Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Productgroup: DVD
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - movie DVD cover picture
Ziggy Stardust

Famously, but incorrectly, touted as Ziggy Stardust's "retirement gig" this legendary concert was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3rd July 1973 (it was actually after the 1980 Floor Show, on 20th October the same year that Ziggy bowed out). In common with the Sex Pistols 100 club gig, if everybody who claims to have been there actually was, then there must have been 100,000 in attendance.
By no means well recorded - it's taken 30 years of mixing to get "right", and in my opinion the drum sound is now even worse - it remains the definitive live Bowie recording. The Spiders were a wonderfully tight band and just the right side of messy. For those of us lucky enough to have heard the original recording, with Ronson's guitar overpowering everything, including, occasionally, Bowie's voice, this is a bit of a letdown. However, Bowie's voice is wonderful, with an effortless clarity that's missing from subsequent live recordings such as DAVID LIVE and STAGE.
The video is by Pennebaker, famous for his Dylan fly on the wall documentary "Don't Look back". Shaky camera work, and out of focus zooms, more often than not result in Bowie looking like a grainy red blob amid a sea of blackness. However, in my opinion this actually adds to the mysterious aura that Bowie built around Ziggy. It looks like the film had to be pushed quite hard to get anything out of it at all - this could possibly be the first grunge video! The Odeon looks like a huge, heaving cavern. It's a million miles away from the polished Glass Spider and all the better for it. Considering the state of the original print I was dubious as to whether it could be improved for this DVD release. It couldn't.
Previously unreleased additions include the complete "Width Of A Circle", some between song banter, and commentary by Pennebaker and Visconti. Unfortunately the additions are not what fans have waited 30 years for. Disgracefully, The Jean Genie/Love Me Do, on which Jeff Beck joined the Spiders onstage to play guitar is STILL missing. Whether this is down to a royalty dispute or Beck's embarrassment of his glam rags, I don't care, but the omission seriously undermines this release. It was, in many an opinion, the highlight of the show.
Until the complete show is released, Bowie Fans will continue to feel short changed. Come on Mr Beck - sort it out!

Studio: Image Entertainment 2
Director: D.A. Pennebaker
David Bowie

DVD title: Monument Ave.
Productgroup: DVD
Monument Ave. - movie DVD cover picture

When I put this video into my VCR, and the movie came on, I thought that I had made a bad choice, I'd only bought it because Jason Barry was in it. After twenty moments or so, I realized that I had made a good choice. This movie gets into your soul, it was lovely, hard, and caring. The movie had a bunch of bad words in it, but once you get past that fact, you will enjoy it. Seamus (Jason Barry) should be in more movies, that's all I can say.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Ted Demme

DVD title: Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut
Productgroup: DVD
Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut - movie DVD cover picture
Please read the book, too!

