Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Dawn of the Dead (Widescreen Unrated Director's Cut)
Productgroup: DVD
Dawn of the Dead (Widescreen Unrated Director's Cut) - movie DVD cover picture
You gotta shoot them in the HEAD!!! (hahaha!)

I like my horror to have a supernatural tinge to it, so usually people-on-people slasher type "horror" movies aren't really horror to me, just... I don't know, something else. But zombies, still being "people," still counts as supernatural to me. As in... not natural. So the blood and gore and all the head shooting doesn't bug me as much, because hey - they are ZOMBIES! You can shoot 'em, fry 'em, toss them about like beanbags. Who cares! They are dead already! So just because of that you have your dash of humor mixed in with the horror. And that's always the best combination for entertainment - scares with sides of laughter. The original "Dawn of the Dead" had its own share of blood and gore and humor, but sometimes I felt that old movie dragged in places. I felt this newer version was tighter, had more zippity-zap, and was all-around more fun. Seems a lot of the time I was smiling. Eyes wide in expectation, sure, but also a lot of smiling or laughing. I know I didn't explain the movie much, since many others have done a good job with that. But I'm just saying if you like horror mixed with comedy (not to mention action!), then you'll want to check it out. I liked it enough after the first viewing that I watched it again the next day. That's rare for me.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Zack Snyder
Sarah Polley
Ving Rhames
Jake Weber
Mekhi Phifer

DVD title: Cowboy Bebop Complete Sessions Collection ( Exclusive)
Productgroup: DVD
Cowboy Bebop Complete Sessions Collection ( Exclusive) - movie DVD cover picture
Anime with Substance

Cowboy Bebop is best known for its characterization, pulsating jazz music, and seamless art style. So, what could be better than a limited boxed set with EVERY SINGLE session complete with an OST? Nothing.
At first glance, you may notice that there doesn't seem to be a plot. All you see for the first episode are two bounty hunters who seem to spend most of their time drifting thru the solar system. At a closer look, the chracters seem more human and have their own conflicts, quirks, and (gasp) personalities. Spike Spiegel is a carefree "cowboy" with a shady past, possibly dealing with the Red Dragon Syndicate, a type of mafia run by a council of old people. If seems Spike has some heck of a past life, but decided to run away. Then there's Jet Black, an ex-ISSP (interstellar solar system police) officer who also had a somewhat mysterious past. As Spike and Jet travel in Jet's junk ship, the Bebop, they encounter a lot of strange people and animals. First is Ein, an intelligent Welsh Corgi capable of surpassing his expectations. Then there's Faye Valentine, who has a huge debt on her head and decides to stick with the Bebop crew. She loves gambling, but always manages to find/lose money. The last member is Edward Hau Wong Pepelu Tivrusky IV, or Ed for short. A genius computer hacker under the alias, "Radical Edward", Ed also tags along.
From reading this review, I bet you can already tell that Bebop is made of a strange cast of characters. However, in each "session," Spike, Faye, Ed, and Jet deal with their internal conflicts and problems with some help from one another. Another brilliant aspect of Cowboy Bebop is how the characters are not perfect, they all have cracks on/below the surface. Spike is lanky but handsome in his own way. Though Faye is sometimes the center of fanservice, she still isn't overtly drawn like *some other* female anime characters.
The music is another portion of CB to rave about. If you don't know who Yoko Kanno is, you better start getting used to hearing that name. She is best known for Macross and Escaflowne, and her expertise is brilliantly lended to Cowboy Bebop. The opening immediately drew me in and I never get tired of listening to "Tank!" Good songs play thruout the show and it helps bring the moody atmosphere if it is dramatic, or light feeling if it is comedic.
So this is my review. To call Cowboy Bebop a classic is like calling Evangelion revolutionary. Watanable Shinichiro did do an excellent job. He helped changed the anime genre not too much, but just a little bit to influence future anime productions to take the usual anime plot, and twist it to make an unforgettable show.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Director: ShinichirĂ´ Watanabe
Kôichi Yamadera
Unshô Ishizuka
Megumi Hayashibara

DVD title: Tuesdays with Morrie
Productgroup: DVD
Tuesdays with Morrie - movie DVD cover picture
Tuesdays with Morrie

It took me all of 4 hours to read this book. It was insightful and entertaining. It was also sad. I cried so hard at the end of the book that I hiccuped for 3 hours. I work at a children's home and have passed this book to several of my 'children' who returned the book damp with tears and facing challenges with new resolve. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has to face ANY TYPE of challenge, whether mental, physical, financial, whatever.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Mick Jackson
Jack Lemmon
Hank Azaria

DVD title: Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Superb Movie! One Of Spielberg's best

I just finished watching this movie and it is simply brilliant. The acting is tremendous and the movie's flow is aided by the fantastic score by John Williams.Go see it!

