Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Dead Man's Walk
Productgroup: DVD
Dead Man's Walk - movie DVD cover picture
would have made a great weekly series

Dead Man's Walk is yet another great Lonesome Dove DVD. It's too bad they didn't make a regular series about the adventures of young Gus and Woodrow. It's not too late. Give us a TV series somebody!

Studio: Hallmark Home Entertainment
Director: Yves Simoneau
F. Murray Abraham
Keith Carradine
Patricia Childress

DVD title: Scooby-Doo (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Scooby-Doo (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture

"Scooby Doo" brings to life on the big screen the pop culture icon cartoon of the 70s and 80s which features a group of teens of their talking dog solving mysteries while journeying across the country in their van "The Mystery Machine."
As far as adaptations go, Scooby Doo hits the head on the nail being a near perfect movie adaptation capturing all the charm and humor of the characters while still updating the movie for a modern audience. The movie is bound to please both long-time fans and new fans as well.
The "Mystery Machine" gang reunite to solve the case of a secluded island horror theme park where visitors become mindless zombie-like creatures.
The movie, once again, stays very true to the original cartoon and characters. Matthew Lillard's portrayal of Scooby's best-bud Shaggy is dead-on perfect, as well as the portrayals of Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo. Linda Cardellini turns in a near perfect performance of genius sleuth Velma as well. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Geller turn in humorous performances as Fred and Daphne as well although the characters are slightly different from the cartoon which may leave purists slightly frazzled.
One of the great things about the movie though is its ability to self-parody itself with tons of inside-jokes and tongued-in-check references including Fred's affinity for ascots, Daphne's affinity for getting captured (which is actually a running gag/major plot theme in the movie), Shaggy's supposed marijuana problems and Velma's questionable "lifestyle."
1. The dead-on portrayal of the standard Scooby Doo cartoon plot elements (captures, escapes, chase scenes, Scooby and Shaggy pigging out on everything, etc.)
2. Daphne getting all "Shaolin" on the bad guys. Weird to see in a Scooby show, but funny.
If you ever loved the cartoon, you'll love the movie. If you never saw the cartoons (how you never could have evades me!!!) you'll still love the movie. It's a great mystery/adventure/comedy.
Highest Recommendation for all

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Raja Gosnell
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Matthew Lillard
Linda Cardellini

DVD title: Halloween - Resurrection
Productgroup: DVD
Halloween - Resurrection - movie DVD cover picture
Evil Comes Home

I saw the fog a few weeks ago and thought Jamie was good in it. I only saw the first Halloween but I can tell this is a good movie to see on halloween. So I advise you so board up your windows and doors and get on a comfortable couch and get ready to get sacred out of your life.

Studio: Buena Vista Home Vid
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Jamie Lee Curtis
Busta Rhymes

DVD title: Walking with Dinosaurs
Productgroup: DVD
Walking with Dinosaurs - movie DVD cover picture
Raised my expectations for anything else

