Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Samurai Deeper Kyo - Curse of Tokugawa (Episodes 6-10)
Productgroup: DVD
Samurai Deeper Kyo - Curse of Tokugawa (Episodes 6-10) - movie DVD cover picture

i think the movie overall is very good if your into the whole samurai thing. i also think that the whole outlook of it was well planned out. it remines me of the book .in all good dvd

Studio: Media Blasters, Inc

DVD title: Arrested Development - Season One
Productgroup: DVD
Arrested Development - Season One - movie DVD cover picture
quite possibly the funniest comedy in television's history..

Hey brothers!

OK, the funniest comedy EVER? I know what you're thinking - things aren't the best ever these days. The best ever is something that always happened a very long time ago, back in the good ol' days, right?

After just two seasons on television, Arrested Development is the best comedy in the history of the boob tube.

Of course, "best" can't be quantified, and preference is subjective. And there are plenty of folks who have watched this show and not cared for it. And I've noticed - if you feel that "the Simple Life" is quality television, this show isn't for you. If you have attention deficit disorder you might have trouble following the continuing plots and running gags, but believe me, a twelve year old could catch up in half an hour.

So, the show isn't for everyone. In fact, maybe quite a few people have surfed by AD on a Sunday night, given it five minutes, and passed. If you belong to this group, slow down. Give it an episode, maybe two. You won't start to "kinda" like it - you'll fall in love with it, you'll start fiending for another AD fix. You'll find yourself laughing in public for what appears to be no reason, but you won't care what others think, because you've acheived true enlightenment.

I'll leave the details to the many, many excellent reviews already available here at Amazon. The best deadpan ever recorded, a perfect cast, and the writing.... the concept in general. It's perfect, and the reviews are unanimous.

So pick up this DVD set - $30 is nothing, considering how many time's you're going to watch each episode. And the next time you see someone laughing to himself, for no apparent reason, you'll understand why. Save yourself, save Arrested Development - don't make a huge mistake.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Jason Bateman

DVD title: Safe House
Productgroup: DVD
Safe House - movie DVD cover picture
Patrick Stewart is the best actor to ever live.

Patrick Stewart does and unbeleivable job in this movie, of course with him nothing less can be expected. I'm a big stewart fan and whats weird is that I thought this movie would stink since its some showtime never heard of film. My cousin rented and I thought hey its Stewart this must be at least... Decent. I was surprised. His performance is remarkable. He makes the veiwes beleive exactly what he wants the viewes to believe. Mase Sowell the insane "former intellgence agent" is an over the hill man suffering from ulcimers (forgive my spelling). The question you ask in this movie is.. Was he really an agent? and with stewarts performance you never know til the very end. This movie is action packed, great suspense great acting, at least on behalf of P. Stewart. If you like suspense or spy movies, this is for you. And if you're a Patrick Stewart fan who is probably sipping a cup of Twinnings Earl Grey tea right now. You NEED this movie.

Studio: Showtime Entertainment 2
Director: Eric Steven Stahl
Patrick Stewart
Kimberly Williams

DVD title: Floating
Productgroup: DVD
Floating - movie DVD cover picture
A reviewer from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

I saw this excellent drama in TV3, here in Barcelona, where we have the option of watching movies in its original language or dubbed to our language, Catalan. I chose to watch it in English. I found this drama very well directed, with a perfect tempo in all scenes, a set of outstanding actors and a director and scriptwriter full of imagination. William Roth portrays very well Van and Redus as a couple of troubled young men trying to make sense of their lives. It deals with many issues in a fine, sensible way. Homosexuality in particular is well presented. All patriarchs not accepting the homosexuality of their sons, should see this movie. Maybe it'll open their scandalized minds. Second, it proves that to make a good movie all you need is a good director, a camera, a team of good actors and an excellent script. Refreshing. I gives me hope that Hollywood productions are not going to destroy the excellent tradition of film making in the US.

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: William Roth

DVD title: Just Visiting
Productgroup: DVD
Just Visiting - movie DVD cover picture
Grab someone you love to hear laugh!!!

