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    $18.87 $16.95 list($26.96)
    1. William Shakespeare's The Merchant
    $18.89 list($26.99)
    2. East of Eden (Two-Disc Special
    $95.00 list($24.98)
    3. Audition
    $22.49 $14.76 list($29.99)
    4. The Lion King (Disney Special
    $11.24 $8.61 list($14.98)
    5. Monty Python's Life of Brian
    6. Summer Magic
    $59.96 $54.26 list($79.95)
    7. Brideshead Revisited
    $149.95
    8. Beckett on Film DVD Set
    $20.97 $20.48 list($29.95)
    9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    $14.96 $12.58 list($19.95)
    10. The Transformers - The Movie
    $14.99 $8.00 list($19.99)
    11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of
    list($19.98)
    12. Dragonheart - Collector's Edition
    $11.24 $9.63 list($14.98)
    13. Monty Python's The Meaning Of
    $23.99 $9.09 list($29.99)
    14. A Place in the Sun
    $21.59 $16.09 list($26.99)
    15. The Mission (Two-Disc Special
    $9.98 $5.24
    16. The Day of the Jackal
    $20.96 list($29.95)
    17. The Manchurian Candidate (Widescreen
    $22.49 $19.99 list($29.99)
    18. Calendar Girls
    $35.96 $23.00 list($39.95)
    19. Longitude
    $14.99 $12.82 list($19.98)
    20. That Thing You Do!

    1. 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


    2. East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Elia Kazan
    list price: $26.99
    our price: $18.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007US7F8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 79
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com essential video

    East of Eden is an acknowledged classic, and the starring debut of James Dean lifts it to legendary status. John Steinbeck's novel gave director Elia Kazan a perfect Cain-and-Abel showcase for Dean's iconic screen persona, casting the brooding star as Cal, the younger of two brothers vying for the love of their Bible-thumping father (Raymond Massey) in Monterey, California, at the dawn of World War I. Massey is a lettuce farmer, striving for market domination with an ill-fated refrigeration scheme. Having discovered that his presumed-dead mother (Oscar® winner Jo Van Fleet) is a brothel owner in nearby Salinas, Cal convinces her to finance an investment that will restore his father's lost fortune, but neither money nor the tenderness of his brother's fiancée (Julie Harris) can assuage Cal's anguished need for paternal acceptance that comes nearly too late. Kazan's oblique camera angles and Dean's tortured emoting may seem extreme by latter-day standards, but their theatrics make East of Eden a timeless tale of family secrets and hard-won affection. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (44)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A true classic!
    I can't wait until May 31, 2005..I have this film on VHS tape and have practically worn it out..This is one of my alltime favorite films!I think after I saw this film for the first time I immediately became a big fan of James Dean's and had to read and find out everything about this young actor who died tragically at the young age of 23.I hope the special edition DVD will contain interviews with the principals involved with this film..that would be very interesting!

    This film is still very powerful today and the scenes that stand out the most for me are the scenes with the lovely Julie Harris..Julie was the perfect choice to play Abra and her innocence and tenderness toward Dean's character in the film really drove the film for me..The chemistry between the two actors was amazing and I keep thinking if Dean had lived this could have been a great screen pairing!

    This film showcased the talents of a wonderful actor and influenced generations of actors to come..Dean was amazingly gifted and was fortunate to catch the eye of Elia Kazan who knew talent when he saw it..What a wonderful film!It is a joy to see this film finally being released on DVD!

    3-0 out of 5 stars James Dean's debut
    This is a good film (arguably Dean's best), and is very worthy of having in your dvd collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece finally arrives on DVD! This is James Dean!
    EAST OF EDEN is truly, and undoubtedly one of the greatest films ever made. Timeless. Brilliant...and unavailable to buy for over a decade due to legal squabbles...

    At last, all has been settled, and in time to commemorate the sad, tragic premature death of James Dean.....

    To those unfamiliar with the film, it is as vital and relevant (and painful) as the day it was made...

    To those who know the genius here, I can only share in the celebration that the best home video company (WB) has cut through the legal red tape to get this film out (finally) on DVD, and I'm sure it will be as exceptional a presentation as any of their other exceptional releases.

    This is filmmaking at its height, acting at its greatest, and writing at its most subtly exceptional. Do not pass over the miracle of John Steinbeck's amazing story & this perfect film!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Long Overdue DVD Classic
    Taken from us so soon James Dean with only 3 great films is an icon of America Cinnema. Unfortunatelly, on this great clasic, directed by the great but controversial Elia Kazan. Still awaits it's "Full Restoration Great DVD Release."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful acting by James Dean and Jo Van Fleet.
    East of Eden is a great, sprawling American novel by nobel prize winning author John Steinbeck.The film East of Eden, directed by Elia Kazan, dramatizes only a small part of the magnificent book.However, what the film does, it does exceptionally well, thanks to the riveting performances of James Dean and academy award winner Jo Van Fleet.

    Much has been written about Dean as an actor and what is certainly true is that when he is on screen, you can't take your eyes off him.As young Cal Trask, Dean vies for the attention and love of his father, Adam, Raymond Massesy, with his twin brother Aaron, Richard Davalos.Cal is a loser, no matter what he does, and Dean portrays sensitively the conflict Cal feels as he grows to manhood unloved and uncared for.

    The rivalry between Cal and Aaron for their father's love as well as the affections of Abra, Aaron's girlfriend played by Julie Harris, generates much of the action and dramatic tension of the film. All Cal's gifts are rejected by his father, in contrast to Aaron, whose presents are appreciated and valued.

    Like Cain in the Bible, Cal has a dark side which he thinks comes from his mother Kate, who abandoned him at birth and whom he has discovered runs a brothel in Salinas, California, a short train ride from the Trask ranch.Cal introduces himself to Kate, played to perfection by Jo Van Fleet, first to try to learn about himself, who he is and why he experiences his inner rage and frustration.Later he will borrow money from her to invest in order to help his bankrupt father.Cal's investment in bean futures, just prior to America's entry in World War I,pays off, but his father rejects his money in a confrontation which moves us toward the dramatic conclusion of the film.

    The scenes with Dean and Van Fleet are the highlight of the film and a treasure of American movie making.Both actors are electric with Dean drawing from his inner uncertainty and fire and Van Fleet, the consumate professional, using all her skills and intelligence.They approach one another gingerly, each testing the response of the other, not trusting themselves and their own emotions, and finally becoming frustrated with their inablility to connect with one another.These scenes are wonderful to watch.We should not expect a happy ending and we don't get it.

    East of Eden, released in 1955, justly takes its place in a small list of fine American films, not just because of the great performances of James Dean and Jo Van Fleet, but also because it dramatizes timeless themes in a most convincing fashion.Those viewers who love the film and like to read will almost certainly enjoy the novel on which the film is based. ... Read more


    3. Audition
    Director: Takashi Miike
    list price: $24.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000640S9
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 11735
    Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    If you want the full sledgehammer-to-the-stomach effect of Audition, stop reading this review now. Just watch it and take the consequences. At first glance, Takashi Miike's jack in the box of a movie works like a romantic comedy: amiable widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it's time to find a new wife, and a friend suggests holding a fake audition to find the right girl. It soon becomes clear that there is something wrong with Aoyama's choice. This is no ordinary Fatal Attraction-style thriller, however; Audition slowly and carefully builds into a wrenching exploration of both deep male fears and the stereotype of the cute, submissive Japanese woman. Audition is by no means an easy movie to watch--even hardcore horror fans may have trouble--but it will stay with you for a long, long time. --Ali Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (103)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tender and brutal
    You've probably heard that "Audition" is extremly violent - and that's true. But what makes this violence so disturbing is the tenderness that lies in this movie's heart.
    Basically, it's a story about two lonely people, in a lonly society (as one character notes - "All of Japan seems lonely"). These two people try to make a connection, and each of them fails miserably. The man find it hard to see past his ideals about what a woman should be - and misses the person in front of him, while the woman needs, probably because of her troubled childhood, demands total love.
    Out of the failure of the relationship comes a climax, which is very brutal and graphic (I've found it hard to watch - and I'm a med school student and am used to the dissections...). The fact that you come to care so much about these characters, make the violence seem human, and not horror movie cartoon gore.
    A spacial notice should be made to the work done by the lead actrice, Eihi Shiina. It's her first time on-screen, and acording to the director's note, a large part of her acting in the latter part of the film came from improvisation. Perhaps she was working on her inner demons, but her performance is hard to forget.
    I'd recommend this to anyone who thinks he can stomach graphic scenes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A+
    AUDITION - directed by Takashi Miike (2001)
    DVD/VHS
    10/10
    Japanese with English Subtitles
    This film is un-rated and contains graphic violence.

    Takashi Miike has accomplished drawing the audience in slowly with subtle and well-made storytelling that turns into a roller coaster ride of white-knuckle extreme terror. At first it seems as though Miike is presenting at straightforward family drama. Husband/father Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) widowed seven years prior decides under the gentle and humorous direction of his son (Tetsu Sawaki) it is time to remarry. Simple? Well, no. Aoyama's drinking buddy Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) decides to hold a fake audition for a film in search of the perfect woman. The editing during this sequence has a natural rhythm and humor that highlights the whole facade as the numbers of unusual women are asked a series of questions. Enter Asami (Eihi Shiina), a former ballet dancer, who seems to have suffered in her past. Aoyama falls in love quickly, and against the warnings of Yoshikawa moves forward in quest for the perfect mate," a compliant woman is best." Takashi quickly cuts to a still shot of Asami, sitting on the floor her head bent down, her hair falling over her head so we can't see her face, a telephone in the foreground, and a very large canvas bag. Throughout soundtrack is very well done and there are very different types of music to fit each scene. At this point, however, there is total silence. Long enough to create tremendous tension. Miike takes the audience with Aoyama as hints Asami's of psychotic disintegration almost subliminally sneak into the narrative. At the midway point we become just as disoriented as Aoyama. Is love blind and deaf? In a series of well-edited montage scenes we are shown previous shots of conversations with different dialog, or simply, more direct. Asami seems to be disclosing all of her painful and tragic past. Or is she? Do we really listen when we are in love, or do we simply hear what we want to hear? Asami's lifelong forced submission and compliance have been driven so deep they boomerang ..standing these traits on their heads. I enjoyed Takashi's sense of direction. The film flows, picking up pace towards the final scenes effectively employing the lost art of giving the audience the maximum amount of tension and fear while revealing little. By then it is too late. Throw in a couple of misplaced acupuncture needles, dismembered limbs, three fingers and a tongue. Well, you can imagine the scenarios. Or can you? This is a slow burn, with a great pace and it really pays off. Not for the squeamish, faint of heart or anyone who is afraid of needles. Deeper, deeper..deeper.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audition
    The other reviews will give you a description of what the film is about (though probably too much of one), so I won't dwell on the subject. It's a film that Should be seen and not described anyway. This Is one of my all time favorite films, so I am going to be incredibly biased. This film is excellent: Takashi Miike (the director) is perfectly in his element with this kind of film. The best way, I think, to describe this film is to say that Audition is to Japan, what Silence of the Lambs or Psycho is/was to America. The lead actress, Eihi Shiina, does a frighteningly great job in her film debut. Simply put, Audition is an awesome and exceptional film :).

    2-0 out of 5 stars Overrated
    Audition is a film that relies heavily on the last twenty minutes of its running time. In the first eighty minutes there is only one, but good, scare. Otherwise this is a fairly tedious film that has very little emotion, for which the director is to blame. On imdb.com this film is given a 7.3/10 rating. I feel that this film deserves more of a 4/10 rating, becasue it really is boring. The amazon.com review states that this film will stay with you long after you have seen it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is good. This film relies on the violence towards the end of the film for its substance. This violence too is ridiculous, just like the rest of the film, which is not really a true horror movie. I am not a person who rejects violence; I like movies like The Wild Bunch, Kill Bill Vol.1 and Evil Dead, because those movies actually had something to go with the violence. I don't recommend this film unless you are a true horror fan or you are just curious.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It was okay.....still better than most Hollywood thrillers!
    I went into the viewing of this film with great anticipation since I'd heard how terrifically chilling it is. Although I will try and write about the film as a whole without giving away too much of the events, please be warned that some plot points may exposed.

    However, as you may already know, the story centers around a single father(Aeyoama) that is considering the prospect of a second marriage; with his 16-yr old son's approval and recommendation, actually. After holding phony auditions, with the aid of his friend, to find the "perfect" girl, he is smitten as a kitten with a girl named Asami, and together they begin the courting process.

    Too much time was spent in scenes where Asami proclaimed how happy she was that Aeyoama had called her for a date, or happy he called her, blah blah blah. I don't know how Aeyoama could not help but roll her eyes (I was!) after listening to her express that sentiment over & over, but hey, perhaps that is the type of complacency he was searching for in a wife? Originally, he'd picked Asami out of a stack of eligible partners as a result of the thoughts she had written down on her application. After meeting her though, it seemed like he became much more interested in her physical appearance. In one isntance, Aeoyama
    compliments his son on the sexy young lass that followed him home from school that afternoon.

    Eventually, she disappears and Aeyoama completely loses it, goes against his best friend's advice as well as his dead wife's warnings (in dreams) and goes to search her out, whatever the cost.

    When she finally does reappear, Asami is no longer her shy bashful self. Instead, she is at the far end of the sensitive scale, to put it lightly. She inflicts pain on Aeyoama that can be expressed as the novel "Misery" times 100.

    It seems as though the unspoken arrangement between torturer & torturee was written soon after Asami had gained Aeyoama's love for her. But apparently, this love was based on the love that Asami had been shown in her own life, as we are treated to scenes of Asami growing up & her studies of ballet. This is something that Aeyoama was not aware of, or probably failed to pick up on. It would be interesting to discover if he would have volunteered for the severe torture at the end of the film, had Asami asked; in comparison to Van Gogh's cutting off of ear. Apparently baking a cake for the loved one was not an option.

    Anyway, there is a bit of confusion on this last idea since she is definitely getting her cookies out of the carnage she is inflicting; the idea being that she is the heroine and Aeyoama is the filthy "man" that uses and abuses females. She must phsyically alter him to represent the grotesque being he really is.

