Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The One (Special Edition) (2001) Review

Its seems no one cant beat up jet li maybe he should fight himself?One of the mnay jet li films I didn't like for one the whole idea of fighting himself was kinda retarded.It was cool to see something new from jet li the man himself but the movie didn't display alot of action just focusing on Timetravel and differen't events.Don't get me wrong its good but from the movie I expected to be better then it is.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Clint Eastwood Gift Set (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) Review

This is simply put, one of the best western trilogies to have ever graced the silver screen and the home theater system! If you're into westerns and are interested in viewing some of the best, these are the ones you want. These are the films that brought the genesis of the "spaghetti western" and set the tone for many westerns to come!

A Fistful of Dollars - A true genre classic!

A Fistful of Dollars is truly one of the big classics in the western genre and one that began a newer, better style of western films. First in a string of Clint Eastwood's "spaghetti" westerns, it has a style and cinematic class all to itself. This is where Clint Eastwood began his style of western hero who doesn't say much, but gets his point across through his facial expressions and of course his actions, more specifically with his six shooter at his side.

The premise:

Clint Eastwood plays "the man with no name" other than the name given to him by one of the characters in the film, Joe. In what is now a classic style, he rides into town on a mule and witnesses the brutality of the town bullies. Without saying a word to them, they harass him and he calmly goes into one of the town bars, has some food and listens to what the bar owner has to tell him about the town's situation. He casually decides to stay and do something about the entire situation, walks out and takes out four of the bad guys. What follows from there is such an outstanding film that is fraught with a certain degree of humor as he deftly plays both sides against his middle and walks away with "A Fistful of Dollars."

If you're a fan of the western genre and haven't seen this classic, I highly suggest you pick this DVD up. Some might be put off by the age of this movie, that is simply not the case though as this movie is timeless. Despite the fact that it was made in Spain, with many European actors and in a foreign language, it's just pure fun!

For A Few Dollars More - An outstanding sequel!

For A Few Dollars More is, in my opinion, by far the best of the "Man With No Name" trilogy! In "A Fistful of Dollars," director Sergio Leone bowled the viewers over with Clint Eastwood's character being a gruff gunslinger of few words and lots of action. In this sequel Eastwood's character has a lot more depth and even a little bit of humor. I am highly impressed with the script and acting in this particular film, especially in comparison with its predecessor. One can even consider it funny but useful that a few of the villains from the first film that were quite dead at the end of that one, are back now with new names! Magnificent performances by both Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef serve to enhance this movie's style.

The premise:

This movie has a wonderful beginning as we are introduced to Lee Van Cleef's character while he's in the performance of his role of a bounty killer. We are then treated to the reintroduction of Clint Eastwood's character, which actually does have the name of Monco, while he is taking care of his business as a bounty killer as well. Once the director has shown these two acts, he deftly shows how they end up on the same path as they both find out that they can score it big by killing Gian Maria Volonte's character, Indio and his gang. From there, we're taken to El Paso where the film's intrigue and suspense kick into high gear as both Eastwood and Van Cleef's characters meet.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - A great adventure!

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in my opinion is the best among the trilogy. Sporting the largest budget and the best script among "The Man With No Name" trilogy, this movie blazes across the screen brilliantly. Of course, Clint Eastwood is back and his name is Joe once again although I don't believe you ever hear him referred to as anything other than Blondie. Lee Van Cleef is back as well and he most definitely performs memorably as one of the bad guys. Eli Wallach's performance as the pseudo bad/good guy Tuco is nothing short of spectacular. The style and class of this movie is dead on with Sergio Leone's film making, making it a classic in the genre and one of the top films of the sixties. The entire film comes off as a box office success and a treasure for your home DVD collection!

The premise:

Clint Eastwood is back as Joe/Blondie - The Good guy. Eli Wallach shows up as Tuco - The Bad guy and Lee Van Cleef makes a return as Stenza the Ugly guy. The film starts wonderfully by deftly making the introductions of the three primary characters doing what they do best. Blondie ends up capturing Tuco and they make a comical deal. Stenza makes a dramatic first appearance as well.

Blondie and Tuco have a dramatic parting of the ways that also brings them back together in classic Sergio Leone style. They literally stumble across some fortunate information which leads them down the path of the civil war in the hopes off retrieving a rather large sum of money. This also forces them to run across the path of Lee Van Cleef's character, Stenza and his quest for the same information and treasure.

