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1. The Sopranos - The Complete First
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2. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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3. One Night Stand
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4. Internal Affairs
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5. The Loss of Sexual Innocence
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6. Mr. Jones
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7. Leaving Las Vegas
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8. Timecode
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9. Stormy Monday
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10. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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11. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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12. The Browning Version
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13. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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14. Liebestraum
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15. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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16. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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17. Miss Julie
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18. Cold Creek Manor
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19. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
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20. The Sopranos - The Complete First

1. The Sopranos - The Complete First Five Seasons
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The Sopranos, writer-producer-director David Chase's extraordinary television series, is nominally an urban gangster drama, but its true impact strikes closer to home, chronicling a dysfunctional, suburban American family in bold relief. And for protagonist Tony Soprano, there's the added complexity posed by heading twin families, his collegial mob clan and his own, nouveau riche brood. The series' brilliant first season is built around what Tony learns when, whipsawed between those two worlds, he finds himself plunged into depression and seeks psychotherapy--a gesture at odds with his midlevel capo's machismo, yet instantly recognizable as a modern emotional test. With analysis built into the very spine of the show's elaborate episodic structure, creator Chase and his formidable corps of directors, writers, and actors weave an unpredictable series of parallel and intersecting plot arcs that twist from tragedy to farce to social realism. While creating for a smaller screen, they enjoy a far larger canvas than a single movie would afford, and the results, like the very best episodic television, attain a richness and scope far closer to a novel than movies normally get.

Alternately seductive, exasperated, fearful, and murderous, James Gandolfini's Tony is utterly convincing even when executing brutal shifts between domestic comedy and dramatic violence. The first season's other life force is Livia Soprano, Tony's monstrous, meddlesome mother. As Livia, the late Nancy Marchand eclipses her long career of patrician performances to create an indelibly earthy, calculating matriarch who shakes up both families; Livia also serves as foil and rival to Tony's loyal, usually level-headed wife, Carmela (Edie Falco). Lorraine Bracco makes Tony's therapist, Dr. Melfi, a convincing confidante, by turns "professional," perceptive, and sexy; the duo's therapeutic relationship is also depicted with uncommon accuracy. Such grace notes only enrich what's not merely an aesthetic high point for commercial television, but an absorbing film masterwork that deepens with subsequent screenings.

In its second season, The Sopranos repeatedly defies formula to let the narrative turn as a direct consequence of the characters' behavior, letting everyone in this rogue's gallery of Mafiosi, friends, and family evolve and deepen. That gamble is most apparent in the rupture of the relationship that formed the spine of the first season, the tangled ties between Tony and Livia, whose betrayal makes Tony's estrangement a logical response. Filling that vacuum, however, is prodigal sister Janice (Aida Turturro), whose New Age flakiness never successfully conceals her underlying calculation and opportunism. Soprano's relationship with therapist Melfi also frays during early episodes, as she struggles with escalating doubts about her mobbed-up patient. At home, Tony contends with wife Carmela's ruthless ambitions on behalf of college-bound Meadow (Jamie Lynn Sigler), as well as son Anthony Jr.'s (Robert Iler) sullen adolescent flirtation with existentialism--the sort of touch that the show handles with a smart mix of sympathy and amusement.

In the brutal and controversial third season, The Sopranos justified its 11-month hiatus with some of its best, and most hotly debated, episodes. It continued to upend convention and defy audience expectations with a deliberately paced, calm-before-the-storm season opener that revolves around the FBI's attempts to bug the Soprano household, and a season finale that (for some) frustratingly leaves several plot lines unresolved. "Employee of the Month," in which Dr. Melfi is raped and considers whether to exact revenge by telling Tony of her attack, earned Emmys for its writers, and is perhaps Emmy nominee Lorraine Bracco's finest hour. Other story arcs concern the rise of the seriously unstable Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) and Tony's affair with "full-blown loop-de-loo" Gloria (Emmy nominee Annabella Sciorra). Plus, there is Tony's estrangement from daughter Meadow, his wayward delinquent son Anthony, Jr., Carmela's crisis of conscience, bad seed Jackie Jr., and the FBI--which, as the season ends, assigns an undercover agent to befriend an unwitting figure in the Soprano family's orbit.

Though for some the widely debated fourth season contained too much yakking instead of whacking, and an emphasis on domestic family over business Family, in most respects The Sopranos remains television's gold standard. The season garnered 13 Emmy nominations, and subsequent best actor and actress wins for James Gandolfini and Edie Falco as Tony and Carmela, whose estrangement provides the season with its most powerful drama, as well as a win for Joe Pantoliano's psychopath Ralph. Other narrative threads include Christopher's (Emmy nominee Michael Imperioli) descent into heroin addiction, Uncle Junior's (Dominic Chianese) trial, an unrequited and potentially fatal attraction between Carmela and Tony's driver Furio, and a rude joke about Johnny Sack's wife that has potentially fatal implications. Other indelible moments include Christopher's girlfriend Adriana's projectile reaction to discovering that her new best friend is an undercover FBI agent in the episode "No Show," Janice giving Ralph a shove out of their relationship in "Christopher," and the classic "Quasimodo/Nostradamus" exchange in the season-opener, which garnered HBO's highest ratings to date. Freed from the understandably high expectations for the fourth season, heightened by the 16-month hiatus, these episodes can be better appreciated on their own considerable merits. They are pivotal chapters in television's most novel saga.

From the moment a wayward bear lumbers into the Sopranos' yard in the fifth-season opener, it is clear that The Sopranos is in anything but a "stagmire." The series benefits from an infusion of new blood, the so-called "Class of 2004," imprisoned "family" members freshly released from jail. Most notable among these is Tony's cousin, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi, who directed the pivotal season 3 episode "Pine Barrens"), who initially wants to go straight, but proves himself to be something of a "free agent," setting up a climactic stand-off between Tony and New York boss Johnny Sack. These 13 mostly riveting episodes unfold with a page-turning intensity with many rich subplots. Estranged couple Tony and Carmella (the incomparable James Gandolfini and Edie Falco) work toward a reconciliation (greased by Tony's purchase of a $600,000 piece of property for Carmela to develop). The Feds lean harder on an increasingly stressed-out and distraught Adriana to "snitch" with inevitable results. This season's hot-button episode is "The Test Dream," in which Tony is visited by some of the series' dear, and not-so-dearly, departed in a harrowing nightmare. ... Read more


2. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - Piano Blues
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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Asin: B00020X9CO
Catlog: DVD
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It may have been underrated when first broadcast on PBS on consecutive nights in the fall of '03, but executive producer Martin Scorsese's homage to the blues is a truly significant, if imperfect, achievement. "Musical journey" is an apt description, as Scorsese and the six other directors responsible for the seven approximately 90-minute films follow the blues--the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B, and rock & roll--from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the United Kingdom, and beyond. Because the absence of lengthier vintage clips is the principal drawback of the series, Clint Eastwood's Piano Blues is the best of the lot; a musician himself, Eastwood simply lets the players play, which means we get extensive file footage of the likes of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Nat "King" Cole, as well as new performances by Ray Charles, Dr. John, and others.--Sam Graham ... Read more


