Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: X-Men
Productgroup: DVD
X-Men - movie DVD cover picture
Xtreme Xtasy!

This is my all-time favorite DVD!Actually there are 2 DVDs.I love it because it has the movie with all-new scenes!The commentary by director Brian Singer is really interesting.Disc 2 is PACKED with extras-go behind the scenes,preview X2,and much,much more!It beats the theater version by a mile.If you like the movie or X men in general the movie plus 5 hours of extras equals Xcitement,

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen

DVD title: The Sword of Doom - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Sword of Doom - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A different sort of samurai movie

This is a very dark and nihilistic story from director Okamoto about an evil swordsman whose passion for the sword becomes an all-consuming desire to destroy anyone who challenges him or stands in his way. His character may seem puzzling at first to western audiences more acquainted with the more famous movies from Kurosawa, where samurai are portrayed more positively, but the writer (unfortunately his name escapes me) whose book the movie was based on regarded himself as a student of such western authors as Dostoyevski and Victor Hugo, and their well-known self-destructive and nihilistic anti-heroes no doubt influenced his portrayal of Ryunosuke. There are also Japanese legends of evil swords possessing their owners. But in Ryunosuke's case, there is no doubt that an evil mind wields an evil sword.

Ryunosuke's relationships with women are no better, and his dysfuctional marriage with his wife seems to concern him no more than all the hapless people he kills in the movie. His position there is a true swordsman should be true to his sword just as a woman would be to her chastity, and so he refuses to lose gracefully in a match to a friend's husband although it will mean ruin to him and his family if he loses. Ryunosuke, on the other hand, has nothing to lose since he holds no position with the local lord (although all the other swordsman realize they are no match for him).

The movie skillfully weaves together several plot lines, such as his quest to kill the last Utsugi brother, what will happen when he finally meets Mifune's senior student in a duel, or possibily even Mifune itself. But the movie takes an unpexpected turn at the very end, when the evil swordsman's karma finally comes back to haunt him (literally). I won't say anymore so as to avoid any spoilers, but the ending wasn't what I expected.

Interestingly, although Mifune and Nakadai are billed as the two top actors, you don't actually see Mifune until about halfway through the movie, where he's seen as the sword master presiding over some matches in his own school. He only really has one major scene, where he takes on several dozen swordsman in the snow, as Ryunosuke watches in awe--the first time he has ever seen another swordsman who was his equal or perhaps superior.

Also, the shots of the samurai dueling in the heavy snow are pretty cool. I don't know if they were actually shooting during the winter or if they used snow making machines, but some of the snowflakes are the size of postage stamps. So there are some nice atmospheric touches as well. And Nakadai's "drunken style" swordsmanship (well, not exactly, but you'll see what I mean) and acting at the very end of the movie are superb. In fact, when he's not out and about accomplishing evil, he spends a lot of his time staring vacantly off into space with a convincingly looney/evil expression on his face.

I actually enjoyed this movie in some ways more than the Kurosawa movies with Mifune. It's definitely done in a different style, and if you're a fan of samurai movies or of Japanese film, you'll probably want to see this one just because of how different it is from the other directors such as Kurosawa, Inagaki, and so on.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Kihachi Okamoto

DVD title: Adventures of Francis The Talking Mule - Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
Adventures of Francis The Talking Mule - Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Comedy at it's finest

This is good clean family fun. If you like classic comedy this is the DVD set to buy. Donald O'Connor delivers a great performance as the slightly awkward and niave Peter Sterling who is constantly getting into trouble over a talking mule. All 4 movies on the disc are hilarious. I'm now anxiously awaiting the Vol. 2 release.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Arthur Lubin
Donald O'Connor
Patricia Medina

DVD title: Family Guy, Vol. 1 (Seasons 1 & 2)
Productgroup: DVD
Family Guy, Vol. 1 (Seasons 1 & 2) - movie DVD cover picture
It was doomed from the start...

Let me get one thing straight right off the bat: "The Family Guy" was one of the best animated comedies on the telly. It takes more risks at upseting the mainstream than "The Simpsons" but isn't so blatant in shock value as "Southpark." In fact, I seriously loved this series when it was on the air and I'm thrilled that now that it's available on DVD, I can watch my favorite episodes whenever I want. If you're a fan of the show, you need these DVD box sets.
However, if you want really cool added features, keep looking. Unlike the commentary for DVDs like "The Simpsons" it's almost as though Seth and gang have no idea what DVD commentary is for. In fact, for many of the episodes that actually DO have commentary, they sit in silence instead of actually commenting -- which kinda begs the question -- why is this called an audio commentary track when you barely comment?
Also, many of the comments really aren't that entertaining at all. Occasionally Seth M. or Seth Green will speak in their characters' voices to comment (which would have been sooo much more interesting if they continued to do so) but for the most part they just don't say much.
Highlights of the commentary do include the actress who does Lois' voice (she is damn funny).... but some of the other voice actors/actresses that are on the commentary seem to have been brought in at last minute. One of supporting voice actors even asks in geniune astonishment: "Brian the dog has a martini?" Which makes you kind of wonder if some of the actors even bothered watching the series they were in while it aired.
There's only one documentary (if you want to call it that) which is simply a long commercial for the show.
I was disappointed in the bonus material, but the episodes themselves are worth the price of the box set. I just hope in the future, more people who bother with DVD commentary do something other than just sit in silence.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Seth Macfarlane

