Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: On Edge
Productgroup: DVD
On Edge - movie DVD cover picture
Yes, it's finally here!!!!

I was fortunate enough to see this film at a film festival two and a half years ago with my father. And the result was absolute hilarity. The film is definately in the spirit of Christopher Guest's "This is Spinal Tap" and "Waiting for Guffman". I had hoped and prayed that this great film would make it's way into the mainstream, but alas my prayers were never answered. But, lo and behold, I was checking on the internet and decided to try one last chance and lucky lucky me it's finally here! I urge you to rent this or buy this straight away. You will laugh your ass off.The plot is simple but briliant. A dorky documentarian decides to go into the life of figure skating. We meet three talented but somewhat unorthodox skaters that tell the documentarian that all they want is to go all the way to the top. When the film isn't focused on the protagonists it switches between other skaters wanting the same thing, Note: watch for the scene with the twins in the dog outfits, it's hilarious, the same with the Oriental figure skater by the end of the film who isn't all she appears to be. In the midst of all this we also meet the resident philosopher who is also the janitor of the skating rink. All in all this film is a must see and laugh. Buy it now!!!!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Karl Slovin

DVD title: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Productgroup: DVD
Thoroughly Modern Millie - movie DVD cover picture
Love this movie - Julie Andrews & Mary Tyler Moore!

I love this movie. I've seen it many times and I recently purchased it. The music is wonderful and the story is really unique. There are some points when Julie Andrews actually "talks" to the audience which really made my kids laugh! The dancing in the elevator always gets me going... It's just a great movie. Buy it and enjoy!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: George Roy Hill
Julie Andrews
James Fox

DVD title: Boogie Nights
Productgroup: DVD
Boogie Nights - movie DVD cover picture
For me, a very personal movie

Now don't think that i'm dissin' this fine piece of filmaking. I am definitely not. I thought that this was really a quality film in all of it's aspects. I think that a truly great film will engender the desire to see it over and over again. Although I certainly applaud the film I have no real desire to see it again. And it's not because of the subject. I've seen numerous films where the subject matter didn't exactly thrill me but yet i've enjoyed watching some of those other films over and over again. Goodfellas comes to mind to name one. And to me that's a very similar film in respect to it's taking a somewhat romanticized concept (american's love gangsters the same as guys love women and the concept of porn) and demystifies it down to it's real essence. But with Goodfellas I enjoyed the ride more while still feeling like I was seeing an accurate unromanticized portrayal of mob life.
Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, William H. Macy, and Julianne Moore give great performances. Very unexpected in some cases.
The film is uncompromisingly honest and effective just with something unpalatable about it. An important and extremely well done film but not one I feel like I need or want in my collection.

Studio: New Line Studios
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Burt Reynolds
Julianne Moore
Mark Wahlberg

DVD title:
 - movie DVD cover picture
Enjoyable and intriguing fast paced story

I suppose the moral of this story is: Nathan Muir steals Tom Bishop's innocence and then restores it. Tom is recruited by Muir to become a CIA operative. Through clever and intense flashbacks, we see what these two experienced during Tom's training and field operations. Pitt plays Tom Bishop as a man with a sense of right and wrong who discovers that there are no good guys in his battles. There are only loyalties, and there are far too many sacrifices to the grand plan that we see in this film (as in real life) is starting to crumble. Then, Tom meets a lovely aid worker who happens to have quite a shady past. Again, more questions about who is right and wrong, who is good and who is evil. We are thrown into dramatic and violent situations, although I must say that unlike many Hollywood films, the violence is neither gratuitous nor here to shock and gross out. It depicts real world situations. Toss Brad Pitt into this, and the story changes for him. His character has questions. He has defeats. Maybe you see in his face that he has also had enough. Tom Bishop, though, is redeemed through his love for the aid worker. He risks his life on a failed mission to save her from prison in China. This is where the film begins and ends. On the opposite side of the world, Nathan Muir (Redford) is suddenly cast in the role of either being Pitt's savior or executioner. The CIA politics become intense, as on the surface Redford plays along but behind the scenes, he is manipulating every avenue he can think of to secure Pitt's freedom. If he does not, Pitt will be killed. We find out that Muir isn't perfect -- he is neither a good guy nor a bad guy himself. His philosophies are callous. He is very much the stereotypical spy -- manipulative, conniving, and cold-hearted. Redford performs his role, as does Pitt, with an understated perfection. These two men are an excellent team. There are no "movie star" qualities in their performances. You almost feel that you are watching a documentary, the acting is done so honestly. I must say that it is hard to forget one scene where Redford is very attractively dressed in a tuxedo. Or Pitt's face as he discovers he has betrayed a good friend, one of the few good guys in the film. If you are looking for a blood and guts, clear cut thriller that spoon feeds you the plotline (something along the lines of a shallow Tom Cruise film), don't bother with Spy Game. This film is for intelligent people who want to witness and outguess the cat and mouse game that nearly defeats Redford's character. And the love story is quite beautiful, couched as it is in a world at war.

