Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: UHF
Productgroup: DVD
UHF - movie DVD cover picture
bonus material well worth it

Let's skip a review of the movie..If you're looking at the reviews, you probably have seen the movie.
New for the DVD:Who knew there was a video for the song "UHF?" I'd seen clips from the video at various times (VH1's "Behind the Music") but never the whole thing. Not that great, but worth having.
Al did a lot of research before going in to do the commentary, and it shows. He'll tell you the exact locations that every scene was filmed, as well as point out flub ups that they had to work through.
Michael Richards doesn't add much to the commentary, but Victoria Jackson's comments are pretty amusing.
The deleted scenes are presented with commentary by Al, explaining, humorously, why they were deleted.
There's also lots of fun easter eggs to discover.

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Jay Levey
Weird Al Yankovic

DVD title: The Forsyte Saga, Series 1
Productgroup: DVD
The Forsyte Saga, Series 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Arbiter Elegantiarum

Some of my readers might have very warm recollections of the 1967 black and white BBC mini-series (from before, I believe, the term was coined) that brought to life in 26 episodes and 21 hours all six of the nine novels written by John Galsworthy under the supertitle "The Forsyte Saga." Few video adaptations quite as good were to come again until "The Pallisers" attracted millions, and both would be very difficult to improve upon. Well, Granada has tried with what might be an 18 part remake of the Galsworthy saga; and the first series of 6 is now available on three DVDs from Acorn Media.
Taken on its own terms, it is extremely good--but not perfect--and had me and wife pretty well riveted to the screen on three successive evenings. It did not, however, erase fond memories of the earlier version. Now the 1967 version was "studio-bound, with static camera work, long scenes and long speeches" (as the press release puts it). What the release leaves out was superb acting by established stars and by newcomer Susan Hampshire whose Fleur made her a star.
For example, Eric Porter made Soames a sympathetic human who hurt himself more than he hurt others, especially his miserable first wife Irene. In the 2002 version, Damian Lewis, looking like a demonic Steve McQueen, is 99% pure villain; and his mother's recollection of how he loved a pet cat to death does little to soften his character. It is only in the very last minute of the last episode that he softens--but I will not tell you why.
Another problem is the actress playing Irene, Gina McKee. The original Irene was portrayed by the extremely beautiful Nyree Dawn Porter; and all of the comments in the script about her looks were not contradicted by what we saw of her. Here (at the risk of being attacked for being another John Simon), McKee is simply attractive but by no means beautiful. In fact, some of the profile shots make her quite unattractive; and somehow all the praises the other characters sing about her are not justified visually. Then too, Soames' sister, played in 1967 by Margaret Tyzack, was always referred to as unattractive and lucky to catch a husband at all, even if he is a "bounder." Here Amanda Root, being very pretty indeed, draws no such disparaging comments in this new script.
The rest of the cast-- Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves, Gillian Kearney, Corin Redgrave, and so many more that I could only wish Acorn Media had provided a booklet with the cast as it did for "The Pallisers"--can stand comparison with the 1967 actors.
The production values are just fine, but all too often the camera work becomes annoyingly "innovative" when one character close to the camera is speaking to one further away, and they are brought alternatively in and out of focus as they speak or listen.
But, as a comic Shakespearean character says, comparisons are odious. Again, on its own terms, this is a very enjoyable if somewhat flawed remake of (so far) the first two Forsyte novels; and I can honestly recommend them for once and future viewing as I look forward to the next releases when they are filmed. But let us yet hope for some Kind Soul to restore the 1967 version not too long in the future.

Studio: Acorn Media Publishing Inc.
Damian Lewis

DVD title: Lost Highway
Productgroup: DVD
Lost Highway - movie DVD cover picture
"I like to remember things"......

