Monday, January 3, 2011

DVD Reviews

Iron Man 2:
Robert Downey Jr. returns in his role as the wealthy inventor whose revolutionary technology has “privatized peace.” The US state, of course, see this as a threat to their protection racket and plots to force Downey to turn over his technology to them.

Pig Hunt:
A group of young friends travel to the northern California wilds to hunt wild hogs. They wind up terrorized by a giant man-killing hog that is also worshipped by a group of naked, drug crazed hippies. Oooo-kay. This one is only for those with an insatiable appetite for goofy creature features.
Not recommended

A France-based drama about a young boy who is pushed to extremes to keep his father from being deported.

Frontline- Digital Nation:
A very interesting look at how the digital world of the internet and instant communication has changed how we live. Some good information on how you may use the technology without losing your humanity.

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour- The Best of Season 2:
I have fond memories of watching the prime time Smother Brothers show while a young teen. I vividly recall how the whole family enjoyed it, even when some of its material was a bit controversial at the time. These episodes aired in 1967-68. The brother’s stand up is still funny, but most of their more extensive skits come across a bit lame. It’s was fun to see some of the more popular rock groups of the time, even though some of their performances are lip synched. The Who’s famous and destructive appearance is here. The musical highlight- Pete Seeger performing his previously banned “Big Muddy.” Some guests to be enjoyed- Pat Paulsen, Leigh French, Don Knotts and Don Rickles.

The X-Files, Seasons 1-9:
I was a big fan of the X-Files during its television run and it was quite enjoyable to review all 200-plus episodes; some I remember, many I don’t and probably hadn’t seen. All are wonderful, finely crafted, and imaginative stories about alien abduction and invasion, the paranormal, and various government conspiracies. With the X-Files, you could always count on excellent direction and movie quality production values, all to help remind you “the truth is out there.”

Two young woman teachers, one an Orthodox Jew, the other a Muslim become fast friends and work to deal with the cultural and religious tensions between their families, as well as both religion’s tradition of arranged marriages.

Toy Story 3:
More fun and creative brilliance from the geniuses at Pixar. A great, well selected cast executing another solid story line.

Two journalists, embedded with a US Army platoon in Afghanistan, record life and death during a fifteen month deployment in one of the most dangerous valleys in the country. It’s all here in full view; the arrogance, the ignorance, the bureaucratic foul-ups and ultimate futility of an imperialist military occupation. Ultimately, when their deployment ends, nothing is accomplished but creating martyrs and more enemies.

Harlan- In the Shadow of Jew Suss:
This German documentary takes a look at the life and work of German film maker Viet Harlan who was tried for crimes against humanity for his 1940 Nazi propaganda film, Jew Suss.

Shrek Forever After:
The final installment of the Shrek legacy. More animated genius to be enjoyed by all ages.

Generation Kill:
This HBO series follows a Marine recon unit during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, based a on a book written by a Rolling Stone writer embedded with the unit. Superb acting and writing throughout, including some of the funniest, wittiest dialogue I’ve heard in any TV miniseries or movie. It was also encouraging to see individualism represented here among the characters (based on real people) despite serving an institution requiring a collective conscious.

Invisible Empire- A New World Order:
Alex Jones compadre, Jason Bermas takes a long, detailed and well researched look at the global elites who have worked and conspired to rule the individual lives of millions.

The People vs. Larry Flynt:
This 1996 film stars Woody Harrelson as the smut king who boldly challenged the establishment. Whatever you may think of Flynt’s enterprise, you have to admire his defense of free individual expression and his exposing the hypocrisy of violent, puritanical religious extremists.

Older Than America:
An Indian woman in Minnesota starts having visions that ultimately help to expose the crimes committed against Indian children at a Catholic run boarding school. Not the best executed film but worth seeing if you had no idea how the institutional churches attempted to whitewash young Indian minds to “kill the Indian to save the man.”

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