Studio: Umvd/Dreamworks
Director: Steven Spielberg
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hanks
Christopher Walken

DVD title: Vertigo (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Vertigo (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
very good

[WARNING: movies spoilers ahead] Recently I watched Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, and The Birds. Out of these four, I only liked Vertigo... the other was not much of anything new, probably due to so many other movies imitating it... but god... even if none did that, can Read WIndow be so highly acclaimed as it is? It feels only like a low budget Hong Kong black and white movie made in two weeks. The plot sucked.
Even some re-run of Hitchcock on the TV that is 30 minutes long have more twist and surprise and ending better than The Birds, Psycho, and Rear Window. But Vertigo is a lot better and if you watch only one movie out of these four Hitchcock movies, watch Vertigo.
I shouldn't say too much to Vertigo and it may give the suspense away.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart
Kim Novak

DVD title: Wee Sing:Together
Productgroup: DVD
Wee Sing:Together - movie DVD cover picture
Toddler Chick Flick!

We have 4 kids (3 girls and a boy) and my girls have gone nuts over this show. Not so much for my son. It doesn't take those little 2 year olds to start learning the lines of the songs and it sure makes for some awesome entertainment for the rest of us! I would recommend this one to anyone with little ones!!!

Studio: Wee Sing Productions
Pam Beall

DVD title: Men in Black (Collector's Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Men in Black (Collector's Series) - movie DVD cover picture
A fantastic movie

I was the first person in the theater the day this movie came out after having watched previews for almost a year. I have to admit that the first time I saw it, I didn't really like it at all. I thought the story was amusing, but the humor just didn't sink in. But then, I watched it again.
Since then, I have watched this movie probably close to a hundred times, and I think it gets funnier every time. This movies certainly grows on you. Despite my very large number of viewings, I still notice things in the movie that I haven't ever noticed before.
This movie is a masterpiece of subtle nuances. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something else dawns on you, making the movie even more fantastic than you ever thought. I would highly recommend this movie to any serious sci-fi fan (though having spent a lot of time around Trekkie types, I can't imagine one who hasn't seen this movie by now!) or to anyone who wants to laugh riotously throughout an incredibly witty, absolutely hilarious movie. The tension between Smith and Jones is perfect and the deadpan humor is amazing. I would recommend this movie to anyone!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Tommy Lee Jones
Will Smith

DVD title: Fight Club (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Fight Club (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
What can I say?

I have been watching movies my whole life. This one is quite simply the best I have ever seen.
It is packed full of food for the mind, soul, and body. A movie you must watch, and then watch again, and again.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: David Fincher
Edward Norton
Brad Pitt

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 magnificent piece of cinema

Poor Orson Welles. My earliest memories of the man come from the 1970s and early 1980s, roughly the last ten or so years of his life. People told me he once had Hollywood in the palm of his hand, that he was a cinematic genius, and that his tempestuous relationships with the studios ruined his career. An impressive list of information pointing to a powerful man, wouldn't you say? Sadly, I heard these things when Welles was doing wine commercials to make ends meet. "We'll sell no wine before its time" doesn't evoke visions of a cinematic genius, that's for sure. Nor did his physical presence impress me all that much. Orson Welles, according to information I have seen, weighed nearly 350 pounds at one point and remained severely obese until the end of his life. I'm not knocking on people with weight problems, but it's just another example of how difficult it was for me to imagine the man as a Hollywood heavyweight (no pun intended). Then I grew up and watched some of his classic films, i.e. "Touch of Evil," "Citizen Kane," and the incredibly atmospheric "The Third Man." The glowing accolades started making a lot more sense. No wonder filmgoers love this guy's films; they're masterpieces in nearly every way.

