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  • Caan, James
  • Caan, Scott
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  • click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

    $20.97 $18.95 list($29.95)
    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc
    $19.49 list($29.99)
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    20. The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection

    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $20.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNL0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 10
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

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    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    2. National Treasure (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Jon Turteltaub
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $19.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JN5E
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 17
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Like a Hardy Boys mystery on steroids, National Treasure offers popcorn thrills and enough boyish charm to overcome its rampant silliness. Although it was roundly criticized as a poor man's rip-off of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code, it's entertaining on its own ludicrous terms, and Nicolas Cage proves once again that one actor's infectious enthusiasm can compensate for a multitude of movie sins. The contrived plot involves Cage's present-day quest for the ancient treasure of the Knights Templar, kept secret through the ages by Freemasons past and present. Finding the treasure requires the theft of the Declaration of Independence (there are crucial treasure clues on the back, of course!), so you can add "caper comedy" to this Jerry Bruckheimer production's multi-genre appeal. Nobody will ever accuse director Jon Turtletaub of artistic ambition, but you've got to admit he serves up an enjoyable dose of PG-rated entertainment, full of musty clues, skeletons, deep tunnels, and harmless adventure in the old-school tradition. It's a load of hokum, but it's fun hokum, and that makes all the difference. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (263)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining movie!
    Imagine a cross between "Indiana Jones" and "Mission Impossible" and you have some idea of what's in store for you with this movie.Nicholas Cage plays the current generation of a family which long ago was given the secret of the location of the Knight's Templar treasure.Succeeding generations of the family have hunted for the treasure with no success.Cage takes the hunt one step further and discovers that vital clues are on the back of the Declaration of Independence.Unfortunately some of the men who were originally helping him look for the treasure have decided that they want it all to themselves and they plan to get to the Declaration before he does.Throw in a beautiful government agent and an amusing sidekick and you have all of the ingredients for an entertaining evening.Enjoy!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Movie
    I liked this movie. Lots of adventure, history and it reminds me of the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Some of it is a little formulaic and you might roll your eyes when 200+ year old torches light up like they were made yesterday, but the story is intriguing and gets your attention. If you don't know the story line by now it involves Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates whose Family has been convinced about a massive treasure older than colonized America, hidden away during the revolutionary years. Through each succeding clue he finally learns that there is a map on the back of the Declarition of Independance, the only drawback is his partner has turned on him and is going to steal it for himself. No on in the government will listen to him, so Gates decides he'll steal it first to protect the document and the treasure. Lots of High-Tech action, spooky Mason intrigue and history, although some of it is a little questionable. All in all, definetely recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Accomplishes An Entertaining Goal
    One of the first things taught at journalism schools is that most "news stories" are to be written at a 6th grade level of education - the editorial page is the place for more erudite discussion.National Treasure is written at a level that would make the "average" person think "hey, that's pretty clever!", keeping in mind that the "average" person might not know that Benjamin Franklin wrote anonymous letters to newspapers while a teenager under the name "Silence Dogood". (He wrote hundreds of OTHER letters under other fictitious names as well and, given the piddling state of education in the U.S. I'd guess that the "average" person doesn't know that Old Ben was also "Poor Richard" or even know what his almanac was all about.) But I digress. Some people love to trash things that they think aren't up to their level, and so "National Treasure" didn't receive stellar reviews from the professional critics. I think it's safe to say the movie wasn't made for professional critics.

    It's an entertaining little adventure and anyone who claims that it has no clever parts must be very clever indeed.Much of the movie is a historical scavenger hunt that the founding fathers have laid out for the person who can decipher the clues - with the treasure of the Templar Knights at the end of the rainbow.One of the first clues is carved into the stem of a meerschaum pipe. The stem of the pipe detaches from the carved bowl, andhas raised etchings.Our hero figures out that these etchings are intended to be used like an ink stamp, so he pricks his finger to use his blood as ink and rolls the pipe stem out to reveal the next clue.I thought that was pretty clever.

    The hero, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is the Grandson of John Adams Gates, and the Gates have been thought of as the mad scientists of American History because every generation has handed down the story of the hidden treasure and spends decades of their life trying to find the treasure, or at least get other historians to take them seriously.The plot takes them to Washington (to steal the Declaration of Independence in a concise little caper that's at least as clever as the one in "After the Sunset", and THAT was SUPPOSED to be a "caper" movie.) Ben has an assistant named Riley who serves two purposes: to add clever little comments like "so who wants to go down the creepy tunnel first?" and to provide someone that Ben can give exposition to: such as who Silence Dogood was.Diane Kruger is the love interest - a Washington Ph.D. who works at the National Archives.She's the pretty face used to represent all the keepers of the Declaration of Independence.Sean Bean is a rival treasure hunter and the movie goes to great lengths to show that Heroic Ben is only after the treasure for it's historical significance while Bean's Ian is only out for the money.Harvey Keitel plays the FBI agent who becomes interested after the Declaration is stolen, but he's little more than a plot marker himself.A couple of times he gets to say "SOMEBODY's going to prison."

    Hmmmm... Will good Ben or Evil Ian be the one going to prison?Will Ben and company find the magnificent treasure? For the answers to those questions check out National Treasure.... but is it too much of a clue if I tell you it's a Disney movie?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun for the WHOLE family!
    It is very unusual to find action films in today's society that is appropriate for kids and adults alike. That is just one reason that I was thrilled to see National Treasure. It has the wit and humor one would expect from a Disney film as well as a lot of action and adventure thrills, but steers clear of gratuitous language and violence. If you like "Indiana Jones" or "Pirates of the Carribean", this film is a must see. Be sure to bring your kids, though, because they're sure to love it too!

    5-0 out of 5 stars national treasure
    this is avery good movie, i watched it last night. the things that ben(nicholas cage) does are hard to predict and the story has many twists. i would recomend renting this movie because it is not as goodf the second time around and there after because you now what is going to happen ... Read more


    3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Wes Anderson
    list price: $32.99
    our price: $23.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JNLQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 22
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, director Wes Anderson takes his familiar stable of actors on a field trip to a fantasy aquarium, complete with stop-motion, candy-striped crabs and rainbow seahorses.And though Anderson does expand his horizons in terms of retro-special effects and a whimsical use of color, fans will otherwise find themselves in well-charted waters. As The Life Aquatic opens, Zissou (Bill Murray), a self-involved, Jacques Cousteau-like filmmaker, has just released a documentary depicting the death of his best friend Esteban, who was eaten by some sort of sea creature--possibly a jaguar shark. Zissou’s troubles also include his waning popularity with the public, and a nemesis (Jeff Goldblum) who hogs up all the grant money. Hope arrives in the form of Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), an amiable Kentuckian who may be Zissou’s son. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for fatherhood, Zissou welcomes Ned--and Ned in turn saves Zissou’s new documentary (in which he seeks revenge on the jaguar shark) in more ways than one.

    One of Wes Anderson’s greatest achievements as a director to date has been launching the autumnal melancholy phase of Bill Murray’s career, starting with Rushmore in 1998, and Murray delivers a similarly comedic yet low-key performance here. Unfortunately, Zissou is one of the few characters in this ensemble to achieve multi-dimensionality. Even co-star Wilson doesn’t get to develop Ned much beyond Noble Southerner, and he ends up seeming more like a prop for illustrating Zissou’s emotional development rather than his own man. The Life Aquatic probably won’t be remembered as a great film, but it is still one that no Anderson (or Murray) fan can afford to miss.--Leah Weathersby
    ... Read more

    Reviews (152)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Stinks
    worst movie of the year. This movie has alot of great actors but the story is lame and the jokes are not funny. In short stay away from this bomb.........

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, intelligent, and fun film
    I loved this film from start to finish and it only got better the second and third times I watched it.There is a very nice feel to it: mellow, easy and cool, even when the action is on.This feel is perhaps captured best in the remarkably enjoyable Brazilian covers of classic David Bowie songs.

    One thing worth noting about this film, beyond the "quirky" stylings that you expect from Wes Anderson (and that don't always come off, to my mind, as I just couldn't get in to The Royal Tenenbaums much as I wanted), is the way the film plays with and responds to the popularity of the "nature documentary," especially those of Jacques Cousteau.In the nature documentary, we feel as though we are getting "closer" to nature.We believe that we are getting at something real.What we tend to forget or be unaware of, is how much mediation is involved in the presentation of nature.The nature we see on film is never nature "as it is" but nature as it has been framed and captured in accordance with certain expectations of what will sell, what values will play to a wide audience.

    It should also be remembered that this is a Disney film, and Wes Anderson appears tobe very self-conscious of the fact that a large part of Disney's name and popularity was established through Disney wildlife films.Walt Disney himself once remarked that he saw his live action wildlife films to be merely an extension of his animations -- because he knew how much the editor and filmmaker are involved in showing what you want to show.What they did show was not Darwin's "nature red tooth and claw" but a sanitized nature, where danger was always contained, and family values were reinforced by the behaviors of animals: a mother and her pups, for example.

    That, it seems to me, helps explain the fact that Wes Anderson chose not to employ "real" underwater animals but chose stop motion animation as his medium.It reminds us that nature appears on screen always mediated, through a "nature hero" (as Zissou once was) and through a set of decisions about what to include, how to edit it, what to value.

    Anyhow, I could go on and on about what I liked and thought about this film, but I can say that I didn't expect to like this film but found myself surprised feeling very nice (and a bit odd, not sure what to think) about half way through and leaving with a smile and a hint of sadness as I walked the theater.Any film that can do that to someone as jaded as I am has something going for it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZ....Is This A Movie?!
    Holy cow! I tried staying awake long enough to see if this movie would develop a plot, have some intersting special effects, but nothing even remotely resembling a movie ever took place. I barely was able to keep my eyes open. I thought maybe it was an artsy attempt at being clever, but this was absolutely the lamest, low budget, poor plot-movie I had ever seen. Even the usually likeable and clever Bill Murray fell FLAT in this movie. I watched it wih my brother and wife. She only made it through the first 20 minutes. My brother and I are more optomistic and somehow made it through the first 70 min., fast forwaded to the end, and didn't even carre that Owen Wilson's character had died!! If you want a movie that will put you to sleep, this is it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Call me weird...
    ...but I really enjoyed watching this film. Willem Dafoe carried a manic comic energy throughout that was the perfect foil to Bill Murray's well developed drollery. I thought the take off on the Jacques Cousteau TV specials was spot on and truly humorous. I did not laugh out loud all the way through this film mind you, it is chock full of dull stretches and things that just make you want to scratch your head in puzzlement. I do that all the time with Wes Anderson movies, so I guess this one should be no surprise. I found this film to be clever, smart, profoundly silly, and usually just plain fun. The views of the fanciful sea critters encountered by the crew were very well done and showed a great deal of imagination and wonder at work. The fellow who kept popping up singing David Bowie songs in Portuguese somehow stole my soul and I couldn't get the sounds out of my head. Lovely idea squeezed into a wonderfully odd little film. C'mon, since when does everything have to make sense to be fun?

