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Patrick Selitrenny RSS Feed (Switzerland a.k.a. Helvetia Felix)

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Snow Cake
Snow Cake
DVD ~ Alan Rickman
Offered by vsource
Price: $9.50
32 used & new from $4.47

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The science of forgiveness... and understanding., February 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Snow Cake (DVD)
Let me say, just up front, that when I watched this on television I was almost compelled to switch channels.

I simply don't like romantic or sentimental (tear-jerking) movies.

But it was a slow night, nothing else to watch, except the same-o, same-o cop drama here and there,... so I braced myself for a boring and well-planned travel through sentimental-land, with all the buttons pushed at the right time, to force you to squeeze your tear ducts in your eyes.

Mind you, I like everything that has Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver or Carrie-Anne Moss, in it, but I was wondering why these three would congregate to make a "romantic drama".

At first, at the opening of the movie (a bit slow-paced for my taste), nothing new on the western horizon. Nice landscape, a diner and two odd characters meeting (one of them being Alan Rickman). Location? Canada. Season? Well, you may have guessed by the title, that it might be winter. Snow? Yes.

A brief conversation, or better said, monologue of the two characters ensues. So far, so good.

One might think at this point that that's it. Older man meets much younger woman and a pathetic story gets told once again. Wrong!

What happens next, within the ten minute rule of movie-land (if nothing happens within a ten minute span, you can leave the theater or the room and switch off the TV). Well, as I was about to do so, lo and behold, Bang! Big Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang!

A car crash! In a movie like this? Yes. A huge truck rams the man's car and this is the actual beginning of the picture.

The rest unfolds while we accompany the man's ordeal through it all.

I won't reveal what happens next because that's the part you absolutely have to watch for yourselves, and anything further would reveal the entire mystery of the plot. Yes, because the man has a secret, a terrible secret he is trying to keep at any cost.

Suffice it to say that I as dumb as a bell. I missed it when showing in the theaters in 2006 and I could kick myself for this. How could I have missed a tiny gem like this? Then I remembered that I even missed "Truly, Madly, Deeply" many years before and had the same revelation on TV afterward. That teaches you only one thing. One never really learns from his own mistakes, at least not when one is as lazy and as jaded as I am...

Let me just say that if you think to have known Sigourney Weaver as an actress before, well, think again... If you haven't seen her work in this movie, you simply cannot appreciate the great professional talent she has and the true gamut she can span when allowed to do so.

Of course, she already revealed herself as a very skillful comedian in "Galaxy Quest" (also co-starring with Alan Rickman), but here she hits the high note of her entire career, blasting all the crystals in the house.

She portrays and reproduces an autistic woman in every detail. So much so, that at times it becomes disturbing. It must have been the most difficult role she ever played. I am thinking about the research she had to undertake in order to slip in her role. I was astonished and very pleasantly surprised by her.

Carrie-Anne Moss, is the romantic interest of Alan Rickman in this movie and one may believe that this is it... Again wrong! The woman can sparkle with just a few nuances, without ever stealing the show, but just because of this, she becomes an important and integral figure to the plot, without whom the outcome would be difficult to foresee. Her harsh traits, so well known in the "Matrix" movies, can reveal an astonishing feminine beauty, as well as a smile and a laughter that can carry you away to seventh heaven.

Alan Rickman, the face of stone, or is it? I love him in everything he does. His wry, slashing, straight-face humor is simply unique and can be admired in so many movies. In "Snow Cake" he pushes the envelope further, always with very subtle touches, just like a few twitches of the eyes, a dismissing raising of an eyebrow, a touch of disappointment with the corner of the mouth. One has to closely watch the mechanics of his face to understand what a refined actor this man is.

What can I say of Emily Hampshire, except maybe that she will make a terrific career for herself along the years? It is not easy to be the center of a movie without being in it throughout the story. Yet, this is exactly what she manages to do. Her looks, the way she played her role, the entire aura that she manages to broadly paint before our own eyes of who she is and what she does, cannot so simply be forgotten. In fact, her ghost image keeps on coming back in our own minds every time someone mentions her. It's just like saying: "Don't think Elephant!" and keeping seeing the elephant in our minds.

Of course much credit goes to the casting of this movie. All characters must have been painstakingly be chosen and hand picked. But especially the role that Emily Hampshire had to cover, must have had that special attention, because if this role fails, the entire movie's construct falls apart and crashes miserably.

