Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Happy Tree Friends - First Blood (Vol. 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Happy Tree Friends - First Blood (Vol. 1) - movie DVD cover picture
holy .funniest cartoons ever


If you love to see furry cute animals having their eyes poked out and intestines splattered all over the road, this is it. These guys are better than itchy and scratchy. So much violence, so much blood and pain. This is a great party DVD, its a little short but worth every penny. Buy this now you wont be dissappointed. WARNING this is not for anyone under 16 years old alot of blood and violence!

Studio: Ventura Distribution



DVD title: The Office - The Complete First Series
Productgroup: DVD
The Office - The Complete First Series - movie DVD cover picture
Hilarious -- but turn on titles...


That is the only way I can see giving The Office one star.
The series has a sort of Spinal Tap feel to it, being shot in the documentary style. It is so real that at times I had to cringe...for example, when David plays his little practical joke on the receptionist. The consultant episode is to die for. This is a unique and brilliant series, superbly written and flawlessly acted.
Back to the one star ratings: I suspect those that give this one star *are* the people the show is so accurately portraying.

Studio: BBC Video
Actors:
Ricky Gervais



DVD title: Withnail and I - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Withnail and I - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
A spell-binding exercise in drunken triviality


"W&I" isn't just the funniest Brit comedy since Monty Python; it's also arguably the funniest gay-themed flick ever. For although its young leads are not putatively gay, the subtext of homosexual panic pervades the whole shebang, but with a singular subtlety and wit -- it's only the subtext, after all. How great is this movie? Well, I'm not from London, and I'll never play The Dane, either, but I have stained my poetry books with the butter-drips from crumpets... and if I were to adopt an older, overweight, sedentary male cat, I'd name him "Uncle Monty" -- no kidding! Drawbacks to seeing it: now I can't hear the opening riffs to Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" without giggling & looking like an idiot for doing so... And I'll never look at a "firm, young carrot" or a chicken the same way again!

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Bruce Robinson
Actors:
Richard E. Grant
Paul McGann




DVD title: The Women
Productgroup: DVD
The Women - movie DVD cover picture
...and it's all about men...


I remember hearing four or five years back that a remake of the 1939 classic, "The Women," was in the offing. I don't know whatever happened to the plans for that remake, but it's hard to imagine that such a film could be made today. It reinforces just about every negative and politically incorrect stereotype about women imaginable, up to and including Norma Shearer's final line about pride being a luxury that a woman in love can't afford. It also includes other statements that couldn't be made today ("She thinks that because Lulu's dark he won't be able to see her" and "It's not her fault she wasn't born deaf and dumb").
The film, according to its trailer, has a cast of 135 women. I presume that they are talking about the speaking roles because there are certainly more women on screen than that. There is not a single man to be seen anywhere; even the various animals are female. There is one scene near the beginning where a photo of a man graces the back of a magazine cover; this shot stands out like a sore thumb each time I see it, and I wish somebody had caught it and corrected it.
Despite its political incorrectness, "The Women" is one of the funniest and most rib-tickling films ever made. I've probably watched it more than any other film in my collection; I've even taped the soundtrack and listened to it, a thoroughly satisfying way to enjoy "The Women" in the car, for example.
Of course the raison d'etre of this spectacular film is the bitchiness of almost all the leading characters, set off by Norma Shearer's near-saintly Mary Haines. Such a character would be considered a crashing bore nowadays--her scene with daughter Mary, played by Virginia Weidler, gets this very fast-paced comedy off to an incredibly leaden start--and I have a hard time believing that she ever carried the full sympathy of the audience. Even her wise old mother, delightfully played by Lucile Watson, displays more character; fumigating the room after a party attended by most of the of the other characters, she says "How do you stand those dreadful women?"
Rosalind Russell as Sylvia Fowler gets the cattiest lines and somehow manages to be able to talk a mile a minute through the whole film, even while doing strenuous physical exercises. Her two scenes with Joan Crawford are the high points of the film. Joan had to fight for the relatively short but very important role of Crystal Allen, the "terrible man-trap" who steals Stephen Haines, Norma Shearer's husband, but her hunch paid off: despite the brevity of her role, Crystal dominates the film from the time of her first appearance. And even though she gets her comeuppance at the end (an element missing from the original play by the way), she leaves in triumph, looking gorgeous and with one of the best exit lines ever written.
The supporting cast doesn't have a weak link. One standout is Paulette Goddard, the most beautiful woman in the cast and certainly one of the most spirited, as Miriam Aarons, a junior-league Crystal Allen. Another is Mary Boland as the ditzy but generous-hearted Comtesse de Lave; even after her fifth husband Buck Winston has left her for Crystal, she still refers to the radio moguls who wouldn't give Buck a job on the radio as "the old meanies." But all the leads are spectacular: Joan Fontaine as the naive Peggy, Marjorie Main as Lucy, the proprietess of the Reno dude ranch, Phyllis Povah as Edith (largely forgotten nowadays, she was brought over from Broadway to recreate her role for the film), Florence Nash as tweed-suited Nancy the author, and the others.
One thing I have come to appreciate more with each viewing of this film is how many actresses, many of whose names I don't even know, created truly memorable characters with just a handful of lines or less. My own particular favorite is Virginia Grey, another very beautiful woman, as Crystal's pal/nemesis Pat in the delightful telephone scene (and anybody who thinks Crawford can't act should see this scene). But others such as Olga the manicurist, Butterfly McQueen as Lulu, and the wonderful model whose tag line is "Our new one-piece lace foundation garment; zips up the back and no bones," are just three more standouts in a hugely talented supporting cast. They prove the old adage that "there are no small parts, just small actors."
"The Women" is one of those films that makes me feel especially sorry for people who claim they can't watch black-and-white films. I'm not referring to the technicolor fashion show sequence when I say that this is certainly one of the most colorful films ever made.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: George Cukor
Actors:
Norma Shearer
Joan Crawford
Rosalind Russell




