Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: U2 - Best of 1990-2000
Productgroup: DVD
U2 - Best of 1990-2000 - movie DVD cover picture
much better than the CD counterpart

I was somewhat disappointed with the CD 'The Best of 1990-2000' due to the revisionist remixes of all the songs from 'Pop' (1997), as though the band needed to apologize for a decade of experimentation. However, for a serious U2 fan who missed half of the U2 videos in the 1990s, this DVD is excellent and complete. The following is a list of the videos (in chronological order):
1. "The Fly" (our first glimpse of U2 chopping down 'The Joshua Tree' and a preview to the imagry of the ZooTV tour to follow)
2. "Mysterious Ways" (to match The Edge's liquid guitar sounds, the entire video is appropriately shot with a shimmering lens)
3. "One" (two versions for a song with multiple interpretations)
4. "Even Better Than the Real Thing" (successfully capturing the imagry in the song)
5. "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" [Temple Bar Edit] (mostly a compilation of some live video footage combined with some studio shots of Bono singing)
6. "Until the End of the World" (again, more of a compilation of live video footage from the ZooTV Tour)
7. "Numb" (multiple versions - one used as video on the ZooTV tour and the other more infamous version with The Edge being assaulted/adorned, the latter of which is probably the band's best video)
8. "Lemon" (including the introduction of Bono's character "MacPhisto")
9. "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" (directed by Wim Venders, this one has excellent cinematography and follows along the story-line of the movie for which the song was penned)
10. "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" (although this wholly-animated video could have been better without all the gratuitous tie-ins to the 'Batman Forever', it is entertaining nonetheless)
11. "Miss Sarajevo" (a beautiful song with a somewhat unmemorable video)
12. "Discotheque" (the source of much ire surrounding the 'Pop' (1997) record, it is worth it to see the band having fun)
13. "Staring at the Sun" (nothing particularly memorable in this video, as U2 don the Miami-look)
14. "Last Night On Earth" (although deliberately conceptual, getting the band to actually act is always a questionable proposition)
15. "Please" (an underrated song and an underrated video, although the latter does not quite catch the political bent to the lyrics)
16. "If God Would Send His Angels" (on this one, the conceptualism works as the top half of the screen displays Bono singing on a bus seat while the bottom half displays the person sitting (or not sitting) across from him)
17. "Gone" [Live] (this is a live video taken from the 'PopMart Live in Mexico City' VHS, which IS better than the studio version included on the 'Pop' record)
18. "Mofo" (using a remix of the song, this one is simply cuts of live video footage)
19. "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" (good video for a movie promo, complete with Salmon Rushdie, who wrote the lyrics)
20. "Beautiful Day" (if you haven't seen this one, then you've been living under a rock - NOTE: for an alternate version, get the double-CD version of 'The Best of 1990-2000' which includes the History Mix DVD)
21. "Stuck in a Moment" (two versions - one more serious and the other more humorous)
22. "Electrical Storm" (Larry Mullen makes his acting debut with Samantha Morton - visually quite nice)
23. "The Hands That Built America" (just a studio performance)
With most of these videos comes commentary from the director, as well as an interesting mini documentaries behind the videos for "One" and the 1997 Sarajevo concert. All in all, this is a great package as far as a collection of videos goes. I only wish they could add similar extras to "The Best of 1980-1990" DVD counterpart, which is yet to be released.

Studio: Universal Music & VI

DVD title: Billy Madison
Productgroup: DVD
Billy Madison - movie DVD cover picture
Best movie

Adam Sandler plays a 28 year old fool who wants to take over the family buisness. He makes a bet with his dad that he will repeat grades 1-12 in 12 weeks. With the help of his friends and taecher he does. If you like Adam Sandlers stupid roles like i do you will love this movie. It will keep you laughing with many memorable lines.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Tamra Davis
Adam Sandler

DVD title: Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Still One of the Very Best

I write only to add another five-star review to this impressive and exhaustive list. Carl Sagan is simply a legend. I read Cosmos, which is also worth reading even if you watch this fine collector's set, Billions and Billions, and have three or four other Sagan works on the shelf that remain on my "to read" list. Don't miss out on the movie "Contact," written by Sagan, either.

