Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
You haven't lived until you've seen this


There is not one moment of watching the Usual Suspects where you don't feel twisted and manipulated in opposite directions. You'll welcome every minute of it. This movie reeks of perfection, and even the most embittered would be hard-pressed to find faults in this, the greatest flick of all-time. The wonderful ensemble acting stretches far beyond the master, Kevin Spacey, to include both mesmerizing and hilarious performances from all of the cast. The cinematography is breathtaking in its originality. The music is delicious. I cannot think of one moment where I didn't feel a wonderful, lasting rush.

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




DVD title: Gathering: In Motion
Productgroup: DVD
Gathering: In Motion - movie DVD cover picture
Anneke is Adorable


If you like The Gathering this is a must have. I agree with my fellow reviewers that this live footage is not studio quality, but, after all, it is live footage. Unless you live in or near Holland chances are you will never see this band live, so this is as close as you will come to attending a concert. If there is anyone more into her craft and full of energy than Anneke van Giersbergen I haven't seen her. She is beautiful and has a smile that melts my heart. The footage from the Dynamo Festival is best because it was all shot in daylight, as opposed to the dark concert hall look of the Krakow, Poland footage. There are also two music videos included on this DVD. I find it's rather amazing that Anneke can look so different in each setting. All of the looks are great, except for the Liberty Bell video. I'm not sure anyone would look good in the space suit garb. If you happen to do a web search on Anneke, you can also find pictures of her with dark brown, blond, straight,and short hair in various combinations. If you need some more concert footage, the live album Superheat includes an MPG track of Eleanor from the Krakow, Poland concert. It pales next to the performance of Eleanor at the Dynamo Festival, but it will complete your video collection. Let's hope that they are considering releasing more concert footage or better yet a US tour.

Studio: Caroline Distributio



DVD title: Led Zeppelin
Productgroup: DVD
Led Zeppelin - movie DVD cover picture
Simply the Best!


All young people today should see this DVD to see what a REAL rock band is all about. People like myself who grew up in the 70's were exposed to quite a few talented bands, Zep, Floyd,Queen, Genesis, Yes, etc. Nowadays the garbage I hear today has musicians(I use the term loosely)who are lucky if they can play 5 chords. As a matter of fact comparing Zeppelin to any band around now talent-wise is like comparing Einstein to the village idiot. There simply is no comparison. The quality on this DVD, sonically and visually is superb and even better than The Song Remains the Same footage because there are no silly fantasy bits. Page produced this just like he's produced all Zeppelin material and as usual did a great job. A welcome blessing to Zeppelin fans everywhere.

Studio: Wea Corp
Director: Jimmy Page
Actors:
Dick Carruthers



DVD title: His Girl Friday
Productgroup: DVD
His Girl Friday - movie DVD cover picture
One of My Five Favorite (romantic) Comedies


This movie skyrocketed into my top five list of comedies of the romantic persuasion (perhaps with Amelie and Return to Me in the top three even). Cary Grant is perfect, Rosalind Russell is his match in every way, and the dialogue is so dizzying that one viewing is definitely not enough. Cary Grant was just spectacular. The charm he so effortlessly exudes just can't be found in movies nowadays. The wit of his verbal battles with Russell put to shame any other romantic comedy of today. They just don't make them like this anymore. This movie inspired me to rent Bringing up Baby (which was also great and very funny) but this one is infinitely better. Sublime.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Howard Hawks
Actors:
Cary Grant
Rosalind Russell