I often think that David Lynch starts by creating his films by producing the soundtrack, then adding "some visuals" and the story evolves from it in an organic way. This certainly appears to be the case with "Lost Highway." If you liked Twin Peaks: Fire walk with Me for it's general level of weirdness then you'll love "Lost Highway"
The film is more coherant than Twin Peaks - less strange stuff for the sake of it. The symbolism is much more subtle and grafted onto the plot. It's a terrifying film, not because there is anything in there that is gory but it's so quiet, dark and moody that you get an uncomfortable feeling watching it (now *that's* directing).
The story? Well, it's difficult to explain and makes Dune seem like "The Waltons" in comparison. As Lynch puts it, it's about a man who experiences a 'psychotropic fugue' to get away from his current existance
The soundtrack is simply staggering and I don't just mean the music. Lynch seems like the only director who actually USES sound to his advantage to tell the story, scare or horrify the audience. The music is terrific, I bought the album straight after seeing the video, David Bowie, Angelo Badalamenti all in one.
Along with the Twin Peaks movie this is Lynch's finest work (yes, it's better than Blue Velvet). Make sure you see it in Widescreen too!

Director: David Lynch
Bill Pullman
Patricia Arquette

DVD title: Sideways (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Sideways (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Are You A Knuckle-Dragger? Then Don't See This Film, Please

Middle-aged Miles' (Paul Giamatti) life isn't going forward. And it isn't going backwards either. His life is going "Sideways".

Miles is headed to No-wheresville. He's a failed writer, has a messed up friendship with a nearly washed-up actor named Jack (Thomas Haden Church...remember the low-IQ mechanic from the WINGS TV series? Yep, he's back), and is spinning into a pit of self-loathing since his divorce two years prior.

If that weren't enough, Jack, his best buddy, is now getting married and Miles has to be his Best Man. Oh! And did we mention that Miles' ex-wife and her new husband are coming to the wedding, too. Lovely! For Miles, already on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, something is about to break. Better do something unpredictable. But what? Ah yes! ROAD TRIP!

So Miles and Jack take a jaunt into California's wine country. Miles, who is a connoisseur of great wines, tries to teach Jake (who's only interests are in getting nasty with a girl -- any girl -- who's interested in him) how to enjoy Pinots, Blancs, and all the other available grape incarnations.

But what the two have brought along with them on this trip is their pasts, their present, and, ultimately, their futures.

Will this trip spell the end of Jack's engagement if he falls in love with someone else (or thinks he falls)? Can Miles wrestle his own personal demons out from under him while meanwhile trying to keep his best friend from self-destructing?

Okay, so some of you might be asking yourselves, "So what's with the title of your film review?" Let me explain. First off, this movie has zero CGI effects (Did you hear that! Zero!). Second, there are no heroic battle scenes (not really, unless you consider Susan Oh beating on someone with her motorcycle helmet a "battle scene") or impressive set shots. Third, this film moves you into the characters' lives gently, kind of like getting into a pool filled with ice water. You have to go slowly, let your body adjust to the temperature change. For film, this is known as plot and character development (something that Hollyweird sometimes has trouble with). Fourth, you won't find Cindy Crawford look-alikes, or Vin Diesel muscle-types strutting their stuff in this film. This movie has "true" characters." They're F#@$ed up people who look like you or me. And they have real-world problems (they aren't trying to save the world from Zork-the-Terrible before he implodes Earth with his Confabulator 9000).

So if you're the type who goes into a theater expecting to be "blown away" by the special effects, bypass this one and spare us your review here. But if you enjoy character studies, and don't mind a slow, funny, touching, and downright realistic film, you'll probably love this one.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Alexander Payne
Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen
Sandra Oh

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
Best. Season. EVAR.

This is, by no mistake of language, the finest season of television I have ever partaked in. This season starts strong by picking up where they left off in season 1, and gets progressively better throughout. The ever-changing relationship between Angel and Buffy is very interesting, learning about Angel's past, seeing the character development of Xander and Willow throughout the season, and Giles romance with Miss Callandar. I was just in awe the entire way though. I watched the entire season in 4 days. Buy this! You will not be disappointed.