All of this combines to make this film a "must see" for those that are fans of this genre as it leads to the ultimate climatic ending and a classic Clint Eastwood shootout. I highly recommend this film and the entire trilogy to Eastwood and western fans. {ssintrepid}

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Review

The Best Years of Our Lives is an often touching drama about three WWII vetrans returning home. Scenes such as a sailor who has hooks for hands flawlessly attempting to light a match to the amazement and discomfort of civilian familiy members are unforgetable. Also powerful is the slow dissolution of the bonds of these vetrans as the affairs of normal life begin to take over. Frediric March delivers a powerful performance as a Sargent who returns home to a well off life as a bank executive, giving loans to vets under the GI bill. He won the best actor oscar for his performance, beating even Jimmy Stewart in Its a Wonderful Life that year. Toland delivers fantastic cinematrography, the more often the camera leaves the studio, such as the rows and rows of mothballed bombers. An interesting performance is delivered by real life vet Harol Russell who truly had no hands and was performing in his first and only movie. Amazingly, he won the Oscar for best supporting actor - an award I found undeserving given he even botched lines in scenes such as his wedding. Nevertheless, this movie has plenty of emotion and plenty of great screenwriting to make it worth seeing.

What it is not, is one of the greatest movies of all time now. Much of the acting is dated - comprising the overdone, grandiose style common to the stage and 30s and 40s movies. The plot lines and reactions of the actors sometimes seem dated and not genuine in 2003. Screenwriters tended to boil down their characters to one dimentional entities in 1946. Air Force Captain Derry's wife played by Virginia Mayo is one such one dimentional character. She wants money and glamour being married to an officer, but when that offier becomes a 32 dollar a week soda fountain worker, she loses interest. And her loss of interest is obvious, unsubtle, repeated, and driven home in every scene over and over. Its this sort of dated style which makes Best Years of Our Lives a great movie in 1946 but it plays more like a well done AMC classic today and does not have the sweep of Cinematic giants and other Best Picture winners like Godfather, Gone with the Wind or even Schindler's List. I'm sure to vets or folks who remember 1946, the movie will pack more punch than it delivered to me.

The Twilight Zone: Vol. 2 (1959) Review

No matter how many DVDs they put out with episodes of "The Twilight Zone," they cannot put out one with better episodes that Volume 2. "Time Enougth at Last" is THE quintessential Zone episode, adapted by Rod Serling from Lynn Venable's short story. Burgess Meredith, in what was surely his most recognizable role, plays Henry Bemis, a mild-mannered, myopic bank teller who only wants to read, but can never get away from this shrewish wife and demanding boss. But then Henry has the fortune of being in the bank vault reading a book when the world is destroyed by a nuclear war. Directed by John Brahm, no "Twilight Zone" episode ever backed a more unforgettable ending. "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" finds neighbors turning on each other as unexplained events fuel their fear that human-looking aliens have infiltrated Maple Street (filed on MGM's "Andy Hardy" street). Claude Atkins and Jack Weston head a strong cast in this classic written by Rod Serling and directed by Ron Winston. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" stars William Shatner as poor Bob Wilson, who has left a sanatorium only to take a plane flight where a gremlin keeps trying to sabotage the engine. Written by Richard Matheson, who wrote the original short story, "Nightmare" was directed by Richard Donner, who went on to be a film director of some note. "The Odyssey of Flight 33" is the only sub-classic episode on this disc. The story by Serling, directed by Justus Addiss, is of a plane that picks up a freak tail wind that sends it back in time. John Anderson as Captain Farver leads the excellent cast that makes this rather far-fetched idea utterly believable.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Lianna (1983) Review

John Sayles understands women more than some women understand themselves...I do not know what it is..but he gets us...

