Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Yoga Kids
Productgroup: DVD
Yoga Kids  - movie DVD cover picture
yoga mom

We love this dvd! I have 5 and 8 year old girls. The eight year old had been doing this since she was one and we don't even do it on a really regular basis (as we should). Marsha produced a yoga video some years ago and it was terrific, too. I wish she would put that one out as a dvd. We lent it out and used it until is was scratchy. It is also worth having. This new one has more poses, though. Even my husband does this with the kids! A great buy! Get your kids their own yoga mat and blocks and they will really get into it.

Studio: Gaiam Americas

DVD title: Iron Monkey
Productgroup: DVD
Iron Monkey - movie DVD cover picture

I saw this movie for the first time about 5 years ago. It was lent to me buy a friend of mine whose parents had recently rented it from an asian movie store. The movie was spoken in Chinese, I'm not sure which dialect, but it didnt really make a difference since I'm not chinese. Needless to say, I didnt understand anything, because it didnt have any subtitles. However, that didn't matter. For the first time I watched a movie that I didnt understand, and quite frankly didn't care to understand, the kung-fu prowess of the actors in this film were astounding. Infact, I've seen a lot of kung fu films, and I've been involved in martial arts for 12 years, but the scenes in this movie remained burned in my memory.
Just recently I purchased the movie on DVD, it now has english subtitles and an english audio track (the subtitles are better), and the movie is even more enjoyable than the first time. My brother and I watched it together, and man, we were blown away. The story is exciting, it's a robin hood-ninja type thing with a huge twist. I know that may not sound too enticing, but believe me, this is one bad movie! Infact, it's my favorite kung-fu movie of all time, let alone one my top 5 movies of all time. The directing was good, the story was good (not the average story of a kung fu flick, nothing to do with a teachers death, etc), and the martial arts were magnificent. You should pay attention to the two women, well, one is actually a little girl playing the role of a boy (Wong Fei Hung)...but she got that role because she is just that good. And the other woman, man, she's bad. Watch when she fights the 4 crooked monks, you'll be flabbergasted to say the least. Oh, she's good looking too.
The fight choreography in this movie was fantastic. There were a lot of fights, and they were all explosive. Donnie Yen plays the father of Wong Fei Hung, and its his job to...I won't spoil anything. Let's just say that there are some awesome martial arts involved. To put it simply, the fight scenes in this movie are a sight for sore eyes. Can we all say "No Shadow Kick"?
Listen, I'm avoiding too much commentary on the movie, because I want you to see it. It's honestly a great movie, you should watch it, you won't be disappointed. You go buy it, if you dont like it I'll give you your money back....hahahaha, no, that was a joke, I'm not giving any money to anyone, but go see it. One of the best you'll see. Feel my "King Kong Fist" aka "Shaolin Wonder Palm."

Studio: Tai Seng Video
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Rongguang Yu
Donnie Yen

DVD title: And the Band Played On
Productgroup: DVD
And the Band Played On - movie DVD cover picture
A sorrowful tune

