Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Solaris
Productgroup: DVD
Solaris - movie DVD cover picture
the voice from beyond

As a big Stanislaw Lem fan as I am, I was really curious to see this new movie based on his famous novel. While not his best novel (this honour IMHO should be awarded to "His Master's Voice" or "Futurological Congress"), still stands out among the best of thought-provoking science fiction. As always, more questions than answers here, but these questions refer to very essence of our consciousness and our relation to the outside world (is there any outside world? Read later about the final sequences of the movie). The main problem with the novel is its complexity; attempting to make a modest, not overlong movie, one has to choose the most important thread and leave the rest aside. This task was accomplished masterfully here. To complain the movie isn't a simple equivalent of novel would be more than ridiculous. I think the older Tarkowski's version was this failed attempt to reflect the novel in all its complexity. It became overlong, filled with pseudo-philosophical blah blah and therefore hardly tolerable as the whole although I must admit it had its moments. I think my feelings are justified by Stanislaw Lem himself. During the making of Russian version, the Russians invited Lem to Moscow as a consultant, to make sure the movie would fit ideas of the novel. Lem found virtually everything bad and irrelevant, from screenplay to the very concept and the way it evolved. Tarkowski, the great artist himself, did not even want to argue, not to mention follow any Lem's hints. After a week or so completely counterproductive stay in Moscow, and after a subsequent show of the movie in statu nascendi, Lem got so irritated that he started to stamp his feet and scream "fools! Fools! You do not understand anything!". He left Moscow and never wanted to see Tarkowski again.The god of science fiction, now in his eighties, but as wise and intelligent as ever, found this Soderbergh's version very good and totally relevant. I am pretty sure everybody who knows what is Lem all about will fully appreciate this movie. Especially its "dream in a dream" atmosphere, when you do not know at all what is real and what is just a dream (a trademark Lem's plot, check some of his short stories or "Futurological Congress" to know what I'm. talking about). Up to the final scene - is it "real" or it is just re-made in God-Ocean's consciousness while the spaceship endlessly falls down into singularity...The beautiful, atmospheric score builds up the atmosphere of "quiet restlessness" prevalent through the movie, this "something from beyond" feeling. The actors play their roles perfectly, I would even dare to say it was the best, most imaginative and subtle performance of George Clooney I have ever seen.This movie will flop for sure; its primal sin is that it was made in Hollywood, so it was expected to be quite different. It won't be also praised by critics; they like intellectual movies in the vein of "American Beauty" or "Talk To Her", much more pretentious and artificial.This is too ethereal, too "from beyond" to fit their tastes, but will be a cult movie sooner or later.
Igor Kurowski

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Director: Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney
Natascha McElhone
Ulrich Tukur

DVD title: After Life
Productgroup: DVD
After Life - movie DVD cover picture
Turning into a single precious memory...Heaven?