This is an older movie dated but the emotions are fresh....see where lesbian themed films began ...Lianna is a treat...ranks up there with older classics like Killing of Sister George, Theresa and Isabelle...through Desert Hearts to modern classics like A Family Affair, Aimee and Jaguar and now The L Word

Thursday, May 25, 2006

All Over The Guy (2001) Review

As a gay man, I am desperately looking for gay films that are not complete pornography, make you run screaming back into the closet, or have you depressed and suicidal for the next several days. This movie is none of those-thank God! [...]. All over the guy has truly lovable characters who you are cheering on in hopes they will get their lives figured out in time to attain happiness by the end of the film. My only real complaint about the film is the amount of foul language, there is a ton, but it is forgivable. In many ways, it is a very realistic love story with sobering yet humorous glances into the character's lives growing up and how that affects who they are now (this is not a major part of the film's development, just an enjoyable one). Overall, it is a fun ride. You can relax, sit back, enjoy. . . no-one moaning on and on about how much they hate themself, no suicides--just very adorable, lovable people struggling simply to be true to themselves and every once in awhile making you burst out in laughter in the process.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Boondock Saints (2000) Review

And all these cheap spy movies get stupider. BOONDOCK SAINTS IS A BALANT 007 RIP-OFF

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wolf's Rain - Leader of the Pack (Vol. 1) Review

I must say, this is a pretty freakin' awesome show. The first time I watched it on Adult Swim, I was "captivated" or whatever, but it is one hell of an awesome show. I would defendetly recommend this, and especially if you like Cowboy Bebop, both shows are made by the same creator, and so if you haven't seen WR, and you like CB, then I would recommend. Any questions can be forwarded to either my email>agentmccool27@hotmail.com and my IM is>iLove Ed and Ein

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chinese Box (1998) Review

Despite a first-rate cast, the movie never really delivers. Maggie Cheung is interesting as the waif-like June, but Gong Li and Jeremy Irons just can't connect. In all of their scenes together, I kept wondering whether Gong Li really understood anything that was was being said between the two; and her lines (in english) seemed rather ersatz in nature. If you want to see what Gong Li is really capable of (and she is capable of quite a bit), see "Ju Do" or "Farewell My Concubine."

Best of the Chris Rock Show (1997) Review

I was in for a treat. This was al new Chris Rock of me. And I ate it up. Chris Rock is simply the best comic in a one man show. I don't have cable TV, and if I did, I would never be home to watch it, so with this being my first exposure to the Chris Rock Show, no wonder it is the hit it is. Great work.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Leopard - Criterion Collection (1963) Review

Several years ago I read this book and then discovered that it was made into a movie in 1963. I searched for the video or DVD and was not able to find it at that time. Therefore, I was really delighted when I found out that the film had recently been released on DVD.

This is the story of the decline of aristocratic power in the late 19th century in Italy, and the effects of this on one particular family. The film was made in Italy and stars Burt Lancaster as the Prince of Salina and Claudia Cardinale as young lady from the emerging middle class who wins the heart of the prince's nephew. The film is a full 185 minutes long. But it held my interest throughout and I was even sorry there wasn't more because I remember the book covered a larger span of time.

There certainly is pageantry here. We see the palatial estates in all their glory. We get an understanding of the family dynamics as well as the influence of the Church. There are wars and glory and disappointment in love. There is pomp and pageantry and a glimpse into the privileged life of the privileged few. Mostly, the wars take place off screen but we do feel their impact. We see the first elections and the competition for power. And, most of all, we watch Burt Lancaster, in a role that calls for a wide variety of subtle emotions, as he watches his structured world fall apart and is forced to make compromises.

I learned a lot about the history of Italy as the film transported me to Italy for a very personal glimpse of an era I knew little about. And, it spite of it being made more than 40 years ago, the cinematography is excellent, even by today's standards. Definitely recommended.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Inferno (1980) Review

Considering that Suspiria is by far the most popular and acclaimed film in Argento's catalogue I'm rather confused as to why the sequel Inferno isn't more popular. Fans of Suspiria, like myself, ought to eat this up. Admittedly, it isn't as good as Suspiria, but it takes all the things that made that film so extraordinary and unusual and pushes them boundaries even further, while managing to be a fairly distinct from it's predecessor. This is most definitely a worthwhile piece in and of itself, and it is a must see for any horror fan, or those who enjoy visually startling films.

