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    $19.47 $13.55 list($29.95)
    1. The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen
    $79.42 $44.44 list($105.90)
    2. The Godfather DVD Collection
    $18.17 $7.47 list($27.95)
    3. Ocean's Twelve (Widescreen Edition)
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    4. Young Frankenstein (Special Edition)
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    20. The Aviator (2-Disc Full Screen

    1. The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080ZG10
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

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


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

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

    The Personalities ofThe Aviator

    Click the links to explore more movies by these stars.

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

    Other Movies by The Aviator's Oscar® Winners

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

    The Aviator at Amazon.com


    The Aviator soundtrack

    The Screenplay

    Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator


    Howard Hughes movies

    Great movies of the 1930s

    The films of Martin Scorsese

    ... Read more

    Reviews (147)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FROM KIRSTEN

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

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


    2. The Godfather DVD Collection
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    list price: $105.90
    our price: $79.42
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXAA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 175
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (463)

    5-0 out of 5 stars If there was ever an offer you couldn't refuse, it's this!
    Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount Home Entertainment held a press conference and street fair in Brooklyn, and yours truly was there! The exciting news, of course, was announcing the release of THE GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION on October 9, 2001! If the preview of the set is any indication, then I must say this will be the crown jewel in any DVD collection!

    The three films will only be released together in this set. The Godfather and The Godfather Part III will each be on one disc, and The Godfather Part II will take two discs. The first of the good news? Francis Coppola has recorded full-lenth audio commentaries for all three films!

    But wait, there's a fifth disc that will blow your socks off! Check this out -- the bonus disc contains 3+ hours worth of special features, including: > "The Godfather Family: A Look Inside" documentary > "Francis Coppola's Notebook", an inside look at taking the book to screen! > "On Location" with production designer Dean Tavoularis! > "The Godfather Behind The Scenes" 1971 featurette! > "The Cinematography of The Godfather"! > "The Music of The Godfather" -- two featurettes! > "Coppola and Puzo on Screenwriting"! > Storyboards from GF2 and GF3! > "The Corleone Family Tree" character and cast bios! > Academy Award® acceptance speeches! > Photo galleries with captions! > Theatrical trailers! > Filmmaker bios! > Corleone Family timeline, with real-life events mixed in! > Never-seen alternate opening of GF3! > And "all" of the extra footage found in the televised Godfather Saga!

    The picture quality looked fantastic -- Coppola's American Zoetrope did a wonderful job restoring the films! From what I could tell, the sound quality was perfect, and the on-screen menus looked great. And the DVD packaging looks very nice.

    All three films are in widescreen format with English 5.1 surround sound, French mono, and English subtitles.

    Perhaps the only "bad" news I heard was that there were no plans at this point to release the chronological version on DVD. Francis said that the films were meant to be seen with the flashbacks, and I tend to agree. The biggest plus of having The Godfather Trilogy or Epic on tape, or watching The Godfather Saga on TV, was all the extra footage included. Well, the bonus disc in The Godfather DVD Collection contains "all" of the extra footage, and even something we've never seen anywhere before: an alternate opening for The Godfather Part III. Francis didn't give a firm "no" though; he cited technical reasons for not being able to include all the extra footage on DVD: the different scenes are in various levels of production ("they weren't mixed and scored"), making it difficult to add them seemlessly with today's technology. Maybe, but they seemed to be okay in the boxed sets and on TV to me.

    Do yourself a favor and order the biggest DVD release of all time!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Godfather Series: Movies You CANNOT Refuse.
    What can one say about The Godfather series? All three films were masterpieces. Classics. Part One told the tale of Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando--the Mafia Don of a family in the 40's and 50's, which eventually is head by his son, Michael (Al Pacino) in the sequel. Part Two also tells the story of Vito as a young man in Sicily played by Robert DeNiro. In the final installment set about twenty years after the original, Michael's dreams of becoming legit are countered by his trigger-happy nephew (Andy Garcia), along with new and opposing foes that make it impossible to go straight and leave his crime backround behind. To quote Pacino: "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in," and countless other lines will be quoted for years to come. The performances are absolutely perfect, the screenplay and direction are superb by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. What more can I say? You must watch all three to appreciate just how great these movies are. At three hours apiece they would be great fun for a rainy day. Pop them in at 8 in the morning and by 6 you'll be a member of the family. Part One is my favorite. Check out GoodFellas, another one of the best films of all time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
    Ah, the music, the scenery, the horse's head...

    Belonging to a family headed by two German matriarchs who married two Italian guys, watching The Godfather every year or so was a family tradition. I felt like I knew the Corleones and loved them, never mind they knocked off a few people who deserved it now and then. This mixed feeling is what makes the series so fascinating.

    The story is really about four men - Marlon Brando/Robert de Niro as Don Vito Corleone, the ultimate old-school mob boss, and his three sons - James Caan a force of nature as hotheaded Sonny, who lives to regret going to his sister's rescue one fateful day; John Cazale heartbreaking as Fredo, who's existence depends on his mother's continued good health after he makes the worst mistake of his life, and, most of all, Al Pacino; bonechilling as Michael, who outlives them all but lives to wish he hadn't.

    The first movie has most of the cliches - the Italian wedding, the "sleeping with the fishes" line, the amazing baptism/massacre scene, and Brando's whole performance. The second ostensibly deals with the respective rises of Vito and Michael to power and Michael's gripping cat-and-mouse game with wily old Hyman Roth, but I'll bet what everyone never forgets about this one is what happens to poor Fredo. If Michael hasn't lost his soul by the end of Part I, he's lost it by the end of Part II. Part III was inevitable, I suppose, but there's really nothing else to say. A good movie, yes, but the other two are so great that it's almost an anticlimax.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Coppola's legacy enclosed with others
    While the original film ranked #2 on the AFI's list of 100 Greatest Movies (#1 being Citizen Kane), many film buffs, afficionados, and audiences believed that the first Godfather film deserves that #1 spot. How many people do you know who know some of those famous quotes like, "I'm gonna' make him an offer he can't refuse," or "Never take sides against the family again, ever..." A few maybe? Or perhaps you grew up in an Italian family like mine and your father can translate the Italian for you while you watch? Now how many people can quote Citizen Kane beyond, "Rooooosebuuuud...."

    Despite the excellence of the first film, it is my opinion that Godfather part 2 delves deeper into the family, more into the two-toned life that Michael Corleone orchestrates between the family business and his family. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the relationship he cultivates between himself and Hyman Roth (wonderful performance by Lee Strasberg), cementing the old adage that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. On the surface they are friends, behind closed doors they are co-conspirators, between each other they are close friends and confidants. Beneath it all, in the depths of each man's heart, they are mortal enemies, Corleone ultimately the victor. The whole movie is a mounting tension between the two, reaching heights as when Hyman fumes over the death of a great man, Mo Green, whom Corleone had killed in the first film. In the end, Hyman becomes just another victim, mowed down by a Corleone footman.

    The court proceedings are shot in a way that transmits the claustrophobia and morose tedium of the justice system back in the days of McCarthyism (the eras align somewhat, both post-war 1950's). The court is crowded, people line the walls, journalists write furiously in the heat of the courtroom, in the background, people walk in and out of the proceedings like is was a Wal-Mart. People speak into microphones, their voices drone in the hollow, sparse room.

    And then Michael Corleone has his own brother killed. Many would say this is when Michael gives himself over fully to the title "Godfather." This is actually one of the central themes of the first film, when exactly does Michael become Godfather? The first film has a wonderful moment where, in the family office (the predominant colors are brown and orange), Brando gets out of his chair, moves over to the side of the office, Michael gets up from the couch on the other side, moves to the desk, and sits in his fathers chair. This is when Michael becomes Godfather in my opinion, but Coppola is good enough to give us more moments that question exactly, "When?"

    Coppola's film legacy lies within this box set, as does Pacino's, Brando's, Caan's, and Duvall's. DeNiro managed to go off and do other things, his legacy lies somewhere else, but to the aforementioned actors, they have never done another film or role as well as what they did in the Godfather films. You don't realize it until you pop in the bonus disc, but composer's Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola also put their legacy into this film with the music. Who can forget Rota's seven-note theme that opens and closes the film? Carmine Coppola adds a more Italiano flavor to the music in the flashback scenes featuring DeNiro as a young Vito Andolini (a.k.a. Don Corleone in the first film).

    There's so much to go over, the least of which is film #3. But the contents of the other three discs justifies the cost, which could actually be higher. But really, this collection is an offer you can't refuse, or do I have to put a gun to your head??

    5-0 out of 5 stars Godfather collection~ a def. 5 stars
    personally, I thought Godfather II was the best out of the three films. I loved the fact that the movie kept fading from Michael's reign as Godfather to Vito Corleone's in 1920s New York and his olive oil (wink wink) business. great storytelling on Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Copolla's respective parts in II.
    Godfather was a classic, no mistake in that..what's weird is that the movie makes the audience love the mafia...never have I seen the mafia world portrayed from the inside out so unbelievably.
    part III was a bit disappointing...really made us want more of Michael Corleone and the rest of the family. ... Read more


    3. Ocean's Twelve (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Steven Soderbergh
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007P0XBO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 46
    Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

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

    Reviews (197)

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

    Genre Grade: A-

    Final Grade: B-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    ... Read more


    4. Young Frankenstein (Special Edition)
    Director: Mel Brooks
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6305168857
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 222
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    If you were to argue that Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein ranks among the top-ten funniest movies of all time, nobody could reasonably dispute the claim. Spoofing classic horror in the way that Brooks's previous film Blazing Saddles sent up classic Westerns, the movie is both a loving tribute and a raucous, irreverent parody of Universal's classic horror films Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Filming in glorious black and white, Brooks re-created the Frankenstein laboratory using the same equipment from the original Frankenstein (courtesy of designer Kenneth Strickfaden), and this loving attention to physical and stylistic detail creates a solid foundation for nonstop comedy. The story, of course, involves Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and his effort to resume experiments in re-animation pioneered by his late father. (He's got some help, since dad left behind a book titled How I Did It.) Assisting him is the hapless hunchback Igor (Marty Feldman) and the buxom but none-too-bright maiden Inga (Teri Garr), and when Frankenstein succeeds in creating his monster (Peter Boyle), the stage is set for an outrageous revision of the Frankenstein legend. With comedy highlights too numerous to mention, Brooks guides his brilliant cast (also including Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman in a classic cameo role) through scene after scene of inspired hilarity. Indeed, Young Frankenstein is a charmed film, nothing less than a comedy classic, representing the finest work from everyone involved. Not one joke has lost its payoff, and none of the countless gags have lost their zany appeal. From a career that includes some of the best comedies ever made, this is the film for which Mel Brooks will be most fondly remembered. Befitting a classic, the Special Edition DVD includes audio commentary by Mel Brooks, a "making of" documentary, interviews with the cast, hilarious bloopers and outtakes, and the original theatrical trailers. No video library should be without a copy of Young Frankenstein. And just remember--that's Fronkensteen. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (219)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have a "hunch" you'll love this!
    Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) wants nothing more than his job teaching biology at the university, the love of his life Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn), and to put behind him the legacy of his grandfather, the infamous Baron Viktor von Frankenstein. He never planned on inheriting his ancestral castle complete with assistants (Marty Feldman, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman). He never planned on finding his grandfather's notes . He didn't plan to reanimate a corpse (Peter Boyle) with an abnormal brain. And he certainly didn't plan for said corpse to get loose...

    Put that way, this hardly sounds like a comedy at all. Ah, but Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, like Dr. Frankenstein, have deftly grafted inspired lunacy to a touching and solid story and given their creation life. Wordplay, slapstick, innuedno, sight gags and cinema's most memorable musical scene combine in a hilarious brew. Yet it is the original core, the story of the deformed oucast and the creator who ultimately redeem each other, that keeps it all from simply being vaudeville. Peter and Gene are fabulous at being silly and sincere simultaneously.

    On to the extras! The trailers and production stills are nice, standard fare. The outakes are little disappointing. Several of the clips are close-up shots of a single performer, the camera never moving, so we hear the cast and crew cracking up, but don't always understand why. Some of the deleted scenes were pretty funny, and a shame they didn't make it into the final cut. The making of documentary interviews several of the key figures and does a good job of exposing what exactly it took to make the film. (Note to techno-geeks: not much detail on special effects, if that's your thing.) Also, there a couple of interviews done for a Mexican studio with Marty and Gene (don't worry, they also speak English).