DVD title: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Remarkable Film


A.I. is not a film that allows the viewer to sit back and be passively entertained. Quite the opposite the movie demands attention to both sweeping moral and ethical questions as well as attention to detail. This is not the typical Steven Spielberg film but an amalgam or collaboration of Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg.
The movie's look is again a credit to George Lucas and his wizards at Industrial Light and magic, and John Williams again has produced a musical score that while not as immediately recognizable as his others, in some respects may be his best. Jude Law does a brilliant portrayal of a facilitator for women who find no happiness with the carbon-based counterparts he replaces. His performance includes precise and nimble movement that pays homage to the likes of Gene Kelley.
Haley Joel Osmint can safely be short listed for his second Academy Nomination in his young life. While not as diminutive in stature as when he owned the screen in, "The Sixth Sense", this young actor once again rightfully takes the focus of attention from those who share the screen with him. Jude Law is not on screen for as long, however matched moment for moment his performance is the only other that approaches the young Osmint. Law too could be among those honored when envelopes start opening. William Hurt's character is not meant to be passionate. Even when he tries there just is nothing there, the part of the tale he relates is clich? and bland, however I doubt it was intended to be as flat as it was. There is another Actor who plays a pivotal role as the voice of, "Dr. Know". You cannot help to wonder if he should have played the role given to Hurt, however that may have taken the part too far to the other extreme. As the voice of a holographic computer interface with the appearance of a slightly more hip Einstein, this vocal performance is excellent. I can't spoil anything with this actor's name.
The movie paid tribute to Mr. Kubrick's 2001 legacy with sets that had the same emotive feel of his science fiction classic. The classical music was not there, however both Spielberg and Lucas made sure it was clear that Kubrick's imprimatur was firmly etched on this work. Mr. Kubrick felt this film should be done by Spielberg, as it was lighter than the movies he generally created. The opposing can be said for Spielberg, for while he has documented Humanity's' dark side with, Schindler's List, this is science fiction which is not only dark, it is violent and a child is at its center.
The film is definitely not for children. Suggesting an age that is appropriate is absurd as no two children are the same. Erring on the high side of age would probably be best, for the violence of, "The Flesh Fair", cannot be explained away with a comment that this is just a movie. This is not the only painful event, there are others that would scare younger viewers because they are all too real, and not science fiction. The victims of The Flesh Event recall the grisly scenes of Rome's Coliseum and are very graphic and too real. For while a victim may be clearly non-human from one view, from others these are people's faces and voices layered on technology, and not machines that suffer the modernized crucifixion and dismemberment.
The film is a remarkable achievement. The allegory and symbolism that are presented or implied will fuel intelligent debate for as long as people choose to invest time in the topic. There are the obvious questions of what is Humanity is and what will it could become. However there are also brief pieces that take an issue that exists today, extrapolates it to a far distant form and the answers are not so simple. When a person is replaced by the presence of another are crimes of passion possible? When does a simple substitute cross the line and become a threat to a human? The movie is filled with these conundrums and all those involved deserve great praise. There is great fun to be had with Summer Movies that allow you to sit and be entertained. A.I. is not such a movie. This film demands your attention, forces you to deal with fundamental questions, and pursues you well after you have left the theater.

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




DVD title: Secret Admirer
Productgroup: DVD
Secret Admirer - movie DVD cover picture
One of the Best Teen Movies of the 80's


I was just graduating college when Secret Admirer came out in the mid 80's. But over 15 years later, it is one of the few 80's teen movies I still enjoy watching over and over again. There really isn't anything new in this movie that hasn't been covered in other movies and the final outcome is pretty predictable, but the cast is a good one. C. Thomas Howell, Kelly Preston (Holy Smokes!) and the absolutely adorable Lori Loughlin work extremely well together with the unrequited love portion of the story and the adult cast (in particular Fred Ward in a hilarious performance) also all have their moments. You even see Corey Haim ("Lucas") before he hit fame and later became a hilarious "True Hollywood Story".
Glad to see that this is coming to DVD. I hope it has a commentary track with some of the stars of the flick because it would be interesting to see what they think of the movie so many years later.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: David Greenwalt



DVD title: An American Werewolf in London
Productgroup: DVD
An American Werewolf in London - movie DVD cover picture
An American Werewolf In London


"Dynamite direction and script! A full-blooded horror film that happens to have a sharp sense of humor!"~Leonard Maltin

It's a rainy night on the Welsh moors. Two American students on a walking tour of Europe trudge on to the next town when suddendly the air is pierced by an unearthly howl...Three weeks later, one is dead, the other is in the hospital and the nightmare begins for An American Werewolf In London. David Naughton, Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter star in this contemporary story of the macabre which takes ou from the Welsh moors to Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the grounds of Windsor Castle. It is written and directed by John Landis. To add to the chill, there is art direction Les Dilley and special make-up effects by Rick Baker.