    Very interesting ideas, very well adapted into film, but falls short in arriving at a conclusion of any kind. Some may view that as a plus, but I wanted Aeyoama to either accept responsibility for the violence infliced on him, or reject it. ... Read more


    4. The Lion King (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
    Director: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXB4
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 300
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com essential video

    Not an ideal choice for younger kids, this hip and violent animated feature from Disney was nevertheless a huge smash in theaters and on video, and it continues to enjoy life in an acclaimed Broadway production. The story finds a lion cub, son of a king, sent into exile after his father is sabotaged by a rivalrous uncle. The little hero finds his way into the "circle of life" with some new friends and eventually comes back to reclaim his proper place. Characters are very strong, vocal performances by the likes of Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, and Whoopi Goldberg are terrific, the jokes are aimed as much (if not more) at adults than kids, the animation is sometimes breathtaking, and the music is more palatable than in many Disney features. But be cautious: this is too intense for the Rugrat crowd. --Tom Keogh

    How good-looking is the DVD restoration of Disney's popular animated film? Take a look at the serviceable but dull film clips incorporated in the plethora of extras and compare them to the vivid gorgeousness of the film presentation. This "special edition" also adds a 90-second song ("Morning Report") that originated in the lavish stage musical. To Disney's credit, the original theatrical version is also included, both restored and featuring two 5.1 soundtracks: Dolby Digital and a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, which does sound brighter. As with the Disney Platinum line, everything is thrown into the discs, except an outsider's voice (the rah-rahs of Disney grow tiresome at times). The excellent commentary from the directors and producer, originally on the laser disc, is hidden under the audio set-up menu.

    The second disc is organized by 20-minute-ish "journeys" tackling the elements of story, music, et cetera, including good background on the awkward Shakespearean origins at Disney where it was referred as "Bamlet." The most interesting journey follows the landmark stage production, and the kids should be transfixed by shots of the real African wildlife in the animal journey. Three deleted segments are real curios, including an opening lyric for "Hakuna Matata." Most set-top DVD games are usually pretty thin (DVD-ROM is where it's at), but the Safari game is an exception--the kids should love the roaring animals (in 5.1 Surround, no less). One serious demerit goes to the needless and complicated second navigation system that is listed by continent, but just shows the same features reordered. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

    Reviews (339)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth your hard earned money
    This new two disc set for the Lion King is yet another masterful DVD production job by the Disney folks. The video and audio quality are top notch, with plenty of choices how to see the film (both original and extended). There are an amazing amount of extras included on disc two, it will take some hunting to find them all, and quite a bit of extra time to view the entire contents. A few are overly self promotional, but there is so much stuff here, just skip to the next item if that bothers you. Some of the games are actually fun too.

    With both Lion King and Sleeping Beauty being newly released on DVD right now, if you can only get one of them, there is no question this is by far the better choice. The impressive animation, the story, the fantastic sound, the extras are all superior in this Lion King package. This still isn't my favorite Disney release (Roger Rabbit will always have that honor), but maybe top 5--certainly top 8.

    Lion King Platinum is well worth the investment for your DVD collection. Your family will get many years of enjoyment from it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Lion King
    The first time I ever saw "The Lion King" was on September 14th 1995, the day it came out on video. Strangely, I went to all of Disney's releases from "The Little Mermaid" to "Aladdin" (including rereleases of their older classics) but missed out on "The Lion King". Silly me. "The Lion King" is a masterpiece. The film is visually amazing. Some scenes stand out in particular; such as the wild-beast stampede and the opening sequence. The movie wouldn't be completed without the powerful score and songs, composed by Hans Zimmer and Elton John, respectively. The Oscar-winning "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and the ever-popular "Circle Of Life" are all here. The characters in this movie have also become wildly popular, especially Timon and Pumbaa. The villain, Scar, is the ultimate villian: evil and deceitful, yet wit and sarcastic. In this 2-disc special edition, the film looks like a video-game, in terms of sharpness and clearity. You won't believe of how smooth the image can be. "The Lion King" is a movie that deserves all the praise and success that it had gotten.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Earns its place among the old Disney classics
    Animation films are incredibly tricky. Adults(or just mainly uptight people view animated films as kids only. However kids see them as great pieces of film that they "get". For once, Disney gets it right. This was really a powerhouse film when it came out and held the record for the biggest animated film of all time(until recently when a so-so film about finding a fish called Nemo came out).

    Simba is a young lion in the Serengeti(they call it the Pride Lands though) who just can't wait to be king. However, he's a mischievous little cub who gets into trouble a bit easy. When a terrible tragedy strikes, Simba exiles himself where he meets a warthog and meerkat and develops a carefree lifestyle. Now an adult, he returns to the Pride Lands to reclaim the throne from his evil uncle, Scar.

    Sounds a bit like Hamlet huh? But you won't care. Many impossibly catchy songs, funny moments and jokes and words that even appeal to adults(do you really think a kid would understand "illustrating the differences in your royal mangerial approaches"? Exactly.)

    Voice acting is top notch, animation is absolutely gorgeous, and it's done by hand by the way, none of that Finding Nemo/Toy Story/A Bug's Life CGI stuff. There's a reason why this is considered the best Disney film but you owe it to yourself to find out why.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is NOT a violent movie for kids
    I'm sorry, but if you found this movie to be too violent for kids over the age of five, then you're robbing your children of a valuable experience. Yes, there is death. Yes, it is not a safe and simple death. But kids CAN handle it. An evil man killed a great man. It's not a theme that kids should enjoy, but it's one that is of particular resonance to us as Americans. This movie is simple, beautiful and moving- seemingly one of Disney's last treasures. While the Broadway show may be even more moving, this movie has the power to move us. I hope you'll see it if you haven't. I hope you'll let your kids watch it if you haven't. And I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have. Humbly submitted, -Matt Calcara, Overland Park, KS

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best movie of all times
    I really love this movie it was so cute and the songs were great I gave my neice this movie when she was born and she watches it all the time and she is 7 years old now Thanks to everyone who created it your the best ... Read more


    5. Monty Python's Life of Brian
    Director: Terry Jones
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
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    Asin: 6305388458
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 265
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    "Blessed are the cheesemakers," a wise man once said. Or maybe not. But the point is Monty Python's Life of Brian is a religious satire that does not target specific religions or religious leaders (like, say, Jesus of Nazareth). Instead, it pokes fun at the mindless and fanatical among their followers--it's an attack on religious zealotry and hypocrisy--things that that fellow from Nazareth didn't particularly care for either. Nevertheless, at the time of its release in 1979, those who hadn't seen it considered it to be quite "controversial."

    Life of Brian, you see, is about a chap named Brian (Graham Chapman) born December 25 in a hovel not far from a soon-to-be-famous Bethlehem manger. Brian is mistaken for the messiah and, therefore, manipulated, abused, and exploited by various religious and political factions. And it's really, really funny. Particularly memorable bits include the brassy Shirley Bassey/James Bond-like title song; the bitter rivalry between the anti-Roman resistance groups, the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea; Michael Palin's turn as a lisping, risible Pontius Pilate; Brian urging a throng of false-idol worshippers to think for themselves--to which they reply en masse "Yes, we must think for ourselves!"; the fact that everything Brian does, including losing his sandal in an attempt to flee these wackos, is interpreted as "a sign." Life of Brian is not only one of Monty Python's funniest achievements, it's also the group's sharpest and smartest sustained satire. Blessed are the Pythons. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

    Reviews (186)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Holy Hilarity!
    Life of Brian is not as well known by the movie going public as Monty Python?s classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", but it is definitely is as, or maybe even funnier than Holy Grail. This is especially true for people who are familiar with the Biblical stories it pokes fun at. It is perfect satire, for nothing is sacred and everything is a joke.

    The story revolves around Brian, a very unlucky resident of Judea who just happened to be born the same day the Christ child was born. Missing his chance at glory, Brian lives his life selling animal parts at the Coliseum, dominated by a violent mother who is very "friendly" to the Roman occupiers. The rest of Brian's environment is inhabited by a very wild bunch. The neo- or archo-Marxist group, the People's Front of Judea, battles the Romans daily by holding meeting after violent meeting, plotting against the legions and their arch rivals, the Judean People's Front. The Romans, on the other hand, are led by the Pontius Pilate, who, contrary to Biblical reports, has quite a lisp and an endearing sense of stupidity. When Brian rebels against his mother and joins up with the wild band of revolutionaries, his life is changed forever. Quite by accident, Brian is then thought to be the messiah, although he is quite reluctant in his leadership.

    Satirically, this movie is absolutely ruthless. Everything is skewered, everything. The performances are all fantastic, especially that of John Cleese, who is just the man in this movie, playing about six separate characters. Joke after joke hits the viewer, which results in just non-stop humor. It's just a wonderful movie by the Python pioneers who really revolutionized comedy. The Criterion DVD edition is great, with tons of hilarious extras that are worth the price on their own. To the people that use this to either justify their atheism or believe it to be an attack on their religion, calm down. It's a comedy for God's sake, why do the opinions of some British comedians affect your outlook on life? Just laugh damn it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great extras on this Python DVD
    THE LIFE OF BRIAN has remained one of my favorite Python flicks after the glow of the Holy Grail began to wear thin from overuse. If you're considering purchasing this movie, you've probably seen the movie already and are a Monty Python fan. If not, get ready for one of Python's most sacrilegious and hilarious movies of their collection! If you are easily offended, you might think twice. However, the satire here is equally distributed and is not aimed so much at religion itself but moreso at the amusing ways in which people can behave "under the influence" of zealotry.

    I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching the movie, but it was a great surprise to find that this DVD comes packed with some great bonus materials. Several full-length, revealing interviews with the cast go into more Python history than just that surrounding this flick. And a rather large collection of scenes cut from the final release are also quite interesting.

    The video and audio quality seem to be on par with most of the other DVD movies I've seen so far, despite the film's age.

    All in all, a great addition to any Python collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Is nothing sacred? NO! And that's why this is a riot!
    Irreverent, brilliant, ingenius... I'm getting all these words out of the way now before I forget them! Even though I'll probably use them a dozen times!

    The funniest thing to come from England since The Stamp Act, Monty Python's Flying Circus could always be depended upon to provide the world with brilliantly twisted humor. The LIFE OF BRIAN is no less a comic masterpiece than anything else these boys have done. Ostensibly a parody of the life of Jesus, LIFE OF BRIAN is a hilarious attack on liberalism, conservatism, colonialism, individualism, communalism, organized religion, disorganized religion, fanaticism, feminism... take your pick of any of a hundred topics. It doesn't matter, it's still brilliant. And the script and direction holds it perfectly all together, even if there's a space ship chase sequence thrown in for the hell of it.

    Once again, the members of MPFC each play several roles and every viewer has his or her favorites, so what the hell, I'll mention mine. Michael Palin, while playing a wonderfully foppy Pontius Pilate, is equally hilarious as a twitchy, hyperactive leper that Jesus had cured. Instead of being grateful, he complains that his rehabilitation has ruined his livelihood as a beggar. (Speaking of rehabilitation, Palin plays the part like a junkie in need of a fix.) John Cleese has several great moments, but his role as a Centurion turned sadistic Latin teacher is nothing short of genius. Everyone who has studied Latin will be beside themselves during this scene. And Terry Jones as Brian's mom still stuns me 25 years later. "My Brian is not the messiah! He's a very naughty, naughty boy."

    Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN is irreverent, brilliant, and ingenius and this edition, complete with outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews make this package worth the price. Whether you are an individual or not, "Monty Python's Life of Brian - Criterion Collection" will save your comic soul.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a review of a movie
    A brilliant movie with a brilliant finale.

    5-0 out of 5 stars funny but wheres Bodge?
    This is a very funny movie. It takes place int he Stone Age. About a guy named Brian and this is his life. Most of the humor is because his name is brian and people confuse him for somebody else. "I'm not so anso I'm Brian." Also there is a very funny moment when a man says his wife is called Continual Buttocks (a butocks is a bottom) or soemthing. Some of the humor is called toilet humor that I'm not a fan of. My friends and I only thought that Bodge would have looked great in this film with his beard and BRITISH accent!!! Where was he? He would have been perfect! ... Read more


    6. Summer Magic
    Director: James Neilson

    Asin: B00005JMVV
    Catlog: DVD
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (24)

    5-0 out of 5 stars wow!!!this really is SUMMER MAGIC
    what can i say hayley mills is a disney legend,and this movie is one of her masterpeices beside THE PARENT TRAP,THE MOON-SPINNERS,POLLYANNA...and many other disney films this movie has an excellent plot and a wonderful cast i give this 5 stars!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful picture
    This picture may not be rich in plot but it has a wonderful air about it that will make you feel good all over.When I was a child I begged my parents to take me to this movie. My parents ignored me and took me to a movie they wanted to see. As it turned out the movie they wanted to see had a sneak preview of Summer Magic. For years I have resisted purchasing this Hayley Mills classic. I don't know why I waited. It is excellent.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Corny
    This movie is very corny. It is also annoying. It is a little unrealistic that everything would work out so well for this family. It is horribly corny. It is unbelieveable because Hayley Mills has a British accent and her family does not. Burl Ives's role is also cheesy (what else is new), and the name of the dude who owns the house's name is stolen from the bass player is Aerosmith, Tom Hamilton. The movie glorifies old ideals, such as country being better than the city. U should stay away from this one. It is not worth a stinking penny.

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's really good!
    I love the end part when the owner of the house shows up and they dance and everyone just stares at him. Isn't he cute?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Soft Summer Magic
    Hi! I'm Becky age 14. I've watched this a couple times, and loved it all the times. It does not include any offensive words, or anything eles concernig PG-13 movies. I wasn't around when Hayley Mills was a huge star or seen the rest of her movies or anything, but she did a wonderful job of acting. The special effects aren't incredably great by todays standards, but include that Disney Magic. Oh yeah, and the plot it great, a little slow in parts, but still great. This got boring after a while, so rent it a video rental store before you by it. Have fun! ... Read more


    7. Brideshead Revisited
    list price: $79.95
    our price: $59.96
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    Asin: B00005JLG2
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2207
    Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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    Fill a bowl with alpine strawberries, break out the Château Lafite (1899, of course), and bask in this benchmark 1981 British miniseries based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. Adapted for the screen by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey), this impeccable, nearly 11-hour production mesmerized American viewers during the course of its PBS run in 1982. In his breakthrough role, Jeremy Irons stars as Charles Ryder, a disillusioned Army captain who is moved to reflect on his "languid days" in the "enchanted castle" that was Brideshead, home of the aristocratic Marchmain family, whose acquaintance Charles made in the company of an Oxford classmate, the charming wild child Sebastian. Anthony Andrews costars as the doomed Sebastian, whose beauty is "arresting" and "whose eccentricities and behavior seemed to know no bounds." The "entitled and enchanted" Sebastian takes Charles under his wing ("Charles, what a lot you have to learn"), but vows early on that he is "not going to let [Charles] get mixed up with [his] family." But mixed up Charles gets. He becomes a friend and confidante, not to mention a lover, to Sebastian's sister Julia (Diana Quick). Meanwhile, the self-destructive Sebastian's life spirals out of control. Brideshead Revisited boasts a distinguished ensemble, including Laurence Olivier in his Emmy Award-winning role as the exiled Lord Marchmain, Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain, and the magnificent John Gielgud as Charles's estranged father. Grand locations and a haunting musical score make this a memorable revisit of an irretrievable bygone era. For those who scheduled their weeks around the original Monday-night broadcasts or those visiting Brideshead for the first time, this boxed set release will be, as Charles rhapsodizes at one point while strolling the castle grounds, "very near to heaven." --Donald Liebenson ... Read more

    Reviews (41)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great TV drama
    This is a beautiful television production. Nothing I have seen captures so well the manners, dress, language and attitudes of upper and upper-middle class Britain in the twenties and thirties.

