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DVD Reviews
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Alias (DVD) Review

Premiering in September 2001, Alias has built a steady and loyal following among television viewers. The show combines the fast pace action sequences of 24 with the conspiracy theory backdrop of the X-Files. It also doesn't hurt that the show centers itself around a character that's a beautiful and mysterious woman. But the true strength of Alias, as with most successful TV shows, is its unique and creative writers who manage to always keep their audience on edge…

Jennifer Garner (star of 13 Going On Thirty) plays the role of Sydney Anne Bristow, a beautiful, intelligent American woman recruited to work for the government's super secret SD-6 agency. However, problems arise when her fiancé is murdered by the agency she works for, and she ultimately discovers that SD-6 is not a legitimate government organization at all… In seek of revenge, Sydney contacts the CIA, and they deploy her as a double agent. Meanwhile, Sydney's estranged father, Jack (Victor Garber), also works as a double agent, and their relationship blossoms as a result of their work. Together, they manage to eliminate SD-6, and now both work full-time for the CIA where they're accompanied by fellow colleagues Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman), Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly), and Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan)…

The Alias DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the season premiere "Truth Be Told" in which Sydney, against her better judgment, confides in her fiancé Danny the secrets of her SD-6 affiliation. Some time later, Danny is murdered, and Sydney finds reason to believe that SD-6 is involved in his death. She also comes to the realization that SD-6 (which also employs her father) is not a branch of the CIA, but an anti-US government force working against it. Sydney agrees to work with the CIA as a double agent, and along the way, she learns that her father is also a double agent. Episode one sets the framework for the remainder of the series… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Time Will Tell" in which Sydney is forced to take a lie detector test while SD-6 attempts to identify the mole within its ranks, and "Snowman" in which the SD-6 rival K-Directorate dispatches as assassin known as the "Snowman" to eliminate the newcomer Khasinau (alias "the man")…

Below is a list of episodes included on the Alias (Season 1) DVD:

Episode 1 (Truth Be Told) Air Date: 09-30-2001
Episode 2 (So It Begins) Air Date: 10-07-2001
Episode 3 (Parity) Air Date: 10-14-2001
Episode 4 (A Broken Heart) Air Date: 10-21-2001
Episode 5 (Doppelganger) Air Date: 10-28-2001
Episode 6 (Reckoning) Air Date: 11-18-2001
Episode 7 (Color-Blind) Air Date: 11-25-2001
Episode 8 (Time Will Tell) Air Date: 12-02-2001
Episode 9 (Mea Culpa) Air Date: 12-09-2001
Episode 10 (Spirit) Air Date: 12-16-2001
Episode 11 (The Confession) Air Date: 01-06-2002
Episode 12 (The Box: Part 1) Air Date: 01-20-2002
Episode 13 (The Box: Part 2) Air Date: 02-10-2002
Episode 14 (The Coup) Air Date: 02-24-2002
Episode 15 (Page 47) Air Date: 03-03-2002
Episode 16 (The Prophecy) Air Date: 03-10-2002
Episode 17 (Q & A) Air Date: 03-17-2002
Episode 18 (Masquerade) Air Date: 04-07-2002
Episode 19 (Snowman) Air Date: 04-14-2002
Episode 20 (The Solution) Air Date: 04-21-2002
Episode 21 (Rendezvous) Air Date: 05-05-2002
Episode 22 (Almost Thirty Years) Air Date: 05-12-2002

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:07 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:28 AM EDT
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Coach (DVD) Review

Nominated for 16 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes, Coach delighted fans of all ages during its celebrated nine-season run. One of the most underrated sitcoms of its era, the series covers the exploits of fictional Minnesota State Screaming Eagles college football coach Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson), the quintessential male chauvinist pig. But unlike many of his politically-incorrect brethren, Hayden has a heart of gold. It’s this softer side that appeals to successful anchorwoman and girlfriend Christine Armstrong (Shelley Fabares). In the locker room, Hayden is joined by assistant coaches Luther Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) and Dauber Dybinski (Bill Fagerbakke), the perfect compliments to the coach’s oftentimes sketchy logic. Between his estranged daughter Kelly (Clare Carey), her less-than-manly boyfriend Stuart (Kris Kamm), nagging athletic director Howard Burleigh (Kenneth Kimmins), and ladies basketball coach Judy Watkins (Pam Stone), Hayden is always dispensing sarcasm, trading barbs, or being aggravated by someone.