3. One Night Stand
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: 6304884370
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Sales Rank: 18872
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Description

Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) directs this erotically charged love story that explores the passion and betrayal of a one stand. ... Read more


4. Internal Affairs
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: 6305310335
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Sales Rank: 13543
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5. The Loss of Sexual Innocence
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: 0767837371
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 22065
Average Customer Review: 3.31 out of 5 stars
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At turns both mesmerizing and frustrating, Mike Figgis's 1999experimentalfeature interweaves an audacious dramatization of the Adam and Eve myth withautobiographical vignettes from the director's life. In Figgis's goldenrendering of the Genesis tale, the first humans are a black man (FemiOgumbanjo) and a white woman (Hanne Klintoe), who emerge one day, fullyformed, from a lake, and regard each other with playful wonder. Theydiscover, like children, their anatomical differences, and explore thesurrounding green paradise until coming upon the tree of knowledge. From thisthey eat and almost instantly reevaluate one another with a steely lust. Thustheir, and our, fabled fall from grace ends in the mire of sexual possessionand walled-off feeling, a tragedy that Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) usesas a touchstone for the contemporary story of a filmmaker named Nic (Julian Sands). Nic's own youthful experiences with various kinds of formativehumiliation, including finding his teenage girlfriend in bed with his bestfriend, are presented as flashbacks meant to resonate with his maritalunhappiness today. Less clear are other moments out of time that don'tparticularly connect with Figgis's major theme, especially an odd developmentin which twin sisters (both played by Saffron Burrows), each unaware of the other's existence, have a fleeting, worlds-are-colliding encounter at anairport. Figgis also reaches into a grab bag of Nic's other old sorrows,things that don't uniquely inform or enhance the film's point, and muddiesthings up a bit. But the sheer hubris of marrying a myth with a memoircarries the day here, and Figgis leaps the hurdle of potential self-parodywith a certain courage. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars thinks it's more clever than it is
The film itself, on an aesthetic level, is quite stunning and beautiful, but the non-linear narrative, which weaves in two modern (? ) tales with an inventive representation of Adam and Eve starts to unravel a bit as the story progresses--which is unfortunate, because the film does such a subtle job of telling a story without spelling it all out for the viewer. My only strong reservation is that the funeral scene characters were never woven back into the narrative concerning J. Sands--a frustrating omission that derails an otherwise compelling essay on the issue of desire, sex, love, and loyalty. But it's definately interesting and beautiful to watch.

4-0 out of 5 stars paradise lost
You've got to admire ambition. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a meditative, impressionistic, mostly dialogue-less, deeply beautiful and aggressively non-linear exploration of various forms of innocence lost--or shattered. The chopped-up plot structure at first is confusing, but as the threads start to come together the parrallels drawn and metaphors presented are provocative. A film that makes its audience really think ought to be appreciated in our age of brainless blockbusters. Though it is best to keep in mind that there is no solid main point, no overall meaning you're meant to find in the film. In the end it is more like a piece of music than a story: weaving themes in and out, leaving the audience to form their own opinions and interpretations. While it doesn't succeed with flying colors, it is certainly worthwhile and interesting, and stunningly gorgeous to boot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gotta see it to believe it.
2001: A Space Odyssey meets Blue Velvet. It's as carefully paced and music-laden as the former, as far from redemption as the latter. Don't read any blurbs or summaries, just watch it.

3-0 out of 5 stars why original sin anyway
There is so much symbolism and obscure reference in this film that I am not at all certain I grasp what the producer/director had in mind. There are some wonderful moments - like the twins who almost meet - well, they do meet but the moment of recognition is shattered by a breaking bottle of wine. There is quite a lot of nudity in the film - but it's certainly not erotic.

The most obvious interludes relate to the Garden of Eden and original sin. I don't think the intention of the film was to shift my perspective, but it did. Why was the tree of knowledge forbidden, and the serpent the tempter? Why wasn't the tree of knowledge intended for man's indulgence, and the serpent the opposition man (and woman) had to pass through? The reward would then be the gift of life - the greatest gift of all (even though it is tainted inevitably with death) - and sex, far from being the corruption it is so often seen as, would be the wonderful instrument of acceptance and the mantra of life.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too artsy and boring
After his masterpiece "Leaving Las Vegas" I was looking forward to the next film from the talented Figgis but this is one of the most boring films ever made. I love slow, art-house films and having more music than dialogue was intriguing but this one just put me to sleep. A cure for insomnia. How could the twins at the airport not talk to each other? Maybe I missed something. ... Read more


6. Mr. Jones
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: B000021Y7L
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11793
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, Charming and Romantic
This is a pretty good movie I thought. Richard Gere plays Mr.Jones a man who suffers from manic depression who has suicidal tendencies. When I saw it I thought this is one of Richard Gere's best performances in a long time. He really did a great job and it is probably the best acting that I've seen him do in quite awhile. Lena Olin is also very good as the psychiatrist who takes an interest in him both as a patient and in the personal sense. I really liked this movie and have added to my movie collection. It is one of those rare movies that you can see just about anytime. Overall is a good movie but if you need more convincing than that then see it beause of Richard Gere he is excellent in this film and that should be reason enough I think.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie about a fascinating mental disorder
I am a fan of Richard Gere, and I came across this gem a few years ago by word of mouth. This is a wonderful movie that tackles a thorny mental disorder that is receiving much attention today -- bi-polar, manic depressive disorder. It seems that bi-polar sufferers, despite their having a classified "mental disorder", are often exceptionaly creative, brilliant individuals. Many of our great artists, writers, painters, and musicians were (are) manic.

Mr. Gere does a fantastic job of portraying such a brilliant/unstable manic sufferer, and really brings the disorder, with all of its twists and turns, to life. The story is true to the struggles and realities of manic sufferers, and uses wonderful images of planes crashing overhead, tightrope walks, and grandiose symphonies that metaphorize what it must be link to be manic. The story veers only in its hollywood insistence on the highly unlikely patient-therapist romance.

Five stars for a compelling and original performance by Richard Gere, and a movie that brings to light the fascinating and devestating consequences of manic depression.

3-0 out of 5 stars MUST get past that she's his psychiatrist to enjoy the movie
Gere does an amazing job as Mr. Jones, a man suffering from Manic-Depression. The big flaw in the movie is having he and his psychiatrist involved in a sexual relationship. Why they couldn't have made her just a woman he meets, I don't know. Gere's performance is madly wonderful and his relationship--just pretend she ISN'T his doctor, and it will be o.k.--is full of heat and chemistry. There are some worthy moments between Gere and Olin. This is a nice film

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent with many funny, touching moments
I'm M-D so take that into consideration. Gere doesn't get enough credit for his acting because he has his own persona like John Wayne and critics can't get over this. His is an outstanding performance, trust me. Lena is my favorite actress to watch and listen to so factor that in also. There are just so many funny scenes in this movie! (And a few oddities; Gere is no carpenter--you hammer nails with your wrist, not your arm.) Fun moments: Gere quoting from Alice In Wonderland while playfully teasing Olin's stock psychologist demeanor, the dialogue in and around the car ride, the table tennis sequence is priceless, in fact all of the dialogue between these two excellent actors is worth watching. Two outstanding dramatic moments are 1)the point of Gere's discovery of Olin's prying into his past(and catching him in a chilling lie)and 2)the subsequent confrontation in the rain; this is Olin at her--or anyone's--best...economical and searing. The only major misfire in this movie is the sexual involvement...should have been platonic but this is easily one of Hollywood's best efforts from the 1990s. I bought it. Aaaahhh, Leeena!! Yum

