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Mathias (New York, NY United States)

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Kurt and Courtney [Import]
Kurt and Courtney [Import]
DVD ~ Courtney Love
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 34.46
13 used & new from CDN$ 12.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Draw your own conclusions, April 4 2004
This review is from: Kurt and Courtney [Import] (DVD)
This movie should not be watched with the intent of finding any new information on Kurt Cobain's life or any answers to the various theories around his death. For some reason, though, I recommend it as required viewing for anyone who has ever found solace in his music, if only to hear Kurt Cobain's voice as a child. This comes from the recordings of his aunt, who seems to be most decent person interviewed and provides the most insight into Cobain's early life. It is interesting see the kinds of people who were involved, such as an ex-boyfriend of Love's (who seems normal until his memories of her provoke a sudden outlash), strung out ex-scenesters who all eerily resemble Courtney Love (or rather, what she may have become), and Il Duche, a weirdly detached shock rocker who claims he was asked by Love to "whack" Cobain for $50,000. Love's father and a lawyer convinced that Cobain was part of a conspiracy murder are also included. It is a disturbing film, in that it is very difficult to tell who really knows from who just wants attention.
It's disturbing, and it's ultimately a documentary of a failed attempt to make a documentary. And while it does not always portray Love as the villain, it certainly doesn't flatter her. Courtney Love is not exactly a candidate for sainthood, and she does seem to set herself up for a lot of her criticism, but the depictions of her given by many of those who were interviewed in this movie are truly unfair. I don't agree with a lot of the things she does, but no one deserves this. Although my opinion may change the next time I read about her OD'ing in front of Frances.

Caligula [Import]
Caligula [Import]
DVD ~ Malcolm McDowell
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 76.10
9 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting experiment in film that ultimately fails, March 21 2004
This review is from: Caligula [Import] (DVD)
I wish I liked Caligula. It could have been so much: with talented actors, beautiful extras, a no-holds-barred approach shared by an intellectual screenwriter and an uninhibited director, it sounds like a blueprint for an brutally honest and emotionally strenuous film. And maybe it was at the time, but as one of the millions of movie viewers who don't remember the 70's, who never had limits on the amount of sex and violence presented as entertainment (except, for better or worse, our parents), Caligula is not very shocking at all. It's terrible to admit being desensitized, but anyone who has ever watched both a porn movie and a single episode of any network cop drama can handle this.
It is important to watch the "Making of Caligula" feature with the DVD, as it explains everything that went into making the film. In many ways, this short film is more interesting than the movie itself. It's kind of sad, really, to see how Gore Vidal thought the movie would change the history of cinema and how much research and effort and money went into creating a Rome that ultimately looks like a porno movie but acts like a morality epic. If anything, it's evidence of the efforts in the 1970's to bring porn into mainstream cinema, of the time right before AIDS was discovered. It belongs on a shelf next to "Deep Throat."
Caligula is a reasonably good movie about how excess brings the death of morality. But so many other movies have been made which better explore this theme in equally provocative ways. ...

Party Monster [Import]
Party Monster [Import]
DVD ~ Macaulay Culkin
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 169.11
8 used & new from CDN$ 4.98

4.0 out of 5 stars The best bad movie since The Rocky Horror Picture Show, March 3 2004
This review is from: Party Monster [Import] (DVD)
A friend of mine, after watching this movie, commented that this would be a great movie to receive the Rocky Horror treatment--meaning that the possibilities for call-back lines, character costumes, throwing things at the screen, and other rituals, are endless. This movie can and should achieve a cult following, because that is the only way it can be appreciated. You really have to have a certain sense of humor and frame of mind in order to like Party Monster. It doesn't always make sense or have a definite plot. The characters often break out of the story and start talking to the camera about the movie itself, and the parts that are supposed to be emotional often come across as contrived. These things may turn off a lot of viewers but make it more endearing to others.
Seth Green, as the club kid James St. James, gives what is definitely the best performance of his career. I honestly wish he could have won an Oscar for this. He has all the best lines in the movie and somehow manages to be the sane one in the picture. Macuhlay (obviously not spelled right) Culkin seems to be a terrible actor unless you keep in mind that the real Michael Alig was, in fact, monotone and nasal. Marilyn Manson gives a showstopping cameo as the hilarious drag queen Christina Superstar. If nothing else, the novelty of seeing these three parade in over-the-top club outfits is entertaining in itself.
So don't expect much while watching Party Monster for the first time, and I guarantee that it will only get better the more you watch it. Unless, of course, campy schlock movies don't appeal to you.

