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Reviews Written by
Guy "guyknight123" (Baltimore, MD USA)

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DVD ~ Christo
Offered by overseasmovies
Price: CDN$ 106.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 106.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 films about Christo and Jeanne-Claude - compelling!, June 24 2004
I never heard of Christo before watching these films, so it was a treat discovering them, and his art projects at the same time. These documentaries are very interesting, all of them cover his projects from pre-production through finish. If it sounds mundane, it's not, as the movies are also very entertaining for various purposes: one, the actual projects are beautiful, and it's a treat to watch people work together to put them up. two, Christo and Jeanne-Claude themselves are crazy and interesting people to watch. three, none of these projects were easy to get permission for, the process and heart-aches they go through to get permission is all accounted here. The subject matter is interesting, but the documentaries are also dramatically compelling in their structure.
At one point, after wrapping the pont neuf, two strangers in Paris argue about whether or not this is art. The man in favor of it says "you and I don't know each other, if this project never materialized, we'd never meet, ever." This is the essence of Christo's work! He brings people together to celebrate the spirit of self-expression. Ridiculous or not, art or not, it is important an achievement and it provokes discussion.

Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski: A Film Legacy
Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski: A Film Legacy
DVD ~ Werner Herzog
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 290.89
7 used & new from CDN$ 79.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cinema of Werner Herzog, April 23 2004
I'm of the opinion that Werner Herzog is one of the three best filmmakers of the past thirty years. What really distinguishes greatness, in my mind, is a personal stamp on every film. Knowing that whatever movie they make, whether it's from an original source or an adaptation, it will be theirs completely. Take a look at one scene, one frame from any movie and you'll know who made it-- that's the case with guys like Kubrick and Burton from a visual stand-point. I never found Herzog to be that visually distinct, although there's no doubt his is unique. It's really in his scene set-up, the poetry of his moving visuals, and the content and psychology of his characters which distinguish Herzog from the rest. The films are packed with imagery and fascinating characterizations. It's our luck that Kinski found Herzog, as the two compliment each other and go hand-in-hand. Here I will review three of the films in this collection, three of history's best.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God has been compared to Shakespeare, the psychological fall from grace of Kinski's character as he leads this doomed expedition. From the opening frame, Herzog seems to foreshadow the impending failure of the journey, with the music and visual imagery. At one point, he actually points the camera at rapids for two full minutes. At first, we ask 'what?' but then we realize these rapids look less like flowing water, and more like bubbling, boiling waters. The water seems to be flowing right above hell's fires. Aguirre hopes and hopes that the city of gold is just a bit further down stream, but as he commands the expedition further, he falls further into insanity. Like Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Aguirre is the product of pure greed and power. His motivation is pure enough (riches), but his madness betrays him until it climaxes to monkeys. Aguirre is a difficult film to watch with its cynicism and ugly look, but it's a worthwhile experience.
Nosferatu is both a re-tread of Murneau's classic and an apocalyptic vision at the same time. At one point Jonathan, the lead, passes through the Transilvanian wilderness and we're treated to an endless shot of the moving sky. The feeling of dread Herzog creates here has never been matched. The whole film has an eerie quality, yet it's grounded into reality, almost as a documentary. When finally dracula has reached society, we're no longer in 'horror-movie' territory, but we watch the plague unfold into a full-fledged apocalypse. We get a feeling of how the bubonic plague really felt. It falls into a psychologically deranged state, as we realize just how quietly deadly the Nosferatu is. Society crumbles before our eyes, as people celebrate their demise on the streets while the rats slowly take over. If it sounds depressing, it is, but this cynicism is not without basis. You cannot blame Herzog, or Kinski, for turning the camera not on life's fiction, but on its' fact. Here, and in his their work, Herzog exposes the inconsistencies and darknesses of life. Not that these are new themes explored in film, other giants such as Kubrick and Polanski have made careers of it, but I'm not sure it's ever been done with this level of poetry.
Fitzcarraldo, I believe is his most satisfying. I'm not going to say it's his most optimistic, but as compared to Herzog's other work, it's his happiest and most triumphant. Fitzcarraldo is Kinski's most accessible character, because he, the dreamer is within all of us. Of course the greed of Aguirre is in all of us, as is the evil of Nosferatu, but the dreaming, ambitious state of Fitzcarraldo is something we should be proud of as humans. All logic dictates that his crazy plans will fail, but new ideas which do not leave us are there for a reason. In Fitz's case, building an opera in the middle of the jungle is his goal, and in order to finance this, he must reach an unreachable area of the jungle by dragging a ship over land. Fitz is not the kind who represses his ambitions, and that's all I will say about the story. The movie chronicles his journey and culminates into the most satisfying end of any Herzog film.
Woyzek, and Cobra Verde are also interesting works, but not as good as those three. Both are more akin to the dark sensibilities of Aguirre than the triumphant Fitzcarraldo. My Best Fiend, the documentary is essential for all fans, as the insight between the two's relationship is interesting. I also recommend Herzog's Stroszek and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (both starring Bruno S., whom I believe is just as effective in those works as Kinski is in these). Werner Herzog actually recorded a commentary for all the movies in this set, and they're all worthwhile.
The bottom line is, the films by modern standards are very weird, and European. They are slower paced as well, but they're classics for a reason. The psychology of the characters, the intensity of Kinski, the music of Popol Vuh, and the poetry of the cinematography are all in a cinematic top form.
Initially, I actually didn't enjoy Herzog's films. The films bubbled in my mind over time, and I couldn't ignore the impact. Soon I had to watch them again. I became an instant fan.

