Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Minority Report (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Minority Report (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
pkd done right

with the ghosts of A.I. nipping at his heels, spielberg dazzles with a remarkably successful venture back into sci-fi
taking its basis from the philip k. dick short story of the same name, minority report transports and transfixes the viewer into the future, to the year 2054, where pre-crime has been functioning successfully in washington dc for the past six years. precrime has made murder a thing of the past, and detective anderton, is one of the best pre-crime detectives there has been.
as the movie opens, we are brought into anderton's world, where the pre-cogs (precognitives, with future sight) see murders before they happen.
but what happens when the system fingers one of its own...anderton is now faced with seeing a murder committed by himself...of someone he has never even met. we follow him on his crusade to find out if the system can fail...what if the pre-cogs disagree...what if they are he really to kill someone he does not know? do we have free choice as we think, or are we fated to follow through regardless of our efforts to the contrary.
this is the meat of the movie, and pkd at his best, using sci-fi as a venue to voice a social question regarding free will.
the movie is a wonderful contrast of futuristic landscapes, with georgetown homes, high tech weaponry, and old fashioned handguns.
spielberg uses the camera to change perspective, and does some rather humorous things with product placement (similar as well to neal stephensons the diamond age), showing how marketing can be taken in by the glimmers of technology.
a well directed movie, and a convincingly acted one as well.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Cruise
Max von Sydow

DVD title: Friends - The Complete Seventh Season
Productgroup: DVD
Friends - The Complete Seventh Season - movie DVD cover picture
My Favorite Season !

The seventh season of Friends is for sure my favorite season ever ! With great episodes like "The One With Monica's Thunder", "The One With Rachel's Book", "The One With The Nap Partners", "The One With All the Cheesecakes", and much more !... And the seventh season is also the first one introducing the Super Sizes episodes such as "The One With The Truth About London" and "The One With Joey's New Brain" with Susan Sarandon guest-starring !
Above all, the Season Finale is the best one Friends ever produced ! With great stoylines, suspens and guest stars (Gary Oldman, Morgan Fairchild and Kathleen Turner as Chandler's dad !), the cliffhanger is insufferable and the only thing we want to do at the end is to watch the Season 8 Premiere !Also guest-starring this season : Eddie Cahill, Denise Richard, Winona Ryder ans more !
The seventh season is also a season with a lot of humour, emotion and friendship (well... It's Friends actually ! ;-).
From Rachel's crush on her new younger assistant to her pregnancy; from Monica's wedding plans to her wedding ceremony; from Phoebe's secret cookies recipe to her secret kiss with Rachel; from Joey's laugh finding Rachel's dirty book to his movie collaboration with Oldman; from Chandler's strained smile in pictures to his runaway marriage plan; from Ross's nap with Joey to his crush on her cousin...
Plus, with Never-Before-Seen Moments on every episode making each moment with them even more special, an hilarious Gag Reel, Monica's Wedding Book Trivia Challenge, Friends of Friends Celebrity Interviews and Producers Commentaries, you can't lose with "Friends" and its best season ever !

Studio: Warner Home Video
Lisa Kudrow

DVD title: Savannah Smiles
Productgroup: DVD
Savannah Smiles - movie DVD cover picture

I can't believe this is finally being re-released! I LOVED this movie as a kid and I've been wanting to see it again for YEARS (unfotunatley, I pretty sure the only copy we ever had of it was Beta...). And now it's even gonna be on DVD? Yay! I actually just tried to find this today at the video rental store, but no success. But come August it is mine!
This sweet, sweet story about a little girl who runs away from home only to find a place in the hearts of two escaped prisoners on the run is a must for your video/DVD collection!

Studio: Hen's Tooth Video
Director: Pierre De Moro

DVD title: On Approval
Productgroup: DVD
On Approval - movie DVD cover picture
Mannered, amusing, and slightly malicious

I won't recap the storyline, but will only add to what others have said. On Approval is an extremely amusing comedy of upper class British manners. It is wickedly malicious without being mean-spirited. The four leads play off each other flawlessly. Clive Brook, who also wrote and directed the film, is priceless as an aristocrat who finds it entirely reasonable to take his pleasures at the expense of others.
Brook is largely forgotten now, but he was a major British actor in his time. He made only one movie after this, 1963's List of Adrian Messenger. At 76 he could still command the screen, even when sharing scenes with George C. Scott.
The DVD's look and sound is very good.

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Clive Brook

DVD title: Herbert Von Karajan - New Year's Concert 1988 - Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 & Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 / Kissin
Productgroup: DVD
Herbert Von Karajan - New Year's Concert 1988 - Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 & Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 / Kissin - movie DVD cover picture
Great performance

This concerto includes Prokofiev's Classical Symphony No.1 and Tchaikovsky's piano concerto No.1 featuring Evgeny Kissin. Karajan is in very good mood despite the pain in his back that kept him leaning back (instead of his customary forward position) in the special supporting device prepared for him in the conductor's podium. The octave motif that makes the main theme of the fisrt movement of Prokofiev's 1st is played with almost comical accuracy, as if imitating Mozart. I never liked this symphony before. Now, after listening this interpretation I really learned to enjoy it. I have mixed feelings about the piano concerto. The young Kissin (just a boy then) exudes so much adrenaline; you can see in the little man's face the weight of being playing with the best orchestra in the world, conducted by a living legend. He seems very aware that the last recording of this concerto with Karajan-Berliner, was performed by no other than Sviatoslav Richter. The performance, though, although not note perfect, is very good. The only flaws were caused mostly by the boy excess of energy. I listened this version on CD years ago, but in the video, the boy generates such tension that it's almost distracting. The best part is the last movement, were the boy's tension matches so well with the character of the music. The final part is unforgettable, it keeps you at the edge of the seat until the last chord. The DVD in a whole is very well balanced and makes a wonderful experience.

