Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Woman on Top
Productgroup: DVD
Woman on Top - movie DVD cover picture
hbo kept me up all night!

i don't usually boast movies full of lovey dovey mush! this movie is different! it caught my attention right away with this beautiful girl cooking wonderful food and in love with a gorgeous pig headed man... he keeps her happy at first then chooses to keep her in the kitchen cooking for his restaurant while he's out playing with the girls! he can't get exactly what he wants all of the time. with beauty comes motion sickness... girl leaves boy and boy curses himself... it's funny and witty and spicy! beautiful movie with a very cute plot and plenty of twists, turns, and... fish! a must see! in fact, i just finished watching this movie and it's up on my wishlist... i'm hoping someone will catch the hint that i must have it! coming from a girl who loves her horror flicks and hates lifetime... thumbs up to the "woman on top!"

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Fina Torres
Penélope Cruz

DVD title: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Productgroup: DVD
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - movie DVD cover picture
A Change for the Better for Disney

Out of all the movies I`ve ever fallen in love with and gotten mad at how underrated it was, this one makes me the most dissapointed. Reviews complain about how it doesn`t contain Disney`s classic kiddie humor. No, it doesn`t. It has a much more adult humor that had me cracking up the first time I saw this masterpiece in theatres. Phoebus is one of the most hilarious characters Disney has come up with in a long time. (Besides, I get very tired of little kid pun humor, and those obnoxious sidekicks to the villian that you feel like punching by the middle of the movie.) No, there is nothing using the kid gloves in this movie, and while others sit there and complain about it not being an exact replica of Cinderella, I find it extremely refreshing that Disney only tried something different for once, resulting in a phenomenalyl brilliant outcome.One thing we can all stress is a good element in "Hunchback" is the beautiful animation put in it. Compare the colorful Paris setting in this one to the way old-day France was illustrated in Disney`s "Beauty and the Beast" and you`ll see how much times have changed (Watch for Belle`s brief appearance in the town while Quasimodo is singing his first song in the movie.) There are so many beautiful images in this movie; the powerfully drawn Notre Dame "herself", the sky turning red as Paris burns, and the powerful symbolism in the scene when Quasimodo raises Esmerelda`s unconscious body over Paris`s population below to claim sanctuary in the cathedral.The character of Esmerelda is well over enough to make you want to buy the movie. Nowadays Disney`s acknowledgement of strong female character is rustry and unrefined; you see merchandise in stores of characters like Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White, all of which do nothing to prove themselves as good characters but just sit there looking pretty while stuff happens to them. Esmerelda is not a princess, and in fact she and Quasimodo have it in common that society wants nothing to do with them. She is an outcast, but she is in my opinion the greatest heroine animation has ever seen. Never in the movie is she screaming for help, only standing up for the right thing and bravely spitting in Frollo`s face in the midst of her doom. Esmeralda sees things as they really are - she knows what kind of people are monsters and what people are good. If Quasimodo is Boo Radley than Esmerelda is Atticus Finch. She`s not a damsel in distress, but she is vulnerable and needs to be saved from Judge Frollo at the end, but it`s her who rescues Quasimodo in the beginning. Esmerelda does not marry a prince, become trapped under a spell, or eat a posion apple, but she is a very symbolic supportive character in this film. It`s easy to lay in a bed waiting for a prince to come break a spell, but it`s not easy to be as tough as Esmerelda. The fact the she is voiced by Demi Moore only adds to her sporty qualities."Hunchback" doesn`t only have the best Disney chick in a long time, but a very kick-ass villian. Judge Frollo would outdo Captain Hook in any match of scariness. Jafar, Ursulla, and Governor Ratcliffe were all a pain of a villian, yes, but this guy is one of those bad guys that you just can`t believe because they`re just plain EVIL. This is shown in his treatment of Quasimodo, his prejudice against gypsies, and the way his secret desire for Esmerelda leads to his out-of-control need to kill her. Some villians don`t stand for anything, they`re mean because they feel like it, but Frollo represents pure evil. I can think of no better villian (and as a final note, his horse is very cool, too).Last but not least, I have to put a good word in for Alan Meken`s soaring music for this movie. I`m not talking about the sing-alongs, though there are some good songs in this movie that address themes of the story like "Heaven`s Light" and "God Help the Outkasts." The songs are commendable, but the score is like nothing else I`ve heard in any other films. Menken uses piercing vocals to make action scenes sound beautiful; the final scene during Esmerelda`s execution is good enough to watch over and over again just because the music in it is phenomenal. And then there`s Frollo`s trademark villian song, "Hell Fire," which is the scene you watch and then you KNOW this is not a movie for four-year-olds. Everyone agrees that this movie has a very dark mood, and I don`t think the mood would be at all that way without the cathedralesque music.So in conclusion, it`s no walk through the park for kiddies, but for older viewers I believe "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is one of the best full-length animated features of all time. If you do want to show it to the kids you better be ready to explain what damnation means and why Frollo`s really into smelling Esmerelda`s scarf.