In the midst of the growing crisis of the AIDS epidemic, one journalist who witnessed the development and destruction wrought by this disease firsthand put together a regular series of columns chronicling what he felt was important for history not to forget. Appearing locally in San Francisco (perhaps ground zero for the epidemic, or certainly one of the first major sites to suffer) and then nationally in the likes of `Rolling Stone', Randy Shilts' commentary grew into the text `And the Band Played On', which follows the history of the AIDS crisis from many perspectives.
In reducing this massive tome to a reasonable-length feature, HBO pictures and Aaron Spelling (yes, Spelling, best known for Beverly Hills: 90210 and the like) had to devise a way of making it interesting and compelling for the small screen (this was a made-for-television film). They opted to follow the career of Dr. Don Francis, an epidemiologist with the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, and his team as they fought to uncover the mystery of the disease, and then had to fight to get public and official recognition of the problem.
Played by Matthew Modine, Francis gives a real sense of the frustration and confusion that faced the medical establishment in the early days of the disease. Coming at the time of a great conservative political revival on both sides of the Atlantic, a disease that seemed to affect undesirables, moral degenerates particularly (or so the popular sentiment ran), was unlikely to get any public assistance. Ian McKellan (who had yet to come out publicly as a gay man) played the political activist Bill Krause, who realised that he was fighting a difficult uphill battle during the Reagan era, when even his own Democratic party didn't want to embrace the gay community.
Perhaps the most interesting portrayal in the production is that of Alan Alda, who plays the enigmatic and controversial figure of Dr. Robert Gallo, discoverer of the first human retro-virus (which had, at that time, no disease to attach to it). Gallo's back-and-forth ego battles with the French researchers at the Pasteur Institute and with the CDC (and Dr. Francis in particular) may have caused delays and difficulties in finding adequate ways of identifying infections and virus-positive persons. The book goes into much more detail than the film about the 'which-virus-is-it?' controversy (HIV was not the first virus to which AIDS was attached). Gallo took exception to the way he was portrayed in the original film; in the updated video release there is addenda that addresses some of the issues.
The chilling decisions of hospital boards and from the troubled gay community, making decisions unwise in retrospect (and perhaps known to be unwise if politically untenable at the time) lend an air of concern about the way in which disease in general is handled in modern society. The ideal of public health concern is shown to be largely at the mercy of business and political decisions. The equally-chilling realisation that this was a disease with a potentially 100% mortality rate is an important aspect.
It almost falls into the realm of dark humour that, once there were laboratory allocations and some small budgetary allowance that it was thought that this disease would be identified, contained, and possibly cured within a matter of a few years, if not months. Now entering the third decade of the epidemic, one wonders at the misplaced optimism, and worries about what other, worse diseases are lurking around the world.
This made-for-television film is remarkable because of the number of big names that turned out for relatively small parts - Lily Tomlin, Phil Collins, Richard Gere, Steve Martin - many actors and actresses lent their support to this project as a public service, accepting only minimum union fees if any payment at all. The premiere was in Washington, D.C. before an audience which included members of Congress and government and industry leaders.
The film ends with a montage of video clips and stills of prominent people who had died of AIDS - the number of people is staggering, made apparent by the modern phenomenon of the AID quilt, a grass-roots project designed to keep the memories of each victim alive. This is the Butcher's Bill, a term coined by Nelson as he fought Napoleon, who asked what the daily death toll was. HBO films also produced an Academy Award winning documentary, `Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt', which I highly recommend as a supplement to this film.
While AIDS is no longer the automatic, immediate death sentence it once was, it is still a serious disease that has a high mortality rate, and is enormously expensive to treat and combat. But, the medical community is beginning to learn something. I hope you will take the time to listen to the story, which is an important one, put in compelling format.

Studio: Hbo Studios
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Matthew Modine
Alan Alda

DVD title: Blind Melon - Letters from a Porcupine
Productgroup: DVD
Blind Melon - Letters from a Porcupine - movie DVD cover picture
A Must

This is an awesome dvd for any new or old melon fans.A must have and a true inner look of the band.It shows how great a person shannon was and how tragic his loss truly was.Also to a previous review the girl featured on Mouth full of cavities was not shannon's girlfriend it was a a fan of the bands who went to many shows saying she could sing.The band later let her sing and decided to put her on a track while they were recording.The story is told in the dvd.

Studio: Emd/Capitol

DVD title: A Muppet Family Christmas
Productgroup: DVD
A Muppet Family Christmas - movie DVD cover picture
The Best Christmas Special EVER!!! NO ONE CAN SAY OTHERWISE!

My family taped it off ABC when I was two and a half years old, and we watch it EVERY Christmas (multiple times) and EVERY July (if I get my way!). I love the whole movie: Robin meeting the Fraggles (Pass it on! Pass it on! When it's gone, it'll bring good luck to you!), The Swedish Chef and that turkey (Glei la jhu! Ratska ratska in the bumska bumska, ja!), Ernie and Bert and Doc (Bunk Beds! B words!) Mrs. Piggy stuck in the blizzard (Don't worry Kermy, it's just a bit of snow!) Fozzie and his comedy partner, Mr. Snowman (It's cold enough out there to freeze your winnebago!) The whole shabang is fabulous. I love this movie and it will always have a special place in my heart. Favorite line: "Who was that straaaaaaaange bluuuue creeeeeeeaTURE?"