Studio: Sony Classics
Herbert Von Karajan

DVD title: Macross II The Movie
Productgroup: DVD
Macross II The Movie - movie DVD cover picture
--=Ugzz=-- (A "New" Fan)

This movie isn't really a "movie" in the traditional sense, its really a short OVA compiled onto once DVD (complete with commercial break animations). It has generally decent animation (the most spectacular is definitely saved for last) albeit the odd frame rate drop here and there, which is survivable. The designs are great, and as for the characters, some like them, some don't, so its really a matter of taste. I personally enjoyed the main characters, they were different from the usual anime characters (eg: mysterious forgotten pasts, or recovering from flashbacks/memories etc etc), they had stronger personalities. It does have a few arguably hokey moments (as in j-pop helping them win the battles near the beginning of the movie) but those are understandable.. and are redeemed by the other 95% of the movie. As far as the english voice acting... if you don't like it.. the nice thing about DVD is that one can switch it to subtitled mode and watch it in the original japanese.
If you've only seen Macross Plus this movie will explain a lot of things for you. Comparing the two.. I don't think this movie was of the same calibre as Macross Plus, but it was still very entertaining. As far as "nobody likes this movie" goes... all the friends I know who are into lots of anim? and have seen this movie, enjoyed it.

Studio: Ryko Distribution - Video

DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
Band Of Brothers

Most lifelike interpetation of what battles are actually about I ever saw. From a Viet Nam vet.

Studio: HBO Home Video

DVD title: Cinema Paradiso
Productgroup: DVD
Cinema Paradiso - movie DVD cover picture
View theatre version FIRST

One of my favorite movies. Tornatore is a master at highlighting the dusty beauty of little southern Italian towns. You find yourself totally engrossed in the movie and it stirs something inside that makes you melancholically look back to your own childhood.
One thing however, the magic goes away when you do not leave anything to the imagination. The uncut version explains and dwells on everything so much that it completely destroys the feel of the original version. Fully enjoy the theatrical version FIRST and then go back to the uncut for the extra stuff.

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Enzo Cannavale
Philippe Noiret

DVD title:
 - movie DVD cover picture
Disfunction is Functional

I am so phsyced that this finally came out on DVD. It is my favorite sitcom on TV. I love everything about it, the characters the theme song and the proof that disfunctional familys are functional. Reba does a great job in this, her zinngers towards barbara Jean are hillarious. I have to say it, Van is totally hot.

DVD title: Whale Rider
Productgroup: DVD
Whale Rider - movie DVD cover picture
We'd all be better off if we had more movies like this

When you go to the video store looking for films with positive role models for kids (and adults!), with an inspirational message that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it, you typically will find almost nothing. Worse, even movies with a fraction of a positive message will be so silly or idiotic that watching them as an adult is torture. With "Whale Rider" you get a movie that adults and teens (and many pre-teens) can both watch and enjoy.

As Roger Ebert pointed out in his review of "Whale Rider," something is horribly wrong with a ratings system that gives a movie like this a PG-13 rating. Just watch this next to a movie like "Dodgeball" with its objectification of women, toilet humor and sexual innuendo. Both movies have the same rating! Don't be fooled. The average 12 year old _should_ be watching "Whale Rider" while "Dodgeball" shouldn't be viewed even by 14 year olds. All of this has me wondering about about the sanity and intelligence of the ratings board.

As many have pointed out, Keisha Castle-Hughes puts in a superb performance. Ditto for the rest of the cast.

Perhaps even better than the performances are the positive roles played by most characters. The kids are intelligent, confident and curious. The adults are generally supportive and wise. While the males in the movie have obvious faults, this movie is about them as it is about "girl power." There's a scene where Keisha's character is riding a bike with her grandfather and a loving glance passes between them. How rare it is to see such imagery - a father figure bonding with a child - in movies or TV! "Whale Rider" isn't just about celebrating a girl's empowerment. It's also about showing the love between male parental figures and their own personal growth as their children mature.

One caveat: "Whale Rider" is not typical Hollywood popcorn fare. Viewers with short attention spans or those who hate all foreign film style films will likely not like this movie. Still, "Whale Rider" is an excellent start to open the eyes of a youth (or an adult) to ideas outside of what the studies usually throw at us.

Bottom line: We'd all be better off if we had more movies like this.

Studio: Columbia Tristar Hom
Director: Niki Caro
Keisha Castle-Hughes
Rawiri Paratene
Vicky Haughton
Cliff Curtis

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