Sagan is what I'd describe as a scientific romanticist. He is at once well aware of both the awesome power of nature, the mysterious nature of the universe, as well as the gruesome potential we have as humans to either preserve or destroy ourselves. Sagan is thoroughgoing, but never to the point of boredom. This series, even though produced in the early 80s (if I recall correctly), is still fantastic today. Were needed either Sagan or Ann Druyan provide "updates" at the end of each original episode.

This may indeed be NOVA's high-water mark (at least thus far). Seriously, this is a keeper - one to crack out and watch once a year for sure.

Studio: Cosmos Studios
Carl Sagan

DVD title: Fahrenheit 9/11
Productgroup: DVD
Fahrenheit 9/11 - movie DVD cover picture
Moore Delivers Thoughtful Message

Everybody it seems has an opinion about Michael Moore and be it positive or negative most are not shy about expressing it. So considering the already entrenched opinions held about the man, any discussion about his work will more than likely follow a predictable path and degenerate into a mud slinging exercise by the usual left and right wing suspects where any reasoned debate gets jumped on and beaten up very quickly.
Fortunately "Fahrenheit 9/11" is not a film that explores the finer points of its subject matter and can be dissected by subtle intellectual debate. This is a wrecking ball aimed directly at President George W. Bush, his Government, personality, policies, advisers, business associates and even his family. Moore doesn't hold back and at times his attacks on the president seem more like a personal insult than a critique of his presidency. But then again can G.W. Bush tell the difference? Recently, the Washington correspondent for RTE News Carole Coleman was granted a private interview with the president at the Whitehouse. During the course of the interview Ms Coleman grilled President Bush rigorously yet respectfully about his policies, yet the president seemed to take great offence at this and repeatedly tried to brow beat the interviewer. When one is dealing with a man who seems incapable of distinguishing between professional disagreement and personal attack, Michael Moore's tactics are not only justified, they are obligatory.
Fahrenheit 9/11 grabs the audience from the beginning and moves from the tragic, to the comic, to the disturbing, to the downright frightening in a way that the viewer can't help but be pulled along with. As with "Bowling for Columbine" Moore doesn't run shy from presenting the viewer with the raw pain of people directly affected by the events he rages at, the journey of Mrs Lila Lipscombe from unquestioning patriotism through doubt to anger is both tragic from a personal point of view and masterful cinema. I truly ached for this woman's and shared her sense of betrayal, the worst part of it being as the pro war woman outside the Whitehouse said "You're not the only one". Yet for all this, Moore's real anger in this film is reserved for the class divisions in American society and how this is exploited by the ruling elite to further their own agendas. One young man's comment "I was looking at the pictures on TV of Baghdad after the bombing and I thought we have places that look like that around here and we haven't had a war" sums up the decline of society in the US caused by poverty and official indifference that this film rails against.
This is not a documentary cast from the traditional mould where the narrator attempts to see things from all perspectives and present the user with a balanced view; this is a film that is very definitely pushing a point of view and as such criticism that the film lacks objectivity misses the point completely. However the power of the message can't be denied. Moore is a persuasive character and when one sees the look on Bush's face when he is told that the Nation is under attack on the morning of September 11th, that look of indecision, fear, and almost blind panic is enough to make you wonder just how much intelligence and moral fibre does this man actually have behind the public image and just what what kind of man is leading us. Thomas Payne once said "The patriot must always be willing to defend his country against its government" and by this yardstick Michael Moore may have done our society a great service in making this film. Whether you agree with the man and his politics or not, you really should see this film. The fact that there are people who are willing to make and distribute a film like this is proof that the freedoms that are our birthright, they are still alive and waiting to be reclaimed. I can't recommend this film too highly.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Michael Moore (II)
Michael Moore (II)

DVD title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1)
Productgroup: DVD
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Full Screen Edition) (Harry Potter 1) - movie DVD cover picture
Fun Fantasy!