Craig T. Nelson is brilliant in his portrayal of the opinionated and overbearing, yet multidimensional Hayden Fox. His onscreen rapport with co-star Shelley Fabares creates the believable illusion of a true romance. But Coach boasts a cast replete with star power. The series is given a charming comic angle by the underappreciated and long overdue breakout role of Jerry Van Dyke, brother to Dick Van Dyke, who plays the role of Luther Van Dam, the stuttering and kind-hearted bungling best friend of Hayden. Jerry had a few guest appearances in the decades before Coach that were absolute show stoppers (both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show come to mind), but Coach put his talents to use full-time so all the world could see just how funny this man really is. Overall, Coach is a fun and oftentimes brilliant comedy, and the first few seasons are by far the best. So grab yourself a chair and some official Minnesota State Screaming Eagle merchandise and enjoy watching one of the best comedies of its time…!

The Coach (Season 1) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere “Kelly and the Professor” in which Hayden learns that his daughter Kelly, a student at Minnesota State, recently went out on a date with a professor. The revelation drives Hayden crazy, and he’ll go to any lengths to uncover the identity of the guilty faculty member… Other notable episodes from season one include “I’m in Love with a Boy Named Stuart” in which Hayden is introduced to Kelly’s new boyfriend, Stuart, his future arch-nemesis, and “I’m Sorry I Told You My Wife Was Dead” in which Hayden compromises his integrity in an effort to coerce a widow into handing over the massive donation her dead husband had promised the Minnesota State football program.

Below is a list of episodes included on the Coach (Season 1) DVD:

Episode 1 (Kelly and the Professor) Air Date: 02-28-1989
Episode 2 (Love Me Tender) Air Date: 03-01-1989
Episode 3 (Kelly, Meet Christine) Air Date: 03-08-1989
Episode 4 (I’m in Love with a Boy Named Stuart) Air Date: 03-15-1989
Episode 5 (The Loss Weekend) Air Date: 03-22-1989
Episode 6 (Gambling for Meat) Air Date: 04-05-1989
Episode 7 (19 Candles) Air Date: 04-12-1989
Episode 8 (Parents’ Weekend) Air Date: 04-19-1989
Episode 9 (I’m Sorry I Told You My Wife was Dead) Air Date: 04-26-1989
Episode 10 (Define Romance) Air Date: 05-03-1989
Episode 11 (Whose Team is It, Anyway?) Air Date: 05-17-1989
Episode 12 (Hoot, Hoot Hike) Air Date: 05-31-1989
Episode 13 (Dauber’s Blow-Out) Air Date: 06-07-1989

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:07 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:24 AM EDT
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Must Love Dogs (DVD) Review
One of the least appreciated films of 2005 is Must Love Dogs, an upbeat romantic comedy about two recent divorcees. Directed and adapted to screen by Gary David Goldberg, veteran TV writer for such shows as MASH and Family Ties, the film offers a number of laughs and very little in the way of strained or forced moments. As usual, John Cusack’s character appears on the big screen as an amicable and enigmatic personality. Cusack and Diane Lane make for a good onscreen pairing, but the script is somewhat lacking in its ability to deliver. Much like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, the concept and the couple are intriguing, but the unmet high expectations leave much to be desired…

Must Love Dogs follows the life of Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane), a recently divorced preschool teacher attempting to move on with her life. Sarah’s sister Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) is constantly nagging her to get out and meet Mr. Right, but her prodding does nothing to animate the borderline depressed Sarah. Nevertheless, Carol’s well-intentioned act of signing her sister onto provides a handful of prospective leads. One of them is a recently divorced woodworking artist named Jake (John Cusack), and the two agree to meet in the park with their dogs. The encounter is a forgettable one, but the two develop a mild attraction to one another.