DVD title: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Productgroup: DVD
I Know What You Did Last Summer - movie DVD cover picture
THE BEST HORROR MOVIE EVER!


This movie is very scary! Especially when the four teens hit the body and how that whole scene is played. The scariest scenes to me were when the fisherman was going after the teens and the kills them with the hook, and at the very end when the killer is finally revealed and he tries to kill them. If you like horror movies then I would definitely recommend this!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Jim Gillespie
Actors:
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Anne Heche




DVD title: Walkabout - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Walkabout - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
Superb film that transends time


This is a wonderful film about survival, love, tragedy and loss. Jenny Agutter, sensuous and delectable in her role as "the white girl" (The Railway Children) and her young brother played by Luc Roeg are alone and lost in the Australian outback. Rescued by David Gulpilil (The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit Proof Fence) an Aborigine on walkabout they manage to survive with his help and support. However tragedy is looming in the distance, for despite everything Gulpilil has done for the children he can never enter "their" civilized "white" world, and though Jenny is fond of him she is unable to reciprocate his love and his suicide is a tragic consequence of their relationship.This is a film about differences that can never be bridged. Black and White are forever condemned to inhabit different worlds, but the irony here is that without the Aborigine Agutter and Roeg would never have survived in the Outback alone.I especially liked the ending when Agutter, now married to a boring white man, reminisces the past, slowly becoming aware of what she lost because of her prejudice and unyielding nature. Superb photography, a slow but elegant plot helps this film maintain its momentum from beginning to end. This is a wonderful film that has been lovingly restored to its original format. Available both on DVD and video, this is a film of exceptional beauty that will appeal especially to those with an eye for the unusual.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Actors:
Jenny Agutter
David Gulpilil




DVD title: 25th Hour
Productgroup: DVD
25th Hour - movie DVD cover picture
Allegory About America - Subversive 25th Hour


