Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Zero Woman
Productgroup: DVD
Zero Woman - movie DVD cover picture
Zero Woman

"Do you believe in...Heaven?" - Natsuki Ozawa, in Zero Woman.
" I do!" - Hammster, after seeing Natsuki Ozawa in Zero Woman

Studio: Media Blasters
Director: Daisuke Gotoh

DVD title: Salome / Lot in Sodom
Productgroup: DVD
Salome / Lot in Sodom - movie DVD cover picture
A Visual Feast for Salome Fans

Unfortunately, there are not many film adaptions of Oscar Wilde's play Salome available on DVD....there is Ken Russel's Salome's Last Dance which is very good, but is a play within a play, so it is not a true representation of the work....perhaps the best adaption of Salome has been Richard Strauss' opera and I urge anyone who loves the play to see it, as the music and faithful libretto make for compelling however, there is an alternative, and Nazimova makes for a an interesting and conflicted Salome...she actually depicts Salome in three different characterizations throughout the play....initially Salome is shown as a flirtatious and tempetuous teenager whose sexual awakening blooms at the sight of John the Baptist(Jokanaan)...she then is transformed into a youthful seductress as she coyly temps and taunts a lust ridden Herod during the dance of the seven should be noted that Salome's dance could have passed for a flappers gig performed at any 20's Chicago beerhall...Nazimova's final transformation of the Salome character occurs after the head of John is presented to her...Salome appears more mature and perhaps a bit wiser as she declares her genuine love for John and is resigned to her impending doom...these changes in character are performed remarkably by Nazimova especially when you consider it is a silent film and these changes are reflected by her mood, costume, and facial expressions....there are many scenes which stand out but the most moving is when the brutish executioner, when faced to deal the death blow to John, instead kneels in reverence in front of the Baptist...John's own sexual stirrings towards Salome, and his denial by strength of faith, is also well done...Herod is ably portrayed as a lout while his wife Herodias is a shrieking shrew....the sets are avante garde and are something that you well may see in a production of the Strauss opera...there are two different scores to the film and both are effective and it's interesting to listen to both scores during a particular scene to compare the composer's intent....While stage productions of Salome are fairly common, it is not easy to find traditional film versions of the work, especially on DVD, so this is a release that is a vital addition to anyone who loves Oscar Wilde's play...highy recommended.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Charles Bryant

DVD title: Run Lola Run
Productgroup: DVD
Run Lola Run - movie DVD cover picture

Ever since MTV arrived on the scene back in the early 1980s, the attention span of Americans has dropped like a stone. The mindless superficiality of the programming hasn't helped boost IQ scores, either, but I won't get into that here. MTV's propensity for rapid-fire programming, replete with jump cuts and other fast editing techniques, eventually found a home in the moviemaking business. Unfortunately, the use of these methods became commonplace, often relegating if not downright replacing such tried and true formulas like plot, character development, and dialogue. Throw in a cut every few seconds, the reasoning must have went, and it gives the audience the impression that the action is more immediate and exciting. In more than a few cases these new techniques worked effectively, usually in films that still adhered to the old ideas of centering the film on the characters and the script. The first "Matrix" film comes to mind as an example of a movie that successfully fused the new editing with traditional film practices. Another film that works just as well is "Run Lola Run," a low budget German film written and directed by Tom Tykwer and starring the amazing actress Franka Potente.

The plot of "Run Lola Run" is surprisingly simple. Lola (Potente) must find a way to come up with 100,000 deutsche marks in twenty minutes or her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) will have some serious explaining to do. He took a job for a big time crime boss involving the sale of a bunch of stolen cars but accidentally left the money on the train. A bum stumbled over the bag of cash and walked off with it before Manni could stop him. If Lola can't find a way to replace the bag of money, Manni tells her on the telephone, he will go across the street and rob a supermarket. Losing the money is that serious of a matter, apparently. Twenty minutes. With no time to lose, Lola dashes out of her apartment and runs across town to see her banker father, hoping against hope that he will somehow loan her the money. Yeah right. This guy has his own worries involving a female employee and he isn't about to drop everything to help his troublesome daughter. Lola dashes on, but through circumstances beyond her control arrives too late to stop Manni from committing a robbery. Will tragedy ensue because of her tardiness? Will the crime lord arrive on the scene and bust her boyfriend up for his lackluster handling of the assignment?

"Run Lola Run" answers these questions in different ways because once Lola arrives at the supermarket, the movie starts over at the point when she hangs up the phone after finding out about Manni's quandary. That's right, we see the same event begin again with a slightly different variation and outcome. Once again, Lola dashes across town to visit her recalcitrant father in order to beg him for a loan. Once again, her father is dealing with his own problems concerning a female employee. But the encounter between father and daughter is slightly changed. So is the ultimate outcome of the eventual Lola/Manni reconciliation. Then the film STARTS AGAIN at the point where Lola hangs up the phone after learning about Manni's predicament. Again, she dashes across town to visit her father in order to seek his assistance with the couple's fiscal problems. And again, her father is dealing with his own issues. And again, many events change from the previous versions. Three separate times Lola dashes across town to save her boyfriend, with the ending of each variation differing significantly from the previous version of events.

