Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Sideways (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Sideways (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
just a damn great film.

well, after many, many weeks of trying to get tons of people to see this gem of a film on the big screen where it should have been seen, it is finally now on home video for your viewing pleasure. since around early last spring, there had been talk about this little film that had nothing to do with space aliens, gore, dumb teens, dumb adults, and no big name movie stars. please, do not get me wrong. i have loved watching movies for a very long time since i was a young shorty, and have seen a lot more than most people would expect. but after working a 10 screen cineplex from 1996 to mid-2002( i've been working at target since then, thank you) i came to the conclusion that not every damn blockbuster that hollywood crams down my throat is worthy of spending major money on. since then, and during my time working for cinemark theaters, i decided to spend good money on small, low budget, independent features that don't succumb to traditional hollywood values. 'sideways' is one of those features that i speak about. this film is about a lonely book writer teaching eighth grade english while wating to see if his newest creation gets the big break he hopes it deserves. paul giamatti plays that character, miles, a hopeless man determined to drink his life away in bottles of pinot noir(his wine type of choice) and spending long nights in bars wallowing away. his best friend (thomas haden church)is getting married in one week, so miles takes him on a week long journey into wine country to have one last blast before the wedding takes place. thomas church's character has nothing in mind, but to screw every walikng female in sight. along the way, both guys meet a couple of ladies in their journey. miles meets up with maya, a waitress played by chicagoan virginia madsen who sees the inner beauty in paul giamatti's character, and reveals a few revelations of her own. mr. church meets up with a wine pourer, played by sandra oh, who brings more to the table than thomas ever bargained for. after this set up, it would be unwise for me to tell you anything else about this absolutely amazing film, except for the actors. all 4 major actors shine in their respective portrayals is this film. paul giamatti was sorely overlooked for an oscar nomination for best actor, as he shows his role as miles as an up and majorly down guy who just can't get over that one last hump. thomas haden church was wisely given an oscar nod for supporting actor, as was ms. madsen, for best supporting actress. and though sandra oh did not reap any major awards this past season, she still is a major force to be reckoned with. the film shines with superb dialouge written by alexander payne and jim taylor, who both won this years oscar for best screenplay. and even though i shouldn't be warning anybody about this, this is a mature, thought provoking R-rated movie with much adult conversations, including the dreaded(and very much used)f-word. hey, it's said for a lot of good reasons and this is the type of movie it should be said in. but don't let that stop you from seeing this gem of a film, for i will be buying this movie tomorrow when i go to work. oh, and by the way, my honest feeling about this film? after leaving the theater back in november when i first saw it, i knew that i had just saw the best film of 2004, hands down. and it still is a masterpiece of new millenuim filmmaking in my opinion.

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

DVD title: River of Death
Productgroup: DVD
River of Death - movie DVD cover picture
Indiana Jones meets Dr. Mengele

If your in the mode for a great flick then rent this sleeper. It boasts everything; from Nazis to a swashbuckling hero. Nuff said - get it NOW!!!

Studio: Unicorn Video
Director: Steve Carver
Michael Dudikoff
Donald Pleasence

DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
Awesome Historical Account of Easy Company in WWII

Band of brothers is an extremely detailed look at the experience of war. Its ten one hour episodes start with the men of Easy Company, 101st Airborne, during the rigors of basic training and the process of becoming soldiers. From the series' onset the men's youth, exuberance, but also naivety about what is to come, are the subject of a deep introspective look at war and all its tragedies. The bond that these individuals develop episode by episode is well chronicled, as well as the major operations that Easy Company participated in during the liberation of Europe: D-Day, Market Garden, Bastone, the capturing of Hitler's Eagles Nest, to V-E Day. The great depth of the characters and their experiences are like no other war movie ever captured on film (granted, the ten hour series length allows for this). If you liked Saving Private Ryan you'll love Band of Brothers. I can't sing its praises enough for those of you who want to understand maybe just a small portion of these men's experiences and the horrors of war. My only caution: the series is graphic in nature due its content. This is not done for audience effect, merely to correctly document the realities of the condition. For those viewers that do not care for this level of realism you may want to think twice about experiencing this series, because it truly is an experience. Otherwise, devote ten hours of your life to Band of Brothers and you will not be disappointed.

Studio: HBO Home Video

DVD title: Starship Troopers
Productgroup: DVD
Starship Troopers - movie DVD cover picture
Most underrated movie of 1997

A lot of people did not like this film because I think that they had a misconception of what the movie was supposed to be. The criticisms I've heard (not just on here, but in general) say that they didn't like the plot/characters or that the film was to violent/gory. I think this is mostly the fault of the studio which marketed the film poorly.
These people have valid points, and I don't want to dismiss them completely, but I think they're looking at the film from the wrong point of view.
Starship Troopers is a war movie. Plain and simple. While many try to compare this movie with "Star Wars" or "Total Recall", it would be more accurate to put it alongside of "All Quiet on the Western Front." Starship Troopers is not meant to be touching or emotional. Rico may seem shallow to us but in a movie overshadowed by powerful Nazi themes, he is the ultimate Lantern-Jawed Arian. And while the other characters may seem equally obvious, we need to remember that unlike most stories where the war is the vehichle for the players, in Starship Troopers the characters are the vehicle to tell the story of the war. END

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Casper Van Dien
Denise Richards

DVD title: Sarah Brightman - One Night in Eden
Productgroup: DVD
Sarah Brightman - One Night in Eden - movie DVD cover picture
Sarah indulges herself...