"Requiem for a Dream," Darren Aronofsky's film version of Hubert Selby's 1978 novel of the same name, will definitely attain cult status in coming years. Selby's story about a quartet of drug addicts employs a highly unorthodox literary style of slang, omitted punctuation, and run-on sentences that stretch for miles. Director Aronofsky echoed the novel with a host of unusual techniques for the movie version: fast editing, bizarre camera angles, and nightmarish effects created a riveting and nervous film that is grimly effective in conveying the horrors of addiction. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connolly, Marlon Wayans, and Jared Leto; "Requiem for a Dream" will leave a lasting impression on anyone who takes the time to view it. As much as I enjoyed the film, I read the book before I saw the film and it is my opinion that the book does a much better job of delving into the personal torments of each of the major characters. The reason is simple: no film trumps a good book. Some pictures come close, but no movie ever made can compete with the power of your imagination. Still, "Requiem for a Dream" comes amazingly close to fully realizing Selby's bleak visions.
"Requiem for a Dream" tracks the rise and eventual fall of Harry Goldfarb, his mother Sara, his girlfriend Marion, and friend Tyrone as all four individuals indulge in addictive substances and behaviors. For Harry, Marion, and Tyrone the problem is heroin. For Sara Goldfarb, her initial drug of choice is television followed by a particularly nasty encounter with diet pills. Throughout the first part of the film, all four see their lives radically improved by drugs. Harry and Marion meet and build a relationship through drug use and make tentative plans to run their own small business. Moreover, Harry can forget about the pain of his father's death. His friend Tyrone discovers the same sort of benefit as he tries to forget about his deceased mother. Things really take off for the trio when Harry and Tyrone buy a large quantity of heroin and make a bundle of money selling the stuff to local junkies. Sara Goldfarb's addictions are more insidious and ultimately more devastating. Shattered by the death of her husband, she spends her days ensconced in her apartment watching smarmy infomercial programs and eating sweets. When Sara receives a phone call offering her a chance to appear on one of these television programs, her elation knows no bounds. Recognizing her burgeoning weight presents a potential problem, Goldfarb visits a quack to obtain diet pills. Within a few days, things couldn't be better as her hunger pangs disappear and she loses enough weight to almost fit into her old red dress. Any day now that application for her television appearance will arrive in the mail and Sara will be the toast of her apartment building.
All good things must come to an end, and in the world of drug addiction that end is often a fate worse than death. What started out as a recreational activity for Harry, Marion, and Tyrone soon turns into a hardcore addiction. Waking up in the morning with the shakes is the first sign of real trouble, but the trio continually reassures themselves that they are merely experiencing a small bump on the road to their dreams. Soon, serious fractures appear between the three when the heroin supply on the streets of New York mysteriously dries up. Withdrawal effects and the high price of existing supplies of heroin soon force painful decisions. Harry allows Marion to pay a "special" visit to her former psychologist in order to obtain a few hundred dollars. Meanwhile, Harry and Tyrone spend their time roaming the blasted landscapes of New York City in search of supply, and since it is the middle of winter the two often endure frigid conditions with little hope of success. When Harry gets the brilliant idea to take their meager funds and drive to Florida in search of heroin and Marion sells her mind and her body for drugs, you know the end is near. Sara Goldfarb's descent into madness begins when the diet pills no longer quash her desire for food. Even worse, the application she filled out is in limbo. As the hope of appearing on television fades with each passing day, Sara doubles her daily dose of the pills in a last ditch effort to lose those last few pounds. All of the characters' agonies are brilliantly executed onscreen, but Sara's is absolutely soul shattering in its intensity.
The performances elevate "Requiem for a Dream" above the usual "drug" message film. Especially noteworthy is Ellen Burstyn in the role of Sara Goldfarb. Talk about disappearing in a role! This fine actress should have won an Oscar for her metamorphosis from a rather harmless soul into a quaking, sweating wreck lurching through the streets of New York in her tattered red dress. Her monologue to Harry about why she takes the pills to lose weight brought tears to my eyes. Just when you think Sara Goldfarb cannot possibly sink further into the depths of despair, Aronofsky piles on even more indignities.
"Requiem for a Dream" is not a film for the faint of heart, but if you really want to view it in all of its splendor the director's cut DVD is the version to get. Included on the disc are plenty of extras: a commentary from Aronofsky, deleted scenes, an interview of Hubert Selby conducted by Ellen Burstyn, production notes, and a behind the scenes documentary. A powerful film not easily banished from the mind, I certainly hope that those who watch this picture follow through and read the book. Selby's novel, which does a few things the movie does not, is even more harrowing in its subject matter.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Ellen Burstyn
Jared Leto

DVD title: Once and Again - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Once and Again - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Great show!

I watched this show every day it was on television.I was really mad that they took it off the air.I was so glad when I saw that Once and Again was on a DVD.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Sela Ward

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

You won't want to pass up this collector's edition. If you bought the first one you know how cool the Aragonath bookends look! Here's what you can get with this year's version:
A collectible Gollum polystone statue created by Sideshow Weta. Bonus DVD on the Weta Workshop and how the Gollum statue was created, featuring interviews with Peter Jackson.
A printed companion piece showing how Gollum evolved from pencil sketch to sculpted maquette to digital character.
The extra DVD makes this set more exclusive thatn FOTR - which included the National Geographic special that could be bought separately. Fans will not want to pass ths up!
Oh yeah, plus there's the movie itself with an added 43 minutes of footage. We'll get a glimpse of Denethor, father to Boromir and Faramir. Boromir will also make an appearance in the special edition. Faramir's anger will make more sense after you see what you missed from the theatrical version.
Two Towers is a staggering film. Helm's Deep might just be the finest battle scene ever filmed. The visuals are simply stunning.
The film does not follow the book but that's for the better. The book is very linear and that would not have translated well into a movie experience.
I only wish they could have somehow packaged the theatrical version with the extended edition.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Peter Jackson
Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen

DVD title: Carmen Electra's The Lap Dance & Hip Hop
Productgroup: DVD
Carmen Electra's The Lap Dance & Hip Hop - movie DVD cover picture
Great Workout, but look at her website before buying

I recomend this workout if you want to learn how to dance sexy and get a great workout at the same time. Even though all dancing is a great workout I like the strip tease workout. I dont know how to dance so I like the slow step by step instructions then once you know the moves you can skip over that and go streight to the dance routine. I like that because once i get good on a video i dont want to go slow anymore. If you just want fitness, i recomend the fit to strip video only... It is a hard workout with no dance routines, but you'll feel it the next day. I went to her website, like someone else recomended and i got it fast and the whole set for only sixty. And if you want more than one .. just get the whole set.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Edward Lachman

DVD title: Scarface
Productgroup: DVD
Scarface - movie DVD cover picture

great job in getting it to me fast!!!! thanks!!!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Brian De Palma
Al Pacino
Michelle Pfeiffer

DVD title: The Devil & Daniel Webster - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Devil & Daniel Webster - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
What Doth It Profit a Man...?