Batman Returns (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Batman Returns (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Michael Keaton
Offered by CAinsomniacs
Price: CDN$ 7.83
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A culmination of all things Burton..., Feb. 25 2004
The words that came to mind while watching this movie actually were "it looks like Tim Burton vomited on celluloid," but that's unfair to him, since Batman Returns is not a bad movie at all. However, those who are familiar with Burton's work (and who isn't?) will find elements of every single film of his here, including those he hadn't even made before its 1992 release. For example, both the Penguin and the evil corporate magnate Shreck have parts of Beetlejuice in their appearances, and the Penguin looks a lot like the Mayor of Halloweentown from Nightmare Before Christmas. There are circus freaks, scary baby carriages, touching moments in the snow, and of course, Danny Elfman's music. Throw in Johnny Depp somewhere and it would be a perfect cross-section of everything he has ever done.
Although most of the focus of the movie is on the Penguin, I found Catwoman the most interesting character by far. Michelle Pfeiffer, with her natural beauty and throaty voice, is both sexy and convincing in this role, and I'm surprised that Burton never put her in any more of his movies. Danny DeVito's Penguin, though, is far too over the top, and his campy villlainy is too much even by comic book standards. Christopher Walken is always excellent. Batman is almost a minor character here, but Michael Keaton is likeable, if subdued.
Burton really went to extremes when it came to effects and visuals, though, which hurts the plot in the long run. And yet Batman Returns is a better movie than I think many people give it credit for, especially compared to the later Batman films.

Insomnia (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
Insomnia (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Stellan Skarsgård
Price: CDN$ 32.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Minimalistically scary, Feb. 18 2004
It is inevitable that anyone who has seen the American version of Insomnia will compare it to this version. And honestly, there is nothing in this Scandinavian version that the American version lacks. If anything, the characters are more developed in the American one, and the acting is better. But that doesn't mean that this version isn't worth watching. The cinematography is artistic and the sets are spare, which makes the movie scarier, and the language barrier faced by the Swedish detective (Skarsgard, whom many will recognize from Good Will Hunting) while traveling to Norway is interesting. However, the villain is nowhere near as chilling as Robin Williams' interpretation, and the hero is as much a villain himself as the man he goes after. So for those who prefer simplicity and attention to atmosphere over a developed plot, this is a very good foreign thriller. Otherwise, stick with the Pacino version.

H.R. Pufnstuf:.Complete Series
H.R. Pufnstuf:.Complete Series
DVD ~ Jack Wild
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 124.94
11 used & new from CDN$ 20.85

3.0 out of 5 stars If you didn't grow up with it, you're better off without it, Feb. 18 2004
H.R. Pufnstuf is the precursor to PeeWee's Playhouse, Zoobolie Zoo, Spongebob Squarepants, and basically every kids' show that looks like the writers used chemical sources of inspiration. If you enjoy the any of the shows I just mentioned, Pufnstuf sounds cool but really isn't all it's cracked up to be. Once you get past the bizarre and colorful imagery of the show, the series itself is pretty boring, with none of the wit that the shows it later influenced added. In other words, one or two episodes is really enough; after that you'll understand why parents never watched this show with their kids.
Of course, if you grew up watching the show, it has an entirely different meaning to you. But if you're just interested in cult TV, keep watching PeeWee and Spongebob and know that you're not missing anything.

Rock 'n' Roll High School (Widescreen)
Rock 'n' Roll High School (Widescreen)
DVD ~ P.J. Soles
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 92.03
7 used & new from CDN$ 12.83

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Those Ramones are peculiar." "And ugly, ugly, people.", Feb. 17 2004
If you were 12 in 1980, this would definitely the coolest movie ever made. For everyone else, this movie is basically a cheesy third-rate teen movie saved only by the incredible Ramones. Basically, it's about a teenybopper named Riff Randall whose love of the Ramones angers her rock-hating principal, and her pretty-but-nerdy friend who lusts after a football player. I don't know how Riff Randall became the coolest girl in school, and she is the most annoying part of the movie. I cringed every time she spoke. ("Did you know that all the Ramones are brothers?" was my favorite of her lines.)
There are a few clever jokes in the movie (like naming the school Vince Lombardi High) but it's pretty much an hour and a half long music video. You're better off just buying any Ramones album because the sound quality during their movie concert is pretty bad. And even with a brief shot of a guy trying to snort spilled coke out of a rug, it's a disturbingly innocent take on punk. If you're a deathly serious Ramones fan, this movie's for you and only you. Otherwise, skip this and buy The School of Rock, a vast improvement on a similar theme.