"You'll be staying with us for one week. Everyone gets a private room. Just relax and enjoy yourself. But while you're here, there is one thing you must do. From the entire <X> years of your life, we need you to select one memory. One memory that was most meaningful or precious to you. There is a time limit. You have three days to decide. When you've chosen your memory, our staff will do their best to recreate if on film. On Saturday, we'll screen the film for you. As soon as you've relived your memory, you will move on, taking only that memory with you."
Whoa, how's that for a premise and assignment in this documentary-style movie? That's what the staff of the limbo between death and the afterlife tell the arrivals who have died the previous day. The staff includes the boss Nakamura and counselors Mochizuki, a sensitive soul, it turns out, Sugite, and Kawashima. There's also Shiori, a sullen young woman who assists Mochizuki, as well as others. They are hard-working and detail-oriented, trying to get the day, season, weather, atmosphere, environment, all so it can be duplicated on film. And the evening conferences they have with their Nakamura shows the great Japanese work ethic and empowerment the staff have. The courtesy and patience towards the deceased shown by the staff was really wonderful.
The set-up's not glamorous-a spartan old schoolhouse with falling paint, none of your pearly gates and St. Peter peering at the Heaven or Hell registry through his specs. There's also some nearby woods and a studio for filming.
I was saddened by the number of young people who died. 35, 29, there was even one schoolgirl in her teens who initially chose Disney's Splash Mountain. Which made me think, what happened to them? How did they die? Did that girl commit suicide, get into an accident, get murdered? Certain others, like the pleasant Tatori Kimiko, who died aged 78, seem to have lived fuller lives and a greater appreciation for it.
There are some problem people. One of Mochizuki's clients is Watanabe Ichiro, someone who died aged 71 and has the staff order videotapes of his life for him to peruse so he can pick his memory. His request delays things a bit. Another is an old lady who looks like a dumpling and seems to be in her own little world.
The most interesting is the 21-year old Iseya, who confounds the staff by refusing to choose a memory as a way to take responsibility. He even spins a post-structuralist philosophy in giving his reason why he should be able to choose a dream and explains why I wouldn't want to choose either. "Ultimately, we end up turning memories into our own images. Of course it really happened, so it feels very real." But in creating his own futuristic dream like a film, with imagined situations, "would be a lot more meaningful than looking back at my past. So this look back at the past, living with a single moment from my past would be too painful for me." He even has the chutzpah to say that their system is the problem, not him. Yeah, I'd rather choose fantasies or dreams, but it reveals how objective the staff are, striving for accuracy, getting actual memories, the primary sources, to use a historic research term, and not fiction. But what if one isn't able to choose? That is explained but that'd be a spoiler.
Most people don't live extraordinary lives. Face it, we all can't make great albums like the White Album, get married to a hot film star, or gloat in the wake of a seven figure salary. And that about sums up all the people portrayed here. For them, they choose simple things, things appealing to the senses. What does that play for those trying to find out the meaning of life?
An intriguing premise and idea, well executed, and very thought-provoking. As Peter Davison says in Dr. Who-The Five Doctors: "A man is the sum of his memories, you know." The difference with Afterlife is that a person becomes the zenith of one's memories. If it's possible for one like me who's had a rotten life to take that one memory and forget everything else, wouldn't that indeed be Heaven?

Studio: New Yorker Films
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

DVD title: Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries)
Productgroup: DVD
Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Miniseries) - movie DVD cover picture
Pride and Prejudice

It is the best! The scenery is breathtaking and the acting is fantastic. You'll love it!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Simon Langton
Colin Firth
Jennifer Ehle

DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Third Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Third Season - movie DVD cover picture
Another amazing season!

Season two and three are the best by story line. But I really have to say that everyone should stop ragging on 4. That season was really hard for the writers because of the million c hanges that Buffy had to go through.But anyway Season 3 is brilliant qua character grow. And altough I did like The Mayor. I think the story of Glory was so much more complex that it made her a little better. But appearantly I am alone on that.
This ia a season you will have to buy!

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Sarah Michelle Gellar
David Boreanaz
Eliza Dushku

DVD title: 25th Hour
Productgroup: DVD
25th Hour - movie DVD cover picture
Excellent Movie, Excellent DVD, Excellent Portrayal of NYC

Shot a couple of months after 9/11, Spike Lee's "25th Hour" focuses on Montgomery Brogan's last night of freedom before he goes to jail for 7 years for dealing drugs. Brogan, played by Norton, intends to spend his last night with his girlfriend (Dawson) & two childhood friends (Pepper & Hoffman) at a NYC club where he will have to face the gangsters he has been connected with that believe he may have ratted them out to the police.
"25th Hour" has an intriguing premise, and is executed in an expert, evocative fashion by Lee. This is actually two strong movies in one - a person's last night of freedom before going to jail, but also, a study of a community living with the aftermath of having their home attacked by terrorists. Montgomery Brogan is scared of going to jail, but he also needs to find out who set him up, fearing, that it may have been his girlfriend. The score by Terrance Blanchard is one of the best I've ever heard in a movie - simply beautiful and brutally powerful. This is an emotionally charged movie that is suspenseful, humorous, and beautiful -- qualities that rarely come together quite as well as they do in Spike Lee movies. It is unfortuate that this movie didn't seem to be seen by as many as it should have - I recommend it to everyone I know.
If you're a fan of the movie, the DVD is a must: two commentaries (director; screenwriter), several deleted scenes, a 22 minute special on Lee, and a tasteful, powerful Ground Zero montage.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Spike Lee
Edward Norton
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Barry Pepper

DVD title: Road Trip (R-Rated Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Road Trip (R-Rated Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
Don't Watch This On A Full Stomach

A word of warning before I start my review: the best time to watch "Road Trip" is during your colonoscopy where you can't eat for three days. Otherwise, this film will make you sick with all of its gross out gags. But herein liese the film's charm.

