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1. Jim Henson's The Storyteller -
$14.96 $14.49 list($19.94)
2. The Storyteller Collection
$17.98 $14.71 list($19.98)
3. City Slickers 2 - The Legend of
$35.00 list($29.95)
4. Mr. Bean: The Best Bits of Mr.

1. Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Greek Myths
Director: Tony Smith, Paul Weiland, John Madden, David Garfath
list price: $19.94
our price: $14.96
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Asin: B0002J4X2U
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1287
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One of Jim Henson's finest hours was the Storyteller series that aired on HBO in 1987. As with his other non-Muppet creations (Labyrinth), Henson fills the screen with wonderful creatures that have a wisp of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. Half of the eight-part series was adapted from Greek myths by Anthony Minghella, who became an Oscar-winning filmmaker a decade later with The English Patient. Minghella weaves the narration of the storyteller (a sturdy and wonderful Michael Gambon, accompanied by a scene-stealing dog) with dialogue from the stories to beguiling effect.

By nature, the Greek myth episodes are a bit more mature and downbeat (ages 8 and older) than the rest of the series, yet give the audience lasting impressions of oft-quoted tales. In "Perseus and the Gorgon," King Argos locks away his wife when it is foretold his future son will kill him. Soon mother and son (Perseus, fathered by none other than Zeus) are washed ashore and another angry king looks to take away Perseus's mother. How can Perseus win the day? By killing the evil Gorgon whose snake-covered head includes eyes that turn humans into statues. Derek Jacobi stars as the brilliant Greek designer in the second tale, "Daedalus and Icarus." The father goes through many hardships, including the famous episode of his son flying too close to the sun. All is not well and does not end well. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs the tale of "Theseus and the Minotaur." A young man reunites with his father, King Aegeus, but is cursed by his witch of a stepmother (literally). When Theseus tries to stop the regular sacrifice to the half-bull, half-man Minotaur, a new curse awaits the young prince. The magical musician Orpheus (Art Malik) finds his muse in "Orpheus and Eurydice." Unfortunately, she soon dies and goes to Hades where Orpheus follows, attempting to win her soul from the devil himself. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse Yourself In Ancient Mythos...
Whether you are a Mythology major in a university or one who has become so familar in the subject that you consider yourself an expert, you are sure to love these myths-come-to-life retellings brought to the screen. Kept in the same vein as Jim Henson's The Storyteller series featuring John Hurt, this series is also told by a teller of stories represented by Michael Gambon and with as much ability to mesmerise the listener as his predecessor.

The music (which is a crowning point, in my opinion) is weaved by Rachel Portman who, as always, delivers a lovely score marred fittingly with dark, forboding - yet bittersweet tones. In many instances such as in the tale of 'Orpheus & Eurydice', the climatic storytelling is accompanied by the score which successfully heightens the intensity of what will happen next. Everything set to music from Eurydice's 'birth' to Ariadne's furious curse when she realises Theseus has abandoned her is rapturously beautiful, chillingly haunting.

The acting performances are also well worth mentioning, most notably that of Gina Bellman [Eurydice], Jesse Birdsall [Aristaeus] and Maggie O'Neill [Ariadne]. Whether it be the wonder found in new life, mischief or the sting of being betrayed, these things prove small feats to bring across by such seasoned performers as these.

Having waited what seems forever for this program to come to DVD, I am ecstatic that it finally has. Remaining true to the original Grecian myths, this series will be cherished for ages to come in the homes of fantasy and mythology lovers alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complete your Jim Henson's The Storyteller Collection
Last year, fans were thrilled to find Jim Henson's The Storyteller Collection on DVD for the first time featuring the fairy tales crafted for the series. Thanks to the success of that DVD, the Greek Myths are also being released this year. While the effects of the series are somewhat dated, the series is still spectacular, incorporating the genius of Jim Henson and those he gathered around him. Also note that the storyteller in this series is Michael Gambon, the new Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter movie.

And to let you know what is on the DVD, here is the episode info provided by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment:

DAEDALUS AND ICARUS: Daedalus, one of the greatest inventors of ancient Greece, and his son Icarus are betrayed by cruel King Minos and must flee for their lives. To escape Daedalus creates wings to they can fly to safety but will the young Icarus heed his father's instructions or will their dreams melt away.

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE: The great musician Orpheus vows to bring back the soul of his beloved Eurydice from the depths of Hades. But the task he must complete to reunite with his love turns out to be as tortuous as the fate he will have to endure.

PERSEUS AND THE GORGON: When the evil king threatens Perseus' mother, he must bring back the head of Medussa - who's stare will turn anyone who looks upon her to stone. Will the help of the gods be enough to aid in this seemingly impossible task?