    Did you ever watch old home movies with, say, an uncle who'd reminisce and sometimes just make silly comments about what's going on? OK, now imagine that your uncle is Mel Brooks and that his home movie is this multi-million dollar spectacle. That's what the comentary track is like. It was really neat to hear not only what Mel had in mind for the various scenes, but his unabashed adulation at the creative talent he had to work with. He even talks about the fellow who plays Inspector Kemp's chauffeur!

    All in all, a wonderful movie with a good helping of juicy extras.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Homage to Horror
    This is probably Mel Brook's finest work, though some might vote for Blazing Saddles or the Producers. Not me, though. I'll take this one. In a tribute to the old horror movies of yore, Brooks puts together the perfect cast to carry it out. Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced FRONKENSTEEN), Marty Feldman as Igor (pronounced EYEGORE), Teri Garr as the lab assistant Inga, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, and my personal favorite from the movie Madeline Khan. Her scene with Marty Feldman standing at the doorway of the castle and the one where she saunters into the bedroom looking like Elsa Lanchester are both absolute total screams. The great thing about the cast is the fact that they all are in total flow with the movie and with each other. The DVD has many extra features which makes it miles ahead of the VHS tape.

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Roll, roll, roll in ze hay."
    Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" is not only a loving tribute to James Whale's original Frankenstein films, but a wildly entertaining spoof that still generates laughs years after its original release. This is Brooks in his prime and that is indeed a wonderful sight to behold.

    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the notorious Victor Frankenstein. After reviewing his grandfather's work, Frederick tries to recreate the famous reanimation experiment at his ancestral castle. Frederick succeeds in bringing his own creation to life but as luck would have it, there is a problem with the brain implanted in the monster (Peter Boyle). Soon, the monster is roaming the countryside and finding itself in one hilarious situation after another until Frederick catches up with him and promptly puts his tap-dancing talents to good use.

    "Young Frankenstein" is blessed with top quality comedic performances from start to finish. Wilder and Boyle are pitch perfect as the doctor and his creation and the supporting cast of Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman all shine. The production design also is top notch as the Frankenstein Castle's interiors and exteriors are faithfully recreated - with the help of some of the original props - in glorious black and white and literally look like holdover sets from Universal's "Frankenstein" (1931) and "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). You would never think that source material like Mary Shelley's original work could inspire such a funny film, but leave it to Brooks to prove it could be done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "PARDON ME BOY...IS THIS THE TRANSYLVANIA STATION?"
    "Yah, yah, track twenty-nine...I hope you make it in time!" Non stop gags; a terrific atmosphere, worthy of the classic Universal Frankenstein movies we all know and love...James Whale would have LOVED this! Whenever the name Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman) is mentioned, the horses go into a frenzy of neighs; GREAT stuuf. At night in the graveyard, Igor (Pronounced EYE-GORE) and Wilder are digging up a corpse (digging because Igor took the wrong brain...Abby Normal!) for their nefarious lab work; Wilder starts complaining and Igor (Feldman) says: "Could be worse....could be raining." No sooner are the words out of his mouth then we hear a terrific crash of thunder, then see lightning, and then the skies open up. Then Igor says: "I have a hunch..." This is so funny it can make you sick from laughing; when Peter Boyle, as Frankenstein's Monster, launches into his famous "Puttin' on the Ritz" you are pretty much over the edge and barely able to breathe any more. One of my favorite lines is when Igor is driving Wilder to the Castle and there is a howl in the distance; Wilder says nervously: "What was that?" And Igor replies: "Werewolf." Wilder: "Werewolf?" Igor: "There...wolf."
    Feldman, Wilder and Cloris Leachman are wonderful in this, and it was shot, appropriately, in black and white. I was fortunate enough to be at the studio when this was being shot and went onto the set and opened a door in the Castle and there were Peter Boyle, Wilder and Feldman all sitting around a table, taking a break...and Boyle had the most sickening shade of green make-up all over his face; he looked terrific. the sets were fantastic, and it was a thrill to be allowed to see them all. Great stuff and a very funny movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars comedy at its best
    Young Frankenstein is one of the few movies that EVERYONE knows. The actors do an excellent job of delivering the great "slap-stick" comedy throughout the film. The entire movie is also delivered in black and white to give it that old horror film feeling, and takes place mostly in the castle of Dr. Frankenstein. Now that the infamous Dr. Frankenstein has passed, his grandson, Fredrick, goes to the castle.

    While in the castle he falls upon his grand fathers old library and realizes that bringing people back to life after death could work, and creates a fully operational hulk! This movie is great if you ahve a sharp grasp on humor and a bit of information from the timespan. Some jokes will pass right over the heads of some of the younger viewers, such as the scene where Dr. FRONKenstein (as he likes to be called) arrives at the train station at track 29 and a boy asks if he can give him a shine. Me being a high school student, i am greatful that my jazz choir sang the chatanooga choo choo or i would have never understood that one. in conclusion the movie is a hilarious collection of old cliches about horror movies, yet never gets tiresome like some of monty pythons movies. A great, entertaining trip to Transylvania awaits you! ... Read more


    5. Closer (Superbit Edition)
    Director: Mike Nichols
    list price: $28.95
    our price: $20.27
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OCG4W
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 94
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Four extremely beautiful people do extremely horrible things to one another in Closer, Mike Nichols' pungent adaptation of Patrick Marber's play that easily marks the Oscar-winning director's best work in years. Anna (Julia Roberts) is a photographer who specializes in portraits of strangers; Dan (Jude Law) is an obituary writer struggling to become a novelist; Alice (Natalie Portman) is an American stripper freshly arrived in London after a bad relationship; and Larry (Clive Owen) is a dermatologist who finds love under the most unlikely of circumstances. When their paths cross it's a dizzying supernova of emotions, as Nichols and Marber adroitly construct various scenes out of their lives that pair them again and again in various permutations of passion, heartbreak, anger, sadness, vengeance, pleading, deception, and most importantly, brutal honesty. It's only until you're more than halfway through the movie that you'll have to ask yourself exactly why you are watching such a beautifully tragic tale, as Closer is basically the ickiest, grossest, most dysfunctional parts of all your past relationships strung together into one movie. Ultimately, it falls to the four actors to draw you deeper into the story; all succeed relatively, but it's Law and Owen whose characters will cut you to the quick. Law proves that yet again he's most adept at playing charming, amoral bastards with manipulative streaks, and Owen is nothing short of brilliant as the character most turned on by the energy inherent in destructive relationships--whether he's on the giving or receiving end. --Mark Englehart ... Read more

    Reviews (259)

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4 great actors, 4 great stars
    This is the story of four people: two men and two women. It souds plain simple, but the story is not so. It is not the typical story of a love quadrangle. It's a story of power, pride, self-confidence and, of course, love.

    The greatest and the lowest of human condition. All for love, but all for gaining the higher respect and best appearance in front of the rest of the world.

    The story is fantastic but, what to say of the actors? It is not only Portmann to take care. I think Julia Roberts makes her best acting ever. Jude Law is plain correct but Clive Owen is the great discovery for me. It is clear that this is "a film for actors", to show the best of them and they really succeed.

    The only problem is that these two facts (story and acting) hide a poor direction and some minor aspects. Personally, I think the producer did the budget and realized he has nothing to spend in such details.

    But it is a very recommendable movie to spend the afternoon at home. I saw it in the cinema and I had such a great impression that I hired it to see it again (and I haven't done it in more than ten times).

    1-0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Disappointing
    I don't understand how anyone could enjoy this film.It was by far the worst movie I've seen this year.In fact, it was so bad that I doubt I'll be able to enjoy watching the main 4 actors ever again.

    Although some people feel that watching 4 people destroy each other is beautiful, I find it to be depressing.This movie is about 4 "lovers" who use each other uncaringly, cry a lot, use the "f" word multiple times in every sentence, and who are completely unlikeable.It's like the director thought that having 4 beautiful people in a film was enough.I love a good drama, but this wasn't even close.

    The plot is as shallow as the characters.The ending is very silly; we find out information that the film makers thought would create a "Usual Suspects" type of ending, but it all falls flat and seems contrived.Amazon has many better DVDs for sale than this garbage.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mike Nichols at his best...
    Genre: Dark Romance

    Genre Grade: A+

    Final Grade: A

    This was a great movie - except it's possibly one of the most verbally sexual movies I've ever seen - but I can handle a little sex talk! There were about, I dunno, eight people or so who walked out of the movie because of the offensive language and sex talk. This movie breaks many barriers and talks about problems in relationships and tries to take a closer look at the raw emotions of affairs. The acting was Oscar-worthy from each person, Clive Owen coming out on top in my opinion. Natalie Portman was amazing as well, and Julia Roberts actually gives the audience something new.

    This movie is extremely depressing, and is not a date movie unless you want to walk away feeling hopeless. It leaves us with a despairing look at humanity and our own desires, and the film brings to light things that are normally left in the bedroom or simply remain unspoken. Definitely worth seeing just for the performances (especially the amazing encounter between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, and then later the discussion between Jude Law and Clive Owen), the AMAZING dialogue, and just because of the fact that Mike Nichols directed it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great Performances save this film!
    This movie is hard to follow.No question about that.Most movies that are adapted from Broadway plays don't fair well on screen unless they're made from the classic playwrights (Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Eugene O'Neill, etc.).Many of the negative reviews here on Amazon.com expecting more action are justified.However, I found the movie to be better than expected.Mike Nichols is one of Hollywood's finest directors.And with four of the best actors around, he does very will with the challenging subject matter.Natalie Portman has become the "Harrison Ford" of the Star Wars genre by breaking out into a great Oscar nominated role.British TV star Clive Owen also breaks free of his shell with his excellent performance.Juila Roberts & Jude Law round out this excellent cast.If you can stay with it for the performances, you'll be amused.

    1-0 out of 5 stars One of the worst movies I've ever seen
    I was really excited about seeing this, since it got such good reviews. Boy, was I surprised. This movie is so depressing, with everyone cheating on each other and getting hurt. There was a review that said that this is a real love story, but if that's true we all might as well throw in the towel. If you like feeling like you want to slit your wrists, then watch the movie. If not, definitely look elsewhere. ... Read more


    6. Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: George Lucas
    list price: $29.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006HBUJ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1277
    Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1926)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The force is strong with this one.
    Star[]Wars! The series has come back into full swing with 'Attack of the Clones.' Everything that 'Phantom Menace' tried to be and more, we return to the rollicking space adventure that made the first three classics. Don't pay attention to the negitive reviews, aside from a little cheese covered romance the goods are delivered in great fashion. 'Attack..' is packed with extremely well lensed action set pieces that remind the viewer of the summer of 1980. The acting is decent and works for the material provided...I mean, this is Star Wars not Shakespere and lines are delivered with intended monotonality; lightsabers speak louder than words and emotion a Jedi does not crave. I found this film to be better than 'Return of the Jedi' due to its return to the swashbuckling action/adverture of the first two movies sans cute little talking kid friendly creatures that help generate mechandise sales for the toddler marketing target group. The special effects are outstanding of course, and the sound effects were really cool. The story was decent enough to get you to care what happens to the heroes and dislike the villians (finally, villians. That seemed to be missing from episode one save Darth Maul who was way underused). All around an excellent chapter in the saga and a great movie in itself. This film makes you look forward to the next installment and the man himself-Darth Vader. Thanks, George for reigniting the magic that was, and is, Star Wars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the best of the star wars movies
    in this one,yoda fights.this is truly awesome.anakan is growing up.he goes to get his mom from slavery but shes been killed by these nasty little monsters.so he goes genocidal on them all.ben is tring to teach anakan but hes learning way faster than normal and is quite the showoff.the kids will like it.it is the last full length movie of the set.there is an animated short film after this part called clone wars.the last one is due out next summer.just anybody bwill like it.the chick is a young teen ans ends up being anakans girlfriend.i dont know what you heard but this is an all time great.the special effects are cool.this movie is a classic!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Big Trouble In Little Greece: Attack Of The Kung Fu Robots
    If I were a movie director and for some reason I decided to undertake the project of making the most grotesque parody and mockery ever made of the original Star Wars trilogy, I would do the following:

    First, I would open the movie where the main character of the movie -The Jedi- freefalls some 10,000 stories in a sprawling metropolis, all the while narrowly missing multitudes of careening hovercrafts which literally filled the sky, only to finally land safely inside one of them just in the nick of time, nanoseconds before he was about to slam into the ground.