I must also mention the screenplay and the editing of this movie, without which we would not be sitting here, me writing this, and you reading it. The screenplay must have been very special when handed to the actors, since they seem all so very comfortable with it (even though I realize that it must have been quite a study). The editing was made in such a way as never to bore the audience with useless details, but rather build story upon story, upon story, just to form a flowing river of information one can easily digest and admire.

The director Marc Evans, must have had a hell of a time to coordinate the entire action and make sense of it all, but one can tell that he had confidence with the subject and manages to deliver a finished product that is a tiny masterpiece.

I titled my review "The science of forgiveness... and understanding." and indeed that's the juice of this movie. It is much less a love story, than a human story, a story of human destinies clashing, bumping, crashing, landing, walking and ultimately explaining themselves through the art, or if you will, science of forgiveness and understanding. A lesson and a story we can all identify ourselves with.

OK. Now that I have spent my time spending my Summa Cum Laude to these gifted actors and actresses, as well to all the off-screen personnel, I can only tell you one thing, if you think you know a movie by the title, or because you have read about it, well, think again. One must watch them before being able to judge them. Some may even reveal themselves as gems of movie making.

"Snow Cake" can certainly be considered one of them.

Now to the DVD. I own both the UK pressed and the US version of this and I must say that both are worth owning. Despite the slight differences in color resolution and the obvious running length that varies due to the different PAL and NTSC frame speeds, nothing else can be said that would prevent you to buy this movie. The sound on both is crystal clear, and for once, may I add, you are not overwhelmed by intruding and pervasive music from wall to wall.
There is music, but it is kept at a reasonable volume and not constant throughout the picture. For my understanding, this is a sure buy.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
DVD ~ Stephen Boyd
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $17.75
27 used & new from $9.28

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the historic Genghis Khan, and yet..., April 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Genghis Khan (DVD)
Of the many Epic movies which appeared between 1953 and 1969, this is not one of the worst ones, although if you are looking for Asian-born actors here, you might be heavily disappointed.

Never forget, that this is still the Studio System period, and as such ethnic considerations were not held up at all.

This is why all the roles covered here, are stuffed with British and American actors.

OK. OK. The only exception being Omar Sharif, who being Egyptian by birth, got the starring role. But he just played a Russian in "Doctor Zhivago" and was considered able to play the main character in this one.

Still and although not truly faithfully following the historic footsteps of the rise to power of Temujin, a.k.a. Genghis Khan, it is a very entertaining romp about the subject.

The movie is filled with stars such as Robert Morley as the Emperor of China, James Mason, Stephen Boyd, Eli Wallach, Michael Hordern, Telly Savalas and Woody Strode.

In its naivete, it is still a very watchable and entertaining movie. Consider it as a variation on the theme and as an adventure movie (which by that time were very popular).

The sets are nevertheless sumptuous, the costumes are gorgeous, and the music by Dusan Radic (I suppose of Yugoslavian origin and who already did score "The Long Ships" for Hollywood) is in a weird way, very appropriate for this kind of spectacle.

If you are willing to forget the historic inadequacies of this product and are prepared to accept a little showbiz instead, then welcome aboard.

The DVD (I own a Spanish Columbia Classics Full Screen copy and this Columbia/Sony presentation in Widescreen), is impeccable.
The Columbia/Sony is far superior, since it sports the full 2.35:1 screen ratio and a better English soundtrack than its Spanish cousin.
The sound is in plain Mono, as it was recorded at the time (the Studio probably did not have enough finances to do it in Stereo), but it is very clear
and as I usually tend to specify, "well-rounded" (hence no tinny sounds here).

There are absolutely no extras included, so don't expect any.

In conclusion though, my recommendation is for those of you who are followers of some of the actors included, such as either Omar Sharif, Stephen Boyd or even Telly Savalas.
They might not be included in one of their best movies ever, but here they are nevertheless, and just because of this, at least for documentation's sake one should absolutely have it, if only to complete his own movie collection.

It is also a good comparison piece with some of the most recent incarnations of the story of "Genghis Khan", on how to do things and not to do them...

But as I usually say... They don't make them like this anymore, especially when it comes to lavish nonsensical spectacle.

