The Nsider DVD Review

All reviews are based on opinion.  Any offensive remarks should not be taken seriously.  If you do take them seriously, there's nothing you can do about it anyway.


Ratings System

5 Stars - Absolutely needed in any DVD collection

4 Stars - Well worth buying

3 Stars - Worth checking out

2 Stars - Only worth the price of rental

1 Star - Not worth any amount of money

How Ratings Are Determined

There are many things that I take into consideration for the ratings that the DVDs receive.  Before I go into details about it, I would like to point out that I will review not only DVDs that I buy or rent but also ones that are in my personal collection.  I determine ratings by how much I enjoyed the movie, special features included, the quality of the DVD, and the price of the DVD.

9/18/02 - Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is another one that came out in the 80s.  The Survival Kit is the boxed edition set of the Sleepaway Camp Trilogy.  Basically all three films are part of the slasher phase that Hollywood was going through after the success of the Friday the 13th films.  Each one of the Sleepaway movies was your basic run of the mill, killer in the camp movies.  However, the first Sleepaway has always stuck out in my mind ever since the first time I watched it.  Now don't get me wrong.  The first Sleepaway sucked ass acting wise, special effects wise, dialouge wise, but the storyline was something different with an ending that truly freaked me out and that I would never forget.  Does this mean that I basically bought the entire boxed set just for just that one movie?  Well, no.  I am a big fan of horror cheese, and all these movies are loaded with plenty of it.  You just can't go wrong with any of them.  Terrible dialouge, horrendous acting, unfunny one-liners, gratuitous nudity, gore galore, etc.  These are movies that you heat up some popcorn and watch with your friends if not to just simply make fun of them.  They're grrrrrrrreat!

Remember about how last time I was talking about how 80s horror movie DVDs never come with many special features.  That's pretty much true unless you are talking about Anchor Bay horror movie DVD releases.  I can't believe the Sleepaway movies came loaded with as many features as they did.  There is commentary featured on each one of the movies.  The movie trailers are there.  There is behind the scenes footage on both of the sequels.  There are deleted gore scenes featured on the third movie.  Anchor Bay really went out of their way to please the sick fans of this movie series.  There's even a fourth disc that contains the production footage of the never released fourth Sleepaway movie, and it really looked like it sucked huge donkey dick.  It's probably a good thing it never made it out of production.  The DVD transfer was excellent on each one of the movies, and they were all included in widescreen format.  I was able to buy this box set at the cheapest price (that I know of from surfing all over the net) of $24.99 at Best Buy.  Indeed it was a best buy.

-4 Stars

9/08/02 - The Blob (1988)

This was one of my favorite horror/sci-fi movies when I was a little kid.  I found it at Circuit City with a $12.99 price tag, but it scanned $9.99 (totally bitchin).  I'm always cautious with movies that I liked when I was in elementary school because my mind-frame was different then.  I was more acceptable of crap because everything's cool when you're that age.  I had to wonder if this movie would still be cool.  After popping it in and watching it, I still agree with my opinion that I had when I was younger.  This movie kicks ass on many different levels.  The special effects are dated, but they could still match up with movies being made today.  I have to wonder how they were able to pull them off  in this movie because this is before computers got heavily involved in special effects.  I'll go ahead and run through the plot real quick for no one that has seen this movie.  A meteor crashes into a small town.  The meteor contains this gooey slime that attaches itself to anything living and eats it.  As the "blob" eats more and more, it grows in size.  It's only weakness is the cold.  There is plenty of gore in this movie as well as the memorable scenes that I couldn't forget from my childhood.  The sink scene is one of them that really stands out in my mind.  It makes the movie worth watching just for that one scene.  The Blob still stands tall as a movie that you can watch with a date to scare the hell out of her (I recommend it for that also).

What are the special features?  There aren't many.  The theatrical trailer is there, and that's basically it.  I'm glad the trailer was included (I think that's one feature every DVD should contain).  The DVD transfer is good, and the movie's in widescreen, so there's nothing to complain about there.  I just wish there could have been some behind the scenes special on how the creature was constructed.  It's always a shame because you never see many 80s horror flicks really include features like that.  Oh, well, this DVD is worth it for the movie alone, and you can't beat that $9.99 price!  Am I recommending this movie?  Oh, hell yeah!

-3.5 Stars

8/30/02 - National Lampoon's Van Wilder

Ah...yes, National Lampoon movies.  Who can forget such classics as Animal House, Vacation, Christmas Vacation?  They're all comedic classics.  Van Wilder's tag boasts that it's the Animal House of the New Millenium.  Is this the case?  Hell, no.  Van wouldn't even be let inside the house.  It's a shame too.  I was hoping this movie would really be funny, but it was nothing but a retread of American Pie and Road Trip wannabes.  Yes, there are a few funny parts but notice I said few.  In fact, the only part that I really found funny involves a fraternity house eating what they think are harmless pastries.  Ryan Renyolds does a good job as the title character.  I always liked him on Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place when he played Berg.  He just needed a better script to develop his character make him more likable.  I was wondering why so many people regarded him as great.  I wanted to know how he got to be the most popular guy at his college.  Tim Matheson, from the highly superior Animal House, plays Van's father.  I was hoping that Matheson would have been reprising his role of Otter from Animal House.  That would have done a good job in explaining Van's coolness.

