Film DVD related reviews


DVD title: Zulu Dawn
Productgroup: DVD
Zulu Dawn - movie DVD cover picture
zulu's a kinkin royal butt


very well made movielarge supporting cast and known actors'sthose carbines that the infantry used werethe only flaw i seen, after the ammo ran out this'became a bayonet vs spear.

Studio: Tango Entertainment
Director: Douglas Hickox



DVD title: Yanni - Tribute
Productgroup: DVD
Yanni - Tribute - movie DVD cover picture
liked Acropolis from first view; this one grows on you...


Stars awarded after five views.
I became a fan of Yanni from listening to Toronto, ON CHUM-FM "Lights out" show and really got interested when PBS played the "Live at the Acropolis" concert. I bought the VHS tape and enjoyed it many times.
"Tribute" was different and I didn't tape it when shown on PBS but after viewing the tape a couple of more times, it grows on you. As mentioned elsewhere here, "Nightingale" is not to be missed and some pieces are similar to the "Acropolis" selection.
The new instruments and use of vocal as instrument (no words in some of the vocal pieces) is a new facit of Yanni's work and is appreciated after repeated viewing.
His new CD, "If I could tell you", released in 2000 is more like his earlier work and another "love it from the first listen" selection.

Studio: EMI Music Distribution (Pre-Release)



DVD title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Third Season
Productgroup: DVD
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Third Season - movie DVD cover picture
Faith, the Mayor and Vampire Willow!


As someone who was way past high school when Buffy premiered, I was one of those who derided the show just from the title alone. But Sarah Michelle Gellar's stint from All My Children made me tune in occasionally just out of curiousity and I got hooked forever during the Halloween episode from the second season.
If you could only buy one of the Buffy DVDs, I would give the 3rd season of this show a slight edge over season two. I think Whedon, Gellar and the rest of the cast and crew really hit their stride and peaked during this year although they would show more than a few flashes of brilliance in subsequent seasons. Still in high school, the Scoobies were still very much a cohesive unit with a gamut of personalities. Plus, in a show with such quirky villians, we have the Mayor (the quirkiest), Faith (the most complex) and Vampire Willow (definitely the funniest).
The storyline during season three involved Faith, a renegade slayer, starcrossed romances...Buffy and Angel, Willow and Oz, Xander and Cordelia not to mention a mayor with aspirations of snake demonhood. During the 22 episodes we are introduced to characters such as Tricky and Anya. There is also Vampire Willow who provides more than a hint of what is to come for the Scoobies in future seasons.
Despite it's title and premise, Buffy is/was one of the most clever shows to hit the small screen ever with it's practice of using monsters as metaphors of real life. Even the mediorce episodes and seasons often surpassed the best of other television shows. Though it declined somewhat in it's later seasons, I am already in mourning with just one original Buffy episode to go. Thank goodness for DVDs.

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




DVD title: Hysterical
Productgroup: DVD
Hysterical - movie DVD cover picture
What is it about this movie??


This is beyond a doubt one of the most addictive movies of all time!!Like most of the reviews I've read, I too watched this movie as a kid. I remember our copy being recorded off of HBO and we wore it out. I rent this movie, from the one BLOCKBUSTER in town that carries it, at least once a year. It amazes me when I ask people about this movie and they have never seen it. To this day my family still quotes this movie. "he wants to know where the old light house is!" I think it's "hysterical" to look back at the things in the movie I laughed at as a child. I don't even know why it was funny to me then because alot of the humor is based more towards adults. I laugh at my own naivite, but it's good to know that you can watch it in front of the kids without much worrying. When you watch this movie for the first time watch it begining to end. You will be amazed at the non-stop humor pouring from every second of it!!

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Chris Bearde
Actors:
Bill Hudson
Mark Hudson
Brett Hudson




DVD title: Vampire Hunter D
Productgroup: DVD
Vampire Hunter D - movie DVD cover picture
A Classic Anime now available on DVD


Set in the distant future vampires and monsters have overrun the earth and no hope is in sight till one day a lone hunter by the name of D arives, riding a cyborg horse, carrying a powerful sword, and also carrying a deep dark secret. He must save Dorris from the clutches of Count Magnus Lee and rid the world of the monsters reign of terror with the help of his left hand which has a mind and voice of its own. Vampire Hunter D is a legend in anime and should be enjoyed by all.

Studio: Urban Vision



DVD title: Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles
Productgroup: DVD
Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles - movie DVD cover picture
The greatest of the Rathbone / Bruce Holmes films


I have always had a bit of difficulty with the Rathbone / Bruce Holmes series, featuring Sherlock Holmes removed from his Victorian setting and pitting his powers against Nazi spies and serial villains like The Scarlet Claw. They seemed a bit...undignified and silly. But fortunately, in this first Holmes film, they did honorable duty to Conan Doyle's famous story.

"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is probably the most well-known of all the Doyle Holmes stories, and certainly the most-adapted with around 17 filmed versions over the years. This is an almost-straight adaptation, following the story with only minor changes. The most notable change is the removal of the supernatural elements regarding the Hound, who is little more than a large, fierce dog. It is the only one of the Rathbone/Holmes series to acknowledge Holmes' cocaine habit, which was quite controversial and removed from all other films.

Rathbone is a commanding Holmes, and it is a joy to see his stunning performance. His appearance, his voice...everything is perfect. This is definitely an actor born to his role. The costume designers allowed Holmes to be authentic in costume design, wearing Top Hat and suit while walking around London, rather than being permanently affixed to his Deer Stalker and Cloak.

Bruce is a much more troubling Watson, although those raised on the movies instead of the books seem to take him without pause. Fortunately, in this first film Bruce's Watson was not the bumbling buffoon that he would become in the later Holmes films. He is still allowed some dignity, although he is not the able doctor and companion of the books.