Visually, Inferno is even more stylized then Suspiria, with virtually nothing being shot in a perfuntory or realistic manner. It takes the most prominent visual aspect of Suspiria, the bright, garish sets and surreal colored lighting,(most often red and blue) and takes them to a greater extreme, and in a slightly different direction. In Suspiria, the set design and colored lighting were relatively simple, generally using open areas and relatively simple lighting, frequently with the entire scenes bathed in a single color.(And it rarely become more complicated than simply having 2 colors for the background, and 1 more illuminating the characters in the foreground) Thus, for all it's eeriness, the lighting in Suspiria actually illuminated the scene quite well. Not so in Inferno. The sets are cramped and elaborate, with numerous different light sources illuminating small portions of the scenes, generally with much of the scene still shrouded in darkness.(often to the point which you can't easily identify objects) Thus, although Inferno has many of the visual elements of Suspiria, they are used in a notably different style. Personally, I think that Inferno looks even better then its predecessor. The most notable scene, visually, is when Rose is attacked in her apartment. It is simply astounding.

This film is not big on plot or character development. In fact, I would say that it has perhaps the least character development of any film I've seen. (none) And to my surprise, I think this is actually a slight problem. Although Suspiria wasn't too big on character development, it managed to make me genuinely like Suzy and Sarah, whereas I don't give a damn about anyone in this film. And this actually makes the horror scenes less effective. The plot extends the mythos of Suspiria, with Rose reading a book, The Three Mothers, in the opening scene. The book states that 3 sisters rule the world, Mater Suspiriorum, Mater Tenebrarum and Mater Lachymarum, and that they live in Freiburg, Rome and New York respectively.(Naturally, Mater Suspiriorum was Helena Marcos in Suspiria) And she discovers that, wouldn't ya know it, she's living in the apartment complex in which Mater Tenebrarum resides.(She lives underneath it though, not in one of the apartments.) She's disturbed by this story and calls for help from her brother, Mark, living in Rome. Thus, an investigation is begun by various individuals, generally leading to their untimely deaths. As you might imagine, the plot is driven by absurdities and contrivances almost exclusively. But I don't care, and neither should you, considering the film and its goals. It can be a bit confusing at times as well, but you ought not worry about that, for the reasons stated above.

The murder sequences are very elaborate and nicely done, in much the same magnificently colored and hallucinogenic slasher film manner found in Suspiria, this time generally with taloned, cowled killers. They do have some slight flaws, however. Most significantly, they lack much of the sheer intensity and brutality of the killings in Suspiria. (Sorry about the endless comparisons, but they practically beg to be done) Simply put, the victims in Inferno are, for the most part, not made to suffer the way they did in Suspiria. Some people found the more sadistic aspect of Suspiria offensive, but that's what gave the deaths there power. Naturally, the most affecting death is the most painful seeming one, where the victim has their head pinned down through an open window, and the broken window pane repeatedly dropped on their throat. The visualization of this event leaves something to be desired, but it is conceptually nasty enough to make it work very well. Still, all the other deaths are beautifully shot and staged, even if they aren't as painful or personally affecting. Another problem is that they attempt a few more animal attacks, with little success. There is a cat attack, which is unintentionally humorous, and a massed rat attack which is just kinda bland. Fortunately, that is not all that is going on in those scenes, and they are still excellent sequences overall.

One of the most famous aspects of Suspiria was its extraordinary score by the band Goblin. Here Keith Emerson takes over scoring duties, and takes them in a different, somewhat more conventional direction, with lots of omionous, discordant piano pieces. Though not as effective as Goblin's work, it still works quite well, and is preferable to merely attempting a retread of the previous score. It uses the old trick of having a vicious murder contrasted with a grandiose, incongruent classical piece,(to great effect) and I also particularly enjoy the rock version of some Verdi piece they use during the cab scene.(It's cheesy, but I like it)

Sadly, the end of this film is somewhat anti-climatic.(Though to a lesser extent than was Suspiria) It's primarily hurt by the fact that it has a conceptually solid but incredibly hokey visual effect during the confrontation with Mater Tenebrarum. It's also hurt by the fact that the evil is defeated not by the actions of any of the protagonists, but just through luck and chance.

Well, that's about it. Somewhat flawed, but the flaws don't matter much. If you haven't seen Suspiria yet, see it first. If you like that, check this out.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Complete Superman Cartoons - Diamond Anniversary Edition (1941) Review

Having seen a number of the early Superman cartoons on other "public domain" compilations, I can say with confidence, DON'T BUY THE OTHERS!!! Bosko Video has a reputation for putting out high quality products and this collection is nothing less than fantastic. The images are superbly clear and the audio is nearly flawless (no, there are NO new or altered sound effects added).

