Book Reviews Movie Reviews
There are also clips from every single Kubrick production, comments and revelations (particularly about CLOCKWORK's controversy in Great Britain), reaction from critics like Richard Schickel and other film directors such as Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, and so much more. Anyone who is a Kubrick fan cannot be without this 21/2 hour documentary...invaluable only skims the surface, it is essential.
Now the "Healing Touch", which is part of the actual film titled "Jesus, the Christ", on the other hand is where they took the literary liberties, and done quite well. Again the acting is good and the story is pretty accurate.
Bruce Marchiano portrayed Jesus. Although he is, at times, refreshingly humorous as Christ, most of the time it was over the top.
I also own the Matthew series and the same holds true in those films as well. Again the "Matthew" films are a word for word account of the NIV. Of coarse Jesus is by and far the most used character in the Matthew films, which could cause you to loose some interest.
"Falling Fire" is the bonus film in the "Matthew" series and it too is a well-done film where literary license is taken. Only problem: Bruce Marchiano began to get on my nerves by the end of the three films. Again just a little over the top with the "happy guy".
Unlike "Jesus" played by Jeremy Sisto, where they struck a wonderfully believable balance of Jesus as a normal human being. The Jesus in The Living Bible Series was a difficult person to accept as Christ. He seemed a bit more like a comedian than a Savior.
The wonder of these videos, however, is the fact that they are able to make you think. While sticking so closely to the Bible and with well researched visuals, the producers, directors, and actors give their own interpretation of the story, which allows you to open your eyes to something new. The best example of this is Bruce Marchiano's portrayal of Jesus. Instead of the solemn, serious person you usually picture, here we see a person who enjoyed life, laughed, and had some fun in between dealing with the serious issues of life. When I first watched these videos, it made me look at my preconceived ideas of God very differently.
While expensive, these DVD's are worth checking out for a different perspective on a familiar tale.
First of all, the opening theme is priceless! In my book, it's one of the top five Saturday Morning TV theme songs. The soulful reprise by The Boyds at show's end is also great. (Move over Aretha!)
When I was just a tyke my favorite aspect of the show was, of course, the life-sized puppets - especially H.R. himself. I still like him, but the good ol' boy accent and (*gasp*) go-go boots are just a wee disconcerting - but I'll forgive him. However, I could never stand that dumb magic flute, Freddy, and he's even more bothersome now. (And honestly, what's so magical about him!?) The side characters are mostly charming, like Cling and Clang, but also really weird, like that pink piece of candy that talks with a New York accent. And what's the deal with that glitter-encrusted Cabaret frog? What a freak.
Looking at the show today, I'd have to say what really held it together were, not so much the life-sized puppets, but the two human characters: Jimmy and Witchiepoo. I can't say enough about Jack Wild, who plays Jimmy. He radiates talent all over the place, and that Cockney accent can out-charm even the most enchanting of puppets. He's also got these crazy twist-about, stutter-step dance moves that are so cool they ought to be patented. And then there's Billie Hayes who plays Witchiepoo - she's an absolute riot! It's about as over-the-top as a performance can get, but in this venue, it's perfect and hysterical. What would the show be without Witchiepoo? Not a thing!
If you grew up watching the show, and if you can appreciate good camp, "H.R. Pufnstuf" is definitely worth watching again. Sid and Marty Krofft were working on a tight budget, and that's obvious, but they were able to pull off magic with what they had. Not only was it great television, but also the show was highly influential. Will today's children like it? I can't say, but I would assume so.
As far as the DVD itself is concerned, Rhino did an uncharacteristically poor job. The shows look and sound good, which is the main thing, but the navigation is dreadful; finding your way around is a chore. The interview with an adult Jack Wild is simply audio dubbed over a series of (creepy) photographs. (He hasn't aged well.) The sing-a-longs are a nice addition, but I would've liked to see more. The episodes are good, but randomly selected. I would be more than happy to add "H.R. Pufnstuf" to my DVD collection, but I'm going to wait for a better release, hopefully a box set with all 17 episodes. I guess I'm hooked again!
Mowgli, however, doesn't want to leave the jungle, the only home he has ever known. He runs away from Bagheera and meets Baloo, a happy-go-lucky bear, and decides to be like him in order to stay in the jungle. It's up to Bagheera to convince the two of them that Mowgli will be safer in the Man village. Together, the three set out against the many hilarious and menacing obstacles that await them on their journey.
A Disney classic, one of the best things about this movie is the voice work: Sebastion Cabot as the up-tight panther Bagheera; Phil Harris as the "jungle bum" bear Baloo; George Sanderson as Shere Khan, giving him almost an upper crust dignity; and in two of the best roles in the film, jazz star Louis Prima as the orangutang King Louie who wants the secret of man's fire from Mowgli so that he, too, can be a man; and Sterling Holloway as the sly snake Kaa who only wants the mancub for a tasy meal. The film is also full of great music, including "Trust in Me" and the ever-popular classics "I Wan'na Be Like You" and "The Bare Necessities."
This is a family film full of fun, music and adventure that everyone is sure to enjoy.
A very entertaining and brilliantly animated classic with great voice acting, great songs that you won't forget, Dixieland legend Louis Prima as King Louie and lovable characters.
I have never played the games all the way through, but from what I can piece together, this 4 episode DVD is trying to follow the games. This is why I thought the movie was so lacking. It was too slaved to formula. Talk to somebody about next destination, go there, fight boss, get book of Ys, repeat.