    Secondly, I would include the most bland, personality-less, emotionally-uninspiring actors and actresses I could find. Also, I would incorporate pseudo-Greek cultural and archeological elements throughout the movie (which had no relevancy to the sci-fi theme of the movie) so as to confuse the viewer as to what planet...or planets the movie was taking place in...or what universe and epoch(s) for that matter. I'd include several pseudo-romantic scenes where there wasn't an iota of emotion or chemistry between the two love birds and whose forced, stimulated 'romantic scenes' seemed to serve no purpose, either.

    I would then attempt to completely destroy...annhilate the original Star Wars's sacred notion of the force -as being stimulated and channeled by spirituality and mind over matter- and any drama associated with it as well. MY notion would be that the measure of one's force can be determined by analyzing mitochondrial DNA samples to tally the number of antibodies present in the protoplasm.

    Next, I would blow away the concept of the original Star Wars's wimpy 2-jedi battle scenes with an epic magnitude-12 mega battle scene which consisted of 10,000 jedis and 100,000 jedi foes engaged in flipping-through the-air somersault kung fu moves that render the likes of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and all '70s special-effects-laden Chinese kung fu flics obsolete. You thought that Luke Skywalker jumping 10 feet out of a carbon freeze container was cool? Could Luke Skywalker stay airborne for 10 seconds all the while throwing barrages of backroundhouse kicks and punches? Screw that punchless Luke Skywalker single-blade lightsaber. Behold, I introduce the double-edged light saber which all jedis are equipped with. FULLY FUNCTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL. Only an elite and intelligent class of human being can be a jedi? Not anymore. Any living, crawling, oozing intelligence-devoid parasite, wingless bat or orc -of any gender-can be a jedi.

    Finally, I would end the movie with Kung Fu/Force-Master Yoda defeating the Master Evil Jedi with triple and quintuple cartwheel backroundhouse kicks and punches, while airborne, and lightning-fast Tae Kwan Do slaps and curled finger combinations that would put Jackie Chan to shame. The very last scene of the movie would end with the Evil Jedi Master becoming so angry, because of his defeat, that his head grew to the size of a large balloon, then exploded with the force of 20 grenades. Maybe I'd include that scene only in the UNCUT version.

    The result: The sci-fi sequel to "Big Trouble in Little China" -Big Trouble in Little Greece: Attack Of The Kung Fu Robots...or as some people may prefer to call it -Star Wars II: Attack Of The Clones.

    2-0 out of 5 stars My Take on Mr. Lucas
    OK, here's my rant. I'll keep it brief (unlike some other reviewers)

    Best Parts:
    1. Phantom Menace - Pod Race, Darth Maul
    2. Attack of the Clones - Yoda's lightsaber flight

    That's it. Everything else in these films is an utter joke. I could go on for many paragraphs, but I'll spare you. You gotta realize that there was a reason George didn't direct Empire or Jedi. He's an awful director. He has no ear for dialogue. The newer digital film process looks really awful. Only good ol' George could manage to waste the talents of Christopher Lee, Sam Jackson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman. And I think Hayden Christensen is the only other actor who possesses Keanu Reeves' atrocious wooden technique. His Anakin doesn't possess darkness, just stupidity. I hope Lucas gets a tumor in that fat double chin of his. If you don't like it, sue me. He's destroyed the meaning of my childhood favorites, so the hell with him. Do you really think the next film is going to make up for it? Only if it's about four hours long and is directed by someone else.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Star Wars is Star Wars-No matter what anyone thinks
    I am writing on behalf of all the Star Wars movies. Sure the prequals aren't life changing but they still make the cut worthy of the title Star Wars.Back in the 70s/early 80s America needed a major facelift. We had nothin to look foward to anymore and just went by living. The movies out back then were dark and dreary. our common mythology had faded into the closet. Then came Star Wars. It was just supposed to be another space family film that would eventually be forgotten about. We were decieved. What George Lucas put on this Earth was meant to be. He dragged us out of the gutter and gave us something to talk about. People had a place to escape to and run away from there troubles. It wasn't like your average cowboy movie where you know the outcome and the setting. It was a strange galaxy with weird looking creatures and strange spaceships. It was all so real and lifelike. It was the total opposite of Star Trek. It was cool. People wanted more. They got two more. Each delivering there own set of memories. The lines became legendary. The sound of a light saber instantly recognizable. Movies nowadays are always borrwing lines and plots of other movies. Star Wars only borrowed one thing. Creativity. The Star Wars story was pulled out of mid-air. It wasn't like George Lucas said he wanted to make a space movie kind of like an old western. He created the idea of A Space Saga Trilogy. He's the one who threw us into this exciting new world called Star Wars. Fans wanted more. They got comics and books. then Star Wars movies were no more. They were still in the movies. Oter movies had borrowed lines and plots for their own. Thats why Star Wars is pop culture ICON. That is what the prequals lack. When someone comes up yo you with a stick in one hand and is waving it around they don't say "Watch out Count Dooku". They say watch out Darth Vader. The prequals are good movies but they aren't life changing like the Classics. If the prequals came first people wouldn't be walking around saying Look A destroyer droid. They don't have the trademark line like they do in the Classics. They didn't create new famous lines, they just took them from the old ones. As a movie I would give Phantom Menace and AOTC a 4 Star award. As a Star Wars film I would give it 2. The negative two is for lack of creativity. The OT is so popular because of what it was nd what it was created as. George did'nt give us that sense of story and herics like he did with the OT. George didn't create the OT because he wanted to tell a story for himself. He made it for us. For Episode one we weren't thrown into this new world with weird craetures and memorable charecters. In a sense of story The prequals fit nicely with the OT. But for a regular movie It gives us nothing to remember and say over and over again and to instantly recognize as Star Wars. I know it is hard to repeat what happened in the 70s/80s but there was nothing George Lucas could do about it. The Prequals are out in a world where evereything has already happened and didn't ignite the flame as the OT did. The Phantom Menace just continued in the name of Star Wars. The OT are just such good movies in themselves and it just doesn't matter which one you see first. They are all memorable. Don't get me wrong, the prequals are good movies and definantly worthy in the name of Star Wars but they are just thrown in with all the other movies which were created around one movie-Star Wars. Other movies wouldn't be the same without there Star Wars moment. That is why when in the movie Just Married Sarah(Brittany Murphy) asks Tom(Ashton Kutcher) if he ever dreamed of anything more glorious in his childhood than his wedding night, he flashes back to when he was playing lightsabers on the playground with other kids to the famous tune that Changed The World. Da da da DAAAA daa-you know the rest!
    "Remember, the Force will be with you, Always" ... Read more


    7. Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: George Lucas
    list price: $29.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CX5P
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1439
    Average Customer Review: 3.48 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Feature-Length Audio Commentary
    The creators of Episode I give you insight into the film like no one else can. Hear from: writer/director George Lucas, Producer Rick McCallum, sound designer and film co-editor Ben Burtt, ILM animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires.

    "The Beginning"
    Making Episode I Documentary Film
    Culled from over 600 hours of behind-the-scenes footage, this all-new hour-long documentary film takes you inside Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic during the making of The Phantom Menace. Sit in on the film's production process including: pre-production, casting, principal photography, editing, rough-cut reviews, visual effects meetings and other events that few people have had access to before.

    Exclusive Deleted Scenes and Documentary
    All-new documentary featuring George Lucas, Rick McCallum and guests discussing the painstaking process every director must go through in determining what scenes make the final cut.View seven exclusive deleted sequences that were created specifically for this DVD and learn why they were eliminated from the final version of the film.

    Multi-Angle Animatics
    Discover the amazing techniques used to create two memorable sequences (Submarine and Podrace Lap 1) from storyboards to animatics to final composites.

    Featurettes
    Five mini-documentaries give you an insider's look at The Phantom Menace's Storyline, Design, Costumes, Visual Effects and Fight sequences through behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and filmmakers.

    Web Documentaries
    Originally released on starwars.com during the production of Episode I, this award-winning twelve-part web documentary series gives you a fly-on-the-wall perspective into the making of the film as it was happening.

    Exclusive Production Photo Gallery
    Scroll through a never-before-seen gallery of candid cast and crew shots, each with captions.

    "Duel of the Fates" Music Video
    One of the most popular music videos during its release in May 1999, the "Duel of the Fates" video intertwines live footage of John Williams conducting the London Symphony Orchestra with behind-the-scenes clips and dramatic footage featured in Episode I.

    Posters and Print Campaign
    Examine the Episode I theatrical posters (Teaser and Launch) and the International Outdoor advertising used to support the release of Episode I around the world.

    Trailers and TV Spots
    Watch the theatrical teaser and launch trailers, plus seven TV spots (including the five original "Tone Poems" along with "The Saga Begins" and "All Over Again").

    "Star Wars: Starfighter-The Making of a Game" from LucasArts
    This featurette offers insight into the making of the popular flight action combat game along with information on other Star Wars games from LucasArts.

    Exclusive DVD-ROM Content
    Your Episode I DVD is a key that unlocks exclusive Star Wars content only available through a special DVD-ROM website. ... Read more

    Reviews (2449)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for DVD quality, 3 stars for the movie
    I'm reviewing only the DVD, and not the movie itself, which was a bit of a stinker, in my opinion. Well produced, beautifully filmed, but very poorly written.

    Anyway - this is an awesome and incredibly well done DVD. Lots and lots of extras. Great commentary by Lucas, the producer, the sound man, etc. Interview with the composer. Lots and lots and LOTS of background materials on the making of the film, and the entire process of putting it together from initial writing to final production, and the making of the DVD itself.

    The image of the movie is *very* crisp and clean. The deleted scenes are a nice addition to the movie. I am very impressed (and surprised, to be cynical about it) that Lucas has given us the full-featured DVD the first time out, and not offered us one scaled down DVD version, only to offer us a better version in a year, and then the full-scale one a year after that, like he's constantly done with the VHS versions of his movies. Thank you, Lucas, for taking care of your fans this time, and not trying to pad your pockets a few times before giving the fans what they *really* want.

    Quality-wise, this is absolutely one of the most loaded, best-featured DVDs I have in my collection.

    (as a p.s. - after hearing Lucas' commentary, and talking about some things coming up in the next movies, I have realized that a few things I criticized about this movie actually make sense oin terms of the upcoming story-line. However, I still think that, overall, the writing for this movie was only a cut above old b-movies)

    4-0 out of 5 stars OK Movie, Great DVD
    The Phantom Menace was probably the most heavily anticipated movie in history. It was the prequel to the original Star Wars series and George Lucas was taking the helm as director for the first time since Star Wars in 1977. The film was hyped incessantly and, of course, the final product failed to live up to the expectations. The Phantom Menace is not a bad film. It actually is absolutely amazing to look at and the special effects are incredible. The problem with the film is the plot. It seems disjointed as it bounces around from scene to scene. It seems that Mr. Lucas was to preoccupied with getting the film to look right than the actual story (which is what made the first Star Wars so great). Many people weren't happy with the casting of several roles, especially Ewan MacGregor as Obi Won Kenobi, but he does a decent job in an undeveloped role. Liam Neeson is commanding as Qui Gon Jin and Natalie Portman is quite good as Queen Amadala. The biggest complaint that most people had with the film was with the character of Jar Jar Binks and I won't disagree with most of what's been said about the annoying character. Mr. Lucas has previously shunned the DVD arena (American Graffiti is the only one of his films to appear in the format), but he goes about this release with a vengeance. The extras, including seven deleted scenes, are worth buying this DVD alone. Mr. Lucas spent an additional four million dollars on them and the money is well spent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars prequel?
    in this one,there is a council of jedis who rule everything and keep the peace.yoda,ben,some black dude and on like that.a younger ben finds a little kid-who is called anakan and later vadar.that kid wins his freedom with bens help in a very cool pod race.ben recognizes the force in the little one and decides to train him as a jedi.the bad guy is darth maul who has a double bladed light saber-very cool.hes the coolest looking character yet.i think peple came down too hard on jar-jar.hes a dork but there have been a lot worse.the kids will like it.it is the 4th part but the first episode.everybody should go see this one because just anybody will like it.anakans mom was pretty nice if she cleaned herself up.this movie isnt as good as the tv says but they blow everything all out of proportion anyway.this movie is abselutely incredible though.i think the black dude may be in the matrix too.its good too.the special effects are good.after this there is one more.then there is an animated short film.there is also another one on the way next summer.

    2-0 out of 5 stars To Lucas: Eye of the Tiger, Man!!
    To quote the famous lines by Apollo Creed from Rocky III, "You lost for all the wrong reasons, you lost your edge. Eye of the tiger, man!"
    A good analogy when you think of it...