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprise :)
This movie looks as though it will be another one of those trite, over-simplified stories of a mentally ill man. Surprise! Barring the Hollywood idea that all therapists sleep with their patients, this is a great movie that accurately depicts a serious and complex mental illness. I will say that were a therapist to become romantically involved it would probably be with a bipolar patient because their manic cycle is so exciting and exhilirating after endless lifeless burdened people. Gere is astoundingly accurate in his portrayal of both the manic and depressive cycle of bipolar - impressive. A great movie!!! ... Read more


7. Leaving Las Vegas
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: 0792838068
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3834
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1995, this wrenchingly sad but extraordinarily moving drama provides an authentic, superbly acted portrait of two people whose lives intersect just as they've reached their lowest depths of despair. Ben (Nicolas Cage, in an Oscar-winning performance) is a former movie executive who's lost his wife and family in a sea of alcoholic self-destruction. He's come to Las Vegas literally to drink himself to death, and that's when he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a prostitute who falls in love with him--and he with her--despite their mutual dead-end existence. They accept each other as they are, with no attempts by one to change the other, and this unconditional love turns Leaving Las Vegas into a somber yet quietly beautiful love story. Earning Oscar nominations for Best Director (Mike Figgis), Best Adapted Screenplay (Figgis, from John O'Brien's novel) and Best Actress (Shue), the film may strike some as relentlessly bleak and glacially paced, but attentive viewers will readily discover the richness of these tragic characters and the exceptional performances that bring them to life. (In a sad echo of his own fiction, novelist John O'Brien committed suicide while this film was in production.) The DVD features uncut, unrated footage that was not included in the film's theatrical release. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (113)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, but not a great film score: 74 (out of 100)
Nicholas Cage's character, Ben Sanderson, has apparently lost his wife, family, and job. He decides to take his severance check and buy tons of alcohol in order to drink himself to death in a Las Vegas motel room. He meets Sera (Elizabeth Shue), a prostitute that he picks up along the way, and they develop a love affair in the process. Sera's love for Ben is reflected in the way she lets him complete his goal. He wants death and no rehabilitation. As a result, she sacrifices herself in prostitution in order to make ends meet and raise money for Ben's booze habit. In the process, Sera meets some terrible experiences, which makes her character more interesting.

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES and THE LOST WEEKEND may have an edge on this movie because they have characters that grow and develop over a long period of time. There is not much that we know about Ben or Sera. All we see are his momments of drunkeness and Sera's trying to cope with it. There is very little room for character development in this movie, and the end result is a depressing atmosphere.

Pros: Acting
Cons: Screenplay

Score: 74 (out of 100)

5-0 out of 5 stars Leaving Las Vegas- A Moving and meaningful film
This film is not for most people; it's very morose and gruesome at times, and it won't be entertaining and satisfying in the same way most mainstream movies are. It does however provide a very shocking and revealing look at the lives of a hopeless drunkard and a lonely prostitute.

Nicholas Cage and Elizabeth Shue are superb portraying their characters and their skill is the driving force of the film. That isn't to say, however, that the directing, music, and screenplay weren't excellent as well.

One particularly important aspect of the film is the relationship that forms between Cage and Shue. Some reviewers describe it as sincere love, however, I don't agree. Both Cage and Shue are desolate and vulnerable. The natural thing for both of them to do when they meet is to seek refuge in each other. Shue might love Cage, but it's more out of desparation for company than what she sees in him. Cage's interest in Shue is somewhat more confusing. Before his introduction to Shue, I got the impression that he was completely detatched from anything earthly. The relationship he maintains with Shue suggests otherwise though. I'm not really sure, yet, what to make of Cage.

I never really knew what alcohol could do to a man until seeing this movie. Sure, a random drunk on the street is a common sight, but most people, who don't have a friend or family member with the problem, don't realize the extreme extent to which the obsession can develop. I'd recommend this film to anyone older than 17.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE ONLY MOVIE TO EVER MAKE ME CRY
i could go on and on but i wont, the facts are a) this is probably the most dramatic movie ever made and b) nic cage is the best actor on the planet. holy smokes was he amazing in this and elisabeth shue is perfect by all standards. i also dig "the third man" tributes in there - good job all around tonite i decided this is my favorite movie....which might last a week but it will remain top five forever. I know its a little late but seriously...congrats nic cage you kick ass.

3-0 out of 5 stars Something different-not for the kiddies.
I like this movie and recommend it. Something to watch when you're alone late at night. Good acting by the talented Cage
& Shue. Makes an impression on you.

1-0 out of 5 stars BOOOORIIING
This movie is one of the most boring ones I have ever seen. Cage is drunk through the entire movie, and the woman he's with is a prostitute. I normally love Nicholas Cage movies, but this one was an insult to his talent as an actor. Instead of renting this movie, slam your fingers in a door repeatedly. That's free, and less painful than sitting through this stinker. ... Read more


8. Timecode
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: B00004W22E
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 15035
Average Customer Review: 3.02 out of 5 stars
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Timecode divides the screen into four parts and follows, in four uninterrupted shots, a series of overlapping stories. There's the wife (Saffron Burrows) of a movie producer (Stellan Skarskård) who'sconsidering leaving him; the producer is having an affair with an aspiringactress (Salma Hayek); and the actress is the lover of a wealthy woman (Jeanne Tripplehorn), who jealously plants a bug in the actress's purse when the actress pretends to go to an audition. Meanwhile, the producer's partners and employees (Holly Hunter, Xander Berkeley, Steven Weber, and others) are trying to cope with the producer's increasing instability. There's adrug-dealing security guard; a dim massage therapist; a temperamental director who can't find the right actress; and assorted other Hollywood types who float in and out of the action. Earthquakes and aftershocks shake things up, a lot of cocaine is snorted, and there's some sex and some violence, all improvised by the actors around a story set up by the director, Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas).

The emotional effect of any story is muted by the constant distraction of trying to take in four screens at once, though at times the stories resonate off each other nicely. It's an interesting experiment, made possible by the portability and longer takes of digital cameras; anyone interested in how digital technology has affected filmmaking will want to see this novel film. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the plot to enjoy the film's technique.
In the mind of director Mike Figgis, a vision has been born. That vision is "Time Code," a film that is not one, but four different stories going on at the same time, all seen in an innovative method of filmmaking using handheld cameras and a screen that shows four pictures at once. Never has anything quite like this been done before; it's one of the most impressive movie-making ventures I've seen in a long time.

It's only too bad that Figgis pays more attention to his style than to the substance behind the four cameras. The movie is divided into separate storylines, some weaving into the other, though none of it ever has any emotional impact when the last frame rolls.

