Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Shaun of the Dead
Productgroup: DVD
Shaun of the Dead - movie DVD cover picture

If your a fan of the zombie genre, this is the best comedy horror since Return of the Living Dead (excluding Dead Alive). Great make-up, some gory moments,and plenty of inside (the genre) jokes. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!! FUN! FUN! FUN!

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg
Kate Ashfield
Nick Frost

DVD title: Shallow Hal
Productgroup: DVD
Shallow Hal - movie DVD cover picture
A Rewarding Experience

Without question, a lot of people are not going to like this film and are going to be put off by it. On the other hand, it's going to come as a pleasant surprise to others. The former group will be those who came to this movie hoping to find a title character to whom they can relate, thus enabling them to go on to bask in the gratification of cheap shot humor and infantile, adolescent perspectives that no doubt served them well throughout high school, and which, unfortunately, like a caterpillar unable to evolve because of some impediment of nature, they have been incapable of shedding as adults. The latter, probably after some initial resistance-- inasmuch as the Farrelly Brothers seem to be tackling a rather sensitive subject this time out (and "sensitivity" is not necessarily their milieu)-- will for whatever reason find their way to this film, only to discover that the Farrelly Brothers actually have something worthwhile to say, and moreover, that they say it extremely well. "Shallow Hal," written by Sean Moynihan, Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, and directed by the Farrellys, uses the parlance of our times, as it were, to examine the old axiom that true beauty is, indeed, more than skin deep. It's a universal message, it's important, and it's delivered by the Farrellys with humor and poignancy, and in a way that is altogether effective.
In no small part due to some deathbed "pearls of wisdom" offered to young Hal (Sasha Neulinger) by his father, the Reverend Larson (Bruce McGill), Hal carries with him into adulthood a rather, well..."shallow" sense of what constitutes perfection, especially when it comes to the opposite, fairer sex. And, with a good friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), constantly reinforcing (with his own shallow perspectives) those put forth by the late Reverend Larson, it has not placed Hal (Jack Black) in good stead with the women he encounters. Relationships elude him like the proverbial sands through the hourglass, and he can't figure out why.
Then one auspicious day, on the heels of yet another rejection, Hal gets stuck in an elevator with none other than writer and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, the "Mahatma of Motivation." And, after hearing the sad story of Hal's misfortunes with women, Robbins uses his powers and wisdom to do something about it. He gives Hal a gift: The ability to see the true beauty that resides within another person, beyond the often deceptive physical attributes that are in reality no more than a facade masking who that person really is. For the first time in his life, Hal's eyes are opened, and it isn't long before he meets the most beautiful woman in the world, Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow), with whom he quickly falls desperately, deeply and passionately in love. At last, he's happy; it's like a fairy tale. The question is, can this particular fairy tale possibly have a happy ending?
The Farrelly Brothers, known for their cutting edge, over-the-top visually graphic gross-out humor in such films as "There's Something About Mary" and "Me, Myself and Irene," have reined it in drastically in this one, and to great effect. To be sure, that trademark Farrelly "touch" is present (there is some bathroom/locker room humor), but in this case, it serves a purpose beyond shock value entertainment. If you've seen the trailers for this film, or any clips from it, you get the idea that this is typical Farrelly Brothers fare and that there is no way that the characters involved are going to possibly emerge unscathed from it. But what you see in those previews is basically the elements the Farrellys use to define their parameters and set up the message they want to deliver. And it works beautifully. They succeed in establishing Hal's misguided perspectives, as well as those of Mauricio, and from that base springs the emotional connection, empathy and compassion generated by the rest of the film as the story unfolds.
What we find, is that Hal isn't such a bad guy after all, once his eyes are opened; that a new perspective and changed attitude has served to reveal that better part of himself, as well as others. And that, perhaps, says something about all of us. Upon reflection, if it is possible to perceive the real beauty of another, maybe it works both ways. As this film so succinctly points out, we, as a society, have been so programmed by peer pressure, the media and all of these inconsequential external forces, to equate "beauty" with all of the wrong things, that we all suffer for it, in one way or another. And the message here is so clear: What a wonderful world it would be, if only we could all see past the meaningless things and just see one another for who and what we really are. Like a sage old man on a mountain, the Farrellys have crafted and delivered a layer cake, chocolate sundae of a movie; there's plenty of whipped cream on the top, but once you work your way to the center it's even better. It's their way of using contemporary trappings to point the way to the divine mercies and offering a taste of the rewards that go to those who are wise enough to discern their meaning, and to act upon it. Unfortunately, the "Shallow Hals" in the audience are going to get lost along the way, and it will be their loss. And that certainly is not a criticism; it's just the way it is.
As Rosemary, Gwyneth Paltrow will absolutely win your heart. It's a performance that evokes empathy and compassion to the point that you desperately do NOT want to see this girl hurt in any way. And Jack Black gives a performance that, quite frankly, is going to surprise a lot of people; there is more to him than meets the eye. In fact, that about sums up "Shallow Hal"-- a surprisingly insightful and inspirational film.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jack Black