This is one of our favorite movies. We are a family of four, that includes two teen-agers 14, and 16. We have not seen The Visitors, and will have to get it for sure since everyone has said it is like Monty Python, and all of us crack up on those movies.
Just Visiting is so funny that no matter how many times you watch it, you still laugh. I was surprised at how well Christina Applegate played her part. She was perfect. Jean Reno and most especially Christian Clavier are hysterical. You will laugh til you cry.
This will be a classic we will keep for years. Enjoy it!

Studio: Disney Studios
Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Jean Reno
Christina Applegate
Christian Clavier

DVD title: The Apprentice - The Complete First Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Apprentice - The Complete First Season - movie DVD cover picture
Entertaining Supplement to Business School

Several people warned me "As a career consultant, you need to watch this show!" So when the DVD came out, I did. And I was overwhelmed. You could show portions of the series in a non-Harvard MBA classroom.

The show's premise has been described so often I won't summarize here. As Bill Rancic observes in his book, there's not much reality here. Tasks bear only faint resemblance to real-world business challenges faced by senior executives. Extra pressures arise from the group's living arrangement: a loft on Tiffany Corner, 5th Avenue and 57th Street, where participants sleep in cubicles, "on top of each other." Well, says Trump, a tiny apartment at that location might rent for $12,000 a month. He should know!

Besides the survivor-type drama, we get a rare glimpse into Trump's world, as he shows off his apartment, fleet of aircraft, estates and companies. He comes across as likeable, even "funny," as one fired contestant says, showing annoyance only once in the entire series, during a mix-up in the very last episode.

So can we learn business lessons from the show? In many ways, yes. Above all, what's important is conducting yourself professionally and never losing your cool. Participants must cooperate to win as a team, yet ultimately their teammates are also their competitors. In corporate America, you get ahead by supporting your boss. Here, a savvy team can undermine a leader who's a potential strong competitor or a despised colleague, getting that leader fired.

Trump also encourages players to think outside the box. He is quick to fire those who won't stand up for themselves or who are squeamish about critiquing their colleagues. One woman got fired because she held back instead of "fighting for her life." Feisty is good. But these values are hardly universal. Trump has created not only a company, but also a culture. Other companies may expect executives to stay in the box and be quiet.

Are these really the best and the brightest? Watching contestants fumbling around, it's easy to question the selection process. But we have to remember these folks are fish out of water. They're jammed into tight spaces, sharing quarters boot camp style. They've presumably signed releases, allowing photographers to film them sleeping, brushing their teeth or answering a phone in their underwear.

Some contestants no doubt have trouble relaxing and sleeping in those conditions. And the pace is relentless. As Rancic says in the bonus material, some people just got tired. Stamina, motivation and perseverance lagged. Romance was hard to manage, although one couple came close. (I think Omerosa and Kwame had some chemistry, especially evident in a deleted scene shown on DVD and suggested by his decision to select her for a critical task. But nobody comments so maybe I shouldn't either!)

Candidates were young and many were at a crossroads: newly divorced, restless, and/or facing career challenges. They were a special group in many ways - some special to the point of quirkiness, but that's another story.

Having read Bill Rancic's book first, I watched for signs of greatness. Bill did not stand out in the first few rounds - when some obvious misfits were culled quickly - but found some effective out-of-the-box strategies that dazzled Trump. Additionally, Bill was poised, professional, articulate and good-looking. A no-brainer.

The real winners were those who followed the strategy Kwame describes in the bonus material. He saw the show as a platform for a new company and a new career. Based on media reports, all have received great job offers or seen their businesses expand. One candidate managed to use the platform to display her worst qualities - but you can decide for yourself.

As an expatriate New Yorker myself, I was drawn to the last scene of each episode, when the fired participants find a cab idling right at the curb, presumably equipped with a video cam to record their last thoughts. Just having a cab at your beck and call can be a luxury, but I wondered more. Where do they go? Does Trump buy them last-minute airplane tickets? Fly them home in his private jet? Stash them in the Trump Plaza hotel? Well, maybe we'll find out someday.