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    This was a pretty funny, ironic, amusing yet realistic story. I think it deals with some interesting existential issues. Giving wrong people too much credit and basing your life on it. Like in real life, it is not always (or ever?) that better people win and suceed. You can base your whole life on wrong assumptions and pay for it dearly...
    I was definitely inspired to re-examie the values I base my life on and instincts I trust. The music is brilliant and many scenes were extremely beautiful. Anjelica Houston is very good. ... Read more


    4. The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080ZG10
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    From Hollywood's legendary Cocoanut Grove to the pioneering conquest of the wild blue yonder, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator celebrates old-school filmmaking at its finest. We say "old school" only because Scorsese's love of golden-age Hollywood is evident in his approach to his subject--Howard Hughes in his prime (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in his)--and especially in his technical mastery of the medium reflecting his love for classical filmmaking of the studio era. Even when he's using state-of-the-art digital trickery for the film's exciting flight scenes (including one of the most spectacular crashes ever filmed), Scorsese's meticulous attention to art direction and costume design suggests an impassioned pursuit of craftsmanship from a bygone era; every frame seems to glow with gilded detail. And while DiCaprio bears little physical resemblance to Hughes during the film's 20-year span (late 1920s to late '40s), he efficiently captures the eccentric millionaire's golden-boy essence, and his tragic descent into obsessive-compulsive seclusion. Bolstered by Cate Blanchett's uncannily accurate portrayal of Katharine Hepburn as Hughes' most beloved lover, The Aviator is easily Scorsese's most accessible film, inviting mainstream popularity without compromising Scorsese's artistic reputation. As compelling crowd-pleasers go, it's a class act from start to finish. --Jeff Shannon


    DVD Features
    In his commentary track, director Martin Scorsese offers his own impressions of Howard Hughes and rattles off his memories of experiencing Hughes's films.He mentions how he made Cate Blanchett watch every Katharine Hepburn film from the '30s on the big screen, and observes that Kate Beckinsale had "a real sense of the stature of a Hollywood goddess."But in general he doesn't talk much about the craft of making the film.That area is covered better by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who also appears on the commentary track, and producer Michael Mann makes a few appearances (all were recorded separately).The picture is brilliant, but the 5.1 sound is not as aggressive in the rear speakers and subwoofer as one might expect, other than some nice surround effects in the Hell's Angels flying sequence.

    The second disc collects almost three hours of features.There's one unnecessary deleted scene, and an 11-minute making-of featurette that's basically the cast and director heaping praise on each other.More interesting are the short featurettes on visual effects (including the XF-11 scene, of course), production design, costumes, hair and makeup, and score, and Loudon Wainwright discusses his and his children's musical performances.Historical perspective is provided by spotlights on Hughes's role in aviation and his obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a 43-minute Hughes documentary from the History Channel (part of the Modern Marvels series, it focuses on his mechanical innovations and spends less than a minute on his movies).More unusual are DiCaprio and Scorsese's appearance on an OCD panel, and a half-hour interview segment DiCaprio did with Alan Alda.--David Horiuchi

    The Personalities ofThe Aviator

    Click the links to explore more movies by these stars.

    Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes
    "Sometimes I truly fear that I... am losing my mind. And if I did it... it would be like flying blind."
    Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn
    Howard Hughes: "You're the tallest woman I have ever met."
    Katharine Hepburn: "And all sharp elbows and knees. Beware."
    Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner
    Howard Hughes: "Does that look clean to you?"
    Ava Gardner: "Nothing's clean, Howard. But we do our best, right?"
    Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow
    Jean Harlow in Hell's Angels: "Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?"
    Jude Law as Errol Flynn
    Errol Flynn in Captain Blood: "Up the riggings, you monkeys! Break out those sails and watch them fill with the wind that's carrying us all to freedom!"
    Director Martin Scorsese
    "You get a sense of Howard Hughes being Icarus with the wax wings. Those wings were great for a while, but he flies too close to the sun." --Martin Scorsese

    Other Movies by The Aviator's Oscar® Winners

    Production Designer Dante Ferretti
    Film Editor Thelma Schoonmaker
    Costume Designer Sandy Powell
    Cinematographer Robert Richardson
    See all the Oscar® winners atOscar Central

    The Aviator at Amazon.com


    The Aviator soundtrack

    The Screenplay

    Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator


    Howard Hughes movies

    Great movies of the 1930s

    The films of Martin Scorsese

    ... Read more

    Reviews (147)

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Bring in the milk!"
    Let me state a few facts about myself and, in doing so, set up a very sincere question about "The Aviator."

    1) I'm a huge fan of Howard Hughes, an absolute buff on the guy.I've read two biographies of him and have to say he's one of the most interesting historical figures of the past century: His brilliance, his wealth, his flaws, his successes, his peculiarities and the periods in which he lived all combine to create a fascinating figure.

    2) I'm a tremendous fan of Martin Scorsese.He's made some of my favorite movies and I think he's probably one of the top five greatest directors working today.There's just something about the way he photographs images and people that makes even his worst movies worthwhile.

    3) I also think Leonardo DiCaprio is a really good actor, a fact that has been publicly obscurred (but not hampered) by the "Titanic" hype and by some poor choices (or lack of choices, in recent years).

    4) And I think "The Aviator" was probably the best produced movie of 2004.The cast is excellent, the sets and costumes and designs are fabulous, the cinematography is exquisite.

    So, THAT SAID, why didn't I like the movie more?It's an impressive achievement but I seem to appreciate the parts more than the whole.And as good as DiCaprio is, I think he may have been miscast.Only a star of his level could've gotten this kind of budget, but he simply doesn't look right in the part.It's not until after he grows a moustache that he really start to resemble Hughes.Most of the time, Hughes looked like a guy who was quietly trying very hard not to leap out of his skin but DiCaprio seems more intent on burrowing deeply *into* his body.
    He just doesn't have the same kind of intrinsic uncomfortability.

    Still, it's an impossible movie not to recommend.There are long stretches of space but every so often, there's a brilliant explosion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The opulance and scope. Brought to you by Scorsese.
    This film is entertaining, and much more effective than any one biography of Howard Hughes. The pace of the movie, coupled with the fantastic acting by Leonardo DiCaprio as the livid Howard Hughes, gives an aura of 3hrs much in the way of inspiration. For underachievers this is a shockingly, unbelievable film. You can feel the energy pulse out of the life of Howard. Sharing his passions for aviation. Revealing the breadth of his contributions to air america. The esprit de corp is flavorful, in symbolisms of the fastest jet planes and the hardest hitting reality at zero hour. A much more breaking of the usual norm of film. It is so wonderful to think that movies such as these aren't being overlooked by the latest craze. When will Scorsese win a *(**( academy award for best director!

    2-0 out of 5 stars IT WAS OKAY!
    THE AVIATOR WAS OKAY I REALLY DIDN'T CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT IT IT WAS TOO LONG!

    FROM KIRSTEN

    4-0 out of 5 stars Another Oscar-worthy epic from Martin Scorsese.
    Director Martin Scorsese makes filmmaking look so easy sometimes.With "The Aviator" he once again breaks from the Gangland themes of his more famous films such as "Mean Streets" and "Goodfellas" and journeys off on yet another unexpected road (e.g. "The Age of Innocence," "Kundun," "The Last Temptation of Christ").Yes, he recently directed "Gangs of New York," but he followed that with yet another left turn by doing a biography on the intensely eccentric Howard Hughes, "The Aviator."Leonardo DiCaprio owns his role here of the off-center genius who has frequent and exponential mental breakdowns, leaving all around him wide-eyed and wondering why he keeps repeating himself as if a record in his brain is skipping.This is easily the best work he has done in years.There are two other actors here that match him.One is Cate Blanchett who nails her characature of the late, great Katherine Hepburn and her short-lived romance with Howard Hughes.Her performance is a breath of fresh air amid all the seriousness of the story.The other is a diabolical and utterly slimy turn from veteran actor Alan Alda.It doesn't hurt that he has some of the best lines in the script, but his scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio have some of the best ebb-and-flow, subtelty acting that I've seen in a very long time.The two pros are butting heads and enjoying every minute of it!There are many solid acting performances from a stellar cast of name actors, though it would have been nice to see the character of Ava Gardner, played competently here by Kate Beckinsale, in depth and her more substantial connection to Howard Hughes.But the movie was long enough, anyway.The visual effects and overall production value are excellent, and the scope of the picture is epic and professionally done.This is top-notch filmmaking in every respect, and is easy to recommend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hughes Air West
    You have to give credit where credits due. "The Aviator" is a fantastic film.I think it will be more appreciated by film fanatics, it's not what I would call a "popcorn movie".I enjoyed the cinematography more than anything.I have never seen a film using the shades of colours they used.It was enough to wake up the senses.The acting was phenomenal, Leo was fantabulous as were the rest of the cast.Cate Blanchett soared as Katheren Hepburn, in some scenes emulating Ms. Pac Man with those outrageous red lips flapping away."The Aviator" soared with creativity and good quality film making.The score, which evokes a deep yet frantic appeal tells the story of a flawed, troubled soul as it unravels into a quary of intense and manic emotions. Martin Scorsese directs another classic film, although overlooked by the Academy (which seems to have cast a blind eye).R U blind or do u have 20/20 vision, "The Aviator" paints an abstract portrait of someone who had too much and didn't know what to do with it. ... Read more


    5. Sideways (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Alexander Payne
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $19.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKOAA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 26
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorced waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (304)

    4-0 out of 5 stars delicious little movie
    The risk involved in describing "Sideways" as a road movie about obsessive wine tasting is that people who are not wine buffs/connoisseurs are likely to stay away from it, which would be a pity. So let me discuss it from a different perspective: Sideways is in fact a buddy movie, and not an overly comic one. Granted, there is a fair share of funny scenes but overall the tone of the movie veers clearly toward the dramatic.
    Meet Miles and Jack. The former is a small-time english teacher (and aspiring novelist...too bad his aspirations are constantly frustrated), the latter is a washed-up tv actor with a career that after a promising start never really took off. Both are middle-aged guys who are coping with lowered expectations and shattered ambitions.
    Jack is about to marry (although he feels uneasy about his marital future) and the two friends embark on a wine-tasting extended bachelor party that eventually feels much like a coming of age story.
    There is a lot of wine talking going on throughout the movie but wine isn't the whole point. Wine is more like a metaphor for life and there is a brilliant dialogue between Miles and Maya (the girl he falls in love with) that clearly shows this point.
    This is not a happy-ending movie. There's a lot of stark realism in it and although the finale leaves some hope for Miles, it's quite obvious that this is LIFE, not some fairy tale.
    This is no educational movie either. There are scenes where "getting sideways", far from being frowned upon, is elevated to something very romantic or, at least, something that lets us understand Miles' deep suffering, forcing us to be sympathetic to his condition.
    Anyway, enough with the social commentary, I greatly appreciated this movie and I think that anybody with a passing interest in non-mainstream stuff should see it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Will This Film EVER End!
    A slice of life? A road movie?To be a slice of life the lives should be interesting.To be a road movie interesting things should happen en route.Aside from a lengthy plug for the California Wine industry, the whole movie struck me as tedious.There are some amusing moments and dialogue tucked between a lot of mundane, unfunny and often depressing conversation and events.The lead character steals from his mother and despite his affection for wine in the abstract, drinks to deal with depression by getting sloppy drunk.Meanwhile his buddy shows such respect for the woman he's driving north to marry that he's willing to bed anything with a pulse between Los Angeles and the Napa Valley.And we're supposed to care about these people?Why the movie industry is so high on this film beats me.After watching it carefully twice, trying to find some overlooked redeeming quality, I just don't see it.Possibly I'm not sophisticated enough to enjoy it.Possibly it's not that great a movie.

    It may have some appeal to the wine connoisseur or wanna'be who's always wanted to impress his friends by saying things like, "It's a sassy little pinot that perfectly complements ze flavour of ze Ritz Crackers and ze Cheeez Whiz." but I found myself wishing it was a much shorter movie.I certainly won't recommend it to anyone I like or remember it 6 months from now ... probably less.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Cineaste's Dream
    I won't rehash the plot, the characters, etc., as that's all so familiar by now.Why is this film a small wonder?Because it's what happens in the interstices, between the minimal action and the raucous laughs.Like the characters or not, they are painfully real, and we get so few real characters in movies today.We get so few honestly-motivated characters today.And the reason:one has only to peruse the one-star reviews on this site.Has anyone noticed that the one-star reviews are generally very short, as if the attention span of the denouncer couldn't sustain a paragraph, let alone a reasonably lengthy explanation of their disgust?It's usually "boring" -- it's not to any true cineaste, of course -- or the characters are morally bankrupt -- so, that's not a valid reason to loathe a movie; in fact, it's a completely biased and stupid reason to mount a criticism of a work of art on.Face it, "Sideways" was made for people who love film that challenges them, surprises them, moves them, forces them to see life in a different light.Most people don't want to be challenged -- you know who you are, you brain-dead video gamers, you Internet-addled, low-alpha brain-wave unguents -- so why bother to voice your complaints about this brilliant movie unless you really have something profound to say in defense of your criticism.Compared to the one-star reviews, the five-star reviews are very lengthy, usually articulate and thoughtful and understand what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish.An Alexander Payne should be celebrated, a studio that gives him money should be extolled.It's just too bad there aren't more of him.I did have one criticism of the DVD, though -- but it won't change my five-star rating -- and that's the voice-over commentary by Thomas Church and Giamatti.It's so puerile at times, so uninformative; too bad Payne didn't do it with his writing partner.Oh, well, fortunately one doesn't have to listen to their drivel, and even if one decides to suffer it, it in no way detracts from their courageous performances.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie with excellent characters
    I guess I could start with a short synopsis.Two college buddies are headed North to the wine country for a week long bachelor party.Miles is in a depressed state because of a divorce and Jack is looking to get some before he gets married.From this spouts some crazy situations in and out of vineyards.