    When Lucas made the first trilogy he was a relativly unknown up-and-comming writer/director full of desire and well, "hunger" to make his mark. That drive lead to the masterpieces of pop culture we know as ANH and ESB. By ROTJ his edge was already waning but thankfully it was the last one... or so we thought.

    By the time TPM came out he lost it completely and produced a quite mediocre if at best ordinary film. Living like a king for the past 20+ years made him not "hungry and full of desire" but fat and content. He lost his edge.

    Peter Jackson's LOTR Trilogy is so much better than Lucas' last 2 efforts for this same reason. Jackson has the "eye of the tiger"!

    Lucas HAS to get his edge back. Most agree AOTC is better than TPM but not by much. Will episode 3 prove that Lucas got it back??

    If only reality played out like the fantasy of Rocky III and Lucas brings home a REAL winner....

    1-0 out of 5 stars What drug was George Lucas on?
    I love Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. I think that George Lucas should have stopped there. The two movies: The Phantom Menace and the Attack of the Clones....SUCK! What was George Lucas thinking? Jar Jar Binks needs to tossed off the face of the earth, and Hayden Christansen (while hot), needs to take some acting lessons. Not enough special effects in the world could make me want to see the third release. Poor acting and writing have made me want to run for cover! Where's the FORCE when you need it? ... Read more


    8. Spanglish
    Director: James L. Brooks
    list price: $28.95
    our price: $21.71
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    Asin: B0007OCG56
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 222
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Anyone familiar with writer/director James L. Brooks (Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets) knows the man has a real feel for interesting women and a disarming way with a one-liner. The main women in Spanglish are Deborah Clasky (Téa Leoni), a moneyed SoCal mom, and non-English speaking Flor Moreno (Paz Vega), the beautiful Latina whom Deborah hires as a housekeeper. The one-liners, some of them amusing, are everywhere. Brooks provides an intriguing set-up for the two women to butt heads--Deborah's pudgy daughter Bernice (Sarah Steele) needs the affection at which Flor excels, while Flor's clever, bi-lingual daughter Cristina (Shelbie Bruce) is enamored of the financial advantages Deborah can provide--then proceeds to make Deborah so hatefully ignorant you can't imagine why her neuroses are the main thrust of the film. And Deborah's celebrated chef husband John (Adam Sandler, way over his head) is such a perfect parent he doesn't seem human--what happened to the Brooks who had Terms of Endearment mom Debra Winger turn to her scowling little boy and grunt "Don't make me hit you in the street"? Cloris Leachman has a nifty supporting role as Deborah's boozy, ex-jazz singer mother, but it's only one offbeat chord in an earnest film that hits all the wrong notes. --Steve Wiecking ... Read more

    Reviews (93)

    1-0 out of 5 stars what is wrong with Hollywood and New York?
    They seem to have a prejudice against Mexican-American actors.
    Not too many roles for Hispanics out there, but you would figure that at the very least Mexican actors would get parts in stories about Mexicans, right? Nope. "Selena" the story about a Mexican-American that sings Tejano music...had a Mexican actor right? Nope. Puerto Ricans and Cubans. "Spanglish" the story of a Mexican woman that comes to America...Mexican playing the part, right? Nope. They went to Seville, Spain to get this one...daytime soap operas, not very many Hispanics there...when there is a part for a Hispanic (once in a blue moon), it goes to Puerto Rican actors...Mexicans on tv? George Lopez and Cheech Marin...name 3 more...I can name 50 African-American actors just off the top of my head...20 Asian actors off the top of my head...10 Puerto Rican actors off the top of my head...4 Mexican actors off the top of my head (George, Cheech, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Fernando Lamas)...Hispanics are the largest Minority Group in America...Mexican-Americans make up 58% of that group...that is right...more than half of the largest Minority Group in America is of Mexican decent...so, when was the last time that you saw Mexicans on tv or in the movies?
    Dr. Pepper has about a 14% marketshare...How would it be if you could only find one can of Dr. Pepper in every ten stores? Wouldn't you say, "Woo, something is seriously wrong here"...then they make the story of how Dr. Pepper was created....but...you used Mr. Pibb in all the product shots of the story of Dr. Pepper...about the same thing when you make movies about Mexicans, but use no Mexican actors.

    So, who was the movie "Spanglish" made for? Mexicans? too far from true life for them...Puerto Ricans and Cubans? Can't relate to a movie about "Coming to America poor, for a better life" (Puerto Ricans were born Americans, Cubans were mostly either rich and/or educated escaping the overthrow of an Autocratic Government)...Spaniards? I don't think that even a handfull escaped poverty by coming to America so they can't relate to the story either...Caucasians? some yes, some no...African Americans? some yes, and some no...Asian Americans? some yes and some no...South Americans? They can relate to the story in it's purest form, but not in this Hollywood/Disneyland version...so, right from the start, this movie had a handful of potential viewers...so, again I ask, Who was this movie made for?

    While I am on a tirade: Why is Cajun a language and Spanglish not? Both are a conglomerate of languages, but one is considered delightful while the other is considered an abomination...if you consider the amount of people speaking either, Spanglish is spoken by maybe 1000 times more people than Cajun is.( and believe it or not, Spanglish does have it's own set of gramatical rules...it's not just Spanish and English words thrown together haphazardly...to simplify the rules: Spanish verbs with English Nouns along with a mix of both in adverbs...Spanglish syntax is a beautiful orphan...try and mesh the opposing sytaxs of English and Spanish...Spanglish syntax somehows gets the job done.)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not your typical Adam Sandler Movie!
    I have never been an Adam Sandler fan; however, this movie is really wonderful. Sandler has matured as an actor and is apparently taking roles with more meat and less physical comedy. His character is the polar opposite of Tea Leoni's. His love for their children and his understanding of human nature just shine through. Leoni is perfect as the neurotic, narcissistic wife and mother. A wonderful foil to Sandler's even tempered character. While you might think this is a great date movie, I think it's a better married with children couple date movie. Lots of truisms here. Favorite line: When Leoni's character tells her mother she isn't helping with her low self esteem, and the mother replies " these days your low self esteem is just good common sense". Sandler just might make it to my must see list for the future.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Rent it?Definitely. Buy it?You could do worse.
    Let's start off with; this wasn't a bad movie, it simply needed some work.

    The story itself is a feel good kind of movie...often referred to as a `chick flick.'There are no explosions, no guns, and no fist-fights.Other than a nonnudity sex scene where Te'a Leoni tries to do an orgasm scene that just doesn't cut it, there isn't much to be embarrassed about when watching this with young kids.

    Overall I feel the director wanted his actors to be too over the top.Te'a Leoni was waaaaaay over acting.This is something that someone just doesn't do, but is told to do.Cloris Leachman also had a few moments of over acting but for the most part was good and had some of the best lines in the movie to bring about a laugh.

    Shelbie Bruce who plays Christina did a great job.She was very convincing and pulled out some fine scenes.Paz Vega who plays Flor is breathtakingly beautiful and is able to act extremely well.(I hope she does many more films)Sarah Steele who plays Bernice is bound to be a very popular actor because she can act.

    The `big' name, Adam Sandler was okay.He isn't doing his normal funny guy thing in this film.I feel his character wasn't well written so much of the fault lies with the writer, who by the way is the director.

    Overall, I watched it twice and enjoyed it both times but it's definitely not one I'll buy.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Just on the edge of getting 4 stars
    Genre: Comedy, Drama

    Genre Grade: B+

    Final Grade: B-

    This was a good movie with great effort put into it from the cast and director James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets). However, some moments of pure cheesiness, as well as silly cliches, and some serious over-doing it caused this good movie to fall short of being a great one. However, there are some laugh-out-loud hilarious moments (mostly from Tea Leoni and Cloris Leachman) and some really great dialogue (something Brooks is known for), as sappy as it is. Adam Sandler gives a good performance, especially in his moments of being out of control, you can really sense his calmness is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This movie, though very unbelievable under the circumstances, does its job, and although it has some serious cheese factors, it's still definitely worth seeing. And now for a great line from the movie...

    Evelyn Norwich: We have to talk.
    Deborah Clasky: Mother, are you buzzed?
    Evelyn Norwich: No. I quit drinking weeks ago! No one noticed, but I guess that's a pretty good indicator that I conducted myself quite well when I was drunk. But this isn't about me right now.

    1-0 out of 5 stars What is the point of this movie?
    I feel compelled to write a review on this movie because it was by far the worst movie I have seen in the past couple of years. It was an utter disappointment. I'm still scratching my head on why so many people gave it such good reviews. I think the `deep' moments the movie was supposed to portray just came across as annoying and over the top. I really hated Tea Leoni's character. Yes, I realize that not every character in every movie is supposed to be likeable, but they should at least be somewhat relatable. She was just way too over the top for me.

    Also, I really did not understand the point of this movie. The movie starts off with Flor's daughter narrating her college essay, yet her daughter isn't even a centralized character in the movie...in fact her character is hardly even in the movie. Her ultimate point of her college essay at the end of the movie was that she was `her mother's daughter'. This really was not evident throughout the movie and I would not have guessed that this would be the point if she hadn't said it at the end. There really was no point to this movie; it was completely pointless in my opinion.
    ... Read more


    9. Million Dollar Baby (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Clint Eastwood
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
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    Asin: B00005JNP1
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 74
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Clint Eastwood's 25th film as a director, Million Dollar Baby stands proudly with Unforgiven and Mystic River as the masterwork of a great American filmmaker. In an age of bloated spectacle and computer-generated effects extravaganzas, Eastwood turns an elegant screenplay by Paul Haggis (adapted from the book Rope Burns: Stories From the Corner by F.X. Toole, a pseudonym for veteran boxing manager Jerry Boyd) into a simple, humanitarian example of classical filmmaking, as deeply felt in its heart-wrenching emotions as it is streamlined in its character-driven storytelling. In the course of developing powerful bonds between "white-trash" Missouri waitress and aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), her grizzled, reluctant trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), and Frankie's best friend and training-gym partner Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman), 74-year-old Eastwood mines gold from each and every character, resulting in stellar work from his well-chosen cast. Containing deep reserves of love, loss, and the universal desire for something better in hard-scrabble lives, Million Dollar Baby emerged, quietly and gracefully, as one of the most acclaimed films of 2004, released just in time to earn an abundance of year-end accolades, all of them well-deserved. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (186)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone's already taken the compliments this movie can get
    I can't believe how much I liked this movie. I'm not really one for Boxing or Dramas (Unless their really good) but I was was pleasantly surprised.

    Good performances on all sides (Hilary really deserved that Oscar), and the film also has you caring for the characters...maybe not all of them, but definately Hilary Swank.

    - - -SPOILERS AHEAD- - -
    I hate using words like "heartbreaking," but that's just what the ending to this story was. It will wreck you for a week. My Dad, who I viewed the movie with, hated the ending. He wanted one of those fairy tale finishes but, in reality, the world doesn't have too many of those. I, on the other hand (While I was fighting like Mike Tyson to hold back tears), admire Clint Eastwood for not being afraid to take a story (no matter how "good" or "inspiring" it is) and do a complete 180 from the cliche ending it seemed it was heading. It takes big grapes to do that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Boxing Hilary?
    This movie uses its extremely strong characters and a decent storyline to create what could literally be called a modern day classic. It shows a softer side to Clint Eastwood that I am not sure we have ever seen before. Hilary Swank is outstanding - I wish I had a better word for her performance - but I am not sure there is one. They key to this film is her ability to pull off the boxing segments in a convincing manner - and she does that in spades. Her right hook appears to be truly devastating. Morgan Freeman also turns in an awesome performance - both he and Swank are worthy of the Oscar. Million Dollar Baby is a film that should not be missed. See it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie With An Unbelievable Scene!!!
    This movie stars Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank who seems to get another Academy Award every time she appears in a movie.This movie seems to be a female version of Rocky at the start but then becomes a touching human drama. The only thing that spoiled this movie for me was the usual sanitized Hollywood Death Scene. The last time I checked if your oxygen supply is cut off then you turn red, then blue then purple.Not so in this movie. I am sure that Doctor Kevorkian would have loved this movie for this reason alone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Million Dollar Baby
    Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman are fantastic and Hillary Swank absolutey stunning and beautiful even while dawning shorts and sweating like the proverbial pig.This is easily the best movie I've seen in years, it is a must see for not only boxing fans, but anyone who enjoys a movie that has it all.Did I mention Hillary Swank:)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Should be about 17 stars
    Let's face it Clint Eastwood's head should be up on Mt. Rushmore.While critics are going bananas over garbage like Kill Bill & Shanghai Noon & Pulp Fiction & nonsense like Star Wars..Clint not only consistently delivers the goodsHeck,,even his lesser pictures like Every Which Way But Loose and Space Cowboys are hugely entertaining. this is along with Unforgiven his crowning achievement. In other words it's as good as it gets...& to think it's about a female boxer of all things...just see it. ... Read more


    10. Ray (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Taylor Hackford
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JND5
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7481
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    11. Blazing Saddles (30th Anniversary Special Edition)
    Director: Mel Brooks
    list price: $19.96
    our price: $11.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001Z4OXS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 107
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    The railroad's got to run through the town of Rock Ridge.How do you drive out the townfolk in order to steal their land?Send in the toughest gang you've got...and name a new sheriff who'll last about 24 hours.But that's not really the plot of Blazing Saddles, just the pretext.Once Mel Brooks' lunatic film many call it his best gets started, logic is lost in a blizzard of gags, jokes, quips, puns, howlers, growlers and outrageous assaults upon good taste or any taste at all.Cleavon Little as the new lawman, Gene Wilder as the wacko Waco Kid, Brooks himself as a dimwitted politico and Madeline Kahn in her Marlene Dietrich send-up that earned an Academy Award nomination all give this sagebrush saga their lunatic best.And when Blazing Saddles can't contain itself at the finale, it just proves the Old West will never be the same! ... Read more

    Reviews (207)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential Comedy Movie
    I love this movie! From the opening scene, where Cleavon Little sings the negro work song, "I Get a Kick Outta You", ala Nat King Cole, and he is corrected by the white men shoing him how to sing "Camptown Ladies", to the absurd surrealist ending (when was the last time you've seen a movie burst out of the movie, this is beautiful comedy.