    The acting is superb, the script even better. Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, John Mortimer's dialogue wastes not a word and uses pauses and silences to extraordinary effect.

    As a portrayal of a family and its entourage this 11-part series bears comparison with the very best, even perhaps the Godfathers I and II, and with top notch photography to portray the stunning sets - on an art deco-drenched QEII, at Oxford, Castle Howard and at a Venice Palazzo - this could be the ultimate TV production of all time.

    But perfect as it is technically, Brideshead has, for me at least, a couple of problems. The first is, the sheer improbability of the main plot. Essentially, the central figure and narrator, initially rather boring Charles, makes friends with dashing Lord Sebastien Flyte at Oxford (after the latter vomits through Charles' window), and finds himself immediately taken into the bosum of Flyte's highly aristocratic family; ultimately Sebastien's ravishing sister Julia falls in love with him and he comes very near to inheriting the family estate. The Flyte/Marchmain family is portrayed as charming, but also deeply and somewhat offensively dismissive of anyone they consider beneath them: Julia becomes quite vicious about her husband Rex, once she has tired of him. Lord Marchmain, a rather feckless former alcoholic and wife-hater, at one point muses on Neville Chamberlain who at that moment was doing his best to avoid world war "knew him. Mediocre fellow". I just can't believe that this family would have given tuppence for Charles, a mere middle-class architectural painter, far less virtually adopted him.

    The second problem is that Charles is not even very likeable. He drifts through the film looking bored or worried and acting self-righteously. He cheats on his wife and generally bad mouths her, prefers to consort with his lover than go see his two year-old child who he's never actually seen due to a long trip abroad, and does little to actually help his dear friend Sebastien (who has descended into alcoholism) except frequently tell us morosely and self-indulgently how much he loved him and what a sacred love it was.

    The cause of these problems surely goes back to Waugh himself and the original novel, which was part autobiography, part wish-fulfilment. Waugh was partly Charles, and like Charles, Waugh wasn't always lovable. The upper classes were Waugh's favorite subject, his bread and butter, and his vice. He was irresistibly drawn to them and wanted them to love him and confide in him too. Sometimes they did, because he was a brilliant society novelist, not just a good architectural painter. But not quite as much as everybody, from servants to Lord and Lady Marchmain, appears to love Charles.

    However, I think this only makes the whole production more interesting. And such is the charm of the brilliant cast, which includes Jeremy Irons in the lead along with Olivier and Gielgud in majestic supporting roles, I suspect many people will consider my low opinion of the characters quite misplaced.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well, it's about time!
    Well, it's about time. One of the best (in my opinion, the best) of the British mini-series has finally made it to DVD. Although not perfect, the transfer is very good indeed, and a vast improvement over my ancient tapes.

    My only (minor) complaints involve the sound, which is occasionally a little muddy; and now and again the dialogue seems ever so slightly out of sync with the actors. Also, there is no close captioning or English subtitles.

    But forget that and think of what we're getting: an excellent adaptation of Waugh's fine novel; first-rate performances (keep a special eye out for John Gielgud, who gives what must be one of the funniest performances ever put on screen); glorious location sets and period costumes which can be appreciated fully now that their colors can be seen.

    There are a few extras on the disc, and a small booklet with some interesting information. But it's the show that's the thing here, and it gets the treatment it deserves. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars British drama at its best
    This must be one of the alltime classics of British drama. Saw it on TV when it was aired, bought the VHS and when released on DVD, bought it on DVD. Well, that must be saying something. It is one of my favourites. I think this must be one of those productions where you can say in hindsight that you would have done it in exactly the same way. I do not have higher praise to give. Shame the DVD release does not give extras and is really badly done. One would have thought that a high profile production like this deserved a better fate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Et In Arcadia Ego
    Brideshead revisited, Evelyn Waugh's portrait of a world trying to come to terms with the obliteration of what for its inhabitants were absolute certainties, by war and its aftermath represents a mountain of almost Himalayan proportions for any would-be adaptor, so much so that it's surprising that anyone was ever mad enough to try. Luckily for us though John Mortimer (more widely celebrated for "Rumpole of the Bailey") was indeed mad enough to give it a go. What he came up with has over the intervening years come to be seen as one of the finest adapted screen plays ever set before the viewing public.

    Remaining remarkably faithful to the spirit of the book, Brideshead Revisited is told from the prospective of the painter Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons). From a decidedly upper middle class background, when we first meet our narrator, Charles is an officer in the British army at the outbreak of World War 2 whose general disillusionment is exceeded only by his distaste for army life. From this present we are taken back twenty years by Charles' reminisces to his first term at Oxford University at the beginning of the 1920's and to his developing relationship with the aristocratic and charmingly dissolute Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews). Supported by a truly superb cast of characters including, Jane Asher, Diana Quick, Clair Bloom, Nikolas Grace, Sir John Gielgud and in what was to be his final performance Sir Laurence Olivier. The acting is just what you would expect from such an accomplished bunch, as close to perfection as can ever be obtained.

    As absorbing as the story is, it is almost overshadowed by other aspects of this production. Shot on location at Castle Howard, Yorkshire (the home of the then chairman of the BBC George Howard, even though this production was made by the BBC's rival Granada Television), Oxford, Venice and aboard the cruise ship the Queen Elizabeth II. The location filming has a beauty that at times can be truly breathtaking, with a lushness and sensuality that is a perfect foil for the decadence of the Sebastian and his circle.

    Just as in Waugh's original text, the whole atmosphere of the piece is redolent with nostalgia. This takes two forms, the most prominent from the beginning is Charles' nostalgia for his youth and idealism, his feeling that his life could be what he wanted it to be, the friends he knew, his time with the Flyte family and his love for Lady Julia. Secondly and perhaps most importantly is nostalgia for the world of the Victorian and Edwardian upper classes with its certainties and its view of Britain as the centre of the greatest Empire that the world had ever known. Post World War 1, it was rare to find an aristocratic British family who had not suffered the loss of a Father, Son or Brother in the trenches and this longing for a world which was as "irrecoverable as Lyonnesse" was all too real for many people of all classes and backgrounds.

    In this story of the rise and to a certain extent destruction of a single man, Waugh has given us a metaphor not only for the British aristocracy, but for the wealthy and socially mobile wherever and whenever they may be. I remember once discussing the novel with my Father and he expressed the opinion that while Waugh may not have loved the aristocracy as such, he certainly loved the life of an aristocrat. In many way's Brideshead Revisited reminds me of Edward Elgars' Cello Concerto, possessing the same kind of painful beauty combined with the most agonising sense of grief and heartache, but in the final analysis it is this love that colours both the book and this adaptation, rendering it as sublime as the memory of a summers afternoon and just as unattainable.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An intriguing mini-series
    I came across this mini-series completely by accident. The episode descriptions sounded interesting, and I am a fan of British period drama, so I decided to give it a try. I was really suprised at how much effort went into it--after taking a peek at a few chapters of the novel, I found that it's an almost word for word adaptation. The characters are all well developed and fascinating, but none is more intriguing than the tragic Sebastian. In addition to the story, the scenery and the performances given by all involved make this mini-series one to remember. ... Read more


    8. Beckett on Film DVD Set
    Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Walter Asmus, John Crowley, Aton Egoyan, Richard Eyre, Charles Garrad, Damien Hirst, Enda Hughes, Niel Jordan, Robin Lefevre, David Mamet, Conor McPherson, Anthony Minghella, Katie Mitchell, Damien O'Donnell, Karel Reisz, Patricia Rozema
    list price: $149.95
    our price: $149.95
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    Asin: B00006FXQN
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 11409
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    The hugely ambitious Beckett on Film project gathered together 19different directors to turn the 19 stage works written by Samuel Beckettinto films. The range is vast--from the 45-second Breath to the twohours of his most famous play, Waiting for Godot--but all the worksreflect Beckett's penetrating obsessions with memory, regret, and thesimple, excruciating experience of being. Not every film succeeds--likeall great theater, Beckett's plays demand interaction with a live audienceto express their full intent--and though scholars tout Beckett's everyword as genius, several works are slight (Catastrophe, OhioImpromptu, or What Where will leave many viewers unimpressed).But all the plays feature Beckett's uniquely distilled language; thegreatest of them--including Waiting for Godot (in which two trampspass the time while they wait for someone who may never come),Endgame (in which a blind man and his lame servant bicker and jokeas the world declines), and Play (in which a love triangle isbitterly recalled by two women and a man in urns)--are astonishing in boththeir potent humor and piercing grief.

    Though Beckett's stature drew in animpressive array of directors (including Anthony Minghella, PatriciaRozema, and Neil Jordan) and actors (including Jeremy Irons, JulianneMoore, Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Michael Gambon, and JohnGielgud), some of the finest work comes from relative unknowns. But thegem of the collection is Krapp's Last Tape, about an old manrevisiting his life through recordings he has made throughout his years.It's the perfect marriage of text, actor (the incomparable John Hurt), anddirector (Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter); in their hands, theplay spins from deeply funny to deeply sad, all with only the slightestdim of the light in Hurt's eyes. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Worth a look.
    2 stars is misleading. I would recommend this to anyone interested in Becket. To see a directors interpretation of his work provided invaluable insights into both the works themselves, and the process of directing film.
    That being said, I was not amazed. The potential of a four disk DVD and large booklet, exclusively Becket, was unlimited. The product was a half-dozen enjoyable plays, and not even a documentary on Becket. In their great humility, they made a documentary, about themselves, making the DVD you are about to purchase. Great.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Who Put the Film in the Beckett on Film Project?
    Directors working on stage-to-screen adaptations find themselves torn between dual obligations to both the original work and the new medium. In the case of creating a collection of films meant to highlight the playwright's vision, questions raised by these obligations become even more controversial: should they remain true to the text, even if elements of the play don't work well on film? Dare they change those elements to better fit their new mode of expression? And in the case of Beckett, what percentage of the collections' earnings should go towards manic-depressive treatment centers? Of course, total objectivity in stage-to-screen adaptation remains a pipe dream. But we have to remember that even a theatric production has a director, who-while possibly faced with less decisions than a film director-invariably must makes choices leading to his own personal interpretation of the play. Ultimately, every production of a play, be it for DVD or Broadway, interprets rather than mirrors the original work. Therefore, the Beckett on Film Project should not be regarded as an unbiased representation, but rather an ambitious interpretation of one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. And in this regard, with few exceptions, the Beckett on Film Project shines with commendable effectiveness.

    I wish to illustrate a few interpretive anomalies in the collection, to give you an idea of both the kinds of adaptive problems these directors had to face and some of their solutions. Consider "Act Without Words II," a short and dialogue-free play in which two characters mime their different daily routines against a narrow backdrop "violently lit in its entire length, [with] the rest of the stage in darkness." Director Edna Hughes chose to divide this backdrop into three film frames and to add a movie reel-like quality to the video. This constant reminder that we are watching a film is the same sort of self-referential metatextuality we find in many of Beckett's plays. Hughes' interpretive decision regarding the background also reinforces the repetitive theme of the play. That is to say, these characters' routines will go on and on, day after day, just as this very movie is being filmed-one frame after another. Hughes' use of a freeze-frame effect also highlights the technological superiority that film holds over its older cousin, theatre. The play calls for a "Frieze effect," but only on film can this be accomplished literally; in theatre it must be acted out. These changes by Hughes show intelligence in both his reading and adapting of the play to screen. Now, for something of a contrary example, consider one of Beckett's most famous short plays, "Play," in which three characters, trapped in urns, are forced to perpetually retell the story of the love triangle between them. The inquisitor: a lone spotlight that dictates which one of the three urns speaks, when, and for how long. But director Anthony Minghella's version gets rid of the light altogether, in favor of a loud and sometimes shaky camera, whose stronger presence is meant to take the light's place as these characters' inquisitor. Minghella's technique here ultimately falls somewhere between failure and success. The audible clicks and zooms of the camera do, for a time, give the viewer a feeling of submersion within the scene; since the camera now questions these characters, and we as viewers share the camera's gaze, the film achieves an interesting effect that draws us into the world of the story. But the camera cuts between the three urns so many times that the sense of a "unique inquisitor," as Beckett requests, soon dissipates. Not that the adaptation adds nothing to the play; once or twice, the camera pans around to give a broad scene of the background, a dark, foggy, and graveyard-like field littered with many more people in urns. While this background reduces the ambiguity of setting present in the original play, it does so perhaps necessarily, and in addition, clearly suggests that these characters' situations are in fact meant to be symbolic of some greater human condition. Ultimately, we recognize a tradeoff for every one of these questions of adaptation, but by and large, as these two examples illustrate, the gain outweighs the loss in the Beckett on Film Project. Or, put simply: the directors and actors earn their paychecks.

    Now keep in mind that despite the interpretive decisions I just described, the main thrust of this collection remains Beckett's. What does that mean? It means that these plays glimmer and shine with a bleak despair. The most dramatic moments are often the most comedic, and the only happy characters-well, forget about happy characters (after all, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness," as Nell from Endgame tells us). But, dismal as they can be, Beckett's plays always manage to match their gloom in originality, creativity, and importance. They pose critical questions about what it means to exist as a human being. Do we simply spend our days idly, waiting-for Godot or anything else? Do we bury ourselves in the desert when we say "I do"? Can our condition be reduced to the emblem of a solitary finch, living in a draped cage with a dead mate and only a cuttle-bone to eat, in a darkened room stalked by a black cat whose own life depends on a suicidal man standing at a window? Whether or not you agree, you cannot help but ask, once Beckett has shown you the shadowy corners of his imagination. And keep in mind his influence on theatre and even art in general. Often touted as odd and sometimes inaccessible, but always brilliant, Beckett's plays deserve our attention, whether or not we choose to buy the Beckett on Film collection. What these productions add to Beckett's vision is an important sense of a modern moment. How have the technological advances made since Beckett's death affected what it means to be Beckettian? And how do the questions his work poses affect you? It's worth your time to find out.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
    Those who are familiar with the original productions will find this collection both exhilarating and frustrating. The more faithful the directors are to Beckett's vision, the more successful the adaptation to film. Come and Go is perhaps the purest of them, and also the most chilling. Other effective adaptations include Krapp's Last Tape, Rough for Theatre II, Act Without Words II, A Piece of Monologue, and Play (Minghella's truly -cinematic- adaptation probably deserves the highest marks). I'm ambivalent about many others, not least Ohio Impromptu and Catastrophe.

    Unfortunately the longer plays (Godot, Happy Days, and Endgame) suffer from the directors' mistaken impression that Beckett's characters must be decrepit, disgusting, and/or humorless. Quite the contrary, there is levity and compassion to be found in Beckett's work, and without it his meditations become intolerable rather than incisive. Godot has its moments, but it's not nearly as effective (or funny) as any number of previous productions.