    What you do get from this movie is excellent characters.Even though Miles could be incredibly annoying you end up feeling for him.I think a lot of people have friends that are like Jack.They're a bit older but still act immature at times.Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are both awesome too.While Sandra Oh's character could have been developed more I don't think the movie suffers because of it.

    The dialogue is witty and sarcastic sometimes to the point of being outright hilarious.Granted it may take a special kind of humor to understand why some things are funny.There are some things that are just sophomoric but they lighten the film at times where you think Miles might drag you down.

    There is definitely a reason why this movie was nominated for a bunch of awards.You can't go wrong with sharp/witty writing and excellent acting/direction.I would highly recommend at least going out and renting this movie.I know it will soon become a part of my collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Pinot Noir Film Ever!
    Ok, it is a shame that people won't order Merlot from me anymore (Oregon state merlot, people), but there's no denying the fact that this is a masterful piece of work here.

    This film has everything I love-- witty dialouge with an underlying sense of sarcasm and black humor, it's about a writer, wine, dispicable characters, social commentary on how shallow secular America has become in relationships with other people, and wine.

    I loved seeing Giammatti's character-- a pansy New York Times reading whiner, get his midlife crisis in full, and the scenery was masterfully incorporated into the story, adding a whole other dimension to the poignancy.

    The acting was top notch, and it is a brilliantly written character study. People who are dissing this film do it because they're reminded of their own pathetic lives. At least, that's my take on it.

    Cheers! ... Read more


    6. National Treasure (Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Jon Turteltaub
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $19.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007L43D2
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 50
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Like a Hardy Boys mystery on steroids, National Treasure offers popcorn thrills and enough boyish charm to overcome its rampant silliness. Although it was roundly criticized as a poor man's rip-off of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code, it's entertaining on its own ludicrous terms, and Nicolas Cage proves once again that one actor's infectious enthusiasm can compensate for a multitude of movie sins. The contrived plot involves Cage's present-day quest for the ancient treasure of the Knights Templar, kept secret through the ages by Freemasons past and present. Finding the treasure requires the theft of the Declaration of Independence (there are crucial treasure clues on the back, of course!), so you can add "caper comedy" to this Jerry Bruckheimer production's multi-genre appeal. Nobody will ever accuse director Jon Turtletaub of artistic ambition, but you've got to admit he serves up an enjoyable dose of PG-rated entertainment, full of musty clues, skeletons, deep tunnels, and harmless adventure in the old-school tradition. It's a load of hokum, but it's fun hokum, and that makes all the difference. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (263)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining movie!
    Imagine a cross between "Indiana Jones" and "Mission Impossible" and you have some idea of what's in store for you with this movie.Nicholas Cage plays the current generation of a family which long ago was given the secret of the location of the Knight's Templar treasure.Succeeding generations of the family have hunted for the treasure with no success.Cage takes the hunt one step further and discovers that vital clues are on the back of the Declaration of Independence.Unfortunately some of the men who were originally helping him look for the treasure have decided that they want it all to themselves and they plan to get to the Declaration before he does.Throw in a beautiful government agent and an amusing sidekick and you have all of the ingredients for an entertaining evening.Enjoy!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Movie
    I liked this movie. Lots of adventure, history and it reminds me of the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Some of it is a little formulaic and you might roll your eyes when 200+ year old torches light up like they were made yesterday, but the story is intriguing and gets your attention. If you don't know the story line by now it involves Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates whose Family has been convinced about a massive treasure older than colonized America, hidden away during the revolutionary years. Through each succeding clue he finally learns that there is a map on the back of the Declarition of Independance, the only drawback is his partner has turned on him and is going to steal it for himself. No on in the government will listen to him, so Gates decides he'll steal it first to protect the document and the treasure. Lots of High-Tech action, spooky Mason intrigue and history, although some of it is a little questionable. All in all, definetely recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Accomplishes An Entertaining Goal
    One of the first things taught at journalism schools is that most "news stories" are to be written at a 6th grade level of education - the editorial page is the place for more erudite discussion.National Treasure is written at a level that would make the "average" person think "hey, that's pretty clever!", keeping in mind that the "average" person might not know that Benjamin Franklin wrote anonymous letters to newspapers while a teenager under the name "Silence Dogood". (He wrote hundreds of OTHER letters under other fictitious names as well and, given the piddling state of education in the U.S. I'd guess that the "average" person doesn't know that Old Ben was also "Poor Richard" or even know what his almanac was all about.) But I digress. Some people love to trash things that they think aren't up to their level, and so "National Treasure" didn't receive stellar reviews from the professional critics. I think it's safe to say the movie wasn't made for professional critics.

    It's an entertaining little adventure and anyone who claims that it has no clever parts must be very clever indeed.Much of the movie is a historical scavenger hunt that the founding fathers have laid out for the person who can decipher the clues - with the treasure of the Templar Knights at the end of the rainbow.One of the first clues is carved into the stem of a meerschaum pipe. The stem of the pipe detaches from the carved bowl, andhas raised etchings.Our hero figures out that these etchings are intended to be used like an ink stamp, so he pricks his finger to use his blood as ink and rolls the pipe stem out to reveal the next clue.I thought that was pretty clever.

    The hero, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is the Grandson of John Adams Gates, and the Gates have been thought of as the mad scientists of American History because every generation has handed down the story of the hidden treasure and spends decades of their life trying to find the treasure, or at least get other historians to take them seriously.The plot takes them to Washington (to steal the Declaration of Independence in a concise little caper that's at least as clever as the one in "After the Sunset", and THAT was SUPPOSED to be a "caper" movie.) Ben has an assistant named Riley who serves two purposes: to add clever little comments like "so who wants to go down the creepy tunnel first?" and to provide someone that Ben can give exposition to: such as who Silence Dogood was.Diane Kruger is the love interest - a Washington Ph.D. who works at the National Archives.She's the pretty face used to represent all the keepers of the Declaration of Independence.Sean Bean is a rival treasure hunter and the movie goes to great lengths to show that Heroic Ben is only after the treasure for it's historical significance while Bean's Ian is only out for the money.Harvey Keitel plays the FBI agent who becomes interested after the Declaration is stolen, but he's little more than a plot marker himself.A couple of times he gets to say "SOMEBODY's going to prison."

    Hmmmm... Will good Ben or Evil Ian be the one going to prison?Will Ben and company find the magnificent treasure? For the answers to those questions check out National Treasure.... but is it too much of a clue if I tell you it's a Disney movie?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun for the WHOLE family!
    It is very unusual to find action films in today's society that is appropriate for kids and adults alike. That is just one reason that I was thrilled to see National Treasure. It has the wit and humor one would expect from a Disney film as well as a lot of action and adventure thrills, but steers clear of gratuitous language and violence. If you like "Indiana Jones" or "Pirates of the Carribean", this film is a must see. Be sure to bring your kids, though, because they're sure to love it too!

    5-0 out of 5 stars national treasure
    this is avery good movie, i watched it last night. the things that ben(nicholas cage) does are hard to predict and the story has many twists. i would recomend renting this movie because it is not as goodf the second time around and there after because you now what is going to happen ... Read more


    7. Hotel Rwanda
    Director: Terry George
    list price: $26.98
    our price: $18.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007R4T3U
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 34
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Solidly built around a subtle yet commanding performance by Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda emerged as one of the most highly-praised dramas of 2004. In a role that demands his quietly riveting presence in nearly every scene, Cheadle plays real-life hero Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in the Rwandan capital of Kigali who in 1994 saved 1,200 Rwandan "guests" from certain death during the genocidal clash between tribal Hutus, who slaughtered a million victims, and the horrified Tutsis, who found safe haven or died. Giving his best performance since his breakthrough role in Devil in a Blue Dress, Cheadle plays Rusesabagina as he really was during the ensuing chaos: "an expert in situational ethics" (as described by critic Roger Ebert), doing what he morally had to do, at great risk and potential sacrifice, with an understanding that wartime negotiations are largely a game of subterfuge, cooperation, and clever bribery. Aided by a United Nations official (Nick Nolte), he worked a saintly miracle, and director Terry George (Some Mother's Son) brings formidable social conscience to bear on a true story you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (146)

    5-0 out of 5 stars OPEN YOUR EYES - see it
    In 1994 a mass genocide took place in an African country called Rwanda. Have you not heard of this tragedy or have you CHOSEN to turn the other cheek? Now, let us break down the word genocide, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group." Does Hitler pop into your mind? Well, less then ten years ago (in your lifetime) this event happened. The movie Hotel Rwanda is an excellent portrayal of the absolute devastation that took place. Millions of Rwanda natives were killed in this mass genocide. Don Cheadle gives an astonishing portrayal of Paul Rusesagagina a savior for thousands caught up in the madness occurring right outside the gates of the Hotel Mille Collines. "When the world closed its eyes, he opened his arms," a tagline that fits oh so well into the heartfelt movie that puts you right into the conflict. Perhaps you did not care to pay attention in 1994 when the conflict fully unraveled, but see this movie and you may change your thoughts about looking at the horrors occurring abroad within our own small world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A horrifying, eye-opening, yet uplifting and inspiring film.
    One of the most intensive killing campaigns in human history was conducted in the tiny Central African country of Rwanda in 1994. The brutal ethnic conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus, which exploded into mass murder that year, have origins which go back to Belgium's colonial rule, where the minority Tutsis were favored, thus exacerbating differences between the two tribes.

    In April 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down. This event was the last straw which, after years of strife, triggered the tragic and brutal genocide. Extremist Hutu militia, aided by the Rwandan army, launched systematic massacres against Tutsis almost immediately after the plane crash. Despite reports of mass killings, most of the world turned a blind eye to the people of Rwanda. The UN failed to take immediate action to stop the bloody genocide, due to opposition from France and the US. Militiamen broke into supposedly sacrosanct Red Cross ambulances and hospitals searching for victims. Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed within 100 days, and over three million people fled to neighboring countries.

    Terry George's "Hotel Rwanda" is a gritty, realistic depiction of this terrible tragedy. The storyline is based on the true life activities of a single, man whose goal was to save as many people as humanly possible. Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan who formerly managed the Milles Collines, a Belgian-owned luxury hotel in the capital city of Kigali. When Hutu extremists begin to slaughter members of the minority Tutsi tribe, Rusesabagina, who has been working as a diplomat, returns to the hotel and does everything in his power to save his family, friends, then orphans, and ultimately strangers. He uses the 4 Star facility as a refuge for as many as the walls will hold, and then some. The film follows Rusesabagina, through his real life drama, as he wheels, deals, finagles and barters for seemingly every single human life he touches. A Huti married to a Tutsi, Paul qualifies as a target for both factions. His story is that of an ordinary man who rises-up, courageously, to defy death in the name of his fellow man. "Paul Rusesabagina saved the lives of 1,268 Africans by standing with them at Hotel Rwanda."

    The almost nonstop fear, suspense and sense of anxiety which permeate this film are due, in part, to Mr. Cheadle's extraordinarily believable performance, and in part, because Director George so clearly conveys here the chilling reality of recent history. George, who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson, was assisted in his work by the actual Paul Rusesabagina and by eye witnesses to the events.