DVD title: Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fourth Season
Productgroup: DVD
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fourth Season - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best seasons

While I wouldn't go so far as to call season 4 the best of DS9, it certainly is in the running. With the introduction of Worf into the mix, things suddenly got bumpy as the Klingons were introduced more and more regularly. There's a number of twists and turns regarding Eddington and the regulars that allowed DS9 to surpass NextGen as the best Trek show ever.
In The Way of the Warrior the Federation/Klingon alliance splinters. Hippocratic Oath deals with an unusual casualty of war--the slaves forced to fight it. Bashir tries to cure the Jem'Hadar of their addiction to "the white" against the wishes of fellow prisoner O'Brien. The Visitor is one of the most touching and emotionally powerful episodes written. Michael Taylor's story uses a convention that Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaugterhouse Five; Sisko becomes "unstuck in time". The only constant in is his reappearences is Jake. It's a beautifully realized script with nuanced performances from Tony Todd (who had auditioned for the role of Sisko)and Avery Brooks.
Dukat is further softened up as we discover he has a half Bajoran daughter he intends to rescue in Indescretion. He enlists a reluctant Kira to help. Though Dukat's edgy character is blunted somewhat, it adds further depth to a villan that was characteristic of DS9. The marvelous Marc Alaimo continues to amaze in this well designed episode. He's one of the most underappreciated character actors. In many respects, Indiscretion was clearly inspired by John Ford's classic western The Seachers. Rejoined allows DS9 to dip its toe in the sexuality of Trills. Dax meets a former lover and has a hard time resisting her attraction to this person. Well directed by Avery Brooks, Rejoined does what classic Trek does best--deal with difficult issues and emotions in a 45 minute episode of television. There are a number of other delightful, well written, directed and acted episodes included here.
Little Green Men was a bit too cute for me at first, but I've grown to like it over time. We finally find out the truth about Roswell and it ain't what you expect. Quark makes an early appearence on Earth and the script by Ira Steven Behr and writing partner Robert Hewitt Wolfe delightfully skewers America in 1947. While I'm not a huge fan of the "holosuite" adventures of the crew (their a bit too common and done a bit too often for my taste), Our Man Bashir is still a standout. It's a marvelous confection that tips its hat to Our Man Flint, the Bond films and Matt Helm. Ron Moore's script is on target and we discover that Avery Brooks would make a wonderful Bond villan. Are you listening MGM? Finally, Homefront demonstrates what DS9 and writer Behr & Wolfe always did best--create an atmosphere of paranoia and darkness in Roddenberry's optimistic future world. The shapeshifters are on Earth and they're quite busy undermining security. Or are they? Robert Foxworth (another great character actor)does a terrific turn as an Admiral that will use any excuse to seize power whether or not it really is in the Federation's best interest or not.
I can't comment on the discs because the set hasn't been released yet as of this writing. The DS9 sets have been improving with each set and, while the extras are nice, there's nothing like having the original episodes. My only complaint is that, again, no one was contacted to do any episodic commentary. There's no booklet to give an overview of the series episodes. I personally like the way B5 has included the previews for each episode from the original promos. These allow you to get an idea as to what each episode is about. In the absence of a booklet, these would do quite nicely as well although I doubt that Paramount will change the sets at this late date.
While many B5 fans complain that DS9 ripped off B5 (and I'm a B5 fan), it's not the actual concept of the series that matters. What matters is the quality of the acting, writing and directing of each individual episode and season. DS9, like B5, was an outstanding series even when compared to other mainstream television programs.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Avery Brooks

DVD title: Spice World
Productgroup: DVD
Spice World - movie DVD cover picture
Great follow up to Spice.

Spiceworld is a very short album but it's probably pop perfection. Heck the Spice Girls with Ginger were pop perfection, pop at it's finest... next to the then and still reigning queen Madonna.But back to the album, Spiceworld is a fun album that kicks off with the catchy "Spice Up Your Life" and you know that it did and you know that you loved it even when you said you didn't. The Spice Girls will go down in history as a girl group that changed the face of pop.This is the Spice Girls last best album, Forever wasn't good. I recommend this to you...