This is a thoroughly entertaining fantasy, fun for children of all ages. The movie's release worked out well for me because I had just finished reading J. K. Rowley's book at a friend's insistence. Wisely, the movie takes us quickly through the early material of the book. Any more coverage of Harry's life with his Muggle relatives would have been tedious. Instead the film gets quickly to the good stuff after laying only the necessary foundation. Harry, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Hermione, and the students and teachers at Hogwarts are all perfectly cast. Emma Watson's "Hermione" is a delight in every seen. Each member of the all-star cast is so well costumed and in character that he or she does not distract from the storytelling. It took me a while to recognize John Cleese and Richard Harris. The first view of Hogwarts, the school for budding witches and wizards, is visually stunning. The special effects are so linked into the storyline that one tends to stop taking notice of just how remarkable they are. If there is a shortcoming to the movie, it is that it attempts to achieve two purposes in a relatively short space of time--it must introduce us to these characters in their very unfamiliar world and it must tell the tale of the sorcerer's stone. This ambitious undertaking keeps things moving pretty quickly, and require plot resolution a bit more quickly than one might like. Nonetheless, this movie leaves you anxiously awaiting the sequel. The DVD provides lots of interesting ancillary materials and curiosities.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe

DVD title: Tru Calling - The Complete Second Season
Productgroup: DVD
Tru Calling - The Complete Second Season - movie DVD cover picture
unfairly taken from the air but i know were to buy it cheap

This show was unfaily taken off the........i do beveilive the frist 15 episodes were the strongest though many disagree and favorer the later episodes.....anyway it is being sole at many stores nation wide and has been since august 2 the carry it at suncoast cicruit city fye best buy newbury comics tower records and many other store all of these places carry this dvd at under $30 please do not pay more than that!!!! it is amost every were now ( contains 1 unaired episode )

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme

DVD title: House of 1000 Corpses
Productgroup: DVD
House of 1000 Corpses - movie DVD cover picture

Best horror film I have seen in years. Can't wait for the sequel. I bought the dvd early at a store in New York. It rocks. All of the extra features are right on the money particularly the menus. Sheri Moon, Sid Haig and Karen Black give some tremendously fun performances in this movie. See it for their acting alone. One day the scene w/ Moon lip synching "I Wanna Be Loved By You" will be considered a classic. Not for all tastes.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Rob Zombie
Sid Haig
Bill Moseley
Sheri Moon
Karen Black

DVD title: Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Full Screen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Full Screen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Jump Up to Get Down with your Blackneus

Holla!!!! I can't stop steppin' stars to this cat's flick. Every family be a Madea and she so crazy cuz she crazy! I mean I seen movies, real movies, like Drumline and You Got Served, but nuthin' got served with Mad Black Woman. This movie could use a drumline or a bunch of right steppin' city kids grindin' beef with dance fights, c'mon yall it's about dancin, fightin, your grandma, down puttin the pipe, and fightin'. Yall get busy with realdemption and shut down the pipe pushers. When Madea cut that fools house in half I 'bout went home to tell Mama I sorry for not graduatin' skool cuz I was hard headed. Madea taught me to respect stuff. Get Madea's Black Woman Diary and prepare to get it.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Director: Darren Grant (II)
Kimberly Elise
Steve Harris
Cicely Tyson
Tyler Perry

DVD title: The Hot Rock
Productgroup: DVD
The Hot Rock - movie DVD cover picture
Never thought I'd see this on DVD

Another five star review? Well I usually review just my all-time favorites and since I am reviewing this I can say THE HOT ROCK is one of my favorite movies of all time, even if Robert Redford didn't think so. You see, I've read that Redford never had much regard for this film, which might be considered as a minor or lesser effort. In fact he was against having this film released in DVD format. Apparently that request slipped through his fingers as it's available on DVD now.