    Sight gags flying by at the speed of light, you will have to watch it hundreds of times to get them all, one liners that would make the Marx Brothers proud ("Bart, I heard you was hung." "You heard right!) This is absurdist comedy at is best (A toll booth on the William J LaPetomaine Freeway). The Mel Brooks choreography is wonderful when Lili Von Schtup sings "I'm Tired." When was the last time you saw German Soldiers tango with their rifles. This movie is filled frame to frame with humor, and no one gets away not insulted (Okay, we'll take the Irish too!)

    The cast was perfection, either just over the top, or way over the top Harvey Korman is hilarious as the nefarious Hedley Lamarr. Cleavon Little is fantastic as he makes fun of his own stereotypes, it is absolutely one of the funniest movies ever made by humans on the planet earth.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Until a Special Edition comes along ...
    ... this will have to do. But that ain't all bad.

    Politically incorrect and loving it, "Blazing Saddles" holds up as a comedy nearly 30 years after its release, and maybe even has gotten funnier as Americans get more uptight. Heaven help us if we lose our ability to laugh at the outrageous.

    And while the bathroom humor (and the campfire scene) gets all the notice, there are some very subtle jokes in the film, such as the "laurel and hardy handshake" and "Thank you, Van."

    As for extras ... there's not much. A trailer, both widescreen and cropped versions, and an monologue by Mel Brooks that plays over the first half of the movie. It's not scene-specific, but it's worth listening to. For instance, Gene Wilder wasn't even supposed to be in the movie. To find out who was, and why Wilder got the part ... listen to the interview.

    This film cries out for a special edition. A scene-specific commentary by Brooks and co-writers Andrew Bergman and Richard Pryor. A making-of documentary. The scenes that were edited into the TV version of the movie (like the diving scene and the governor's visit to the fake Rock Ridge)...

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tasteless But Funny
    Plays like an ennactment of one of those tasteless joke books set to a Western theme. Not for everyone. Even fans of this sort of thing have to be in a certain mood.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The funniest western ever made
    Cleavon Little plays a black railroad worker condemend to death for assaulting his white foreman. At the last minute he is reprieved by the governor who has the devious idea of making him sheriff of Rock Ridge, a town the governor wants destroyed so they can run the railroad through the area, he thinks a black sheriff will finish the town off. When Little arrives in Rock Ridge he is nearly lynched by the outratged inhabitants but manages to outwit them. Safe in the sheriff's office, he finds the town drunk (Gene Wilder) just waking up in the cells, and they strike up a friendship. Together they set about the task of winning over the folk of Rock Ridge ("simple, wholesome, country folk - you know, morons" as Wilder says), and trying to save the town from destruction. This blissfuly funny film is packed with hilarious episodes. There's the wonderful scene where Little, asked to sing a negro song, obliges with 'I get a kick out of you', the scene where he arrives in Rock Ridge, there's Madelein Khan's hilarious Marlene Dietrich impersonation, the wonderful scene where Little and Wilder infiltrate the baddies' gang disguised as Klu Klux Klan members, and my favourite scene of all, the bit where the townsfolk, asked to give some land to the minority groups who are to help them build the fake town, reply "All right, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we DON'T want the irish!" The film is utterly delightful, with hilarious performances from all concerned. There's just one thing that I wonder about. Cleavon Little is such a wonderful comic actor, not to mention being drop-dead gorgeous as well, why has so little been seen of him since this film was made? Never mind, if you're only going to be famous for one film, this is a great one to be remembered for.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even the "Making-of" was recycled!
    Five stars for the movie itself as well as the presentation. The movie looks and sounds great.

    BUT--- as noted by many, the "30th Anniversary Edition" supplements are basically a hack job. This is easily one of the most influential comedies of all-time, it deserved to really be given the Special Edition treatment.

    The "Commentary" is not a traditional commentary at all; not only is it simply the audio from a 55 minute interview with Brooks, it was issued on the previous dvd. This has been mentioned by many reviewers.

    What hasn't been as well-reported is that even the half-hour retrospective doc has been recycled. The "Back in the Saddle" program, which is admittedly a decent if unspectacular show, was previously issued on the 2001 VHS edition! Basically, this featurette was issued on the 27th Anniversary video cassette release. Yes, this is the first time it has appeared on dvd, but still a rather lazy choice.

    The "Additional Scenes" are, somewhat annoyingly, not accessible scene-by scene. They play as one approx. 10-minute piece. These scenes were added to the TV broadcast version. It's nice to have them, though most of them are shown in the "Back in the Saddle" featurette.

    The only other significant supplement is the "Black Bart" pilot episode. This 24-minute show is a real curiousity, a great archival piece even though the show itself is excruciatingly BAD. Still, its interesting viewing, and very easy on the eyes. This show, quite simply, looks amazing! Very well preserved.

    There are a couple other bits, like the trailer and an excerpt from a Madeline Kahn documentary (only about 4 minutes or so).

    Really, all things considered, Warner really dropped the ball on the supplementals for this edition. The movie itself looks fantastic and the new 5.1 mix isn't anything special but it sounds better than the old disc. The movie is what really counts, and in that area the presentation can hardly be faulted. But in the end, they didn't actually produce any NEW supplemental material for this set. ... Read more


    12. The Wiz
    Director: Sidney Lumet
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0783233493
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1503
    Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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    Directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico) and penned by Joel Schumacher (Batman and Robin), this lavish 1978 adaptation of the Broadway hit The Wiz was the biggest production filmed in New York City up to that point, utilizing the newly revamped Astoria Studios and locations around the city. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross (reprising his Tony-winning role as the Lion) star in this Academy Award-nominated musical for the whole family.

    The Wiz is probably the grandest take on L. Frank Baum's classictale The Wizard of Oz.Theproduction team created sets with a sense of urban magic and spectacle: a New York subway station literally comes to life, and the massive plaza between the World Trade Center towers is transformed into the Emerald City, featuring nearly 400 dancers with three costume changes. Like all good musicals, the Quincy Jones arrangements are highly hummable long after viewing (especially the funky "Ease On Down the Road" and the inspirational "Brand New Day"). In an era before MTV, the camera stays nearly stationary as Ross and Lena Horne vocally soar through their numbers. Their stage-like performances successfully make the leap to film, making The Wiz a testament to their singing talents and star presence. The then-thirtysomething Ross raised some eyebrows playing the traditionally teenaged Dorothy, but she and her supporting cast (including Richard Pryor as the Wiz) carry the tunes with an infectious verve that will appeal to folks of all ages. --Shannon Gee ... Read more

    Reviews (120)

    3-0 out of 5 stars What Can I Say.....
    Oh boy, where to start? This seems to be one of those movies where you either hate it or love it. This update of The Wizard of Oz, while for years vilified, has seemed to have gathered a cult classic-like following in recent years. It bears little resemblance to the 1939 Judy Garland masterpiece, or even for that matter, to the Broadway musical upon which it was based. The original musical was light and entertaining, inspirational and fun. This 1978 motion picture is a pretentious adaptation tht simply tries too hard. the film-makers turned the simplistic story of a young girl lost in a strange land into an overly glitzy, glamorous, and gaudy film. Despite this, there are some awesome moments in this movie, most notably: the stunning New York City visuals, great performances by Mabel King as the Wicked Witch and Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion, wonderful music, and impressive and incredibly choreographed dances. However even that can't save the movie. It still manages to fall flat, not living up to the promise, vision, or scope of the simple story upon which it is based.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Fun
    Boo, hiss to all the naysayers of the one and only 'Wiz'. A few of my friends got together at the DVD store the other night and out of all the available titles settled on this one, primarily for nostaligic reasons. Once we got home and popped it in, well, it was more than just simple sentimentality that carried us off to another world. This musical is awesome. The story is timeless, the songs are unforgettable and the widescreen transfer is excellent. One only wishes for more goodies on the disc.

    I often scratch my head at why Sidney Lumet directed this, but knowing that he is one of the top five directors ever who understands New York City, it now makes perfect sense. The location shots are amazing, especially with the massive Albert Whitlock visuals. And as hard as it may be to watch Diana Ross play a 24 year old single woman, she achieves it with simple gestures and that pure, honey voice.

    It's a huge treat to watch this movie and I look forward to repeat viewings.

    3-0 out of 5 stars THE WIZ....HAS SOUL!!!
    The Wiz music will always be a classic. This is my only reason for buying this movie. It was definetly a 70's show. I was confused about certain scenes in the movie. For example, why did Aunt Em start singing "The Feeling We Once Had" to her daughter instead of Dorothy. And how did the Scarecrow know to signal Dorothy to destroy Evilene. The choreography and the music was great. Good for children to see!

    5-0 out of 5 stars BLACK PEOPLE, BUY THIS FOR YOUR KIDS!!!!
    A MUST for every black child to see!! This is OUR classic production. Many great actors/actresses were young budding talents when they performed in the Wiz. It's great to see them then & know them now. My kids enjoyed the music & loved the dancing.

    3-0 out of 5 stars You should see the Whiz all over my tape!
    this movie was okay, but all admit it was a disapointment. lookit dorothy with this afro, and this obese aunt em, god! you people have distoryed this tape! well hey the lion-- is lioney, the scarecrow dosen't sound like a girl and the tin mans chipper. except for the fact that they had good songs, and singers and all that other junk. the effects were sort of lacking, but hey-- it is not bad. its okay, but it is not that great, seriously people. this 3 star rating suits it. ... Read more


    13. The Dreamers (Original Uncut NC-17 Version)
    Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00023P4I8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1152
    Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (47)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Love & Tumult in 1968 Paris
    Once past the excessive, graphic nudity, or perhaps because of it, Bertolucci fashions a jarring glimpse of three fascinating young people against the backdrop of the 1968 French General Strike, which nearly toppled the government. For the three principals, hedonism, narcissism, and intoxication seem to dominate against what appear as lightly held political beliefs - socialism, love, compassion, tolerance. For example, siblings Theo and Isabelle sleep together naked, their sculpted bodies entwined. The All-American Matthew (well played by Michael Pitt) comes upon them sleeping nude (and slowly grows to love them), gathering some deeper yet perplexing knowledge. This learning process for Matthew weaves its way throughout the film: a likable youth from San Diego doing his best to slip into the idiosyncratic lives of these very French '60s eccentrics and their almost invisible, '60s uptight parents.

    Bertolucci abruptly intercuts continuously with memorable past film scenes: for example, Garbo's soulful eyes laughing at Gilbert's insipid love from "Queen Christina." There are many of these lovely, thoughtful old film scenes that weld the humanity of these three characters to that of past lovers and haters. I found myself virtually loathing the insouciance of Theo and Isabelle, their adolescent adoration of things kitsch, such as Delacroix's 'Liberty Leading the People" with Liberty's face that of Marilyn Monroe. All this while exchanging drunk, violent words over politics, cinema and ragout when true fighters faced the formidable barricades in the streets of Paris.

