Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: The Mummy Returns (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Mummy Returns (Widescreen Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
good acion movie!

The Mummy Returns is a must see movie. I just got back from seeing it, and it is full of awesome special effects and is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. I can't wait to see this movie again and buy it on DVD.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Stephen Sommers
Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz

DVD title: Gwar: Skulhed Face
Productgroup: DVD
Gwar: Skulhed Face - movie DVD cover picture
If you don't buy this...........

.........don't worry about that. If you like GWAR than you can't be without this DVD. Just BUY IT!!!

Studio: Red Distribution, In

DVD title: Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Beginning of the End
Productgroup: DVD
Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Beginning of the End - movie DVD cover picture
We've got movie sign...and giant grasshoppers!!!!

One of my favorite MST3Ks: a great example of the mid 1950s "atomic monster" genre, with laughable special effects. Giant mutant grasshoppers attack the mountains and deserts of central "Illinois," before moving on to destroy Chicago by crawling up picture postcards of the Wrigley Building and being lured into Lake Michigan by electronic grasshopper mating calls made by a young Peter Graves ("Hi, I'm Peter Graves. Tonight on 'Biography'..."), ironically the nuclear scientist responsible for the whole giant-mutation thing, not to mention his deaf-mute assistant Frank's gruesome dismemberment and death at the chomping mandibles of one seriously big mother of a locust. America's finest fighting force (the Illinois National Guard) is powerless against this giant hopping threat. Another 1957 monster classic from infamous science fiction filmmaker Bert I. Gordon, the undisputed master of movies about giant animals attacking California cities masquerading as the midwest. Don't miss the riveting post-opening credits scene: an apparently endless car-approaching sequence (Mike: "Folks, we'll start the movie as soon as our ride gets here."), and the incessant, earsplitting, marching-band music soundtrack. An early Mike Nelson episode, it's a great example of classic MST3K: bad sci-fi flick, hilarious riffing on the film by Mike and the bots, including a *seriously* weird host segment where rubber grasshoppers attack postcards Mike just happens to have lying around. I actually saw this one week before I moved to Chicago, which is all-but-destroyed in the movie, and it seriously creeped me out for a while, though I've never been able to drive by Champaign-Urbana without looking over my shoulder for giant grasshoppers.

Studio: Rhino Video
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Peter Graves
Peggie Castle
Morris Ankrum

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Must See

I have seen this movie three times now, and still feel swept away by the experience. The movie encaptulates my own images of Tolkien's work, and it does a great service to the spirit of the trilogy. The interplay between characters and the careful development of the main players in the story make this an epic that touches the heart. Simply a fantastic experience, and one that I am looking forward to repeating again.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

DVD title: Return to Oz
Productgroup: DVD
Return to Oz - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies ever made!

I am so glad that it has finally been released after all of these years! I love this movie!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Walter Murch

DVD title: Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Lost In Translation (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
A Charming Lost and Found Experience

As I began to compose this brief commentary, I remembered that Sofia Coppola was cast as the infant being baptized during the final sequence of events in the first Godfather film (1972) which her father directed. She later appeared in Godfather Part III, a last minute and miscast substitute, reputedly for Winona Ryder. How different this film is from those films as well as The Conversation (1974) and Apocalypse Now/Redux (1979) which her father also directed.
With regard to Lost in Translation, she wrote the screenplay as well as directed it, evoking brilliant performances from Bill Murray (as Bob Harris) and Scarlett Johansson (as Charlotte). For me, the title suggests multiple dimensions of irony. Some are obviously related to Harris, familiar to those in Tokyo who recognize him but certainly adrift (if not totally lost) in a culture foreign to him in almost every possible way. Other ironies involve communication difficulties unrelated to fluency in language. For example, even after two years of marriage, Charlotte and John (Giovanni Ribisi) are -- to a significant extent -- strangers to each other as are Bob and his wife back in the United States to whom he has been married for quite some time. Moreover, much of the communication between Charlotte and Bob is also lost in translation, more the result (I think) of generational than linguistic differences. All this suggests an important point to me: It is difficult (if not impossible) for others to know who you are if you don't. It is also so important, moreover, to know who you aren't. Presumably Bob has been struggling with these issues, at least since his career began to evaporate. Both Bob and Charlotte are at or near a crossroad in their respective lives when they first meet. After several days together, their relationship arrives at another crossroad. Which way to go? Where is his life headed? And hers? Will they proceed together?
Here are two of several reasons why I admire this film so much. First, thanks to Coppola and her superb cast, it has exceptional charm. There are so many targets of opportunity for a cynical statement. However, to her great credit, she ignores them all. Although there are highly amusing (sometimes zany) moments along the way, to be sure, Coppola develops the characters of Bob and Charlotte with respect and affection but never with condescension. The second reason is that this film has great natural energy which Coppola juxtaposes with moments of intimacy, tenderness, reflection, and even poignancy. To achieve that, Coppola and Lance Acord blend as well as balance exterior shots of Tokyo at night (which resembles Las Vegas) with exterior shots of religious shrines during the day, thereby complementing Charlotte and Bob's diverse moods as they explore at least some of the country in which they feel lost.
Given what she achieves in this film, I am eager to see how Coppola's career develops in years to come. My hunch (only a hunch) is that her talents are more diverse than those of her father (e.g. slapstick comedy) and thus the nature and extent of opportunities which await her are greater than those available to him after the first Godfather film (1972). He must be a very proud father....and should be.
FYI: The special features of the DVD version include a conversation with Coppola and Murray, a behind-the-scenes featurette which includes exclusive footage shot by the filmmakers ("Lost on Location"), several deleted scenes, and an extended version of the Japanese TV show, "Matthew's Best Hit TV."