The overall plot begins with Emma (Saffron Burrows), the wife of movie producer Alex Green (Stellan Skarsgard), and while she contemplates leaving him, he is having an affair with aspiring actress Rose (Salma Hayek). Rose is involved in a rocky relationship with wealthy lesbian Lauren (Jeanne Tripplehorn), whose jealousy and suspicion drives her to place a bug in Rose's purse so she can monitor her actions during Rose's audition. As all this goes on, Alex's partners and employees are busying expressing their concerns to one another about his instability.

The interaction of each plot line allows for some very unique filmmaking touches, some of which are very impressive. The cameras are constantly rolling, and throughout the course of the film, characters will find themselves in several differing screens, something interesting to see happen. One scene that sticks out in the mind is the scene in which Rose and Alex meet behind the screen in the studio's screening room. Their interaction goes from two different screens to one; it's completely inspired.

Yet, any emotional feeling or understanding of the events at hand is diminished due to the constant grappling with trying to watch four screens at once. Some characters walk on screen and off so quickly that there is little knowledge as to why they are there, while our interest in one story tends to take away from all others. Figgis attempts to draw our attention to one story at a time by using the sound as a focal point (one screen will be clear while all others are almost completely muted), but it hardly works.

The film is interesting enough to watch it for its splendid four-screen division, though the plot seems to be muddled and misunderstood as we try to concentrate on one thing at a time. Still, "Time Code" is a movie that will go down in history due to its introduction of a dazzling new technique.

3-0 out of 5 stars Watch it four times, and it might make sense
Timecode is a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood life - the business, the politics, the jealously, and even the drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll. Salma Hayek plays Rose, an aspiring actress who will do anything to get an audition - even if it means cheating on her jealous lover (Jeanne Tripplehorn) with a male film exec (Stellan Skarsgard).

But I said that Timecode is unique, right? Well, it is. It had no script - just a story, four digital videocams, and a bunch of actors who could improvise their way through 90 minutes of filming. The four cameras shot non-stop - no cuts, just one take. The entire film was shot 15 times - and the final one was released. No editing was required because viewers see the footage from all four cameras - simultaneously. The screen is divided into four quarters, and it's up to the viewer to decide which one to watch. Believe me - it's not exactly an easy task. Though you're often given audio hints (the sound of one quarter will dominate for a while), you'll still keep jumping from quarter to quarter, trying to figure out what's going on - and what you've missed. It's definitely not a movie to watch if you're not completely alert. It is, however, very interesting. And while I wouldn't say that this is one of my favorite movies, it's still an interesting experience. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, it's worth checking out.

If you happen to pick up a copy of the DVD, you'll find all kinds of goodies. The special features include the entire Version 1 of the film (and yes, it really is different) and an audio option that allows you to choose which dialogue you want to listen to. Perhaps, then, if you watch the entire movie four times, you'll be able to make sense of it all...

4-0 out of 5 stars Clever, but also a bit narcissistic
Whatever. I mean, I appreciate the experimental nature of the film -- the screen split into four separate-but-interlocking screens, each shot in a continuously-running tracking shot, filmed on digital video. The "action" shifts from scene to improvised scene, and gradually we figure out how each of the characters know each other. Still... did the story really have to be set in (yawn) Hollywood? Can't modern filmmakers think of something else to make movies about? Couldn't the actors improv their way through somebody else's life, for once? Regardless, this is one of the better uses of DVD technology I've seen -- they kept the audio tracks intact on each camera's footage, so after you soak up the edited version of the film, you can go back and see (hear, actually...) what they had to work with... Rarely do we get such a clear-cut chance to get into the headspace of the director and editor, so that at least was kind of cool.

3-0 out of 5 stars brilliant execution, lame story
Timecode is quite simply a well-executed but failed experiment.
The concept is brilliant, but it is not supported at all by a good plot. What we have is basically mindless hipster dross; jet-set stereotypes stabbing each other in the back with their cell phones, and not much else. And yet, I was entertained by the film on a technical level. Certainly worth a look, but I would love to see this idea done again, even by Figgis, with a more engrossing story.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blah
When I rented this, I was under the impression it was a good movie. Well, I was wrong. True, the four-screen idea is innovative and couldn't have been easy to do, so I'll give Mike Figgis credit for that. In addition, the movie was shot in continuous takes, so the actors involved have proved that they have the chops to pull off something like this. And in case you're wondering if you can follow four stories at once, the volume is usually muted for three of the screens, so it's obvious which one you're really supposed to focus on at any given time. On the minus side, any time actors are given the chance to improvise their dialogue, the viewer learns anew that we really do need screenwriters, and this movie is no exception. Most importantly, this movie doesn't have ANY interestng stories or characters. Movies need those things! So, if you're interested in the techniques Figgis used, by all means check this out. But don't expect to be entertained. ... Read more


9. Stormy Monday
Director: Mike Figgis
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Sales Rank: 12625
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Early Figgis, dark-themed, worth a look
One of Mike Figgis' first films, Stormy Monday fuses an intriguing mix of American greed, crudeness, and innocence with British coolness, toughness, and civility. But added to the mix, interestingly enough, is a Polish element (more on that later).

One American is Melanie Griffith as a cocktail waitress and vaguely defined moll (or former moll) of the other, Tommy Lee Jones, a ruthless moblike businessman who plans on making Newcastle, England his own--commercially, of course. (Political takeover is a little hard to imagine circa 1988). Melanie emits a sexy blend of sensuality and innocence, pretty much irresistible. The British are Sting, as the owner of a club (a role he neatly reprised in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels), and Sean Bean as his cleaning person/gofer. Both are civil and, as it happens, tough as well. And Sting's coolness is in the ultra category, a real neat piece of work.

Sean and Melanie meet and then do a whole lot more; they do the romantic thing, all the while being pursued, as is Sting, by Tommy's henchmen. Tommy plays rough, as it turns out. The mingling of Yank and Brit romantically (Melanie and Sean) is paralleled by battling of Yank and Brit commercially (Tommy and Sting).

The Polish element? Melanie's character is half Polish, and, as well, the band slated to play in Sting's club has an accident so the Cracow Jazz Ensemble (or some such), all Poles, steps in instead, among which is Andrej, a sympathetic band manager, the only one who speaks English. Andrej is destined to play a critical role in the film, but rather than provide a spoiler here, see the film to understand what this means.

Violence plays a large part in the proceedings, as is obvious from the above description. This is a well-plotted film that put Mike Figgis on the map. Doesn't hurt that he not only wrote and directed it, but also composed the music for it, an effectively moody jazz score.

Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like Falling Rain
Director Mike Figgis made this somber noir over a decade ago and hardly anyone noticed. This whole film is like falling rain at night. It is dark and somber, and very stylish. Everything works perfectly in this unusual film.

Tommy Lee Jones gives his typical wry bad guy performance as a developer involved in politics who wants to take over an entire town in England. The only thing left standing in his way is jazz nightclub owner Sting. Sting gives such a cool performance here you've got to believe he spent hours watching Steve McQueen films. Tangled up in this battle of wills is drifter Sean Bean (Boromir in Lord of the Rings) who meets waitress Melanie Griffith, who may do more than just waitress. As Irish drifter Bean begins a tentative romance with Griffith things turn dangerous and when Bean thwarts an attempt on Sting's life he goes to work at the club.