Studio: Columbia/Tristar Studios
Director: Eric Till

DVD title: National Lampoon's Animal House
Productgroup: DVD
National Lampoon's Animal House - movie DVD cover picture
Skip the cheap imitations, this is the real deal

There isn't much to say about Animal House that hasn't already been said. Except to say that this is one DVD that truly deserves a special edition, and it's nice to see that Universal has pulled out most (but not all) of the stops in bringing it back to life. Animal House is one of those rare films that truly set a new standard in comedy, not just in the sense of clever storytelling, but in raising the bar for celebrating the underdog rebelling against the establishment. I've thought about buying this DVD for a long time, but glad I held out for this edition. However, besides the previously mentioned advertisements for upcoming releases, I have a few questions:
Why do we need a new video of Shout by some artist most fans of the film probably don't even know? Seems like an unnecessary extra and certainly doesn't match the performance of the song in the film.
Where are the deleted scenes or audio commentary? I read that John Landis didn't feel like doing one, opting instead for the "not-bad but not great" where are they now short film. But couldn't someone at Universal at least have assembled a few cast members and writers to provide commentary instead? Seems like a no-brainer.
Last but not least, where is Tom Hulce? He's not in any of the special features and is barely mentioned. Maybe it was his choice to be absent, but it's a glaring omission. Also missing are Donald Sutherland and James Daughton (Greg Marmarlard). Any ideas?
Despite these issues, I still think Animal House is one comedy that belongs in everyone's collection. Having watched it again, it hasn't lost any of it's charm. There are just too many classic lines worth repeating.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: John Landis
John Belushi
Karen Allen

DVD title: Yes - Keys to Ascension
Productgroup: DVD
Yes - Keys to Ascension - movie DVD cover picture

A truly awesome perfomance. Maybe not as slick as House of Yes, but clearly more inspiring for the true Yes fan. This is Yessongs 2000. The music speaks for itself. The video interaction plays an important role in defining the musical message. A must for all Yes fans, especially the ones who have been around awhile and remember performances of this nature. To bad the crowd is completely out of it. An enthusiatic audience would certainly have made this performance even better.

Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD title: Spaceballs
Productgroup: DVD
Spaceballs - movie DVD cover picture
JUST HALARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spaceballs is one of the best movies Mel Brooks has made, next to "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

One of my favorite senes is when Mel is making fun of Darth Vader's "Luke, I am your Father," line.

Dark Helmet: Before you die, there is something you need to know about us.

Lone Star: What is that?

Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

Lone Star: What does that make us?

Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing . . .

There are much funnier senes in the movie though. Watch it. You will laugh hard all the way through.

Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios
Director: Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Rick Moranis
John Candy

DVD title: Powder
Productgroup: DVD
Powder - movie DVD cover picture
My favorite character in all of Film

Although this movie earned mixed reviews, and forever seems doomed to mediocrity(like all good art), Powder is one of those movies that is completely unforgettable. After you watch the movie, you will ruminate over it for days. It is that powerful.
Powder is our hero, a teenager who is misunderstood and unloved, even by his own family. When he emerges into our world from his grandparents' basement, he cannot even comprehend how cruel people can be every day.
Some films have various layers you have to get underneath before they go to your heart, like Forrest Gump. Powder is a film that will go straight to your heart, and will not leave.
The setting in which the movie takes place is rural middle America, but seems like another world. The entire movie is akin to a dream. It will probably wont make you cry when you see it, but rather when you have time to fully digest what you have just watched.
The best part about this movie is it provides deep emotion without being visually disturbing or graphic. It keeps a very respectable PG-13 rating. You can even feel sorry for the antagonists in the film, and soon you start to empathize with Powder. You could call it a teen Forrest Gump, although Powder's character is less real, but more beautiful than Forrest.
I highly recommend this movie. I have talked to ruffian-type teenagers who saw this movie and they despised it. This is because they saw themselves in the antagonists so vividly, that it deeply disturbed them. I liked that. This movie is 10 stars, all the way. Watch it, think about it, treasure it.

Studio: Hollywood Pictures
Director: Victor Salva
Mary Steenburgen
Sean Patrick Flanery

DVD title: Dejohnette, Hancock, Holland and Metheny - Live in Concert
Productgroup: DVD
Dejohnette, Hancock, Holland and Metheny - Live in Concert - movie DVD cover picture
frickin awesome

this is a great DVD. Sound and footage are excellent, and of course the music is outstanding.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Jack DeJohnette
Herbie Hancock
Dave Holland
Pat Metheny

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