    But this is a film, I think, that one must settle into. Much of the first half appears about nothing much, perhaps a light titillating comedy. Slowly, we understand it is not that at all. The nudity, arguments, sex, politics, brilliant film cuts, and memorable period scoring give satisfaction to those of us 'lucky' enough to have lived through that tumultuous time. Perhaps younger, less authoritarian generations will view it with more intuition than we boomers. One of the director's realized intentions was to impart with his typical lyricism an inner realization of why love, even silly vacuous sex, is so much preferable to war (the General Strike and Vietnam, here). The ending is doubly startling. But by then, the parts have become the whole, the trivial vital. The significant beauty of this film lies in the director's wise, consummate vision. Well worth seeing. (For an amazingly contrasting view of the same period, see "Fog of War").

    3-0 out of 5 stars An Incisive Criticism of the '60s and Hypocrisy
    The Dreamers is a new, primarily English-language film from the Italian king of cinematic controversy, Bernardo Bertolucci. If you've seen his past works, including 1900 and Last Tango in Paris, they provide a fairly clear idea of what to expect in this NC-17 foray into 1960's youth culture in France. The film is an extended analysis, really, of radicalism and some of the hypocrisies seemingly inherent in it. It forces us to confront the question of what truly is revolutionary, or conservative for that matter. The film answers that question in a way many of us will find unexpected.

    Matthew (Michael Pitt) is an American student spending time abroad in France. He takes in the student protests with wide eyes, gazing in awe at the pure passion igniting these young people. Though the period is the '60s, Matthew still reflects the tucked-in conservatism of a decade past, wearing a jacket and tie almost as a shield from the craziness surrounding him. He soon meets two French siblings, Isabelle and Theo (Eva Green and Louis Garrel), both of whom are full of the revolutionary spirit. They are new and therefore attractive to Matthew, who shares a mutual love of movies with both. Not long after, he moves into the home of his two new friends, whose parents have gone away on an extended trip.

    Now is the time audience members may begin to squirm. In between quoting movies to one another and acting out favorite scenes, Matthew begins to notice an unnaturally clingy relationship exists between Isa and Theo--they sleep and bathe together, and play sexually-laced games that often leave one in some state of undress. But this quasi-incest has a strange effect on Matthew, as slowly, the jacket and tie disappear, he begins to walk around barely dressed, and he starts to take part in the sex games, at first begrudgingly and then yearningly.

    But as intoxicated as Matthew becomes with the lifestyle, he also is disturbed when Isa confides in him that she's never been on a date before. Harboring some genuine feelings for the young beauty, Matthew tries to lead her away from a life entirely dependent upon Theo and toward one of independence. In this way, the film draws a very interesting parallel. It really is conservatism--a resistance to change--that is keeping so-called radicals Isa and Theo in their exclusive relationship. The young innocent, Matthew, has become the revolutionary in trying to shatter what has become the comfortable tradition.

    The film boasts three good, but not great performances. With stronger leading work, a good film could possibly have reached the next level. Gilbert Adair's screenplay, based on his own novel, is wonderfully subtle in weaving its critique of the radical movement, but is in fact so subtle that in some ways the film feels "small." Nevertheless, the film raises probing questions, particularly in the last scene, as a throng of protesters march down a street, all chanting in unison, not a single one distinguishable from the next. It begs the old question, "If a group of anarchists organize an anarchists' meeting, are they really anarchists anymore?"

    Finally, credit must be heaped upon Fox Searchlight for not yielding to any suggestion that Bertolucci's vision be compromised by editing the film to achieve an R rating. Even without such censorship, it is disturbing enough that film footage of bare genitals and some sex is considered more damaging by the MPAA than, for example, the wholesale slaughter of recent horror offerings. In any case, when going to see The Dreamers, leave any prudish tendencies (or family members) at home.

    Final Grade: B

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bold, brave and inquisitive
    Bertolucci displays with this unnecessarily controversial movie more bravery than many other directors half his age. Anyone who is young should see it to observe the contradictions that youth's idealism brings upon the three protagonists. Anyone who is older should watch it to remember the bravery of times gone by, to remember a time when many of us still believed protests could change the world and to acknowledge the validity of both youth's panache and experience's fountain of knowledge.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not all said up front
    There are alot of things that are underneath the serface of this film. You might have to watch the film more than once to get it all. Things that have to obtained from the time and the charecters themselves.(I will not ruin them for you finding them is half the fun) The film is not one that you watch when you are bored with your buddys it is a film that takes all your attention to actually get it.The film ends with no changes in the people only an experience that changed their lives but could not change who they were nomatter how much they tried. I hate movies that charecters change because of an experience this movie seems real in that aspect because the people dont change. It is a little overthe top in certain aspects but it makes you think and is an enjoyable experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars dreamy
    Beautiful, disturbing, erotic, political, comic, thrilling, and thoroughly immersing. One of the most satisfying cinematic experiences I've had in a long time. Not to be missed! Much thanks to Bertolucci, who continues to make exquisite and exciting films! ... Read more


    14. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    Director: Terry Gilliam
    list price: $26.98
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    Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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    The original cowriter and director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Alex Cox, whose earlier film Sid and Nancy suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filmingHunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humor of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because Fear and Loathing is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (424)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "We can't stay here, this is bat country!"!!!
    This movie is a masterpiece, and also very very funny. It is a near perfect adaptation of Hunter S Thompson's novel. The book was based on the true story of a drug crazed self proclaimed doctor of journalism and his sidekick turned loose in Las Vegas to cover a dirt bike race called the mint 400. Thompson, known as Raul Duke (Depp) and his attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta known as Dr.Gonzo (Del Torro) run amok in their desperate search for the American dream. Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro are absolutely great in this movie. And the cameos are great: Flea, Lyle Lovett, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Cameron Diaz, Steven Schirripa, and even Dr. Thompson himself all make an appearance in the film. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a savage journey into the heart of the American dream. If you haven't seen it, you need too, and fast.....

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extreme entertainment
    Prepare yourself for a wild journey into the world of bright lights, flashy people, and non-stop substance abuse. Hunter S. Thompson's book about covering a motorcycle race in Las Vegas through pure "gonzo journalism" has been excellently adapted for the big screen by former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam. The movie stays very true to the story, the product of one of the founding fathers of the drug culture of the 70's. This movie covers both extremes: you will love it or hate it, and it won't allow you to stay anywhere near the middle. People who are interested in the drug culture and beat culture, or even a cynical look at one of America's craziest cities, will probably find themselves enjoying the film immensely, laughing and gasping at the insane antics of a drug-abusing "doctor of journalism" and his attorney. People looking for a more down to Earth experience without the odd visual trip and inexplicable dialogue will only be confused and repulsed, wondering what kind of person enjoys this kind of thing. Johnny Depp's performance is absolutely first-rate, Benicio Del Toro sheds the mediocrity he produced in The Usual Suspects, and cameos by Gary Busey, Cristina Ricci, and Thompson himself add to the perfect blend of acting that make this film one of the best of its kind.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious
    This isn't your average movie. Based on the H.S Thompson novel, tt quite succesfully captures the literary insanity of Thompson's books (I'm actually 16, not twelve). Here's the scenario, two stoners running around Las Vegas. All the jokes are based around the wild, outrageous hallucinations of Raul Duke, and his "side kick" Dr. Gonzo. But damned if the many variations of the same basic joke aren't guiltily hilarious every single time. In one scene, Raul and Gonzo are in a bar, When Raul freaks out, thinking that all the bar patrons have been turned into monstrous lizards.
    Weird- absolutely Funny- You bet.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It took two viewings to make it through
    The first time I started to watch this movie I got a big headache. At my friend's urging I watched it again, and still got a headache. Maybe a little less of a headache, but that's besides the point. It wasn't a headache because the movie's plot made me think, it was a headache because the film was just damn strange.

    Offbeat camera angles and dim colored lighting are used throughout the movie. The film quality seemed low and it was hard to understand Johnny Depp's narration at times. The film is very strange in all aspects, including its plot. Hunter S. Thompson (Depp) is supposed to be going to Las Vegas to cover a race in the desert for Sports Illustrated. His lawyer accompanies him on this journey for some reason. They don't really get much reporting done and spend most of the time taking illegal drugs. I kind of lost track of the plot and hardly remember how it ends. Was there even an ending? It seemed kind of like the movie just trailed off.

    At one point in the movie they mention something about following the American Dream. Somehow I don't believe the American Dream has anything to do with a suitcase full of illegal drugs. Maybe it was just an attempt to find some rationale behind the entire film.

    I'm almost ashamed to admit that I found it hilarious at times. I laughed hysterically when at one point Thompson thinks he's standing in a bog and everyone is a lizard. When I was laughing I kept thinking, this is based on a true story, and now this guy is making money off of it? I felt kind of bad for supporting his drug-induced craziness. However, it's almost kind of an anti-drug movie in it's own strange way. Hunter S. Thompson looks like he's having the worst time of his life, and surely should have been arrested multiple times. I don't know, maybe this movie appeals more to stoners and druggies since they can relate to Thompson.

    This film is definitely not for everyone. If you are easily offended, I wouldn't recommend it. If you're looking for a normal movie, you really should be someplace else. Look at the cover of the DVD. The whole movie is kind of like that.

    ---------------------------
    http://www.filmstatic.com - We take reviewing movies seriously and with an attitude...but not a serious attitude.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Review of the DVD, not the film
    First things first: FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, the film, is quite good. If you can stomach its content, it IS a rather fun drug odyssey with a fair amount of underlying social commentary. Some of it becomes muddled and the reviews were horrible (Ebert gave it 1/4) but I enjoy this more than Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL, to be honest (which, ironically, Ebert also gave a negative review).

    THE DVD

    An overall wonderful experience. First, the packaging: superb. Criterion is always good at packaging their DVDs and this is one of my favorites. On the inside is an essay by a film critic and two discs. The first has the film, newly remastered under the supervision of Gilliam, along with three commentary tracks: by Gilliam, Depp and Del Toro, and Hunter S. Thompson. Wisely, they had someone interview him most of the time since he's obviously a bit of an oddball and would be prone to sitting there and saying nothing.

    The second disc has some extraordinary specials, including an old BBC documentary about Thompson (whose semi-truthful novel this is based upon), TV spots, the theatrical trailer (with optional commentary by Gilliam - which I've never seen before), poster and photo galleries, Hunter Goes to Hollywood (an amusing short documentary about Thompson visiting the set of the film), a selection of somewhat bizarre letters between Depp and Thompson that date back to the pre-and-post-production of the film (Depp reads all of them to the camera for us).

    Overall, one of the best DVDs I own. The film isn't a classic, per se, but it IS enjoyable. I'm sure part of my appreciation for it comes from this superb DVD, which is one of the finest I own in terms of special features.

    Criterion can sometimes disappoint with single-disc DVDs priced in the $40 range but this one is fairly reasonably priced (compared to some of the others) and packed with special features to whet any die-hard fan's appetite.

    A must-buy for fans, and a must-see for others - I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a blind buy for a number of reasons. It's very selective taste. You love it, or you hate it; it might be good to rent it first. But definitely rent this version, not Universal's. ... Read more


    15. To Catch a Thief
    Director: Alfred Hitchcock
    list price: $24.99
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    Asin: B00005JJX8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 983
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (82)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fireworks!
    What was the greatest kiss ever committed to the silver screen? For me it comes from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, To Catch a Thief. Grace Kelly tempts Cary Grant, a reformed jewel thief by the name of John Robie, with her diamond necklace, to a backdrop of fireworks over the French Riviera. Finally, having had just about enough of her tomfoolery, he says, "You know as well as I do, this necklace is imitation." To which, the stunning Kelly responds, "Well I'm not..."

    That is movie magic and so is this wonderful, light-hearted and thrilling romp across the south of France as everyone goes in search of the identity of a new jewel thief reeking havoc throughout hotels on the French Riviera.

    Lush cinematography, beautiful costumes, breathtaking vistas, and delightful performances by Kelly, Grant, and Jessie Royce Landis make this an extremely enjoyable film outing.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Cat on a Hot French Roof
    Suspense takes a back seat to romance as former cat burglar Grant turns detective to track down the culprit behind a recent string of jewel robberies, becoming involved with beautiful heiress Kelly during the course of his investigation. Proof that lesser Hitchcock is still far above average, with Grant at his most suave and debonair; Kelly at her most ravishing; an engaging comedic turn by Jessie Royce Landis as Kelly's down-to-earth mother; and some sparkling (and suggestive) dialogue by John Michael Hayes. Add in some truly beautiful costumes by Edith Head and breathtaking, Oscar-winning color cinematography by Robert Burks ... and what's not to like? Even though the mystery is a bit slight, you won't be bored!