I believe this to be cult classic and highly recommend that this one be added to the horror fan's collection. Won't disappoint.

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: John Landis
Actors:
David Naughton
Jenny Agutter




DVD title: Bend It Like Beckham (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Bend It Like Beckham (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Solid Social Commentary in a Warm Family Movie


Jess, (Parminder Nagra), an 18-year-old Indian girl who dreams of playing soccer and is enamored of her idol David Beckham is at the center of a culture. Jasbinder's (Jess as a concatenation) parents (Anupam Kher and Shaheen Khan) are not sure about how to deal with the new ways and would prefer she stick to making aloo gobhi. Jess is discovered by Jules (Keira Knightley), and is recruited to play for the Hounslow Harriers, a woman's soccer team where she meets Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Myers) - ho complicates her life - as if it was not complicated enough already. In order to play, jess turns to sneaking in and out of the house. Concurrently, her sister Pinky (Archie Punjabi) is preparing her wedding. Jess' need to play soccer compromises the wedding when Jess is seen in public with Jules - who is confused as being a boy. If that was not all interesting enough, Jules and Jess both smitten with Joe - who is really off-limits for both of them. A wonderful coming of age movie and a real lesson for cultural studies enthusiasts. A heartwarming creation by director Gurinder Chaddha (who prior to this directed Bhaji On The Beach) is no stranger to the consideration of race relations and the compromises that need to be made between the preservation of tradition versus the pressures put upon people to adopt as well as the complications of social change. Bend It Like Beckham is an intelligently written comedy but is also loaded with tons of social commentary. In perhaps one of the most poignant scenes in the movie, Jess is penalized in the field for retaliating as her opponent levels a racial slur - in effect is baited by the opponent setting up a tension between the preservation of ethnic pride versus the discipline of keeping calm at time of severe stress. Both Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightly deliver wonderful roles as believable youngsters bent on making it in rough and tumble world with limited opportunity. The movie is made more heartwarming as it is also a story of redemption and reconciliation - on many levels. It takes an extremely perceptive mind to be able to straddle the cultural divide - a sensitivity missed simply by lack of exposure of the audience. Straying away from technical commentary about editing and dialogue I just wanted to close by saying that despite being amazingly light Bend it Like Beckham, as mentioned previously, is full of complex social commentary. Rarely, these days, do we see a true family oriented flick that does not detract from its entertainment value and relevance. It is movie that can be enjoyed even if you are, like me, one who watched good movies over and over again.

Miguel Llora

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Actors:
Parminder Nagra
Keira Knightley
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers




DVD title: The Sand Pebbles
Productgroup: DVD
The Sand Pebbles - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best films made in the 1960's


An outstanding film, with superb direction and production values, beautiful location photography, a compelling story, and uniformly fine performances by a cast of skilled actors. Captures the political, professional and personal aspects of a tense historical episode with exceptional finesse and candor. MUST be seen in wide-screen format. Most highly recommended.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Robert Wise
Actors:
Steve McQueen
Richard Attenborough




DVD title: Mortal Kombat
Productgroup: DVD
Mortal Kombat - movie DVD cover picture
flawless victory


''Mortal Kombat'' will never be a karate epic, but it's a great movie considering it was based on a video game. The special effects are fantastic.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Actors:
Christopher Lambert
Robin Shou




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