Meanwhile, Bob (Dermot Mulroney) the father of one of Sarah’s students, develops his own attraction for Sarah, forming a love triangle that leaves Sarah in utter confusion. As Sarah’s widowed father Bill (Christopher Plummer) plays the field with much greater success, it only seems to exacerbate Sarah’s disillusioned outlook. But when one of her father’s new female friends, the likeable and spunky Dolly (Stockard Channing) dispenses some of her own advice on life and relationships, it makes for a more interesting and humorous film. Caught in the lurch between two unknown outcomes, Sarah must choose the relationship that is right for her. But in the course of her hesitation, she risks losing the only relationship of the two which is truly worth her while.

Fun and oftentimes witty, Must Love Dogs has some great scenes and original one-liners. Based on the bestselling novel by Claire Cook, Must Love Dogs will never be confused with a deeply symbolic or Oscar worthy picture, and the plot itself is quite predictable. But the film manages to do the most important job a film can do: entertain. Although it suffers at moments from use of bad dialogue, it’s not a total throwaway film. Like another recent Diane Lane movie, Under The Tuscan Sun, the mandatory gay friend with attractive significant other is present for relationship advice. That’s just one of a variety of overused Hollywood clichés the viewer will encounter, along with the coincidence of Jake meeting Sarah’s father and Sarah’s end-of-the-movie race to embrace Jake, of which I must ask, why couldn’t she just wait until he got ashore? Because it wouldn’t make for a magical romantic movie ending, that’s why. Otherwise, Must Love Dogs is a likeable picture with many funny moments most will enjoy…

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:41 AM EDT
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I Claudius (DVD) Review
Think history is boring? Think again! I Claudius is proof that an educational film can also be one of the most popular and entertaining series ever produced. A 1976 mini-series, starring many of the best known theatrical performers of its day, I Claudius is one of, if not the, greatest productions chronicling the history of the Roman Empire. Covering the period from the later years of Augustus's rule as the first emperor of Rome to the death of Emperor Claudius, I Claudius takes a look at the social and political underpinnings and developments of the Roman Empire through the eyes of Claudius, an often overlooked member of the emperor's family. An epic in the true sense of the word, I Claudius should be on every film buff's viewing list…

A young male connected to the family line of Emperor Augustus, Claudius suffers from a strange limp and an odd stutter which make him appear to be a simple-minded youth. But Claudius maintains a keen intellect, and he observes the events around him with meticulous precision. As the end of Augustus's long reign as emperor nears its end, the ruler is in desperate search of an heir. But what he doesn't know is that his wife Livia is determined to see her son from a previous marriage, Tiberius, ascend to the throne. As such, Livia will stop at nothing to murder and ruin those who stand in the way - such as far more noble and deserving heir Germanicus. Through drowning, poisoning, and less subtle means, she insures Tiberius becomes the next in the line of succession…

Meanwhile, Claudius observes from the shadows as the ambitious Sejanus (Patrick Stewart) conspires to obtain the throne and the infamous Caligula rises to power. When his relative is murdered because of his terrible reign of insanity, Claudius is thrust upon the throne, and he attempts to rule with a firm hand of justice and restore the republic to its rightful place of power…

Wrought with suspense, I Claudius will make its viewers question how any human survived the era known as the ancient Roman Empire. The murders, double-crossings, and various affairs seem to be drawn from a fictional paperback found on drugstore shelves - not in the pages of a history book. But I Claudius stays true to the written account of Roman Emperor Claudius who wrote his memoirs during the few years of his reign as the supreme leader of the greatest empire ever to exist on Earth. The result is a story more intriguing than any book or film since produced…

With superb theatrical performances by the entire cast (including Patrick Stewart as Sejanus), I Claudius is an engrossing storyline about the true-to-life people and events that shaped the history of ancient Rome. Like the popular prime-time soap opera Dallas, viewers are drawn to the intrigue surrounding the various characters without even realizing they're learning history in the process! Given its historical accuracy, brilliant dialogue, and ingenious performances, I Claudius ranks as a definite must-see series of films. In fact, one of the top five best of all time…