As much as I love the continuing modern adventures of super heros like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, the earlier stories and artwork for each hero have always been my favorites. The Fleischer cartoons capture the early art-deco look and feel of the original Superman / Action Comics era. The artwork is great and the stories are timeless. This is the series that spawned the well know lines: "Faster than a speeding bullet...... More powerful than a locomative....able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.....Superman" These cartoons are the epitome of early American comic book heros.

The only complaints I have (and really, this is nothing) is that each episode starts with an added supscript "Originally Released October 1942" for a few seconds. Having this appear before the cartoon starts at all would have been better instead of inserting over the actual film itself. It would have been better suited to a booklet, which leads to my other complaint. There is no booklet. They do make up for it with a nice video intro regarding Superman and the cartoon series however.

This set is a real steal for the price, and it contains all of the early episodes, complete and fully restored. I would suggest this set for fans who prefer the early look of comic book heros, art deco animation, and Superman in general. Fans of period-look films like The Iron Giant or Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow will also love this (especially when Superman fights robots). Fleisher cartoons have always been great, but all too often the are butchered in the public domain. This is a rare example of Fleisher's work presented in such quality.

U2 Go Home - Live From Slane Castle (Limited Edition Packaging) (2002) Review

Whenever I watch this DVD I feel like I am at the concert. before U2 come on stage you can feel the passion from the wall of U2 fans, you can smell the excitement and expectation. Then the place is in utter ecstasy - the opening two tracks are explosive. As always bono pushes the right buttons - proclaiming to the 80,000 fans 'This is our tribe'. The middle of the gig is quite emotional as Bono's Dad who raised him as a single parent from childhood died a few days before. U2 bang out the classics such as Sunday Bloody Sunday when Bono proclaims 'were not going back there' and attacks the IRA, UDA and other so called freedom fighters who murder Irish people regardless of their beliefs. It is an emotionally packed experience brimming with great music and moments. Music DVDs do not get much better than this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2004) Review

A film by Peter Webber

Have you ever looked at a painting and wondered who sat for the portrait and what her story may be? Or what the inspiration behind a particular painting was? Tracy Chevalier apparently has because four of her novels have dealt with this very idea. Her most popular novel was "Girl with a Pearl Earring", which looks into one possible origin for the famous Vermeer painting of the same name. Peter Webber's 2003 film "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is an adaptation of Chevalier's bestselling novel.

Griet (Scarlet Johansson) is a young Dutch girl living in the 1600's. Her family is poor, so she is hired as a maid in the household of the painter, Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). This is a very big opportunity for her, though she is viewed with suspicion by Vermeer's wife because he has been indiscreet with the maids in the past. Griet is a quiet girl and is assigned the basic drudge work of cleaning. When she is cleaning Vermeer's studio, being careful not to move anything, Master Vermeer notices her, permits her to continue to work while he is around, and eventually permits Griet to help him. Helping Vermeer means, at various times, mixing paint and posing for portraits to be used as a guide to help Vermeer paint. From this develops a bond between Griet and Vermeer (or perhaps it happens because of the bond), and Griet ultimately becomes the subject of Vermeer's famous and somewhat mysterious painting.

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" can almost be described as a silent film. Griet has very little dialogue, but Scarlet Johansson is able to portray Griet so well that she is a compelling character even without dialogue. Johansson's acting is such that without speaking we are being told a story and being given characterization. Besides Johansson's work, the other main point of note is simply how beautiful this movie is. To make an overly obvious comparison, it is like a painting. This makes sense since the movie is about a particular painting as well as being partly inside the world of Vermeer and art. To be honest, little needs to be said during "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and the film does not suffer for it.

Given Vermeer's past history with the family's maids, and given Griet's beauty (she is pursued also by the butcher's son as well as Vermeer's patron); there is a suspicion of impropriety between Griet and Vermeer. The movie suggests that there might be more to the relationship, and the household believes it, but there is certainly a level of attraction between Griet and Vermeer. It is very understated, but with looks and visual suggestion and maybe even the lack of dialogue helps foster this impression.

