Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Cowboy Bebop - The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Cowboy Bebop - The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
You either love it or you hate it... and I love it.

as a fan of anime in general I gotta say this was a pretty cool film. There's action, drama and comedy and to anyone who hasn't seen "cowboy bebop the series" this will probably hit them like a train from out of nowhere with it's coolness. Like watching "pulp fiction in space" or something. That's all well and good for the uniniciated but as a long time fan of cowboy bebop I was a tad disapointed with parts of this flic. Just a tad. The action is extremely cool, and the soundtrack is to die for but still... perhaps this just feels too much like a two-part episode of the show that was stretched out to fit the length of a movie. Don't get me wrong when this movie is at it's best it is pretty much the coolest thing in the world, it's just that at times... well, it leaves something to be desired. But then the show also had it's ups and downs. And it's a credit to the production cast and crew that this film truly feels like and extension of the show and not a completely seperate thing. Which leaves me with just two things left to say: Well done, and when's the next one?

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Beau Billingslea
Melissa Charles

DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
Great Movie!

This movie is on my list for one of the best movies ever. I would recommend every get this. Expect your mouth to be dropping at the end. BTW the music is great too.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Spacey
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Stop Moaning & revel in the beauty of a galaxy far, far away

I am 34 years old, I saw Star Wars 37 times during the summer of 1977, and I was 6/7 at the time. I stood in line 5 hours the Saturday Empire came out. I had a Revenge of the Jedi poster that I ordered from the Star Wars fan club. (YES, it was a REVENGE of the Jedi poster, not Return, REVENGE. God, I wish I still had that, cha-ching) I had just about every action figure, ship and play set Mattel came out with. (Both the large and small Snaggletooth) I still have most of the action figures, worn as they are. Like for so many others my age, the original Star Wars Trilogy is a deeply moving experience and one that brings me back to my childhood whenever I see it. I still have the first VHS set of the movies that came out, and have just about worn them out watching them so many times. I have every reason to be a purist, and rue the day Lucas came out with the special editions. But you know what, I don't. 27 years later, I don't remember every minor detail of the movie, just the feelings of wonder and awe I had. The VHS versions I have watched over the last decades were faded and grainy. Poor sound and special effects errors had eroded my childish enthusiasm. But now, the greatest movie trilogy ever has come to DVD, and I am 7 all over again.

The picture transfer is amazing, and every scene (1 or 2 exceptions) is clear and bright. A lot of work went into transferring the images from the original negatives. The colors are awesome, and all the smudges and dust that were there are gone. All the effects errors (Rancor Pit blue screen edge, Ben and Darth fighting with non-glowing light sabers) have been fixed. My suspension of disbelief is back, I get lost in the films again. The DVD's really show off the lost art of matte painting. If you don't believe me, just look at the Cloud City exteriors on the Empire disk. Try to match that with CG. These films never looked so good. Anyone who says they remember exactly how they looked in the theater all those years ago is either wrong, or processes a photographic memory.

The sound is fantastic, although I will agree that sometimes the score and effects overwhelm the dialogue. Home theater is the only way to go with these films, you need to FEEL the explosions (crank up the sub-woofer) and hear the ships speed across the sound field. (Lightsabers make the coolest sound) I like the changes in dialogue, especially the re-dubbing of Boba Fett. The commentaries are a bit light, and Hamill and Ford are really missed, but Lucas does make interesting comments about the changes he's made. (Why no Hamill and Ford, ask them.)

The extras are a little weak, and the centerpiece documentary was on A&E just last week. I would have liked to see some deleted scenes, but how many times can you watch the grainy, cut up Luke/Biggs conversation from Star Wars? If you even know about it, you probably have the Star Wars: Behind the Magic CD-Rom just like me. Watch it there. Ask yourself, do you buy a DVD for the movie or the extras? There is a reason they are called "Bonus Features".

Thus ends my review. Short I know, but for these films, I think a movie review is a waste of time. Who hasn't seen the Star Wars Trilogy? I will now delve into my thoughts on the debate raging over Lucas' changes. If you're not interested, read no further.

It is my firm belief that the Star Wars films are 100% the property of their creator, George Lucas. Let me say that again. The Star Wars films BELONG TO GEORGE LUCAS! Don't give me that "they belong to the fans" crud, you and I did not write, produce, nor direct any of these movies. We did not invest any time, money, heart or soul into their creation. We watched them, that's it. George is the artist, and the movies are his works. If he says these are the films he wanted to make in the first place, that's good enough for me. If you are someone who thinks there should be no changes, and moans for the original 1977 theatrical version, that's your right. Here is what you do, DON'T BUY THE DVD. Take a stand. If you are so set against the Special Editions and the changes made, then pull out your old VHS copies, and watch them in all their grainy, pan & scan, mono sound glory. As for me, I'll be laying back with some popcorn, gazing at the beautiful digital picture and listening to TIE Fighters and X-Wings zip from left to right. Trust me; I'll be transported back to a time when my biggest concern was fixing the flat tire on my bicycle.

This whole "debate" reminds me of the Saturday Night Live hosted by William Shatner. There is a sketch where Shatner plays himself at a Star Trek convention, and is asked what the combination to Kirk's safe was. Shatner responds to a Spock Eared John Lovitz, "What are you, 35? Have you ever kissed a girl?" Let it go people, there are more important things to worry about than whether or not a Jedi screams during a death dive from a Cloud City catwalk. I mean, how can you have a meaningful debate when the phrase "Cloud City catwalk" is part of the conversation?