Flight From Ashiya
Flight From Ashiya
DVD ~ Yul Brynner
Price: $19.49
22 used & new from $12.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting action packed movie..., April 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Flight From Ashiya (DVD)
I think that the wait was well worth it.

Any movie including Yul Brynner should be considered a must.

But there are still some missing, just like "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Once More with Feeling" (the original one, filmed in the early sixties, also starring Kay Kendall).

This is no exception to the rule and although a bit on the silly side of Hollywoodiana, still it has its moments and is well worth watching.

It is an unpretentious adventure movie set somewhere in Africa and is more a vehicle to advertise for the Air Rescue Service than anything else.
This was a typical procedure that lasted almost thirty years. Making movies about Governmental Agencies, with the help of those directly involved.
This usually helped finance such movies and guaranteed full cooperation of such authorities.
Unfortunately, at the same time, movie crews had to submit to some of the requirements that these authorities demanded.

So, all in all, as said, this is not a bad movie, just a bit biased.

Yet, this said, who could pass on an occasion to watch Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark and George Chakiris in action?

The DVD is plainly just filled with the movie itself. No extras here, just in case you were looking for some.

The picture though is in Widescreen, pristine and clean (no restoring here, but exceptionally good quality). The sound is plain Dolby Digital Mono,
although on my system I have it on two stereo channels and not just out in the Center channel. Quality of this is also exceptionally clear and well-rounded.
By well-rounded, I mean full sound, not that kind of "tinny" Mono sound one is usually receiving out of purely Mono tracks in his speakers.

If you like adventure movies, then this one is for you. Enjoy it as such, not expecting too much out of it and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2011 9:09 AM PST

High Road to China
High Road to China
DVD ~ Tom Selleck
2 used & new from $29.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK, it was Golden Harvest producing it, but..., March 21, 2011
This review is from: High Road to China (DVD)
... why the heck didn't anyone think about buying the rights from them, digitally restore it and convey it to us in its original screen ratio format?

One of the mysteries of the universe...

Production companies these days seem too lazy, or risk-shy to deliver what audiences, especially those of a certain age and who have still very good memories, have been demanding in ages.

Bring the oldies but goodies to the light!

What we get these days are very timid attempts (and may I say shamelessly costly) to bring us back movie titles that have proven quality and have proven
so at every showing.

What more do the Studios / Production Companies want more? A labeled and sealed stamp?

Instead, all they do, is to produce remakes, sequels and again remakes of remakes of even more remakes...

Any normal child would say they are nuts, but not so at the upper echelons of the hierarchy, where they live excellent and comfortable lives and do not seem to realize that there is a very real world out there waiting for them to change their minds about some policies.

But as long as incompetent lawyers and lazy (read greedy and corrupt) bankers rule over the New Hollywood System, nothing will ever budge nor change.

We need risk-takers, gamblers (in the good sense of the word), and TRUE movie-makers as well as writers worth of this name. But above all, we need more pro-active distributors who actually have some cinematographic culture and a sense of history.

This is after all an Art form, not just an industry, as many in Hollywood very conveniently have decided to consider.

They have forgotten that an industry only works well when people are truly satisfied and not just a selected group of them, but rather the vastest cohort
of them all.

It is not enough to evaluate what a brand new movie makes in, say, two, three or four weeks at the box-office. It is also important to see if that very same movie will work in the future and other future generations to come.

Alas though, we are living in an "IN THE NOW" society, where everyone is far too concerned about hers or his own welfare, rather than being concerned about the welfare of others.

Self-glamorizing stars, self-servicing directors, and totally repetitive writers (many of whom have shamelessly plagiarized for years works by other more prominent, and probably far more talented peers) seem to rule the game these days.
But how long will this new "empire" last?
A castle needs strong walls.
How strong are theirs?

I hope that in the future, classics like "HIGH ROAD TO CHINA" (even if just a modern classic and only in the adventure genre), will all finally receive the well-deserved treatment they merit, since what many movie moguls tend to forget, they did not make themselves into what they are these days (I mean these movies).
They were made by dozens if not hundreds of people who worked hard on them and for them, sometimes sacrificing much and even neglecting their own private lives.

Granted. No one forced them into it, nor did anyone say they had to do it. But they did, and having given us a part of their lives with these works, they deserve to be more appreciated and respected than they are today.