    The supporting cast is excellent and features: Sophie Okonedo, who gives an outstanding performance as Tatiana, Rusesabagina's wife; Joaquin Phoenix as Jack, an American news reporter; and Nick Nolte as the indefatigable UN Colonel Oliver, who tries against all odds to keep the peace.

    Man's wont to commit genocide, in the 20th century alone, makes a somber, shameful statement about the human race. Watching "Hotel Rwanda" does take an emotional toll. It is a powerful, disturbing, educationally eye-opening experience. There are some extremely unsettling images, as when Rusesabagina and a co-worker get out of their vehicle on a foggy morning, just after dawn, to inspect the road for obstructions. They find it littered with corpses, as far as the eye can see. I found myself sobbing more than once. Do not let this deter you, however. This is a brilliant movie with some incredibly uplifting and inspiring moments. "Hotel Rwanda" is a must see film about a period in recent history when most of us were too busy going about our lives to pay much attention to what was going on a small world away.
    JANA

    5-0 out of 5 stars Too powerful to be described by mere words
    "The Kite Runner" may be the best book I have read in recent history, and without a doubt, "Hotel Rwanda" wins the corresponding prize for movies.Unable to believe the senseless violence and slaughter of innocents, my eyes opened wider and wider as the movie progressed, until at some point, the tears could not be held back any longer.

    Don Cheadle aces a career making role as Paul Rusesabagina, the quiet, understated hotel manager of a five star hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, who breaks every rule in the management book to protect not only the hotel guests, but refugees from both sides of the genocide that rocked Rwanda in 1994, while the rest of the world looked the other way.

    A Hutu by birth and passport stamp, Paul is married to a Tutsi woman (Sophie Okonedo, whose voice changes drastically in octave as the role demands), and by this distinction, his children are also Tutsi, and therefore branded as cockroaches to be exterminated.

    Because of his position and well-placed contacts, Rusesabagina is able to cling tenuously to his little safe house, putting up a brave front for the 1200 people he is sheltering from the Hutu tribal forces.When he finds out that the UN peacekeepers cannot help them, and that the rest of the world doesn't want to know about African problems, he resorts to the local language, securing protection by whatever means necessary from the authorities, led by General Bizimungu, who has a weakness for Scottish water of life, foreign currency and self preservation.Being only human, and in a crisis situation, he makes crucial errors in judgment, but by his conviction he manages to hold it all together for as long as necessary.

    There are too many powerful scenes to describe, and you have to watch the movie to fully appreciate the horror.There are no gory images as in "Saving Private Ryan" or "Blade", but the Director manages to effectively portray the despair and mass killings without being offensively graphic or crude.One of the most heart rending scenes takes place on a road in the early morning fog, and this is the final straw that rips through Rusesabagina's brittle façade of being in control.

    Joaquin Phoenix (you know I have to mention him), in a small role as a cameraman sums it up best when he said "I've never been so ashamed."

    This one is a must see.

    Amanda Richards, May 23, 2005

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone bailed, Anarchy reigned, and 1 MILLION DIED!
    Whoah.
    I was a freshman in college in 1994, and all I remember are bleeps on the news about Rwanda.Maybe I was like the rest of the world, and just wasn't paying attention enough.

    This movie is about the modern day holocaust.A movie about people being killed for no reason, other than a cosmetic attachment of how certain people are labeled via "tribe name" by how wide their noses are and how tall they are.A movie about a man who risked his life again and again, playing games, telling white lies, and doing everything he could to ensure the safety of some 1200 people inside a nice hotel in the Rwanda.

    What grabs you about this film as well, is the documentary.At first I was angered when I found out that NOONE, not a single nation, did a damn thing to stop it.Then I was even more outraged when it showed that the French military that were at one of the killing sites actually dug the holes to bury the 45,000 dead.That very same 45,000 had fled to that spot because they thought the French would help them.

    Why is it we are in the 21st century but this kind of horrible thing still happens?It's minds boggling, sad, atrocious, and horrifying.

    I can't tell you how much this movie could move you, and like the American press reporter played by Jaqioun (sp) Phoenix said:
    "I've never been...so ASHAMED!"Nick Nolte does an excellent job playing a UN field commander who's hands are tied.Yes this movie show's that the UN, like in BLACK HAWK DOWN, really didn't accomplish anything.Like Nolte's character exclaims; "We're peace keepers, not peace makers".Of course that was right when they were getting all of the "white people" out to head to the airport and basically save them before the slaughtering came their way.

    Okay I know I could go on and on...but watch this movie.Watch it with family..well not little kids it's a bit graphic of course.But watch it with your loved one.Hold them close.Talk about what you think brings people to be ignorant and hateful, what mistakes were made, and how it could be prevented in the future.If more people did this, perhaps we could stop the genocide that is happening around the world today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Five stars, this one . . .
    What can an ordinary Rwandan hotel manager possibly do?

    Plenty, as it turns out. Paul is a Hutu, but his wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), is a Tutsi, and so, by default, are their children. He is driven by a primal need to save his own family, but as the slaughter continues, more and more friends and neighbors beg him for help.

    By the end, Paul shelters 1,200 people in his hotel, saving them from certain death by doing what he always has done: bribing and cajoling the Hutu powers, calling in favors, lying and outsmarting his foes.

    He is the Oskar Schindler of Rwanda, a man who becomes a hero by chance and circumstance, using qualities not generally considered heroic. He's no Rambo: He's scared, and conflicted, and full of doubts. Throughout the film, you can see he'd rather just save his family and not have to shoulder this burden of heroism.

    Director Terry George (SOME MOTHER'S SON) knows not to get in the way of this harrowing story, which Rusesabagina himself insisted on telling straight, without movie-ish embellishment. It's all true and, given the context, remarkably subtle. (George earned the PG-13 rating by only suggesting the terrible violence, not showing it.)

    Still, as the tension builds you can't help but feel you're watching the heir to a classic Western -- perhaps the "High Noon" of modern times, or SHANE -- as this one man steps up to save the town from the marauding bad guys. Of course, he doesn't save the entire town. As with SCHINDLER'S LIST, you're left with the grim knowledge that the people Rusesabagina saved were but a tiny percentage of those who were killed. The triumph comes tempered by the greater tragedy. ... Read more


    8. The Phantom of the Opera (Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $19.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNIS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 57
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    9. Ocean's Twelve (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Steven Soderbergh
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007P0XBO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 46
    Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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    Like its predecessor Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve is a piffle of a caper, a preposterous plot given juice and vitality by a combination of movie star glamour and the exuberant filmmaking skill of director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, The Limey). The heist hijinks of the first film come to roost for a team of eleven thieves (including the glossy mugs of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and Don Cheadle), who find themselves pursued not only by the guy they robbed (silky Andy Garcia), but also by a top-notch detective (plush Catherine Zeta-Jones) and a jealous master thief (well-oiled Vincent Cassel) who wants to prove that team leader Danny Ocean (dapper George Clooney) isn't the best in the field. As if all that star power weren't enough--and the eternally coltish Julia Roberts also returns as Ocean's wife--one movie star cameo raises the movie's combined wattage to absurd proportions. But all these handsome faces are matched by Soderbergh's visual flash, cunning editing, and excellent use of Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome, among other highly decorative locations. The whole affair should collapse under the weight of its own silliness, but somehow it doesn't--the movie's raffish spirit and offhand wit soar along, providing lightweight but undeniable entertainment. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (197)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Please spare us Ocean's Thirteen
    Genre: Comedy, Mystery

    Genre Grade: A-

    Final Grade: B-

    This was a good follow-up to the first movie, although it did not even get close to matching the thrill of it. The story was MUCH weaker in this one, most of it contrived so confusingly that when you find out the outcome you are mad at how they took such an easy way out. You either like the tricks they do in this movie or you feel cheated. Or you feel a little of both, as I did.

    I can't say much about the plot because there are so many spoilers, but I will say there is a big surprise with one of the characters from the first movie that is quite funny. Some people hated it (one of the "cheap" moments) but I thought it was great. There are many plot holes but director Soderbourgh keeps you so interested in the characters and flashy style of the movie that you might not even notice them. No other director could get away with it, that's for sure.

    There is mild controversy over who, exactly, is Ocean's twelfth member. I honestly can't say 100% for sure because there are three people who could be considered as such. But there is one person who seems a little more likely to be that person because of a certain...event?

    In conclusion, I hope that if Soderbourgh decides to give us another helping of this franchise that he gets a much more clever story for Ocean's Thirteen...

    1-0 out of 5 stars The real theft;steal your money with a bad sequel!
    Hollywood returns to "independent" type cuts, erroneously assuming that it is the latest cash crop craze.So they hire youngsters to waste film and money shooting scenes that distract from quality dialogue, acting, and storyline.This is an excellent example of how NOT to make a movie.Don't waste your time unless you are a film student wishing to learn from others' mistakes.Not worth the price of popcorn!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money
    This movie should never have been made. It was dull and unispiring. The acting seemed forced and rather then everyone playing a part, a few characters were seen through out and nothing more. If you truly liked Ocean's 11 then leave it at that. My personal recommendation is that you do not watch this movie and rather just stick with the first film. You will be better off by far.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Save your money
    Wow - what a bad movie. The all-star cast needs to exercice better judgment before accepting parts like these. The favorite side characters you'll remember from the first movie and played by solid/enjoyable actors (Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, etc...) are left with meaningless lines and no part to play. Brad Pitt's on camera eating habits in the first movie were something to smile at, in this one, it's simply annoying. Julia Roberts pretending to be Julia Roberts - what a stretch for the writers! The camera action is exhausting and attempts to add pace to a movie that does not have any. The plot is so twisted, it's unbelievable and ... without any interest. Soderbegh has done some excellent movies - this is probably his worst. Save your money, don't fall for the marketing hype. If you want Clooney at his clever and charming best, get "Out of Sight". If you want some good Soderbergh (nice camera work, interesting cinematography), get "Traffic". And I can't come up with something decent to suggest for Pitt since "Seven" or "Fight Club".

    4-0 out of 5 stars Much better than expected
    Quite a few people I know told me the movie wasn't good so I didn't go see it on big screen. Now that I've watched in on DVD, surprisingly I quite like it and actually think it's as good as its prequel [in a different way though].

    I like the combination of light action, romance, comedy, and a bit of suspense here. The strongest point of the movie must be a medley of huge stars [Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Garcia, Zeta Jones,Roberts]. Even supporting actors are all first-class! All of them play their parts really really well and even the supporting cast could hold their own against the big actors. It is amazing that you can feel a burst of energy and charms from these people in almost every scence. I actually felt like watching a celebrity party in a way, LOL.

    Another thing I like in the movie is the sizzling romance. They didn't even have to use cheap sex scenes to tell the story. The chemistry between Clooney and Roberts is okay and the Pitt-Jones pairing is just incredible.

    More good things: neat script with lots of funny quirky lines, good editing and delicious outfitting [but well we all know that Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Zeta Jones, and Roberts would look good even if they wore paperbags!]

    Okay, now the weak points: The plot is kinda weak and not very believable. The movie could be confusing at times. I had to watch it twice to pick up some of the details. Also, those who go in expecting series of action would surely be disappointed. There is not a single violent scene in the movie if I remember correctly. The suspense element is not too good either. What else, there is not a whole lot of high tech gadgets for this Ocean's 12. Maybe these are why some people don't like this sequel as much as Ocean's 11.

    So to sum it up, I think it's a fun movie if you watch it as a romantic comedy. The movie can't quite boast its action and suspense elements though.

    Recommendation: Rent it and you'll get good two hours of entertainment. I bought the DVD just because I like many many funny scenes in the movie and wouldn't mind watching them over and over again.



