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DVD mini-reviews
This week's update By: doc     visit DWF

Buy it! This month's DVD purchases reviewed briefly. Some good, some bad and some ugly from the used DVD repository- one man's schlockfest is another man's classic Z-movie. Some classics and some cult classics (movies only a few obsessed geeks watch hundreds of times.)
Buy it! Caligula (1979)
Bad pick recently was Caligula, thought it would be good schlock with plenty of gore and cheap sex but its so badly done its a chore to sit through. More tits than any mainstream big budget movie ever, there are naked women just standing around and people fucking in virtually every scene, there's a ten story head chopping off machine, they tie a knot in a guys dick and pour wine down his throat until his stomach explodes, they cut off a guys dick and throw it to the dogs, there's rape and stabbings and bestiality and a real birth (not simulated or animatronic, they had 7 pregnant women standing by and actually filmed one, on the set and in costume, giving birth, close up and personal) and Sir John Geilgud and Peter O'Toole (which is a great porn name btw) as well as Malcolm MacDowell and Helen Mirran in a porn film is just so fucking cool. So its worth having for that but I wont watch it every day. Plus, inexplicably, there's an hour long bonus DVD with Penthouse models stripping. I guess there just weren't enough tits in the main attraction.

Buy it! Dominick and Eugene (1988)
Ray Liotta, Tom Hulce as brothers with Jamie Lee Curtis as the love interest. No extras but a great movie, really good performances. They replaced some of the music with original filler score, must not have been able to clear the rights and its annoying since I've seen it so many times before./td>
Buy it! Mrs. Brown (1997)
Any movie with Billy Connally is a winner. This period peace is great but a little slow moving, the performances are worth it, but nothing much really happens in the way of events or action. Connally is an former retainer for the deceased consort of Queen Victoria and gains her confidence and trust while taking over the running of her household and eventually bringing her back to her public duties, while battling politicos, her family and the other servants. Only Connally could pull this off, with his brash, boisterous style. Dame Judy Dench rules as Vicky.
Buy it! Boondock Saints (1999)
Speaking of Billy Connally, even though he's only in a couple scenes 3/4 of the way throught the movie. I enjoyed this, but come on this guy owes more than a little to QT. The humor in the violence, the general grittiness, the jumping around in time and same scenes from different points of view. Plus gratuitous right out rip-offs like accidental shooting/killings and saying a bible verse/prayer before killing someone. Along with the general theme of bad guy kilers as heroes and sympathetic figures. There's some orginal ideas here and of course Willem Defoe is worth the price of just about any CD except Body of Evidence.
Buy it! The Fisher King (1991)
I barely remembered this but I had to have all Terry Gilliam's movies plus I really like Jeff Bridges, and Robin Williams is comatose for a lot of this movie so he's less annoying than usual. He's a lot better when he plays against type instead of in movies with a part 'written with him in mind' as this one must have been. He's as manic as the MoonKing he plays in Baron Munschausen, but it kind of works. Mercedes Ruell rocks too, and Amanda Plummer is her quirky self which is good.
Buy it! Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
FF Coppola doing an interesting story of if you know what you know now and could live it all over, what would you do differently, answer, probably not much because we are who we are. Still, good writing and performances by Nicholas Cage, Kathleen Turner and early bit parts by Jim Carrey and Helen Hunt.
Buy it! The Astronaut's Wife (1999)
Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron, gotta be good right? eh. Depp is good as usual for what he's got to work with which isn't much, Charlize gets 2x the screentime he does and he's in evil mode most of the time. SPOILER: I sat there unbelieving as the ending revealed the hated "the monster wins" scenario. I mean fucking come on, a 2 year old could have come up with a better ending. Its been done 100000x before, it ruined the entire movie for me. How about she knows she going to be posessed, so she comes up a way to kill herself after she loses control and her evil self is fighting against the plan of her past un-alien possessed self to survive, like maybe a syringe trap that injects poison into her, killing her mind braindead so that the alien dies but the twins in her womb are ok? Something, anything. I should have known when it was in the under 5.99 bin.