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Harrison Ford

DVD title: The Snow Queen
Productgroup: DVD
The Snow Queen - movie DVD cover picture
Flawed US release of a Russian Animation Masterpiece

This is the Universal-International release of Soyuzmultfilm's classic with Art Linklater's awkward intro tagged onto the beginning. While the dark splicey PD print leaves much to be desired, this is what I saw in a kiddie matinee showing in the 60s. The production holds up wonderfully, and I find Frank Skinner's lush orchestral score preferable to the electronic keyboard variet used on the print used in PBS' version (also available on dvd) A decent no frills edition.

Studio: Westlake

DVD title: Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago)
Productgroup: DVD
Shania Twain - Up (Live in Chicago) - movie DVD cover picture
An Evening With Shania!

A stunning performance of Man! I Feel Like A Woman! Throughout the show Shania moves around perfectly interacting with her band and working the crowd. If you attended the Chicago show you may just see yourself on the dvd as there are plenty of shots of the audience. The show contains a mix of 22 songs classic and new material. What an evening!

Studio: Universal Music & VI
Shania Twain

DVD title: Jaws (Full Screen Anniversary Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Jaws (Full Screen Anniversary Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One Of The All-Time Greats!

i have to say that when this movie was first made they thought it was gonna be a flop. BUT BOY WERE THEY WRONG. this happened to be one of the best movies ever made. and jaws 2 was pretty good too. but than after that they started going down hill.

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

DVD title: Chicago (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Chicago (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
All Flash And No Substance!!! (But I Liked It Anyway!!!)

In this movie Renee Zellwiger plays Roxie Hart who has just murdered her lover. Roxy enlists the help of High Class Lawyer Richard Gere who promises her he can help her "beat the rap" as they used to call it back in the days when this movie was set. This movie explores the Themes of Temporary Celebrity Status and is wholly redeemed by the presence of Ms. Catherine Zeta-Jones who is always a delight to watch onscreen.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Rob Marshall
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Renée Zellweger

DVD title: Ghostbusters
Productgroup: DVD
Ghostbusters - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie and one that I have always liked

After finally watching it all the way, I have realized that the WS is not that bad on here. Like the title of this reviews says, it's a great movie and one that I have always liked. The Final Verdict that has been appealed from last time: I would buy it, but if you're still skeptical or will have the same problems like I did have, then rent it first and see what you think.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Ivan Reitman
Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd
Sigourney Weaver

DVD title: Murder at 1600
Productgroup: DVD
Murder at 1600 - movie DVD cover picture
An impressive, tantalizing thriller

Once again I find myself praising a movie that a majority of folks seem to view as average at best. Murder at 1600 is a serious movie that you can't take too seriously, not if you want to enjoy it. Wesley Snipes has a few humorous bits, and Dennis Miller is his normally wisecracking self, and I think the movie perhaps benefits from this remote air of unreality due to its subject matter - after all, the brutal murder of a young woman inside the White House is some pretty serious stuff. The other main aspect of the film, which supplies the motive for the murder in the first place, is - granted - a little bit out there, and that is where the subtle sense of unreality pays dividends; without it, it would really be hard to get from here to there.
Carla Towne is a young unknown White House staffer - until her body is found in a White House restroom sporting a number of deadly knife wounds. This is not good news for the President, who is already bottoming out in the polls for still attempting to negotiate, six months into the crisis, the release of an AWAC crew captured and obviously tortured by the North Koreans. Wesley Snipes plays Detective Harlan Regis, the investigator summoned to the White House to investigate the murder. The Secret Service as an organization is less than friendly and cooperative, viewing the White House as its beat alone. Except for his buddy and sometimes partner (played by Dennis Miller), Regis is pretty much on his own. The tight-lipped and intimidating Nick Spikings (Daniel Benzali), the chief of White House security and definite contender for the next Lex Luthor look-alike contest (his Marlon Brando impersonation isn't half bad, either) assigns Agent Nina Chance (Diane Lane) as Regis' liaison with the Secret Service. Spikings doesn't mess around, and once he has tabbed an individual for the murder, he wants Chance to have nothing to do with Regis. The detective is pretty persistent, though, and Chance has to weigh her sense of duty against her sense of justice.
The list of suspects is quite fluid, and I think the movie does a very good job of sustaining suspense and the sense of mystery throughout. The facts as Regis acquires them make not only the President's philandering son, but the President himself possible suspects. Then you have the crisis with North Korea coming to the fore, with the President really frustrating his top advisors with his incredibly wimpy refusal to risk war with North Korea over the military hostage crisis. The truth, when it comes, does push the envelope to some degree, but it is certainly logical in the given context. I didn't ID the real bad guy any sooner than Regis and Chance did, so that to me is a good thing.
A great mystery, plenty of action, power politics, lust, murder, conspiracy inside conspiracy: Murder in 1600 offers the viewers all of this and more. The ending itself is well done in my opinion, as well. Thus, this reviewer counts this as an impressive and very entertaining thriller.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Dwight H. Little
Wesley Snipes
Diane Lane

DVD title: Fury
Productgroup: DVD
Fury - movie DVD cover picture
Lang's First American Film

An insightful study of mob rule, director Fritz Lang's "Fury" (1936) still packs a disturbing punch -- abetted by excellent performances from Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney and Bruce Cabot. The closing shot was studio-imposed and unnecessary, but does not lessen the film's overall impact. "Fury" remains a powerful, thought-provoking drama. The DVD release includes an excellent commentary track from director Peter Bogdanovich.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Fritz Lang
Sylvia Sidney
Spencer Tracy
Walter Abel

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