    The DVD offers a wonderful video transfer with crisp, clear sound and a brightly color-balanced, anamorphic widescreen picture. There are three unique mini-documentaries about the making of the movie, featuring Hitchcock's daughter and granddaughter; a documentary about costumer Edith Head (which is being included on many Paramount 2002 DVD releases which feature Head's work); the Original Theatrical Trailer; and a truly grand assortment of vintage production stills and posters from around the world. All in all a quite nice package that's definitely worth a look.

    4-0 out of 5 stars With Class and Grace
    To Catch A Thief marks a departure for director Alfred Hitchcock. Here, he sheds the moniker as The Master Of Suspense, going more for romance and comedy--rather than any of his well known plot twists or thrills. The film may not be the best of his career, but thanks to a strong leading man and a radiant leading lady the movie still works.

    John Robie, (Cary Grant) is a reformed cat burglar, out to prove himself innocent of a recent crime spree. As he tries to capture the thief who's terrifying the French Riviera, he attracts the attention of the lovely Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly), a wealthy and spoiled American traveling the Riviera with her widowed mother (Jessie Royce Landis). However, things do not begin on a romantic note. Robie is more interested in clearing his name than in pursuing the beautiful American, but the two will not go their separate ways so easily. When Mrs. Stevens has her jewels stolen, the snubbed Frances puts the police on Robie's trail. Now the dashing Robie will have to win the confidence and assistance of Frances if he is to ever set things right.

    Grant and Kelly light up the screen together, with an entrancing chemistry that sparkles, especially in the impromptu ad-libbed dialogue of the picnic scene. A series of elaborate set pieces combined with the spectacularc Riviera scenery make the film an enduring piece of American cinema. Hitchcock lets his leads pick up for any of the film's lack of excitement, that traditionally peppers the director's films. I have always had a "crush" on the late Grace Kelly, and this film just helps to solidify those feelings.

    The DVD contains three well produced making of featurettes. "Writing and Casting," "The Making of To Catch a Thief," and "Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief", will give you a well rounded look at the film. But things would have worked out even better if these were edited together as one larger whole. Long time Hitchcock collaborator, costumer Edith Head, is highlighted in a fourth featurette, that also tops off the disc's bonus material.

    To Catch A Thief is recommended for any Hitchcock fan..

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Hitchcock romantic mystery
    Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are funny and witty and they keep you involved in the story. Not what I expected from Alfred Hitchcock, but it was a great movie none the less.

    3-0 out of 5 stars So-so Hitchcock jewel caper
    As a connoisseur of Hitchcock's work, To Catch a Thief was merely adequate. Lacking any real suspense, the movie was held together by the excellent cinematography offered by the picturesque French Rivera locale.

    Cary Grant was at his suave and debonair best as John Robie, a retired cat burgular who is suspected when a rash of jewel thefts plagues the swanky Riviera. Realizing, he must apprehend the actual thief, whose m.o. parallels his own, he plots a scheme.

    Grace Kelly, whose acting ability does not rival her beauty, plays a perfectly typecasted role for her. As a spoiled, bored, rich socialite Frances Stevens, she and her wealthy but earthy mother, played exceptionally well by Jessie Royce Landis are vacationing. The elder Mrs. Stevens has a valuable collection of jewelery that Grant theorizes would make excellent bait.

    Hitchcocks creates a predictable plot, with the usual love affair. There is however, little in the way of mystery or tension or even chemistry between Kelly and Grant to make this flick anything more than mediocre. Edith Head provides a high point with her fantastic wardrobes created for the costume ball scene. ... Read more


    16. Man on Fire
    Director: Tony Scott
    list price: $29.98
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    Asin: B00005JN0W
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 314
    Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (37)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate revenge trip
    This screen adaptation of the A.J. Quinnell novel has received mixed reviews, but I found it remained generally true to the spirit of the book.

    Creasy (Denzel Washington) is a broken-down, alcoholic, ex-special forces assassin. Visiting his friend Rayburn (Christopher Walken) in Mexico City, he ends up taking a job as a bodyguard to make ends meet. A kidnapping spree has spread throughout Latin America and a wealthy young couple hires Creasy to protect their young daughter. Less concerned with her safety, their primary reason for hiring him is to fulfill the terms of a kidnap-insurance policy.

    Pita (Dakota Fanning)'s spunk and unabashed friendliness slowly penetrate Creasy's veil of pain and alcoholism. Soon, he's not only protecting her, but is also coaching her at swimming and helping with studies. Then, in the turning point of the film, despite Creasy's quick-witted defense, Pita is kidnapped from her piano lesson and Creasy left for dead with multiple gunshot wounds.

    Corrupt cops, mobsters, and other officials are all taking their cuts from the kidnapping game. As Creasy begins to recover, he sets off on the ultimate roadtrip of revenge. And all hell breaks loose.

    I rated this film four stars. Tony Scott has to tone down the nausea-inducing quick cuts, fades, over-exposures, and other tricks of the trade. When he gets into story-telling mode, he does his best work, as Fanning and Washington are nearly perfect in their roles. Do yourself a service and read the books. Nothing matches the entire Creasy series.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Makes "Deathwish" look like a cakewalk.
    "Death is his art. And he's about to paint his masterpiece."

    That is the right line for this movie, spoken by Christopher Walken, the right actor. Obsessed with the grandeur of bloodshed, "Man On Fire" is apocalyptic, spun from the roughest parts of the Old Testament. Tony Scott's movie is a kidnapping drama set in Mexico City - a "special place" according the end credits. Special indeed - take the film at its word, and half the cops are corrupt and in competition with kidnappers for ransom money. The corrupt judicial unit, dubbed "La Hermandad," is impenetrable. Unless you're Denzel Washington.

    In a performance that melds elements of his Oscar-winning turn in "Training Day" and his work in "Courage Under Fire," Washington is John Creasy, a suicidal alcoholic ex-Marine offered a job through war-buddy Rayburn (Walken) to protect the daughter of a sweatshop industrialist (Marc Anthony). This daughter, Pita, played by the increasingly skilled Dakota Fanning - who's given dialogue and mannerisms better suited to a 16-year-old - charms Creasy out of his shell, makes him become her swim coach. Fanning is, in a sense, a peculiar little girl, so far beyond her years in gestures that when she laughs at a joke of Rayburn's that she'd have no way of understanding, we begin to wonder if her maturity has been misused.

    So then - Pita's snatched in a setup, Creasy's shot, and after he recovers, his counterpunch makes "Deathwish" look like a cakewalk.

    "Kill them all," Pita's mother (a glammed-out Radha Mitchell) whispers as Creasy holds his Bible. This vengeance either invigorates you or it doesn't. As these films go, "Man On Fire" is among the most violent and malevolent. The script, by Brian Helgeland, pretends to ask the larger questions about sacrifice and morality, but it isn't into sparing lives. There is torture, then more of it, then death. When a nightclub is blown up, the crowd roars. That's quite a bit unlike the recent fire in Rhode Island.

    The most controversial scene involves a rectum bomb set to Creasy's digital pager. "I wish - you had more time," Creasy intones ironically. A corrupt cop, stripped to his underwear and bent over a car under a freeway, has no more time.

    Cynical and a bit beefier, Washington is good as the tough hombre with a rocket launcher. The mark of a good actor is to want what he wants even when we shouldn't. Washington's that guy. Walken shuffles around with his offbeat cadence, utters the movie's best line, and disappears. Anthony is jittery in a limited role. Mickey Rourke makes a cameo using his real, non-sandpaper voice. Mitchell isn't much of an actor, but she's platinum gorgeous, and a perfect trophy wife she makes. Between her and Anthony's character, you wonder where Pita got her smarts.

    Mexico City, when we can get a clear view of it from Scott's dizzying camera, is a bright, messy backdrop. Scott's editor on "Spy Game," Christian Wagner, achieves the feat making sense out of chaos and vice versa, though an early scene featuring a drunk, bawling Creasy could have been pieced together more clearly. Helgeland adapts A.J. Quinnel's novel, and it's not his best work - the plot holes are big enough to drive Hummers through. Scott resorts to flashing dialogue, both Spanish and English, on the screen in a pop-art, free-verse-poetry presentation that's at first unique, then distracting, then annoying. Notice, too, that it doesn't start happening until Fanning's offscreen.

    As it unfolds on a desolate bridge near a Biblical tree in the middle of Mexico, the end of "Man On Fire" is the kind of preordained, wide-shot-to-show-significance material Scott has loved since "Enemy of the State," the first of his "import" trilogy that hopefully ends with this film. Prior to that Will Smith vehicle, Scott made hard-boiled, straight-ahead popcorn flicks - "Days of Thunder," "Top Gun," "The Last Boy Scout" "Crimson Tide" - that were shallow, lurid, painfully macho but, at the very least, aware of themselves and fun. "Man On Fire" is enamored with its potential greatness when it's really a B-movie playing with an A-list star and budget.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Washington is Creasy Bear...storyline diverges from the book
    If you've read the book, the movie's storyline is a little disappointing. If you've seen the movie and haven't read the book yet... You really need to. It is most satisfying, and will give you a better understanding and appreciation of the character Creasy.

    The location switch from Italy to Mexico works well. Of course, we miss out on the Isle of Gozo. As with most novel-to-cinema adaptions, we miss out on a lot of subplot (Creasy's women). And as is inevitable with a major studio production, the ending has been "Hollywood-ized." (can't tell you more without giving away the ending... read the book).

    However, Denzel Washington does an excellent job portraying the character Creasy, as I knew he would. Dakota Fanning is Pinta, no question about it. Christopher Walken, always a good choice, was an excellent casting choice here. A.J. Quinnell would be proud. Marc Anthony...? Well, A.J. Quinnell would understand.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
    Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors around. And Dakota Fanning is absoultely amazing.
    The script just has you on the edge of your seat the entire time. With alot of surprises and suspense.
    Very enjoyable, one of the best movies this year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolute Masterpiece
    This movie is by far once of the best movies I have seen in a very very long time. One guy made the comment that Denzel didnt have a character that was believeable, this couldnt be anymore further from the truth. This movie is great from opening credit to the closing credits. Denzel once again not only wows me but Dakota Fanning did an outstanding job also. Anybody that hasnt seen this movie really needs to take the time and watch this. GREAT, AWESOME movie. you will all be happy you did...September 14th cant come soon enough.....5 stars isnt a good enough rating for this movie but its all i can give it

    GO SEE THIS ... Read more


    17. Best of Hitchcock Volume 2
    list price: $149.99
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    Asin: B000055Y19
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 4019
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of Hitchcock classics and also rans
    This second boxed set has a number of stunning works by Hitchcock; Vertigo and The Birds are stunning masterpieces from the Master of Suspense. The former film is his most personal while the latter his most expansive in scope and a radical departure from what had come before. These two films represent Hitchcock's brilliance at its best.

    Torn Curtain isn't a complete disaster but is far from a perfect film. Marnie is downright embarrassing. I know a number of Hitchcock scholars consider it his last great work; I'd argue that this misogynistic Freudian work of mumbo jumbo is among Hitchcock's worst films. Sure, it has a couple of stunning set pieces but the film script has clearly traveled through too many hands (although it was based on Hitchcock's concept of the film and Evan Hunter is the only screenwriter credited, Ernest Lehman, Joseph Stefano and a couple of other writers tried their hand at adapting this meandering mess). It suffers from flaws that Hitchcock had worked through earlier in his career (with the flawed but interesting Spellbound).

    The only other film that comes close to Vertigo and The Birds is the minor masterpiece Frenzy. Hitchcock was clearly energized by the competition of young upstarts following in his footsteps. Frenzy, again, demonstrates that Hitchcock could be at his best even this late in his long career.

    The Trouble with Harry is a fine dark comedy from Hitchcock and, although it hasn't aged all that well, still features sparkling dialogue (courtesy of writer John Michael Hayes)and strong performances.

    Saboteur is another minor masterpiece from Hitchcock that still manages to be engaging. The sequence set on the Statue of Liberty as Robert Cummings tries to save the foreign spy (played by Hitchcock regular Norman Lloyd)is still gripping and powerful today.

    The real reason to own this set is the episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents included on the bonus DVD. Hitchcock directed all these himself. They vary in quality from good to exceptional. Since they aren't available indivdually, it's a must have for fans of the director's work.