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Sofia Coppola
Scarlett Johansson
Bill Murray
Giovanni Ribisi

DVD title: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Great movie, or rather one-third of a great movie

Occasionally, a controversy arises in advance over whether Hollywood can do a book justice in the movie version. In the case of Lord of the Rings, make that three movies. New Line Cinema gave New Zealand director Peter Jackson hundreds of millions of dollars to film the entire J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. These were shot simultaneously in Jackson's native New Zealand. The first, The Fellowship of the Rings, was released last Christmas and is now on video and DVD. The second will open in theaters in December, the third in December 2003.
So far, Jackson has triumphed. While some purists have complained about certain elements of the movie (for example, about the lessening of the Hobbits' roles in fighting the forces of evil), most fans seem quite pleased. The movie has been a huge hit both here and abroad, which indicates its appeal goes far beyond the books' rabid supporters.
The Lord of the Rings is an epic tale about courage and the dangers of power. It takes place in a time long ago in a place called Middle Earth, which both is and is not of our earth. It is peopled by far more than mere humans beings. There are hobbits and dwarfs, elves and goblins, wizards and assorted strange creatures.
Once upon a time, a great but evil wizard forged powerful rings in the fires of the Mountain of Doom. The mightiest of these he kept for himself, but he lost it during a great battle. One day, a hobbit named Bilbo [Ian Holm] found it and kept it. Now he has decided to pass it on to his favorite nephew, Frodo [Elijah Wood]. There is great danger for Frodo because the wizard will stop at nothing to get it back. With the help of another wizard, Gandolf [Ian McKellan], and others, Frodo begins a long and treacherous journey to where the ring was created, for that is the only place where it can be destroyed.
The movie is a visual feast. Computer generated imagery techniques have truly come of age. When you mix these cinematic tricks with the naturally awesome and exotic landscapes of New Zealand, the effect is magical. Some, but not all, of this is lost on the small screen, for The Lord of the Rings is designed to be seen larger than life.
One of the movie's great accomplishments is the way it seamlessly matches the small and large characters. You would swear that Elijah Wood is a midget in real life, and Ian McKellan a giant.
The cast is superb. Especially notable are McKellan as Gandolf, Holm as Bilbo, and Wood as Frodo. These actors will forever be known for these roles. Also mesmerizing is Kate Blanchett in her fairly small role as Queen Galadriel.
The Lord of the Rings will not please all viewers. It runs three hours. The characters travel on and on and on, in much the same way Peter O'Toole was forever trooping across the desert in the 1962 classic, Lawrence of Arabia. Also, because this is the first in a trilogy, it doesn't have a true climax. It simply ends with the main characters planning their next moves. I personally can't wait to find out what they are.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Peter Jackson
Ian McKellen

DVD title: But I'm A Cheerleader
Productgroup: DVD
But I'm A Cheerleader - movie DVD cover picture

But I'm a Cheerleader is basically a parody/comedy/satire, cleverly written and directed. I've now seen it 3 times, due to the amusing plot, the interesting characters and (cough, cough) a slight crush on Clea DuVall, who plays the object of affection. It was clever, hilarious and interesting, and the romance actually added in more of the humor, given that Megan started out thinking she was straight and ends up, because she is /told/ that she's not, falling in love with a girl. Natasha Lyonne doesn't do as well as she could have, but the rest of the acting is AWESOME and more than makes up for the slightly questionable casting of the lead. See this if you can, it's great!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Jamie Babbit
Natasha Lyonne
Clea DuVall

DVD title: Women of the World Vol 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Productgroup: DVD
Women of the World Vol 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - movie DVD cover picture
Women of the World Vol 1. Rio de Janeiro

Great DVD! Great Concept. I take my hat off to the guys at Women of the World. I actually bought this title at an adult video store and was expecting it to be hardcore. Turns out it wasn't porn, but was even better because it actually shows how they met the girls featured in the video! We've all heard the rumors and hype about Rio de Janeiro. But this video actually shows regular guys how to go down to Rio and party like a rockstar! After seeing this video, I'm getting ready to book a trip to Rio!

Studio: Macdaddy Entertainme

DVD title: Frequency (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Frequency (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
A masterpiece!

I am 14 years old, and I may be a little young for a movie critic. But take my word for it, Frequency is one of the best movies I've ever seen! I saw it in a hotel in Phlidelphia, when my parents and sister had nothing really to do. So we ordered this movie for $9.99. But, whoa, this movie is worth far more than 10 bucks! It's a brilliant time-warp adventure, a powerful love story, and a gripping thriller--all in one movie. Wild, intricate, powerful, and amazing! Frequency is a masterpiece. Buy it immediately!

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Dennis Quaid
James Caviezel

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