Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Road Home
Productgroup: DVD
The Road Home - movie DVD cover picture
Zhang's Best So Far

Chen Kaige's "The King of Masks"? I hate to say this, but compare to "The Road Home," "The King of Masks" is more like a collaboration of film students. And it's not by Chen Kaige neither. I would like to say that I have been very disappointed by Mr. Zhang's works in the past 10 years or so, and that includes his latest work,"Hero." "The Road Home," however, is absolutely one of the best examples of today's Chinese Cinema. Even though the film is an adaptation of the short story "My Father, My Mother," it is totally cinematic. Check out the composition and camera movements in EVERY single shot, and you'll see what Zhang's art is really about. Compare to Chen Kaige ("Life on A String," "Farewell My Concubine"), Zhang's view towards Chinese society is limited, his political position immature. But when dealing with little people in their daily lives, Zhang is indeed the best. Five stars for making me weep five times while watching this film.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Yimou Zhang
Ziyi Zhang
Honglei Sun

DVD title: We Were Soldiers
Productgroup: DVD
We Were Soldiers - movie DVD cover picture
More than just a "war movie."

This is a difficult review to write. There is power and insight in this movie that goes deeper than any given moment in any given war. I will leave the discussion of the details to those that lived through them (Thank you for your service and your sacrifice!).

What is impressive about this movie is the statement it clearly makes about war and the human capital that is expended in war. It is not so much an "anti-war" movie, as at least one reviewer mentioned, it is rather an honest examination of the respect and value (or lack of it) that we have for the positive qualities of a warrior in our culture. Not the gung-ho, testosterone-poisoned caricacture of bloodshed for its own sake, but the essential quality of sucking it up when asked (or required by circumstances) to make a personal sacrifice to further the greater good--of service to one's family, comrades, country or ideals in both peaceful and horrific contexts. As such, "We Were Soldiers" can most accurately be described as an "anti-waste" movie. What the movie ultimately portrays is the essential quality of true warriors (both male and female--how many men do you know that would have the courage to deliver those telegrams to people you know?) and what a precious resource that quality is--whether in peacetime doing good in the community or during war when it is expended in battle. This movie squarely asks the question of whether we as a nation are willing to sacrifice our warriors (in whatever capacity) for less than the most important of reasons? Given recent history, it appears that we are. And that is the tragedy that is depicted here and what tears at you when you leave.

No need to wait until the end of this movie to start crying as suggested by another reviewer. I was in tears after the first ten minutes.....

See this movie. The odds are you will walk away with more insight than you came in with. Even more perhaps, than you wanted or can continue to remain comfortable with.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Randall Wallace
Mel Gibson

DVD title: Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Vader revealed at last

I, for one, can't wait to see how and why Anakin became Vader. We've seen his descent from Ep. 1, but we finally get to see what pushed him over the edge. This episode looks to be darker even than Empire (Ep. 5 for those counting), especially with the rumored PG-13 rating. I'm deeply saddened by the fact that I'll be in Iraq when this movie hits theatres, and that I'll miss the full-on THX experience, but hopefully it will make it's way to one of our theatres over there anyway.

UPDATE: Woo-hoo!!!! I made it home on leave just in time to see this awesome last installment on opening weekend and it was definitely worth a PG-13 rating and the 3-year wait! The drama is done very well, not childish like the love scenes in Ep II; and the fight scenes are numerous and very dramatic themselves, especially the final duel between Obi-wan and Anakin/Vader; and the graphics are amazing, especially considering the entire movie (except for the Luke handoff at the end) was done entirely in the studio, mostly in front of a green-screen. It will still be playing at the theatre on my base in Iraq when I return and I will surely see it as many times as possible there (especially since it's free!).

P.S. If you didn't like Ep I, and you didn't like Ep II, what makes you think that you'd like this episode? Stop writing reviews bashing George Lucas just because you don't feel that he wrote the story the way you thought it was going to be back when the original trilogy came out. It's his story, and if you don't like it, don't watch it.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman
Hayden Christensen

DVD title: Constantine (2-Disc Deluxe Edition with Comic Book)
Productgroup: DVD
Constantine (2-Disc Deluxe Edition with Comic Book) - movie DVD cover picture
the best

i don;t kno why they rated it so low. it is so a good movie. even my friend thinks so. keanu reeves played very good in this gonna buy it when it comes out. i keep talking about this movie to my friends.the movie is not all that scary maybe at the beginnig when they show a girl possesed. thats like the only cary scene. i think u should buy this movie. i am.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Francis Lawrence (II)
Keanu Reeves
Rachel Weisz
Djimon Hounsou

DVD title: Bear in the Big Blue House - Sleepy Time with Bear and Friends
Productgroup: DVD
Bear in the Big Blue House - Sleepy Time with Bear and Friends - movie DVD cover picture
More wonderful Bear episodes!