There are a couple of suprises in this film. Melanie Griffith tones down that sex kitten persona and gives a realistic performance as she tries to change her past and stick with Bean. The real revelation is Sting, who nearly steals this film with his ultra cool and natural performance. Maybe being in his home town of Newcastle brought out his best, not wanting to let the blokes down. He certainly doesn't.

There are solid performances from the always great Tommy Lee Jones and Sean Bean, and a memorable noir atmosphere. This has always been hard to find, and little known, but now that it is coming out on DVD maybe it will find the audience it deserves. This is a terrific film and you'll want to take a look at this one...

5-0 out of 5 stars A film noir to enjoy again and again.
Because I like the genre (film noir) I sought out this film on advice of a friend. Although, at the time, it was scarce, I am glad I persevered! The cast is a surprise - imagine Sting as the standout in a dark drama! He nearly steals the show! The setting is interesting and the direction superb. This is one of those films that lets you fill in the blanks and causes you to concentrate on each scene so as not to miss a nuance or clue. I found that the second viewing was more than twice as entertaining! I have now seen it four times; each time very enjoyable. Sean Bean was an unknown to me when I first saw the film, but has now become just about my favorite actor - you can see him at his present best in LOTRFOTR as Boromir. In Stormy Monday, made in 1988, he plays a young, blonde, strangely naive fellow with a mystery past (never revealed). Tommy Lee does his expected great turn as the villian (among several in the tale), while Melanie Griffith makes the most of a role-type for which she is well known, the girl-gone-wrong who overcomes her bad luck. You will find a lot to enjoy in this dark story and a chuckle or two also - from the wild Polish rock band!

4-0 out of 5 stars A must-see for fans of Mike Figgis, Sean Bean, or Sting.
A slick noir piece set in Newcastle, England (yes, Sting's hometown), Stormy Monday is a little-known but beautiful film by Mike Figgis (also the director of "Leaving Las Vegas"). When guileless Irish drifter Brendan (Sean Bean) arrives in town, he befriends a shady nightclub owner Finney (Sting) and falls in love with a ill-used waitress, Kate (Melanie Griffith). As the film's off-beat, strangely elliptical plot advances, all three characters find themselves at odds with a villainous real estate developer, Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones), who is busy snatching-up an entire portion of the city. (Presumably, Cosmo plans on turning it all into one giant shopping mall, and the film works nicely as a commentary on American-style "globalism" masking good-old American greed.) When Brendan thwarts an attempt on Finney's life (Finney is the last business-owner refusing to sell-out to Cosmo), he and Kate become bystanders in a power struggle between the two men-a situation complicated by Kate's moonlighting as a call girl for Cosmo. As the love story between her and Brendan unfolds-played out against a darkly lyrical backdrop of underworld violence-the film perfectly captures both the promise and menace of the 1980's.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Newcastle movie rivalling Get Carter
...This is a gangster movie with a twist. Alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Melanie Griffiths you find Sting ( carrying coals to Newcastle indeed) and Sean Bean. The plot is pretty straightforward, mafia boss comes to do a deal on Tyneside and tries to get rid of the minor obstacles in the process. The movie goes along a la Long Good Friday but without the mystery and menace. Gratuitous violence is liberally sprinkled around as are the shots of the city. Nowhere in the movie do we have a shot of the city of Gateshead located on the opposite bank of the river where the Michael Caine movie, Get Carter was filmed, but the movies themselves have some similarities.

In the end Sting and Sean win the day...

All in all an enjoyable gangster flick with a Geordie accent. Has a lot in common with that Geordie TV series Spender starring Jimmy Nail with incidental music by my old friend Tony MacAnaney also worth watching if it is ever shown in your area. ... Read more


10. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - Godfathers and Sons
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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Sales Rank: 15863
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11. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - The Road to Memphis
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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12. The Browning Version
Director: Mike Figgis
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Sales Rank: 11130
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Description

Directed by Mike Figgis, THE BROWNING VERSION is based on the 1948 play by Terence Rattigan about an English schoolteacher who is forced into retirement by a series of life complications.Albert Finney stars as Andrew Crocker-Harris, a professor who is at crossroads in his life.Not only is he hated by almost every student at school and asked to retire, but his seemingly lovely wife is also found to be having an affair.Coming to grips with his failed life, now Andrew must struggle to regain his own self-respect. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Sliver of Hope Shines Among the Ashes of Despair
This movie deserves a just review, if only to debunk the notion that the film bears any resemblance to the 'The Dead Poets Society.' It is a uniquely English work that illustrates what it is to keep a stiff upper lip -- after a fair amount of quivering.

Albert Finney is masterful as Andrew Crocker-Harris, the stern and unyielding teacher of classics who has, rather suddenly, found himself at the end of his career. With modernity regnant in society, Crocker-Harris faces students uninterested in the great literary works of antiquity and a successor who intends to abolish the tenets of a curriculum that once produced the most learned citizens of any nation. Crocker-Harris can clearly see that his time is passing. But unlike 'Dead Poets,' which sends the unacceptable message that suicide offers an exit from seemingly intractable problems, 'The Browning Version' finds its main character clinging to hope in the face of despair. The vehicle by which this occurs is a student's kind gesture.

There are several excellent moments in this film, but perhaps the finest was a scene in which Crocker-Harris -- teaching his final class in the Classics -- attempts to convey depth and feeling in translating Aeshylus' Agamemnon. It's hard not to get caught up in it. For the first time, the staid old teacher conjures up meaning from across the ages in a work that, for the students, is only a dusty tome better kept on a library shelf.

My chief complaint about this film centers on development: it needed more character development and a more studied consideration of the literary content, to which only allusions are given.

As the French would say, 'The Browning Version' is a voir-absolument.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant central performance
Albert Finney is the most compelling reason for watching this adaption of Terence Rattigan's stage play. His performance is moving as a classics teacher in a British public school, despised by his pupils and rejected by his unfaithful wife. He plays the role of Andrew Crocker-Harris with real pathos. In particular, the scene in which the young Taplow gives him a book (the Browning version of the title) as a parting gift after he is forced into early retirement, is an incredible moment, the force of which makes Harris' wife's subsequent cruelty all the more hard-hitting. For all his self-confessed flaws, Harris emerges (thanks to Finney, who rarely disappoints) as a genuinely sympathetic character whom the viewer can come to identify with, much as young Taplow came to identify with this tragic character.

I am not familiar with Rattigan's original stage play, so I am not in a place to make comparisons. The 'Figgis version' certainly did it for me. The beautiful location filming, the score, and the excellent supporting cast are all worthy of recommendation. Overall, the film is executed without fanfare or overstatement, relying on an affecting story told persuasively by a superb ensemble of actors.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Film
Albert Finney's portrayal of retiring classics teacher, Andrew Crocker Harris, in "The Browning Version" is a marvelous and understated performance that you will not forget. While I rarely review movies on this site and I cannot fathom why I missed this film when it was released in 1994, I recommend that everyone see it. The title refers to a translation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon; a play that many students will recall from high school. A play that resounds within this story too.