"Run Lola Run" uses everything from animation to fast editing to a thundering soundtrack in order to create a sense of dire urgency, and it works spectacularly. You'll be sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how Lola will overcome the obstacles in her way, or even if she can overcome them. Tykwer gives the film additional depth by occasionally showing us, through a quick series of still photographs, what happens in the future to various people Lola runs into or passes by on her journey through town. A woman pushing a baby stroller and a lady walking down the hallway in the bank are just two examples of this interesting technique. Obviously, their fate changes in each version. The inclusion of intriguing concepts like this and others highlights the fickle connections between each living person on the planet. We've all thought along these lines before, usually when something disastrous happens and we say something like "If I had only turned left instead of right, I wouldn't have wrecked my car." "Run Lola Run" simply poses this question on a larger scale by showing how an event could change based on one or two minor variations in the actions of a character. If the movie's existential ponderings prove too much for you, you can sit back and enjoy Franka Potente's performance as the grungy, red headed Lola. She's a real hoot, with a voice capable of shattering glass when she screams.

Extras on the disc include an informative, fun commentary with Tykwer and Potente, a music video with a brunette Potente singing a song, cast biographies, and trailers for "Run Lola Run," "The Dreamlife of Angels," and "Orlando." There are a few problems with the story, such as the nonsensical scene when the cops refuse to let Manni reenter the train to get his money. Why would they do that? Because the script needs that bag of money out of Manni's hands, that's why. Yet despite a few logical problems, "Run Lola Run" is a heck of a film everyone can enjoy.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Tom Tykwer
Franka Potente
Moritz Bleibtreu

DVD title: The Doors
Productgroup: DVD
The Doors - movie DVD cover picture

This movie changed my perspective of Rock n' Roll intensely. This movie was so gratifying, it gave me chills, it also made me sort of understand Morrison more. Val Kilmer portrayed such a terrific roll as Morrison, I acually believed it was Morrison instead of the actor. I love the doors. I dont think the movie could be any better or any worse. Thumbs up to Oliver STONE. JIM MORRISON LIVES

Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Oliver Stone
Val Kilmer
Meg Ryan

DVD title: Big Trouble in Little China (Single Disc Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Big Trouble in Little China (Single Disc Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China a must own DVD

Can you watch a movie that is so good that you actually don't want it to end???!!! Then checkout Big Trouble in Little China... This is one of the most entertaining movies to come along in a long time... Lot's of action,comedy,mystery and suspense...the 2 disc Special Edition DVD comes in enhanced widescreen 5.1 & DTS... and is loaded with extras including a music video... Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall add just enough sparks to keep the story moving without weighing it down...

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: John Carpenter
Kurt Russell
Kim Cattrall

DVD title: Classic Albums - The Band: The Band
Productgroup: DVD
Classic Albums - The Band: The Band - movie DVD cover picture
Leaves VH1's "Behind the Music" in the Dust

If the rest of the "Classic Albums" series is as good as "The Band," you can say goodbye to shows like VH1's "Behind the Music." While the VH1 shows are usually interesting, they really aren't "Behind the Music," but rather "Behind the Lives" of the performers. You get some of that with "The Band" too, but the focus of this DVD really IS the music. It was a pleasure watching Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson especially talking with such love and affection about their music and how it was put together. Some great photos and live shots make this DVD a must-have for fans of The Band.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Bob Smeaton

DVD title: Avril Lavigne - My World (DVD & CD)
Productgroup: DVD
Avril Lavigne - My World (DVD & CD) - movie DVD cover picture
She's great live...

For those of you reading the comments and reviews claiming Avril is not great as a live singer - disregard them. Yes she does hit some bad notes on the dvd and her voice is a little deeper than normal but you need to remember you can't be perfect every performance, it was filmed at the end of a tour and when you're giving your all on stage you tend to lose some "breath." For those who claim she can't sing live then they need to check out her AOL Sessions, her tribute to Metallica, her Bands to bet on performance or just about any other regular live performance. She really has a beautiful voice live and hits those high notes as if it's second nature. To those who posted negative reviews about her live performances in general i challenge them to watch the live performances i mentioned and then come back with the same opinion. I recommend this DVD to Avril fans.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Avril Lavigne

DVD title: Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Sam Raimi
Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst

DVD title: JFK
Productgroup: DVD
JFK - movie DVD cover picture
An important film for every American

This has got to be one of my favorite films of all time...I've watched at least a dozen times and pick up on a fact that I didn't see the last time. I am not certain that I agree with all of the facts that Stone is presenting here, but you can't argue that he didn't do a superb job with this film. Even if you don't buy the conspiracy theories he presents, the acting is fabulous, the use of imagery from the period is right on the money, and the three hours that this film runs is up before you know it.
You can't walk away from this film without at least considering the information that Stone is presenting. If you really do your research on this case, however, (and what I mean is read books on both viewpoints and form your own opinions) you will notice this: any reasonably thinking person will come to the conclusion that what REALLY happened on November 22 in Dallas and what we have been told throughout history is not the same. Is Stone's version the "truth"? Decide for yourself.
Either way, don't miss this film. At worst, it will make you THINK, and that is never a bad thing.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Oliver Stone
Kevin Costner
Gary Oldman
Sissy Spacek
Jack Lemmon

DVD title: Hero (UMD Mini For PSP)
Productgroup: DVD
Hero (UMD Mini For PSP) - movie DVD cover picture
Just perfect!!

Hero is simply the best film I've ever seen. It's not just a movie, it's art. Beautiful pictures, beatiful music and breathtaking fight-scenes in perfect harmony.
It's absolutely worth seeing! Perfect!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Director: Yimou Zhang
Jet Li
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Maggie Cheung
Ziyi Zhang
Daoming Chen
Donnie Yen

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