Obviously, the animation is low-budget and the acting isn't all too good either.
I primarily bought this DVD to see if it would feature the soundtrack from the Ys games. Yes, it does. Sometimes orchestrated, sometimes not. Still, they never play a song all the way through, which is sad, because like I said earlier, the Ys soundtracks were awesome and would make some EXCELLENT movie music. This movie particularly likes to use "First Steps Towards Wars" (one of the best Ys songs), but they never play it completely through.
There is some humor in this DVD. Two scenes come to mind. The first one is in episode one. Adol is forced to work for this guy that'll help him get to Esteria (Ys). One of Adol's odd-jobs involves carrying a live cow on his back. Absolutely hilarious. The second part is a line of dialogue in episode four. "There's a head on your head!" Adol says to his friend who is running from a bunch of cow-demons.
There is also an outtakes feature in this DVD, not all of them are really funny. Most of them deal with character name pronunciation problems and slurred speech. There are a few gems, though.
This DVD is really for younger audiences, although the rating of 13 and up says otherwise. The violence really isn't that bad.
For those that remember the Ys games, I recommend that you pass on this DVD and purchase the Very Best of Ys soundtrack, containing songs from various Ys games.
Five college friends decide to get away together and spend time at a cabin in the woods. When "Ash" Williams (Campbell) and his cohorts arrive, they discover a mysterious tape, and decide to find out what's on it. Once the tape is played though, it unleashes evil forces from the ancient "Book Of The Dead", that will slowly turn them into "Deadites". As it turns out, the only way to defeat these walking creatures, is by dismembering them.
The Evil Dead had a bugdet of only $375,000, and yet, while it shows throughout, Raimi's creative energy compensates for any problems due to the lack of funds. Filled with fun, excitement, and gore-a-plenty, the film never lets up once it gets going. Sure, the acting is over the top, but that's part of the fun. I can't say enough about Campbell either. He is just great here.
The Evil Dead has had its share of reissues on DVD. The extras stay pretty much the same. The 2002 Anchor Bay Edition includes two commentary tracks. The first from Raimi and Producer Robert Tapert is fun, but as you might expect, these men end up being upstaged by star Bruce Campbell, and his funny recollections for the second audio commentary. I'm laughing as I type this--just thinking about it. There's 18 minutes worth of home movie style footage of behind the scenes and outtakes on the set. Theatrical trailers, TV spots, a poster and stills gallery, and talent bios round out the disc's bonus material. Replacing the liner notes written by Campbell for the '99 DVD, is the 24 page booklet featuring an interview with "The Ladies of Evil Dead", Betsy Baker, Ellen Sandweiss, and Sarah York.
Like Joe Dante's The Howling, and the more sophisticated Halloween, from John Carpenter, The Evil Dead proves that money doesn't really matter, in film, if you have imagination and sheer will to make it work. Recommended, along with its sequels, Evil Dead II and the topper Army Of Darkness
This was one of the worst written, poorly edited, and badly acted movies I've seen in a long time. The story was choppy, incomplete and unbelievable (even for a movie about witches and warlocks!). It was so painful to watch that I stopped it less than 1/2 way through and came back to it the next day, hoping that a good night sleep would make it more palatable. It didn't.
Kim Novak is absolutely beautiful in this one and Jack Lemmon, as her wacky bongo playing brother fills out a perfect cast. The aunt (I can't remember her name) is wonderfully batty - probably the inspiration for Esmerelda in the Bewitched series (just my guess).
James and Kim are perfectly cast - aslo teamed in the different "Vertigo" - others? Hermoine Gingold as the rival Witch, Elsa Lanchester as the dotty Aunt, and Jack Lemon as the playful sprightly bongo-playing young warlock is a dream - also Ernie Kovacks- so funny and brilliant as the bumbling, slightly intoxicated author.
BUT it is the utter charm and devine beauty of Miss Novak [especially in those backless creations by Jean-Louis] that entraps and enspells all - not forgetting the feline Piewacket!
DVD is great - presenting widescreen and cropped format on the menu - no disc flipping. etc - neat!
The film shines through Masterson, whose Penny burns with an underlying intensity that makes the character's conflicted position of duty and resentment feel mighty and palpable. The rest of the cast give gentle performances that match the film's warmly lit cinematography, making The Book of Stars a poignant and delicate watch as well as a showcase for Masterson's talents. -- Shannon Gee
Another movie similar in its quest of surviving the inevitable is Sweet Jane, a gritty drama about an addict adopted by a terminally ill child and how they help each other with life and death.
The acting is lacking. Donovan has done better work in my opinion(Nadja, for example). PJ Harvey is surprisingly good, speaking as a critic and not a fan, perhaps the best actor in the film really besides maybe Thomas Jay Ryan. As for her looking like "Jack Skellington", as my friend pointed out, well she has always looked that way.
If you like independent films or are an art student then this is a good choice for you.
This is a typical Hal Hartley film -- incredible premise, great actors, very good soundtrack, and creative but cheap production. I enjoyed the film even though the glaring lights and jerky camera got old -- at just over 60 minutes you don't have time to get too annoyed :-)
Extras are minimal -- credits and filmographies for Hartley and Donovan.
A worthwhile addition to Hartley's ouevre but as often happens with this talented director, one feels that the potential was greater than the execution.