HTF PICKS OF THE WEEK - February 6, 2004

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Week Ending February 6, 2004


    Introduction

    Since this is the first installment of what I hope
    to be a weekly submission, let me give you a little
    background of what I am trying to accomplish.

    Early last year I resigned myself from doing DVD
    reviews. After writing nearly 400 in the span of
    just over two years, I found myself burnt out, unable
    and unwilling to write anything further. I gave the
    position up to 7 unknowns who have been doing an
    incredible job of providing this forum with quality
    DVD reviews every week.

    What I have discovered as of late is that this is
    a very exciting time for DVD. From classics to
    New Releases, never before have there been so many
    really good DVD titles released to this format.

    I have had the chance to sit and watch some really
    outstanding films over the past few weeks. Most of
    them are titles that were personally recommended to
    me -- most blind purchases I took a gamble on and
    found myself completely enjoying.

    I don't want these films to be missed by those
    who may overlook it on their shelves just because
    it may not be a mainstream release.

    For the next few weeks, for as long as I can put
    a few sentences together, I am going to write about
    some of the "gems" that I have had the opportunity
    to watch. These will not be full-fledge reviews.
    I may only briefly touch upon transfer quality or
    the supplements.

    My main purpose is to personally recommend DVD
    titles to our readers.

    Here we go.....



    [​IMG]

    The Diary of Anne Frank


    I have grown extremely fond of the assortment of Fox
    Studio Classics
    that have been released over the
    past year. I have made it a point to watch just about
    everything the studio has released under its classic
    label, and have yet to be disappointed.

    Of all the Studio Classics that have been
    released, perhaps none is as important as The
    Diary of Anne Frank
    , the extraordinary story of
    a family who spent two years hiding from the Nazis
    in an Amsterdam attic.

    At 3 hours in length, the film manages to take its
    viewers through an exhaustive journey inside cramped
    spacing as we bear witness to the various emotions
    of a family confined under duress conditions.

    Having known very little about Anne Frank, I found
    this film to be very touching, and highly educational.
    Most of all, it stands as a powerful reminder of the
    horrors of the Holocaust.

    All the performances are outstanding here --
    particularly that of Millie Perkins, a model
    that had no previous acting experience before this
    film was made. Many film veterans will recognize
    Shelley Winters and Ed Wynn, both
    providing memorable moments.

    I was very proud of the supplements that Fox put
    on this disc, particularly Echoes From The Past,
    a documentary that gives more insight into the
    Anne Frank story. You'll see interviews from her
    friends, as well as actresses Millie Perkins
    and Shelley Winters. There's also fascinating
    insight into director George Stevens and how his
    personal vision (and struggle with Fox's request to
    film in Cinemascope) made this film the triumph that
    it is.

    To see what a superb job Fox has done on this
    transfer, one only has to look at the condition
    of the original prints shown in the documentaries.

    Without a doubt, this is one to buy!


    [​IMG]

    Secondhand Lions



    I love it when the younger generation gets to
    appreciate the talents of film veterans like
    Michael Caine and Robert Duvall.

    In what easily can be described as a family film,
    Secondhand Lions manages to bring big smiles
    across all generations.

    Uncles Hub (Duvall) and Garth (Caine) are tough
    old codgers who are believed to be residing upon
    a pile of money. They spend their day sitting on
    their porch, taking shotgun aim at at every salesman
    and family member that happens along.

    Walter (Haley Joel Osment) isn't initially very
    happy his Mother dropped him off to live with his
    eccentric Uncles, but soon the boy bonds with his
    distant relatives and interesting adventures begin.

    Truly one of the sleeper films of the year,
    Secondhand Lions is terrific fun, full of
    laughs and surprises. Most of all, it's just great
    to sit back and watch Caine and Duvall having the
    times of their lives in very unexpected PG-RATED
    roles.

    Trust me, this is the perfect film for family gathering.


    [​IMG]

    American Splendor



    I first heard of this film early last year when
    a huge buzz was created at Cannes and the Sundance
    Film Festival. Every review I read practically raved
    that this was the most brilliant of the year.

    The critics weren't wrong.

    In the performance of his career, Paul Giamatti
    plays Harvey Pekar, a filing clerk at a local
    veterans hospital in Cleveland. He's a regular
    curmudgeon who comes into fame through his real-life
    story told in the American Splendor comic book.