Scarlet Johansson was nominated for two Golden Globes in 2003 for her work in "Lost in Translation" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Many feel that "Lost in Translation" was her stronger work and that she had deserved to be nominated for an Academy Award. I agree that she should have been nominated, but for "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Here she is being asked to carry the movie with very little dialogue. This film, outside of some critical attention, has been very overlooked. The quiet nature of "Girl with a Pearl Earring" may be off-putting to some, but this is a very good movie and one well worth the time for those with the patience (or interest) to give it a shot.

-Joe Sherry

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monte Walsh (2003) Review

All in all, not a bad Western flick, but it surely pales next to the classic version starring Lee Marvin, Jack Palance & Jeanne Moreau.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Leslie Sansone - Walk Away the Pounds (Get Up and Get Started 1 Mile / High Calorie Burn 2 Miles) (2001) Review

If you're out of shape and want to begin exercising this is for you. We walk every day but maybe just not steadily and long enough to call it a work out. This type of exercise is good cardio but if you want to tone your body overall you need to use resistant products which she also supplies. I would say this is ideal for most ages, but always check with your physician before starting any exercising program. Beaware that eating right for the rest of your life with a good exercising program is the key to long term success in fitness.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rurouni Kenshin Wandering Samurai - Premium Box 1 Review

This is my favorite anime ever!!!!! If you enjoy sword shows with a lot of blood, you'll love this show!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Microcosmos (2010) Review

The fascination of absolutely gorgeous photography wanes as the puzzling insect antics remain unexplained. My 6-year-old and I are great fans of all that's to do with creepy crawlers, but within 10 minutes, he lost interest. If your kid sits still and doesn't ask questions, this movie is fine; otherwise, buy this movie for the beauty of the best insect photography I've ever seen--but don't expect to be educated. And don't expect the kids to sit through it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta Limited Boxed Set (Compete 50 Episode Series and Collectable Figures) Review

I've seen several science fiction series in my time. All of which boast to be the greatest. "Star Trek," "Buck Rogers," "Battlesar Galactica," "Far Scape," "Stargate S-G1." Fine shows in their own right and I have no problem against them. But there has always been a place for "Mobile Suit Gundam." A 25 year-old franchise that has becomes Japan's most popular science fiction series. Many American fans are familiar with such (lackluster) titles as "Gundam Wing" and "Gundam Seed," but none of those series hold a candle to this addition to the "Gundam Universe," which is quite possibly the best entry into the stories..."Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam."

Produced back in 1985, written and directed by the "Father of Gundam" Yoshiyuki Tomino, "Zeta Gundam" has been hailed by anime nuts as the pinnacle "Gundam" series.

The story takes place in Universal Century 0087 (between "Mobile Suit Gundam 0083" and "Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ"). It has been seven years since the end of the One Year War, and the Principality of Zeon is long dead. In order to prevent another war from occuring, the Federation creates the Titans; a sort of interstellar S.S. that watches over the colonies. Of course, the Titans turn out to be crueler than expected, and resort to tyranny in order to control the colonies. In response, the A.E.U.G. (Anti Earth Union Group) is formed, made up mostly of former Federation and Zeon soldiers, they strive to oust the Titans. Enter Kamille Bidan, a young Newtype who witnesses the cruelty of the Titans. During a skirmish on his home colony, Kamille ends up in the cockpit of his father's Mark 2 Gundam. In the heat of battle he winds up on the side of the A.E.U.G. and from that moment on...his life is changed forever.

The show is darker and grittier than anything that has been shown on "Gundam Wing" or "Seed." Here, the mobile suits are not invincible and the cost of war is high. Lives are lost, love is crushed, and relationships are pushed closer to the fire. This is classic Tomino and it is rare to find another anime that's as raw and as powerful as this.

The series does show its age (it's almost 20 years old by this point), but I do not see how that can hinder any TRUE anime fan.

The battle sequences are well-thought out and there is always an element of danger in each episode. The outcome of the battles are never easily predicted, and the body count climbs to staggering heights as the series progresses.