Christopher, who is addicted to Bear and his friends, is my 16-month old and "Luna" is currently his favorite word! When I learned that his most frequently-watched episodes were now on DVD, I said "Amen, no more rewinding tapes." And To All A Good Night and The Big Sleep are our favorites because they take place at night; therefore, we see Luna more than once per episode. The Big Sleep also helped me when I began brushing Christopher's teeth. I sing "Brush Brush Bree" and he cooperates. And To All A Good Night features Luna who sings an extra duet with Bear, "Beauty of the Night." Just as the inhabitants of Woodland Valley look for Luna behind the clouds at the Harvest Moon celebration, my son now searches the night sky for the moon. Ojo makes a new friend and Treelo feels left out in Friends For Life. This episode allows parents to talk about feelings/emotions with their toddlers. Mitchell Kriegman's Bear in the Big Blue House episodes captivate young minds and entertain them with song. Our DVD allows repetitive viewing without rewinding or wear-and-tear. I'm also allowed the freedom of watching Bear and his friends without having to fast-forward over unwanted advertisements.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios

DVD title: The Contender
Productgroup: DVD
The Contender - movie DVD cover picture
The Contender Offers One Of The Best Plots In Recent Years

The Contender is arguably the best political drama since All The Presidents Men, and rightly so. Joan Allen portrays female vice presidential candidate Laine Hanson who is the target of a ploy unleashed by Supreme Court judge Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman). Shelly Runyon does all that he can to destroy Laine Hanson's reputation by bringing forward a steamy story of her sexual past. The Contender is directed by the relatively unknown, Rod Lurie, who also writes the screenplay. Lurie claims to have a fascination with political thrillers. And his knowledge of this genre helped him resurrect the popularity of the political thriller. The screenplay tackles taboo issues and gives viewers a very realistic glimpse of the game of political chess. The Contender makes for one of the best movies of the year, if not one of the best in the past twenty years. With more than a handful of controversy and ideas conflicting tradition, stars Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, and Jeff Bridges are given plenty to work with as each of them plays a Washington notable. The high points in the film are the acting of course, the Oscar nominations for `Best Supporting Actor' for Jeff Bridges' portrayal of the U.S. president. And another for `Best Actress' for Joan Allen who gives a riveting performance in her role as the targeted political successor to the throne of vice president of the United States. The acting is well rounded, and Gary Oldman's character gives the movie the perfect `bad guy'. And Christian Slater brings a character to life that you just want to strangle the duration of the movie. All these elements mixed in with the most controversial topic addressed in American cinema in recent years all emulate one of the best films of 2000. This film also would get my vote for `Best Tagline'... "Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot."

Studio: Dreamworks Skg
Director: Rod Lurie
Gary Oldman
Joan Allen
Jeff Bridges

DVD title: Fat-Blasting Yoga
Productgroup: DVD
Fat-Blasting Yoga - movie DVD cover picture
Great Yoga workout - for beginners or experts!

The thing I love the most about this video besides the fact it's a great workout, is that it's divided into three sections. The first part is about 30 minutes of Yoga. I had trouble making it through the yoga workout the first time I tried it, but after about 2 weeks, I noticed significant improvement in my strength, balance, and endurance. The second and third parts are about 15 minutes each, focusing on strength training. An exercise ball is used in the third section. This video can be done all at once, or a section at a time depending on your schedule. All three are excellent workouts and you will feel sore the next day! Those of you who are familiar with Denise Austin's style will not be surprised, or let down, by this video. For those of you who are not familiar with Denise, I recommend simply watching the video through once so you get the idea of the routine. Denise tends to change moves quickly without a lot of notice and you may find that difficult at first. Once you've done the workout a few times, it's easier. I had no Yoga experience when I first bought this video, but I had no trouble learning the moves. I was surprised at how much "work" Yoga is, and pleasantly surprised to see definite results in a few weeks. This is a good workout, for Yoga beginners and for the more experienced too!

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Denise Austin

DVD title: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Productgroup: DVD
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? - movie DVD cover picture

Bette Davis is probably my favorite actress and this movie shows her true genius she was a very talented actress. Her movies and memory will live on forever.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Robert Aldrich
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford

DVD title: Spies
Productgroup: DVD
Spies - movie DVD cover picture
One of Fritz Lang's best!

It's probably impossible to top "Metropolis", but "Spies" must surely rate as one of Fritz Lang's best films, and this brilliant KINO video DVD clearly shows why. Restored from the best footage from various sources to almost 2 1/2 hours in length, this epic can be watched again and again without ever a dull moment. This is mainly due to quite a complex and fast-moving storyline which demands considerable attention, but well worth the effort and it keeps getting better the more you watch it. Although a lot happens all around in the spy world, the focus is on two individuals who fall in love while assigned to spy out each other's network and activities. The criminal matermind whose spy network undermines the government has become the classic spy movie theme, and watching "Spies" reminded me of James Bond more than once. It is sophisticated and must have been cutting edge in its time, but it still packs a punch even today - much like Fritz Lang's previous great achievement, "Metropolis", of which "Spies" often reminded me. Besides excellent picture quality and easy-to-read intertitles, the musical score is simply brilliant and really caught my attention, such as authentic Japanese music accompanying the scenes of the Japanese head of Secret Service, while other parts feature nice orchestral and piano accompaniment. It is never overbearing however, and always perfectly suited to the mood of each scene, adding to the overall impact of the film. For a busy story with action, suspense, intrigue and an unexpected ending, you can't do much better than this restored version of "Spies".

Studio: Kino International
Director: Fritz Lang
Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Gerda Maurus
Willy Fritsch

DVD title: It Takes Two
Productgroup: DVD
It Takes Two - movie DVD cover picture

The most retarded movie in the world. Can you say "Parent Trap copy-cat" ? The Olsen twins are sappy and almost to cute. They can't act and need a new job. I wonder why Kirsty Alley would stoop this low ? I guess she needed some pocket change. But I wouldn't take a million bucks to work with those two!

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Andy Tennant
Kirstie Alley
Steve Guttenberg
Mary-Kate Olsen
Ashley Olsen

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