Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DVD Reviews

Eagle Eye:
Action thriller based around a government surveillance system gone haywire. There’s not a slow moment during the entire film.

Burn After Reading:
Witty writing, great acting and quirky characters- everything you would expect from the great Coen Brothers.

Battle for Haditha:
Reenactment of the civilian slaughter at Haditha, Iraq by US Crusaders. Ex- Marines play the lead roles which gives the film an authentic feel. The viewer can research for themselves whether the events are portrayed accurately. One fact remains clear- war is an obscenity that deserves neither glorification nor justification.

The Mummy- Tomb of the Dragon Emperor:
Mildly entertaining action flick. This is the third installment of the Mummy series. As with most sequels that play out this far, the actors seem to have lost the spontaneity that made their original characters attractive, and now are just going through the motions.
(Barely) recommended

Joe Cocker- Mad Dogs and Englishmen:
The film chronicles Joe Cocker’s 1970 US tour with a 40 member orchestra. Cocker is one singer who puts his all into every word and note he sings which makes for some soulful, enjoyable music.

Ed Harris stars in, directs, as well as produced and co-wrote this recently made western. A well played story about a long, working friendship between two lawmen in the New Mexico territory of 1882.

The Visitor:
A middle-aged, disconnected professor (played ably by Richard Jenkins) discovers an illegal immigrant couple squatting in his little-used New York apartment. He becomes involved in their lives and immigration problems which brings about a personal life change of his own. A nice portrayal of post-911 American paranoia and how the state considers individuals to be nothing more than livestock to be managed and caged.

The Express:
True story about Ernie Davis, the Syracuse running back who was the first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy. Not just a sports movie but relates his life’s events with the early days of the civil rights movement.

Chaplin- The Movie:
This biographical film was produced in 1992 but was just released on DVD. Robert Downey, Jr. took on the challenge of playing the comic genius and succeeds. A very enlightening and insightful film about what motivated and inspired this once in a generation artist.

Riding Giants:
A superb surfing film that outlines the history of surfing while focusing on the ultimate in the sport- riding the big waves. Lots of nicely restored surfing footage from the 1940’s and 50’s. The film includes the usual great surfing sequences, but the highlight is the wonderful personal testimony given by the most successful participants and trail blazers in the sport.

Bangkok Dangerous:
Nick Cage stars in this Asian-style action film. He doesn’t have to work hard at playing the brooding loner- he looks that way, naturally. If you like dark, violent thrillers, this should satisfy.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio:
This film dramatizes the life of housewife Evelyn Ryan who helped feed her family in the 1950’s and 60’s by entering and winning scores of commercial contests, including jingle writing. A nice portrayal of a resilient person who made use of all their inner resources.

1 comment:

Elliot said...

I can appreciate Chaplin's comedy, but he was irrationally enamored with leftist collectivism, like many entertainers then and now.

I'll never understand why famous people, who are rightfully rewarded by having millions of individuals choose to pay for their services, attack that very freedom of individual choice. For some, it's obviously cynical pandering. The others have to be brain damaged to abide such cognitive dissonance.