Crocker Harris is mocked and ridiculed by the students as a classics teacher of Latin and Greek. His popularity pales when compared to a physical education teacher who is also departing the school. His position at the prestigious English boarding school is being eliminated for one that emphasizes the study of modern languages. His wife is unfaithful with Matthew Modine's character, an American chemistry teacher. The students often cite Crocker Harris' refrain about grading " You have obtained exactly what you deserve- no less and certainly no more." A line that unfortunately also describes Crocker Harris' teaching career and life.

In line with films like Dead Poets Society and The Emperor's Club, The Browning Version will keep your interest and not disappoint.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly superb movie!
Of course, Finney needs no intro- especially with his recent BAFTA. As remakes go, this one is exceptionally good (compared to the 1951 original with Michael Redgrave). Acclaimed director Mike Figgis took an old fashioned setting & brilliantly updated it so that the story occurs in the present. The scenes were beautifully shot too. The key scene where the boy, Taplow gave Andrew Crocker-Harris (Finney) the gift of the book was actually a great improvement compared to the original. Thought provoking, truly 1st class acting & totally enjoyable. Well done Mike Figgis- another excellent example of skillful direction. Praise to Albert Finney too- few films these days carry such a dignified performance.

5-0 out of 5 stars the best film I have ever seen
Albert Finney's Andrew Crocker-Harris is the best acting performance I have ever seen. It is beyond me how anybody could criticize him. No other film I have seen has generated anything like the emotional response that this one did, for which Finney is largely responsible. ... Read more


13. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - The Soul of a Man
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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14. Liebestraum
Director: Mike Figgis
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Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 35873
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst movie I have ever seen
I could not believe that anyone could make a film as bad as this one until I actually saw it. Even 6 years after seeing it no other movie has come close to the depths that this movie reached. I read the other reviews and I am convinced that they were all written by the people involved in the film because no one in their right mind could sit through this without screaming at the screen. I cannot get this film out of my head, but for all the wrong reasons.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit slow...
Spoilers - A slow movie with two, similar and parallel, stories set 30 years apart. Kind of predictable except it is one of the few non-porn movies where a brother and sister aren't killed for commiting incest. Instead, the husband turns away and leaves the two lovers embracing at the end of the movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scary for Grown Ups!
Before "Leaving Las Vegas" Mike Figgis directed this rather nasty adult thriller which features Kim Novak's most recent film appearance to date. She's brilliant in this small part as a dying woman reunited with the son she gave up for adoption. As she slips into morphine induced dementia, he stumbles into...incest?...adultery?...ghosts?... I'm not sure but anyway, my blood ran cold for weeks. This is recommended especially to people who miss Ken Russell's exuberant directorial excesses!

3-0 out of 5 stars Contorted Love
The word Liebestraum has two meanings in German, "Dream of Love" or "Dreaming While Loving." Neither meaning would seem to be a suitable title for this dark film about obsessions and sins, and the ripple effects visited and revisited upon family members --unless it is that true love remains, in the end, out of reach. Liebestraum is also the title of a romantic musical piece by Schumann. A jazzed-up and decidedly unromantic, contorted version of the piece helps open the film. So perhaps the metaphor here is contorted love.

From the start, there is such a creepy and unnatural chill in the relationship between the featured lovers that I could not care about them or their situation. I actually suspected the twisted nature of the ties between them and some other characters halfway through the film, but was not bored after that. There is that much going on, what with the plot twists and trying to understand the meanings (or not) of all the really odd happenings in the film --like a letter falling off of a sign or the crude sherrif taking an unbeliabely long wiz'. Plus, my suspicions weren't confirmed and fully explained until the very end.

I did care about the fate of a frozen-in-time, caste iron building and also, oddly enough, about the man in charge of its demolition. A good man gone bad or a bad man with heartfelt remorse? Or both?? The feelings of this conflicted character are played out in the best five minutes of the film; the bar scene, and is one of the examples of why Bill Pullman is among the very best actors working today. There is a more recent film, The Guilty, in which he again manages to bring out the heart and complexities of a seemingly unsympathetic character. But in that film he was the star, rather than having just a handful of scenes to create that feat, as in Liebestraum.

3-0 out of 5 stars SEXY KEVIN MAKES THIS A LITTLE GEM
I saw this film for the second time the other night. It is one of those films that people seem to have missed and I think it is quite difficult to get into or understand the first time you see it. But, having said all that if you stick with it is a sexy pot boiler of a film - that has a few plot twists/complications along the way. All the actors concerned, Kevin Anderson, Bill Pullman, etc are all really good, helped by a lot of sexual tension from the main characters. Basically the plot is that Kevin Anderson's character goes to see his dying mother in hospital and while he's back in his home town bumps into one of his old friends and his wife. His old friend (Bill Pullman) is knocking down an old building that is very different architecturally (it is made of cast iron) and Kevin Anderson is an architectural journalist, so this is of interest to him..........

There, now I've started you off - I'm not going to say anymore, except there some surprises to come! I know my description of the plot thus far may make the film sound boring - but believe me this is not a boring film! I do not want to give any of the plot away. Final verdit: very film noirish.

Love from Kevin Anderson's new fan - he's gorgeous!! ... Read more


15. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - Red, White & Blues
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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Sales Rank: 12044
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Amazon.com

It may have been underrated when first broadcast on PBS on consecutive nights in the fall of '03, but executive producer Martin Scorsese's homage to the blues is a truly significant, if imperfect, achievement. "Musical journey" is an apt description, as Scorsese and the six other directors responsible for the seven approximately 90-minute films follow the blues--the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B, and rock & roll--from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the United Kingdom, and beyond. Red, White & Blues is Mike Figgis's entry in the series. --Sam Graham ... Read more


16. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - Feels Like Going Home
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
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Asin: B00020X9BU
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Sales Rank: 27996
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17. Miss Julie
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: 0792845455
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Sales Rank: 29944
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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On Midsummer's Eve, in Northern Sweden, noblewoman Miss Julie stayshome, perhaps due to the failure of her engagement to a callous man. Instead, she takes part in the servants' wild outdoor dances--but her eye is on her father's footman, John, who is engaged to the cook, Christine. As the exhausted Christine falls asleep in a chair, John and Miss Julie begin a struggle of power and sex in which their social roles are both a weapon and a weakness. Like most of Mike Figgis's films (Leaving Las Vegas, Internal Affairs), Miss Julie is very pretty to look at and the actors (Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullan) are excellent. The movie is adapted from the August Strindberg play of the same name; the theatrical dialogue and speeches don't play all that well in film, but are well-executed, and Figgis finds ways to keep the movie visually engaged: Burrows's height (or Mullan's lack of it) is a visual metaphor for their class standings; at one point Miss Julie cries, and her tears clean a streak in the dust on her face, making her look both clownish and pitiful; the screen splits in two, showing two perspectives of the same scene for a brief time. When the servants return from their drunken revels, John and Miss Julie are forced to hide lest they start rumors, and the servants stagger around the kitchen, singing, grabbing each other, searching thirstily for more wine--the effect is eerie. A strong adaptation of a theater classic. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Strindberg's Old Stage Drama Looks Exactly Old Stage Drama
The original drama "Miss Julie" (sometimes spelled "Miss Julia") is written by Swedish writer August Strindberg in 1888. Because of its contents, it had been banned in his native country for 25 years, but looking back from now, the sexual nature looks nothing special now. But somehow director Mike Figgis thought of pretty faithfiul adaptation of this one-act drama.