I went to see Jurassic Park in the theater. There was a scene early on in the movie where the human characters look, from a distance, at a watering hole where a bunch of dinosaurs are gathered. At that moment, I thought to myself, "Ditch these tediously stereotypical people, and let's just watch what happens at that watering hole."
Walking with Dinosaurs was made for people like me.
After rafts of popular books and more documentaries than any one dino-crazed kid can possibly have watched, this BBC series managed to approach the whiz bang subject of dinosaurs in a strikingly new and fresh way. The accomplishment is exhilarating to watch -- engagingly, intelligently written, and visually stunning. I skimmed past the listing when this was originally released in the U.S. -- "Yeah yeah, another dinosaur special." My loss. This series and its sequel, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, are just plain wonderful.
Basically, "Walking with Dinosaurs" is a faux wildlife documentary. Rather than interspersing brief snippets of dinosaur images and animated sequences with paleontologists, perhaps a popular news anchor, maps, and images of fossils, the program gives us nothing but "footage" of dinosaurs and their world. The six episodes in the series obey the narrative structure of an animal documentary show like PBS's "Nature"; each one is thematically written around a single species or (sometimes) one particular animal. So, we follow a diplodocus as it moves though the stages of its life, moving away on tangents to explore other sides of its world but always coming back to touch on the same individual.
There's a reason regular nature specials get produced this way. It gives the viewer a lens through which to see the larger world. It provides the show with a narrative direction. For dinosaurs those advantages, along with modern cgi effects, work like magic. Partly the effects are quite good, though they were made on a comparative shoestring next to big time effects movies these days. Partly the production here is just so smart, so thoughtful, that it blends just the right admixture of nature show conventions -- camera angles, story arcs -- with those great effects. It flows right, you know? It works.
And yes, of course there's going to be a downside. Because we're seeing thematically composed stories, here, rather than brief shots and cuts away for a learned discussion, we have to rely on Kenneth Branagh's narration for a lot of exposition. We can't see that animated map of plate tectonics in action, no. ("Meanwhile, while our baby diplodocus eats those ferns, Antarctica is moving southward...") There's quite a bit of speculation, too - unavoidable speculation, when you're working this way. If you're discussing T. Rex on another program, you can waffle about a few different ways it may have hunted. If you're going to write a show around the animal and show it for maybe 30 minutes on screen, it's gonna have to eat something. You can't put that dithered censorship smudge over the moment of the kill to avoid committing yourself to one interpretation or another. You also shouldn't have your narrator break in on the dramatic moment to point out each potential "reach" by the scientists who consulted with the producers. ("Or maybe this didn't really happen. Some people think...") That'd break the form of the shows. And finally, it's very hard on a budget to make the whole, messy world come to life. There are times when it seems like we're seeing a limited range of the bigger, more interesting animals, and maybe there wasn't the money to animate more.
All of which is to say: No, this isn't perfectly respectable, bet-hedging, responsible academic science. (The accompanying "Making of" program on the second DVD does tie it back to that world very securely.) This is popular science. It also isn't a major motion picture, though in a lot of ways it's better. Did you notice it was on TV? It does gloss over some murky evolutionary relationships in favor of easier-to-understand offhand lines that help the viewer along. No, it isn't going to get every postural detail just as the latest journal article had it. What it does do is provide us with some truly amazingly good television to watch.
Anyone could nitpick at this for a few different reasons, it's true -- but if you're enough of a dinosaur buff to nitpick, your expectations will be raised by this program. It's that good.

Studio: BBC Video

DVD title: Miranda
Productgroup: DVD
Miranda - movie DVD cover picture
5 stars for John Simm!

More John Simm! Please, John, make more movies, and not just BBC tv. Simm's character, Frank, has got to be the sweetest boy-man in cinema. Christina Ricci is wonderful playing a character that is all hard-edge. Frank is the perfect foil to melt her like butter, if she will let him. Frank is nerdy, but cute and sensitive-- adoring and adorable. As John Hurt says in the bts, it's an idealistic love affair, but Ricci & Simm are thoroughly enjoyable together. And MacLachlan and Hurt are typically perfect in supporting roles. The plot is exaggerated, but it's pure escapist fun. For a B-movie, it is a gem of a find, thanks to Simm.

Studio: First Look Pictures
Director: Marc Munden

DVD title: The Usual Suspects
Productgroup: DVD
The Usual Suspects - movie DVD cover picture
Brilliant Screenplay, Exceptional Cast

This has to be one of the most intriguing films of the last twenty years. The stellar cast includes Chazz Palmintieri, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, and Benicio Del Toro. The viewer follows the story along with the Detective (Palmintieri) trying to figure out (the now infamous question) "Who is Keyser Soze? (the most fearsome mobster to leave the Eastern block) as the events leading up to a cocaine heist are told by the gimp legged Kint (Spacey). The twists and turns (right up until the end) in the story keep you on your toes as the suspense draws you into the drama. A masterful script, well directed with lots of action, and yet, the most intriguing part is the brilliantly crafted (both in performance and page) characterizations. I found this film riveting and recommend it highly.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne
Kevin Spacey
Chazz Palminteri

DVD title: A Star Is Born
Productgroup: DVD
A Star Is Born - movie DVD cover picture