Studio: Disney Studios
Demi Moore

DVD title: The Omen Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Omen Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A Fundamentally SOLID Movie.

A movie with such a solid fundamental is very rare indeed. In the Omen series if we pay attention we realize the simple fact that when all things has gone wrong and evil seems to be winning there is always our Lord "Jesus Christ" who will help us and protect us. The satan have sent his child the "anti Christ" to destroy human kind and corrupt their souls with his lies. Many people say that this movie is about the "anti Christ" but according to me this movie is actually about "God" which means that this movie shows us that through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ God has Delivered us from our sins and He has given us another chance to repent our sins and accept the simple fact that it is from Him that we came from and to Him that we WILL go back to and no one can change that "Not Even The Devil Himself". In the Omen 3 - The Final Conflict the BEST scene from the whole movie according to me is the LAST scene of the movie after Damien have been defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ and the scene depicts Christ picking up the dead child and placing him near his mother although there were no dialogue in this scene but according to me this scene actually pictures Christ saying "Forgive Them Father As They Know Not What They Do".

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Gregory Peck

DVD title: Iron Monkey
Productgroup: DVD
Iron Monkey - movie DVD cover picture
It Isn't Crouching Tiger. It Doesn't Try To Be.

Those who compare this film unfavorably to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are doing it a disservice. Crouching Tiger is an epic romance. Iron Monkey is an action film.

Think of it, specifically, as a kind of Young Robin Hood. It's a story about the childhood of one of the more popular characters of martial arts films, a real martial artist of 19th-century China, Wong Fei Hung. This particular story sets out to explain how Wong Fei Hung developed as he did, showing his relationship with his father and with an influential herbalist who inspires the inner Robin Hood in the boy. There isn't a lot of character development in the character, because there doesn't need to be. The target audience already knows Wong Fei Hung very well. The star of this movie is the action.

The action is similar between the two films, because they're both drawing on the fantasy style of fighting. All that soaring, the posturing from wires. Mythical folks doing mythical things. But where Crouching Tiger takes itself pretty seriously (befitting an epic romance), Iron Monkey is more laid back. There's some of the typical slapstick between father and son and one funny scene where all that lyrical soaring is put to a very mundane use.

It's like comparing, oh, My Name is Nobody to High Noon. They may be the same genre, but beyond that, they don't have much in common. (And that said, if you haven't seen My Name is Nobody, remedy that. As soon as you can.)

If you haven't seen Iron Monkey, and you like this kind of thing, you should remedy that, too. As soon as you can.

An interesting bit of trivia: the little boy in Iron Monkey is actually a little girl. A very athletic one.

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Rongguang Yu
Donnie Yen

DVD title: Backstreet Boys - A Night Out with the Backstreet Boys
Productgroup: DVD
Backstreet Boys - A Night Out with the Backstreet Boys - movie DVD cover picture


Studio: Bmg/Jive/Silvertone

DVD title: Robotech - Masters - Legacy Collection 4
Productgroup: DVD
Robotech - Masters - Legacy Collection 4 - movie DVD cover picture
The next chapter in Robotech

This is the second chapter in ROBOTCH (the american version anyways). Heres a list all the chapterschapter 1: Macross Saga
chapter 2: The Robotech Masters (this is what this box set covers)
chapter 2.5: robotech II; the sentinals (covers the time inbetween chapters 2 and 3)
chapter 3: The new generation
Hopefully eventually they will put the 3rd chapter on DVD also. I believe they will eventually.

