Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Good Thief
Productgroup: DVD
The Good Thief - movie DVD cover picture
Zip, Verve, Polish and Challenge

Neil Jordan has done it again! THE GOOD THIEF is another one of those truly excellent films that for some reason didn't make it in the theaters. Perhaps it takes too much concentration from an audience ready for a blowup blaster heist of a story. That is here, but it it is delivered in so sophisticated a manner that the actual casino caper is secondary to the quality of the story, and characters who populate it. Set on the Riviera, Nick Nolte stars as a 'has been' con man who apparently decides to have one last fling - but to do so he has to shake his herion addiction and clean up his past a bit. This done, he encounters an assembled cast of characters that are each interesting and well acted, from a beautiful newcomer who plays the sole love interest to an arachnophobic body builder undergoing a sex change. The police are for once treated as interesting individuals instead of chumps, the plans for the heist are laid out in a spellbinding way, and the whole planned caper is photographed in stylish camerawork which includes mesmerizing freeze frames that keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat.
If you can figure out the ending before it happens then you will be among the few! Jordan paces this excellent film so well that it packs a wallop and all along the way he offers little asides that make you laugh and make you identify with the incredible assortment of people he has created and directed,
PS: Turn on the subtitles (English) before you start this film as there are so many varying accents in this melting pot on the Riviera that you may miss some great lines if you depend on your ears!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Neil Jordan
Nick Nolte

DVD title: The Commish - Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
The Commish - Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture

I have searched for this for months now and each time, the search found "0 results for The Commish". I thought it would never be released to DVD as it doesn't fit with the popular and more violent and "sleezy" cop shows out there today. But finally, "The Commish" comes to DVD! Hooray! Much prefer the character Chiklas played in the cop show the whole family could watch than the one he portrays on "The Shield". Can't wait 'til it's released and shipped in November! Thanks to the powers that be for this release:-)

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertain
Michael Chiklis

DVD title: Spirited Away
Productgroup: DVD
Spirited Away - movie DVD cover picture
See it again!

The other night, my girlfriend and I are heading to the theatre to see Spirited Away. Yes, it's still playing in some theatres. We saw the film when it first came out, and it was her first introduction to the worlds of Hayao Miyazaki. She had no idea what I was taking her to see at the time, she just had to trust me. In fact, I had no idea either; all I knew was that I saw there was a new Miyazaki film and it was playing in theatres. Of course she liked it. Is it possible to not like this film? But anyway, as we were going to see it again, I kept thinking to myself how you can never fully appreciate a Miyazaki film until you've seen it at least twice. Spirited Away was the only film of his I've seen once.
I own this film on DVD, but I've only seen the special features because we just went to see it on the big screen. Funny thing is, it cost more for us to go to the theatre the other night than it did to buy the DVD. How many films would you do that for? It's that good!
I'll spare you a synopsis as they are over abundant. Instead, let me just tell you this film is a bit bizaar. People compare this film to Alice in Wonderland because it has that same bizaar quality to the setting that could only seem to make sense in a dream. If you are unprepared, it can make the film harder to digest, but I assure you it doesn't take away from the story at all.
The first time I saw this film, I thought it was good, but not the best of Miyazaki's films. Seeing it again, makes me doubt that assessment. Miyazaki's films are so full of details and nuances that you easily miss many of them the first time around especially as you are distracted by his wild imagination on screen. I wish I could put into words how magnificent this film is. You simply must see it, and see it again!
Keep in mind the film's PG rating. It may not be suitable for young children. Disney may be the one distributing the film, but it is not a Disney film. In other words, don't just shop for this film for your kids. Get it for yourself.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Miyu Irino

DVD title: Fist of the North Star
Productgroup: DVD
Fist of the North Star - movie DVD cover picture

I Think Its the best anime movie ive ever seen. Its a lot better then Akira

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Toyoo Ashida

DVD title: Gone With the Wind
Productgroup: DVD
Gone With the Wind - movie DVD cover picture
Great Drama Deceptively Dubbed a Romance, Awesome!

This is historical drama at its best. I am 20 years old and have tiptoed around watching this movie for some time because I am no fan of romantic comedies or romantic dramas. I have thought for years that Gone With The Wind was that type of movie, but bottom line this is one of the best movies ever produced in Hollywood. Which says something about Hollywood since this movie is over 60 years old! Set in Georgia before and during the civil war and centered around a spitfire young aristocrat named Scarlett (Vivian Leigh)who is disgruntled over the prospect of being ordinary, only to find adventure and intrigue through a well to do visitor named Rhett (Clark Gable). Scarlett becomes infatuated, but for her own misguided reasons. If I had known that this movie was so exciting, so beautiful (it's hard to believe when watching this that it is so old, but then again I did see the restored version). Every character is acted superbly (especially Hattie Mcdaniel who earned an Academy Award for her performance as Mammy, and I believe she is the first African-American to hold that honor). This movie held the record for most Academy Awards until some stupid boat movie came along and in my opinion this movie should still retain that standing). Gone With The Wind is one of the best movies ever, a classic not to be missed. So just remember its not a mushy love story guys! The only part I didn't like was the last line spoken by Scarlett, it should have ended with the word "damn" and the closing of a door. But that's Hollywood and its happy resolutions for you. You haven't seen a good movie until you can compare it to this.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Clark Gable
Vivien Leigh

DVD title: Swing Kids
Productgroup: DVD
Swing Kids - movie DVD cover picture
Swing Heil!