    ... Read more


    10. Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition)
    Director: Simon Langton
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $27.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005MP58
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 82
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (596)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A marvelous adaptation of one of the great novels.
    This A&E/BBC miniseries is a true masterpiece, bringing Jane Austen's most popular novel to life in a near perfect production. It has everything: authentic Regency Period atmosphere, costumes, settings, a beautiful musical score, excellent performances by a well-chosen cast. Andrew Davis's script does full justice to Austen's original. Colin Firth is excellent as Mr. Darcy, but Jennifer Ehle just takes my breath away with her magnificent performance, which catches every nuance of Elizabeth Bennet's character exactly right in every scene. It is a pleasure to watch all 4 1/2 hours straight through again and again. As a longtime devoted admirer of Jane Austen's works, I am very critical of any movies based upon her novels, but this has to be one of the very best adaptations of any major literary work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WORTH OWNING AND REPEAT VIEWING
    I'm usually very hesitant about adaptations from book to film (especially classics), but this movie does justice to Jane Austin's timeless masterpiece. I rented this movie on a whim, thinking that it would at least be somewhat entertaining, but to my surprize and great pleasure, it not only captivated the true essence of the novel but the characters really came alive and stayed true to the story the whole way through. I eventually bought the DVD and I have NOT had "buyer's remorse" ever since. I get caught up in every moment of every scene of every viewing.

    There are no annoying "Hollywood stars" in it like in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, yet the acting is incredible. Although I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility (on the second viewing because the first time I watched it I fell asleep), it doesn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice. This adaption lets your imagination steep in the imagery, language, and essence of the film so you never get "pulled out" of a scence. If you're unsure as whether or not to buy this gem, just do what I did and rent it for the weekend. You'll soon discover that your movie collection will be lacking without this rendition of Pride and Prejudice.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Superb, true to Jane Austen adaption
    This version of Pride & Predjudice is my absolute favorite. I have owned the tapes and the original DVD. As far as the movie itself goes, the characters are all perfectly cast. From the embarassingly annoying Mrs. Bennet, the sweet oldest sister Jane, the condescending and IQ challenged Mr. Collins, to the feisty Elizabeth and the Proud Mr. Darcy, you will find yourself engrossed in every character's story. The script was written to stay true to the original novel. The scenery in breathtaking, and you will find yourself paying as much attention to the beautiful countryside as you will the drama.
    As for technical details, the biographies that are included on this special version are simply printed words on the screen. Interesting information, but each bio is only one or two paragraphs long with a complete list of credits for only a few of the characters. The mini featurette is okay.
    My bottom line: if you love romance, drama, and history then this is the movie for you. If you already own it on tape or have the original dvd, save your money and enjoy the version you have.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Period Movie - Lovely to watch
    As an avid lover of period movies, I received this particular one last Christmas. I've been able to watch it multiple times. I love Colin Firth's portrayal of a proud and prejudice man who finally learns there are more important things. It's funny and romantic and the dialogue, as with any period piece, will keep you on your toes . . . maybe that's why I can re-watch so many times. It is a timeless movie!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Colin Firth...need I say more? Great Movie Colin Firth aside
    This movie is so amazing I've watched it so many times and I never get tired of it. I thought this was by far the best film adaptation of the novel. Colin Firth portrayed Mr. Darcy exactly as I pictured him in my mind. I loved all the characters and felt like the actors/actresses lived up the their characters in the novel. While the picture quality may not be that great (read several comments about it) it didnt bother me one bit. The locations they filmed were simply beautiful, the story and characters entralling, and the costumes and scenes eye catching....I didnt even notice the quality. ... Read more


    11. William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
    Director: Michael Radford
    list price: $26.96
    our price: $18.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007WRT4Q
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 72
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Rarely has The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare's most complex plays, looked as ravishingly sumptuous as in this adaptation, directed by Michael Radford (Il Postino). In a decadent version of renaissance Venice, a young nobleman named Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love) seeks to woo the lovely Portia (newcomer Lynn Collins), but lacks the money to travel to her estate. He seeks support from his friend, the merchant Antonio (Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune); Antonio's fortune is tied up in sea ventures, so the merchant offers to borrow money from a Jewish moneylender, Shylock (Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon). But Shylock holds a grudge against Antonio, who has routinely treated the Jew with contempt, and demands that if the debt is not repaid in three months, the price will be a pound of Antonio's flesh.

    The Merchant of Venice is famous as a "problem play"--the gritty matters of moneylending and anti-Semitism sit uncomfortably beside the fairy tale elements of Portia and Bassanio's romance, and some twists of the plot can seem arbitrary or even cruel. The strength of Radford's intelligent and passionate interpretation is that he and the excellent cast invest the play's opposing facets with full emotional weight, thus making every question the play raises acute and inescapable. Irons is particularly compelling; kindness and blind prejudice sit side by side in his breast, rendering the clashes in his character as vivid as those in the play itself. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (38)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps"
    This is, generally, a very satisfying filming of a very problematic play.Director Radford, who also adapted the screenplay, deserves credit for his bold choices in casting and for his not shying away from some of the more troublesome aspects of the text.Is Pacino a successful Shylock?I think so, although by way of Brooklyn.He is especially powerful in the famous courtroom scene, which otherwise comes dangerously close to being exploitative on the screen.There is much to recommend here, including a stellar supporting cast.Few actors can hold their own next to Pacino, but Lynn Collins comes close.After an unfortunate entrance as the young lawyer (she looks uncomfortably like Sonny Chiba), Collins makes us forget the incongruities in her role and attend, instead, to Portia's masterful polemics.The quality of makeup is not strained!(Collins, by the way, is an actress from Texas, but this does not become an issue.She has been linked romantically with Keanu Reeves, her costar in "Il Mare."Perhaps these two will at some point treat us to a film of "Anthony and Cleopatra"?--another of Shakespeare's plays that has been criminally neglected by Hollywood.)Other actors worthy of mention are MacKenzie Crook and Ron Cook as the younger and older Gobbos, and Kris Marshall and John Sessions as Gratiano and Salerio.Heather ("Kinsey") Goldenhersh as Nerissa and Allan Corduner as Tubal are also fine.Several up-and-coming young actors appear in supporting roles, including Tony Schiena, Julian Nest, and Tom Leick, who is soon to be seen in "House of Boys," with a screenplay by J.T. LeRoy.

    I have given the film 4 stars, but I would like to give the DVD itself 5. Watching the film, I had many questions for the director--for instance, why are certain scenes deleted, while others are out of sequence?--and I'm happy to say that most all of these are answered in the delightful director's commentary, for which Michael Radford is joined by Lynn Collins.I learned a lot about the rationale behind certain casting and directorial choices and came to appreciate the film itself better as a result.For example, the director has choreographed certain scenes to reflect a love triangle among Antonio, Portia, and Bassanio, something that is heavily debated in Shakespearan criticism.Radford even gives us a rationale for his having asked the actresses playing prostitutes to appear with their breasts exposed!See this film, certainly; it has many qualities to recommend it, not the least of which are a lovely soundtrack by Jocelyn Pook and location filming in both Venice and Luxemburg.But, to get the whole experience, see it on DVD and then watch the director's commentary.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
    Good sets.Good costumes.Al appears to be reading from cue cards off camera in some scenes, although I think he plays a believable part. I wish Jeremy could speak up a little. No subtitles in English, only French; kinda dumb isn't it?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Pacino and Shakespeare save this movie from itself
    Shakespeare's lines will carry any movie above the waterline, and the same can be said of Pacino's acting. They both make this movie presentable and even excellent at times. However, the angle of the movie seems to be one of contradiction to the text, beginning with the introductory text prior to the film's dialogue (text from the Director NOT Shakespeare). This text attempts to excuse the very play itself for its characterization of Christians and the Jew, Shylock. If the play needed an intro, Shakespeare would have written a prologue. It certainly works to bias the audience in a way. The other attempt to do this is several scenes where the "Christian" characters are carousing in a bawdy house with a bunch of half-naked prostitutes. Clearly, the director attempts to make a martyr of Shylock and hypocrites of all the non-Jew characters: however Shakespeare's text is what it is. The nudity is utterly unnecessary and detracts from the integrity of the play--plus it cannot now be shown to young people.

    Other than those detractions, I think the film is excellent. The trial scene is superb and brings the tension of the moment to life. Besides Pacino the other actors do a fine job. Unfortunately, though I am a lover of Shakespeare, I would not want to watch this again.

    Author of "Shakespeare on Spirituality: Life-Changing Wisdom from Shakespeare's Plays"

    3-0 out of 5 stars gratuitous nudity
    While this film is a relatively accurate and well acted version of the Shakespeare play, it has nudity in it where none is called for. This makes it unusable in the American classroom and cheapens the play itself.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great production of a play that is hard to like!
    This is an outstanding production of the one work of Shakespeare that is the most difficult to like.It is impossible to get around the anti-Semitism.This production tries very hard to put the anti-Semitism in context and I think to tone it down, but in the end it is impossible to eliminate it.To some extent Shylock is being punished for being vindictive and not showing mercy, but it is impossible to ignore that in the end the play seems to celebrate Shylock's foced conversion to Christianity.

    Al Pacino's performance is disconcerting as he seems to be playing Shylock with a New Yawk accent.But Lynne Collins is truly oustanding as Portia.This version of Merchant really shines in the comic portion of the story where Portia masquerades as a man and successfully entreats Bassanio to give up his wedding ring (which he had earlier promised Portia he would never part with).This is one of the few Shakespearean productions I have seen where a woman masquerading as a man is actually credible.

    The settings, costumes, and photography are all spectacular.I found I was able to focus on the positive elements and not get bogged down with the more distressing parts of the plot.But I sympathize with those who find the anti-Semitic aspects of the story too distressing. ... Read more


    12. Anne Of Green Gables - The Sequel
    Director: Kevin Sullivan
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $26.24
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    Asin: B00005Y7AN
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 882
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    13. Kinsey (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Bill Condon
    list price: $34.98
    our price: $24.49
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    Asin: B0007PALGQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 85
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    One of the best films of 2004, Kinsey pays tribute to the flawed but honorable man who revolutionized our understanding of human sexuality. As played by Liam Neeson in writer-director Bill Condon's excellent film biography, Indiana University researcher Alfred Kinsey was so consumed by statistical measurements of human sexual activity that he almost completely overlooked the substantial role of emotions and their effect on human behavior. This made him an ideal researcher and science celebrity who revealed that sexual behaviors previously considered deviant and even harmful (homosexuality, oral sex, etc.) are in fact common and essentially normal in the realm of human experience, but whose obsession with scientific method frequently placed him at odds with his understanding wife (superbly played by Laura Linney) and research assistants. In presenting Kinsey as a driven social misfit, Condon's film gives Neeson one of his finest roles while revealing the depth of Kinsey's own humanity, and the incalculable benefit his research had on our collective sexual enlightenment. With humor, charm, and intelligence, Kinsey shines a light where darkness once prevailed. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (66)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious Attempt
    In retrospection, Kinsey is over-rated. It rides on the 21st century's fetish of sexuality and pretends to be another "Beautiful Mind" but fails and flops. It is one of those pretentious artistic attempt.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Truth or Perversity?
    This became more and more difficult to watch as the movie went along.A selected biography in the style of Ray or Delovely, but quite a different choice of subject matter.

    Kinsey's father set the tone of Kinsey's own life, with a certainty that becomes obnoxious.The certainty that he knows what the answer is, in this case to the issues of human sexuality and its associated ignorance and taboos, and as with all people who think they know, there is a fall.At the time that Kinsey was achieving his fame there were restrictions on the entire subject of sex practices and sex mores.It stands to reason that the only people who were working in this area were strange themselves, or at least unconventional.That's where I had difficulty.Were Kinsey and his associates really as perverse as they appeared in the movie?Or were their banter and actions exaggerated for the sake of a good story.

    I found no sympathy for Kinsey nor for anyone else in the movie.And some of the conclusions that they reached seem so counter-intuitive that they defy belief.I didn't know whether they were trying to find truth or to present perversity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Potent Film with Certain Foundation for Heated Debate...
    Galileo Galilei and scientists alike announced through in-depth research that the Earth was not flat and faced heavy persecution.Their different thinking broke the standards of the 16th century pious beliefs, which had been used a long time before scientists questioned the validity and reliability in what they observed.This offended the Catholic Church who proclaimed that they held the highest truth, a truth deeply rooted in unquestioned morality.The questioning of the religious beliefs triggered a witch-hunt of the scientists that disagreed with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.However, the truth eventually emerged, as Galileo's theories are still the instruments of current astronomical research that continues to evolve the human existence beyond the earth.

