Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Blood In, Blood Out
Productgroup: DVD
Blood In, Blood Out - movie DVD cover picture
one of 1993's best

powerful and violent, this is a extrodinary and moving drama about three friends who takes paths of their own and then end up against one another. Benjamin Bratt and Damian Chapa are fantastic, Bratt is way better in Pinero though. Ving Rhames and Billy Bob Thornton also star in this grand look at the life in L.A. and the Chicano heritage.

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Director: Taylor Hackford
Damian Chapa
Jesse Borrego
Benjamin Bratt

DVD title: The Pretenders - The Isle of View
Productgroup: DVD
The Pretenders - The Isle of View - movie DVD cover picture
Finally, "The Isle Of View" available on DVD!

Many bands have ventured into the 'unplugged' format, but few have succeeded as triumphantly as the Pretenders did with this performance. Along with stripped-down, acoustic only instrumentation, the Pretenders are also augmented by a string quartet, with the combination rendering mostly sublime new renditions of classic Pretenders hits and assorted album tracks.
Amongst the highlights are "Sense Of Purpose" and "Criminal", two lost gems from the sadly neglected "Packed" album (1990). Here, happily, they are given their just due. "Chill Factor", "I Hurt You", "Private Life" arguably exceed the original studio versions. "Back On The Chain Gang", "Kid", Brass In Pocket", and "2000 Miles" remind why this band was so vital in the first place. Finally, "Revolution" and "Night In My Veins", two new tracks off the then current "Last Of The Independents" album, showed Chrissie Hynde still had not lost any of her talents as one of rock's premier songwriter and singer.
The sound and picture quality are very good, and happily, presented in 'widescreen' format. The camera-work is commendable too, steady and focused, a welcome change from the typical distracting split-second editing found in most concert videos.
Rhino should be applauded for finally issuing this terrific performance by the Pretenders on DVD. Not much else to add, other than if you're a Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders fan, this is a DVD you won't want to miss

Studio: Wea Corp
The Pretenders

DVD title: Blade Runner (The Director's Cut)
Productgroup: DVD
Blade Runner (The Director's Cut) - movie DVD cover picture
A Sci Fi masterpiece worth your time

Watching Blade Runner:The Director's Cut is like listening to smooth Jazz on a rainy day. One becomes hypnotized by the effortless flow of the dreamy, and nostalgic world and forgets all about time and space. This unusual world encloses around you, slowly making its way to the gentle core of your soul. Ridley Scott's direction of this patient science fiction masterpiece starring Harrison Ford, allows the viewer to enter a dreamy and accurate portrayel of mankind's future and the out-of-control technology that man has yet to master. From Phillip K. Dick's short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" comes one of the finest science fiction films ever invisioned. The dark and profound subjects such as the acceptance of death and the fragility of humans are subtely incorporated into the film's plot line, while the stunning and highly influencial art direction of the futuristic Los Angeles allows viewers to become entranced in it's beauty and awe.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: Ridley Scott
Harrison Ford
Rutger Hauer
Sean Young

DVD title: Galerians - Rion
Productgroup: DVD
Galerians - Rion - movie DVD cover picture

When I first heard that there was a Galerians movie in Japan I searched everywhere for an english edition, or even somewhere that I could by the Japanese edition (I really didin't care what language it was in.) It's been a little over a year since I first heard of the movie and the day has finally come when it will be released in America. I've played both games and even though the second one is better then the first, they are both excellent games. I would suspect that this movie will be innapropriate for children under 13 for all the blood and violence. Though I have only seen clips both english and japanese, I can say that this will be a must have for any Galerians fan. Now if only the original soundtrack to this and Galerians: Ash would be released here....

Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD title: Monty Python's Flying Circus: Set 2, Episodes 7-13
Productgroup: DVD
Monty Python's Flying Circus: Set 2, Episodes 7-13 - movie DVD cover picture
The Avangardists Of Modern Humour

To this day, Monty Python remains THE idol and source of inspiration to humourists all around. ?Monty Python's Flying Circus? made the group famous, and it is the best ever to come out, not only from Monty Python, not only from Britain... but humour in general!
Highlights on this tape: ?Man Turns Into Scotsman?, ?Dead Parrot?, ?Buying A Bed?, ?Homicidal Barber?(/?Lumberjack Song?), ?Walk-On Part In Sketch?, ?Agatha Christie Sketch?, ?'Spectrum' - Talking About Things? and ?Ken Shabby?.
Own it!