Swing Kids is a great movie with a great cast. Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale take us into the lives of two young boys who want to be "HJ by day, Swing Kid by night". It seems easy at first until Hitler's theories and strict order cause friends and families to turn against each other. I recommend this movie to anyone who wonders what it was like not only during World War II but what it was like to be a teenager during that time.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Director: Thomas Carter (II)
Robert Sean Leonard
Christian Bale

DVD title: Groundhog Day
Productgroup: DVD
Groundhog Day - movie DVD cover picture
This is my life

Okay, so I'm neither a man nor a weather-forecaster. Still, the first time I saw this movie back in the 80's, I knew it was about my life. Back in those days, I couldn't understand why nothing was going the way I thought it should, no matter how hard I tried to bend and twist my will and that of others to fit my plan. Ah, the ego - it is a marvelous misconception.
Our hero, Phil Connor (Bill Murray), has enough ego to choke - well, certainly to choke any interest the lovely Andie MacDowell might have in him when they end up trapped in a small town in the middle of a blizzard, on GroundHog Day.
For her, it's a one day event. Heck, for everyone but Phil, it's a one day event. But Phil - well, Phil wakes up again and again to the sound of "I've Got You Babe" - same day, same people and the only way things change is when Phil's behavior changes.
Unfortunately for Phil, but fortunately for those of us watching this movie, it takes him several wake-up calls before he gets it. I've tried figuring out how many years these repeated days add up to - but I can't and it doesn't really matter.
Some of us learn slowly, and when we are in the midst of 'getting it', this movie is a comfort. We're not the only ones! There's hope!
An under-appreciated movie, and Bill Murray is the perfect star. He manages to be obnoxious and unlikeable in the beginning, and even if you don't like his style much (I really am not a Bill Murray fan), you end up liking the guy in the end. This is a great movie to watch when you're feeling down, stuck in life, and need some hope and encouragement.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Harold Ramis
Bill Murray
Andie MacDowell

DVD title: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
For anybody who's ever loved.

The cinematic equivalent of that old saw "it's better to have love and lost than not to have loved at all". This movie is a classic and it's really too bad that it wasn't a bigger hit in the movie theatres but I guess people just want to see Jim Carrey talking out of his butt. Oh well...their loss. They missed marvelous performances by him and Kate Winslet. Supporting turns by Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood that were in fact supporting and gems in their own right. Wood was especially creepy. Kaufman is a treasure. Michel Gondry did a wonderful job as well. I'm gushing I know but I just loved this movie.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Director: Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey
Kate Winslet
Tom Wilkinson

DVD title: Britney Spears - Live from Las Vegas
Productgroup: DVD
Britney Spears - Live from Las Vegas - movie DVD cover picture
With Those Moves, You Try Singing

Britney Spears may not be the best at singing live, but she got out there and performed like she is known for. When Your whipping you head and moving all the time like she does you try singing, trust me, i would rather hear prerecorded vocals. She did awesome, and she looked great, its nice to know she is not holding anything back, and regardless of what people have to say, she does not care. She has matured, and whether you like her or hate her, she is a damn good performer. I love you Britney!

Studio: Bmg/Jive/Silvertone
Director: Marty Callner

DVD title: Mission Impossible 2
Productgroup: DVD
Mission Impossible 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Mission: Face/Off again (spoilers)

This is a hard, hard film to review. Five stars is actually a bit high, especially when you consider the films' obvious flaws. Yet this is still great entertainment, and a bit underrated by many. The film kicks off, like Face/Off, with a pair of action scenes. However, MI2 is rather less impressive than its predecessor, substituting a plane crash and a bit of rockclimbing. But it's still got cool bits; Dougray Scott's villain pulling off his disguise to Hans Zimmer's excellent score, and Cruise jumping from rock to rock in slo-mo. Then the plot kicks in for about 75 minutes, which is long enough to point out some good and bad stuff about the film. What MI2 proves is that Woo can take pretty mediocre material, and make it interesting. For instance, there's a scene when Thandie Newton goes to meet Scott on his island hideaway (very James Bond). As she walks, her scarf billows in slow motion, until Scott seizes it, tying it behind her. Such a trivial scene is directed in a lavishly OTT fashion. For me, that is Woo's genius; to elevate film to the level of Baroque opera (contradiction in terms perhaps). Certainly, Face/Off and The Killer both have this theme, and MI2 does also. Yet this slow section also enables the film's flaws to come out. Newton is not at all bad in a thankless part, but Robert Towne mucks up the duality issue of all Woo's work in Scott's villain. Rather than a suave mastermind, he comes across as an aggressive thug, whose primary motivation for trusting Newton is that he is 'gagging for it'. Hell, if Woo wanted to have Liam Gallagher as a villain, why didn't he ask? It does spoil the meticulous theme of good versus evil; certainly, there is no scene of such simple brilliance as the 'standoff in a mirror' scene in Face/Off. Actually, the absence of Mexican standoffs does hurt the film slightly in its final third; there is little pause for reflection. But, hell, the final third. Woo arguably exceeds even Face/Off and The Matrix in the sheer kineticism of the action. Cruise engages in slo-mo two handed gunplay, skydives from helicopters, engages in shoot-outs while riding a bike on one wheel, dives from buildings after blowing out the walls, and, in one brilliant moment, blows up a wall......and a dove flies through it, followed by Cruise. Cooooool! Yeah, it's a five star film for the final scenes alone. I hope the DVD is up to scratch; if it is, I can see this one selling a lot of copies. It's good fun, with a strong performance by Cruise, and it's certainly Woo's third best film to date. Had it had a bullet-time standoff......

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: John Woo
Tom Cruise

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