Studio: A.D. Vision

DVD title: Unknown Pleasures
Productgroup: DVD
Unknown Pleasures - movie DVD cover picture
a classic.the pleasures it brings should not be unknown

for those who are not familiar with chinese films AND china's reality, it is easy AND WRONG to regard crouching tigers, hidden dragon, flying daggers, and hero as "good" or "representitive" of china's film industry. in fact, they received largely mockery besides admiration for their scenaries and music--to verify this, simply read some online bbs;). compared with jia zhangke's movies, these movies are less than chewing gums.

for chinese people, jia zhangke's 3 major films --xiaowu ??*?, unknown pleasures "C?--y, platform ?`?) are the best they've had for years. the unknown pleasures of watching them --repeatedly, if the guessing is right--are great. jia's 4th major movie, "the world" is to be shown 5 days from now,on april 9, 2005, the first of his movies granted a screen in public,and is also likely to be genuinely loved and deservedly acclaimed. i can't wait to buy a ticket ;)

there are some english artilces on him and his films. there will be more. i personally think his achievement has shadowed zhang yimou,jiang wen, and gu changwei(director of peacock) --a good thing, since we all believe in competition raising the standards.

as to "unknown pleasures", i can flag the standard words like "classic", "heart-renching", "deeply moving", "five-star", "2 thumbs up" etc. etc. but for me, i like to think of it, and his other movies, as something i have been looking for, found, and will hold to. The pleasures, yes. Unknown? A pity.

Studio: New Yorker Video
Director: Zhang Ke Jia

DVD title: South Park - Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Productgroup: DVD
South Park - Bigger, Longer & Uncut - movie DVD cover picture
Incredibly funny!

Although not a highest-grossing film of the year, this movie was a surprise success when it was released. It has caused people like the writers of the Simpsons to reconsider making an animated feature film of Homer and the rest.
On the surface this is not much more than a long episode on South Park with slightly better effects. But under the hood they developed a lot of technology to create the film, and it has definitly smoothed the process for the show's production.
As for the plot, I'm sure it's been discussed to death, but I will say that the quality of the movie is at it's best! Terrance and Phillip (my favorite characters) play a starrng role, and the show wastes absolutely no time trying to explain to the audience who such-and-such is (except for a small blurb about Ike being Canadian). All of our favorite characters are in it, without it being a showcase. And of course, since it's a feature film, it's much more irreverent than what's on the public airwaves. But again, it's not a giant excuse to offend you. It's all done consistently and it remains hilarious.
Finally, as usual, Trey Parker is given full writing credits since he's usually the one that ends up physically typing the script. But like always the show is a full collaborative process between Parker and Stone. At least, this is what they publicly admit :).

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Matt Stone

DVD title: Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Spider-Man (Full Screen Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
THE Super-hero!

This is the super-hero film everyone is trying to duplicate. "Daredevil" couldn't do it, neither could "Hulk". It has something for everyone and the DVDs are LOADED with extras. See for yourself - it's money well spent.

Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Director: Sam Raimi
Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst

DVD title: The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
very bearable

I believe that the current crop of young director's in Hollywood should be sat down and forced to enjoy this film, for it is a perfect example of exactly how a simple movie can be elevated to a piece of art work. Of course it cannot hurt if your base is a novel worthy in its own right, but the transfer to the screen does not always go this well.
First and foremost there is a little of everything here. Daniel Day-Lewis is possibly the finest method actor of his generation and the subtlety of the Czech accent, the easy passion of the love scenes and the frankly mouth-watering on-screen tension with Lena Olin is a joy to behold. As for Olin herself, i may be alone, but i think she oozes sexuality and temptation here in a way that a Sharon Stone never could in Basic Instinct. Juliette Binoche is also one of the finest actresses of a generation (Alice et Martin, Three Colurs Blue and an Oscar for the terrible English Patient where she was the only thing worth watching) and she portrays the innocence and vulnerability of Theresa with an effortlessness that she deploys in all of her film roles. As for her display of under-arm hair, i have nothing to add!
Take three fine lead performances, add the perfect, haunting, musical score and the tense backdrop of the Prague Spring of 1968 and we almost have a perfect film. At times the story meanders and at 2h 46mins, does lose the attention into the third hour. I wondered at times why more was not made of the on-screen dynamic between the two female leads and also why the camera dwelt for such long periods on Day-Lewis driving his East-European motor vehicle, but it all adds to the period feel of the piece.
If you do not feel sad come the end, i should be extremely surprised, this is an excellent and engaging piece of film-making.

Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Director: Philip Kaufman
Daniel Day-Lewis
Juliette Binoche

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