THESEUS AND THE MINATAUR: With the help of a beautiful princess, Theseus tracks down the man-eating Minotaur, half-man, half-bull to prove his courage and loyalty. A fight to the death ensues, and a shocking secret emerges. ... Read more


2. The Storyteller Collection
Director: Steve Barron, Paul Weiland, Jon Amiel, Peter Smith, Jim Henson, Charles Sturridge
list price: $19.94
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000A2ZU6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 828
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

One of Jim Henson's finest hours was the Storyteller series that first aired on HBO in 1987. As with his other non-Muppet creations (Labyrinth), Henson fills the screen with wonderful creatures that have a wisp of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. This collection of nine stories (it does not contain the Greek myths arc) were adapted by Anthony Minghella, who became an Oscar-winning filmmaker a decade later with The English Patient. Minghella weaves the narration of the storyteller (played with aplomb by John Hurt) with dialogue from the stories to beguiling effect; the storyteller doesn't simply introduce the tales.

A few of the stories have been available before on video, but this collection starts with the debut, the Emmy-winning "Hans My Hedgehog," the title role being a young disformed man who helps a lost king in the woods. Other highlights include "The Luck Child" about a king bent on destroying a commoner boy, known as the luck child ("the seventh son born of a seventh son on a week with two Fridays"). After a wizard declares the boy will grow up to be king. The fate of the king is one of those hooks that should have the kids smiling for days. Henson himself directs "Death and the Soldier," a brilliant example of how these episodes were so wonderfully complex. A penniless solider (Bob Peck) is given a magical sack and he uses it to full effect, capturing gremlins and greater evils on his way to be king. "Sapsorrow" is a curious variation on the Cinderella legend. "A Story Short" is the storyteller's own adventure. He makes a deal with a king to tell a story every day of the year. Yet on the last day, the storyteller's mind is a blank and his fate may lead him to a boiling vat of oil. Henson's work is true family entertainment and at only 22 minutes per episode, it's the perfect companion for some fine entertainment around the TV. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars We're almost there. . .
It's been taking the Henson company a long time to get these titles pumped to DVD, and it's nice to see The Storyteller fill the gaps in the shelves. I am still waiting for Fraggle Rock, but hopefully that is on the horizon.

I remember these as part of the Jim Henson Hour (another series I would like to see again) and they were as enjoyable to watch as they are now.

I gave the DVD 3 stars, simply because it's just that. . . a DVD. No extra's no behind the scenes, nothing added to it, just the stories, one after another in a digital format. The content and movies are great, its just that, well, there wasn't anything else. Kind of disappointing, but I'm sure back then, they didn't have a lot of cameras on the set filming behind the scenes, it wasn't the fad or desire back then.

This is a dvd though, that's not for kids. Young kids that is. Some pretty spooky moments, and the creatures can be a bit scarey. It's a fairly dark, gritty form of story telling, but fun and amusing at times.

To wrap up, its great. If your a fan of Jim, it belongs in your DVD library. No extras though, just the 9 episodes and that's it. The sound is good, picture great, just as I remember them. My only desire for some of the recent releases of Henson DVD's is to actually have more of Henson on them. He was a great man, and to hear him speak about his films and what he was doing is always a rare treat. I just wish they had more film footage of him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales will never be the same
I'm amazed that this series has gotten so little attention. This is Jim Henson and crew at their best, making fun of the lines between fantasy and reality, costume and puppetry, and new storytelling and old stories.

All of these short pieces were unfamiliar to me, at least in part. 'Sapsorrow' turned out to contain a story I knew, or thought I did. Part of the reason these fairy tales were unfamiliar was their authenticity. These stories were originally meant for adults. They had hard, dark edges, and were not the vapid Disneyfied versions that most people know.
Lots of kids will like these stories as much as adults do, but this may be too much for younger children. This isn't Sesame Street - it's one of the dark alleys off to the side.

The narrator is one of the unexpected treats on this disk. He opens and closes each short story, talking to his dog on a fire-lit night. The narration is a treat, too. It has a wonderful rolling cadence, too musical for regular speech but too prosaic to be a chant. It may give you some idea what the old epic poems must have sounded like in their original settings.

This is for anyone who likes fantasy, who likes a rich visual experience. You just have to see it for yourself - typed words can't begin to give the experience you'll find in this collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairy-Tales Aren't Just Kid's Stuff
I remember seeing this series for the first time years ago and thinking it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever experienced. I still believe that when I watch it now. These stories, based on old folk legends (some woven together), have a great deal of resonance - that is why they have endured. Fairy-tales are not dumb, or childish, but rather are for those who still have the ability to enjoy the extraordinary, without needing to continually question the logic and criticise the rationality. Jim Henson was himself a modern-day storyteller, and is very much missed - they are a rare breed.
The stories are wonderfully crafted, if you wnat to be picky, some of the visual effects are a little dated (hey, it's 1987), but who cares when you're listening to such great tales!?
John Hurt is fantastic as the intriguing Storyteller, and even gets a well-deserved episode all about himself.
Hans My Hedgehog was always my favourite episode, and IMHO the Grovelhog costume is incredibly impressive. It's a genuinely touching story, and for me is on a par with The Elephant Man in terms of the tissue factor. I really wish that more of these had been made, but the ones that exist are a real blessing.
Show Storyteller to your children (I know some of you are worried about age, but I say go for it, children are darker than you think) and I am sure they will thank you profusely when they get older. As some have pointed out, they aren't always happy tales, but here is the valuable lesson - life isn't always happy. But it's still beautiful, and someting to marvel at, and learn from. Just like this DVD.
Oh, and if anyone tries to tell you it's just kid's stuff, let it go. They've lost their heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just as good as it was 15 years ago.
I did not have the luxury, when I was growing up, to see these stories as they were originally shown on the Jim Henson Hour which aired in America and not until much later, in Australia. I happened upon the videos (these nine episodes were set on three videos) in a local rental shop and under extreme duress, my father rented them for myself and my sister. Much like we had done with the Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, we were transfixed by each and every episode. The thing we loved most about them was that they weren't your usual Disney-esque fluffiness. They were based on German, Russian and Celtic folklore and are in many cases, even today, still considered quite dark tales.