Mr. Bean: Animated Series: Set 1
Mr. Bean: Animated Series: Set 1
DVD ~ Rowan Atkinson
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 92.22
12 used & new from CDN$ 46.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Bean fans!, Oct. 12 2003
Being an American, I had no idea what to expect with the Mr. Bean animated series. I love the live action work (sans the laugh tracks), but I didn't know how it would translate in animated form. In general, I'm not a big fan of animation, but Bean fits absolutely perfectly in cartoon form. Live action Bean is very cartoon-like anyway, so it's a great match-up. I was worried however that it would get to the point of being a bit too goofy (being a cartoon), but it's not as absurd as the live-action series. It's the same brand of humor. I just love how Mr. Bean will make you laugh without even talking. Charlie Chaplin would be proud. Here's how the disc breaks down.
There are 9 episodes in this package (18 segments). In total, it's about 3 and a half hours of entertainment. 3.5 hours of Mr. Bean. I read that the original show was aired in widescreen anamorphic, but is only offered in full screen on DVD. I am bothered by this (why I only gave it 4 instead of 5), but I might as well take what I can get. It's also good to hear that Mr. Bean himself provided the voice for the animated character. All in all, if you love Mr. Bean and don't mind watching animation, you will love this! A seamless transition. My favorites episodes/segments: Cat Sitting, Mime Games, Birthday Bear, Roadworks, and The Inventor. Great, great stuff!

Talk to Her (Bilingual) [Import]
Talk to Her (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Rosario Flores
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 13.95
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An Accomplished Movie, Aug. 29 2003
This is my first Almodovar movie, and it's pretty good actually. Being the first of his that I've seen, I watched it and had no idea what sort of tone to expect. The film opens with one of those weird, pretentious stage-performances, and ends with one as well. Both gives great insights into the heart of this film. In the commentary, Almodovar said that he ended All About My Mother with the same curtains that he began with in Talk To Her. His reasoning was that he didn't want all this critical acclaim to get to him. He wanted to stick to his roots and not (for lack of the better word) sell-out.
The best part of this movie is that the film accomplishes so many things at once: it's funny, very honest, very original and bizarre, but has a poignant pay-off. I also like how the tone of the film switches throughout. It's also beautifully acted. I guess you can categorize it as a drama, but with the all too human characters and unique situation they're in, it's funny too. I also cannot say enough good things about the black and white movie within the movie. Absolutely unique and funny, but there's a big air of sadness to it, just like the film itself. Reading reviews of Talk To Her (and without spoiling the film), I can understand why some people cannot sympathize with Benigno towards the end, but I don't think we're supposed to. I believe
we are supposed to just watch this world as Pedro presents it, and ask ourselves how we would react to these situations, or better yet, not judge the characters based upon our own beliefs. I'm not condoning Benigno's behavior, but we must accept it in order to better understand his character and Almodovar's intentions.
On another note, I heard that Pedro lobbied to direct The Hours, but was denied. While it's intriguing to think of what he would've done with the material, I'm glad he tackled this project instead. Besides, The Hours turned out to be a very good film anyway, and had Pedro done it, we wouldn't have Talk to Her.