I hope my appeal will arrive to some ears and move things along, because in my own personal view, time has come to show some real respect for the culture of movie-making and its history.
Consider bringing in people with a true vision and a true passion, as well as genuinely talented ones.
It certainly would bring a refreshing regeneration of this industry.

Forget about special effects, forget about monumental technical devices. Think about true stories and true actors (possibly some with a clear English pronunciation - sadly a rarity these days)...

Tarzan the Ape Man
Tarzan the Ape Man
DVD ~ Bo Derek
Price: $5.97
37 used & new from $3.48

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The most stupid Tarzan you'll ever experience..., February 16, 2011
This review is from: Tarzan the Ape Man (DVD)
There have been so-so Tarzans, then there have been dull Tarzans, and again, there were some very good ones, but this beats them all in being the worst transposition ever.

No wonder that the Rice Burroughs Foundations sued the Production.

Mind you, I always found that Tarzan was somewhat of a cartoon character out of a mediocre literature piece to start with, just like Superman and Batman of yesteryear.

There has only been one good movie about the subject and it was not a Hollywood production, but rather a French one by Francois Truffaut in "The Wild Child" (1970), which connects to Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" and as here, with the Tarzan saga (in some aspects).

The rest is the fruit of their times and the mentalities of people living in those days. As such, they are all dated and show their age.

The only interesting factor in such movies are the locations (although in many cases just stock footage), which document a world gone by, if not animals that are almost extinct by now.

In John Derek's attempt at making an erotic art movie, all you get to see is bad acting (even by seasoned actors such as Richard Harris who really seems bored with the entire subject), if not truly amateurish romancing by Bo Derek which seems more lost than present throughout the movie.

The beau, the mighty Tarzan himself, in the person of Miles O'Keeffe, is just a bad excuse of the male sex symbol and thus reduced to the animal he seems to be.

It is a simplistic and very primitive view of the world he lives in. It is escapism in the purest form. But this does not excuse the stupidity that pervades the entire movie.

If Caligula has been turned in a soft porn movie by Bob Guccione, disappointing all the cast members that were hired in it, this Tarzan is not even that. It is just a feeble attempt to show off John Derek's wife attributes.

Pure exhibitionism, nothing else.

If a lesson can be learned, it is how not to make movies like these, ever.

It seems that John Derek never learned anything from masters like John Ford, Cecil B. DeMille or Orson Welles. Nor did he even consider going to school with John Gullermin or other directors of the Tarzan Series. He would probably have benefited of their experiences and decided to actually do a good movie.

Vanity was all he was interested in. How empty, how sad and how desperate a man must be to come to such a conclusion.

In my opinion, this in one of the most forgettable movies ever made and even if its traces were lost, it wouldn't be a terrible loss for humanity. Actually, it would be nice if it would disappear completely...

We already have enough good movies to care about, and this is certainly not one of them.

What is there to say then about the DVD? In one word?

Conventional. Nothing special.

Thank Heavens, it was a gift (I would never have spent a dime on it and I begged the person who had the bad idea to offer it to me, to refrain to do so for other similar products. I understand that it was meant as a jest... Whatever this might mean...).

It actually landed in my trash bin, because I wouldn't dare to impose such a movie on any of my cinephile colleagues, who might have directed a better movie with their limited budgets at their disposal.

I cannot recommend it at all. I would be ashamed in doing so. Sorry, but there are movies that should better be forgotten than admired, and this one is of this sort.

Spend your hard-earned money on better movies and keep away from "vanity fair" inspired crap like this...

DVD ~ Pyotr Kislov
Offered by SpReAdLoVe
Price: $8.88
42 used & new from $1.45

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He likes me... He likes me not..., February 5, 2011
This review is from: 1612 (DVD)
I like it, but I don't like it...

Funny, but true. As a modern action movie it stands at par with other similar stuff that even Hollywood manages to produce (see "300").

Not so much for special visual effects, of which there are virtually none, except for the occasional battle scene, but rather for the silliness in language and story development.

It is a simple fun movie. One for popcorn chewing moviegoers.

Unpretentious and yet captivating in its silliness.

At times, while watching it, I was reminded of movies of yesteryear, such as Errol Flynn's escapades in "The Black Hawk" or more recently Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow's shenanigans in "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Costumes and settings are gorgeous though, and even the music is pleasant and appropriate for a movie of this type. But let's face it,
it's just another cape and dagger movie, not really Russian history as it pretends to be.