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:42 AM EDT
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Knight Rider (DVD) Review
One of the more intriguing television shows of the early-1980s, Knight Rider (and K.I.T.T. in particular) captured the imagination of children everywhere while, at the same time, entertaining adults with its effective utilization of a traditional TV action genre. Knight Rider tells the story of an incredible crime fighting team brought together when the terminally-ill billionaire Wilton Knight saves the life of police officer Michael Long after Long gets shot in the face… When the billionaire helps out, providing Long with a new face and a new identity (Michael Knight), the young officer dedicates the remainder of his life to fighting injustice on behalf of the Foundation of Law and Government (FLAG). Singled out by Wilton Knight and aided by the staff of FLAG, Michael is teamed up with an extraordinary vehicle that, if necessary, is capable of fighting bad guys all by itself…

Knight Rider features David Hasselhoff in the role of Michael Knight, an ex-cop turned private crime fighter. But the true star of the show is Michael's car, K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), a sleek black Pontiac Trans-Am impervious to bullets, fire, or most any type of mayhem. Outfitted with state-of-the-art, top secret Artificial Intelligence, K.I.T.T. is not only capable of self-operation (with his mission to protect all human life), but he's outfitted with smoke bombs, flamethrowers, infrared sensors, and countless other nifty gadgets. Able to verbally communicate with humans, K.I.T.T. maintains a special friendship with Michael, developing his own personality (which at times provides comic relief for the show). Just as criminal outlaws of the early-1980s feared the wrath of The A-Team, the prospect of a visit from Michael and K.I.T.T. certainly caused many sleepless nights for America's criminal element…

The Knight Rider DVD features a number of action-packed episodes including the season premiere "Knight of the Phoenix" in which the downed police officer Michael Long is revived, after being declared dead, by the billionaire philanthropist Wilton Knight. After agreeing to carry out the proposed task of crime fighter, Michael is introduced to K.I.T.T., a sports car durable as tank, outfitted with the latest technologies, able to travel at speeds in excess of 300 mph, and equipped with a mind of its own… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Good Day at White Rock" in which Michael and K.I.T.T.'s vacation turns into a working vacation when a biker war erupts in the small town of White Rock, and "A Plush Ride" in which Michael goes undercover as a limousine/bodyguard trainee in order to foil an assassination plot with international implications…

Below is a list of episodes included on the Knight Rider (Season 1) DVD:

Episode 1 (Knight of the Phoenix: Part 1) Air Date: 09-24-1982
Episode 2 (Knight of the Phoenix: Part 2) Air Date: 09-24-1982
Episode 3 (Deadly Maneuvers) Air Date: 10-01-1982
Episode 4 (Good Day at White Rock) Air Date: 10-08-1982
Episode 5 (Slammin' Sammy's Stunt Show Spectacular) Air Date: 10-22-1982
Episode 6 (Just My Bill) Air Date: 10-29-1982
Episode 7 (Not a Drop to Drink) Air Date: 11-05-1982
Episode 8 (No Big Thing) Air Date: 11-12-1982
Episode 9 (Trust Doesn't Rust) Air Date: 11-19-1982
Episode 10 (Inside Out) Air Date: 11-26-1982
Episode 11 (The Final Verdict) Air Date: 12-03-1982
Episode 12 (A Plush Ride) Air Date: 12-10-1982
Episode 13 (Forget Me Not) Air Date: 12-17-1982
Episode 14 (Hearts of Stone) Air Date: 01-14-1983
Episode 15 (Give Me Liberty… or Give Me Death) Air Date: 01-21-1983
Episode 16 (The Topaz Connection) Air Date: 01-28-1983
Episode 17 (A Nice, Indecent Little Town) Air Date: 02-18-1983
Episode 18 (Chariot of Gold) Air Date: 02-25-1983
Episode 19 (White Bird) Air Date: 03-04-1983
Episode 20 (Knight Moves) Air Date: 03-11-1983
Episode 21 (Nobody Does It Better) Air Date: 04-29-1983
Episode 22 (Short Notice) Air Date: 05-06-1983