DVD title: The League of Gentlemen - The Complete Series 1
Productgroup: DVD
The League of Gentlemen - The Complete Series 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Get ready to wet your pants

I bought this DVD practically sight unseen. I had seen a preview of it on one of the French and Saunders DVDs. Lots of serious laughs. It's as if David Lynch decided to do comedy. A totally unexpected GEM.

Studio: BBC Video
Director: Steve Bendelack

DVD title:
 - movie DVD cover picture
Another Great Re-watchable Show on DVD

Yes! I am so excited that the show "Reba" is finally coming to DVD. This show is one of those great comedies that you can watch over and over, and still laugh as hard as when you saw an episode the first time. "Reba" is original, fun, and the perfect family comedy series. My mom and i watch it together every Friday Night on the WB. I pre-ordered this so i could give it to my mom for christmas, and i know she'll love it! I'm especially excited to check out the DVD's special features, which include commentary with the cast, bloopers and outtakes! The bloopers sound fun to watch, because i've always wondered how hard it must be for the cast to keep a strait face when they are working with Steve Howey (who plays 'van') because i know i couldn't. If you haven't seen this show, you are missing out! It's on the WB, Friday nights at 9pm eastern time (but i'd check your local listings.) This is the perfect show and the perfect gift.

DVD title: Heart - Alive in Seattle
Productgroup: DVD
Heart - Alive in Seattle - movie DVD cover picture
Proof that Rock 'n' Roll Still Has Heart

The 2003 DVD release HEART: ALIVE IN SEATTLE is one of the best video recordings of a live performance of a rock band, and it is especially impressive when considering that it documents a recent performance from a band that has been playing kick-*ss rock for nearly 30 years (their debut album, DREAMBOAT ANNIE, was released in 1976).
The performance was recorded at the Paramount Theater in Seattle (Heart's hometown) on Aug. 8, 2002, the last gig on the band's 2002 "Summer of Love" tour. The response to the tour was tremendous, with longtime fans and newbies alike enthusiastically welcoming fronters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their new back-up band--an ensemble that includes former Ozzy Osbourne and Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez and Lovemongers drummer Ben Smith. The tour was so successful, in fact, that they turned right around and toured again in 2003 (the "Alive in America" tour) playing basically the same song set. So fans who missed either or both of those tours can still experience that concert atmosphere vicariously with the HEART: ALIVE IN SEATTLE disc--but with much better "seating"!
The Wilson sisters made an excellent choice for the set list, which includes the band's very popular pre-'80s hard-rock standards like "Crazy on You," "Straight On," "Magic Man," and "Barracuda," as well as some great post-70s tunes such as "Alone" and "These Dreams." In addition, the band does a fantastic job on covers of Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore" and "Black Dog," the Elton John ballad "Mona Lisas and Madhatters," and an old garage-band ditty called "The Witch."
Dark-haired Vocalist Ann Wilson, as beautiful as ever, proves that she still has what it takes to belt out the band's old hard-rock standards, and she still sounds as angelic as ever on the softer melancholy favorites like "Dog and Butterfly" and "Dreamboat Annie." When Heart plays their classic stuff, Ms. Wilson sounds exactly like she did when the songs were first recorded--which is a lot more than you can say for most rock vocalists from the '60s and '70s, who can no longer hit those high notes. But she and sister Nancy (who mainly plays guitar and other strings) also easily keep up with the newer, younger artists when they perform some of their latest compositions like "Heaven," "Sister Wild Rose," and the really cool hard-hitter "Break The Rock." Both women are certainly in top form and prove they can go the distance in the studio and on stage. And with HEART: ALIVE IN SEATTLE, they leave no doubt that they are still two of the most talented and creative women in rock.
The picture quality on this DVD is crisp and clear, with great color saturation and nice contrast, and the cinematographer does a top-notch job of capturing the energy of the artists and the spirit of their performances. The Dolby sound quality is also excellent, and a sound system that takes advantage of the DTS Surround Sound can really make viewers feel like they are at the live performance.
No longtime fan of HEART will be disappointed with HEART: ALIVE IN SEATTLE. And the DVD will certainly give newbies a taste of just how powerful and emotive this band and the talented duo that drives it can be.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Ann Wilson
Nancy Wilson

