Elizabeth (1998) – DVD Review

elizabeth-dvd-cover

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Michael Hirst
Directed by: Shekhar Kapur
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Christopher Eccleston, Richard Attenborough

Features:

  • Audio commentary with Director Kapur
  • “The Making of Elizabeth”
  • “Elizabeth” featurette
  • Theatrical teaser and trailer
  • Cast and crew bios
  • Photo gallery

Released by: Polygram USA Video
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Own It.

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – Movie Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie poster

Film:

Written by: Patrick Massett, Simon West & John Zinman, based on a story by Michael Colleary & Mike Werb, based on the video game published by Eidos Interactive
Directed by: Simon West
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, Jon Voight

My Advice: Wait for MST3K

Lara Croft (Jolie) is a badass. She whomps killer robots, she wields handguns from hell like nobody’s business, and she has huge…….tracts of land. She’s essentially Indiana Jones‘ lost sister. But her past comes back to haunt her, as clues her father (Jolie’s real life father, Voight) left for her to find come to light. You see, there’s a shadowy group of conspirators who have been waiting five thousand years for a conjunction of all nine planets as well as a solar eclipse. It’s at this time that an ancient device can be found and used for good…or EVIL. Moohoohahaha.

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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) – DVD Review

last-temptation-of-christ-dvd-cover

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Paul Schrader, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Verna Bloom, David Bowie.

Features:

  • Commentary by Scorsese, Dafoe, Schrader and film critic Jay Cocks
  • Production notes
  • Collection of research materials, artistic references, stills and costume designs
  • Location behind-the-scenes footage shot by Scorsese
  • Video interview with composer Peter Gabriel
  • Gallery of stills from musical instruments used in the film

Released by: Criterion
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Own It.

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Swordfish (2001) – Movie Review

Swordfish movie poster

Written by: Skip Woods
Directed by: Dominic Sena
Starring: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Vinnie Jones

My Advice: Matinee.

Gabriel (Travolta) is a man with a mission. Suffice to say that mission involves a lot of guns, cigars, high speed chases, and Halle Berry topless. But of course, those are the elements of all good missions. Anyway, the one thing this mission is lacking is a world-class hacker. Gabriel finds one in Stanley (Jackman), a burnt-out computer cowboy with an ex-wife and a daughter living in stepfatherly hell. Gabriel has something up his sleeve you see, and it involves a lot of money and an intricate plan to get at it. Hot on the trail of everybody is Agent Roberts (Cheadle). And of course, Vinnie Jones is quickly becoming the Danny Trejo of the next millennium.

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Arthur (1981) – DVD Review

Arthur DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written & Directed by: Steve Gordon
Starring: Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzergerald, Ted Ross

Features:

  • Theatrical trailers
  • “Behind the Scenes” information

Released by: Warner Brothers
Region: 1
Rating: PG
Anamorphic: Hell no.

My Advice: Avoid it because of the crappy DVD presentation.

Arthur Bach (Moore) is a millionaire playboy. He’s also a drunk and an embarrassment to his family. Constantly going out at night, picking up hookers and bringing them home to his stately manor–he keeps winding up in the papers. It’s only through the efforts of his manservant Hobson (Gielgud) that you imagine he’s survived this long. But hey, he’s enjoying life, he’s about to get married to a wonderfully rich girl, and he’s got fifty pairs of short pants hanging in his closet. What could possibly go wrong? Well, he just might slip up and fall in love with the wrong girl for his family, but the right one for him.

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Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999) – DVD Review

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written & Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher, Vinnie Jones

Features:

  • U.S. & U.K. theatrical trailers
  • Cast & crew bios
  • Production featurette
  • Cockney rhyming dictionary

Released by: Universal
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: No

My Advice: Rent it.

It seemed like the perfect plan. Four friends decide to pool their resources and give the card playing prodigy among them, Eddie (Moran), the chance to win at high stakes poker. Unfortunately, like most perfect plans, the thing goes right into the toilet, threatening to drag all four of them down, taking Eddie’s dad (Sting) and most of the neighborhood with them.

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Shrek (2001) – Movie Review

Shrek movie poster

Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Roger S.H. Schulman & Joe Stillman, based on the book by William Steig
Directed by: Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

My Advice: Matinee

Shrek (voiced by Myers) is an ogre who lives a pretty good life. He has his own swamp to live in, mud to wash himself with, and villagers to terrify. Farquaad (voiced by Lithgow) is lord of the nearby lands, and wants to create the perfect realm for himself. In order to do so, he forces all of the fairytale creatures out, relocating them right onto Shrek’s doorstep. Now all Farquaad needs is a bride, and guess who shows up in time to strike a deal to get him one?

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Brazil (1985) – DVD Review

Brazil Criterion Collection DVD

Film:
DVD:

Written by Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown & Tom Stoppard
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Starring Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert DeNiro, Ian Holm, Michael Palin

Features:

  • Director’s cut with Gilliam audio commentary
  • “What is Brazil?”, a 30-minute documentary
  • “The Battle of Brazil: A Video History”, 60-minute documentary
  • In-depth coverage of the many drafts and treatments of the script, with comments from McKeown and Stoppard
  • Production designer Norman Garwood on the look of the film
  • Costume designer James Acheson on the costumes and their inspirations
  • Composer Michael Kamen on his work for the film
  • In-depth look at the storyboards for the original dream sequences with writeups on their content
  • In-depth look at the special effects, including some raw footage
  • Theatrical trailer, with publicity and production stills
  • 94-minute “Love Conquers All” version of Brazil overseen by the studio, with audio commentary by Gilliam expert
    David Morgan

Released by: Criterion.
Rating: R.
Region: 1
Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Own It.

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Dune (2000) – DVD Review

Dune miniseries DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: John Harrison, based on the novel by Frank Herbert
Directed by: John Harrison
Starring: Alec Newman, Saskia Reeves, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Barbora Kodetova, William Hurt

Features:

  • Production notes
  • “Behind-the-Scenes” Featurette
  • Photo Galleries
  • “The Cinematographic Ideation of Frank Herbert’s Dune”: an Interactive Written Treatise by Vittorio Storaro

Released by: Artisan
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: Nope.

My Advice: Rent it.

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Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (PC) – Game Review

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter

Overall:

Developer: Croteam
Publisher: Gathering of Developers
Platform: Win 95/98/Me
ESRB Rating: M (Blood & Gore, Violence)

First off, don’t worry if you haven’t played the first Serious Sam. I hadn’t and it’s not necessary. Second, while it’s called Serious Sam, the game is in fact, very silly. The chainsaw-wielding maniacs with jack-o-lantern heads are a big clue. There is a plot, but it’s not that important to your gaming experience. You’re killing alien invaders in pre-Columbian South America, ancient Babylon, and medieval Europe. And killing lots and lots of alien baddies. Did I mention the killing?

On paper, Serious Sam 2 sounds like another Duke Nukem clone. Clearing levels of bad guys, picking up keys, ammo, and power ups, and taking out the boss creature at the end while talking trash. However, within that formula the development team from Croatia (yes, Croatia, really) has worked in a lot of originality and style. The enemies have definite attack strategies that require the player to use the various moves and weapons available. And their design runs the gamut from silly (the above mentioned pumpkin-headed maniacs with chainsaws) to the scary (bigass demons that toss massive fireballs at you).

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