Buy it! Cable Guy (1996)
Forgot how funny this was. What the fuck ever happened to Ben Stiller? Oh yeah, he started making stupid ass movies that appealed to morons and became a big star. Way to go Ben. Zoolander, SAMary, MTParents, other hits for the retarded. This guy used to be an original comic talent, along the lines of his buddies Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (who are in the Cable Guy, in small parts) but somewhere along the way he lost his soul. Come back to us Ben.
Buy it! Stand By Me (1986)
This classic movie most people have seen is the answer to the question "what movie were Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusak, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman in together?" Seeing it again after many years it wasn't as good as remembered, with 4 of the most irritating whiny little bitches ever assembled on the screen. All these kids are fucked up in some way- one has a father in the nut house, one's father is an alcoholic that beats him, one's brother died and his parents wish it was him, one's a pudgy little wuss who whimpers like a little girl all the time. A lot of it is about remembering what it was like to be a kid and have friends to kick around with, and it some of that was good. However, I don't remember my friends and I emoting so much, busting out bawling and hugging and crying our hearts out and comforting each other with our arms around each other and giving each other longing looks, and just generally being such big whiny pussies. I thougth Wil Wheaton was going to lay a deep soul kiss on River. Co-written and directed by Rob Reiner, maybe little liberal wussy boys are like this. I couldn't really relate.
Buy it! Apollo 13 (1995)
Big glossy Ron Howard movie. Since you know they don't die at the end (if you know history at all) then there's no mystery but its an enjoyable ride I guess. I thought this and "The Right Stuff" were the same movie. Some of the same people are in both and its pretty interchangable. You have to find real life space stuff interesting to really get into this, and as the movie even points out, the entire world was getting pretty bored of it, even back then. It took a nice disaster to get people involved again. All the rocket footage was simulated, making you wonder again if the entire space program isn't computer generated.
Buy it! Cabin Boy (1994)
I like Chris Elliot enormously, watched "Get A Life" throught he entire short run, loved him on Letterman and like everyone involved in this, but god it's just not funny. Has a nice style thanks to Tim Burton's production company, but never really gets off the ground, the extreme low budget left a lot of stuff looking really cheezy, and not in a funny way. Its not even a matter of punching up the script, its written in Elliot's style, the fact is that humor just can't carry a feature-length movie. He was vastly superior in a supporting role like Groundhog Day. Ok if you can get it for under $5, or else walk on by. And even at that you have to be a fan.
Buy it! Shine (1996)
Oscar for best actor for Geoffrey Rush. Quirky performance that is sometimes irritating but impressive none the less. The kid who plays him as an adolescent actually does a better job and may have more screentime. Not much of a story, its basically a 'performance' piece. The grand-father from Avalon, Armen Mueller is great as the tyranical dad. I could have done without the star shitting in the bathtub though.
Buy it! Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Not exactly what it sounds like, its not a typical horror film. John Malkovich is the director and Willem Dafoe plays Nosferatu in a fantasy about what if Max Schreck (the original Nosferatu) was a real vampire. Malkovich's affected perfomance and Dafoe's faithful reproduction of Schreck's amazing charactorization are worth the fact there isn't a lot of plot here.
Buy it! Amelie (Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain) (2001)
Sub-titled French art films are usually impossible to figure out, flat, unentertaining and calculated to make you feel too stupid to understand. This one is everything a French art film should be and the milieu and the characters are the mythical movie Paris that probably never existed but is great on film. This movie is so original and entertaining and the actress Audrey Tautou, so pretty and appealing. Its totally enjoyable just on a simple level, but it has the layers of meaning and thought that these art-films SHOULD have, and its easily accessable. You'll feel good about that you finally were moved by a subtitled French art film. Highly recommended.
Buy it! Auto Focus (2002)
As much as I like Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe, the only thing to really enjoy about this movie is lots of 60's full bush and real tits in this bio-pic about sexfiend Bob (Col. Hogan) Crane. It doesn't work because we never really get to see what drives the guy to all this depravity. It seems like its just a fascination with technology, but a lot of people were into early vid tech and didn't tape themselves fucking hundreds of women. It isn't even sexy. Doesn't work on any level.