    Pacing is also a significant issue here. Beckett's plays (excepting Not I and Play) demand a very slow reading, with an abundance of silence. Many of these adaptations simply plow through the texts with no apparent consideration of heft or nuance; Rockaby is probably the most egregious example. Other directorial liberties make Not I and What Where wholly unacceptable; these simply cannot be considered Beckett's work.

    Happily, more Beckett productions are becoming available on DVD. You can purchase Happy Days with Irene Worth's excellent performance on this very site, three plays (Eh Joe, Footfalls, Rockaby) starring Beckett's favorite actress Billie Whitelaw, and a DVD of Beckett Directs Beckett (the three long plays) hopefully in the near future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, with one exception.
    First let me say I've been waiting my whole adult life for this collection. I've spent 30 years trying to collect audio and video recordings of Beckett's work, and suddenly here are all the theatre peices in one beautiful package. The chance that you will ever find another film version of most of these works, or ever have a chance to see them on stage, is almost nil. If you love Waiting for Godot and Endgame, you will not regret the money spent on this. Unlike most plays and almost all movies, these are peices to be seen again and again, over a lifetime, letting the beauty and subtlety of Beckett's language slowly soak into your being.

    That being said, I was disappointed with only one peice: Endgame. With Michael Gambon as one of the leads, I expected the most from this play. But I'm afraid he was badly misdirected in this. He simply enjoys his dispair too much. He enjoys being a selfish, cruel master and his "Perhaps I could go on..." speech (one of Beckett's greatest)loses all its power. Gambon delivers this with hardly a pause, rambling on with the same puckish tone as the rest of his performance. (I thought maybe I was just too used to an earlier film version directed by Beckett, so I went back to the script to check this. After almost every phrase in the speech, Beckett has written (Pause). Without these pauses to let the anguish of the words sink into our minds, the speech carries no more weight than the rest of the text. Well, probably much more than you wanted to know.)

    Short Review: BUY THIS NOW! You'll be watching these films again and again as long as you own a DVD player.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Artist of the Century
    Curious that DVD Basen, the wonderful Danish web-compendium of dvd reviews from all over the world, has yet to register a word on BECKETT ON FILM, by any measure the dvd release of the year. These film renditions of Samuel Beckett's nineteen works for the stage (which is not the same as his "complete dramatic works," which would include radio plays and scripts for television), are, for the most part, thrillingly successful. The plays fall into two types. WAITING FOR GODOT, ENDGAME, KRAPP'S LAST TAPE, and HAPPY DAYS, however revolutionary in their time, still more or less conform to the conventional understanding of what a play is, ie: they contain recognizable characters and the shortest is an hour long. Despite the filmmakers' protests to make true movies of these plays, as opposed to "filmed plays," each of their single-locale settings make the theatrical origins of each work inescapable. Having said that, they are the best "filmed plays" this viewer has ever seen. Most of the remaining plays, particularly the late plays, are very short (under 15 minutes), and as Alan Rickman remarks, seem more like installations or "performance art," then full-fledged plays. What makes these works among the greatest plays ever written is precisely their inability to be transfered to another medium. With one exception, each of these little films, even the most brilliant of them (I'm thinking of the mind-blowing PLAY), must somehow compromise itself as a play in order to make the transition to film. The exception is OHIO IMPROMPTU. The intensity of this two character, ten minute piece perhaps reaches the full measure of its power as a film. Beckett's stage directions specify that its two actors be as alike as possible. On film, they can be exactly alike, by virtue of being played by the same actor, namely Jeremy Irons, who has famously played twins before. Despite the actor's disavowal, the characters of Reader and Listener can't help but conjure the image of DEAD RINGERS' Elliot commiserating with his twin brother Beverly aeons from hence in their own personal purgatory. Irons' performance is impeccable and affecting, although the Beckett purist might wish there were a little less of it. The performances throughout the plays are deliriously good, with the sad exception of the beautiful FOOTFALLS, which suffers from an overly mannered delivery on the part of its two actresess. One can only feel sorry for the director saddled with the relentlessly uncinematic THAT TIME. But BECKETT ON FILM is mostly a box of treasure, and a gift to the world. ... Read more


    9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition)
    Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $20.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005O3VC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 72
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (630)

    5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best comedies ever and dvd extras to rave about!
    This is what dvds were invented for -- there are so many great features here! So in addition to seeing one of the funniest movies ever made, you can be entertained for hours with the extras, and the extras are terrific: subtitles in English, French or Spanish; audio track choices -- English (the original mono or a brand new full stereo version), French, a directors' (Gilliam and Jones) track or a commentary track with Cleese, Idle and Palin; a copy of the script overlaid on the film; a painstaking, hilarious Henry the IV-ish subtitle for those who don't like the film; a hard-of-hearing feature; killer rabbit easter eggs; animated menus using Gilliam's original animation; karaoke renditions of 'Knights of the Round Table', 'Sir Robin' and the 'Monks Chant'; a delightful 45 minute visit to the locations with Jones and Palin; an educational film about the 'other' uses of coconuts; Japanese versions of the French Castle and Knights Who Say Ni scenes, including references to the 'holy sake cup'; a 1974 BBC Film Night visit to a location site during filming; photos of tickets, press releases, reviews, posters, production stills and original artwork; trailers; cast credits (Palin played over a dozen parts!) with pictures of each character; a Lego knights version of the Camelot scene; pictures of sketches that were never used (a killer snail?!); a web link.

    A lot of effort went into this special edition dvd, and it shows. I particularly enjoyed seeing Jones and Palin visit locations. They were in a jolly mood, their comments are interspersed with film footage, and they meet affectionate and funny fans along the way.

    If you like this film you will love this dvd version; if you love the film, you wil adore this two-dvd set. An essential item for your collection.

    Highest recommendation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Never Thought Looking For A Shrubbery Would Be This Fun!!
    In the early 1970's the Monty Python troop (Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones) stars from the immensely popular television series Monty Python's Flying Circus began producing, with the help of a fundraising concert headlined by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (You lie!! No, I didn't!), initial photography on what would later become (from all my extensive years of movie watching) the single most unforgivably sidesplitting, enormously irreverent, shrewdly perceptive, unremittingly uproariously aggressive, gruesomely hysterical, and endlessly quotable comedies EVER. Not even Mel Brooks's Best Efforts (The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) comes very close to the revolutionary medieval merriment sustained in this royal purebred of cult classics. BAR NONE. No contest here.

    Endlessly stockpiled with hauntingly hysterical sketches that will probably never leave your mind (no matter how hard you try) including, The Knights Who Say Nei, The Self-Abusing Monks (Eah aay ess eay dom eay nay), The Black Knight, The Trojan Rabbit, the Ever-Appearing Verbally Abusing French (I don't want to talk to you no more!!!), The Enchanter Named Tim, The Killer Bunny, The Bridge of Death (What is the capital of Hysteria?), The Old Woman Named Dennis, and so many countless more great sketches to include here that I'd die trying. Monty and Python and the Holy Grail remains an ever-enriching mirthful cult-classic that just seems to improve with age. Since Columbia has a bountifully hefty new special edition of the Holy Grail out now there should be no excuse, if you've never seen it (I think I'll go for a walk!!), just drop everything your doing (including Bringing Out Your Dead) and go experience this life changing movie today. You won't be disappointed, just tell them the Knight Not Appearing In This Film sent you, and they'll know what to do.

    As for the options on the special edition here's a run-down:

    Disc One: -"21st Anniversary" cut of the film running an extra 24 seconds; -Anamorphic Widescreen; -Dolby 5.1 track; -Original Mono Track; -Audio commentary with Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin; -subtitles "for people who don't like the film" (you get the text from Shakespeare's Henry IV instead); -an "on-screen screenplay" feature which lets you read the screenplay as you watch the film; -"Follow the Killer Rabbit" feature;

    Disc Two: "Three Mindless Sing-Alongs"; -"The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations" featurette; -"How to Use Your Coconuts" educational film; -"Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Japanese" (with English subtitles); -the BBC Film Night special "On Location with the Pythons; -an interactive cast directory; -still galleries with Terry Gilliam's original sketches and behind-the-scenes photos; -"A Load Of Rubbish" with mystery items; -unused ideas and other material; -two trailers
    and web-links.

    Both discs represent the absolute final word resource for EVERYTHING and I do mean everything you'd need to know about the Python's greatest film. An Absolute Necessity for any Python Fan!!

    P.S. You can't base a system of government just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What are you going to do, bleed on me?
    excellent. Possibly the funniest movie ever made. Who could forget such a line as "I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of eldeberries." This is a great movie and a great dvd edition that gives it justice. This is completely worth the money. A comedy Classic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This movie didn't make me Run Away! (or) Run away FASTER!!!
    Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail is, by far, my favorite movie -and I'm sure it always will be! Being a truly hilariously-random film, this DVD does an awesome job of showcasing this fact to the highest extent. The killer white "rrrrabit" will live on in my heart forever, and I will always be knowledgeable that African swallows are non-migratory. What other movie has a group of knights requesting shrubberies -from King Arthur, no less- to create a 'two-level effect with a path through the middle'? Only Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    The movie might sound strange as I mention these things out of context, but I assure you it is much stranger when Monty Python says it!
    So, to conclude this review, I definitely give "Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail" DVD a 5 star rating, as I know it will entertain millions for years to come. Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Lego Camelot Number Alone is Worth the Price
    Who would have thought that, after nearly 30 years, the world's goofiest movie could be made even moreso? Not only is this DVD a comedy triumph (it would be simply if it were the DVD version of the classic film, in which a crew too broke to afford horses for King Arthur and his Knights changed history and college kids' banter forever by introducing coconuts as migrating props). Oh, no, this DVD is one that may become a standard for other DVDs. Just look at this list of extras above! To be sure, some of them are fluff. The "load of rubbish" selection is simply some receipts and a few odd notes. But most of it is stupendous.

    The first disc contains the movie itself, along with some choices of how to watch it.... subtitles, commentary by directors Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam or by John Cleese & Eric Idle & Michael Palin. Then "for people who don't like the film", there's subtitles from Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part II". Now, these do not faithfully follow Henry IV verse by verse, but they do come from the play, and it's hilarious how the phrases Shakespeare wrote do actually match up with the action on the screen.

    Disc Two contains several mementoes: a film of John Cleese, Terry Jones, and "Grail" production manager John Young (who also played the hapless "Historian" towards the end of the film, and the "I'm not dead!" guy) paying a return visit to Castle Doune , in 2000. At first it's fun to hear them reminisce at the filming site, but since it's a very small spot with nothing but a wall and a bit of ground, they appear uncomfortable and that quickly gets old. More interesting is the home movie made by the two Terries when they looked for prospective film locations in the seventies. Their excitement is palpable.

    A somewhat painful scene (except for the chance it gives us to watch Terry Jones in action as a director) is the BBC documentary made during filming. The interviewer seems more interested in trying to be funny himself than in the Pythons. But there are several great comic extras, including words to some songs, a coconut skit, two scenes dubbed in Japanese, and best of all, an animated feature of the "Camelot" scene and song done entirely in Lego...must be seen to be believed.

    Finally, someone has made good use of the storage space on a DVD. ... Read more


    10. The Transformers - The Movie
    Director: Nelson Shin
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004YA6T
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1226
    Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (426)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stop Complaining
    I REALLY hate these reviewers saying this is a bad dvd. For 20 bucks, you get enhanced visuals and sound, a commentary from the composer [Music is halfthe movie, after all!], AND the uncut edition you'd previously have to buy through Canada or bootleg! Rhino could've sold this at 30 bucks-like most dvd's-but they're LOSING money by selling it to the fans at vhs retail. If you think Lucas will give you a better deal, then don't buy this and wait another decade for the Star Wars trilogy! And yes, I consider this the best deal I've ever had on a dvd! It's perfect, exactly like I remembered it, but with the curse words I missed the first time around. It almost makes me feel like I'm watching Macross Plus; that's how good it looks and sounds. Transformers fans-like myself-MUST own it. DVD's like this are reasons I'm glad to own a dvd player. Now let's hope the He-man movie on dvd happens too. (And I mean the animated movie, not the horrible live action-flick with Dolph Lundgren.)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The coolest Transformer movie created!
    This movie rocks! Just if you're wondering, the Transformers are two legions of robots who war over the control of their home world, Cybertron. These robots convert from vehicle to robot, whenever they please. The good guys are the Autobots: Hot Rod, Kup, Blurr, RC, Ultra Magnus, Blaster, Wreck-Gar, Perceptor, Ironhide, Jazz, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, and of course, the legendary Optimus Prime (there are other Autobots; too many to list). The bad guys are the Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Astrotrain, Bombshell, Kickback, Barrage, Shrapnel, Venom, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Bonecrusher, Hook, Laung Haul (Bonecrusher, Hook, Laung Haul and a bunch of other guys combine to form the most powerful Decepticon called Devestator), and more.
    What really was dumb to jam in the movie was 2 swear words. I thought the coolest scene in the movie was Hot Rod opening the Matrix of Leadership and Transform into Rodimus Prime, and also "lighting their darkest hour" while playing "The Touch" in the backround. Having the coolest soundtrack a director could dream of, this movie is probably the coolest you'll ever see! By the way, the Transformers theme song and the song called "Dare" are in my favorite range of soundtrack. Hope this reveiw helped everyone who read it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One word AWSOME
    I went to see this movie when I was a teen in the theaters. It was an awesome movie to see in the theaters. Now my son is into the Transformers and found my VHS of the movie and plays it all the time. He actually likes it better than ARMADA, ENERGON BEAST WARS and MACHINE WARS. About 4 years ago I went thru a lot of trouble getting a VHS of the movie (It took me over a year of searching and finally I got it from a Canadian video company). I'm glad to see the DVD has come out. It is a great movie a lot of action, humor and watching it with my son he sees that war has consequences. Every now and then we will put sound thru the stereo and put the headphones on. Now I got to get the DVD because he may wear out the VHS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of theTransformer's movies.
    I went to see this movie when I was a teen in the theaters. It was an awesome movie to see in the theaters. Now my son is into the Transformers and found my VHS of the movie and plays it all the time. He actually likes it better than ARMADA, ENERGON,BEAST WARS and MACHINE WARS. About 4 years ago I went thru a lot of trouble getting a VHS of the movie (It took me over a year of searching and finally I got it from a Canadian video company). I'm glad to see the DVD has come out. It is a great movie a lot of action, humor and watching it with my son he sees that war has consequences. Every now and then we will put sound thru the stereo and put the headphones on. Now I got to get the DVD because he may wear out the VHS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Disney can take their movies and stick em up their wazoos
    Disney artists need to take lessons from this movie. Disney uses a lot of lazy computer animation, which usually looks horrible.