DVD title: The Caine Mutiny
Productgroup: DVD
The Caine Mutiny - movie DVD cover picture
One of the finest Navy films ever

This film contains as thoughtful a treatment as the medium allows of many key military issues, including: how does a chain of command work; how should subordinates respond to questionable orders by superiors; what is loyalty and to whom should it be given, and why. And like any great movie, it requires the viewer to think, to be drawn in, and to re-evaluate something the viewer had before taken for granted.

This film has special meaning for me because of an incident in my own Navy career. I viewed the film, along with my shipmates, at OCS. However, I didn't fully comprehend its messages until years later and after I had been through an experience onboard that bore some resemblance to the central dilemma posed by the movie. I was ordered by a superior officer to perform an act against regulations by underpaying people going TAD. Those of you who were onboard FFG-12 in 1989 know the superior officer I'm talking about -- the one who was a TAR. Anyhow, I had the facts on my side (see JFTR U4177) and I stood my ground but I did not have the sophistication at the time to understand that my duty encompassed more than just blindly saying "I'm right." I had a further duty to try to ameliorate the situation and provide alternatives. Maybe that was too much to ask from a 24-year old Ensign, but like Caine's Lt. Maryk, I could have been more aggressive in doing the right thing while not disobeying an order.

I do have to mention one major problem about this movie. Although it is quite realistic of many aspects of the Navy and shipboard life, there is one glaring falsity. At the end of the movie, Ensign Keith is promoted the Ltjg. and is shown on another ship as an OOD. That's nutty. Every one of the mutinous officers would never go to sea again, and their careers would effectively be over. What captain in the world would want as a subordinate an officer that had been tried for mutiny, even if he'd been acquitted? What military superstructure would permit such a person to billet on a ship? It just wouldn't happen.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Humphrey Bogart
José Ferrer
Van Johnson
Fred MacMurray

DVD title: I Love Lucy - Season One (Vol. 3)
Productgroup: DVD
I Love Lucy - Season One (Vol. 3) - movie DVD cover picture

I have just recently purchased this DVD and let me tell you that it is GREAT! I can't belive all the EXTRA bonus material, like the "mistakes", and the radio show episodes, and behind the scenes! It is just a treasure!!! A TRUE MUST HAVE FOR A LUCY FAN!!! (like me) TRUST ME, It is THE BEST!!!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Lucille Ball
Desi Arnaz

DVD title: Dracula - Prince of Darkness
Productgroup: DVD
Dracula - Prince of Darkness - movie DVD cover picture

The words of Father Sandor (Andrew Keir) are laden with dread as he delights in warming his posterior,drinking mulled claret. Made back to back with Rasputin the Mad Monk,the product of Hammers perennial economy drive Dracula Prince of Darkness not only made use of the same sets and cast as Rasputin,but was also shot using a poor man,s widescreen process called Techniscope,which obtained the desired 1:2.35 ratio by exposing only half a frame of standard 35mm celluloid,thereby reducing the cost of film stock.
Despite the fact that theoretically this leads to a reduction in quality of the final print,any imperfections have largely gone unnoticed,mainly because most of us don,t have eyesight with the resolving power of an electron microscope. Which is good news for buyers of this DVD version of Christopher Lee,s second Hammer outing as Count Dracula,as the quality of the transfer is excellent ,pin sharp with even colour and good shadow detail.Typically the kind of first rate image you can only obtain with DVD.
A synopsis of the film is really superfluous ,everyone by now being familiar with the tribulations of four unsuspecting English travellers visiting the distant and fear ridden Carpathians. With an accent on mystery and suspense,John Sansom,s (Jimmy Sangster) script allows Terence Fisher to dwell on building an effective atmosphere.He is ably assisted in this by a very good cast,Bernard Robinson,s superb sets and James Bernards characteristic score.
Perhaps the only criticism of the film is the eventual demise of Dracula which although nicely staged lacks a certain credibility,the arch vampire succumbing all to easily to a watery grave.On a high note one of the additional features that makes this DVD version stand out is the audio commentary by Christopher Lee and three other members of the original cast,soothing the pains of nostalgia in a manner that will seem priceless to all ardent Hammer fans.

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Terence Fisher
Christopher Lee

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