DVD title: Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fifth Season
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fifth Season - movie DVD cover picture
DS9 Season Five - An incredible season as the tension rises!

Season five is one of those seasons that fans like myself have been waiting years for in a format such as DVD! There is only one way to describe this season, incredible! From the writing to the acting and the entire "theme" of the season, this fifth season is just simply amazing. Prior to this season of DS9, no Star Trek series had ever truly tackled an ongoing plot device such as the ramping up of the war with the Dominion and they simply did it with perfection.
From the overall design of the Dominion with the Founders, Vorta and Jem'Hadar and the whole structure of the Dominion, they created the perfectly intractable and unknown enemy. In effect they were the perfect adversaries to foil the Federation and in doing so, the Dominion brought about a large amount of the best writing in the Star Trek universe to date! The only disappointment of the season was the absence of a Mirror universe episode.
A brief synopsis of the more outstanding episode of this season: (Unfortunately, there's a 1K word limit because every episode of this season deserves a highlight)
Apocalypse Rising - In this outstanding season opener; following Odo's surprising news that Gowron, the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire is a changeling at the end of season four, Starfleet orders Sisko and crew to infiltrate the Empire and expose the changeling.
Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places - In this wonderful episode, Grilka makes a surprise visit to DS9 to see Quark and love is in the air as Worf and Dax help him pursue her and Kira and O'Brien are getting a little too close. The ending between Worf and Dax makes this show somewhat of a poignant classic considering what happens to Dax in the next season.
Trials and Tribble-ations - As part of the thirtieth anniversary of Star Trek, DS9 came up with this exceptional episode in which the crew of the Defiant goes to Cardassia Prime and recovers the Orb of Time and is suddenly thrust into the past. As the sensors clean up, they find themselves staring at the original Enterprise. This is one of the best episodes of the entire seven year run.
Things Past - In this extraordinary episode Sisko, Garak, Odo and Dax end up on Terok Nor before the Cardassian withdrawal. This episode in particular gives great insight to what a wonderful character Odo is.
The Ascent - There could be no finer episode that deals with the relationship between Quark and Odo than this one as they find themselves stranded on a planet and that they must climb a mountain to get an SOS out.
Rapture - It's superior episodes like this that made DS9 the extraordinary series that it was. Kasidy makes her return and Sisko is having visions which lead to the prophesied discovery of an ancient Bajoran city which had been lost to them for thousands of years.
The Begotten - This episode is beautiful in every way as the writers came up with an inventive way to bring Odo back his shape shifting abilities.
For the Uniform - In this extremely intense episode Sisko begins his hunt for the traitorous Michael Eddington who betrayed Sisko and Starfleet for the Maquis.
In Purgatory's Shadow & By Inferno's Light - These are two of DS9's finest episodes as Garak receives a message from Enabran Tain and he and Worf head off into the Gamma Quadrant to find him. They soon find themselves interred in a Jem'Hadar prison camp. These episodes mark the beginning of Martok's recurring role.
Doctor Bashir, I Presume? - Robert Picardo from Voyager makes a guest appearance as his alter ego Dr. Zimmerman in order to create the latest EMH using Dr. Bashir as the template. In a strange maneuver, the writers reveal that Bashir was genetically enhanced as a child.
Business as Usual - This is an outstanding Ferengi episode as Quark, financially crippled by losing his business license, begins a partnership with his cousin Gaila who is an arms dealer.
Ties of Blood and Water - This is a very poignant episode as we see Kira, who had fought Cardassians all her life, care for Tekeny Ghemor who we saw in a previous season and who had been fooled into thinking she was his daughter.
Ferengi Love Songs - This is the perfect Ferengi episode as we see Quark return to Ferenginar to visit with his Moogie and he finds that she and Grand Nagus Zek are "together."
Soldiers of the Empire - This is a perfect Klingon episode where Martok and Worf command a Klingon Bird of Prey in search of a lost battle cruiser feared to have been destroyed by the Jem'Hadar.
Empok Nor - This intriguing episode provides a great deal of insight into Garak's character!
Call to Arms - This episode represents one of the best season closing episodes in Star Trek! The Dominion and the Cardassians are finally coming to take over DS9. Sisko and crew must find a way to mine the entrance to the wormhole, evacuate the Bajorans and prepare for the defense of DS9. The close of this episode is extraordinary, when the Defiant falls in formation with a massive Starfleet and Klingon fleet, letting the viewers know that the war that has been building up is finally here!
Special Features:
Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends and A Historic EndeavorCrew Dossier: Miles O'BrienInside DS9 with Mike OkudaMichael Westmore's AliensPhoto Gallery10 "Hidden" Section 31 files
Episode list:
Apocalypse RisingThe ShipLooking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places...Nor the Battle to the StrongThe AssignmentTrials and Tribble-ationsLet He Who is Without Sin...Things PastThe AscentRaptureThe Darkness and the LightThe BegottenFor the UniformIn Purgatory's ShadowBy Inferno's LightDoctor Bashir, I Presume?A Simple InvestigationBusiness as UsualTies of Blood and WaterFerengi Love SongsSoldiers of the EmpireChildren of TimeBlaze of GloryEmpok NorIn the CardsCall to Arms

