Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Beyonce - Live at Wembley (DVD with Bonus CD)
Productgroup: DVD
Beyonce - Live at Wembley (DVD with Bonus CD) - movie DVD cover picture
You Haven't Heard Beyonce till you hear her live

This DVD includes the full live concert in Wembley, London from Beyonce Knowles.
THE GOOD:The songs sound great in 5.1 Surround Sound and looks even better in High Definition Widescreen. The special features include VIP Admittance videos of Backstage, Choreography, Beyonce's Dressing Room, Show Favorites, A Day In London, Meet the Fans, a Conversation with Beyonce, and much more. Also included is a bonus CD with 3 new songs (Wishing On a Star, What's It Gonna Be, and My First Time) and 3 remixes.
THE BAD:The 3 new songs are good, but it seems like it could have been more considering Beyonce recorded so many songs in the studio. The DVD also should have included music videos.
THE BEST:My First Time produced by the Neptunes is one of my favorites on the bonus CD next to Wishing On A Star.The best peformances are Fever, Hip Hop Star, Work It Out and Baby Boy. This DVD was definately worth the money. Get it as soon as possible.

Studio: Sony Music Entertain

DVD title: The Quiet American
Productgroup: DVD
The Quiet American - movie DVD cover picture

I am astounded at the positive reviews this movie has gotten... this movie is so stereotypically mainstream Hollywood that it's almost like a satire of itself. There is no subtlety, nothing clever or new, and absolutely nothing to challenge the viewer.
1) The Voice-Over Narration - Throughout the movie we have Michael Caine spelling out for us exactly what is happening and how his character feels about it, just in case the audience isn't quite clever enough to figure it out. A narrator shouldn't have to tell us, "I was surprised to find that I was actually quite pleased to see Pyle once again..." The actor should convey that information through his ACTING.
2) The close-ups of important information - We see about four different close-ups of a spot where Pyle steps so that, later in the movie, someone can observe that Pyle had visited Caine because he has some wet cement on his shoe. It's so obvious and overly set-up, they might as well have had Michael Caine's narration voice tell us, "Now, pay close attention to that spot where Pyle is stepping. It's important."
3) The lead actress has no character at all - Both men are supposed to be in love with her, yet she displays no personality at all, aside from "young and sexy," which isn't really a personality. Why are they both so in love with her? It's really painful.Particularly excruciating is the scene where the two men are hanging out in a bunker together, talking about how much they both love her, and Michael Caine tells Pyle "I've recently introduced her to the music of Bach," like she's a pet that he's training. If you like strong or interesting female characters, give this movie a pass.
4) The slow-motion running through bloody chaos with mouth hanging open scene - Yup. They have a couple of these. The worst one is after a bomb has gone off and we see Michael Caine running through the area, sobbing, staring at all the death and destruction. It's SO Hollywood and SO cliche that it becomes almost funny.And then, just in case you still haven't gotten that this was a BAD thing, the next scene is Michael Caine describing the scene to someone else and we see the footage once again, as he describes it. Example: "There was a woman who covered her dead child with a hat. A man died in front of his family."We get it, Caine. We get it.
All in all, this movie has nothing to recommend it aside from some nice scenery.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Phillip Noyce
Michael Caine
Brendan Fraser
Do Thi Hai Yen

DVD title: Teen Witch
Productgroup: DVD
Teen Witch - movie DVD cover picture
What a cheesy, wonderfully good time!

If there is one movie that sets new standards for cheesiness, "Teen Witch" gets the crown. Somehow it manages to go so over-the-top with its cheesiness, that it transcends to charming (no easy feat; just ask Irwin Winkler who directed "The Net"). And despite at least two jaw-dropingly bad musical numbers, I loved every single inch of this movie. I remember seeing this movie as a kid and falling in love with Robyn Lively: she is so charming in this movie! Lively plays Louise Miller, a nerdy high school girl who secretly admires the captain of the football team. She finds out she has descended from a line of witches and has been endowed with her own magical powers. With the help of an old witch, Madame Serena, she becomes the most popular girl in school, gets the handsome football captain on her side, etc. It is a predictable story line, with predictable outcomes and payoffs. Even so, the movie never tries to be anything but fun and enjoyable. It succeeds! Lively really carries the burden of the charm. She is a joy to watch! I don't expect you to be looking into a movie called "Teen Witch", wanting superb cinema. Thus, if you have read this far, you probably are looking for a light, fun, charming movie. If that is the case, then "Teen Witch", with all its incantations and sparkle dust, won't let you down.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Dorian Walker

DVD title: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Not for the pigeon brained

A pychologist named Cialdini referred to a phenomenon called "social proof" where ones opinions are dependent on what one thinks the majority believes. This has been put into use in media and advertising, ex. "4 out of 5 housewives..." and can be seen in the flock behavior of pigeons.
In artificial life experiments it has been shown that only three rules are needed for artificial birds to exhibit flock behavior. 1. A clumping force that keeps the flock together; 2. An ability to match velocity so that the birds in the flock would move in the same speed; 3. A seperation force that prevents birds from getting too close to each other. Through this very simple programming, complex behaviors would result for ex. while approaching a mountain, the flock would seperate into two flocks and then rejoin on the other side.
The following the herd tendency in human development has evolved for greater chance of survival but it has also been a great force in creating mass histeria and fascism as in Nazi Germany. In AI, many humans are shown to exhibit this behavior which seems to be a prime motivation towards their cruelty.
So it is ironic that people read review to enable themselves to make an opinion of this film. In many cases, films that get bad reviews when they first come out, "Bladerunner" is an example, become classics as the audiences evolve to understand them. So why listen to reviews? Become more "humane" and watch the film with an open mind and heart. Afterall, all it wants is your unconditional love.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Haley Joel Osment
Jude Law

DVD title: Formula 51
Productgroup: DVD
Formula 51 - movie DVD cover picture
Brit Flick!!!