If you could summon old Beelzebub up from the pits of Hell and trade your soul for seven or so years of wealth and good luck, would you do it? And if you DID do it but later had second thoughts, would you have any course of redress? These are the questions that--on the surface, at least--are explored in the 1941 cinematic masterpiece THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (originally released as ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY and shown to preview audiences as HERE IS A MAN).
Based on the popular 1937 short story by Stephen Vincent Ben?t, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER extends far beyond the scope of its source material to become more than just a facet of the legend of larger-than-life U.S. 19th-century American statesman and orator Daniel Webster. The film is actually a satire of Depression-era perceptions of unfettered capitalism and moneylender institutions like banks, mortgage companies, and pawnbrokers, and it even manages to take a few jabs at blind patriotism and the idealistic American conception of personal freedom. The character of Webster, though important to the plot, is ancillary to the film's overall Populist message.
The movie covers a slice from the life of one Jabez Stone (James Craig), a mid-19th-century New Hampshire farmer who seemingly has no respite from his perpetual run of bad luck. Under the shadow of the impending foreclosure on his farm, Jabez enters into a Faustian agreement with a certain "Mr. Scratch" (Walter Huston), who promises the farmer seven years of good luck and prosperity in exchange for his soul.
Jabez takes to his newfound wealth like a fish to water, and it isn't long before his lifestyle and behavior mirrors that of the greedy moneylenders he once so despised. But as the end of his 7-year contract draws nigh, he starts to worry about his ultimate fate. When his wife, Mary (Anne Shirley), senses that something evil is tormenting her husband, she appeals to the famous statesman and lawyer Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) for help. Always willing to assist a fellow New Englander, Webster rises to the occasion and engages Mr. Scratch vis-?-vis in the most hellish court of law ever assembled. But can Daniel Webster save Jabez from eternal damnation, or has the great agrarian champion and statesman finally met his match?
Excellent performances from the cast, especially the great Walter Huston's portrayal of Mr. Scratch and Edward Arnold's depiction of Daniel Webster; beautiful cinematography, which includes a combination of new, groundbreaking camera techniques with lighting styles that hearken back to German Expressionist cinema; clever, stylish special FX that still stand up well, even against today's CGI stuff; a fantastic musical score that includes elements of Americana folk music and experimental electronic techniques; and a well written script all serve to elevate THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER to the level of a minor masterpiece. Yet despite this fact, the film was an unfortunate box-office flop during its initial release.
Part of this failure was due to bad timing. CITIZEN KANE (1941) was released only a few months before, and the hype and controversy generated by Orson Welles' magnum opus pushed many other great films to the background. In addition, the film was simply ahead of its time. The subtle left-wing subtext, the sometimes enigmatic depiction of the supernatural, the strange lighting, and the obvious allusions to blasphemy and infidelity were not as common in that era as today, and critical reviews of the era indicate that THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER's literate script was over the heads of the average moviegoer in 1941. Nonetheless, Walter Huston was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the bedeviling Mr. Scratch, and though he didn't win, the film DID beat out CITIZEN KANE in the category of best musical score.
(Film buffs might be interested in the following bits of trivia: Both CITIZEN KANE and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER were scored by Bernard Herrmann, so he was competing against himself for the 1941 Oscar. Herrmann also later scored Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958) and PSYCHO (1960), as well as numerous other films and TV shows. The film editor on THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER was Robert Wise, who would later go on to direct genre greats like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), THE HAUNTING (1963), and THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (1971), among others. And more recently, this film was also parodied in an episode of TV's THE SIMPSONS entitled "The Devil and Homer Simpson.")
In later years, the film was heavily cut for re-release, and this butchery pared the original 106-minute running time down to approximately 84 minutes. Of course, that much loss of screen time made the film's plot confusing and vague, and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER never received the appreciation it deserved.
But now, thanks to the wonderful Criterion Collection release, contemporary audiences can see the film as the filmmakers intended. Cut elements, many of which were once thought to be lost, have been replaced and the film cleaned up as much as possible, and this restored version is what is now available via DVD. Some minor wear is still noticeable, but overall the DVD transfer is beautiful. Extras include a fascinating commentary from film historian Bruce Eder and composer Bernard Herrmann's biographer Steven C. Smith, actor Alec Baldwi's cool reading of Ben?t's original short story, old-tyme radio dramatizations of the story, and much more! This is a disc that all lovers of great classic films or fans of older, milder horror films should add to their collections.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: William Dieterle
Edward Arnold
Walter Huston

DVD title: Land of the Lost - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Land of the Lost - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Wea Corp
Kathy Coleman

DVD title: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie - movie DVD cover picture
Outstandingly cool

well after viewing this film 5 times since i bought it last week I have come to a conclusion that this film is WICKED!!!! if you have any doubts about buying this film, you have problems.

Studio: Sony Wonder
Director: Gisaburo Sugii

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