Studio: A & E Entertainment
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin

DVD title: What Lies Beneath
Productgroup: DVD
What Lies Beneath - movie DVD cover picture
Effective jolts in an old-school style.

Y'know, for those wanting an obvious type horror movie should look elsewhere. An effective movie is all about what you don't see rather than having signposted plotlines. WLB keeps you on tenterhooks throughout, and it twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing. As for those who may think there are hitchcockian cliches, cliches are cliches because they are so regularly truisms!
This is the sort of clever filmaking with no horrible bits, Zemikis winding up the tension mercilessly then releasing it with those Hitch style false starts. You can safely let your kids watch this as it's not one of those gory horrors, more a psychological type.
Another sign of a good movie such as this is there are plotlines and a deneument that one never expects.
For those who can't be bothered with characterisation and plotlines, stick to horror movies from Medusa distributors such as 'Maniac Cop', or the 'Scream' sequels.
Oh, as with all movies, ensure you get the widescreen letterbox edition, not many folk know that up to 60% of a movie disappears with standard Pan & Scan, or "Fullscreen" (which is a misnomer) versions; and this is particularly apparent with 70mm print movies; eg Ghostbusters, 2001, Topgun.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Harrison Ford
Michelle Pfeiffer

DVD title: Mulholland Drive
Productgroup: DVD
Mulholland Drive - movie DVD cover picture
The greatest Lynch.

With Twin Peaks, the greatest Lynch. Thank's David.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: David Lynch
Laura Harring
Justin Theroux

DVD title: Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Witty and charming!

I very much wanted to watch this movie when it was screened in Singapore in 1998/9, but was prevented from doing so by my busy schedule. However, recently I had the privilege to watch this video on CD.
Beyond the simple and easily-understood plot, I find a disturbingly strong and genuine message in the story. It was in a conformist world that the 2 children Bud and Mary Sue found /helped find true "liberty". Ironically, the liberty the citizens of PLEASANTVILLE was but a hoax conjured by social beliefs and refusal to accept changes. And it was easy to capture the message as the ignorant ones are still in B&W (Notice when Mary Sue turned to technicolor, for those who are against the sex part of the movie...)
It seems natural and indeed it is, that every human being has a potential to discover their gifts to the fullest, yet may be conditioned to choose to bury them by lies which appear rosy. Under the fa?ade? Only something less desirable.
Another aspect touched on which I felt was worthy of mentioning was the unsettling discontentment of people, because of the difficulties they face in an imperfect world, and try all they can to look for the long-anticipated UTOPIA, thinking that human effort would be more than sufficient to establish something long lasting and perfect. Well, no. The movie with its succinct message: People are stifled as a result.
The movie provokes interesting questions about life, yet at the same time highlights the impossibilty of utopias on Earth. In fact utopia-seekers are pretentiously denying their attitude of escapism. So to all looking for PLEASANTVILLE, stop looking, and learn to accept change.

Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Director: Gary Ross
Tobey Maguire
Joan Allen
Jeff Daniels

DVD title: Zulu (Michael Caine)
Productgroup: DVD
Zulu (Michael Caine) - movie DVD cover picture
Militaria Cult Classic

Zulu is now 41 years old & it still holds up as an exciting piece of film. Sure there are things from a historic perspective, uniforms, weapons & neither Stanley Baker nor Michael Caine look anything like the real Chard or Bromhead, BUT its still a great film. It may be of interest to know that Colour Sgt. Bourne was the last survivor of Rorkes Drift dying @ the start of World War II as a Col.. Also the Zulus did NOT have Martini Henry Rifles at this battle as depicted. I've seen this film over 50 times & HIGHLY recommend it to all!

Studio: Front Row Video, Inc
Director: Cy Endfield
Richard Burton
Stanley Baker
Jack Hawkins

DVD title: The Sopranos - The Complete Fourth Season
Productgroup: DVD
The Sopranos - The Complete Fourth Season - movie DVD cover picture
The Sopranos Season 4 - A brilliantly compelling season!