So the comedy and entire movie are basically lame, but what about the features?  This DVD is loaded with them!  It's pretty surprising to me that this movie would be a double-disc set.  It didn't really do that well at the box-office.  The menu of this movie boasts a girl that always flashes her tits.  If you get the un-rated version of the film, then you can actually see them instead of a box that reads CENSORED.  The first disc contains just the movie in either the full-screen or widescreen versions.  I always love it when you have the option of watching both versions of the film without having to flip sides.  The second disc contains nothing but extras.  There are deleted scenes galore, specials that aired on Comedy Central, little things that add to the comedy or lack thereof, and a preview of the soundtrack.  You can actually hear a 30 second clip from each one of the songs that appear on the soundtrack.    The special features really make this DVD.

The quality of the DVD was okay.  I'm not too sure on the pricing because I watched this movie over at a friend's house.  I'm glad for their sake that they just rented the thing.  Overall, there are better comedies out right now that you could rent, especially buy.  However, the special features were cool, and it would be an okay movie to watch with friends.

-2.5 Stars

7/01/02 - Gosford Park

Gosford Park?  Has anyone ever heard of this movie?  Uh...yeah.  I have.  I don't know how many of my readers follow the Academy Awards, but I am one of them.  There was a lot of Oscar buzz about this movie directed by Robert Altman, so I decided to rent it from Corinth's Movie Gallery.  The other movies that I contemplated getting were Monster's Ball on DVD and The Mothman Prophecies on VHS.  Some readers might not know this, but I am a huge horror fanatic.  I'm obsessive when it comes to horror movies, so it was something amazing that I picked this movie to watch instead of the Mothman.  One of the reasons that I was interested in this movie was because of the short trailer that they showed at the Academy Awards for it.  It was a good enough trailer to get me anxious to see the movie.  Another reason that I wanted to see the movie is just for the fact that it was directed by Robert Altman, and I had never seen one of his movies.  However, I have heard many critics constantly rave about him over the years.  Enough of the introduction...on to the review!!!

I should forewarn everyone that this is a British comedy/drama/murder mystery.  You should note the word British more than anything.  This means that every character in this movie speaks at a highly alarming speed with heavy accents with the exception of three American characters.  I had to watch the movie with the subtitles displayed.  One thing that surprised me in this movie...Ryan Phillippe.  I had no idea that he was even in the movie.  At first, I was wondering if it was really him.  He basically steals the whole movie, and he is the film's saving grace in my opinion.  Man, that was kind of harsh.  Is that to say that I didn't like the movie?  It's not that I didn't like it, but there are many things that turned me away.  There are way too many characters in this movie!!!  Jeez, it was a bountiful amount.  The viewer was never given a character that they could follow the entire movie.  Another confusing element was how the servants took the same name as their masters.  I couldn't keep up who certain characters were talking about.  The movie is also very slow paced.  It takes about the first hour and thirty minutes, I think, for the murder to even take place.  The whole mystery of the murder just isn't there either.  Too many characters, none to identify with, why should anyone give a damn?  This movie could have been done so much better.  It's a shame too.  

As for special features, the movie had some, but I only cared about the English subtitles.  The DVD quality and presentation was superb, and I only paid rental price thank God.  What else can I say about this movie?  I enjoyed the Are You Being Served? series that came or still comes on PBS a lot better.  I was expecting a movie like Clue but more funny.  I didn't get that.  I didn't get much from it.  In fact, I think everyone would be better off renting Clue for a good time.  Other people might like this movie, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

-2 Stars

6/22/02 - Vanilla Sky

Welcome to the first edition of the Nsider DVD Review.  I thought that I'd start off this shindig with a review of a more current release to DVD and also a more current addition to my DVD collection.  I went to see Vanilla Sky at the movies with my girlfriend a day after it opened, and I wasn't really expecting much.  Hell, I thought it was going to suck serious ass, but I was shocked once the credits started rolling.  This movie was really good and not just really good.  It was DAMN good.  All the commercials that I had seen led me to believe that this was a chick flick with a suspenseful twist thrown into the mix.  However, the commercials never really gave much of the movie, and I love it when they do that.  I want to go in and be surprised.  Vanilla Sky really knocked me on my ass.  As much as I can speak good things about this movie, I have heard many people not speak too fondly of it as well.  There is a twist of an ending, and a lot of people can't understand it.  I got it the first time I watched it, but I just seemed to be a part of the minority.  This is a movie that requires more than one sitting.

And now!  It's on DVD!  I bought the DVD about the second week after it was released, and I fell in love with the movie more than the first time I watched it.  I have watched it many times since then, and I swayed my sister's opinion into liking this movie also.  She was like the many people who couldn't understand it when she first saw it, but she got it after a second viewing.  The DVD has some good special features including behind the movie material, telling how the movie came about and such.  The price was high, but it's understandable since it's a new release.  So the price was worth it. 

I don't want to go into much of the plot of this movie because I don't want to devalue it's meaning for anyone reading this who has not seen it yet.  I will talk about some of the things that really make this movie bitchin though.  One thing is how Cameron Crowe incorporates the music into this movie.  Songs like "What If God Was One of Us" and "Good Vibrations" fit in so nicely during parts where they would be least expected.  Also pay attention to the opening song.  It's a track from Radiohead off Kid A entitled "Everything In Its Right Place."  If anyone has ever listened to that CD, they will understand what it's doing in this movie.  Tom Cruise cast as David Aames was the right decision.  His performance as the man who has everything is SOLID.  It all seemed right on its mark.  Kurt Russell proves to everyone that he's still an actor and has a great performance as well. 

Overall, is Vanilla Sky worth buying?  I would most definitely say yes.  And if any readers are trying to build a DVD collection by the Nsider's Standards, then you will need to get this movie.  Love it or hate it, you can't deny it...this movie is something different and a good conversation piece.

-5 Stars