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Avery Brooks

DVD title: The Matrix Revolutions (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Matrix Revolutions (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A must see

Along with George Lucas with the STAR WARS series, The Wachowski Brothers have gone to the well that was expounded by Joseph Campbell with epochal "The Hero of Thousand Faces" to create another myth for our time. What became in THE MATRIX is story of the naif (John Anderson a/k/a Neo) who called to his path by a mysterious shaman (Morpheus. In THE MATRIX RELOADED, that naif is still awakening and fighting every minion of (...)on his great path. In REVOLUTIONS, the naif has finally awakened to realized that he and his path must end. In short, REVOLUTIONS concludes all of this with all of the vigor that Wagner put into ending his Ring Cycle. The Machine assault on Zion is an assault on the senses that can be best described and viewed as Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH if it was directed by Jackson Pollock. For me, the trilogy will provide food for thought for audiences, critics and students of cinema for years to come.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Laurence Fishburne

DVD title: Kathy Smith - Step Workout
Productgroup: DVD
Kathy Smith - Step Workout - movie DVD cover picture
I'm feeling the burn!

I've taken step aerobics classes at the gym before, and always dropped out before the entire class was over, mostly because I had trouble following the routine and got winded (and not to mention embarrassed) shortly into the routine. I was a bit leery about trying "step" again, but reading all the good reviews encouraged me and I ordered Smith's tape. I've been using the video for a week, and am still having a little trouble on some of the moves, but what the hey-- I'm alone in my living room and no one can see me go right instead of left! So far I'm pleased with the tape. The music is a tad "eighties" and there's a long commercial/skit/info session at the beginning they could have done without, but I'm feeling the burn just hours after I shut off the tape. My treadmill might just start collecting dust!

Studio: Sony Music (Video)
Kathy Smith

DVD title: Ball of Fire
Productgroup: DVD
Ball of Fire - movie DVD cover picture
Flawless Screwball Farce

Ball Of Fire opened at Christmas, 1941, not the most propitious moment for a screwball farce to open. However, it was a huge hit, critically and financially. Since then, it has remained popular with moviegoers, but has suffered at the hands of the "auteurist" critics. It comes up short in the Howard Hawks pantheon because it doesn't deal with professionals. If one hasn't had his or her's critical faculties polluted by this idiotic school of criticism, you'll have a ball watching egghead Gary Cooper going up against nightclub stripper Barbara Stanwyck. It is classic screwball farce and it deserves to be mentioned with the great screwball farces of all time. You'll love this one!

Director: Howard Hawks
Gary Cooper
Barbara Stanwyck

DVD title: Kill Bill, Volume 1
Productgroup: DVD
Kill Bill, Volume 1 - movie DVD cover picture
whoever wrote "it seems like he tryed to make a live anime..

jeez, do you think that could be it, do you think it was among other things an attempt at a live action movie in the style of such classic anime titles as fist of the north star, ninja scroll, etc, combined with hong kong action, story of ricky oh, old clint spaghetti westerns, akira (anime and kurasawa). best action flick in years. YEARS! just watch it and pray they let us sheltered americans actually buy the unedited version at some point.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
Lucy Liu
Daryl Hannah
David Carradine
Michael Madsen

DVD title: Jurassic Park III (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Jurassic Park III (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Better Than The Original And The Sequel

Well to start off the graphic are great and there are some real cool dino in the movie, but... Well all that seems to happen is people being chased by dinosaurs, and other corny ways to be chase again. There seem to be no point to it.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Joe Johnston
Sam Neill
William H. Macy
Téa Leoni

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