Those familiar with Tomino's works (aside from "Gundam" he has also directed series such as "Dunbine," "Brain Powered" and "Overman King Gainer") will know that the man loves stories about human beings. And essentially, that's what the characters of "Zeta Gundam" are; humans. Complete with problems and faults very much like our own. It's very easy to connect with these characters and you learn to feel for them as time goes on.

Adding to this is the epic-scale music. A nice misture between "Star Blazers"-style orchestra and "Nausicaa"-type synthesizers. The effect isn't as cheesy as it sounds (pun not intended) and works well with the images on-screen.

Moving onto the DVD specs...well, I'm not kidding when I say this is quite possibly the best anime box set to date.

Not only does one get all 50 episodes, included is a poster, a 48 page encyclopedia, and 9 pencil sharpeners/mobile suit figurines. All this in a box drawn by Tsukasa Kotobuki of "Saber Marionette J" and "Godannar" fame.

Again, this is a LIMITED release. So grab yours while you can.

"Zeta Gundam" is a marvel of tale that belongs up there with the greats of sci-fi stories. Even if you're not a fan of science fiction or giant robots in particular, this anime will have something for everyone. After all, who doesn't love a great story?


The Matrix Reloaded (Widescreen Edition) (2003) Review

...the first "Matrix" was groundbreaking. Equal parts William Gibson, Phil Dick and Franz Kafka all rolled into one tightly written, finely crafted whole.

Unfortunately, the creators of this masterpiece have fallen into the old, tired Hollywood infection called "sequelitis" wherein the producers of a breathtakingly original film try to squeeze even more money out of it than they really have the skill for.

"Reloaded" fails on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin, so I think I'll concentrate on the worst point. That is, the Architect.

What was the point of dragging us through an hour and a half of fight scenes and occasionally interesting plot twists, only to have a couch potato in a white suit tell us that it's all irrelevant anyway? Did anyone actually bother to read the script before cutting it to film? Apparently not - if they had, they'd have noticed it. This is a plot hole so big you could drive a truck through it, and the worst part is that there's a third irrelevant movie to follow! Why bother?

The Wachowskis had a great thing with the first movie. They should have left well enough alone, and not destroyed the myth.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete First Season (1999) Review

I have two friends that rave about this show. I knew I liked Larry David's humor based on the 'Seinfeld' episodes he was responsible for. I was pretty excited before I popped the DVDs in, but now I'm totally at a loss as to how Larry David could proudly create this series.

It's not that the exploits of a witty, cranky, unfortunate comedian can't be funny. But a show would have to be very crafty and well-written to survive *only* on this character... Curb Your Enthusiasm spends about 95% of it's time following the Larry David character around, and is barely written at all - most of the dialogue is improvised, by great comedians who make really bad actors. Almost every other scene dissolves into an awkward shouting match.

The plot outlines guiding the way are equally disappointing - remember the adventures of 'Seinfeld''s George Costanza? Imagine three or four of his most humiliating stories crammed into a single episode. I mean, there is no breathing room. You can just expect the absolute worst things to happen to this guy every few minutes - sometimes he brings them on with his alienating behavior, and often it's the result of an unbelievable misunderstanding. 'Threes Company' times ten.

Another popular modern sitcom that has used a similar faux-documentary-style would be The Office. The characters on that show are almost as unfortunate as Larry, but there are at least a few of them to share the misery. And it's actually got a script ... for it's cast of talented actors. It's better in almost every way and I highly reccomend it over 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Soldier's Story (1984) Review

"A Soldier's Story" is a truly compelling film that gives the viewer a lot to think about. While this film explores the issue of racism and intra-racial prejudice, it does so without being overwhelming or preachy.

Howard Rollins gives a solid performance in the role of Captain Davenport; a stoic and principled officer who is assigned to solve the murder of a black NCO--Sgt. Vernon Waters--at a military base outside of Tynin, Louisiana. Davenport is determined to solve this murder and he's not going to let the white racist senior officers stand in his way. At the same time, he doesn't let the enlisted black soldiers suck-up to him because he's on a mission and he wants to get at the truth, no matter what.

Adolph Caesar plays the hard-ass, irascible Sgt. Waters. Caesar plays this role for all it's worth and he does a great job of making the viewer feel his contempt for southern blacks and for himself.