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:38 AM EDT
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Casablanca (DVD) Review
One of the greatest, and certainly one of the most quoted, films in cinema history, Casablanca contains all the essential elements of a Hollywood blockbuster: adventure, romance, intrigue, suspense, and of course, evil Nazi bad guys (if you doubt this last one as an essential element, then reference the success of the Indiana Jones films). With a director (Michael Curtiz) and cast second to none, Casablanca makes a strong case for consideration as the best movie ever made. And although I loath clichés, it is true that they just don’t make ‘em like this one anymore…

Casablanca unfolds in a place called Rick’s, a popular watering hole in Vichey-controlled Morocco on the outskirts of Nazi dominated Europe. An important travel hub, Casablanca plays host to numerous colorful characters with any number of varying agendas. Arms dealers, spies, and revolutionaries walk side-by-side through streets littered with pickpockets. But at Rick’s, everyone seems to enjoy themselves. Owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) seems content with his life of serving customers and making money, at least until the day she walks in, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), the love of Rick’s life.

Less than two years earlier, as the Nazis moved into Paris, Rick and Ilsa fell in love. But in the act of fleeing the Nazi advance, Ilsa sent Rick a note at the train station informing him that she could not go with him. She offered no explanation. Now, she was appearing in his establishment with her husband, fugitive and Nazi resistance leader Victor Laszlo.

As the hours pass, and the Nazis desperately search for Laszlo in an attempt to cut off his escape, Rick learns the truth about Ilsa and her reason for leaving. For the moment, Laszlo’s fate is in his hands. Since his days in Paris, Rick’s made a habit of being practical, both in his business life and in his personal life… But will Rick use his influence and connections to help himself or Victor Laszlo? Will his idealism prevail over his hardened pragmatism? The Third Reich is closing in, and Rick must make a decision regarding Ilsa and Laszlo before time runs out…

The recipient of widespread critical acclaim in the more than six decades since its release, Casablanca is one of the few films deemed as a “cinema classic” that actually lives up to the mega-hype surrounding it. The set design, costumes, and direction are absolutely flawless. The dialogue is superb. Bogart and Bergman are perfect as the lovers torn apart, and Claude Rains is unforgettable as Captain Renault. If you have an aversion to pre-1980 movies or some other strange reason for missing out on this one, then I highly encourage you to watch Casablanca. You won’t regret it.

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:36 AM EDT
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Finding Nemo (DVD) Review
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Finding Nemo continues the Disney tradition of producing high-quality, blockbuster films that entertain audiences of all ages. Featuring the wonders of the Pixar animation technology, the film is a breathtaking window into the future of animated pictures, with borderline 3-D visual effects and the introduction of original animated film techniques certain to influence future masterpieces. Boasting a slew of talented voiceovers such as Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, and John Ratzenberger, Finding Nemo is certain to maintain a place in the hearts of children of all ages for generations to come…

The epic story begins somewhere in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia. A clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) lives a wonderful life in a peaceful underwater colony of fish and other fascinating sea life with his wife. However, that serene setting is demolished when a vicious predator attacks their home, killing his wife. Distraught, Marlin takes comfort in the egg left behind which grows into his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould).

Because of this early trauma, Marlin is extremely overprotective when it comes to Nemo. He follows a step behind everywhere his son goes, makes Nemo stay in the house whenever possible, and remains quite apprehensive about his son going to school. Marlin’s fears are realized when Nemo is captured on his first day of school and taken away to live in a fish tank on land. Intent on freeing his son, Marlin sets out on a bold and daring quest to retrace the path of the abductor’s boat.

Wandering through the ocean depths, he meets up with Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) – an absent-minded, yet friendly – fish who remains determined to help her new friend recover his lost son. Together, they encounter a pack of sharks and a countless array of diverse and fascinating underwater creatures.