What more could possibly be said that has not been said before.I placed my order for this DVD months ago and waited patiently for the arrival.. Well, needless to say it arrived this morning and I have been sitting here speechless and in awe of the treasure i have purchased.. It truly is a remarkable restoration on DVD and the extra features are superb. The Pantages premiere is even more special to me because i had the privilege of attending that premiere at the Pantages Theatre at the age of 19. I remember that night vividly. This new DVD brings it all back so clearly. If you were not there, buy this DVD and see what glamour and what Hollywood was like back in those early 50's days... The restoration of the film is absolutely specatacular, the color, the sounds and more than anything else THE GARLAND VOICE is there to thrill you for years to come. It was worth the wait I shall be watching this one for a long long time.

Studio: Warner Studios
Director: George Cukor
Judy Garland
James Mason

DVD title: The Decameron
Productgroup: DVD
The Decameron - movie DVD cover picture
Folk Tale from another Era

Of Pasolini's three "Trilogy of Life" films (Decameron, Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights), I find the Decameron to be the most disjointed. By removing the original frame-tale (presumably for the sake of length), he opened himself up for some serious flow problems. About halfway through the film, Pasolini himself makes an appearance as a pupil of Giotto who is commissioned to make a painting of Naples on the wall of a church. This becomes a frame-like device (at the tableau scene near the end, you can see many of the characters from the various episodes in the film), but still doesn't make up for the lack of connection (or at least division) between the stories -- one simply stops and the next starts. There are several instances of narrative continuity (look for the grave-robbers at the saint's funeral later in the film), however, including the aforementioned tableau.
That being said, Pasolini's film (and his film-making style) are very influential (most noticeably in the work of Peter Greenaway), with his use of static shots taken from far away in order to give a sense of scale (and awe). Many of the shots in the film are incredibly beautiful (many are simply odd), such as the landscape shots when Andreuccio (played by the incomparable Ninetto Davoli) is running from the city at night.
Overall, while The Decameron is fairly disjointed and shot in a Pasolini's unusual style, it is still a very enjoyable (and hilarious) film. MGM's DVD is a vast improvement over the earlier Image edition, featuring a lush transfer, optional subtitles, and a very strange (and very, very 70's) trailer.

Studio: Image Entertainment 2
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Franco Citti
Ninetto Davoli

DVD title: Evil Dead II
Productgroup: DVD
Evil Dead II - movie DVD cover picture
the best in the series and one of the best horror films ever

What an amazing film, the first time i watched it younger i was scared out of my witts but now after the some what 1000 time ive watch i still laugh the same amount the as the second time but what an amazing movie wit outa a doubt one of the best horrors ever made just a shame it dosnt get the credit it sud by other critics but there you thats B movies for ya!!!!

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Sam Raimi
Bruce Campbell
Sarah Berry

DVD title: Fahrenheit 9/11
Productgroup: DVD
Fahrenheit 9/11 - movie DVD cover picture
One hundred stars! An eye-opening film! Moore is a genius!

This important 'film of our times' is not to be missed. It is a scathing and mostly truthful view of this inept and foolish administration that is leading us down the wrong road in so many ways, domestically and internationally. True patriotism is not a 'party dependent' concept. Yet the right wing would have you think it is, as they feel they have the market cornered on patriotism, morality, and truth. Moore, like millions of Americans and people around the world, shows his patriotism, outrage, and concern throughout this masterpiece by exposing Bush for what he is. Mainly, an arrogant, inept fool who uses 'god' to illegally invade another sovereign country based on WMD lies and the fear of terrorism brought to focus on 9/11. Even though it was mostly Saudi nationals who attacked us that day, not Iraqis! Most of the world believes that our retaliation in Afghanistan was a 'just war', whereas this Iraqi invasion was folly and wrong. The geological areas that were hit on 9/11 (NY, PA, D.C.) even voted against Bush last November. That says it all. If you care about America, see this great, truthful patriotic film, or ignore it at your peril! I have a lot of respect for Michael Moore's work, and his penchant and talent in exposing hard truths, which is in many cases the road less travelled these days in America. God Bless Michael Moore!

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

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TopSellers at Amazon - Comedy movie DVD disks

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