Sure, there are hints to that (and many, but then again distributed freely throughout, without an actual chronology). All we get to know is that after Czar Boris Godunov's demise and that of his entire family (but one surviving Princess), there is a period of anarchy in Russia.

Add to this the ever-lasting "bad" Polish invader, riding in with very fanciful armor which sports applied feather wings (actually an accurate depiction, but just reserved for the Royal Polish Guards of that time and only worn during parades, never in battle - for obvious reasons) and you have Holiday on Ice.

True to history is the fact that after the fall of Czar Boris, Russia had been literally invaded by opportunistic tradesmen from everywhere in Europe. This has been simplified and centered around a central Hispanic figure, represented by a mercenary, and apparently, former Conquistador.
The reality though was different, and the so-called invasion was far less pervasive and intrusive. Europe simply needed new trade routes through Russia and did indeed send out emissaries for this purpose.

Yet then the entire story goes through a mystic development, even involving unicorns and a mysterious Hermit chained on a pole in the midst of a forest. It may be significant for Russians but for a foreign audience who may not know all the symbolic significances of this, it still remains a puzzle to the end of the movie.

As said, as an entertainment movie, not too bad, but as a pretense in historic fact it really leaks all over.

The actors, probably all unknown to the Western world are all competent, especially in secondary roles and do their job quite convincingly. The action scenes (battles, swordplay, fights, etc.) are all very well choreographed and at times, even spectacular.

But does this mishmash stand for something?

Not really.

Not even as other reviewers have stated, as a propaganda movie for the Medvevev / Putin duo.

If it is true that this movie was pushed by the Kremlin itself, then the taste of this entity has considerably diminished since Stalin's times.
But such are the times we are living in.

Not wanting the invasion of Western culture in their Country, in that sense at least, it is utterly a wasted effort, since this movie proves without a doubt that they have already been "contaminated" by this - bad taste - kind of trendy movie.

What next? Japanese "Animes" to entertain the masses in Russia too?

At least Stalin had Eisenstein to propagate his views, and those movies have become true Classics.

But "1612"? Forgettable at best.

Being of Russian descent myself, I regret this popularization in Russian history. Why can't we have true historic, if not epic movies about the true history of Russia?

The theme alone, Boris Godunov, already made famous by a well-known Opera, should entice any film-maker deserving this definition, to make an extra effort and develop a true biopic around this figure.
But not just limited to this period.

All we have are just excerpts from Russian history. We never get the whole picture. What about the first Viking invasion of Russia, when it was still unknown under that name? In fact Russia takes the name from the first Conquerors of the land, which the native population named "Rus" after their reddish scalps and beards.

What ever happened between the Era of Boris and that of Peter the Great? Who were the various successors, what did they do, what have they achieved, how long did they all rule? These are all still unanswered questions that no one ever bothered to tackle with in any serious form.

I only wished that the new generation of movie-makers in Russia, but not just limited to Russia, would actually have that kind of culture and wisdom as to come up with some more original stuff than your average Action movie.

This DVD is no exception (I own three copies of it. One is the U.S. version, available here. One bought in France and one bought in Germany).
I wanted to test if there was actually a difference among versions, but there were none.
They all run at an approximate length of two hours and twenty-four minutes. There are virtually no special features (except on the French copy, which has "The Making of" feature).
The sound for all three is in DD 5.1 in Russian. The German copy gets an additional language track in German (also DD 5.1), while the other two versions only come with subtitles in their relative languages (the U.S. version in English and the French, obviously in French).

The image is crystal clear, although a bit too bright for my taste (but this may depend on how the movie was originally filmed).
There are absolutely no differences among the copies. The NTSC or region 1 copy, is exactly the same as the ones in PAL or region 2 code.

But as said, this is just an great spectacle entertainment with a pretense to be a historic movie, not truly a classic, and far, far away of true classic
cinematography a la Tarkovsky or Eisenstein. If you are looking for that kind of style, you're light years away.

I can only recommend it for a very young and inexperienced audience, and just as an approach to adventure movies.

For those who are demanding, you better buy something else, hoping that someone else makes the extra effort to finally come up with a series of movies which deal in true and serious historic fact about Russian history, instead of wanting to simplify it for the masses.