The DVD is nice, crisp and clear. The commentary track is a bit dry, but David Stuart Davies is a font of knowledge both on the original stories as well as the Rathbone/Bruce Hollywood adaptations. He has background on the actors, and the choices that were made in adapting the stories to the silver screen. The other extras are trailers for a few of the other Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films, none of which mach the quality of "The Hound of the Baskervilles."

All in all "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a great Holmes film, a good DVD, and a lovely adaptation of a great story. Atmospheric, well-acted and respectfully adapted, it can be enjoyed by any Holmes fan.

Studio: Mpi Media Group
Director: Sidney Lanfield
Actors:
Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce




DVD title: Kite
Productgroup: DVD
Kite - movie DVD cover picture
Really cool


Deeply unpleasant story of a young girl who's trained to be an assassin using guns that fire special exploding bullets. Overall tone of the story is a turnoff: the girl is a cipher and everyone else around her is either cynically manipulative or a morally repugnant sleaze. In the filmmaker's minds, that probably justified everything, but there's no real reason for you to watch also. U.S. version is missing a rape scene that is neither integral to the plot or particularly explicit.

Studio: Media Blasters
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu



DVD title: Island of Lost Souls / Mystery of the Wax Museum
Productgroup: DVD
Island of Lost Souls / Mystery of the Wax Museum - movie DVD cover picture
"The natives are restless tonight!"


H. G. Wells' novel "The Island of Dr. Moreau" is the source for this exciting sci-fi/horror flick. Charles Laughton as Moreau prissily poses and preens as the mad doctor conducting forbidden experiments in vivisection, a variation of Frankenstein's theory of life and death. As a twisted god, he rules a remote tropical island populated by terrifying animal-man mutants, the failed results of his dark science. Into this menagerie of lost souls stumbles shipwrecked Edward Parker. Moreau has the insane idea to mate Parker to Lota, the delectable panther girl. Lota is Moreau's greatest success, and he wants to verify that she will react sexually to Parker (she does). By 1933 standards, Lota is the sexiest near human around. Her cat-like body movements and brief jungle attire add to her erotic appeal. Bela Lugosi, as a wolf man with a thick accent, is eerily effective as the "Sayer of the Law." His plaintive wailing and drawn out syllables raise the hackles as this jungle Moses articulates "the law" before Moreau. The scary make-up of the animal men conveys dread and fear nicely. The night scenes in the steaming jungle of huge bonfires surrounded by hellish shambling creatures are the stuff of troubled dreams. Moreau's island is Dante's Inferno retold. Things get very grim when the animal men revolt. As the animal men howl and growl in the distance, in a side-splitting moment of unintended humor, Moreau utters that great cliche of old movies: "The natives are restless tonight!" The movie is competently directed by Erle C. Kenton who went on to direct some of Universal's best horror movie programmers. Relax and enjoy the thrills. ;-)

Studio: Studio K7/Mvd
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Actors:
Charles Laughton
Richard Arlen




DVD title: A Christmas Carol (Colorized Version)
Productgroup: DVD
A Christmas Carol (Colorized Version) - movie DVD cover picture
christmas carol is great


This is the version that is the best. Even though it is in black and white. It's the best. Alastair Sim is just magnificient as Scrooge. A true adaptation of Dickens' story. It's only on once every year but it's still the best. Now even better that it's on DVD. The quality is just excellent. It never looked better!

Studio: Vci Home Video
Director: Brian Desmond Hurst
Actors:
Alastair Sim
Kathleen Harrison




DVD title: The Pianist (Widescreen Edition)
Productgroup: DVD
The Pianist (Widescreen Edition) - movie DVD cover picture
How to Survive Holocaust... (4.5 stars)


There is no object lesson in how to survive something so horrible as the genocide of Jews in WWII, but the story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman definitely deserved to be told. Born in 1911, in his early 30's he escaped Holocaust and somehow scraped along during the uprising in the Jewish ghetto, down through the gruesome near-end war days in his beloved, destroyed Warsaw. Afterwards he wrote a book about his ordeal, which his son had published in 1999, one year before Szpilman's death.
If he lived two years on, he would have seen his story filmed.
Shot by controversial French director of Polish birth Roman Polanski (himself a Holocaust survivor), this French-Polish-British-German-Dutch cooperation (2002) became a hit with critics and viewers alike and scored a shower of prizes and awards, including three Oscars.
The focus on one single person prevents "The Pianist" to be so emotionally sweeping as "Schindler's List", nevertheless, the performance New Yorker Adrien Brody breathes to Szpilman's character is stunningly wide-spectral, worthy of his Oscar. Also the cinematography manages to offer not a few stunning shots -- one comes when Szpilman walks the deserted city covered with snow.
The film is a special treat for those who like piano music of Fryderyk Chopin -- if they are able to watch the many depicted horrors of senseless cruelty. The movie begins with a historic moment of Germans bombing the Polish radio in September 1939 when Szpilman was in studio, recording Chopin's posthumously published Nocturne in C sharp minor. Symbolically, the broadcasting after the war began with the same performer and the same work. But really show-stopping are some other piano scenes of the movie.
Thematically, the film offers nothing new -- topic of Jewish plight is frequent especially in European film-making tradition. Also recommended is the Czech film "Divided We Fall" (2000) and Czecho-Slovak cooperation "The Shop On The Main Street" (1965).
For a person in a civilised country, watching "The Pianist" should also be a disturbing experience. It's about the time when people were losing faith, seeing the evil prevail. It's another warning about what war does to (and with) people.

Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Roman Polanski
Actors:
Adrien Brody
Thomas Kretschmann
Frank Finlay




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