    The Catholic Church and Lutheran Church persecuted people with different ideas of Christianity.Those who desired to exercise their own freedom of religion sought refuge in America where they could exercise their freedom to express their own ideas of religion.After the War of Independence, the founding fathers formed the Congress that drafted the 10 amendments.The first amendment brings the people freedom of speech, which includes religion.However, the very same ideas that sought freedom in America later turned from being the persecuted to the persecutor, as these notions harassed new different thinkers.The notion of cyclical history comes to mind when scientists like Alfred Kinsey are being silenced based on morality and unfounded facts.

    Kinsey (Liam Neeson), a biologist, was brought up under strict puritan rules, as his father consistently proclaimed being the ultimate source of knowledge.In a sense he grew up with similar persecuting standards as Galileo, but instead of conforming to the rules he broke the bond with his father when he accepted a partial scholarship to Bowdoin to study biology.Kinsey's father wanted him to become an engineer, which has a certain level of irony to it, as his father believed that all modern inventions at the beginning of the 20th century were evil.The pursuit of the biology degree brought him through Harvard to Indiana University where he took a position as an assistant professor while studying stag beetles and later the American Cynipidae also known as the gall wasp.

    Years of research and collecting the American Cynipidae allowed Kinsey to meticulously catalogue his gall wasp library.During this time Kinsey met his wife Clara (Laura Linney) with whom he had three children.However, before having the children they had difficulties in the bedroom, as Clara assumed it was because they physically would not fit together.This was an unacceptable answer for Kinsey who approached the problem, as if there were an answer, which there was.It simply was painful for Clara to have sex as her hymen was too thick, and with a quick procedure by a doctor she had this fixed.Consequently, Kinsey continued to help other couples with problems of sexual nature, but realized that he did not have any real answers to the questions that were posed to him.

    In the 1940s, Kinsey got his chance to do teach a marriage course in regards to sex and the social aspects of sex between husbands and wives.As the class went on his interest deepened through the vast number of questions people asked in regards to sex.This concluded in Kinsey beginning to research the taboo ridden topic, which so many have been taught to avoid at all costs except for the purpose of having children.Kinsey opposed the abstinence with his statement, "society has interfered with what should be a normal biological development..."

    The sex research forced Kinsey to travel uncharted waters, as he had to find a way to collect data that were valid and reliable.Through this process he design an interview style that had to be nonjudgmental in order for the interviewee to reveal everything without having to feel any negative feelings.This process gave them surprising facts about sex, as they also encountered homosexuality, extramarital affairs, and premarital affairs.They also found evidence of deviant sexual practices, which most of the society rightfully did not tolerate such as pedophilia.An important note to this is that Kinsey was only collecting data, he did not advocate harmful sexual practices.However, in the eyes of the society Kinsey was in the end drawn into the mud, as much of his intentions was misunderstood.

    Nonetheless, Kinsey helped breaking the ice of the forbidden issue that in the end opened up the society to understanding this hushed, but normal behavior.If Kinsey did not push the envelope the society might have continued its intolerance towards sexual issues, an intolerance that would force many to hide their true identity in the fear of repercussions and prejudice based on hatred and fear.For example, John Edgar Hoover created a profiling center for homosexuals and other undesirables.The very same intolerance would function as a shield that would have protected many of the Catholic priests that have been uncovered to molest children.It is thanks to Kinsey and researchers alike that it has become acceptable to discuss this taboo topic in media, where horrendous crimes such as child molesting can be caught.Yet, there are still many who believe that Kinsey was wrong to do what he did, and they are naturally free to have their own opinions.As they should let the truth be unveiled from darkness and not let erotophobia, i.e., learned negative emotional response to information of sexual nature, affect any decision-making that could help human beings discover a better future.

    Kinsey is a political and potent film that will undoubtedly make many feel awkward and uncomfortable.Yet, it is also an important film, as it displays the importance of learning the truth and not hiding behind groundless rules and laws based on fictionalized morality.The film also has historical value to our contemporary society where many laws often are passed based on morality, which ends up hurting a fraction of the society and slows the progress of humanity.When this happens, history seems to be have drifted into oblivion as prejudice and intolerance continues to haunt the society.Hopefully, the film Kinsey offers an opportunity for debate and insightfulness, and not continued narrow-mindedness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars On balance, a positive contribution to human understanding
    Alfred Kinsey did a great service to the study of sex.Yes, some of his methodologies were suspect, "self-selection" throwing a monkey-wrench in the whole randomization requirement.His subjects were perhaps not the most representative sampling of the population.Furthermore, he and his staff became too personally involved in the work.His assistants comprised a sort of swinger's club.Kinsey could be faulted for not having anticipated the conflicts brought about by such activities among colleagues.

    Unfortunately, these aspects of his life and the film will obscure - for many - the more significant meaning of his work: Bringing the discussion of sex out of the dark corners of human consciousness and into the light.Also, by removing the shame factor from sex, a natural healthy aspect of the human animal, Kinsey legitimized the scientific study of sex.

    As far as the film per se, I was impressed with the honesty of the piece.Contrary to what some reviewers have said, this film does not make Kinsey a hero.It rightly credits him for his work, yet reveals a conflicted, troubled psyche at the same time as Kinsey tries to navigate the line between his objective scientific observation and his subjective sexual experiences.This blurring is where Kinsey erred.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into groundbreaking study
    Alfred Kinsey was a pioneer in the study of human sexuality. He was a professor at Indiana University and spent the first 20 years of his career studying an insect, the "gall wasp." This movie, starring Liam Neeson in the title role, depicts Dr. Kinsey as having an obsession with his study of the gall wasp, collecting hundreds of thousands of specimens and devoting his life to studying this species. Tapped to teach a course on marriage and the family, Kinsey developed an interest in human sexuality and he bacame as obsessive in this study as he was in his earlier endeavor. He was driven and pushed his staff hard. He employed interviewers who spoke with thousands of people in taking sexual histories. Kinsey was very hands on as he personally instructed his staff on how to put subjects at ease as they conducted the interviews.

    Dr. Kinsey was the son of a morally strict father, convincingly played by John Lithgow. Neeson's depecition of Dr. Kinsey shows the results of this upbringing. His characterization of Kinsey comes across as very stiff and uptight. He is not one to really let his hair down yet, in his groundbreaking study, there is no taboo that he is unwilling to explore. Indeed, he explores his own sexuality as he has an extramarital gay affair. Despite serious misgivings at first, his wife, played by Laura Linney, is accepting.

    The studies were very controversial, having been done in the 1940s, long before the "sexual revolution." Some people found his findings to be very liberating in that they discovered that they were not alone in their sexual feelings. Other people were shocked, believing that the subject was taboo and should not be discussed. There is one brief scene in which a woman, who agonized over her lesbian inclinations, was liberated by Dr. Kinsey's findings and, thereby allowed herself to enter into a relationship. Others, including Kinsey's father, were scandalized. Ultimately, however, Kinsey's father allows himself to be interviewed by his son and reveals his own, painful secrets of a repressed childhood.

    We live in a more sexually open era than we did, generations ago. This movie gives an insight into one of the reasons this is so. I recommend this dvd. ... Read more


    14. The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $20.96
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    Asin: B0007TKNII
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 241
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    15. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2-Disc Special Collector's Edition)
    Director: Brad Silberling
    list price: $38.99
    our price: $25.34
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKGQW
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 190
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    If you spliced Charles Addams, Dr. Seuss, Charles Dickens, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl into a Tim Burtonesque landscape, you'd surely come up with something like Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Many critics (in mostly mixed reviews) wondered why Burton didn't direct this comically morbid adaptation of the first three books in the popular series by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. "Lemony Snicket," played here by Jude Law and seen only in silhouette) instead of TV and Casper veteran Brad Silberling, but there's still plenty to recommend the playfully bleak scenario, in which three resourceful orphans thwart their wicked, maliciously greedy relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who subjects them to... well, a series of unfortunate events. Along the way they encounter a herpetologist uncle (Billy Connolly), an anxious aunt (Meryl Streep) who's afraid of everything, and a variety of fantastical hazards and mysterious clues, some of which remain unresolved. Given endless wonders of art direction, costume design, and cinematography, Silberling's direction is surprisingly uninspired (in other words, the books are better), but when you add a throwaway cameo by Dustin Hoffman, Law's amusing narration, and Carrey's over-the-top antics, the first Lemony movie suggests a promising franchise in the making. --Jeff Shannon

    DVD features
    Packed into the two-disc special edition of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is over two hours of serious behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes, and interviews with the production staff. The most generous of these is A Woeful World, an in-depth overview of the production design with extensive commentary from Oscar-nominated production designer Rick Heinrichs. Kids who've read the books will enjoy seeing how creative minds transform the world of the books into a movie. "Costumes and Other Suspicious Disguises" is one of the most fun extras with footage of Jim Carrey comically ad-libbing as his different characters during the on-screen costume tests. The special features contained on the single-disc editions are also quite good, but most fans will find it worth it to pay the few extra dollars for this edition because of the insights it gives into the production. --Dan Vancini

    A Message from Count Olaf

    Dear Adoring Fan of Count Olaf,

    Perhaps once every thousand years, a talent emerges that completely changes the way movies are made, orphans are orphaned, and heartthrobs throb. Often this talent has only one eyebrow, as is the case with one of the most cherished and admired actors scheming today. Surely you can you guess of whom I think.

    No, you fool! I am referring to the One...the Only...the Unbelievably Handsome Count Olaf!

    Or, as I like to call him, Me.

    If you’ve already seen my performance in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, you must still be speechless. But if you haven’t, you are in serious danger. Just teasing. But you could be after I send one of my gifted henchpersons to your home!

    So why not get my movie on DVD? This major motion spectacle has everything. Me, acting! Leeches, attacking! Orphans, almost falling off a cliff! Of course, if you are familiar with books by Lemony Snicket, you know that they include all of these things too, but most of what he says is lies, and the rest is completely boring.

    There's never been a film that demands repeated viewing in quite the same way, with a diabolical genius writing you a letter that says, "I DEMAND REPEATED VIEWING!!!" Plus with DVD extras, you’ll get at least 20% more Olaf for your money. And... just for you, for an unlimited time only, I’ll throw in Aunt Josephine free with purchase.*

    So, noble Amazonians, put down your hunting spears and exotic headdresses, and prepare to bask in True Greatness. Or, as I like to call it, Me.

    Of course you may have my autograph!

    Count Olaf

    *Count Olaf will not be held liable or accept blame in any way for any and all liability, loss, damage, or personal injury (including death), without limit and without regard once Aunt Josephine is thrown in, due to the unpredictable behavior of hungry leeches.

    Stills from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (Click to Enlarge)


    Violet, Count Olaf, and Klaus

    Aunt Josephine

    Count Olaf and Aunt Josephine

    Directing Jim Carrey

    Klaus, Mr. Poe, Sunny, and Violet

    Count Olaf

    Olaf Ascending

    The Baudelaire Orphans

    All Things Snicket

    See a complete list of all Lemony Snicket's creations, including books from the Series of Unfortunate Events, calendars, and more.


    The Essential Lemony Snicket Books


    A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ominous Omnibus, Books 1-3

    The Situation Worsens: A Box of Unfortunate Events, Books 4-6

    The Dilemma Deepens: A Box of Unfortunate Events, Books 7-9

    The Slippery Slope: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10

    The Grim Grotto: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11

    A Library of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-10

    Behind the Scenes with Count Olaf: A Series of Unfortunate Events Movie Book

    Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

    The Puzzling Puzzles Activity Book

    More from the Movie


    Original Movie Poster

    Soundtrack

    Wall Poster

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Computer & Video Games


    For PS2

    For PC

    For Xbox

    For GameCube

    ... Read more

    Reviews (254)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Well Done, Witty
    This is a VERY witty, whimsical, and surprisingly dark film. I don't see very many similarities between this and Harry Potter, like everyone says. The only Harry Potter that is remotely similar is Prisoner of Azkaban.
    I really enjoyed this movie, you will too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lemony Snicket
    I love his books!They are so facinating!Sometimes I just can't put them down! I first started reading them in 6th grade then I just couldn't stop.Then I decided to get my own copies of all of the books.I like Lemony's sense of humor, especially in Book 1, on page 94.Authough I wish he would continue with the series by writing books 12 and 13 because I would really like to find out if the Baudilares will really defeat Count Olaf an his troupe for good.One more thing:In the movie they pronounce Klaus as (Kl-aW-se) and Olaf as(O-lav).I prefer to pronouce the names (clause)for Klaus and (Ol-if)for Olaf. It is ok if you don't but my preferances would make more sense.
    Thanks
    P.S. My favorite is Violet, authough you may have a different favorite.You should read the books....I have a feeling you would love them.

