Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Yankee Doodle Dandy (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
Yankee Doodle Dandy (Two-Disc Special Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
yankee doodle dandy is the best!!!!!!!


Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Michael Curtiz
James Cagney
Joan Leslie
Walter Huston

DVD title: Band of Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
Band of Brothers - movie DVD cover picture
Band of Brothers - The Ultimate WWII experience!

Band of Brothers is an awe inspiring and visually stunning tribute, not only to Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, but to the "Greatest Generation." But for their sacrifices, would we share the freedoms we so cherish and covet to our vests today! Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg deserve all of the awards and accolades they received for bringing this epic to HBO and now this incredible DVD box set!
Part 1 - Currahee - Currahee is a wonderful beginning to this unprecedented HBO miniseries. Outside of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" there has never before been such a realistic series such as this one. Currahee poignantly highlights the training that was necessary for the newly designed Airborne Infantry. While some may think that Captain Sobel was a complete idiot, in all truth, his combat skills were obviously lacking however, as a trainer, he put Easy Company in a very good position as a well trained unit.
Part 2 - Day of Days - D-Day has arrived and Easy Company makes the jump that they've been preparing two years for. As history unfolds, the German flak has caused nearly every plane to miss their designated drop zone. 1LT Winters finds he's in Normandy, lost his weapon and his company. He finally arrives at the assembly area and is given the mission to take out a German artillery position. Day of Days is an excellent episode that doesn't miss out on 1LT Winters depth of emotions as he loses his first soldier in combat.
Part 3 - Carentan - Easy Company is ordered in to take the French village of Carentan. While encountering only minor resistance, they take light casualties. After successfully taking the town, they're ordered to move on to the next objective. En route, they encounter the German force sent to retake Carentan. They stalemate for the evening, expecting to forge a full assault in the morning. The Germans have other plans though and counter attack in the morning with a combined force of mechanized infantry and armor. Fortunately for Easy Company, they are finally rescued by the 2nd Armored Division. Shortly after this action they are lucky enough to get some R&R back in England. The show ends with orders back to the front and a very poignant final scene to yet another wonderful episode.
Part 4 - Replacements - Replacements jumps forward to September and Easy Company is on R&R in England. They're called into Operation Market Garden. Easy Company is given the mission to take Eindhoven, Holland. They were told they would be running into light resistance. Operation Market Garden turns into a huge failure and the Allied Forces are turned back with heavy casualties. Sgt "Bull" Randleman is quite unfortunate enough to get stuck behind enemy lines. "Replacements" is another excellent episode.
Part 5 - Crossroads - Crossroads is one of the best shows of the whole miniseries. Captain Winters, due to the costs of war, garners advancement from Easy Company Commander to Battalion Executive Officer. The episode is shown, through the eyes of Captain Winters as he is preparing a report on the actions of October 5th when he led his company in the attack of a German SS position. The more telling part is later in the episode when he gets an R&R in Paris and the horrors of war catch up to him.
Part 6 - Bastogne - To quote Captain Winters, "we're paratroopers; we're supposed to be surrounded." Bastogne tells the tale, from Easy Companies point of view, about the 101st Airborne Infantry being surrounded by German forces and holding the line during the Battle of the Bulge. This is also the combat action where the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne replied to the German Commanders request for their surrender, "nuts."
Part 7 - The Breaking Point - January 1945 and Easy Company is on the verge of attacking the Germans in Foy, Belgium. Due to heavy resistance, Easy Company endures nearly a month of being barraged by German artillery on the front line. This episode is very telling as far as the how demoralizing the artillery can be.
Part 8 - The Last Patrol - Easy Company is on the front line in the Alsacian town of Haguenau. They now have the sense that the war is coming to a close, as they are just across the river from Germany. The brigade commander orders a patrol across the border to secure German prisoners. This episode again brings to the forefront the emotions of the soldiers as they again are counted on to accomplish their mission!
Part 9 - Why We Fight - This episode is clearly the most poignant of the series as Easy Company finds and liberates a concentration camp. Although there had been rumors of these concentration camps, no once could truly comprehend what they were about until they were faced with them! This episode alone should've garnered several awards.
Part 10 - Points - Easy Company takes Eagles Nest, Hitler's mountaintop fortress. The company settles in as an occupation force, yet expecting to be redeployed to the Japanese warfront. A very emotional what happened to several of the units members after the war. Overall, this episode is a fantastic conclusion to the "Band of Brother."
Disk Seven
We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company - An outstanding documentary containing interviews with surviving members of Easy Company! Once you've seen all of the episodes, this documentary introduces you to the real members of Easy Company.
Ron Livingston's Video Diaries - This is an exceptional set of clips filmed by Ron Livingston, who played Lieutenant Nixon, covering the "actor boot camp" run by Captain Dale Dye, USMC Retired.
HBO's The Making of Band of Brothers' - This is another excellent "Making of" clip by HBO, covering the creation of this spectacular miniseries! {ssintrepid}