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Bob Spiers
Victoria Beckham
Melanie Brown
Emma Bunton
Melanie Chisholm
Geri Halliwell

DVD title: Bound
Productgroup: DVD
Bound - movie DVD cover picture
One HOT Movie!

The chemistry between Gina Gershon & Jennifer Tilly is scintillating. This is a not to miss film for viewers who dig strong, sexy women, explicit gay female sex and seedy misadventure. True to life, no one is a "good guy" in this movie. One major disappointment: abruptly, after the initial erotically charged scenes between the women, the plot abandonned the intimate relationship for mafia misadventure for the rest of the movie! A better choice would have been to continue to combine the two. This shift left me very disappointed. Nevertheless, Bound is decidedly one of my favorites in the Lesbian genre, right behind "When Night Is Falling". I only wish there was a director's cut or at least a "making of Bound" trailer.

Studio: Republic Studios
Jennifer Tilly
Gina Gershon

DVD title: The Ghost And Mr. Chicken
Productgroup: DVD
The Ghost And Mr. Chicken - movie DVD cover picture
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

This is one of the great Don Knotts classics. He is a riot in this film and the organ music is awesome. I could watch this movie over and over. My kids (teenagers)also love this film. Not bad - considering what teens watch today at the theater.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Alan Rafkin

DVD title: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Collector's Edition) (High School Reunion Collection)
Productgroup: DVD
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Collector's Edition) (High School Reunion Collection) - movie DVD cover picture
Fantastic movie in general

This movie is the greatest I ever before last week! The things that happen in this movie seems to ring very true for this year (1982). In this fantastic movie , my favority character is surely Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) because he made me laugh verymuch when I saw this movie for the first time.My second best character is Stacy Hamilton, because she's beatiful! I think the movie talks a little bit about the "student life";and I think that was more funny than today's life in general.Finally, I suggest you to watch this movie when you will can.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Amy Heckerling
Sean Penn

DVD title: The Grapes of Wrath
Productgroup: DVD
The Grapes of Wrath - movie DVD cover picture
An American Classic

This is a great movie based on a great novel, and I am surprised by how honestly the film captures the raw humanity of the book. Steinbeck weaved social commentary into the story, and the movie makes many points about the human condition and spirit without being heavy-handed. The story of the Joads and their fight for survival rings very true, thanks to the realistic performances and the atmosphere created by director John Ford. Henry Fonda gives one of the best performances I have ever seen him give, and his "I'll be there" speech is one of the great movie moments. Jane Darwell is also very impressive, and her direct, down-to-earth style of acting makes the quiet strength and the suffering of Ma Joad seem very real. The Grapes of Wrath is an American classic, both as a novel and as a film.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: John Ford
Henry Fonda
Jane Darwell

DVD title: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Productgroup: DVD
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - movie DVD cover picture

I'll summarize this film into three syllables: "Ha! Ha! Ha!" I have had this film for four years now and it's still as funny as the first day I saw it. The good thing is that it never gets old. Being the Who's-Who of American humour (containing about eighty vintage comedians doin' a schtick here and there). After sending his car off a cliff along a roadside, Schmiler Grogin (Jimmy Durante) tells seven tourists and one businessman about "350 G's in this box under a Big-W." The people speed off to find the $350,000 as they come across many oddjob characters. See it and if you got the dough, get it. Take my word for it!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Stanley Kramer
Spencer Tracy
Milton Berle
Sid Caesar
Ethel Merman
Mickey Rooney

DVD title: Mommie Dearest
Productgroup: DVD
Mommie Dearest - movie DVD cover picture

I can not believe that Alan Chapman from CT says this movie is to much drama. Joan Crawford was a dramatic mother and overly dramatic actress of her generation. She needed attention all the time not only from studio's but from her family as well. I read the book first and to tell you the truth it brought me to tears. The movie just reinforced what was definately one of the most insightfull true stories of a actress who is clearly not in her right state of mind. She didnt adopt children because she truely wanted a child. She did it to help get her publicity and to stay in the spotlight. You could tell she was grasping for straws when her daughter was starring on a soap opera and took ill. Joan played Christina's role. I find that utterly perposterous. Joan was an over the hill graying woman and Christina was a young blond woman. Why the soap let her do it is never going to justify to me that she needed to do that.

Joan Crawford was a cruel hatefull woman who beat,sent away and and cast her children aside when they were no longer an asset to her. I applaud Christina Crawford for telling her story that not only documents her emotional and physical abuse by her "Mother" and her siblings as well. Christina had many people who were able to confirm the things her mother did that were definatly wrong.

Faye Dunaway is remarkable in this role. If you like a true insight to Hollywood lives,then this is the movie for you.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Frank Perry
Faye Dunaway
Diana Scarwid

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