Three Caballeros, the
Three Caballeros, the
DVD ~ Aurora Miranda
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 102.11
7 used & new from CDN$ 49.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Somehow kitschy, sexy, and surreal--all at once, Feb. 11 2004
This review is from: Three Caballeros, the (DVD)
The Three Caballeros can never be taken at face value today. I remember the "Three Caballeros" song from a Sing-Along video when I was a child, and though I loved that song then, the entire movie could not hold the attention span of young children. But it's still a decent, if experimental, movie with various interpretations.
On one level, it's an artifact from the WWII Pan-American "Good Neighbor" period: Brazil and Mexico are presented as exotic and sensual paradises, the women are sex objects, and the cultures are obviously stereotyped. But that level of interpretation is certainly not an entertaining one. It is also, however, a kind of surreal music video in which samba and bossa-nova music are matched up with fluid animation. For those who remember the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence from Dumbo, picture an entire movie based on that clip. Donald Duck and his friends find themselves completely warped by the music: they multiply themselves, grow, shrink, turn into flowers, and much more. It's also a very sexual film, if one chooses to interpret it that way. Connotations and double meanings abound, and if you watch the movie, you will see what I mean.
As far as DVD quality goes, Disney could have restored it better (you can actually see the dust on the screen) which would have made the energetic animation even better. But overall, it's not bad. It's not exactly fun for the kids, but adults may find it interesting in a fun, tacky, misplaced-within-its-own-time kind of way.

Swan Lake/Bourne
Swan Lake/Bourne
DVD ~ Adam Cooper
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 69.30
13 used & new from CDN$ 17.66

4.0 out of 5 stars A brave new Swan Lake, Feb. 5 2004
This review is from: Swan Lake/Bourne (DVD)
Matthew Bourne transformed this beloved antique of a ballet into a parable for our times. Set in the early 1960's (I think; judging from the costumes, anyway) it follows a little prince as he grows up surrounded by the paparrazzi and discovers his own sexuality in the form of a swan prince. Just the fact that Swan Lake was given an involving storyline is a vast improvement over previous versions, but the complex themes of the prince's homosexuality, his relationship with his mother, his failed relationship with a "bad" girl, and the constant presence of the media add multiple dimensions to what was once a loosely structure story. The costumes, the sets, and choreography are all amazing--the DVD gives a scene-by-scene synopsis of the new version, but it really isn't necessary because of the creative use of pantomime and focus on the dancers' expressions tells the story for itself. And although it does contains more false endings than the third Lord of the Rings movie, it is definitely worth watching. It is certainly not your grandmother's Swan Lake, but this is surely for the better.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
DVD ~ Peter Frampton
Price: CDN$ 9.99
25 used & new from CDN$ 8.44

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you're not a Bee Gees fan, it's not worth your trouble, Feb. 4 2004
The Beatles never existed--as far as this film is concerned, anyway. Before watching this movie, you should empty everything you know about the Beatles from your mind. While you're at it, you might as well empty everything else from your mind, because your intelligence may be insulted.
I watched this movie knowing it would be bad, but I was hoping it would be classic bad, cult following bad, Rocky Horror Picture Show bad. I wanted to hear George Burns sing "Fixin' a Hole" and Steve Martin deliver a slightly pervy redition of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." I wanted to hear robots perform "Mean Mr. Mustard". And I really wanted to see Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees become the Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The movie delivers all of these and more, horrifyingly more. I can't even explain how bad this movie is. Let's just say that it makes Rocky Horror look like Les Miserables. This movie is also pretty racist; I'm white and I was offended by the portrayal of black people in it (Earth, Wind, and Fire, of course, were the exception; the guy who played the weathervane, on the other hand, made me feel like I was at a minstrel show). Sargeant Pepper's not bad in a fun way; it's just bad in a bad way.
I should say that the best performance of the movie is Aerosmith's snaky redition of "Come Together." This is coming from someone who is not even an Aerosmith fan. There are a lot of unbelievable moments in the film, but that one was surprising in a good way.

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