...and breaks the mold of what a performance should be.This is my first Sarah B video and it is different to say the least. Very theatrical and lavish with some scenes that put her in a class of her own. I do love it however but like every one of the music videos I own there are synching problems. It would seem technology could figure out a way to keep multiple cameras synched or at least a better editing job. (Another video with bad synching is Sarah McLachlan's Mirrorball)After watching it three times I've decided that she truly is singing all the songs but there has been some post concert enhancement of the audio portion.I would really be upset if they dubbed her on this one because she does have a beautiful voice and presence.The video/audio quality is excellent in my view and the richness of color on the DVD really makes this one a feast for the eyes.

Studio: Emd/Angel

DVD title: The Bela Lugosi Collection (Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven / The Invisible Ray / Black Friday)
Productgroup: DVD
The Bela Lugosi Collection (Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven / The Invisible Ray / Black Friday) - movie DVD cover picture

It's rather interesting that this set is called the Bela Lugosi Collection when Boris Karloff also stars in all of these films except for Murders in the Rue Morgue and is the feature star in Black Friday & The Invisible Ray. Still, one cannot diminish the importance of this set as none of these films was available on DVD until now.

Murders in the Rue Morgue is a film dominated by Lugosi, perhaps more than any other role. He's the center of attention and gets a lof of screen time in the role of Crazy Dr. Mirakle who injects women with the blood of a gorilla named Erik. It's a deeply atmostpheric film thanks to cinematographer Karl Freund who also worked on Dracula.

The Black Cat is the masterpiece of this collection. Considering it was the early 1930's, this was one twisted film with elements of satanic worship, torture, and incest. Lugosi is Dr. Werdegast who journeys to the strange home of Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff) which was formerly a fortress and built over the scene of a grisly WWI battlefield. Lugosi is seeking revenge on Poelzig for taking his wife and daughter while he was imprisoned for years. Werdegast soon learns his wife married Poelzig but is now dead and kept suspended in a glass coffin while Poelzig then married his daughter. On top of that, Poelzig is the leader of a Satanic cult. These were rather bold concepts for the time. Lugosi and Karloff are both great in the film but Lugosi gets the better of Boris on this occasion.

The Raven is another loosely based Poe film as Lugosi plays the brilliant Dr. Vollin who saves the life of a Judge's daughter but then becomes obsessed with the girl (Irene Ware). Vollin forces the small-time criminal Bateman (Karloff) to do his bidding by disfiguring him with the promise of repairing the damage later. Vollin plans to kidnap the judge and his daughter and torture them in the chamber he's built in his mansion. Bela was at his over the top best as Vollin and Karloff's disfigured face was once again the work of makeup wiz Jack Pierce.

It's a great treat to have these films finally available on DVD!

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Boris Karloff
Bela Lugosi
David Manners
Julie Bishop

DVD title: The Boondock Saints [IMPORT]
Productgroup: DVD
The Boondock Saints  [IMPORT] - movie DVD cover picture
Right On

I am female, that just positively loves movies where there is fighting, pools of blood, and people dyeing every two scenes. Yes, I do also love romantic comedies, but these types of movies are pretty narley. "The Boondock Saints" is a truly remarkable movie.

Studio: Pid
Director: Troy Duffy
Willem Dafoe
Sean Patrick Flanery
Norman Reedus

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 2)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 2) - movie DVD cover picture
April 11th Can't Come Quick Enough!!!

I knew this movie would be good. I skipped school to go see the first showing. I was that confident! As I left the movie theatre, I knew I had been right. This movie was an absolute thrill. It's been almost 3 months since I saw the movie and I can't hold out much longer. My anticipation is only inceased by knowing that Book 5 comes out 2 days before my birthday. Naturally I haven't seen the DVD yet with its 19 cut/extended scenes, interviews with the actors and (most profoundly)Joanne Kathleen Rowling herself! But I was right about the theatrical release wasn't I?
For those of you who refrained from paying [$$$] to see it in the theatre (that's cool, I've done that with other films) I'll give you a brief rundown. Viewers of film 1 may recall how constrained and unreactive the younger actors are. Things happened and they just seemed to take it in stride. This is no longer the case in The Chamber of Secrets. Harry, Ron, and Hermonie show their emotions a lot more making the movie far more believable. The sets also seems much bigger. There are more classrooms and the climax moment when Lockhart, (excellently caste) Harry, and Ron go down to the Chamber just seem to expand the walls of Hogwarts. The Forbidden Forest,too, extends out into a greater and scarier frontier.The Quidditch field is possibly the most noticable set that seems to have been cursed with an engorgment charm. There are more stands and there is a particularly exciting moment when the Golden Snitch leads Harry and Malfoy into the superstructure of the pitch.
Important new members to the cast include, Professor Lockhart, Lucius Malfoy, and Tom Riddle. They all play their parts magnificently and behave as I thought they did in the book.In short, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets adaptation to the screen was as faithful as the first, but was far more exciting.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson (II)

DVD title: Secondhand Lions (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Secondhand Lions (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie since the Disney classics of the 60s.

With impeccable direction and acting, this story is brought to life for enjoyment by the whole family. A boy growing up without a father figure, and with a mother who cannot get any traction in life, is delivered to a pair of batchelor uncles to spend the summer. His assignment is to discover and report where these uncles hide their wealth. Instead, he discovers the father(s) he never had and the mentors he so desperately needs to grow into manhood. Without any capitulation to current social trends and fads, and without sappy sentimentality, the meaning and value of family is portrayed, skillfully interwoven with fantastic tales of adventure. This movie is a must-see by everyone from Cubscouts to grandparents.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Tim McCanlies
Michael Caine
Robert Duvall
Haley Joel Osment

DVD title: Summer of the Monkeys
Productgroup: DVD
Summer of the Monkeys - movie DVD cover picture
A wonderful movie for families.... caring is important.

Although the title didn't catch my attention, the content of the movie is very good and worth seeing. A young boy wants a horse of his own so bad, but in the end he shows how important his family really is... see it!

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Michael Anderson

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