    1-0 out of 5 stars .... GOOD ART direction doth naught a moving picture maketh
    'SOMEONE' should REALLY have a frank discussion with Mr. Carrey ~ [a super talent - really] about these artistic career choices that lead to cul-de-cat-in-the-sacks ?????

    REALLY a dreadfully, boring little feature, showing lots of $$$ on screen, but Oh My - the Horror! The Horror!

    Meryl Streep with a REALLY bad wig, check the hairline .... ditto Jim's eyebrows ...... and the Count Costume [Goodness is he ?? over? Andy Kaufman?] but do check 'Heartbeeps' the lost Kaufman movie with Bernadette Peters - and compare the costume[s].

    .....pity ....[and was that a tribute to Robin William's 'Popeye'?]

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good but the books are better!!
    When I got this I thought I would like the books better and well I was right. Don't get me wrong it was good but it was hard to follow if you didn't read the books. Defintely read the books before watching.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Why Lemony, why?
    How could Lemony Snicket allow Hollywood to do this to his great books? Lemony Snicket wrote 11 books of "A Series of Unfortunate Events.I have only the first 9 but that doesn't mean I can't bash this trash.
    Let's talk about the story: Three children who have this really big house with a library and everything lose the house and their parents in a fire.The children now become orphans and have to live with their third cousin four times removed (or was it fourth cousin three times removed?) named Count Olaf (Jim Carrey).Olaf is a mean greedy man who intends to have the three orphans killed in order to get a hold of their tremendous fortune their parents left behind before the fire.
    That's also the story of the first book.What the movie does is it tries to get cute and funny (far more than the books).The books were hardly ever cute and funny.They were serious and (as the title tells you) unfortunate.They were describing the pain and misery that the three children had to go through in their lives.The movie turns them into kids you couldn't give a crap about.
    Another thing I hate about this movie is that they started out with the first book and went to the second one without having the first one end the way it did in the book.Then they skipped a bunch of parts in the second and third book.Instead of going to the fourth book, the movie actually ends the same way the first book did (just thought that those of you who have read the books ought to know that before you witness this cheesy adaptation).
    Those of you who have not read the books nor seen the movie, OK, you could give this movie a try but you would probably find the books more interesting and more serious.
    Those of you who have not read the books but have seen the movie and you're viewing this review just so you can say, "Oh, what a jerk.This movie is excellent", well, read a book, wait for them to make movie out of it, and then you'll know how that "jerk" felt. ... Read more


    16. The Simpsons - The Complete First Five Seasons
    Director: David Silverman, Klay Hall, Chris Clements (III), Pete Michels, Susie Dietter, Alan Smart (II), Gregg Vanzo, Shaun Cashman, Chuck Sheetz, Matthew Nastuk, Lance Kramer, Jim Reardon, Bob Anderson (VIII), Neil Affleck, Carlos Baeza, Brad Bird, Kent Butterworth, Lauren MacMullan, Mark Kirkland, Nancy Cartwright
    list price: $239.90
    our price: $139.14
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0006IO78C
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3616
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    17. In Good Company (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Paul Weitz
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007VZ9D0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 109
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Nowadays it's rare to find a movie that pays attention to human weakness as well as strength, and that sees a whole person as having both. When a sports magazine gets bought by a media conglomerate, an ad sales executive named Dave Foreman (Dennis Quaid, The Rookie) finds himself playing second-in-command to Carter Duryea, a hotshot barely half his age (Topher Grace, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!) whose marriage has just fallen apart. One evening Carter invites himself over to Dave's house to escape his loneliness, where he meets Dave's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation). The two strike immediate sparks and when they run into each other later in the city, a relationship begins--which they discreetly keep from Dave. But the heart of the movie is not in its plot, but in the way that Dave responds to the news that his wife is pregnant, or how Carter tries to fortify his self-image with a new car. These aren't jokes; the actors inhabit these moments fully and turn them into psychological events. Quaid plays Dave as a simple man, but his straightforwardness feels genuine (rather than a failure of the writer's imagination). Grace and Johansson have terrific chemistry as lovers, but so do Grace and Quaid, both as rivals and as a substitute father and son. In Good Company isn't likely to win any awards, but it's honest and honorable; there's a core of truth to its characters and their problems aren't resolved too neatly. Sometimes, that's worth watching. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (59)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moral Fable Never Gets Sappy
    Dennis Quaid plays a 51-year-old father of two daughters and head of a sales division for a sporting magazine. After a buyout, he is demoted and has a new boss, a 26-year-old coffee-drinking yuppie full of corporate speak and blind ambition who falls in love with Quaid's gorgeous daughter. The father's self-worth is tested savagely in this comic film which, exploring the absurdity and brutality of the corporate world, actually has a moral message about integrity and being true to yourself. It's rare that a comedy is both funny and packed with moral meaning as it attempts to find redemption for the father and his new boss. For a darker look at corporate life with no redemption for the characters, check out the bleak and nihilistic In the Company of Men by Neil LeBute.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I expected.
    Dennis Quaid gives a magnificent performance as a long-time salesman who's proud of his work, and who suddenly loses his status when he gets demoted. Topher Grace plays the new boss, and he's terrific as an obnoxious but charming kid on a power trip. Quaid and Grace's awkward, amusing, and (eventually) fond friendship is the crux of the film, and the best reason to see it. The movie's flaws: First, it's slow at times, I expected more inter-office interaction. Second, for a film about cold corporations and job insecurity, the comedy is less sharp than it could be. It's almost as if the movie is too light for its subject. Characters get laid off but you never see how it would hurt their families. The only really bad thing that happens to anyone is that they have to take out a second mortgage! Another reason the comedy is so lightweight is that there no major bad guys to make fun of. Quaid and Grace (who lays off Quaid's colleagues) represent different business philosophies, but they're both essentially good-hearted. Only one or two characters are slightly villainous, and they're on screen for just a couple minutes.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent satire
    "In Good Company" is a lovely movie - part romance, part drama, part satire. It strays occasionally into the obvious, but, overall, it's enormously entertaining. While the satire and drama elements are marred by pat endings, the romance part is given a blissfully hopeful, rather than a happy, ending.

    Dan [Dennis Quaid] is a high powered advertising executive at a big sports magazine. At age 52, he's at the top of his game. Out of nowhere, his company is bought by a media conglomerate headed by a billionaire megalomaniac. To Dan's horror, his new boss is a 26-year old kid named Carter [Topher Grace]. In typical early 21st Century fashion, Carter has arrived through sheer ambition and charm. He has zero experience in advertising. Carter does, however, have some experience in romance. He meets and falls deeply in love with Alex [Scarlett Johansson]. As fate would have it. Alex is Dan's daughter.

    The acting here is superior. Quaid was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Johansson is one of the best young actresses working today. The revelation is Grace, prior to this best known for his role in a hit sitcom. Here he creates one of the more memorable movie characters in recent movies.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny and original
    Genre: Indie Comedy

    Genre Grade: B+

    Final Grade: B

    This movie was disguised as somewhat more of a romantic comedy, but it indeed was not. It did have some of that in it, but mostly the movie was about the connection of a younger, naive boss taking on the older, experienced salesman. There was some hilarious moments and some really cheesy, odd ones too, but overall it had a good feel to it and was a good movie. The best part about this movie was the music - from The Shins, Damien Rice, and Iron & Wine. Unfortunately, Iron & Wine is the only bad that appears on the soundtrack to the movie. Bad mistake!

    On a side note, this movie does not have a cliche Hollywood ending, but rather a more realistic approach to a very possible situation. Some people may not like the ending because of that, but I applaud the creators of this film for doing what they did. Wandering outside the box is something more movies should do these days. I would compare this movie to Garden State, and while Garden State may have seemingly followed the Hollywood guidelines more than this film did, I just think it was more appropriate in that film, because of the depth of the connection between Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. I don't think Scarlett Johannson and Topher Grace shared as much of a connection. Or maybe they did, but that was not the entire focus of this movie.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest movie!
    Kind of cute. I really thought I would have liked this movie, it was really great until the end of it.They could have done better on the end, kind of cheap.It definetly deserves three stars. ... Read more


    18. Assault on Precinct 13 (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Jean-François Richet
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007W7I4W
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 102
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Action buffs will have a fine time with the spray of bullets, shattering glass, and pyrotechnic silliness that makes up the bulk of Assault on Precinct 13. Updated from the little-known cops-and-robbers classic John Carpenter made in 1976 (two years before he made his name with Halloween), this high-concept thriller is mostly a lowbrow kill-fest, and is very happy with itself for being so efficient in both categories. A decrepit police station on its last night before retirement--New Year's Eve, no less--plays unexpected home to a gang of criminals who become snowbound in the basement lockup. Another mysterious gang of people who stealthily gather in the blizzard outside want one of the particularly nasty criminals (Laurence Fishburne) dead, and they'll take the rest of the precinct down too, by golly. The odd lot of characters trapped inside include a burned-out sergeant (Ethan Hawke), a sexpot secretary (post-Sopranos Drea de Matteo), an even sexier police psychologist (Maria Bello), and various other good guys and bad guys who variously go down in blazes of guts, glory, bullets, and fire. Hawke and Fishburne are opposite sides of the coin:the law, and the bathroom scale. Their need to partner in order to survive the guns outside is the movie's moral conflict, and both actors chew on Precinct 13's peeling walls and scuffed floors to drive the point home every chance they get. Obvious filmmaking fakery abounds in everything from the irksome snowstorm, frequent gunshots to the head, and a shadowy forest that conveniently presents itself in an industrial section of Detroit for the climactic showdown. No matter, this Assault is for non-thinkers who want blood and gunpowder, with no messy slowdowns for logic, please.--Ted Fry ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Action-packed assault on the senses~!
    Ethan Hawke plays a role very similar to that in the film, "Training Day," as an undercover cop whose decided to trade in his badge for a desk job after an unfortunate incident involving his former partner. The typical drunk, cop feeling guilty for causing the tragedy,-type stupor overtakes him throughout the film. The premise is that they are closing down an
    old Precint 13, and in the morning moving to better quarters. They get caught in a blizzard, and a police bus transfering an underworld boss and miscellaneous convincts also is caught and the storm and must detour to Precint 13. What they don't know as a mysterious entity begins an assualt on the Precinct is that
    their new underworld prisoner is in league with some rogue cops, who now want him dead. There are plot twists a plenty and everything is not always as it seems. Some fine performances by Maria Bello(Payback), Drea DeMateo(The Sopranos),Ethan Hawke, Lawrence Fishburne, John Leguiazamo,Gabriel Byrne, and Brian Dennehey. There is action a plenty and this film will keep you guessing and biting your nails all the way, definitely worth seeing at least once.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Cops and Criminals Join Together to Fight a Common Enemy
    Hollywood remakes are usually weak, but this remake of the 1976 movie is a pretty good one, with some good suspense and drama. It stars Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne in the main roles, with a pretty good supporting cast of heroes and villains.

    The storyline of this movie involves a gang of men who attack a police precinct where a mob member (played by Fishburne) is being held prisoner. They attack because they are trying to get this guy. As a result, the cops and prisoners decide to take up arms together to fight this outside enemy. They are still adversaries and they distrust each other. But they know they must join forces if they want to win this battle.