Studio: Universal Studios Ho
Donald Trump

DVD title: The Enemy Below
Productgroup: DVD
The Enemy Below - movie DVD cover picture
Spectacular WWII cat-and-mouse sea saga

Spectacular sea saga where you can't always tell the cat from the mouse. Mitchum puts in a stellar performance as a destroyer captain who chases a career-strong but weary U-Boat captain. One of the best WWII movies Hollywood ever produced -- tightly edited, well paced, with only a couple of obvious cliche' scenes. (Watch for the scene where the U-Boat captain confronts a panicky crewman wielding a large wrench.)

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Dick Powell
Robert Mitchum
Curd Jürgens

DVD title: Foreign Correspondent
Productgroup: DVD
Foreign Correspondent - movie DVD cover picture
"You're just a wee bit unscrupulous, aren't you?"

I've always thought of myself as a Hitchcock fan, as he had the ability to tell a story through the medium of film so very well, understanding perfectly the necessary elements needed within a story to keep an audience enthralled and engaged. Sure, many may understand these necessities, but it seems few are able to develop them to the level Hitchcock did, and that's what makes much of his work so enduring, even relevant, so many years later. That said, being a self-proclaimed fan and all, I have to admit I'm a bit ashamed that it took me so long to get around to watching Foreign Correspondent (1940), as it's not only a wonderful Hitchcock feature, but a really great film in general (heck, it was nominated for like six Academy Awards, so there must be others out there who share my sentiments). The film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (some just call him Hitch, but I think it's a little disrespectful unless you knew the man personally and were friends with him...I didn't know him, so I'll always use his full name, but y'all can do whatever you like), stars Joel McCrea (The Virginian), Laraine Day (Calling Dr. Kildare), and Herbert Marshall (Duel in the Sun). Also appearing is George Sanders (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), Albert Bassermann (nominated for one of the six Academy Awards this film received), journalist and popular humorist Robert Benchley, and Edmund Gwenn, who would later appear as Kris Kringle in the holiday staple Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

McCrea plays Johnny Jones, a crime reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, who gets a new assignment as a foreign correspondent due the fact that the editor of the paper is tired of the regurgitated press releases his current correspondents are turning in, and also due to the fact Johnny knows little, if anything, about current international events, so hopefully he'll be more inclined to provide a fresh perspective. Given his lack of knowledge with regards to current international events one might be hesitant to accept such a position, but with the incentive of an expense account (, Johnny dives head first into the position. Upon arriving in Europe, he's tasked to get in close with an organization touting peaceful resolutions to various European conflicts, headed by Stephen Fisher (Marshall) with his daughter Carol (Day) working by his side. Things take an unexpected turn after the assassination of a leading dignitary, and Johnny seems to be the only one who suspects there's more behind what has happened than there appears. Clinging to a meager handful of leads like a mangy mutt clings to a soup bone, Johnny begins to uncover a seemingly vast conspiracy that could affect course of history, with regards to the impending world war.

I came into this film not expecting a lot, even though it was a Hitchcock film, basically because I had heard so little about it. The cast here is incredibly talented, and is put to good use. McCrea, who would later make himself known in westerners (apparently he enjoyed those roles the most), does a wonderful job as the tenacious, very American, crime reporter, seemingly out of his league in the capacity of a foreign correspondent, dogging out various difficulties to get the story, managing to find love along the way. Day also does really well, providing more than just a shallow love interest, but a fully developed, rich and interesting character that shares a surprising amount of chemistry with McCrea. They may not be at the level of a Grant and Bergman (Spellbound), or a Stewart and Novak (Vertigo), but they provide just as genuine sense of interest as those pairings. The supporting cast, including Marshall, Sanders, Basserman, and Benchley (Benchley seemed in a rare position to create his own character, and add some really enjoyable humorous dialogue to the film after the script had been written, as usually once the script was finished, Hitchcock was usually adamant about not allowing further changes) further strengthening an already solid film. One aspect of the story I really liked was the depth of character given to the main antagonist. This role could have easily been portrayed in a more simplistic fashion, but here it's developed with intelligence and even a certain sympathetic edge. The sets are beautiful and perfectly suited for the story (the windmill scenes were especially rich and detailed). I've read where some thought the pacing was too slow, but I would describe it as deliberate (the film runs a lengthy 2 hours), as I feel Hitchcock controlled his productions very tightly, and his reasoning for the pacing and inclusion (or exclusion) of certain elements well thought out and specific, at least that's my impressions from his other films. There's just a lot going on in this film, and a number of different characters that all get their appropriate development. The tension within the film seems a bit subtler than in some of Hitchcock's other films, but it blends in very well, along with the dramatic and humorous touches. The dialogue is sharp and witty, giving the characters a very genuine feel. One of my favorite scenes is near the end, when the main protagonists are going off to catch a plane, and they're relaying all kinds of instructions to Robert Benchley's character of Stebbins (he was also a foreign correspondent working for Johnny's paper, a slightly sullen character, resigned to his position) to which Stebbins appears to be writing furiously, finally popping out a humorous quip after they're gone. All in all this is a thrilling, sophisticated, romantic, adventure-filled picture worthy of its' place among Hitchcock's more popular films.