Meanwhile, Nemo is plunged into a dentist office fish tank overlooking Sidney Harbor where he meets a number of new and exciting friends. The other aquatic life, long confined to the tank themselves, initiate Nemo into their fraternity, revealing the history of their attempts to escape. Enlisting Nemo as their point man (or fish), they concoct a number of schemes such as clogging the tank’s filter so they can make a break for it when they’re taken out for the tank cleaning. With the threat of the dentist presenting Nemo as a present to his nerdy niece, the stakes are raised for our young hero and time is of the essence…

Sporting one of the best written animated screenplays of all-time and a breathtaking original score by Thomas Newman, Finding Nemo is a pleasurable affair for both parents and children. The writers pull off an admirable job of combining adult and kid humor throughout the script in such a way that it doesn’t detract from the experience for either age group. With a number of likeable characters, the audience will find itself rooting for Marlin, Nemo, and all their friends to accomplish the task before them. Overall, this is a must-see film for all age groups, not only because of the great story and artful performances, but if anything, simply because the animation is a wonder in-and-of itself…

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:30 AM EDT
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Angel (DVD) Review
Nominated for 25 Saturn Awards and one Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Series, Angel has established a strong cult following during its five-year run on the WB network. A spin-off of the enormously popular series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel has followed in the footsteps of its predecessor and boasts many of the same heroes and villains. Created by Joss Whedon, the show is one of a number of successful original series aired by WB including Buffy, Smallville, Dawson's Creek, and Gilmore Girls among others…

Angel revolves around the life of Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire turned do-gooder following a long career of killing the innocent. After spending three years in the small California town of Sunnydale with his girlfriend Buffy, Angel moves to Los Angeles where he sets up Angel Investigations to help those people most in need of protection from the dark forces that lurk within the city. Aided by old friends and new, Angel seeks to redeem his soul while cleansing the streets of Los Angeles of demons, warlocks, and evil lawyers… Angel's supernatural fighting team includes Buffy crossover character Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), now an aspiring actress; erudite Englishman Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof), and street fighter Charles Gunn (J. August Richards). Together, they join forces in a series known for its well-written and suspense riddled plots…

The Angel DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the season premiere "City Of" in which Angel moves to L.A. unaware of his life purpose, at least until he meets up with his half-demon spiritual advisor Alan Doyle (Glenn Quinn) who reveals a more positive direction for Angel. When powerful vampire lawyer Russell Winters sets his sights on Cordelia, it's up to Angel to save her from his evil clutches… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Sense & Sensitivity" in which an evil sensitivity training instructor casts his spell over an entire police department including Angel himself, and "The Ring" in which Angel stumbles into a secret underground demon fight club…

Below is a list of episodes included on the Angel (Season 1) DVD:

Episode 1 (City Of) Air Date: 10-05-1999
Episode 2 (Lonely Hearts) Air Date: 10-12-1999
Episode 3 (In the Dark) Air Date: 10-19-1999
Episode 4 (I Fall to Pieces) Air Date: 10-26-1999
Episode 5 (Rm w/a Vu) Air Date: 11-02-1999
Episode 6 (Sense & Sensitivity) Air Date: 11-09-1999
Episode 7 (Bachelor Party) Air Date: 11-16-1999
Episode 8 (I Will Remember You) Air Date: 11-23-1999
Episode 9 (Hero) Air Date: 11-30-1999
Episode 10 (Parting Gifts) Air Date: 12-14-1999
Episode 11 (Somnambulist) Air Date: 01-18-2000
Episode 12 (Expecting) Air Date: 01-25-2000
Episode 13 (She) Air Date: 02-08-2000
Episode 14 (I've Got You Under My Skin) Air Date: 02-15-2000
Episode 15 (The Prodigal) Air Date: 02-22-2000
Episode 16 (The Ring) Air Date: 02-29-2000
Episode 17 (Eternity) Air Date: 04-04-2000
Episode 18 (Five by Five) Air Date: 04-25-2000
Episode 19 (Sanctuary) Air Date: 05-02-2000
Episode 20 (War Zone) Air Date: 05-09-2000
Episode 21 (Blind Date) Air Date: 05-16-2000
Episode 22 (To Shanshu in L.A.) Air Date: 05-23-2000