This movie is amazing, and what's more amazing is that Spike Lee got Disney to make it. This fact, along with the above Amazon review above, only go to show how completely the movies critics and funders missed the essential point of the work. It's not a eulogy, not a touching portrait of New York as it once was, this is clearly the most political movie that Spike Lee has ever produced. If you don't scratch the surface, the movie makes little sense. Ed Norton plays a drug dealer who gets caught and must decide if he will go to jail. The movie is really an allegory for the choice America must face: return to its idealistic roots, or enter a police state of violence and retribution. It's not surprising that everyone misses the point. The vocabulary of film does not employ allegory often, but in this instance, the allegory works precisely as a one-to-one correspondence between the characters in the film, and current events. Once you have the key, this movie makes far more sense, and it's clear what about this movie makes you sad, and also clear that Spike Lee has produced the most powerful work about our current choice between Empire and Republic, and what to my mind is the best art about 9-11 made to date.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Spike Lee
Actors:
Edward Norton
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Barry Pepper




DVD title: The Powerpuff Girls - Down 'N' Dirty
Productgroup: DVD
The Powerpuff Girls - Down 'N' Dirty - movie DVD cover picture
I love da Powerpuffs sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!


This is the second of three in a series of detailed reviews from the videos comprising the Powerpuff 3-Pack. Video: Birthday Bash.
"Birthday Bash": There's nothing ordinary about the Powerpuff Girls, and their birthday party is no exception. Despite their attempts to have a simple birthday celebration, Mojo, Princess, the Amoeba Boys, and Him have sent them presents meant to destroy them. (Rating: 4).
"Beat Your Greens" is the crown jewel here on how to get kids to eat their greens. Broccoloid aliens sent a mind-control spore that infects the Farmsville broccoli supply. Kids don't like broccoli so they don't eat it. The attempts of one parent to coax his baby son is funny, comparing the broccoli to an X-Wing fighter, a pirate ship, etc. The way the kids defeat the Broccoloids is creative. "Release the cheese!" There's also a line taken from Apocalypse Now, which only parents might get. Funny line from Bubbles: "That scared the pants off me!" (Rating: 5).
In "Los Dos Mojos", the Girls are busy fighting Mojo, but Bubbles accidentally gets knocked on the head by an I-beam and wakes up thinking she's someone else. Blossom and Buttercup soon find their sibling dressed in a familiar turban and cloak, speaking in such a way that she constantly reiterates, restate the same thing over and over, repeats everything she says. Bubbles' manner of speaking is simply funny! "I am bad. I am evil. I am... MOJO JOJO!" The way she taunts Buttercup--"Afraid I'll whip the skirt off you?"-- and her imitation of Mojo's laugh is also amusing. (Rating: 5)
Elmer Sglue (Elmer's Glue, get it?) is picked on in "Paste Makes Waste", mostly by Mitch, but the icing on the cake comes when Buttercup, encouraged by Mitch and the others, except for Blossom and Bubbles, cries out, "Eat this, paste-eater!" and hurls a clod of paste at him. An accident makes Elmer a giant behemoth hell-bent on getting even with those who picked on him. Basically a well-taught lesson on why it's bad to pick on others. (Rating: 4)
"School House Rocked" has the Gangreen Gang being caught by truant officer Jack Wednesday (guess how this guy talks?) and being sent to (what was Wednesday thinking?) Pokey Oaks Kindergarden, where they cause all sorts of trouble. (Rating: 4).
Despite the label on the video, the bonus cartoon features Cowardly Dog's fight against some hostile eggplant, not the Sheep In The City cartoon. (Rating: 3).
Overall rating: (4+5+5+4+4+3)/6=4.2, rounded down to 4.

Studio: Hanna-Barbera



DVD title: In the Bedroom
Productgroup: DVD
In the Bedroom - movie DVD cover picture
Spectacular movie