All in all, I enjoyed this movie and will be watching more Almodovar films in the future. I won't buy the DVD, but it was a good watch. The anamorphic transfer is excellent, and there's only a commentary track with it. I listened to the commentary, and Pedro is very funny but also seems to love the human spirit. He talks lovingly about the film and its' characters, but also has a lot of interesting insights to say. Almodovar deserved that Academy Award this year. Talk to Her is a true original.
Edit -- I watched All About My Mother in early 10/03.. Thought I'd say that I didn't enjoy it as much as Talk to Her. It's a good, sad movie, but not really as original as Talk to Her. Talk to Her is a very distinct and original movie, while All About My Mother doesn't reach those cinematic heights. Pedro's tribute to women indeed. It's okay though, I had Subway for lunch.
Second Edit -- I saw Talk to Her again 4/04, and I enjoyed it again. What struck me this time was Pedro's very distinct and beautiful framing and composition. On another note, Pedro Almodovar's new film, Bad Education is opening the '04 Cannes Film Festival. The man's in his prime, so it should be good.

The Hours
The Hours
Price: CDN$ 22.57
39 used & new from CDN$ 5.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Transcends the Genre of "Movie Music", Aug. 25 2003
This review is from: The Hours (Audio CD)
I hate to be another reviewer telling you how great this music is, but I had to write this review to tell you that Philip Glass' score is perhaps the best written score of the 00's so far. It's sad, somber, elegant, melodramatic, but never never looks down on these characters. It seems to stay neutral throughout the whole picture, coming and going with different
variations, but always consistent within itself, like a grand opera. I'd be as bold to say that if this film used a traditional score, it would actually be a bad movie. Glass' score defies conventions. This is an example of a score really elevating its material to
much greater heights, which really doesn't happen often. It really transcends movie music though, it's
something special in its own right. A truly inspired score.

No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars do NOT buy the L200, June 18 2003
simply because the L200 is basically the same as the prior model Samsung L100. Just buy the Samsung L100 cheaper somewhere else. The Samsung L200 portable dvd player is the exact same as the L100 other than the fact that the battery lasts an hour longer, and the memory card slot is gone. The non-progressive, unchangeable screen hasn't been fixed, there's no memory option (it doesn't memorize where you left off), and it's gotten more expensive! There's really no point in buying this. Samsung released basically the exact same unit that they did last year with very little change.

Down by Law (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
Down by Law (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Tom Waits
Price: CDN$ 42.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best DVDs in my Collection!, Feb. 10 2003
I have to admit, I bought this blind for three reasons: 1- The premise sounded humerous, 2- I like roberto benigni, and 3- It's a criterion 2-disc set. I have to say, this is one of the better blind purchases I made. Not only is the film very funny and sad at the same time (one of the better films from the mid 80's), but the DVD is one of the best I own. Criterion did a great job with the supplements here, and they are actually interesting (unlike most DVDs, where interviews consist of directors and actors talking about how great it was working with each other -- ie Minority Report).
I have to admit, it was very cool seeing the Cannes film festival in '86. If you follow the festival, you know how presitigious it is, and how great it must be for everybody involved. You really get the feeling here. I also think its amusing how Roberto Benigni loves his wife so much that he puts her in all his movies, even when he's not the director! On top of that we get phone conversations between the cast (I think it's interesting hearing these phone conversations). Interviews, stills, production photographs, isolated music track, a music video and much more. I still haven't gone through all these extras!
Bottom line is this - if you're intrigued by the concept, like I was, and have reasonable expectations, this will be one of your favorites. It's certainly not for everybody, but it's very good nonetheless. I also want to point out how great the transfer is, and how beautiful the photography is in this picture. Now it's time to hit the "order now" button!