Studio: HBO Home Video

DVD title: Star Wars - Clone Wars, Vol. 1 (Animated)
Productgroup: DVD
Star Wars - Clone Wars, Vol. 1 (Animated) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Fun

When I was 8 way back in 1977, my uncle took me to see Star Wars. I loved it. I never saw anything like it. During the light saber battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, I wondered - and this was in '77, mind you, way before we knew there would be sequels let alone prequels - what in the world (or in the galaxy) had happened before between these two characters. Since 1999, Star Wars fans like me have been getting to find out exactly what happened between Vader and Kenobi. I loved the original trilogy and I love the new trilogy. I don't understand those Star Wars fans who say the new films don't compare to the originals. The reason for this, I believe, is that they were children when the originals were released and they viewed them then from an entirely different point of view. I've always kept that in mind when watching the new films, which I believe makes me enjoy the new ones just as much as the originals. You know, years from now, people are going to look back at the whole thing as one work of art. And to those future fans who really, truly enjoy it, they're going to clamor for more when they're through watching episodes I through VI.Their hunger for more will be found in these neat cartoons from Genndy Tartakovsky, who lovingly captures the goings-on of the Star Wars universe between episodes II and III via animation in Star Wars: Clone Wars. This is just volume one, and hopefully volume two, which was recently broadcast on Cartoon Network, is released on DVD soon. To those people who truly are Star Wars junkies, this is a fix. It helps. As I write this, episode III is a mere one-and-a-half months away. The cartoon provides background to events that lead directly to the start of the new film. It has the music, the action, the story ... everything you could hope for in a Star Wars film. I think this was so well done that I hope George Lucas doesn't stop there. It would be nice to see a cartoon that bridges episode III with episode IV someday.So, if you're a "true" Star Wars fan, this is a must. If you're one of those fans who like the original trilogy but just can't loosen up enough to enjoy the new trilogy, this is still a must.

Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Mat Lucas
James Arnold Taylor
Jerome Beidler

DVD title: The Brothers
Productgroup: DVD
The Brothers - movie DVD cover picture

A great movie with some fantastic gentlemen. A story about finding the right person for you and giving your all to them. A lot of male bonding that is funny especially with Hughley and Bellamy. Highly recommend!

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Gary Hardwick
Morris Chestnut
Shemar Moore

DVD title: Little Big Man
Productgroup: DVD
Little Big Man - movie DVD cover picture
A tall tale that resonates with truth

This amazing film begins by interrupting the conversation of a wizen old man and a stock liberal professor who is conducting research into the old west. As the pompous scholar begins to explain to his elderly interviewee about the `real' American West, the man becomes indignant and begins telling a fascinating tale. It is a very human story that he shares and unlike the professor's close-minded, simplistic view of the conflict between the American Indians and white men (a popular modern viewpoint that anything Indian was numinous and good and anything white was evil), it is a revealing of the fact that there was good and bad on both sides.

Thankfully this was produced before the forces of political correctness could bowdlerize it. Today this would be watered down to avoid the epithets and stereotypes that add color and authenticity to this wonderful film. It is a obvious precursor to `Dances With Wolves', but also to a movie where the influence is less patent like `Forrest Gump' where famous persons are infused into a historical comic-drama. Numerous interesting characters infuse the picture: the epicene (though lustful) sister, the wise, yet pixilated Indian grandfather (played brilliantly by Chief Dan George), the unconscionable General Custer, the libertine Mrs. Pendrake (Faye Dunaway may possibly be the sexiest woman to ever appear on screen) and of course Dustin Hoffman's own character.

A funny and sad study of a wild time in history mixed with modern sentiments. A tall tale that resonates with truth.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Arthur Penn
Dustin Hoffman
Faye Dunaway

DVD title: American Psycho (Unrated Version)
Productgroup: DVD
American Psycho (Unrated Version) - movie DVD cover picture
American Psycho: (Other than John Rocker)

American Psycho was one of the best films of 1999. The blood and gore count was suprisingly low in comparison to other horror flicks, but the psychological scares rival that of a great Alfred Hitchcock film. This is a great film for those of you out there who prefer mind twisting to mind splattering. There are countless references to at least a dozen horror flicks for all of you horror buffs out there.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Mary Harron
Christian Bale

DVD title: Philadelphia
Productgroup: DVD
Philadelphia - movie DVD cover picture
On the streets of Philadelphia

Back in 1993, AIDS had been in the forefront of the news and everyone's minds for quite a while. Still, a major Hollywood movie still hadn't dealt with the subject matter. Sure we had some incredible films like "Longtime Companion" and the stunning "Parting Glances" (both which I highly recommend as truly visionary cinema), but they were more independent and not likely seen by mainstream audiences. Finally, with the foresight of Jonathan Demme, and the star power of Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, Philadephia roared onto the screens and into our hearts. And now, finally, we have a DVD treatment that this movie truly deserves.