Here's what I call a great "Dinner Talk" movie. You spend your two hours in the theatre, and you think you know what's going on. But when you get to dinner, and the conversation begins to flow, the movie takes on a whole new shape. In this case, it's a much more impressive shape. What starts as an intense dissection of one family's grieving period, turns into something much more sinister.
The way it begins reminds me a lot of last year's "You Can Count on Me": problematic family issues play out in an idyllic, Northeastern setting. Characters are fully formed, without being overly formed. Relationships appear easy on the surface, but are revealed ultimately to be more complex than could ever be imagined. The key difference between the two movies is that "In the Bedroom" has a bleaker worldview, and a much deeper level of family dysfunction.
Director/writer Todd Field has a sure hand, presenting his audience with only the information that we need at the time, sometimes holding it back until the last possible moment. This style demands an attentive audience. Make sure to follow closely any details he gives you, and the story will fall into place eventually. Fields pulls off this delicate balancing trick with relative ease. He only falters in that at times he presents the same information several different ways, making sure that the least attentive members of his audience at least have a couple of chances to catch up. It nearly got annoying, but never really did.
Fields' greatest achievement here is in the presentation of the movie's turning point. It's a moment where everything turns from blissful serenity to gut-wrenching pain, and it will hit you viscerally like other cinematic moments of its kind only wish they could. Fields shows what he has to, but not enough to make the whole endeavor tasteless. Again, solid directing. If he hadn't pulled this off, the remainder of the movie would falter; as it stands, we are left questioning whether or not the family we've been presented with is actually a stable unit, torn apart by one tragic event, or if it was fragile from the start, like a house of cards, brought down (exposed) by the tragic event. Fields never provides easy answers.
In a film such as this, if the director has created a malleable canvas, it's up to the actors to bring across the human emotion of the characters. Here, everyone is top-notch solid. Tom Wilkinson has the showiest role, but he is never showy in it. He manages to give his Dr. Matt Fowler a palpable glimmer in his eye, and then lets him lose it. Wilkinson's relationship with Nick Stahl, who plays his son, is the kind of easy-going-yet-repressed, multi-layered father-son relationship that movies find so hard to pull off. Stahl, who plays Frank as a careless young man intent on not letting the weight of the world crush his slender shoulders, holds up his end quite well. Marisa Tomei, for all the hype she's gotten over this role, actually has little to do. That being said, she still must be desirable (check), youthful (check) but mature (check), strong (check) but fragile (check), and eventually just over-the-top emotional (check).
In the end, though, this really is Sissy Spacek's movie. You won't understand this until the aforementioned Dinner Talk, because her Ruth Fowler comes across as a terribly cliched character: the overbearing mother. We've seen this path trod many times before, and Spacek does it well enough. But many of her actions, which at first glance appear quite benign, turn out to be viciously sinister. Pay close attention to the way Spacek brings these aspects of her character out, without hitting you over the head with them. If you can do that, then the ending, which seems out of character, becomes completely justified (well, if you use some twisted, dysfunctional family logic). It makes terribly sense. If you think it's horrible while watching it unfold, wait until the final revelation occurs. Then consider the consequences of what has just happened, and, more importantly, why. You'll be moved to the core.
If I've been vague, I intended to. Hopefully you'll have the same viewing experience that I had. To help in that process, bring along someone more perceptive than you, go somewhere afterwards for sustenance and libation, and thoroughly discuss what you've just seen. I promise that what you've just seen will change before your very eyes.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Todd Field
Actors:
Tom Wilkinson
Sissy Spacek




DVD title: Doctor Who - City of Death (Episode 105)
Productgroup: DVD
Doctor Who - City of Death (Episode 105) - movie DVD cover picture
The Finest Tom Baker


Paris and the good Doctor (Tom Baker, that is) - what a splendid combination. For many years this has been my favorite Doctor Who episode; it shines with exceptional writing and acting from the likes of Tom Baker, Lalla Ward (Romana), Catherine Schell (the Countess, best known to science fiction fans for her work on "Space 1999") and especially Julian Glover (Scaroth). Glover has made many notable appearances playing villains, most notably in the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films, but I doubt he has played a villain as cleverly conceived as Scaroth in his various incarnations. I must also note the splendid chemistry between Tom Baker and Lalla Ward (Incidentally, for trivia buffs she later married distinguished British biologist Richard Dawkins after divorcing Tom Baker; I had the pleasure of meeting both last year when Dawkins came to New York City to read from one of his most recent works at a famous bookstore.). Without question this exceptional episode ranks as one of Doctor Who's finest.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Actors:
Tom Baker



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Photo Release -- Servinova, a Cisco Systems Registered Partner Company Has Started Network Testing on CISCO Aironet (RedNova)
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