    If you want to purchase Hitchcock's best films, get them individually but if you need this bonus disc, this set is the expensive way to go.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT COLLECTION OF THE MASTER'S WORK
    I loved all the selections offered in this boxed set. I especially enjoyed the additional commentary offered by Pat Hitchcock (his daughter) - it provided a great perspective of Hitch's intentions for each of these films. I loved the bonus disc of 4 episodes from his TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and wish more of these were made available in this format. I always enjoyed his television show especially his intros and summations at their beginnings and endings. Truly funny stuff!! My only dissatisfaction was with "Saboteur" - I have a Panasonic Portable DVD player and during playback there were times the picture broke up and pixilized - not always in the same place. That may be a problem with this particular player but since I didn't have another brand to test it on - I'm not sure. Anyway - a great collection!! A MUST HAVE FOR ALL HITCHCOCK FANS!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sampling Of The Master At Work!
    The "A" films for me in this collection are "Marnie", "The Birds", "Frenzy" and "Vertigo", all of which I've seen multiple times. I never tire of seeing these Hitchcock classics. "Marnie" is a husband and wife story between Sean Connery and Tipi Hendren. Marnie, coerced into marrying Connery, has led a life of crime based on a past that Connery seeks to uncover. It took the public some years to warm up to this film but I loved it at once. "The Birds" is one of Hitchcock's instant hits where he literally has the birds in a coastal California community go on the attack against the populace. Just seeing the birds line up on the telephone wires, ready to attack the people, is chilling! "Frenzy" was made in the '70s, set in London, and involves two men, one who sets the other up to be the fall guy for the necktie stranglings that he himself is committing. There is a scene is a truckload of potatotes where the killer needs to get a piece of jewelry back from a corpse that is absolutely unforgettable. "Vertigo" showcases Jimmy Stewart, who is rendered powerless by heights by an earlier mishap, who falls in love with a mysterious woman, Kim Novak that he follows. She seems to be fatally drawn to the bell tower of a church on the California coast. The remaining films in the collection range from B- ("Torn Curtain") to B+ ("Saboteur"). I've viewed them all at least once, sometimes twice. Most movie directors would claim them as their "A" work but Hitchcock's "A" work was so fabulous that it is indeed his lesser work. In any event, once you've started watching Hitchcock's work, you've got to see all of it. It's as simple as that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION
    Vol. 2 is just as great as Vol. 1! It has all of Hitchcock's best classics which include, "Torn Curtain","Marnie" "The Birds", "Vertigo", "Frenzy", "Sabotuer",and "The Trouble with Harry". Plus as a special BONUS DISC, three episodes from the original HITCHCOCK TV SHOW!! This is a great collection to own and anybody who is a major Hitchcock fan like me, must own this collection! No Hitchcock Collection is complete without it! So don't miss out! Buy it today! You will not regret it!! ... Read more


    18. Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition)
    Director: Norman Jewison
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005N7YZ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 256
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (90)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best contextual musical ever
    Norman Jewison's "Fiddler On the Roof" is the story of a poor milkman living in tsarist Russia, which in the outskirts of Russia. This is one of the most original musicals, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem. Played by Chaim Topol and Norma Crane as Tevye and Golde, the acting of this role of parents of five daughters in an orthodox Jewish family is done brilliantly. Tevye's misquotings of the bible is hilarious. The songs in the movie are outstanding and poignant. Starting from the beginning with "Tradition", with violinist Isaac Stern doing his magic, every song has its uniqueness.

    Each of his three older daughters choose a different path. The first one refuses to marry the person chosen by the father as she in love with the tailer Motel. The way Tevye cons his wife into agreeing for this wedding is one of the funniest pieces of the movie. The characters chosen are unique and beautifully portrayed. The song before this, "Matchmaker, matchmaker" is beautiful. The way Yente, the matchmaker looks at the youngest daughters as though they were caravans wares is extremely funny. The second daughter Tseitel chooses the revolutionary who is against the Tsar and wishes communism. The song in the bar "To life, Le Chaim" is unusual and shows the way the Jews and the Christians can get along in a limited manner. The third daughter chooses a gentile.

    Though this is a musical, the acting, story and the character portrayal is deep. Songs range from comic like "If I were a rich man", to haunting, "Sunrise, sunset", to sad and lonely, "Little bird". Though being Jewish will help one understand this movie better, it is not a necessity. The screenplay is wonderful. The particular one that I like is when Avraham comes and tells that there are bad things going on in the world. Another person says, "Why should I break my head about the outside world, let the outside world break its own head". Here Tevye says, "He is right, if you spit in the air, it lands in your face." Then the revolutionary says, "Nonsense, you cannot be blind to what happens outside." Then Tevye says, "You know, he is also right." At this time Avraham points to the revolutionary and the other person and says, "He is right and he is right, they can't both be right." Now Tevye looks at Avraham and says, "You know, you are also right."

    When the Jews are evicted, it is extremely sad. They console themselves saying that their village Anatevka was not exactly the garden of Eden. This song, "Anatevka", is sad and heartbreaking. They have so little but still love it. It reminds one that happiness is something of the inside and has nothing to do with material possessions. This movie is a classic and a timeless masterpiece. It might be difficult for some people to understand due to the history of Tsarist Russia and its pogroms and the context, otherwise, to date it is my favorite musical.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest musicals of all time...
    Fiddler on the Roof is a cinematic masterpiece. Originally a musical, this movie is an amazing adaptation that remains faithful to the original, while at the same time not making it seem "theatrical" to the point where it looks contrived. The characters are played perfectly with Topol (who plays Tevye, the poor village milkman) taking the highest honors.

    Fiddler on the Roof is simply a timeless story, even if it finds itself placed in czarist Russia. The story revolves around Tevye, a poor Jew living in Russia and his struggle to stay true to his faith (and ideals) in a world that is rapidly changing. This film follows Tevye in his journey to meld his rich Jewish past with the modern world that surrounds him. His arguments with himself ("On the other hand,...") are priceless and allow us to relate with Tevye as he struggles with his heritage (the pogroms), his financial status ("If I Were a Rich Man") and his family (his daughters are entering marrying age).

    Ths music is wonderful. The songs are poignant and easily remembered. I guarantee that you'll wind up singing/humming "Tradition" or "If I Were a Rich Man" days after watching the movie. The movie itself is humourous at times, and sorrowful the next and the storyline is deep, but is not a damning social commentary. The cinematics are also extraordinary, with the film being shot "on location" in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

    This is an ideal family movie, and I can remember watching (and loving) this movie at an early age. I'm glad I purchased this movie for my DVD collection, as it will become one of my most watched (and sung to) films. The box comes with only a single DVD, but is double-sided and contains additional footage, an additional song (cut at production) and a commentary on the movie itself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fiddler on the Roof
    IT was absolutely amazing. Everything about it! The backround and effects were amaxing and it was a very touching story with absolutely wonderful actors and unforgetable songs. SPECTACULAR!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, except for the cover art
    I love this movie, but was highly dissaponted with the ugly cover art design. They should have stuck to the original poster art. Anyways, the music is great, and it is good to see such movies being restored on DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of all musicals.
    I agree with HeadbangerDuh in every sense. This is the best of musicals. While some other musicals amy be corny, boring, and downright dumb, Fiddler shows humor, interest, and is educational. Although part one is funnier, part two I feel is richer, and more full, not as goofy. This is probably the best film of the century. ... Read more


    19. C.S.I. Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete First Four Seasons
    Director: Tucker Gates, Matt Earl Beesley, Jefery Levy, David Grossman (III), Deran Sarafian, Charles Correll, Peter Markle, J. Miller Tobin, Oz Scott, Danny Cannon, Allison Liddi, Duane Clark, Roy H. Wagner, Thomas J. Wright, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, John Patterson (III), Richard Lewis (XVI), Nelson McCormick, Kenneth Fink, Richard J. Lewis
    list price: $344.99
    our price: $310.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002NY8T4
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7685
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    Description

    Includes CSI Seasons 1-4 ... Read more


    20. The Aviator (2-Disc Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080ZG1A
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 35
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

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


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

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

    The Personalities ofThe Aviator

    Click the links to explore more movies by these stars.

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

    Other Movies by The Aviator's Oscar® Winners

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

    The Aviator at Amazon.com


    The Aviator soundtrack

    The Screenplay

    Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator


    Howard Hughes movies

    Great movies of the 1930s

    The films of Martin Scorsese

    ... Read more

    Reviews (148)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hughes at His Peak But Epic Biopic Not Quite a Masterpiece
    This is an audacious, surprisingly amusing piece of Hollywood filmmaking by a veteran craftsman of the first magnitude, yet for a number of reasons, not necessarily of Martin Scorsese's sole doing, the movie does not resonate as much as you wish it would. In staying true to the spirit of multimillionaire magnate Howard Hughes between the late 1920's and the late 40's, Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan are stuck with the facts as they happened, and consequently, the film feels episodic with a great, sometimes dazzling story in the first 2/3 of its epic 166-minute running time and a pedantic, only occasionally involving last hour.

    You need to have some familiarity with Hughes' life to understand his halcyon years proving himself as a Hollywood tycoon worthy of respect, and his legendary excess during the three-year production of the now-forgotten "Hell's Angels" is captured perfectly here with truly thrilling aviation sequences. Scorsese then focuses on Hughes' romance with Katharine Hepburn and captures the oddball chemistry of burgeoning eccentrics amid the frenzied environment of studio-owned Hollywood, in particular, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub. These sequences remind me a lot of Scorsese's failed musical, "New York, New York", but this time he seems far more assured. Ava Gardner enters the picture in the forties, as Hughes builds luxury airplanes that can't fly and his obsessions and paranoia start to take over. There's a magnificently filmed sequence of Hughes crashing his XF-11 plane in the middle of Beverly Hills.

    Once he recovers from this incident, the film starts to drag, as the story focuses on his power struggles of positioning Hughes' airline TWA against the European-route monopoly of Pan Am and the machinations of Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe and the corrupt Maine senator Owen Brewster who investigates Hughes' WWII government contracts. Even the legendary mini-flight of the Spruce Goose fails to excite this late in the story. Only Scorsese's famous "Taxi Driver"-like, mind-bending touch brings off the surrealism of the sequences where Hughes locks himself up in his room. The film ends rather anticlimactically with Hughes' successful 1947 appearance before Brewster's committee before he drowns in his obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

    Leonardo DiCaprio's chief asset as an actor is his intensity of purpose, and as Hughes, he has plenty of opportunities to display this attribute with his character's obsessions with aviation, moviemaking, glamorous movie stars and ultimately germs. What he is missing is a level of gravitas that would have made his character's increasing eccentricities more bearable to watch. Even though the reed-thin Texas-tinged voice is accurate, there is something perpetually juvenile about DiCaprio's appearance regardless of the twenty-year span of the story. This unfortunately compromises the chemistry between him and the obviously more mature Cate Blanchett, who initially seems to be crossing the border into parody as Hepburn. She displays the familiar brusque manner without caution and even affecting the even more familiar voice but with an inaccurate throatiness that belies the legendary actress' high, fluttery pitch at the time. But she eventually finds her grounding, especially as she recognizes their too-similar personalities and softens during the Hepburn family gathering scene.

    With less to do, the too-patrician Kate Beckinsale is in over her head as Ava Gardner, unable to convey the real actress' palpable sultriness or predatory voraciousness without posturing. On the other hand, Alec Baldwin is becoming a strong character actor with every new film, and he plays Trippe with disquieting authority. John C. Reilly plays assistant Noah Dietrich in his typically hangdog fashion as he subsists more in the shadows. Alan Alda plays Brewster with Hawkeye's familiar mannerisms unafraid to show the underlying sliminess of his character. All the externals are impressive - Thelma Schoonmaker's sharp editing (the pacing never drags...just the story), Robert Richardson's cinematography, Dante Ferretti's production design, Sandy Powell's costumes. Yet for all of this, the movie fall short as a masterwork in Scorsese's filmography.

    The first disc has an excellent commentary track by Scorsese, Schoonover and producer Michael Mann - all full of insights without being pedantic. The number of extras on the second disc of the two-DVD set is staggering, really too much for anyone except for those deeply interested in Hughes. There is one deleted scene and twelve separate featurettes and documentaries covering everything from the production to Hughes' role in aviation to OCD to the music. Beyond the sheer number, my complaint about the set is that it's hard to maneuver around the decidedly viewer-unfriendly menus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FROM KIRSTEN

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


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