This movie is totally, absolutely off the wall. Nuts in the extreme. It's an American style genre, the action comedy, but with a British twist. Samuel L Jackson is hysterical and the movie is so tongue in cheek it's almost a tongue in somebody else's cheek. VERY VERY FUNNY. You have to see it just for the uhm, bodily function scene and the explosion at the end. That's all I'll say about that. SEE IT!!!

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Ronny Yu
Samuel L. Jackson
Emily Mortimer
Robert Carlyle

DVD title: Aliens of the Deep
Productgroup: DVD
Aliens of the Deep - movie DVD cover picture
*Vastly* Exceeded My Expectations

I've watched the entire "Cosmos" (Carl Sagan's) video series perhaps as many as 50+ times over the past 20 years, and am still not tired of it, but this... this incredible movie went so far beyond anything I could have expected that I'm going to have to return to see it, in 3D, *at* IMAX, multiple times.

The visual impact is just like "being there", in fact, it's no doubt very much better (because of the time factor) than even taking an actual ride in this vehicle... and, the speculations of exploring Europa's undersea area was a climax that tied the whole current project together with the most elaborate visions that NASA could have dreamed up.

This could be a much longer review, but there's no time, except to encourage those who might be in the least inclined to go see this film at IMAX in 3D without delay. This is one that no high-definition TV can recreate for you, at least at the levels of technology we have now or can expect in the home, in the next 20 years. And, if you feel this review is too enthusiastic, after seeing the movie, all I can say is that I'm sorry for you.

I worked at JPL for 10+ years and was personally responsible for managing the development and flight-hardware fabrication & calibration of the Voyager's wide-angle sun detectors, as well as for a number of other, lesser tasks. Since that time I've followed the thinking about Humankind's future in space, but *this* movie, again, went beyond anything I could have even dreamed of expecting.

Once again, the visual impact, the way the 3D camera captures the people in these deep-sea vehicles themselves as well as the incredible organism near the volcanic vents 10,000 feet down in the open ocean, is fantastic. Go See It!!!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
James Cameron

DVD title: Glenn Gould - The Russian Journey
Productgroup: DVD
Glenn Gould - The Russian Journey - movie DVD cover picture
An Inspiring Documentary !

I would like to address some things written by the reviewer below which are inconsistent. BLee "bpslee", claimed: "Glenn Gould went there at the nip of time: they were lost in artistical values then and he was the first American musician to perform there at a time when public performance of Bach was forbidden." Firstly, Glenn Gould is not American he is Canadian. Secondly, to suggest that simply since Gould went there at a critical time is the reason he was well received is certainly not true-- BLee "bpslee" went on to state: "Moreover, Russia was so receptive of artists of real talent and of novel things and ideas from outside." Gould was much more than another artist, they thought his genius was so profound with his inhuman timing, Godly trills, and an ability to sing and pronounce voices with unbelievable clarity that on the documentary one sees several prominent professors and pianists claiming they thought he was an alien. This idea of convenient timing and the sharing of unknown composers is simply a negligible fraction of his success.

Throughout the video top musicians like Ashkenazy, and Rostropovich constantly praise him as a genius. They're pictures with Richter and Nikoleyva who were absolutely enchanted by his performance; he had lengthy discussions with the latter. These people's admiration isn't easily gained, and one gets and immediate realization of the utter amazement they had for Gould through various interviews.

I will never forget this video and I think it's a profound documentary. I believe its purpose is to try and place you in the feeling and emotion of the Russian voyage, to gain a multilateral aspect of the times and the power of Gould's visit. Regardless of time or place in history Gould will remain unique and be a favorite Bach interpreter for centuries to come. I can only imagine what it must have been like to hear Bach's Concerto BWV 1052 resonating throughout the halls of Leningrad Conservatory 1957.

A beautiful story ...

Studio: Kultur
Glenn Gould

DVD title: Peter Gabriel - Growing Up Live
Productgroup: DVD
Peter Gabriel - Growing Up Live - movie DVD cover picture
Life changing

This musical experience is mind blowing. It is some of the most creative, eye opening performances I have ever seen. I can watch this over and over again and still feel like I was right there in the audience. You can feel the pasion that Peter feels just from watching this. Do the right thing and buy this.

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Hukwe Zawose
Blind Boys of Alabama
Peter Gabriel

DVD title: Millennium - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Millennium - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
The Series that laid the foundation

The second season continues the groundbreaking work of the first. The significance and impact of Millennium, sadly not appreciated during the lifetime of the series, is evident in all of the highest viewer rated series of today. Programs like "CSI" or Fox's "24" would not have been possible without the foundation laid by Millennium. Nothing like this, not even X-Files, had ever been seen before, and as good as some of the modern descendents of Millennium may be, none like it will ever be seen again. Except, perhaps, in the years leading up to 2999.In the meantime, you can own the first and second series on DVD...and watch....and wait. Ouroborus.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Lance Henriksen

DVD title: High Society
Productgroup: DVD
High Society - movie DVD cover picture
Can you dig ol' Satchmo swingin' in the High Society?

One of the best movies ever made, in my opinion. The cast is, well, brilliant beyond description, and the 'madcap antics' so much a part of American movie culture never played so well - ("Uncle Billy! "Fine...fine..." "Ma-MA"). Also my favorite Grace Kelly performance of all time. Well did you EVER! They were STONED...My favorite "double 'croonin'" moment on film as well. This movie captures a time and space in American film (late, admittedly) that also captures a time and space in American culture (tongue-in-cheek, admittedly) and the juxtaposition of the two is pure movie magic

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Charles Walters
Bing Crosby
Grace Kelly
Frank Sinatra

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