. I remember liking this show during its run on HBO but the great thing about the genius writing and clever stories is that they get better with age. Whereas some comedy feels dated and stale when you go back and watch it, this show is like fine wine. Aged. Wonderful Bouquet. And can really knock you on your ... . This DVD is EXACTLY the same video/audio quality as when originally aired. ... But one thing is for certain, and that is that Larry Sanders Show is a welcome addition to my collection that I will enjoy for years to come. Williams. Carvey. Spade. Sanders. Nuff Said
Hanks For The Memories

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Garry Shandling

DVD title: Norah Jones - Live in New Orleans
Productgroup: DVD
Norah Jones - Live in New Orleans - movie DVD cover picture
Its like the first

This DVD is a great intro to the phenom that is Norah. The music is great, the sound quality of the 5.1 recording is fab (think ECM), but the biggest treat is watching Norah - she seems truly astonished at her popularity with the House of Blues crowd!If you have heard the CD, you will love the live versions; they are even better. If you are new to her - get an eyeful of classic music-making, no belly-shaking!!!

Studio: Emi Distribution
Nora Jones
Norah Jones

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