In my view, it just deserves 2 out of 5 stars, due to the effort made by all those involved in making it, but none should be given to the finished product which is offensively populist and to a degree as to be talking down at people that may know more about movies and history as well, than movie
makers these days.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2012 8:53 PM PDT

DVD ~ Pyotr Mamonov
Offered by dvd_from_serge
Price: $12.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eisenstein honored..., January 24, 2011
What can I say but that Eisenstein would be honored to see what this movie represents.

In fact, and in my own personal view, if Eisenstein were alive these days, he would probably have filmed this movie the same way.

The light and shadow play, evident homage to Sergei Eisenstein, the tenuous colors, always kept at very low intensity, not to make it too vivid or bright, but clearly reminiscent of the only color palette
included in the Ballroom scene in "Ivan the Terrible", add all the glory
and respect to the lineage of its two predecessors.

I would even go further. This can be considered the third chapter, or the third installment to "The Boyar's Plot" and "Ivan the Terrible" by Eisenstein, concluding thus the intended trilogy.

The actors are all excellent, particularly the two principal figures, Pyotr Mamonov as Ivan (whose looks strikingly resemble his predecessor, Nikolai Cherkasov), and as Philipp, the Orthodox Metropolitanate, Oleg Yankovskiy. One can guess that most of the cast comes from a true and solid theatrical background, but their theatrical skills are well put into use in this masterpiece of a movie.

The director, Pavel Semyonovich Lungin, is a worthy follower in the enormous footsteps of his legendary predecessor, Sergei Eisenstein.
His style and his technique are immaculate and show a sense of artistry
uncommon these days.

I can only say a loud Bravo, to everyone involved with this movie, since they have given us the ideal ending to "Ivan the Terrible" and
in such a way, as not to disrupt the continuity of the trilogy.

In the words of Pavel Lungin, it is a warning to the ever changing world we know today, not to relapse into the same mistakes of absolutism of the past, but work toward a more tolerant future.

I salute you, Pavel Semyonovich, and hope you will direct some more movies like these.

I own the French version of the DVD (bought at and must say I was amazed at how spectacular this single DVD is.
The image is crystal clear, the language is in Russian, in two sound versions - Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 - and comes provided with very clear French subtitles.
Extras only include an exclusive interview with the director, Pavel Semyonovich Lungin, and is in French, not Russian. Since I understand French I had no trouble with it, but don't know if there are subtitles for this. Also included are two trailers of Pavel Lungin's other works.

Although not filled with extras, I know that this movie will entertain you. But be warned, it is not a movie for the faint-heart viewer. It contains some scenes that may shock some viewers. But I would personally rate it at a healthy PG, as long as the parents know the history of Russia and can thus explain the backgrounds and origins of the reign of Ivan.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2011 6:23 PM PDT

The Rookie
The Rookie
DVD ~ Clint Eastwood
Price: $4.99
58 used & new from $0.49

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An action movie without frills..., October 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Rookie (DVD)
Although this title is part of the Clint Eastwood Collection, it is not the usual vehicle for an actor and director of his caliber.

Still it is not one of his worst ones as an actor. It has one major asset, the appearance of Raul Julia as the Bad Guy, who plays it with decency and panache.

Other than this, this is a tiny action-thriller movie, one of those "weird buddy" style. Charlie Sheen is adequate in the role of the "Rookie", although
he comes more through as the wise-guy, than truly a rookie.
Clint does his bit and has some funny one-liners, but is not at his usual best, as for instance in his "Dirty Harry" appearances. He looks a bit tired.

Still it is an entertaining movie, but not to be compared with other similar products.

The DVD comes as is. No Special features, just an additional French track. The image is conventional for this medium and the sound has been expanded to 5.1 surround, although at times barely noticeable.

One feels that there is something lacking here, but is never quite sure what it is. Is it the story? Is it the acting? Is it the ambiance?

I can just recommend it for a die-hard Eastwood Fan, but not for the general public.

Pity, it could have been so much better, especially considering the presence of two co-starring actors like the late Raul Julia and Sonia Braga (both appearing in the splendid "Kiss of the Spider Woman", and in the funny "Moon Over Parador").

Betrayed (1954)
Betrayed (1954)
DVD ~ Lana Turner, Victor Mature Clark Gable
Price: $14.99
28 used & new from $9.27

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tiny forgotten gem on DVD-R, April 14, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Betrayed (1954) (DVD)
I actually don't understand Studio policies.