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:29 AM EDT
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Dallas (DVD) Review
Nominated for 18 Emmys and 15 Golden Globes in its thirteen season run, Dallas is the epitome of the prime-time drama/soap opera genre. Premiering in 1978 as a five part mini-series, the show combines the usual sex and innuendo of classic afternoon soap operas with the freewheeling adventure of Texas wildcats and filthy rich capitalist oil barons. The combination of business dealings and rampant affairs tested well with both the male and female demographic, prompting CBS to make Dallas a regular part of its prime-time lineup. The result was one of the most successful television shows in history. In fact, the so-called ‘Who shot J.R.?” episode (“A House Divided” Air Date: 3-21-1980) still reigns as the second most watched TV show in history (the season finale of MASH is #1). With one of most memorable characters ever created (the man everyone loves to hate), it’s no surprise that Dallas held the #1 or #2 spot in the Nielsen ratings for most of the 1980s…

Dallas spent most of its television life in the Friday night time slot following the successful CBS series, The Dukes Of Hazzard. Creator David Jacobs originally intended to create a series around a poor Texas girl, Pam Barnes (Victoria Principal), who marries into a wealthy family (The Ewings) with whom her family has been feuding for decades. The first five episodes mostly center around the family discord faced by Pam and her husband Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) as they attempt to bring their families to a truce. But it soon became apparent to producers of the show that Bobby’s scoundrel of a brother, Ewing Oil President J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), would be the true star of the show. Son of Ewing Oil founder Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) and his wife Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), J.R. sought to make Ewing Oil the largest independent oil company in the world, and he intended to go to any lengths necessary to get what he wanted. And as you’ll see, sooner or later, J.R. always gets what he wants… Along the way, he butts heads with life-long rival Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), drives his own wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) to alcoholism, and even mortgages the beloved Southfork Ranch (Miss Ellie’s childhood home and current residence for the majority of the Ewing clan). Southfork foreman Ray Krebs (Steve Kanaly) and Ewing grandchild Lucy (Charlene Tilton) add flavorful subplots to a series often dominated by J.R.’s nefarious schemes. In short, Dallas offers its viewers everything – money, sex, violence, conspiracy, intricate business dealings, etc. If you haven’t seen it, then immediately start watching from the beginning episodes of the first season. You won’t be disappointed…!

The Dallas DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the series premiere “Digger’s Daughter” in which the youngest of the Ewing sons, Bobby, introduces his wealthy family to his new bride, Pamela Barnes. But given the long-standing feud between their two families, not everyone is pleased. In fact, older brother J.R. immediately begins plotting to break up the marriage… Other notable episodes include “Election” in which J.R.’s nemesis Cliff Barnes sees his congressional hopes undercut by a Ewing-financed opposition campaign, and the season finale “John Ewing III” in which Sue Ellen’s alcoholism threatens the life of her unborn baby…

Below is a list of episodes included on the Dallas (Seasons 1 & 2) DVD:

Episode 1 (Digger’s Daughter) Air Date: 04-02-1978
Episode 2 (Lessons) Air Date: 04-09-1978
Episode 3 (Spy in the House) Air Date: 04-16-1978
Episode 4 (Winds of Vengeance) Air Date: 04-23-1978
Episode 5 (Barbecue) Air Date: 04-30-1978
Episode 6 (Reunion Part One) Air Date: 09-23-1978
Episode 7 (Reunion Part Two) Air Date: 09-30-1978
Episode 8 (Old Acquaintance) Air Date: 10-07-1978
Episode 9 (Bypass) Air Date: 10-14-1978
Episode 10 (Black Market Baby) Air Date: 10-15-1978
Episode 11 (Double Wedding) Air Date: 10-21-1978
Episode 12 (Runaway) Air Date: 10-28-1978
Episode 13 (Election) Air Date: 11-05-1978
Episode 14 (Survival) Air Date: 11-12-1978
Episode 15 (Act of Love) Air Date: 11-19-1978
Episode 16 (Triangle) Air Date: 11-26-1978
Episode 17 (Fallen Idol) Air Date: 12-03-1978
Episode 18 (Kidnapped) Air Date: 12-17-1978
Episode 19 (Home Again) Air Date: 01-07-1979
Episode 20 (For Love or Money) Air Date: 01-14-1979
Episode 21 (Julie’s Return) Air Date: 01-26-1979
Episode 22 (The Red File Part One) Air Date: 02-02-1979
Episode 23 (The Red File Part Two) Air Date: 02-09-1979
Episode 24 (Sue Ellen’s Sister) Air Date: 02-16-1979
Episode 25 (Call Girl) Air Date: 02-23-1979
Episode 26 (Royal Marriage) Air Date: 03-09-1979
Episode 27 (The Outsiders) Air Date: 03-16-1979
Episode 28 (John Ewing III Part One) Air Date: 03-23-1979
Episode 29 (John Ewing III Part Two) Air Date: 04-06-1979