The full screen picture, original aspect ratio 1.33:1, looks clean and sharp, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono comes through clear. Besides an original theatrical trailer, there's a thorough documentary (I think it runs about 35 minutes) titled "Personal History: Foreign Hitchcock" featuring interviews with critics, Hitchcock's daughter, and even actress Laraine Day.


Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Joel McCrea
Laraine Day

DVD title: Love Me Tonight
Productgroup: DVD
Love Me Tonight - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent DVD presentation

Kino has done a wonderful job with the DVD presentation of this great film. The transfer is excellent, with only a few speckles, and excellent shadow detail. Blacks look rich and vibrant, and the whites look brilliant. Suprisingly, for a 71 year old movie, there is hardly any grain, and I am watching this film on a 50 inch screen. Even the stock Paris footage looks amazing and clean. There are hardly any jump cuts, except for the cuts instigated by hard-line censor Breen for subsequent reissues. The frames show remarkable stability. In summary, I was extremely surprised. The soundtrack does not quite match the quality of the video. However, all the dialogue is very clear, with an occasional hiss on the mono soundtrack. Let's not forget the age of the film.The commentary by Miles Kreuger is about a 4 out of 5. He is very interested in the film, and the works of director Mamoulian, and is informative, especially in matters regarding the horrendous cuts inflicted by the post-code censor. He seems to know alot about the cast, especially the supporting cast. However, do we really need to know the birth date and the life story of an actor who has a very minor role, that is, only occupies seconds of screen time. Hopefully, Miles may improve in subsequent audio commentaries.Congratulations Kino, and thanks for allowing cinephiles to finally view this film at home.

Studio: Kino International
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Maurice Chevalier
Jeanette MacDonald

DVD title: The Hurricane
Productgroup: DVD
The Hurricane - movie DVD cover picture
Here comes the story of the Hurricane...

After seeing this movie, you can't help but think of what awful things people do sometimes. Whenever you are in trouble, jail, detention, anything, just remember what Rubin Carter said: "Hate put me in here. Love's gonna bust me out.
Visuals: Great cinematography with very few special effects. But it's not that type of movie. The art direction is good.
Overall Visuals Grade: A-
Sceenplay/Story: The story makes you feel bad for anything you've ever said bad about someone black. Don't deny it. We know you're guilty. But we forgive you. It's just the fact of someone going to prison for 20 years for a crime they didn't commit... it's just not right.
Overall Screenplay/Story Grade: A
Acting: Denzel Washington's performance is wonderful. Great supporting characters and every actor collaborated well. They are very well directed. Hats off to Norman Jewison.
Overall Acting Grade: A+
Sound/Film Editing: Sound effects are mostly the landing punches. The film editing is flawless and there were no mistakes to my knowledge.
Overall Sound/Film Editing Grade: A
Oscar Potential: Denzel Washington will more than likely get a nomination. Film editing and adapted screenplay are good possiblities.
Comments: Long story short, "The Hurricane," will blow you away with its moving story. I almost cried. And I'm a 13 year old boy!
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence. There are many profanities. There is one shooting and several brutal boxing matches. It's important to let your kids see this though. We do see a brief glimpse of Denzel's bare buttocks.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Norman Jewison
Denzel Washington

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