There are three characters -- Jean, Julie, Chiristine -- but basically the drama belongs to the servant Jean (Peter Mullan) and Miss Julie, rich count's rather spolied daughter, played by director's muse Saffron Burrows. On Midsummer's Eve, uninhibited by class consciousness, Miss Julie taunts Jean, who at first endures the insult. Then, slowly the fierce battle of will leads them into seduction and contemplation of living together, or the rigid mores of society they live in.

The talky nature of the film is regrettable, but understandable. It is a filmed stage drama, and that's not to be blamed. The problem is this; one, many of us today no longer feel bound by the same sexual codes as they experience. The values they talk about are, if not totally, almost dead. The film fails to answer this question -- they suffer, but why should we care?

But the bigger trouble is this; director Figgis is so intent on denying that the original material is made for stage, that he uses too many irritatingly flashy cameraworks like split screen. And by showing too many of them, and the sexual nature of the drama more explicitly, the film is deprived of the subtle nuance which the original drama has. What is the point of blantantly showing the poor dead bird itself anyway when what the drama wants to show lies in different place?

Acting is good, I admit, but I cannot help thinking that Peter Mullan is miscast. The original drama clearly says Jean is 30 year-old (while Miss Julie is 25). They act well, trying to generate the intensity between the sex, which I find sadly missing. What if Daniel Day-Lewis did the same role -- I was thinking about that all through this extremely depressing film.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply a masterpiece...
It's movies like this that restore one's faith in the movie business. Sure, this movie is based on an old play and some may find it stagey or theatrical, but it, nonetheless, fully arrested the heart and mind of this unsuspecting viewer. This was in large part due to Saffron Burrows; the depth of her concentration and commitment to the role of Miss Julie is breathtaking and liberating. She captures one's attention so completely that there is no hope for release until the performance's end. Her beauty and skill as an actress are unsurpassed in modern times and it baffles me to no end that she is not more widely recognized and celebrated.

Figgis' Miss Julie is a more faithful telling of Strindberg's play than the more 'cinematic' Sjoberg version of 1950. Where Figgis employs economy, Sjoberg lengthened with unnecessary flashbacks, dampening much of the power of the original play. Figgis is a man of many talents as he also wrote the haunting musical score that perfectly mirrors the themes of the story. And certainly not as an afterthought, Peter Mullar in the role of Jean is superb and deserves more recognition for his work as well.

The movie biz, in all of its forms, produces only a handful of great movies each year-that might be overstating the case-but once in a while that special movie does come along and knocks you hard in the chest and of your feet; stories that usually force one to reexamine the state of our existence and often point in a meaningful direction to the future. Movies are powerful instruments, taking the place of religion in many lives, and as an art form, reestablishing the sacred tradition that storytelling once had before the days of electronic technology.

Months after watching Miss Julie I find myself still mesmerized and enraptured by its web. Congratulations to Mike Figgis and team. You have not produced a Hollywood blockbuster, but you have created a masterpiece. It is only unfortunate that more people will not see it. It deserves and is worthy of a wide audience.

Keep up the brilliant work Saffron.

1-0 out of 5 stars 0 stars.
Boring, boring, boring. Set piece of a flawed, and overindulgent strindberg play, could have been more bearable had this been a play, but in the movies, too sub par actors, no real plot...no way man. Alright, strindberg was known for his sadist relationships with women, as well as his little, oh shall we call it inferiority complex, with upper classes. (Dad an aspiring aristocrat, but a failed bussiness man, mom proletarian and dies very young) He married a baroness, then deserted her, then never, according to his own admission, managed a loving relationship, without the power, submission, et al. with a woman. Now imagine all that transcribed into endless dialogs between countess ( mike figes girlfriend managing a huge fiasco of wooden (over)-acting and stunned grimaces) and her dad's servant: I like you, i am above you class-wise, i like you too, i want the power you got, i am more clever/older than you i ll dominate you, no you wont, blah, blah, blah.

Gladly i watched it on cable and had some work to do so essentially i heard most of it, well to be honest, after an hour or so, i put some music on the pc, coulndt be bothered anymore.

So, it all boils down to, if you are the arty type with aspirations and in need of dinner time conversations then by all means watch, and have another pointless discussion on nothing, if not, watch a decent movie, with some plot, characters, depth, and not some re-vamped failure of meaningless drama.

Cheers.

3-0 out of 5 stars One Strange Household
An extraordinarily strange period piece made even stranger by Director Mike Figgis's insistence on macabre close-ups, unexplainable split-screen trickery, and just plain weird camera angles.

One evening, the servants for a nobleman decide to go beserk ("when the cat's away, the mice will play"), and his emotionally-disturbed daughter feels surrounded by danger. A manservant comes to her rescue, hiding her in a pantry off the kitchen, where delusions of grandeur overtake him, and he emotionally and physically assaults her. The rest of the film (about an hour) is a verbal sparing match of psychological gameplaying that ultimately amounts to very little but is terribly interesting to watch it unfold.

One subtlely hypnotic performance by Saffron Burrows as Miss Julie keeps this piece afloat.

Certainly, not worth owning (in my humble opinion), but definitely worth the view.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the best of Mike Figgis' experiments
In "Miss Julie", director Mike Figgis continues to experiment with filmmaking. Some of his efforts I have enjoyed, particularly "Timecode", which divided the screen into four quadrants with four different events occurring simultaneously. Other works, such as "Miss Julie", I have trouble with because I think they would be better [or at least more accessible] if they had had a somewhat more conventional filming.

"Miss Julie" takes place in Europe in 1894. Julie [Saffron Burrows] is a countess whose fiancée has left her because she is too willful. She plays a sexual cat-and-mouse game with one of her servants [Peter Mullan] under the nose of his fiancée [Maria Doyle Kennedy]. Julie and her servant appear to hate each other, and this emotion seems only to stir their lust. Sex becomes a weapon in what is really class warfare. It seems that the servant has longed for Julie since he was a boy. Until now, she has been too insulated in her high born world to take notice.

The movie takes place during a night and part of the next day. Everything happens in and around the kitchen of Julie's house. The idea is to make the audience feel Julie's sense of imprisonment in her world. The idea works, as the viewer soon begins to feel claustrophobic.

Perhaps in an attempt to be faithful to the play it was based on, we see only the three main characters, except for two or three scenes when we see other servants working and chattering. There are numerous references to The Count [Julie's father and the servant's master], but he is never seen. Because he is so dominant in the lives of these characters, I think the movie would have worked better if he had made an appearance, but that may just be me. I get frustrated when someone in a movie is constantly talked about but never seen. I need a visualization.