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:26 AM EDT
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Ray (DVD) Review
Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Ray is a captivating and inspiring true story about a man beloved by millions around the world. Based on the life and times of Ray Charles Robinson, the film follows the popular singer's life from the earliest days of his youth to the day of his triumph over a heroin addiction. Featuring a soundtrack second to none in the history of cinema, Ray is the total package in terms of a blockbuster film - great characters blended together with an inspirational personal journey and an unforgettable musical score. Actor Jamie Foxx gives an Oscar Award winning performance so lifelike that it's difficult to distinguish his character from the real Ray Charles. In short, Ray is a film that appeals to a wide audience and one that literally transports its viewers into another era…

Jamie Foxx plays the role of Ray Charles Robinson, a black youth growing up in Florida during the Great Depression. Forced to deal with the tragedy of his kid brother's death, and the loss of his own vision at a young age, Ray nevertheless triumphs over his disability when his mother refuses to let him feel sorry for himself. Learning to play the piano from a neighborhood musician, Ray strikes out on his own in the late-1940s for gig in Seattle.

Ray's amazing talents are instantly recognized, and he's never short of a gig. However, while traveling on the road with several jazz bands, Ray begins using drugs, and he eventually becomes addicted to heroin. When Atlantic Records buys Ray's contract, Ray's career accelerates, culminating in several number one hits. Eventually, Ray strikes a deal with NBC worth more than any other performer of his day, and he and his wife Bea buy a luxurious Beverly Hills home with the world spread out before them.

But things aren't as perfect as they seem. Ray's infidelities have taken a toll on his marriage, and his drug addiction threatens to ruin his family, his relationship with his children, and his dealings with longtime friends. Having already accomplished more than most men, Ray Charles must now face the greatest challenge of his life - overcoming his heroin addiction and living a clean life…

Jamie Foxx is simply astounding in his portrayal of the larger than life figure Ray Charles, and his effort was more than acknowledged by his Academy Award victory and widespread critical acclaim. But less attention is given to the outstanding supporting cast that surrounds Foxx. The role of the young Ray Robinson's mother, Aretha, is played by Sharon Warren with such passion that her character leaps off the screen and into one's memory as the second most influential character of the film. Aretha's dedication to her son's future and her demanding, yet loving, attitude toward his self-sufficiency are admirable qualities. And the mother's influence on Ray is apparent in his drive not to be treated by the world as a cripple.

Further adding to the allure of Ray are performances by Kerry Washington (Della Bea Robinson), Regina King (Margie Hendricks), and Clifton Powell (Jeff Brown). Through the interaction of each character, the viewer sees a reflection of the passion and driving life forces that moved Ray Charles toward his musical destiny. Ultimately, Ray is a film about relationships and dreams. The astounding heights of success achieved by a blind man (and a black man in a segregated society) leave the impression that any individual can achieve any feat to which he puts his mind. This is the true gift of Ray, a feel-good film with a happy ending about a man who showed the world that anything is possible. And that's why Ray is an absolute must-see movie…

Posted by dvd-reviews at 2:05 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:40 AM EDT
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