    This movie is 99 percent actual hand drawn animation. All of which looks superb.

    The music is also great. About 6 great songs with that 80's hard rock attitude.

    For another example for great hand drawn animation, check out G.I. Joe the movie. ... Read more


    11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Chris Columbus
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00008DDXC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 214
    Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    The next installment in the Harry Potter series finds young wizard Harry Potter (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) and his friends Ron Weasley (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione Granger (EMMA WATSON) facing new challenges during their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they try to uncover a dark force that is terrorizing the school. ... Read more

    Reviews (649)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinatingly enchanting as it is entertaining
    Summer vacation is a dreaded time for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) as it means having to endure the histronics of his mean aunt and uncle. Returning back to his Hogwarts School of Witchcraft would seem a much wiser option but Dobby the House Elf warns him of "a plot to make most terrible things" is in the brewing. With disregard of the warning, the boy wizard begins his sophomore year at the school of magic - and things happen - when his schoolmates are 'petrified' into statues. In fact this is only the beginning when he later takes on gigantic spiders, screeching mandrakes, Fawkes the phoenix and the fearsome Basilisk.

    The second entry adapted from J.K Rowling's legacy has neither the epic sweep of the fourth book (The Goblet of fire) nor the mystery of the third (The Prisoner of Azkaban) but is nonetheless an engaging adventure and a riveting story. What's more with director Chris Colombus at the helm who shows more precision and familiarity after his first attempt, Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets is a majestic adventure filled with visionary sets and fluid CGI effects that astonishingly enhance the darker fantasy tale and adventure. The soaring adventure thrills with its enshrouding perils, awesome moments of wonder and enlightening morality and friendship.

    It thus resembles more of an awkward adolescence stage in this saga for the three main casts. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grinch as Harry, Hermoine and Ron reprises their role with the loss of their innocence along with veterans Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, the late Richard Harris as the benevolent headmaster Dumbledore, Robbie Coltrane as giant Hagrid and Alan Rickman as Professor Snape. The new interlopers are equally scene-grabbing in their own rights: Kenneth Branagh does a rib-tickling interpretation of braggadocio Gilderoy Lockheart as well as Jason Issacs as the wicked Lucius Malfoy.

    With a solidly ensembled cast and sumptuous sets, the second installment is fascinatingly entertaining as it is enchanting enough to sustain its 3 long hours without any misgivings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just as good if not better!
    This DVD gives you a great movie, lots of special features, and great commentary from the stars and people behind the scenes. Just as good a movie as the first Harry Potter installment, this is definitely a great addition to anyone's DVD collection!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not as goood as the book
    This film is not as good as the book, but still a very good film. There are a few scenes from the book that I wish had made the final cut. It does drag a little after the climax, but those scenes are need to tie up loose plot lines as well as items that might have an impact in future editions.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets-Widescreen Edition
    This movie was definately a great work of theatre and art alike. The entire movie was captivating, and while the director, Christopher Columbus, could of done better on some parts, this movie does what most do not, and it stayed true to the book. I loved this, and I watched it about 3 times before I was satisfied with it! Go get the movie and see it, and you'll see what I mean!!! The scenes with the Chammber of Secrets were beautifully detailed, giving you a clearer picture than even the book did! So buy this, sit back and be amazed by the production of Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts school of Withcraft and Wizardry! Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Harry Does It Again! Better Than The First!
    "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" pulls off something that only "The Empire Strikes Back" has done. It's better than the first film! Not only is the story more interesting(though the first was tops as well), it's packed with even more wonder and imagination than the first as well. The castmembers of the first flick return, as well as Kenneth Branagh in a superb performance as Lockhart, the bumbling, vain writer of "Magical Me."

    I'm sure the naysayers had a wonderful time bashing this sequel for its evil undertones. Students get "petrified" and the basilisk takes shots at Harry, but all in all, Harry prevails. He makes the right choices, does the good deeds and fights a good fight. How dare he promote such horrible values!

    Please folks, I used up a lot of space harping on how kids need to have fun in my review of the first film. The same applies to this movie as well. Don't worry about your kid becoming a warlock or praying to Satan, just let them have a little fun. If you raise them right, you won't have to worry about any of that anyway.

    The "Potter" books encourage kids to read and use their imagination. That's a good thing in my book. The movies encourage kids to use their imaginations as well.

    You've just got to love something that promotes so many good things. We need more heroes like Harry. He's a good character to let your kids read about and watch on the big screen. He's caring to others, takes his studies reasonably serious(you might want to promote Hermione's study habits to your kids, though) and he always tries to do the right thing.

    Overall this movie is fun and enjoyable for the whole family. Some of the scenes might scare the little ones, but this movie is worth explaining those scenes in order to get the message across.

    Watch this one and have a ton of fun. It's great for everybody. Highly recommended. ... Read more


    12. Dragonheart - Collector's Edition
    Director: Rob Cohen
    list price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0783225814
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 6481
    Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (102)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT AND TOUCHING MOVIE!
    DragonHeart was a great movie. A relaxin g break from all of the no stop action packed thrillers like Armageddon. Not that I didn't like Armageddon, it was just too fast. DragonHeart was excellent. That ending was different but made the movie extra ordinary. Sean Connery and Dennis Quaid were exceptional.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, naa,500 more like.
    Dragonheart is an excellent movie! Great actors, better story,and BRILLIANT special effects. You may think I'm exaggerating, after all I am a fan of dragons but honestly, Sean Connery gives it a SIZZLING effect.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A lot of great stuff
    This DVD is full of neat extras. You get commentary from a director that very obviously cared a great deal about this film, documentaries, and other cool features. Added to a very pleasant film, this makes a very ownable package that is worth having.

    If you buy this disc for no other reason, buy it for the ground-breaking special effect of Draco. The world's first entirely computer generated leading character in a live action film looks phenomenal. Don't think this is just another Jurasic Park effect. Draco is on another level altogether. He flys, he fights, he runs, he even sings (to a cute little Dina Meyers no less). Dennis Quaid has definately had better roles and better dialogue to work with, but as always, he absolutely becomes his character. Draco was actually designed around the personality and mannerisms of Sean Connery, so you can imagine that he does a pretty good job of fitting into the role of the last living dragon. Dina Meyers is adorable and dangerous, once again proving she is a very talented young lady in search of a role worthy of her, and whatever the bad guy's name is (that snotty little guy with bad skin and a huge nose) is once again absolutely abhorrent. I can't believe this guy ever got a role in film at all, much less that he used to play good guys. He's utterly dislikable from the word go.

    Dragonheart is a fun film, looks great, and comes with a lot of nice added features in this format. It's well worth the purchase price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale for dragon enthusiasts
    The making of a dragon movie has been neglected for to long. This movie makes up for that neglect. I am TOTALLY pleased with how they betray dragons in this movie. Draco is the good guy! So many stories make dragons bad. This dragon is a loving, gentleman. This is truly a sad movie. I cried when I saw it. Dragons are so misunderstod by the people in this tale, and that leads to there extinction. Dennis Quade is great in this movie, he befriends Draco and tires to help him. I forgive his charcter for killing so many dragons(he was ignorant to the truth). This movie is a must for fantasy lovers. Everything in this movie is great. The special effects are superb. Sean Connery is absolutely loveable as Draco. If you love dragons or fantasy, you will not be dissapointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great movie of special effects and a special message.
    DragonHeart is an exceptional movie, both in story and in special effects. It tells the story of Bowen (Dennis Quaid), a knight of the Old Code who trains Prince Einion (David Thewis) in the ways of King Arthur. When Einion is mortally wounded, his mother (Julie Christie) takes him to the cave of a mystical dragon (Sean Connery) where the dragon heals him . . . by giving him half of his own heart. To give away any more would ruin the amazing story of this legend. With superb acting and the most INCREDIBLE special effects I have ever seen, DragonHeart is one of those rare movies that tell a story but also have a meaning hidden inside. Give this movie a chance-----you'll enjoy it. Remember The Code! ... Read more


    13. Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life (Special Edition)
    Director: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000A0MFJ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 360
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (193)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
    From birth to death, this is a hilarious view at the time we spend inbetween. The established cast of actors, in and out of drag, poke fun at everything from religion to vital organ transplants.

    My favorite scene is where "the fattest man in the world" pigs out at a fancy restaurant and eventually explodes to the disgust of the other guests. Another good one is where 3 couples at a house party get a visit from the grim reaper and give him several clever arguments before finally following him to heaven.

    This is The Monty Python Gang at their very best. The little ditty at the end of the movie is priceless! You will also enjoy the "introduction" by a groups of gold fish and the "opener" saluting the great profession of accountancy. This film is an absolute must for fans (but then again, if you're a fan, you've already seen it anyway). Five stars for this one!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Pythons in top form!
    Here we have THE best Monty Python movie ever! I know I said that about Life Of Brian...but I mean it this time (no, really). Meaning of Life is a stroll through the world according to Monty Python. Many aspects of the human condition are twisted by our favorite Brit-comedians into a series of hilarous sketches. Although there are a few standouts-Birth the Third World, intercourse instruction, live organ transplants and *my favorite* the entire Death section-everything is funny. Additionally, all of Eric Idle's songs are so good you'll never forget them-and find yourself singing them in the shower. Show this to your uninitiated friends and see what happens! Beware: there are those who may find some of this offensive. I personally find MEANING an exhilarating ride! One thing does trouble me. Monty Python says it'll be Christmas in Heaven every single day! Don't you think this'll get annoying after the first 4 or 5 months?

    This is on my favorite all-time movies list; which explains why I own both the DVD and the VHS version. Don't expect a Life Of Brian DVD type Criterion treatment-you get the movie, scene selection and that's it. But that's all you need. The VHS isn't bad either if you don't want the widescreen or higher price of the DVD. I was worried about wearing out the VHS...not a problem now!

    4-0 out of 5 stars More hilarious twenty years later...
    ...a Python fan since about twelve, I vividly remember this film coming out when I was thirteen or so. I loved it. It's great that it has not only held up but, like fine wine, it has gotten better with age. Maybe Terry Gilliam's right when he says, in one of the commentaries, that, today, comedy's standard is so low that "our crap seems good no." But it reveals their genius in so many ways. It reveals a confidence they clearly didn't feel--as tho' they'd gotten their sea legs--in the first two efforts. Though "Brian" is their supreme achievement, I have to say that this film must be placed ahead of "Holy Grail"--which given its budget looks distincly like badly shot TV. Hysterically funny, but the budget limits are are even more glaring in a high res medium like DVD.

    In "Meaning of Life" the entire cast are masters of the medium (something Cleese proved independently in "A Fish Called Wanda") and they use their skills, rising even to lyrical heights (Eric Idle's paen to the universe in "Live Organ Transplants"). And the effects are more hysterical twenty years later.

    This movie is also remarkable for the rather bitter satire of American pop culture. Heretofore, the Python's had stayed within the classic tradition of British comedy--filled with whimsy and just plain silliness and the class structure. American humor is generally either observational or political--and these days it almost entirely the latter. Even the masters of observation, Goldberg and Carlin, have abandoned it for bitter political diatribes attacking former fans like myself in the basest terms because out political beliefs differ.

    And it follows, as it should, that the movie's best skits are the ones true to their tradition. George Harrison once called Python the continuation of the Beatles (to the point of chipping in $8M for distribution and advertising for "Brian"!). And, especially in the all too brief Gilliam animations, this is completely accurate. Without being at all derivative, they capture the whimisical sensibility the Beatles had updated and transformed and ran with it.

    One draw back is the rather low-rent 5.1 remix. I've other films--e.g. the Godfather films--which are older than have far better jobs. So don't expect much. In fact, you might even consider using the 2CH option as the remixing engineer makes little use of the rear speakers.

    That gentle bitch aside, the deleted scenes are mixed (why on Earth Jones thought anyone would want to see more of Mr. Creosote is beyond me?) and clearly wisely hit the cutting room floor (especially the horrendously unfunny Martin Luther skit), but some the commentary by Jones and Gilliam--clearly done at different times and mixed--is interesting most especially for the bitterness of Gilliam's attitude. It has been so on the two preceding films, but it's much more intense on this one.

    The brief interview segments shows the group rivalry is still a hot issue in the guys' psyches, nearly twenty years after Graham Chapman's tragic death ended the group; they are still bickering. Gilliam's comments about Cleese are particularly acid; Cleese does he usual job of insulting nearly everyone. He is returned the favor by the rest of the group, tho' Jones slyly does it with the most class and thus does it the best. Cleese, after all, easily slips into insufferable. Hence his brilliance as Basil Fawlty.

    A reluctant four star due only to the ****-poor 5.1 remix. The studio, surprise, surprise, didn't want to spend any extra money getting a good one.

    The movie itself: 5 stars.

    1-0 out of 5 stars This disc should have been recalled
    If you purchased this disc, and it does not have "V2" on disc one, contact Universal for a replacmeent, even if it plays fine on your current DVD player.

    Here is why - the problem is with progressive scan DVD players and progressive scan monitors. Very few people have both, so the problem will not rear its ugly head until you upgrade.

    The movie is completely unwatchable in this configuration.

    Do yourself a favor, and get disc one replaced now, before it is too late.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not up to par
    I have seen both The Holy Grail, and The Life of Brian and this one did not meet my expectations after seeing those. I laughed thrice, maybe. I almost skipped the entire second section, as younger persons were present and we were utterly disgusted with it. If you have a taste for sexual humor, you'll most definitely enjoy this film more than I. The second disk is not even worth slipping into your player, and if, like me, you have a compatibilty issue with Disk 1 and you live in another country, it's going to be a hassle to get a replacement.
    The fish were comical, and the entire segment on fighting was brilliant, but that was all of the humor I seemed to find up until a few minutes near the end. If you've never watched Monty Python, I suggest you start with one of the other movies, as this one could turn you off of a truly great source of hilarity. ... Read more


    14. A Place in the Sun
    Director: George Stevens
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $23.99
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    Asin: B00003CXBZ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5160
    Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (62)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Bad Life Decision
    A Place in the Sun, 1951
    Running time: 120 minutes in black & white
    Director: George Stephens
    Studio: Paramount Studio
    Actors/Actresses: Montgomery Clift (George Eastman)
    Elizabeth Taylor (Angela Vickers)
    Shelly Winters (Alice Tripp--name is symbolic of her behavior)
    Awards/Nominations: Oscar won in 1952 for best cinematography, black & white; best costume design, black & white; best director; best film editing; best music; and best writing.
    Nominated for an Oscar in 1952 for best actor and actress in a leading role and best picture.
    DGA Award won in 1952 for outstanding directorial achievement in motion pictures.
    Golden Globe won in 1952 for best motion picture drama.
    Silver Ribbon Award won in 1952 for best director of a foreign film.
    NBR Award won in 1951 for best picture.
    PGA Hall of Fame for Motion Pictures Award won in 1997.
    WGA Screen Award won in 1952 for best written American drama and nominated for the Robert Meltzer Award.
    Genre: Romantic Tragedy

    In summary, the movie includes the trials and tribulations of a love triangle between a smart nice guy, a rich nice woman, and a manipulating possessive working-class woman. George Eastman hitchhikes from Kansas City to his uncle's swimsuit factory to work. Once there, he is given a position boxing merchandise by his not-too-friendly cousin. Prior to his employment, George is informed that he is not to have romantic relations with his fellow co-workers as a condition of employment. Unfortunately, George broke this rule by dating and ultimately getting one of his coworkers pregnant. While dating her (Alice), he falls in love with Angela Vickers, a high-class woman that is well-known throughout the comunity and by Charles Eastman (George's rich uncle). Instead of telling Angela about Alice and vice versa, George "drives himself crazy" and eventually commits the ultimate crime. What may astonish the viewer is that even after learning of George's hideous crime, Angela confesses that she still loves him.