The high point of the film is Saffron Burrows' performance. She is an amazing actress. This is the third of five films she has made with Figgis. I am ashamed to admit I do not know the origin of their ongoing working relationship. Mullan and Kennedy are also quite good. The problem is that the movie never let me truly feel for the characters, other than to pity them. I could appreciate the acting skills and acknowledge the director's daring, but something about the presentation caused me to have a clinical detachment to what was going on. It may simply be that Figgis chose the wrong material to experiment on. [Note: Figgis also wrote the movie's music score, and it is very, very good.] ... Read more


18. Cold Creek Manor
Director: Mike Figgis
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Asin: B0000YTOL2
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19. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues - Warming by the Devil's Fire
Director: Mike Figgis, Charles Burnett, Martin Scorsese, Richard Pearce, Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, Marc Levin
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
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Asin: B00020X9DI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 46429
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20. The Sopranos - The Complete First and Second Seasons
Director: James Hayman, John Patterson (III), Alan Taylor, Peter Bogdanovich, Steve Buscemi, Rodrigo García, Andy Wolk, Timothy Van Patten, Matthew Penn (II), Tom Patterson (III), Allen Coulter, Lee Tamahori, Nick Gomez, Jack Bender, Lorraine Senna, Martin Bruestle, Daniel Attias, Mike Figgis, Henry Bronchtein, David Chase (II)
list price: $198.92
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Asin: B000068GS1
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 17755
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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The Sopranos, writer-producer-director David Chase's extraordinary television series, is nominally an urban gangster drama, but its true impact strikes closer to home, chronicling a dysfunctional, suburban American family in bold relief. And for protagonist Tony Soprano, there's the added complexity posed by heading twin families, his collegial mob clan and his own, nouveau riche brood. The series' brilliant first season is built around what Tony learns when, whipsawed between those two worlds, he finds himself plunged into depression and seeks psychotherapy--a gesture at odds with his midlevel capo's machismo, yet instantly recognizable as a modern emotional test. With analysis built into the very spine of the show's elaborate episodic structure, creator Chase and his formidable corps of directors, writers, and actors weave an unpredictable series of parallel and intersecting plot arcs that twist from tragedy to farce to social realism. While creating for a smaller screen, they enjoy a far larger canvas than a single movie would afford, and the results, like the very best episodic television, attain a richness and scope far closer to a novel than movies normally get.

Alternately seductive, exasperated, fearful, and murderous, James Gandolfini's Tony is utterly convincing even when executing brutal shifts between domestic comedy and dramatic violence. The first season's other life force is Livia Soprano, Tony's monstrous, meddlesome mother. As Livia, the late Nancy Marchand eclipses her long career of patrician performances to create an indelibly earthy, calculating matriarch who shakes up both families; Livia also serves as foil and rival to Tony's loyal, usually level-headed wife, Carmela (Edie Falco). Lorraine Bracco makes Tony's therapist, Dr. Melfi, a convincing confidante, by turns "professional," perceptive, and sexy; the duo's therapeutic relationship is also depicted with uncommon accuracy. Such grace notes only enrich what's not merely an aesthetic high point for commercial television, but an absorbing film masterwork that deepens with subsequent screenings.

In its second season, The Sopranos repeatedly defies formula to let the narrative turn as a direct consequence of the characters' behavior, letting everyone in this rogue's gallery of Mafiosi, friends, and family evolve and deepen. That gamble is most apparent in the rupture of the relationship that formed the spine of the first season, the tangled ties between Tony and Livia, whose betrayal makes Tony's estrangement a logical response. Filling that vacuum, however, is prodigal sister Janice (Aida Turturro), whose New Age flakiness never successfully conceals her underlying calculation and opportunism. Soprano's relationship with therapist Melfi also frays during early episodes, as she struggles with escalating doubts about her mobbed-up patient. At home, Tony contends with wife Carmela's ruthless ambitions on behalf of college-bound Meadow (Jamie Lynn Sigler), as well as son Anthony Jr.'s (Robert Iler) sullen adolescent flirtation with existentialism--the sort of touch that the show handles with a smart mix of sympathy and amusement. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars BADA BING...BADA BOOM...
My son is a big Sopranos fan, so I bought him the DVD set for the first season for Christmas. I myself had seen maybe two or three episodes on cable and had enjoyed them. So, when he began watching, I was right there watching with him. What a terrific show! It is absolutely gripping.

It is a marvelously creative series with a stellar cast. For those of you who have been visiting relatives in Antarctica for the past several years, the story revolves around the mob in New Jersey. It centers on one family specifically, the Sopranos, headed by Anthony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who is married to his loyal childhood sweetheart, Carmela (Edie DeFalco). Together they have two children, Meadow and Anthony, Jr. Tony's dangerously manipulative mother, Livia (Nancy Marchand), is bound for a retirement home, if Tony has any say.

Tony, however, has another family, comprised of a bunch of murderous henchmen, who occasionally march to the tune of a different drummer. He also has a Russian mistress. Trying to balance all this has given Tony panic attacks, so he goes to a psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), whose relationship with her client alternates between fear and fascination.

The writing for this series is splendid and the interweaving of comedic and familial moments with the darker, more violent ones provides the viewer with an intelligently woven plot. James Gandolfini is outstanding as Tony Soprano, a powerful mob boss, who can also be a teddy bear of a guy and a good friend, unless you are perceived to have been disloyal. Then, you may kiss your buns goodbye. Tony is mercurial, sexy, fearful, cautious, and, given the right circumstances, deadly. He is a fascinating and beguiling character. Edie DeFalco is warm, funny, loyal, and the glue that binds their immediate family together. Yet, she too has her own sting, and she knows the power that her husband has. She is not above using it herself, if necessary. The late Nancy Marchand was terrific as Livia, the manipulative, scheming mother.

While the first season was sensational, all I can tell you is that the second season is as good, if not better, than the first.

There are some major plot developments. Livia and Tony's uncle hatch a plan that can have murderous consequences for Tony. Carmela is doing all in her power, and I mean all, to help Meadow get into a good college. In her own sweet way, Carmela can be just as scary as Tony. Janice (Aida Turturro), Tony's sister, comes back home, wreaks havoc, marries the former mob boss's jailbird brother, and then leaves town with a bang. One of Tony's best friends becomes a snitch for the Feds. No wonder Tony continues to have anxiety attacks and still needs to see his psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi.

The writing continues to be intelligent, and the story lines are as well thought out and engrossing as ever. I absolutely love this series!

The first and second seasons DVD sets each come nicely packaged with four discs. The nice thing about the DVDs is that before an episode begins, if one likes. one may read a plot summary of that episode. The visuals and audio are crisp and clear. There are also some bonus features. There is a terrific interview with David Chase, the creator of the Sopranos, and some behind the scenes featurettes. All in all, this is a great show, and these are two great DVD sets to add to one's personal collection. I have already seen the first, second, and third seasons. I now can't wait for the fourth season to come out on DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best show ever!!
I hardly ever watch TV except for sports. But I was recommended to watch this by a friend and let me tell you, if you like goodfellas and shows like that then you will love this. The first season is the best without a doubt. The second season you really get into and then the third season starts off slow but the end is really great. This is by far the best TV series I have ever seen, even better than the simpsons(entertainment value wise). I tell you what, I can't wait for the fourth season to come out because I will get it right away.

5-0 out of 5 stars the sopranos best seasons
by far the first and second seasons of the sopranos were the best and now there on dvd, nothing could be better. ... Read more


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