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Joss Whedon
Seth Green
Charisma Carpenter
Sarah Michelle Gellar
David Boreanaz

DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
At Last A Film To Answer the Question "Who is Keyszer Soze?"

Every now and again, a film emerges from the Hollywood ooze to completely redefine the preconceptions of its genre. Examples of this welcome trend include "Unforgiven," "Blade Runner", and "The Lost Boys", to name an eclectic few.
"The Usual Suspects" does for crime thrillers what "Alien" did for science fiction--it causes fans to reevaluate what drew thm to the genre in the first place and rekindles their enthusiasm for it.
Usually, movies of this sort tend to have largely-unknown casts. "The Usual Suspects" is all the more remarkable for having an all-star cast, akin to "The Dirty Dozen". Chazz Palmintieri plays the hard-nosed customs official determined to get to the bottom of a drug deal gone bad; Gabriel Byrne plays a criminal struggling to hove to the straight-and-narrow, Kevin Spacey shines as the handicapped reluctant informant Verbal Kint, while Kevin Pollack and the remainder of the cast represent a cross-section of modern thuggery.
This sordid bunch is brought together in a lineup for a crime none will own up to, during which they decide to team up for a daring raid on a drug lord's haul. As with "Reservoir Dogs" and other classics of the genre, things go downhill fast from there.
Much of the action is relayed in the form of a flashback from Verbal Kint's interrogation. Anyone who doubts Spacey's status as the finest actor in film today need only reference his role here as the complex Kint to become true believers.
It would be a crime to reveal any more of the plot ir the astonishing climax, but suffice it to say that if you enjoy the way tightly-plotted movies like "The Sixth Sense" or "Presumed Innocent" pull the rug out from under you just when you think you know the score, "The Usual Suspects" will make your night, or my name isn't Keyszer Soze.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Spacey
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: Mr. Vincent
Productgroup: DVD
Mr. Vincent - movie DVD cover picture
MR. VINCENT suprises with its solid unpretentious moxy

When I first saw Mr. Vincent I was blown away. How could an indie movie shot in New York for peanuts be so emotionally draining that I needed a jack and coke just to return to my normal pace. Mr. Vincent is one of the best acted indie films I have ever seen, and I trust me, I have seen many. Director Bob Celestino works with actors in a way that most indie filmmakers don't understand. Bob Celestino just may be New York's best kept secret.

Studio: Vanguard Films
Director: Robert Celestino

DVD title: Glitter
Productgroup: DVD
Glitter - movie DVD cover picture
I love this movie of course, because of her singing!!

Well, I love this movie because of her singing. It is so awsome I think I should copy her because I want to become famous like her Duuh!!It might be cool if she came and visit us in canada and told us how to sing just like her cause that well be "Gangsta"JUST KIDDING!!!!1From:Carly(me)

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall
Mariah Carey
Eric Benét

DVD title: The Whole Wide World
Productgroup: DVD
The Whole Wide World - movie DVD cover picture
Question About The DVD....

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. So much so that I bought it on laserdisc to get in widescreen, even though I didn't have an LD player (I put it on VHS with the help of a friend).
On the LD there are a couple of added scenes. There is a scene where Robert and Novalyne talk about ancestral memories, a scene where lightning strikes a tree as they sit in the car, and I think another scene with Robert's mother talking about his correspondence with HP Lovecraft. Does anybody know if these are on the DVD?

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Dan Ireland
Vincent D'Onofrio
Renée Zellweger

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Talk About Teen Angst

While Buffy started out as a typical teen movie, it became so much more as the series developed. It's about high school (and who doesn't cringe when they think of high school), friends, family, and don't forget love and relationships.
The first season is a great one, which sets the pace for the entire series. And while the first isn't too shabby, the later seasons get even better!

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Sarah Michelle Gellar

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