    Both George and Alice would have different lives at the end of the movie if George had stayed in Kansas City! He also should have been honest with both women in order to alleviate stress for both he and Alice. This movie was given four stars due to its relativeness to society and its great plot for the time period. It was interesting throughout the whole movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Chemistry
    The first time I viewed A Place In The Sun it did not have much of an impact on me. Perhaps I was too young, plus I did not understand Montgomery Clift's acting style. Subsequent viewings have made me realize the quality of this film. Clift stars as the poor relation of an important family who begins to work his way up. He first has a relationship with plain working girl Shelley Winters. Then he meets the real love of his life, beautiful, wealthy Elizabeth Taylor. From that point, things become very complicated for all concerned. Clift was an actor that played everything deeply, and his performances are always painfully real, just like this one, in which you can feel the conflicts that tear him apart. Winters is excellent in her tragic role, while Taylor, besides looking unbelievably beautiful, brings a lot of honesty to her character. The chemistry between the Clift and Taylor is palpable, and their on screen kiss is one of the most memorable you will ever see. Although there is a sense of doom that permeates the movie, the actors make every moment a great one. Some of elements of the story may seem dated, but it is played with such honesty and intensity that you will appreciate it for the very fine film it is.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking & Realistic
    Ever wanted something you couldn't have? Ever wanted it so badly you'd kill to have it? In "A Place in the Sun" George Eastman (Montgomery Clift), a poor young man with big dreams, deals with these questions as he tries to make it to the top of the social ladder in spite of social prejudices from the richer Eastman clan.
    As he pursues his dream of social grandeur, he falls in love with the beautiful and unatttainable Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor), a rich socialite. But just as his dreams begin to come true, George is confronted by his ex girlfriend (Shelly Winters), a poor factory employee, who is pregnant with his baby and threatens to destroy his newly attained social lifestyle. Having made it to the top, however, George is determined to stay there at any cost - a decision that leads to tragic results.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Memorable performances
    Excellent movie about the tragic consequences of pushing too hard to obtain the american dream. Montgomery Clift gives a realistic performance as the poor kid who makes it to the top at a high price. Liz Taylor is believable as the rich beauty who falls in love with Clift, and Shelly Winters is especially memorable as the poor factory worker who gets shoved aside by Clift after he meets Taylor. Beautifully made movie that makes you really get into the mind and heart of its protagonists. Highly Recommended.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Tragedy Turned to Melodrama
    It was probably inevitable that "An American Tragedy," in its evolution to screen, would become more about the doomed love affair of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor than the moral and ethical dilemmas that really form the foundation of Theodore Dreiser's novel. After all, doomed love is a bigger sell, especially when you have the romantic faces of Clift and Taylor swooning together in extreme close-up.

    I'm not a fan of doing book to movie comparisons. I figure that film and literature are two different art forms, so I shouldn't compare their rendering of the story anymore than I would compare the same story as presented in a painting as opposed to a ballet. So I tried to take the film on its own merits (admittedly difficult to do, since I watched the movie on the same day I finished the book), but even at that, I think the movie falls short.

    Clift plays George Eastman, poor nephew to a rich, socially elite family in a small New York state factory town. He's been invited by his uncle to come and work in the Eastman factory, giving him an entre into a world of luxury that has always been out of his grasp due to his family's humble position (they run a mission and preach on the streets). George strikes up a love affair with Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters), a girl who works with him in the factory, but his attentions for her quickly fade when he becomes interested in Angela Vickers, another member of the rich set, played by Liz Taylor. Complications ensue, and George finds himself and his situation spiralling drastically out of control, with an ending more tragic than he ever thought possible.

    George Stevens directs the film with a sure hand, and there are some breathtaking displays of directorial skill. For example, one that stands out in my mind comes when the camera focuses on a radio reporting a possible murder, while the young, rich kids with whom George has struck up a friendship goof off in the water in the background. There are also some great uses of dissolve editing, though the technique is somewhat overused.

    But there are many problems with the film, notably its pacing. Much time is spent on George's love triangle with Alice and Angela, while the script races through the trial and George's ultimate fate, as if the screenwriter realized he only had two hours to tell his story when he'd already wasted an hour and a half on front-end material. Rushing through the end blunts much of the story's original intent and power, as that is where the majority of moral questions arise.

    Also, the character Shelley Winters plays is so drab and mousy, that one doesn't understand why George would entangle himself with her in the first place. But Clift does a great job with the lead role, delivering a performance of raw nerve.

    It befuddles me somewhat as to why this movie is quite so acclaimed. I can only imagine that its reception has to do with cultural moods at the time it was released and that it just hasn't aged well. It came out in 1951, a big year for literary adaptations ("A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Death of a Salesman" were both given big-screen treatments that year), and you only need to compare "Sun" to "Streetcar" to see how short it falls at capturing the essence of a ture literary classic.

    Grade: B- ... Read more


    15. The Mission (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Roland Joffé
    list price: $26.99
    our price: $21.59
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    Asin: B00003CXBH
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2216
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Rodrigo Mendoza (ROBERT DE NIRO) was a violent soldier-for-hire in 1750s South America. Now he is a man of peace serving the Rain Forest Indians he once enslaved. But armies of Spain and Portugal threaten the lifestyle and safety of the native peoples. Now Rodrigo may have to pick up his sword and musket once again. From the producer of Chariots of Fire and the director of The Killing Fields comes a powerful epic co-starring JEREMY IRONS and graced with dazzling Academy Award-winning cinematography, set to a memorable music score and scripted by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Man for All Seasons and Doctor Zhivago. ... Read more

    Reviews (158)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Theodicy or Corrupt Politics
    The Mission

    The Mission directed by Roland Joffe is the story of the struggle between theocracy and theodicy. Ironically the church has the mission to bring theodicy to the world and it does this through the message of God's Love and Forgiveness. It tries to accomplish this through the sending out of missionaries, in this case the Jesuit priests, to tell the story and bring others to the knowledge of God's Love and Forgiveness. Tragically politics and greed for power in the hierarchy of the church (in this case the Roman Catholic Church) brings about a situation where the people of God are killed supposedly in the name of God. This story opens and ends with Cardinal Altamirano (Ray McAnally) dictating a letter to the Pope informing him of the events that had transpired after giving church missions in South America over to the Spaniards and Portuguese. The nature of the setting is beautiful. Views of the waterfalls are breath-taking and spectacular.

    The message of theodicy is played out in the story involving two main characters Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) and Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro). Father Gabriel brings theocracy to the Natives of South America. At the beginning of our story Rodrigo is a slave trader who undergoes a traumatic conversion experience and serves those whom he had sold into slavery before. His story of transformation is one of heartache, murder, repentance and extreme penance which he imposes upon himself. It is the forgiveness and acceptance of those who he former hunted that sets him feel to serve both God and the Natives. Another film that shows a similar vein of acceptance after tragedy is the classic movie Hawaii (1966) based on James Michener. Rev. Hale accepts the Native Hawaiians as he begins to mellow in the aftermath of his losses. In Rodrigo's case is his acceptance by the tribe that helps them to fight against the imposed theocracy of the Cardinal later on.

    At issue here, in spite of the beautifully portrayal of conversion to Christianity of the Native people of South America, is the imposed will of governing forces of politics around greed ownership of land. Yet this was done under the auspices of the Church as God's Will, which is called theocracy. The people of the land had no say, they were the conquered, to be exploited and were considered as chattel, for them there was not theodicy. Their willingness to share and work for the common good of all, even though a principle of Christianity was considered a threat to the economy of others with political clout. Because they would not give up that which they had worked for, they were condemned to death. When Cardinal Atlamirno orders them to leave the Mission; they wanted to know why? His answer was that they had to submit to the will of God. Their answer was had God changed his mind? They were doing what they had been taught was God's will for them. Theodicy was not served as there was no justification in this case.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Mission portrays the mission of Christ
    The Mission is a powerful movie with a powerful message about sin, redemption, and love. It probes deep into the evils of the Catholic Church in Spain and Portugal in teh mid 18th century. Robert De Niro brilliantly portrays Rodrigo Mendoza, a dynamic character who transforms his life to a murderer who trades slaves to a Jesuit priest who fights for those seemingly 'enslaved' natives - the Guaranese. Jeremy Irons ixquisitley plays the role of a truly Christ-like figure. Father Gabriel is the epitomy of compassion, lvove, and understanding. With an incredibly written screenplay by Robert Bolt (who also wrote A Man For All Seasons), the Mission is an incredible film which explores the depths and beauty of morality and life ont he path to Jesus Christ.

    4-0 out of 5 stars the beauty and the horror of the catholic church
    i think tom keogh's a bit 'off' kilter and it echoes the reviews that came out when the film was released.
    the charge of emotional vacancy has since been rendered somewhat mute by the films growing status.
    now admittedly, the overriding emotional sense that most people seem to experience when seeing this is one of anger, rather than one of tragedy and ,yes, that is partly due to our never really getting to know the indians who are, predictably, massacred.
    we are emotionally more jolted upon seeing the murder of the priests who we have gotten to know.
    that aside, i think joffes direction works because what he is attempting to show, and succesfully does so, is both the beauty and the horror of catholicism.
    there is a touching beauty upon seeing deniros character finally reaching his muddy penneance,and in the scene where he cooks a steaming stew for his fellow priests.
    perhaps one of the most beautiful, simplistically effective moments is when deniro narrates first corinthians 'love is not puffed up'.
    yes, the conclusion is all too predictable. not just because we know the history, but because as much as we all can see the beauty in the church, everyone is also well aware of its ugliness.
    i am suprised that the catholic church showed its support of this non flattering film, which shows, perhaps, a certain amount of theoretical penance on its part.
    one of the last scenes which shows two naked indian children aloft in a boat after the massacre is an example of a picture telling a thousand words.
    in one sense mr keogh is correct in recognizing an inherent coldness in the film but i think that is a realization of the harrowing cold heartedness that catholic church has shown in its history, which paradoxically is unified with its undeniable beauty.

    1-0 out of 5 stars This Sucks!!!!!! Very Very Sucky and Boring
    I just watched this movie in Morality class and it is a really boring movie that just drags on and on. How does end by every one including De Nero and Irons (major characters) along with everyone else. There is only one movie that pulled off having all the characters die in it and that was Glory. I don't under any circumstances think anyone should see this movie unless you have a boring life or just sad than see it otherwise see Glory a much much better movie except different plots.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Emotionally Wrenching, Enchanting Film
    Not for the squeamish, "The Mission" explores the duality of Europe's presence in South America -- the salvation brought by the Jesuits and the condemnation brought by "civilization."

    Roland Joffe, the director, pulls few punches. The film opens with the dictation of a letter to the Pope by a prominent religious figure, Altamirano, who has just undergone the events that will transpire in the film, and we learn that these events are not pleasant: "the local savages are now free to be enslaved by his Holiness . . ."

    These events "were brought about" by the horrifying martyrdom of a Jesuit priest, who had journeyed to the "uncivilized" lands of the Indians above the falls (and what falls!). The local Indians, apparently rejecting his Christian teachings, crucify him and toss him into a river . . . a river that soon flows to the falls, and the descending cross is one of the most haunting images you will ever see on film.

    In response, another Jesuit priest, Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) heads above the falls, and uses his music (score by Ennio Morricone of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" fame) to win the trust of the locals. Soon he is preaching the Word of God among them.

    Unfortunately, the slaver/mercenary Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro) is hunting the Indians for slavers. He ominously warns Gabriel about the futility of building a mission among the Indians, and he seizes several.

    On his return to "civilization" below the falls (the dusty town stands in marked contrast to the lush greenery above the falls), Rodrigo learns that his beloved Carlotta does not love Rodrigo, but has fallen for Rodrigo's younger brother, Felipe (Aiden Quinn). Rodrigo, far from a reasonable sort, kills his brother shortly thereafter in a trumped-up quarrel. Distraught, Rodrigo eventually agrees to do his penance above the falls with Gabriel and his fellow Jesuits (including a young Liam Neeson).

    Following a tortuous climb above the falls with his lodestone of arms and armor, Rodrigo finds salvation and seeks to become a Jesuit. The mission above the falls takes shape, and all seems to be right with the world.

    Of course, this is not to be. The slavers need their slaves, and they exert enormous pressure against the church -- the Catholic Church is not as strong as it once was, and the militant Jesuits are becoming a nuisance by sapping the supply of slaves (apparently it is too inconvenient to enslave Christians, so the slavers argue that the Indians are monkeys without souls -- nice).

    Altamirano agrees to visit both the local mission (a gorgeous, mammoth structure complete with farm and Indian priests) as well as the more primitive mission above the falls . . . which is even more impressive despite (and perhaps because of) it's remoteness.

    But, politics being politics, the missions are doomed and the Indians will be enslaved. Rodrigo and the younger priests decide to fight, leading to one of the more disturbing battles you will see on-screen. It's not "Saving Private Ryan" in its horrors, but it is emotionally wrenching to see the Jesuits and the Indians fight such in such a foregone conclusion.

    Even more gut-wrenching is Gabriel, who chooses a non-violent response. In a pitch-perfect performance, Irons emobodies the Jesuit commitment to the simple words of Christ . . . not that it does him or the Indians much good in this world.

    A haunting spectacle and far from a feel-good movie, "The Mission" deserves full marks for its depiction of a common conflict (Europe versus the New World) in a different setting. A top-notch cast and a wonderfully shot film make this one for the video library. ... Read more


    16. The Day of the Jackal
    Director: Fred Zinnemann
    list price: $9.98
    our price: $9.98
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    Asin: 0783226853
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1941
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    With its high-intensity plot about an attempt to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, the bestselling novel by Frederick Forsyth was a prime candidate for screen adaptation. Director Fred Zinnemann brought his veteran skills to bear on what has become a timeless classic of screen suspense. Not to be confused with the later remake The Jackal starring Bruce Willis (which shamelessly embraced all the bombast that Zinnemann so wisely avoided), this 1973 thriller opts for lethal elegance and low-key tenacity in the form of the Jackal, the suave assassin played with consummate British coolness by Edward Fox. He's a killer of the highest order, a master of disguise and international elusiveness, and this riveting film follows his path to de Gaulle with an intense, straightforward documentary style. Perhaps one of the last great films from a bygone age of pure, down-to-basics suspense (and a kind of debonair European alternative to the American grittiness of The French Connection), The Day of the Jackal is a cat-and-mouse thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until its brilliantly executed final scene (pardon the pun), by which time Fox has achieved cinematic immortality as one of the screen's most memorable killers. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (72)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why can't they make movies like this any more?
    Rarely does a movie do justice to a book, but Fred Zinneman's production of "The Day of the Jackal" is wonderful adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's novel which, I continue to believe, is one of the greatest thrillers ever written.