Where the first season covered Tony's relationship with his mother and that relationship causing him to see a therapist; the second season went more along the lines of him as a brother; the third season was based on Tony and Carmela as parents and of course, this fourth season was highly focused on their marriage, all coming to an incredible head in the final episode.
I've heard several people say that the third and fourth seasons weren't as strong and as "biting" as the first two seasons, I couldn't disagree more. This fourth season is an extremely intense season and is just as dramatically compelling and enthralling as the previous three. Very few dramatic series can even compare to The Sopranos where it entertains on all levels, from gripping drama to dead pan humorous moments.
Combining the continued elements of extraordinary writing, superior direction and exceptional acting all make this fourth season another resounding success in the Sopranos series and a long wait until March of 2004 for the fifth season to kicks in.
Episode synopsises:
For all Debts Public and Private - A slowing economy has even effected even Tony's "thing" and Carmela is worried about the family's long term financial security and wishes to acquire some "traditional" investments; Tony gives Christopher a "gift" that he never would've expected; Junior is fretting over his upcoming trial and Adriana makes a dangerous new friend.
No-Show - With Paulie behind bars, Christopher gets acting captain stripes and his crew isn't too happy about it and Paulie starts to feel betrayed, bringing his loyalty to question; Meadow decides that she wants to take a year off of school and go to Europe, much to her parents chagrin; Adriana ends her relationship with Danielle only to find herself in a much more dangerous relationship.
Christopher - Junior's trial becomes the first trial for the family in sixteen years; upcoming protests against Columbus day by Native Americans has put a hair in Silvio's "breakfast" causing some interesting results; Bobby loses his wife and Janice starts to make her moves and Paulie's loose lips are causing major troubles for Tony with Johnny Sack.
The Weight - A terrible remark about Johnny's wife "gets" back to him and he goes on a bloodthirsty quest for revenge which in the end brings both he and Ralph to the brink; Carmela and Furio begin to develop a more than interesting relationship and she and Tony continue to argue over their financial future.
Pie O My - Ralph buys a race horse and invites Tony to the track and he suddenly finds a relationship similar to that which he had with the ducks in the first season and Adrianna becomes even more paranoid about her new friends when Christopher and the rest of the family starts using her club to conduct business.
Everybody Hurts - Artie and Tony's relationship takes a new swing when Artie borrows money from Tony and the deal goes sour; Tony informs Christopher of his plan for the new chain of command but he's unaware of Christopher's ever increasing drug problem and Tony finds out what happened to Gloria which enrages him.
Watching Too Much Television - Paulie is out of jail and he's holding a few grudges; Carmela's cousin Brian gives Tony some real estate advice that will continue to have repercussions throughout the rest of the season and Carmela and Furio continue to suppress their feelings for one another.
Mergers & Acquisitions - Ralph introduces his new girlfriend Valentina to Tony and she's offers to introduce him to a painter and then some, leading Tony to find out more about Ralph than he wanted to know; Furio goes home to Italy to bury his father and reevaluate his life and Carmela finds a new source of income, right in her own back yard.
Whoever Did This - Junior comes up with a new defense strategy and Svetlana makes a return as his caregiver; Ralph's son suffers a tragedy causing him to make a fatal decision over his horse which brings about a heated argument between him and Tony where Ralph "loses" his head...
The Strong, Silent Type - Carmela begins to offer Furio decorating tips; Christopher's heroine addiction has tragic results for Adrianna's pooch causing everybody to have a hilarious interdiction for him.
Call all Cars - This is another one of those ethereal episodes where Tony's dreams pervade the episode; Tony has a sit down that doesn't go well with Carmine and Johnny over the real estate venture; Johnny continues to erode Paulie's loyalty; Tony sees Carmine's son in hopes of working out their problems and Tony is coming close to quitting the therapy.
Eloise - Tony is continuing to haggle with Carmine and Johnny over the Esplanade profit loss/real estate scam; Carmela and Furio's relationship comes to a head and Furio comes very close to an "ultimate" decision with Tony; everybody starts to question Paulie's loyalty and Meadow invites her parents to her apartment for dinner and an interesting conversation ensues.
Whitecaps - In this extraordinarily dramatic season finale; Carmela is suffering a broken heart; Tony attempts to keep the family together by buying a beachfront home which almost brings Carmela out of her doldrums until a fateful phone call from one of Tony's former girlfriends; everybody is loosing money on the Esplanade deal and Johnny makes a power play; and the Sopranos' marriage comes to a head, leaving everybody in great "anticipation" waiting until March of 2004 to see where this goes... {ssintrepid}
Episode list:
For all Debts Public and PrivateNo-ShowChristopherThe WeightPie O MyEverybody HurtsWatching Too Much TelevisionMergers & AcquisitionsWhoever Did ThisThe Strong, Silent TypeCall all CarsEloiseWhitecaps
Special Features:
- 4 Audio Commentaries with writers Terence Winter, Michael Imperioli, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess and series creator David Chase- Episodic previews and recaps- Recaps of seasons 1, 2 and 3- Cast/Crew biographies

Studio: Warner Home Video
James Gandolfini

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