Buy it! Out of Sight (1998)
All-Star cast doing another Elmore Leonard book by the same screenwriter who adapted Get Shorty and its in the same tone. All the violence is un-horrifying. Lots of exposure changes on the film to denote all the jumping around in time, aping QT's treatment of Leonard's writing style. George Clooney, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn and unfortunately J-Lo but she's not as annoying as she can be. It would have been much more enjoyable had they simply cast someone who could act. J-Lo has all the emotional range of a dog burritto, which it looks like she is smuggling severl dozen of in the back of her panties. Big Fat Ass was all I could think of in her love scenes. Still, the movie is entertaining.
Buy it! Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993)
I really wanted to like this one. Its basically 4 characters played by actors I really like: Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz, Bridget Fonda and Phoebe Cates as 30 somethings who are wondering what's love all about and what's life all about. The movie takes place in a time span of about 8 hours but you'll feel like it was filmed in real time by the time its unresolved ending rolls around. Got it for $6 brand new luckily. Worth a look, not worth $7.
Buy it! Body Heat (1981)
William Hurt and Kathleen Turner (overdrive) in a 50's type film noir- the wife seduces some poor schmuck and talks him into killing her husband. Does she really love the schmuck or is she just using him? Who knows. Great atmosphere and music and you can feel how hot its supposed to be. The perfomances are worth the view and Ted Danson actually plays the best role of his career.
Buy it! Grand Canyon (1991)
Innocuous little morality tale where 40's somethings ruminate on what's it all about, parenthood, race relations, etc. It makes it a bit easier on the white people because they are all rich and the black people are all lower middle class. Kevin Kline, Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell and Mary-Louise Parker are the white people and Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard are the black people. Something to do on a movie watching night, its not annoying.
Buy it! The Grifters (1990)
Another 40's-50's film noire. You know these people are not going to end up happy. John Cusack, Angelica Huston and Annette Bening (who looks fantastic in full-frontal and backside nudity) all look stylish and edgy. The story is a bit unsatisfying but the performances are good.
Buy it! Single White Female (1992)
Thriller with solid chops by Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Kind of predictable but enjoyable, plus you have both of them full naked, giving head, fucking, masturbating and just pracing around naked. A lesbian love scene would have made this movie just that much better. its times like this I wish I wrote screenplays, I could have punched this one up with an extended 69 interlude. Its still not bad without it.
Buy it! Hotel New Hampshire (1984)
Stupidly bought this movie used because I like Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe and figured any movie with them in it must at least be worth $5 and a viewing or 2. Buzz. Wrong. You can always tell movies made from long novels. Instead of a stand alone piece of work, you get them trying to cram 1000 pages of events into 2 hours of scenes. There is no other explanation for the half-realized scenes and unresolved messiness of this script. "There, we got that scene in." seems to be the message the director is sending. Creepy incest with Foster and Lowe here.
Buy it! King of Comedy (1983)
Lesser known Scorsese/DeNiro film as an obsessed fan of Jerry Lewis's Johnny Carsonish character. Only decent thing Sandra Bernhard has ever done. The moments of embarassment in this are excruciating. You really cringe for the characters here, including DeNiro's real life wife at the time, the very lovely Diahnne Abbott (mother of brother and sister actors Raphael and Drena De Niro.)
Buy it! In the Name of the Father (1993)
Daniel Day Lewis as an unfairly accused IRA bomber and Emma Thompson is his lawyer. Lots of pro actors here do a good job. Somewhat dreary at times but a worthwhile film.
Buy it! Chaplin (1992)
If you ever wondered what all the fuss about Robert Downey Jr. was, watch this film. The guy is a great actor. It also has Kevin Kline, Anthony Hopkins and a bunch of beautiful women representing Chaplin's many child brides. The Little Tramp apparently got more tail than Sinatra. Another one of those 'elderly star talking to biographer story told in flashback style' movies but Richard Attenborough (Gandhi, Lawrence of Arabia) is good at the epic pic.

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