    It's hard to put a finger on what exactly makes this film great: excellent performances by relatively unknown actors, a wonderful plot, fantastic location shooting or a complete desire to avoid the bells and whistles, special effects laden movies that are all that makes up the "suspense" genre of films these days. Like other reviewers have said, be this the first or the fiftieth time that you watch this film, you will be left on the edge of your seat with its "cat and mouse" plot of the search for a lone assassin hired to murder President De Gaulle. The young Edward Fox is brilliant in the title role and the supporting cast excellent.

    If anything, this film proves that you do not need big named stars, explosions around every corner or computer generated effects to make a fantastic film. The only downside to watching this film is that you realise that the movie industry just does not make films like this any more.

    Highly, highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars ONE SHOT IS NEVER ENOUGH !
    Fred Zinnemann's THE DAY OF THE JACKAL is not the kind of thriller you are familiar with nowadays. For once, french actors don't look silly and have the terrible task to trace Edward "The Jackal" Fox who gives an award-deserving performance.

    DAY OF THE JACKAL made me think of these cold war spy movies of the seventies. Do you remember ? We had the impression they were filmed only in green and blue, the characters didn't speak much leaving to the audience the task to understand the plot by itself. You will feel this kind of atmosphere in this film with the difference that Zinnemann worked with a solid gold screenplay.

    The final scene, the day of the jackal, is about 30 minutes long and is already part of Motion picture History.

    A few problems with the images ; white spots, images standing still during 1 or 2 seconds. The sound is, in my opinion, the best we can expect from a 1973 movie.

    A DVD worthy of multiple viewings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation from Forsyth's novel. A winner!
    Why not the jackal?
    This is the answer given by the hard and cold assasin who signs the agreement to kill De Gaulle.
    The story runs through a set of historical issues who are part of the story. A group of officers decides by themselves to revenge the lost honor of France due the fact about the independence of Algiers.
    Edward Fox - one of the best actors of his generation - played with sublime perfection the demanding role of the Jackal.
    So from the first images of the film you'll be engaged with this chess film. All the movements of this exceptional mind are guided by an amazing sense of hunter behavior. He acts like a western samurai , without blinking , he kills when the circunstances don't let him other choice. The feelings don't exist in this professional.
    You are invited to presence an authentical tour de force. And since the moment an important link is arrested , your histamina and cold sweat will invade you.
    The efforts of Le Surete for following any possible clue leads to an unforgettable mind game to spark the human chase since the moment the Jackal decides to go ahead with the plan and drive to France from Niza.
    The rest of the story runs for you when you acquire this legendary and hair raising punch thriller. And once more you'll admire how the famous film maker Fred Zinemann could win with this story.
    The locations and the sense of the drama are extraordinary made. And the words are not enough to describe the countless sequences of hard beating you'll experience.
    A perfect film and believe me ; you won't feel the 140 min of the picture.
    This is the first and best version!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Spy Thriller


    Not so much "spy" as "assassin," though, for Edward Fox is cast as an assassin, doing a job that will earn him his retirement. He is to kill President Charles de Gaulle, "le Grand Charles" himself, in Liberation Day, as we eventually find out--but not until much later in the film.

    The killer goes through many personalities, disguises, and changes, and manages to kill a few innocents on the way to his final conquest. He is unknown to the gendarme, who are on his trail early, with the help of an informer on the inside, but eventually his appearance becomes known to them--and even then, in spite of an alert commissioner of police in Paris who is every bit his match, Inspector Lebel (Michel Lonsdale)--he almost makes his kill. Had he done so, of course history would have had to be re-written because of a movie, an unlikely event--so we knew that he would fail, but still the plot was so well played that the suspense was never lost.

    Written by Frederick Forsyth and directed by Fred Zinneman, perhaps this film was predestined for greatness, but in any case it is one of the great ones.

    Joseph (Joe) Pierre

    author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
    and other books

    5-0 out of 5 stars If only it had had a happy ending
    _Day of the Jackal_ is one of the best film adaptations of a book ever done, the directors managed to keep the vital elements of the plot and the pacing of the book and successfully transfer them from one medium to another. When I read the book after seeing the movie I was amazed at how much they had managed to keep. Edward Fox was perfect as the Jackal, it's a pity that he's ended up starring in so many bad films in his career as he is truly a fantastic actor. There are some wonderful moments of irony such as when the leader of the French terrorists says that no soldier of France will ever raise a weapon against him and then is shown being shot by firing squad the next day. The only thing that would have improved this movie is if the Jackal had succeeded in blowing Charles DeGaulle's head all over the pavement in Paris, I mean really, the guy goes to all of this work and fails in the end, and come on, he's trying to shoot DeGaulle, it's not as if he was attempting to shoot a decent human being or something, heck, even Eisenhower and Churchill wanted to shoot DeGaulle because he was such a useless, vainglorious prick. ... Read more


    17. The Manchurian Candidate (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Jonathan Demme
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $20.96
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    Asin: B0006210ZG
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 478
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    Description

    Serving together in the Persian Gulf War, Captain Bennett Marco and Sgt. Raymond Shaw were part of a platoon of soldiers kidnapped and brainwashed. Ten years later, Shaw gears up for his vice presidential campaign while Marco eventually remembers being kidnapped and discovers Shaw's powerful mother played a big part in that scheme. Determined to reveal the truth behind everything, Marco must first convince Shaw that the brainwashing really happened. ... Read more


    18. Calendar Girls
    Director: Nigel Cole
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
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    Asin: B0001I55M4
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 899
    Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (48)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Amusing Story. Bland Movie.
    "Calendar Girls" is a fictionalized account of the events surrounding the publication, in 1999, of a nude calendar featuring the ladies of the Rylstone Women's Institute of North Yorkshire, England. The calendar caused a media sensation in Great Britain and the United States on account of its photographs of women of a certain age performing quaint everyday tasks in the buff. In the film, Chris (Helen Mirren) organizes the calendar to raise money on behalf of her best friend Annie's (Julie Waters) husband, who is dying of leukemia. "Calendar Girls" dramatizes the challenges of convincing a group of middle-aged and older women to pose nude, garnering support for the project, and coping with the resulting flood of international publicity.

    The cast is well-suited to their roles. The characters are all appealing. But "Calendar Girls" takes too much time to get off the ground and moves very slowly once it does. This "dramedy" isn't nearly as funny as it should be. It's just bland. The story of the WI calendar is really more interesting than this film.

    As for "Calendar Girls" accuracy, this really is a fictionalized account. The characters do not represent real people specifically, except for Chris and Annie, who are based loosely on real women. Any strife between characters in the film is dramatic license. The calendar's photographer was not a stranger, but one of the ladies' husbands. The calendar was indeed intended to raise money for a local hospital's cancer ward on behalf of Angela Baker's husband, John Baker, to whose memory "Calendar Girls" is dedicated. And a similar 2004 calendar featuring the actresses in this film has been released as a further fund-raiser for charity.

    The DVD: Bonus features include two mini-documentaries and four deleted scenes. "The Naked Truth" is a 15-minute documentary about the real story behind the infamous calendar. It features interviews with the women who organized and graced the pages of the calendar and its photographer, following the calendar's story from its genesis to this film's premiere. "Creating the Calendar" is a 6-minute short about filming the nude scenes and photographing the calendar for the movie. Captions are available in English, subtitles in Spanish. And dubbing is available in French.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quiet and Likeable! Also (gasp) kinda sexy!
    I went into watching CALENDAR GIRLS dreading it might be a female rip-off of THE FULL MONTY. No need to fear, because the movie is about a lot more than aping a successful indie formula. The movie centers on a group of women of Rylstone Women's Institute in North Yorkshire, England who through a tragedy decide to raise money for a hospital with their annual calendar. The only catch? These well-aged women are going to pose in the buff with strategically placed items of household drudgery hiding the naughty bits and pieces. And when the calendar comes out? They all have to deal with the infamy that comes along with posing nude. And deal with success as well! Or new found confidence.

    It is a story rich dramatically and still just plain funny. The nudity is tasteful, and not all that revealing. Think Dianne Keaton's SOMETHINGS GOT TO GIVE flash, and you get the idea. And Helen Mirren and a STRONG cast give it all a dignified English air that plays well. I really loved this movie. It made me smile widely! And hammered home the message that beauty is in ALL forms. Everybody has a shine to them, and the 50 MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE are the ones with the courage to make fun of themselves and smile all the while. No body doubles here either! Yea for them! Brave women with "bigger buns!".

    The DVD is a special treat. You get a documentary on the real life CALENDAR GIRLS who look a lot like their film counterparts. You also get to see the movie cast MAKING the calendar! Okay, maybe just TALKING about making it. Also you get some deleted scenes, and assorted trailers.

    I'm getting sunflowers for my house just to remind me of people that always reach for the sun! Very nice image. We need more movies like this -- celebrating wisdom and friendship. And hey - it's just simple fun.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a smart, lovely comedy!!
    This movie is inspired by a true story where these middle aged women go in the nude posing for their calendar which becomes a huge success! I really loved this movie for its wonderful acting and it was hilarious!! The whole way I felt like cheering the women on! This movie made me laugh out loud and its a great change from some other funny movies that all they offer is bathroom jokes and other stupid humor. This is a one of a kind smart hilarious movie!!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Marginal, at best
    This is one of those small budget Britcoms that is supposed to be hilarious and all the trailer clips suggest that. Problem is it's not very funny, well-acted, or even mildly engaging. It's flat out boring. It is not a female "The Full Monty," as the ad campaign leads you to think. If that were the case I would have loved it. Others can re-tell the plot, but there isn't really much beyond these ordinary women in a small English town do a nude calendar to raise money and all the hinjinx prevail. Except there really are no hijinx. Just the usual stereotypical disapproving neighbors and officials, combined with the always surprising support from the most unlikely (wink-wink) circles. Been there--seen that over and over. It's as if every cliche in these types of movies were rehashed over and over.

    Save your money. Frankly, I think the positive reviews on this are the true comedy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars a joyous comedy
    One of the most delightful films of recent years, "Calendar Girls," a distaff version of "The Full Monty," is the true story of a group of middle-aged English women who became international celebrities when they designed and posed for a nude fundraising calendar that sold millions of copies worldwide. Julie Walters and Helen Mirren head a wonderful cast, with Walters as a woman whose husband dies of leukemia and Mirren as her best friend who comes up with the idea of the calendar as a way of both honoring his memory and raising money for the local hospital.

    The risk for any "feel good" comedy is that it will become cloying, coy or cutesy. Luckily, "Calendar Girls" boasts an enormously witty screenplay and first-rate performances by its highly gifted cast. Each of the "girls" is given her own unique personality so that we see them not just as a group, united in this inspiring endeavor, but as individuals working through their own personal demons on the rode to the project's completion. The women face the expected roadblocks and snafus in the form of "shocked," disapproving voices in the community, but their belief in the rightness of their cause brushes all such problems aside.

    This charming film provides more genuine, out-and-out laughs than almost any comedy of recent times. "Calendar Girls" is heartwarming, touching and inspiring - and what more could one ask from a "feel-good" film than that? ... Read more


    19. Longitude
    Director: Charles Sturridge
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $35.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004U2K1
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5984
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    Gracefully adapted from Dava Sobel's extraordinary bestseller, the four-part TV production of Longitude combines drama, history, and scienceinto a stimulating, painstakingly authentic account of personal triumph andjoyous discovery. Equally impressive is the way writer-director CharlesSturridge has crafted parallel stories that complement each other with enrichingperspective. The first story involves the successful 40-year effort of 18th-century clockmaker John Harrison (Michael Gambon) to solve the elusive problemof measuring longitude at sea. In 1714 the British Parliament had offered agenerous reward to anyone who solved the problem, and Harrison devoted his lifeto that solution. The second story, some 200 years later, involves the effort ofshell-shocked British Navy veteran Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) to restore theglorious clocks that Harrison had built. Like Harrison, Gould is the mostadmirable type of obsessive, but, also like Harrison, he risks his marriage toaccomplish his difficult task.

    Thousands of sailors perished at sea before Harrison's triumph changed history, but Longitude demonstrates that Harrison's glory was slow to arrive--and his prize money even slower. A fascinating study of 18th-century British politics and clashing egos in the arena of science, thefilm is both epic and intimate in consequence, and Sturridge's magnificentscript inspires Gambon and Irons to do some of the best work of theiroutstanding careers. The ever-reliable Ian Hart appears in Part 3 as Harrison's now-adult son and apprentice, and Longitude approaches its dramatic climax with the exhilarating tension of a first-rate thriller. Rallying after sickness to prove the integrity of their marvelous seafaring chronometers, the Harrisons still had to fight for official recognition, and Gould's restoration of the Harrison clockworks provides a fitting coda to this exceptional story about the thrill of discovery and the tenacity of remarkable men. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than the Book
    This film is described as an adaptation of Dava Sobel's book of the same name. It is far more than an adaptation, however. Charles Sturridge took a somewhat threadbare tale and turned it into a stirring, dramatic account of the life, tribulations, and ultimate achievement of the 18th century English horologist, John Harrison. It's not that Sobel's book is poorly written. It is in fact entertaining and engrossing as far as it goes. The trouble is that she doesn't go into enough detail and leaves a lot of questions unanswered for the reader. Sturridge takes up her story and fleshes it out, providing the sort of background and character development that the book lacks. Providing the audience with a parallel storyline involving the WWI veteran, Rupert Gould (briefly noted in Sobel's book) also is a stroke of genius on the writer/director's part. The parallels between the lives of the earlier inventor and the shell-shocked vet are striking and poignant.

    It does nothing to hurt Sturridge's cause to have assembled such a sterling British cast. Irons and Gambon have great roles to their credit, but they surpass themselves in this production. Sturridge has demonstrated that he can squeeze good acting out of a virtual lemon (Ted Danson in Sturridge's adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels"). He has far more to work with here, and the results are remarkable. Gambon, perhaps best known to American audiences for his lead role in "The Singing Detective," and the recent "Gosford Park," again delivers the goods in this masterful performance. He captures perfectly his character's idiosyncrasies, vicissitudes and ultimate triumph.