For many years they were sitting on magnificent movies, such as this one, and never decided to release them on DVD.

Suddenly they seem to have discovered that they always had them, sitting in their vaults and voila, here they are,
popping up like popcorn, but at a price.

I must say that they also capitalize on such titles, because they are far from being cheap.

At prices ranging from 16 to 26 dollars for a simple transfer to DVD-R (the kind we all know and use daily in our
DVD readers on our laptops or PCs), with no extras to speak about (generally just the trailer), sometimes
not even provided with a decent menu or chapter option, and lacking optional subtitles or languages, they
could easily be taken as true rip-offs.

Yet, one must admit that although the movies presented here are WISIWIG (What You See is What You Get), all the copies
I have watched from both the Warner Bros. and Universal vaults, are still (for their age), in excellent condition.

The sound is usually as is, as it came when the movie was originally released. Therefore, one might expect a bit of
disappointment, but in reality the sound is usually quite crisp and good, so no problem there.

But as said, the price is that of a special edition, and these are a far cry from such an edition.
I therefore classify these among "strictly collector's or connaisseur editions", which would explain and justify
such fantastic pricing.

Yet, like in this case, I can only recommend these, since otherwise, they would be subjected to rest in the Studio
vaults for another twenty, if not fifty years until forgetfulness and carelessness take their toll on some gems
like "Bhowani Junction", "Not with My Wife, You Don't" or "Tell Them Willie Boy is Here".

Get them while you can, if you have a few bucks reserved for this.

I suspect that after this wave is gone, they will again disappear for a while...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2012 2:46 PM PDT

Go Tell the Spartans
Go Tell the Spartans
DVD ~ Burt Lancaster
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $4.19
52 used & new from $0.01

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's the use of a DVD?, April 14, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Go Tell the Spartans (DVD)
Don't get me wrong! This movie is really a good movie. Not Excellent, but good.

My concern is actually more with the presentation of certain movies of this kind on DVD.

Like Universal Pictures, HBO and others seem to always revert to the FULL SCREEN video format to dish up their DVDs.

Many of the very same movies are available, through the same distribution companies in the UK, in their original
WIDESCREEN (either Letterboxed or Anamorphic) format. Sometimes in a ratio of 1.85:1, other times in 2.35:1.

While I can still understand a Full Screen presentation (1.33:1 ratio) for a 1.85:1 movie, why do the U.S. distributors
always resort to Full Screen?

The sources, in many cases, are the same. Yet many movies, like for instance "Colossus - The Forbin Project", "Charley
Varrick" and here "Go Tell the Spartans" are simply transferred in 1.33:1 (full screen) for U.S. DVD release, while
their UK counterpart comes in their original screen aspect ratio (with a very few exceptions to the rule).

So my question is, what is wrong with American distributors?

I am also thinking about the U.S. viewer who is not so fortunate as to have the money to afford a code-free player, in order
to actually order them from the UK, with their included additional international postage expenses.

It is a funny globalized world, where nothing is really globalized.

One would have assumed that at least in the Western Free World such differences would have been overcome in time.
But alas, no such luck!

While we are threatened from every corner of the world, we still amuse ourselves in bickering and find cultural and linguistic
differences within our own Countries.
And just to add insult to irony, we have so many non-sense commercial practices that seem concocted more by complete morons,
rather than judicious and wise corporate people.

China and Asia in general must really be grateful of so much incompetence and greed.

It is all playing in their hands.

Mind you, I have nothing against our Asian friends. I actually admire them.

I actually deplore the lack of a common conscience of who and what we are, culturally, and that this is actually causing
us to be the ultimate losers in this race for world predominance in trading.

Great way to be competitive...

I still recommend this movie, although with the reserves I have expressed above.

For those of you, lucky enough to own a code/region free player, stick with the UK release of this movie, which is in its
intended 1.85:1 ratio aspect ratio.

Sorry for my tantrum, but I am so fed up to be taken for a fool, when in reality I know more about how movies should be
professionally presented to the public than the executives in certain distribution companies around the world.

They should be ashamed of themselves, but they obviously aren't, otherwise they would change their minds about it.

A quick buck is still more important than quality or respect for the product one represents.

Take it as it is...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2014 2:51 PM PDT

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