Andrew Beckett, high priced lawyer of a top Pennsylvania law firm, suffers from AIDS quietly at the beginning of the film. A lesion betrays his secret quickly, leading to his dismissal. Firing back, Beckett attempts to secure the services of Joe Miller, a personal injury lawyer with an everyman reputation. At first rejecting his offer and even pouring salt in his wounds by mocking him, Miller is converted to the cause after witnessing subtle discrimination in a library. It is through Miller that everyone can approach this story, and it is through Beckett that we learn dignity and we learn pain.

Much as been said about Tom Hanks' Academy Award winning performance as Beckett, and Denzel Washington's wonderful portrayal as Miller. Together, the two are an acting powerhouse, both equally dynamic and compelling in their characters. One can only wish they would team up again sometime in the future. At any rate, they are supported by a fine ensemble, starting with the late Jason Robards to the rarely seen and much missed Joanne Woodward, whose performance will reduce you to tears in seconds.

Included in this DVD package are several documentaries detailing the development of the movie. The director's and writer's commentaries shed wonderful light into the process that went into making the movie. The few deleted scenes are wonderful to see, especially during a "settlement" negotiation between the parties. One very poignant thing mentioned in the documentary were the number of people suffering with AIDS that were employed in this movie, both in front of and behind the scenes. Very touching.

But this isn't just a movie about AIDS. This is a movie that soars above the simple "movie of the week" syndrome, and dares to address such things as tolerance, acceptance, getting over your fears, and welcoming people for who they are. It's amazing how relevant and meaningful those messages are today. In a climate of unacceptance and intolerance to others, hopefully Philadelphia's essential meanings will continue to ring as a bell of Liberty, and not just in the streets of the town of Brotherly Love.

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Jonathan Demme
Tom Hanks
Denzel Washington

DVD title: Phun with Fonics, Volume 2
Productgroup: DVD
Phun with Fonics, Volume 2 - movie DVD cover picture
Fast and Fun

These DVDs are very helpful. The animated characters are especially cute. My daughter's reading and language skills have improved since viewing them.

Studio: Learning Joy Resources
Director: Jane Maxwell

DVD title: To Kill a Mockingbird (Collector's Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
To Kill a Mockingbird (Collector's Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
One of the best movies ever made!!!!

What more can be said about this classic? A great novel turned into an even greater film! How often does that happen? Gregory Peck's usual wooden acting style is perfect here as Atticus. The three children are wonderfully natural, as are the other actors, but the real stars are the novel itself, Horton Foote's screenplay, Robert Mulligan's direction, and Elmer Bernstein's score.
Has there ever been a more effective scene than when at the end of the trial the Black minister turns to Scout and says "Miss Jean Louise, stand up, your father is passing"? Or a better ending? Or a better object lesson about race and class? I don't think so. Citizen Kane may be a better movie, from a technical sense, but for me, I never been more affected by a film emotionally than by To Kill a Mockingbird. After 40 years the film has lost none of its power.
And then of course there are the additional little nuggets of gold such as that the film includes the debut of one of our greatest actors, Robert Duvall as Boo and that Dill is based on a young Truman Capote.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Robert Mulligan
Gregory Peck

DVD title: Jean De Florette
Productgroup: DVD
Jean De Florette - movie DVD cover picture
Don't be scared off because it's foreign

Lots of people hate foreign films mostly because they haven'tactually watched one. They think only stuffy, arty, pretentious peoplepretend to enjoy them. JEAN DE FLORETTE and its sequel MANON OF THE SPRING are the films I've shown relatives and friends that have converted them.
Starting the first film, you may think' "Ugh. Fours of a French movie with subtitles." Then you get awestruck with the landscape, laughing at the nephew's goofiness, and involved with the intrigues. When it ends, you're going nuts wondering about what's going to happen in the sequel and how soon can you view it. At least that was the reaction of my friends when they saw it.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Claude Berri
Yves Montand
Gérard Depardieu

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Photo Release -- Servinova, a Cisco Systems Registered Partner Company Has Started Network Testing on CISCO Aironet (RedNova)
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