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel [5 Discs] [Import]
The Adventures of Antoine Doinel [5 Discs] [Import]
DVD ~ Jean-Pierre Léaud
Price: CDN$ 70.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 63.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, Feb. 10 2003
It's about time some more Francois Truffaut DVDs are coming to DVD, and in what better way than The Criterion Collection! This will surely be the crown gem in any DVD collection, and a true treasure for generations to come.
The set consists of all the Antoine Doinel movies (played over a twenty year period by Jean-Pierre Léaud). It includes the following four movies -
The 400 Blows - Featuring a brand new remastered transfer, I really don't need to give a summary of this film, because it's the masterpiece in the set! Definately one of the best coming of age stories ever committed to film.
Stolen Kisses - Continues Doinel's adventures years after the original incident. Follows his adventures in the army as well as his reunion with his ex-girlfriend.
Bed and Board - Doinel a bit older in this one. Pretty comical movie, but also has that air of seriousness to it. He's married in this one, but do you really expect him to be happily married? Nope, and falling for a coworker won't help things either. This is my personal favorite of the bunch.
Love on the Run - A bit more serious than the last couple Doinel films, but just as inspired. He's older and more mature now, as a divorced man, and lives his life as an editor. After meeting up with an old girlfriend, his final adventures occur.
Each movie will be widescreen enhanced, and look great! It'll also have a disc primarily for the supplemental materials, and another famous Truffaut short. Although the price is steep, this collection is full of some of the greatest french pictures ever made, and should be a no brainer. You're getting 5 fully loaded discs for about $... dollars. That is essentially $... dollars per disc. If that's not a great deal, I don't know what is!

The Peter Sellers Collection
The Peter Sellers Collection
DVD ~ Ian Carmichael
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 170.69
7 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Sellers Collection, Jan. 20 2003
This review is from: The Peter Sellers Collection (DVD)
These movies are so funny even 30 - 40 years after their release. Obviously they are not funny in the "dumb and dumber" "charlie chaplin" traditional way, but in an eccentric way. If you haven't seen these films and enjoy some Sellers films like The Party and Pink Panther, these are definately for you. He's at his best in here (although he's not always the lead character, the roles are pretty memorable regardless).
Anchor Bay also did a splendid job with this DVD set. Although they're in black and white, the DVD picture is flawless. Highly recommended for fellow Sellers fans.

True Romance (2-Disc Special Edition) (Unrated Director's Cut) (Sous-titres français)
True Romance (2-Disc Special Edition) (Unrated Director's Cut) (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Christian Slater
Offered by niff78
Price: CDN$ 29.97
17 used & new from CDN$ 18.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Romeo and Juliet of the 90's, Aug. 10 2002
"If there's one thing this last week has taught me, it's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it."
This Quentin Tarantino scripted film uses the theme of 'boy meets girl.' Here, though, boy meets girl, boy kills girl's pimp, couple takes pimp's coke, and bad boys chase couple. And Elvis is their Guardian Angel.... Clarence and Alabama are newlyweds who acquire an unexpected wedding present. Unknown to the blissfully happy couple, ruthless gangsters are on their tail, determined to reclaim their lost property
The film was written by Tarantino, and directed by Tony Scott. That automatically means that it is a fun film. The curses, while excessive, show the audience what kind of people these really are. Also, being written by Tarantino, expect to see lots of violence, and lots of characters without much screen time (Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt..)
Fans of this film might want to know that the screenplay of True Romance was originally a part of another very long screenplay that was written by Tarantino and R. Avary. The other half of it was used for the film "Natural Born Killers". In both of these films Tom Sizemore stars as a cop. Quentin sold the script to True Romance in order to fund Reservoir Dogs.
Fans of the film, Tarantino, great writing, and violence should buy this 2 disc special edition DVD. The extras include:
*Three Commentaries: Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, Tony Scott, Quentin Tarantino
*Innovative Storyboard Tracks
*More than 30 Minutes of Deleted or Extended Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
*Alternate Ending with Optional Director and Writer Commentaries
*Interactive Behind-the-Scenes Multi-Angle Featurette
*Animated Publicity and Photo Galleries
*Vintage 1993 Production Featurette
*Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots
*Cast & Crew Film Highlights
Definately the most packed DVD of the upcoming round of 2-disc warner brothers DVDs. If you want to read about the other sets coming out, I wrote reviews for them as well.

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