Robert Townsend adds a bit of comic relief to this tense drama in his role of the bumbling sycophant Coporal Ellis. For all the fawning attention he gives to Captain Davenport, you, the viewer, can understand and feel Ellis' sense of pride in working with a black officer.

Denzel Washington also gives a convincing performance in the role of Private Peterson. Peterson is the angry young black man who not only resents the white racist society in which he lives but also the blacks who try to keep other black people down. This inner rage is played out in a very tense verbal exchange between Peterson and Waters which ultimately culminates in a fight between the two men.

The only weakness this movie has is its reliance of the flashback throughout the film. At times, this technique comes across as a bit awkward but given the context of the film, this technique is appropriate.

Despite this minor criticism, I'd have to say that this is a first-rate film and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1990) Review

Goodfellas is one of the greatest movies of the 1990's. It is one of, if not the best gangster movie ever. It is directed by one of the finest directors ever, Martin Scorcese. This is a GANGSTER movie, and you are complaining about 'no positive message', you are complaining about all the swearing, killing, etc. And you say Joe Pesci stooped to a new low in choosing to do this movie. This is his greatest movie ever. He won the Best Supporting Actor of 1990. (He stooped to a new low in "The Super" and possibly "Home Alone 2". I too, love "Home Alone").

And you criticize Spielberg in your 'E.T.' review. (A movie I have never cared for.), but nonetheless, you are criticizing a man who directed Jaws, Close Encounters, The Color Purple, etc...too many to name. You say this director has no vision or creativity????????

This coming from someone who admits to watching those Electric Boogaloo movies from the 80's.

If you don't like mafia movies, or Spielberg movies or Scorsese movies, that's fine. But, your "Electric Boogaloo" reasons for your negative 'Goodfellas' review, not to mention your reasons for not liking Scorsese and Spielberg (you refer to the obscure director of those "Electric Boogaloo" movies as a better director), are very puzzling.

I really think you are just giving joke reviews for laughs. People tune into Amazon.com for legitimate, helpful reviews.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Secret of My Success (1987) Review

this is a graet Michael J fox movie. its about a man who is liveing to lifes. he gets a job in new york at his uncles company as a mail boy. then he makes himslef out to be a new employee with a desk job and a secrotery. that may be confusing but trust me is a good movie. If you like Michael J fox i would say go rent it or buy it

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Quick and the Dead (1987) Review

Elliott is a real trooper in the Western genre; all the way through his career he's been making them, even when it wasn't fashionable and when nobody else seemed to care. -For that I've always thought he should be commended. However, apart from the nice scenery, lurking bad guys, some good shoot-outs, and an ever so lovely Mrs. Spielberg, there really isn't much of a story in this one. -Actually, that's the story right there. The fact that she feels drawn a bit to Elliott's loner is a little far-fetched; after all she's travelling through no-man's land with her son and husband, and ought to know better than to fool around. -Ofcourse, if she didn't we'd be left with only the nice scenery, the lurking bad guys, and some good shoot-outs. -No, wait; and Tom Conti's outlandish haircut.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Baby Einstein - Baby MacDonald (2004) Review

This is the most recent dvd I've pruchased. It's wonderful. We own every Baby Einstein video they have produced.

I honestly can't say enough good things.

My daughter and I watch them almost daily. (at least 1)

She has been watching these since she was about 9 months old, she's 2 now and still so enjoys them.

At first she loved the music and movement. Now she can tell you all the animals on the varies tapes, and their sounds.Cow..Moo, etc... colors, numbers, shapes,...

These videos,(dvds) are priceless!!! We have many books, and all the flash cards. She has been introduced to art, poetry, classical music. We truly love the Baby Einstein collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nova - Everest: The Death Zone (1998) Review

This is what everest is all about. Two of the best climbers of our time take you on a journey to the top and give you a taste of what it's really like at the top of the world, meanwhile undergoing cognitive testing and showing us what altitude does to the body and brain. Excellent video, one of my favorite.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Better Sex Video: The Tantric Guide to Better Sex DVD Review

If it were a little more spiritual in nature, they would have partners who were equally attractive. The men in this video were not as attractive as the women (one with implants) and this video was a let down. I am a woman and I am straight and *I found the women more attractive*.

The principles were decent, like SLOWING DOWN and focusing on enjoying the feeling of being turned on and taking your time. But nothing most people don't know already!

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