    Much of the series of course focuses on the "chase" for a solution to the longitude problem that plagued seamen from time immemorial. Methods for determining longitude before the chronometer was invented ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Heavenly charts were sometimes supplanted by such ludicrous schemes as "the wounded dog method". The following is a transcription of a dialogue delivered by the method's inventor:
    " Now, it is vital to my process, Sir Edmund, that each dog be wounded with the *same knife*, as these three animals have been, under my instructions, some three days ago. Now, the animals are then to be conveyed aboard one of His Majesty's ships, uh, under the supervision of a designated officer, whose task it is to *prevent the wound from healing*. Now the knife, however, would remain here, in London, and at *precisely noon*, each day, is to be plunged into the Powder of Sympathy, which would immediately aggravate the wound, so that each dog, no matter how many thousands of miles away he may be on his particular vessel, would begin to howl... thus."

    Clearly, there was a need for a practical solution to this age-old problem, as thousands of sailors were placed in constant peril, owing to the fact that, without a reliable method, they really couldn't get their bearings. This is one area where Sobel does a very good job in her book describing the difficulty in determining longitude, versus the rather simple methods for calculating latitude. That a rather simple man of humble origins could work out the method was disconcerting to several members of the vaunted Board of Longitude, which was composed of members of the ruling class. Harrison's chief detractor and a rival for his claim of the longitude prize (20,000 pounds, equivalent to almost a million dollars by today's standards) was Sir Nevil Maskelyne. Maskelyne comes across in the film and in Sobel's book as a rather arrogant, self-inflated snob, who engages in actual subterfuge of Harrison's claims. Viewers/readers may be interested to note that Maskelyne also appears as a character in Thomas Pynchon's "Mason & Dixon," also in an unflattering light.

    In terms of a recommendation, I would have to give Sobel's book between three and four stars. While it is highly readable and engaging, it leaves way too many avenues and dramatic possibilities unexplored. Sturridge fills in all the gaps, and then some. It is not often that I recommend a film over a book, but in this instance, the film is a far richer and satisfying experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Quest for Longitude.
    I just watched this docudrama this weekend, and while it is too early to see if critics will give this film any latitude, I will.

    As a historian, I often long for at least a blend of authenticity when discussing historical events. Often, as in Jean d'Arc films, accuracy is forgotten in leiu of mythology. Longitude give us the story of one of the greatest quests in history, and remains true to Dava Sobel's book on John Harrison and his son William. The two of which have perhaps saved more mariner's lives than life preservers! One mistake of a few minutes cost more than 1,700 men their lives in one incedent.

    The drawback to accuracy is length, as this is a four hour film. However, it took the Harrisons 40 years to construct the four clocks/watches, thus an hour per decade seems reasonable.

    If you care about maritime travel, history or clocks, this film will keep you interested for the entire four hours.

    Exodus I; BA History EWU

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale of vital historical importance
    The beginning of this film makes clear the importance of knowing one's position at sea. Disasters--some of epic proportions--were distressingly regular when doubts about one's position relative to land or dangerous reefs were the order of the day. This film tells two stories in parallel. The first is of John Harrison's efforts to make accurate nautical clocks--called chronometers--that could be used at sea and provide a simple means of acertaining longitude (by comparing the time at the home port of known longitude to that of the ship determined by the sun or the stars). Harrison had to struggle against many technical odds to make his machines--and against many bureaucratic barriers to getting them accepted.

    The second story is that of Rupert Gould, the Royal Navy officer, who, suffering from his experiences in the first world war, begins the process of restoring the old Harrison clocks to working order. This story is of less historical significance than the first, of course, but it is why we are able to go to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and see the clocks running today. The poor fellow turned the clocks into an obsession as his life changed dramatically around him.

    Well done, and well worth the time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars True Story of a Lone Genius who Captured Time
    =====>

    Note: This review has been written from a city with the following position on Earth:

    LATITUDE: (43 degrees 2 minutes North)
    LONGITUDE: (81 degrees 9 minutes West)

    This 3 hour 20 minute movie (based on the 1995 book by Dava Sobel) that was first on television in 1999 (and transferred to two 100 minute DVDs in 2000) is "a sweeping epic that takes place in two worlds." The two worlds are the eighteenth century of John Harrison (1693 to 1776) and the twentieth century of Lieutenant Commander Rupert Gould (1890 to 1948). This movie chronicles the life of Harrison who builds sea clocks and alternates his story with Gould's who restores Harrison's clocks and at the same time restores his own health. (Note that most of Sobel's book {that has the same title as this movie} is concerned with Harrison's story while only four pages in the last chapter of her book are devoted to Gould's story.)

    The beginning of this movie is narrated and lasts less than three minutes. However, this narration is probably the most important part of this movie because it tells the viewer about latitude and longitude, indirectly how to calculate longitude, how time is related to longitude, and why longitude was so difficult to measure "during most of human history." (How to determine latitude was discovered centuries before this.)

    I felt this narration was adequate but it did not mention one simple and important fact:

    In 24 hours, the Earth spins 360 degrees on its axis from east to west. (Thus, as the narrator states, four minutes of time equals one degree of longitude east or west.)

    The first DVD tells the story of how ships (with their crew and valuable cargo) were being lost at sea because they could not determine their position properly since their navigators were unable to calculate the ship's longitude accurately. As a result, the British parliament offered a reward that's equivalent to many millions of dollars today to anyone who could practically solve "the longitude problem."

    Most of the scientists of this time thought that this problem's solution, even at sea, was astronomical. However, a lone genius, simple carpenter, and clockmaker named John Harrison (acted superbly by Michael Gambon) knew the fact stated above, so he reasoned that time was the solution to this problem.

    So Harrison began building a clock (eventually called a "chronometer") that would be accurate enough to be used by a ship at sea. (Realize at this time there were only pendulum clocks that were quite bad at keeping time on a swaying ship at sea.) The viewer is shown Harrison constructing his clocks with it's many components. As well, we are shown the final beautiful result -- a clock that was to be used at sea. (Note that this first clock was named "H-1.") We are also shown the maiden voyage of H-1 as it's tested in 1736 on a ship bound for Lisbon (with Harrison, a non-sailor, on board). H-1 worked well during this trial. Because of Harrison's perfectionism, he elected after this trial, to build a better clock called H-2 (which was never tested). H-2 led to H-3 (which was also not tested).

    As mentioned above, we are also shown scenes of Rupert Gould's life (very well-acted by Jeremy Irons) that alternate with Harrison's adventure described above. We are made aware that Gould's own life was tragic. As a result, he volunteers as a sort of therapy to restore clocks H-1, H-2, and H-3 that, in his time, were almost two centuries old. The result is that the viewer is shown more of the exterior and interior of Harrison's beautiful and complex "timekeepers" and how they actually work.

    The second DVD tells us of Harrison's masterpiece -- H-4 (that was the size of a large pocket watch). As with H-1, H-4 is tested in 1761 on a ship bound for Jamaica with Harrison's grown son (well-acted by Ian Hart) on board. This timepiece worked well.

    Also we are shown how Harrison had trouble collecting his monetary prize. In fact, we hear one official on the board (the "Board of Longitude") responsible for bestowing this prize say, "I would not wish to see the longitude prize stolen by a country toolmaker." As fate would have it, an astronomer who favored an astronomical method, Nevil Maskelyne (well-acted by Sam West) became the head of this board, causing further delays. Harrison has to seek the assistance of King George the Third (well-acted by Nick Rowe) to cut through this bureaucracy.

    Meanwhile, Gould finishes restoring the clocks and manages at the same time to overcome his own problems.

    The acting of those indicated above and the supporting cast is exquisite. The cinematography is breath-taking with the scenes at sea very realistic. All costumes that represented the two alternating time periods transport the viewer back to those periods. The movie itself has it all: intrigue, science, history, geography, astronomy, navigation, clockmaking, ambition, and greed.

    A minor complaint is that a simple calculation for determining longitude was not shown. As well, the DVD only has one extra feature called "Behind the Scenes."

    Finally, although not absolutely necessary, I recommend reading Sobel's book before viewing this movie. Doing this will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the movie.

    In conclusion, this movie was an A&E production. As a result, viewing this movie is definitely "time well spent."

    <=====>

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best!
    This has it all! History, science, a great adventure story, great acting. Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons are superb! Though I haven't read the book I got the book for my Dad a number of years ago. He's a scrooge about books and loved it!
    This has a fast-paced story; lots of action shots, verve and movement. The story never dulls and moves easily and effectively. I've watched it nearly a dozen times. If you are interested in how academy, science, and politics collide; are interested in how difficult the scientific and historical processes were almost 300 years ago, this is a DVD for you! ... Read more


    20. That Thing You Do!
    Director: Tom Hanks
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005AVS8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1046
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (125)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD!!!
    You're not likely to find a more sweet, affectionately drawn portrait of a time and era than this film. The last great one before this was "American Graffiti." Tom Hanks takes a very easy-going hand with the direction of this excellent movie, which is one of the film's strong points. It moves at a fast, yet leisurely pace and has a good story to tell about one of the millions of one hit wonder band that crop up, have a hit or two, and then just when they are about to become the hugest group in the world, disappear into oblivion. The group in this movie, therefore is, aptly called the "Wonders." (The original spelling of their name, the "One-ders" has to be changed because people kept pronouncing it "Oh needers".) This movie is a very light, fun musical comedy/drama with a bouncy, authentic-sounding score, highlighted by the excellent title number and some other faux-60s pop hits, and delightful performances from an exuberant cast. Hanks even has a small part as their manager, in a very downplayed, tasteful performance. This movie is wise to never take itself or its plot too seriously, acknowledging throughout, even during the breakup, that the "Wonders" was really a whim more than anything else throughout their shortlived history. Many clever set pieces compare the "Wonders" to parts of Beatle history, the difference being that the Beatles had more than one or two hit singles. All in all, this movie is a fun, vibrantly colorful look at the 60s music industry, that gently and subtly parodies the era while celebrating it simulaneously. P.S. Look for a fabulous cameo by Rita Wilson, Hanks' real-life wife as a cocktail waitress.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "...like I wonder what happen to the O-NE-DERS?" Lenny
    Those words spoken by Lenny just kill me...Zahn plays the part of Lenny, the smart-talking and wild member of the group. This movie takes place in 1964, just as Vietnam was beginning to re-focus a carefree America. Along comes a "one-time wonder" with a hit song which climbs the Billboard Chart in record time...The chemistry that Zahn, Schaech, Scott, and Embry have, combine to form an exciting and comical band who go from obscurity to nationwide fame in a few weeks' time. Each member of the group handles the group's rising success in a different way. That aspect alone is unique! Tom Hanks plays the manager-part very realistically, but adds a twist of humanity when it comes to dealing with Scott's character. Liv Tyler, who plays Jimmy's girlfriend Faye, does a wonderful job of playing the part of the loyal girlfriend (though Jimmy burns her in the end). Tom Everett Scott does a fantastic job as the main character whose drums bring the Wonders to life through his playing. The plot is simple but could've been more developed. The soundtrack is a must if you purchase the movie. The album notes are fictional but add insights to other characters in the movie. Hanks did a wonderful job directing this movie and writing many of the songs involved in the movie. Overall, this ranks as one of my family's favorite movies...

    5-0 out of 5 stars "We can use the 'Wonders' with an 'O' 'N' 'E'"
    This is one of Tom Hanks' best!
    Written, directed, and starring Tom Hanks, 'That Thing You Do!' tells the charming story of a small town band hitting the big times. It starts with the find of a perfect drum player and ends in a wonder.
    Guy Patterson is helping run the family appliance store, something he could live without doing, Jimmy is the lead singer to a newly started rock band with one problem: his band has its first gig and no drum player!
    That's when Guy comes in, with his amazing fast drum playing skills, which turns the band's best song, "That Thing You Do", from good to great!!! They recieve a standing ovation and are asked to perform another gig! After making a single recording of "That Thing You Do!" on a record, they get a manager, who leads them to their new manager, Mr. White (Hanks).
    After making the radio and hitting a state fair tour, the band fly to California where they are given a chance to perform live on TV!
    As the worst would happen, something dramatic with Jimmy and his girlfriend, who is also their costume mistress, and the band break up. Giving the song "That Thing You Do!" a lable as a One-Hit Wonder.
    _________________________________________________________________
    The movie is awesome, all in all. It delivers fast, fun comedic jokes and has very snappy and catchy music. The ending is very sweet, giving a brief on all the main characters and where they are today. This movie will touch your heart, if not through the story, then the music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not deep, but highly etertaining slice of 1960's pop music
    This is a movie about a 1964 garage rock band called "The Wonders" that catapults to the big time in one summer then disbands, having made only one hit -- get it? The one-hit-Wonders!

    Some reviewers have complained that this movie isn't deep or "real" enough. I'm assuming that it doesn't show enough explicit sex and drug use to satisfy their urge for reality (the movies they recommend as alternatives are rated R). This movie isn't trying to go that deep, but it's a very entertaining, very clean slice of mid-60's Amnerican pop music.

    My husband came of age in the 60's and he finds it immensely entertaining. He always laughs at the all-girl band Tom Hanks cleverly creates to showcase local 60's mediocrity -- and he's laughing at himself, remembering some of his own mediocre music ensembles from the same decade. But he only laughs during that one song; the rest of the music in this movie is excellent. Every time he hears the alterative version of the main song (during the end credits) he wishes that his own garage band would have had access to music like that.

    1964 was an interesting time for pop music; it included 50's type genres as well as rock and roll (which is usually associated with the 60's, although it began earlier), and this movie (and soundtrack) capture it beautifully. The "Playtone Galaxy of Stars" (Playtone being the fictitious recording lable featured in the movie) includes a black girl's group, a glamourous blond pop singer and a tall, dark, handsome guy, reminiscent of a certain "look" from the late 50's/early 60's who sings a song hummorously reminiscent of "Secret Agent Man." Even jazz is featured: when the group falls apart, the drummer gets to jam with a black Jazz pianist that he's admired for years.

    Not only do the Wonders sing the phenominally catchy and immensely listenable title tune (and the actors are really playing and singing, which is quite an achievement) but several others: my personal favorite is the jazzy "Dance With Me." But the wonderful (there I go again) title song is what seems to magically captures a whole decade of rock and roll; it would have been a major hit if it had existed in 1964.

    My husband and I obviously love this film and what's really great about it is that our kids love to watch with us; they especially love anything Steve Zahn says or does -- he's hysterical. All the other performances are great as well; it's a very good piece of ensemble work and everyone gives a very natural performance. The plot clips right along, the screenplay is witty and the cinemetography is very cleverly done.

    All right, so it doesn't have a deep meaning, but it's not trying to. If you enjoy music from the 60's, you can't find a more entertaining film than this one.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Just OK, nothing special
    I expected an entertaining movie judging by these reviews,
    but I was disappointed. This is a trite, ordinary movie with a catchy song. ... Read more


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