    Though not a real upbeat film, American Splendor
    manages instead to be a fascinating look at a man filled
    with rage and loneliness who only looks to be loved.

    What I enjoyed most about this film was its stylish
    means of telling its story through its live action,
    comic book animation, and interaction with the real
    life people the film portrays. By the time the film
    is over, you can't help but to be touched by it all.


    That's it for this week. See you next week!

     
  2. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    Cool idea Ron. It'll be good to hear your views on films again.
     
  3. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Ron - you've got the writing bug again! Good to see.

    Looking forward to future installments.[​IMG]
     
  4. Alex S

    Alex S Second Unit

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    It's good to hear from you again Ron !

    I agree 100% with Secondhand Lions.
    I bought it blind on Tuesday and loved it !
    It's a great family film.
    How could you go wrong with Duvall & Caine ?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    yeah same here Ron

    I was not really sure about Diary of Anne Frank yet after reading your comments, I will pick this one !!!!
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Ron,

    It doesn't take much to sell me on classic, older movies, but your review has brought Anne Frank into sharp focus. I've somehow managed to miss seeing it thus far, but I'll make sure to make it one of my next purchases.
     
  7. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Great idea, Ron. Not as demanding on your time as a full review, yet it gives you an opportunity to recommend films that you feel are special. With the many new releases each week, it's easy to overlook something special, particularly since only the big blockbusters tend to be advertised. I look forward to your future recommendations.

    Steve K.
     
  8. Tim_P_76

    Tim_P_76 Second Unit

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    Ron, I think I might enjoy this more than regular reviews here. I too, have been buying blind purchases lately. Which was never. Mostly them being the old Warner classics.

    Great Idea!
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Lots of Warner stuff on my list for next week.

    I am certain they will be included here.

    Thanks for the nice words, guys. I'll do this
    for as long as I can.

    Remember....many of these films I am watching
    for the first time EVER. I write solely as an
    enthusiast rather than a professional reviewer
    so I hope my recommendations have a certain "value"
    to them.
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    sounds like I am going to be broke once you review those old WB titles as I have not seen many of them either

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    Very cool idea, Ron!
    I have seen one of your picks: American Splendor, and it is indeed a wonderful movie. Now for the other 2... [​IMG]
     
  12. James Sarno

    James Sarno Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like your going to have fun Ron,
    look forward to reading your reviews
     
  13. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    I like the idea Ron. It brings back the good days of when you picked out a little know gem and bring it to the lime light.
     
  14. Mark Lowell

    Mark Lowell Auditioning

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    Ron,

    Great to have you back! I like the idea of briefly touching on a handful of films each week.
     
  15. Todd_B

    Todd_B Second Unit

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    Just another invaluable resource you and the HTF has provided us. Thanks again, and I look forward to the next installment [​IMG]

    Todd B
     
  16. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

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    Thanks Ron,

    Glad to see you back again with the reviews. And as always......Thank You.

    p.s.--Just ordered "Diary Of Anne Frank"
     
  17. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i agree with second hand lions completely.
    as i watched ,i felt reminded of an old comic stip by berkely breathed called bloom county.
    i felt these characters were reminiscent of those from that strip.
    and then i was slightly surprised when during the credits i saw that berkely breathed actually created the artwork that was displayed in the movie.

    also i think this was another movie that may have been "sold" wrong to people because of the trailers or advertising.

    i expected a bit of a wacky old guys takes in a kid typical
    goofy comedy.

    but it certainly wasnt that.
     
  18. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    "UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN" was the pick of my week. Great movie.
     
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ron,

    Thank-you for doing this. Just the other day I was thinking "Wouldn't it be cool if Ron would occasionally write-up a DVD recommendation like he used to do when a gem of a film would cross his path." Looks like you took my mental suggestion. [​IMG]

    I discovered many films I never would have considered because of your reviews/recommendations (all three of the films you mention are titles I have yet to see) and I'm glad that you've "found the inspriation" to share that with us again.

    -dave [​IMG]


    p.s. Martin - I quite agree with you about Under the Tuscan Sun!
     
  20. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    Yes, Dave. Good wasn't it. Despite "...Tuscan Sun"s impressive boxoffice and critical success, I still sense that people here (especially us males) are doubtful of this films quality. Shame... they are missing out.

    Anyone... back on topic. Thanks Ron for your picks. I'll be getting all-of-the-above when I have some dough. [​IMG]
     

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