    Is a plot like this realistic? Possibly, and the characters make it seem halfway believable. But some parts of this movie aside from the plot itself make it seem unreal. For one thing, the guys inside the precinct- both cop and criminal- seem a little too cool. They know they are under attack, but they act very relaxed about the whole thing, which isn't much like reality. Second, there is little intervention taking place on the outside. If something like this really happened, I would think (hope) the outside world would quickly be made aware and would send help. Or, at the very least, there would be reporters and local people gathered around while the event was taking place. In this movie, there is really nothing at all on the outside. No one in Detroit (where the movie is set) seems to care at all that this police precinct is under siege.

    Still, I think this is a good movie to watch. If nothing else, it is worth watching just to see Laurence Fishburne in action. He and Hawke steal the show with their chemistry and their strength of person and character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT CHARACTER LINE-UP --
    Not going into this movie with any pre-conceived ideas I was ready to enjoy some action and mystery.

    It sure delivered!Hawke [like that name] as Jake lead us through a mental and emotional maze.The two women were a bit confusing [or is it a distraction]

    To me Fishburne as Bishop was a disturbing but powerful character [was he trustworthy at all??] Hate to say it but was glad he got away.

    I expected those two escapees to get it -- Was that a SWAT team shooter or an Army sniper?

    But Dennehy was the biggest surprise -- great character! [the twit].

    Precinct 13 set in Detroit was debatible - yeah! where did the trees come from?But still, don't bother with location just go with the flow.

    Still a great movie to watch - Hey, I am not buying the production just the enjoyment of watching some action and very good, believable characters.

    Definitely Recommended - action, great pace, some mystery [Gabriel Byrne was great - just as evil as ever] - Well worth watching again. [except for that fricking barnyard language]


    5-0 out of 5 stars Explosive Assault !
    This was 1 of the best ACTION movies that I have seen this year.Some of the scenes will put you in the mind of Syphon Filter for us gamers out there.Once again, Laurence Fishburne delivered a powerful performance, although he was a "bad" guy.Ethan Hawke also delivered an outstanding performance as a struggling with MAJOR issues cop who wasn't sure what he wanted to do with himself.Gabriel Byrne...his character should have been much deeper.Brian Dennehy, as anyone who watches the movie can tell, he is too calm to allow you to think that he is a "good" cop.Drea de Matteo, she acted ok, but she was much better in the Sopranos.Ja Rule seems to have a 3rd person complex in the film, stick to rapping please..you are much better in that niche.Last but not least, John Leguizamo will irritate your LAST GOOD NERVE in the film.If you want this movie strictly for the action, THIS IS IT !!!!!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Movie with a question.
    I have not seen the orginial movie from 1976, but I enjoyed this movie non the less.It had great action and it kept you guessing who the bad person was in the precinct 13.The only question that I have is Where in Detroit is there a pine forest??????I live south of Detroit and there is no pine forest that I am aware of. ... Read more


    19. C.S.I. Miami - The Complete First Season
    list price: $89.99
    our price: $67.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00020H9NO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1145
    Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    As Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) notes in episode 4 ("Just One Kiss"), "The evidence, as always, will speak for itself." In other words, CSI: Miami follows the same super-successful formula as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Fortunately, this instantly popular spin-off established its own unique identity from the start. Like CSI, the Dade County criminalists of CSI: Miami solve murders using forensic science. Unlike the Vegas crew, however, they're cops with the power to arrest, their coroner (Alexx Woods) talks to dead people, and almost everybody speaks Spanish. Sometimes their crime scene is a swamp, sometimes a resort hotel. Either way, the skies are always sunny--the gators always biting. Real-life Florida resident Caruso is joined by Khandi Alexander (NewsRadio) as Woods, Emily Procter (The West Wing) as ballistics expert Calleigh Duquesne, Adam Rodriguez (Roswell) as underwater recovery expert Eric Delko, and featured player Rory Cochrane as Tim "Speed" Speedle. Cochrane (Dazed and Confused) wouldn't become a full-fledged cast member until the 12th episode ("Entrance Wound"). Meanwhile, Kim Delaney (Caruso's former NYPD Blue cast mate) wouldn't join until the first ("Golden Parachute"), but left after the 10th ("A Horrible Mind"), reportedly due to a lack of chemistry with Caruso.

    Just as CSI has made the most of its location with stories about showgirls and casino owners, so has CSI: Miami exploited its surroundings for all they're worth. Pilot episode "Cross-Jurisdictions" (a crossover with CSI), for instance, was loosely based on the murder of Miami-based designer Gianni Versace. Other notable episodes include "Camp Fear" with Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn as a detention camp cadet and "Dead Woman Walking" with Karen Sillas (Under Suspicion) as a victim of radiation poisoning. Like its parent program, CSI: Miami quickly became a ratings powerhouse and was followed by CSI: New York in 2004. --Kathleen C. Fennessy ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars CSI Miami is one of the best
    I love CSI Miami, David Caruso who plays Horatio Caine, does a wonderful acting job. He makes you believe in the CSI and that they are there to help and solve cases. He has a certain charisma that he portrays and that makes him very believable. This being a spin off CSI, i feel that this show does things better. It's location and the types of crime scenes that they have, are so much more better and make it more enjoyable to watch. If you haven't seen any episodes before think about buying the DVD, cuz u'll probably end up loving the show. I don't really like other shows like Law and Order and CSI for much, but the cast and type of crimes in this series make me love it alot.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Top Notch TV Series
    CSI: Miami is a great "detective" show. The people behind this show tend to do a pretty good job of keeping things realistic and each episode typically features a plausable situation. While the show focuses more so on solving the cases and investigating the crime scene, they do tend to insert small pieces of sub-plot regarding each of the main characters, so the show is not without sufficient character development.

    Typically, CSI: Miami is a good show to watch if you want to see the scientific side of things. Rather than most other police shows, which focus less on what goes on behind the scenes and more on the detective characters. However, while the main characters lack the focus of other shows, they are still enjoyable to watch. David Caruso does an excellent job with his performance as the logical and thorough Horatio Caine, while each of the other characters support him nicely.

    I'd highly recommend this series to anyone who appreciates the scientific side of crime scene investigation. It's well worth your time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Two Thumbs Up Almost as good as CSI Las Vegas
    I enjoyed it alot. Took me awhile to adapt to the different Miami characters as opposed to the Las Vegas team, but I really enjoyed the series. Almost as good as the regular CSI.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Too bad
    CSI : Miami is, in my opinion, the best TV series i have ever seen.
    I've been waiting for this DVD release so long... Too bad : the only audio tracks are English and spanish. No french.

    More than this : no subtitles, even in english.
    Conclusion : I will not buy it.
    So disappointing !

    5-0 out of 5 stars I just love C.S.I . Miami
    does anyone knows if this DVD come with subtitles in english? ... Read more


    20. The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection - His Favorite Moments from The Tonight Show (Vols. 1-3) (1962-1992)
    list price: $49.99
    our price: $49.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000068WS7
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 462
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Culled from 30 years of material, this collection of moments from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson contains some of most inspired bits of lunacy ever recorded. Whether cajoling with Hollywood's biggest stars or normal folk with special talents, Carson was a master of finding the right joke, with timing second to none. Along with bits of his opening monologues, skits, and early standup appearances from the likes of David Letterman and Eddie Murphy, there are many highlights with perhaps the perfect Carson guest--exotic animals that stole the show. This collection was released shortly after Carson's reign ended in 1992. Although most of the tapes from his first decade are lost, there are plenty of highlights from the '70s through the '90s. Also included is Carson's touching and historic "Final Show," which finds the host simply talking to his audience and showing highlights--or just the faces--from his years on the set. Although many followed--and a few have even succeeded--Carson's Midwest charm made him the king of TV in a period when America was defined by television.

    The DVD edition adds some superlative extras, including "Danger Johnny" segments from his first decade, short bits on the history of the show and the host, and more behind-the-scenes glances, including an intriguing way to watch the final show via unedited feeds from isolated studio cameras. Also included is the 1982 NBC special "Johnny Goes Home," which follows Carson on a tour of his rural Nebraska homeland, and a slightly edited version of the penultimate show, in which his last two guests, Robin Williams and Bette Midler, are on fire. These extras make the DVD, produced a decade after Carson left, a must-have piece of entertainment and pop history. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Man Behind the Desk
    In today's era of David Letterman and Jay Leno, younger generations should remember that Johnny Carson (along with his "Tonight Show" predecessors Jack Paar and Steve Allen) defined the talk-show format which made late-night television an enduring and immensely profitable enterprise. From 1962 to 1992, Carson reigned supreme as a comedian and broadcaster. Unlike Letterman and Leno, Johnny did his homework when it came to nightly conversation. No matter who sat on the couch, he remained an astute and observant host. "The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection" is an expanded three-DVD set of "Tonight Show" highlights selected by Johnny himself, with the welcome addition of his final two programs. The set also includes the 1982 NBC special "Johnny Goes Home" -- a nostalgic, affectionate look at Carson's return to his hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. Loaded with extras (and some recently discovered film clips from the early 1960s), the DVD collection provides first-rate material at a reasonable price. If this set leaves you wanting more, the six-DVD "Timeless Moments" series is highly recommended -- allowing viewers to see previously unavailable Carson monologues, interviews and sketches in their entirety.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still the King!
    As one of the millions that sorely miss the wit and wisdom of Johnny Carson, I was especially pleased to receive this "best of" DVD collection. The three DVD's feature the best moments from the show - divided by decade - from the 60's through the 90's, and also include the complete second-to-last show (with Bette Midler and Robin Williams) and the final show, along with a documentary on Johnny I had never seen before. The remastering quality is great. There is a fun little short film called "Danger Johnny", and one of the most interesting things about the DVD's are the ISO CAMS, that allow you to pick the camera angles to view some of the programs. You can even view scenes from Johnny's perspective. The menu options are terrific, and the packaging very deluxe. If you are a fan of classic television, this is a great addition to your library - and I plan to send them as gifts to family members I know miss Johnny too.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
    I was disappointed with this set. It doesn't give you a sense of what made you love Johnny, really. There is minimal development of the material. A couple of gags would be OK, but gag after gag left me feeling empty. Maybe Johnny is not the right person to toast with snippets; his charm came from watching an entire show, or was built up over months, years. Likewise his skill as an interviewer is lost in the short clips. Had I known, I would have taken on a pass on this purchase. Furthermore,the production is rushed and uncreative.

    4-0 out of 5 stars There will never be another...
    Watching this set of dvds left me with a sense of melancholy and loss. Like spent youth and good times/people gone by. This will not... it cannot... ever happen again. Carson was a master of the Late Nite format in a very special time in our history. It was a time when true stars walked the Earth. Real S*T*A*R*S like Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, etc. would show up on the Tonight Show to trade quips with Johnny and we knew that we were in the presence of greatness... not foul-mouthed little Irish gits like Colin Farrell whose every second utterance is a four-letter swear-word, or the assorted giggling bimbos and boring, scuzzball, here-today-gone-tomorrow boy bands who frequent the Leno show. This rather pricey 3-disc extravaganza will take you back home and leave you wanting more. BEWARE though! The set is advertized as over 7 hours long and that is not the case. Here is the breakdown: BEST OF THE '60s & '70s (48 mins), BEST OF THE '70s & '80s (46 mins), BEST OF THE '80s & '90S (52 mins), JOHNNY GOES HOME (47 mins), SECOND LAST SHOW (32 mins), FINAL SHOW (35 mins). I work it out to just about 4 and a half hours on 3 discs. Mind you, the packaging, picture quality and menus are superb. Definately worth a purchase, but my advice would be to shop around for the best price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Will Never Be Equaled
    A wonderful look back at 30 years of late night class. It just goes to show what an awesome talent Johnny was and how far late night TV has declined. The picture and sound quality is excellent, and the extras are good, too. Johnny's 1982 special where he visits Norfolk is fun to see again as well. My only gripe is that the music montage from the last show is missing, but this probably has to do with getting all the clearances from the artists, which can be difficult. Highly recommended for all us baby-boomers who grew up with the one and only King of late night. Johnny......WE MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Read more


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