And now on to the review. "Road Trip" tells the story of Josh (Breckin Myer) is a college dude who abandons his studies but has remained faithful to his girlfriend (Rachel Blanchard). That is, until one night, his friend (Sean William Scott, essentially reprising his role as Stifler from "American Pie" as a jerk who makes fun of virgins) invites him to a party. This is where he meets Beth (Amy Smart). That night, they make a sex tape. However, Josh feels bad and tells his friend Barry Manilow (Tom Green) to mail his love message to his real girlfriend to her dorm in Austin. However, he sends the sex tape. Josh and company go on a road trip to retrieve the sex tape and save his relationship. The laughs in this film are fast and furious, though as I said might make you queasy (like when Horatio Sanz shoves french toast in his butt and feeds it to one of Josh's friends).

My advice: buy this hysterical film. You'll laugh and laugh.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Todd Phillips
Breckin Meyer
Seann William Scott
Amy Smart
Paulo Costanzo
DJ Qualls
Tom Green (III)

DVD title: Nine Months
Productgroup: DVD
Nine Months - movie DVD cover picture
A wonderful movie if you're expecting

I must have watched this movie uncountable times that I wore out my vhs tape and had to get it on dvd. This is a movie to watch when you plan to have children, expecting or have kids. Its witty, romantic and a treasure if you love kids

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Chris Columbus
Hugh Grant
Julianne Moore

DVD title: The Serpent's Kiss
Productgroup: DVD
The Serpent's Kiss - movie DVD cover picture

Nature vs. man's control over nature, the individual vs. social propriety, plans vs. outcome... This movie was fantastic and I'm now interested in other works this director has been involved in. This movie was beautiful, meaningful and well executed. There are those who consider the pace of this movie a negative (slow, dragging, etc.) without realizing the beauty of this movie couldn't be executed any "faster" without ruining the essence. If you have slightly more patience than the average MTV-raised 15-25 yr. old you will be richly rewarded by watching this film. I thought Ewan McGregor's performance was average with hints of brilliance and all the other actors were very well suited for their roles. I give the film 4 stars objectively and 5 stars personally because it spoke so personally to me.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Philippe Rousselot

DVD title: Scream Trilogy - Boxed Set
Productgroup: DVD
Scream Trilogy - Boxed Set - movie DVD cover picture
You Gotta Get This

Yu have got to get this boxed set . It comes with 4 dvds. The fourth dvd is everything put into one. The extras the bloopers , the making of it and more . This is a must have for any mystery fan like me . This is a good price . Get this and own it you wont regret it I REPEAT THIS IS A MUST HAVE FOR MYSTERY MOVIE FANS !!!!

Studio: Dimension Home Video
Neve Campbell

DVD title: Marmalade Boy Ultimate Scrapbook V 3
Productgroup: DVD
Marmalade Boy Ultimate Scrapbook V 3 - movie DVD cover picture
Marmalade Boy Still Rocks!!!

I decided to write a review for this item because I read a terrible review for it that was bashing every part of it. Everyone has different tastes and opinions and the fact that this "girl" was saying being 19 had something to do with her all of a sudden hating marmalade boy, really ticked me off. I'm 19 and I still Love Marmalade Boy to death, maybe it has something to do with staying young at heart and holding onto childhood dreams. Anyways, I haven't actually seen the third installment in the series but I have read the manga and seen the first two volumes of marmalade boy. As a Lover of all anime and manga, especially shoujo, I have to say that marmalade boy is one of my favorites. I guess this series IS for girls, probably young girls, but I think any girl should be able to identify with the main character. Miki's character is beautifully developed, the creator really gets inside a young girls head and portrays everything a girl worries about when facing issues of new love, conflicts with friends, and family issues. I love watching marmalade boy, most likely because I'm very much like Miki myself ^-^ ... But the main point of me writing this review is to tell YOU, the consumer, not to follow a review's opinion on an item, you have to experience something to be able to formulate a proper opinion of it. Haven't you ever had someone say your fave band sucks... or maybe they hate some of your fave foods... well anime is the same as everything else... you may end up loving something that no one else does, you just have to see for yourself. Being different is great... and I LOVE MARMALADE BOY WITH A PASSION!!!

Studio: Tokyopop Inc

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