"The Third Man" takes place in the shattered ruins of post-World War II Vienna. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton), an alcoholic hack who bangs out western novels, arrives in town to a mystery greater than anything he ever wrote about. His old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) sent him a letter some time before offering him a job in Vienna, but Martins discovers when he gets there that his pal recently perished in an unfortunate traffic accident. The writer shows up in time to witness Lime's funeral and to meet his buddy's beautiful girlfriend Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli). He also runs afoul of the British occupation force, especially Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), a man who has nothing nice to say at all about Harry Lime. In fact, Calloway insists that Martins leave town immediately, much to the writer's consternation. Fortunately for Holly, a local reading group discovers he is an author and invites him to give a lecture a few days down the road. This gives Martins an excuse to stick around and investigate the increasingly suspicious nature of his old friend's passing. Questions about how the accident unfolded bring conflicting answers from witnesses. Anna Schmidt, who faces a possible expatriation to the Soviet Union's sector of the city, provides few answers to Martins's questions. Something sinister is going on in Vienna, and Holly Martins wants to get to the bottom of it.

I'm not spoiling a thing by saying that Harry Lime never perished in that traffic accident. Why he staged his own passing, and how Holly Martins discovers the ruse, is the central element of "The Third Man." It turns out Lime is involved in a particularly loathsome black market scheme, along with several unsavory European characters, that threaten the health of Vienna's children. Calloway shows Martins up close what Lime's handiwork has done to the city's youths. The British have been on Lime's trail for ages, and that is why he doesn't want Holly Martins lurking around Austria. Once the British officer knows that the writer isn't about to condone what his friend is doing, he lets him in on the case and tries to use Martins to bring Lime out of the woodwork. There are only two things complicating the search for Harry Lime: Martins falls in love with Anna Schmidt and Lime is one slick operator who isn't about to go down without a fight. When the two old friends finally meet on a Ferris wheel, the encounter turns into a memorable exposition on the merits of right and wrong. Despite Lime's blithe belief in what he's doing for a buck, his time is about to run out. Holly Martins can't save his friend even as he cannot convince Anna to give up her love for Harry. The two sequences at the end of the film, the sewer chase and the funeral scene, will stay you with for eons.

What's not to like about this movie? Try as I might, I can't think of anything I would want to see changed. The performances are magisterial, the dialogue transcendent, and the set pieces perfectly match the sordid storyline. Repeatedly, memorable scenes march across the screen. The shadow of the guy with the balloons looming on the buildings, the vividness of the wet cobblestones in the nighttime street scenes, and the hunted look on Harry Lime's face as the authorities corner him in the sewer like the rat he is all stick in the memory banks with the tenacity of molasses. Just as memorable is Anton Karas's zither score, an odd choice for a noir film yet a tune that fits the story perfectly and will have you humming for weeks afterwards. The question I ought to ask should go something like this: what I can say about this marvelous picture that hasn't been said by others a million times before? No one with an ounce of appreciation for the cinematic form, regardless of their personal favorites, can deny the beauty and power of this film.

Criterion goes above and beyond the call of duty with their DVD version of the film. Supplements are plentiful and lengthy: an alternate opening voice narration track, footage of Anton Karas playing the movie's theme on his famous zither, a short documentary about how the Viennese police patrol their extensive sewer system, an introduction by Peter Bogdanovich, episodes from Welles's Harry Lime radio show, and much more. The picture quality looks great, the sound quality is very nice, and the movie is a masterpiece. Don't wait as long as I did to see this phenomenal picture; it's every bit as good as you've heard.

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

DVD title: The Works-3 DVD Set
Productgroup: DVD
The Works-3 DVD Set - movie DVD cover picture
I'm now In Shape after 2 babies!

I exercise daily with this DVD set and have gone from size 12 to 6/8 in less than a year. Best of all, I am very tone, not skin and bones. The workouts offer variety and motivation. I started exercising with Sharon on FitTV in the mornings, but find the DVD set much more efficient and flexible. I started with only weights for equipment, but did buy a step, ball and stretch bands in the end. It's money well spent and much, much cheaper than a gym.

Studio: Morningstar (TNT200)

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