This might seem to some as a pleasant but unspectacutar Saturday afternoon or 3:00 AM tv movie. It's basically a light comedy with likeable heroes and villains. Nobody gets hurt or dies. There's no bad language or nudity (I like that!!). However, the plot is actually complex and interesting. The plot revolves around the stealing and recovery of the Sahara Stone from the Brooklyn Museum. This priceless diamond is stolen by Robert Redford and his gang through elaborate scheming. Although Redford was in prison and he loses the diamond during the course of the film, his character always seems to be wise. We know that he will succeed in regaining the stone before the end. However, the final twist, which I shall not reveal, is a great touch, and keeps the viewer interested and on the edge of his/her seat.

One other thing I like about this film is that it was shot on location in New York City and Long Island in May/June 1971.
I live here, so I recognize many of the locations. For example, the "State Prison" is actually Nassau County Jail (there is actually no state prison on Long Island). The outside of the Jail where George Segal meets Robert Redford is right on Carmans Avenue in East Meadow. Later in the film they rescue Paul Sand from the prison, and drive off past Modell's Shopping Center on Hempstead Turnpike. The shot of the still-under-construction World Trade Center (during the helicopter scene)is timeless.

It's good that this movie is available on DVD. Although it's a blast from the past, it holds up well after all these years.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Peter Yates
Robert Redford
George Segal

DVD title: Fear X
Productgroup: DVD
Fear X - movie DVD cover picture
Fear X is Excellent Amibent-Noir Filmaking

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn, third film "Fear X" may baffle or frustrate his viewers with his non-linear plot line and it's leisurely pacing. Indeed Refn falls short on adhering to the protocols of commercial filmaking, but he is aiming, almost entirely, for effect, rather than aiming for commerce, in "Fear X."

In this case, "Fear X" was written by renowned novelist Hurbert Selby Jr. Selby's script has minimal dialogue and it's left to John Turturro's considerable acting skills to convey the obsessive quest of a mall security guard to find out the truth behind the seemingly random shooting of his wife.

You are never completely certain, if the action on the screen is actually unfolding, or whether it's all happening in the mind of Harry Cain, Turturro's character. He frequently sees the mute ghost of his murdered wife, leading him to a sinister looking vacant house directly across the street from his own house. He eventually breaks into the house and finds a strip of photo negatives, which he believes to be the smoking gun left by his wife's murderer.

It's clear that Harry Cain is obsessed, but we wonder if he's being good detective, or if he's a delusional madman whose paranoia leads him on a groundless quixotic investigation. Cain's co-workers are concerned about his erratic behavior in the wake of his wife's death.

Perhaps the entire film is a surreal parable about moving from the first "denial stage" to fifth and final "acceptance stage" in the 5 Stages of Grief upon losing a loved one. Harry Cain exhibits all the five ritualized stages of grief and by the end of the film it's clear that he has accepted his wife's death and is ready to move on with his life.

Rafn's filmmaking style may appear to be slow moving, but for those who appreciate camera and soundstage techniques the leisurely, unhurried pace of the film allows the viewer to take in Larry Smith's magnificent wide angle camera shoots and the use of a blood red tinted camera lens on some of the interior shots.

The drama is enhanced by Brian Eno's ominous ambient soundtrack score. Indeed the entire film is an excellent workshop on how to use lighting, music, camera angles, and set design to ratchet up tension in a film. Those interested in filmmaking will find "Fear X" to be ambient cinema, while those with shorter attention spans will find it boring.

Like,David Lynch, Refn's filmmaking is allegorical, atmospheric and explores the murky regions of the subconscious mind.

Rafn has shown enough talent in "Fear X" to be regarded as part of the future generation of innovative and artistic directors. It's not everyday that a filmmaker with the devious & subversive imagination of a Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, or Terry Gilliam comes along. Each of whom evolved into brilliant filmakers as their career progressed. I struggled between giving 4 stars or 5 stars to "Fear X" in the end it was 5 stars, simply on the potential Refn exhibits in this powerful psychological suspense movie. Like Lynch's "Eraserhead" and the Polish brothers' "Northfork", "Fear X" is destined to become a cult classic among cineastes.

It is not a film for those who cannot tolerate ambiguity, but for those who have a taste for the unusual or quirky, "Fear X" is fascinating.

Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
John Turturro

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