Now, many, many years later, I found and bought the DVD and am quite happy to say that the Jim Henson magic is still very much there. Sure, there's no special features on the DVD and I admit I would have liked to have seen some behind-the-scenes productions that are so accessible in this format of entertainment, but what was most important is that we got the series. To be honest, I couldn't complain about the quality of the DVD, it seemed pretty good to me. If the picture was blurry, it added to the atmosphere of the story rather than from detracted from it.

Some people who are not familiar the Jim Henson Creature Shop would find these productions stupid, cheesy and very out of date, but please remember, Jim Henson was a puppeteering pioneer and set many a standard for the fantasy genre. It was also well before the marvels of CGI were used on a regular basis, so please, don't complain when you see a puppet squirrel or badger flit across your screen and say that it would have been much better as a computer animation.

If you want seamless realistic graphics, go and watch the new Lord of the Rings epics, or The Matrix movies.

If you want to recapture a charming, fanciful bit of your childhood, when we didn't need thrills and spills to entertain us, watch The Storyteller series. You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Best Place by the Fire was kept for the Storyteller!"
Jim Henson's most famous contribution to the entertainment world is obviously "The Muppets", but if you're looking for his best work (in terms of both visual brilliancy and depth of theme and meaning) the award would have to go to "Labyrinth" and "The Storyteller." The former is of course the famous movie starring David Bowie, but the latter was a television series that was made up of a collaboration of Anthony Minghella's screenplays that drew on a range of folklore and ancient storytelling, Jim Henson's amazing puppets and John Hurt's performance as a nameless, gnome-like storyteller who sits by the fire with his (extremely talkative) dog, speaking directly to the viewer of the marvellous things he's seen and done in his lifetime.

There are nine episodes altogether, each one about twenty-five minutes long, with a separate tale in each one. Each one is both narrated by the Storyteller, but also acted out by a separate group of actors with which the Storyteller and his dog interact with - and it's not just them entering the world of the stories (such as the Storyteller performing a card trick in the court of the king)- sometimes the stories invade their fireside hearth: figures appear in the flames of the fire, shadows perform on the sides of pots and cups, the dog looks into his bowl to see faces looking up at him, and often the Storyteller produces objects that feature in the stories as proof of their reality.

Each story is very different, both from each other and from their original source material in order to create tales that are new, but also deeply familiar. Archetypes such as foundling children, wicked stepmothers, fay-like helpers, magical implements and triad motifs are prevalient, and you'll be surprised at how many familiar faces turn up! Some of the episodes are melded from several stories (such as "The Soldier and Death" which uses three Slovac tales to piece together a longer story) but others simply change a few details from their original sources ("The Three Ravens" uses ravens instead of swans as seen in the myth "The Children of Lyr" or Hans Christian Anderson's later retelling "The Seven Wild Swans") Spotting the similarities is part of the fun of watching, but a warning to parents - not all of the stories end happily, and often the content itself can be violent, scary, enigmatic or even mildly sensual.

"Hans My Hedgehog" is the winner of several television awards, and tells a darker version of "Beauty and the Beast" and "East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon", of a woman who makes a wayward wish for a baby and ends up with a hedgehog for a son.

"Fearnot" is the story of a young man that is so cheerful and simple that he has no idea what it's like to quiver and shudder in fear. Determined to know what the sensation is like he sets of - but the answer to being afraid may lie closer to home than he thinks...

"The Heartless Giant" is the bittersweet tale of a young prince named Leo who befriends a giant that has a nest of wasps in place of his heart. But can such a creature be trusted?

"Sapsorrow" is an interesting take on the "Cinderella" legend, as well as "Donkeyskin" in which a young woman seems to be forced to marry her own father if he does not hide herself within an elaborate disguise.

"The Three Ravens" is one of my favourites - three brothers are turned into ravens by their stepmother, and it is up to their sister to break the curse by never speaking a word. But when she falls in love and finds her beloved's stepmother is the witch that caused her brother's grief her danger intensifies: her children begin to disappear, and she cannot speak to defend herself.

"The True Bride" is the story of Anja, the slave of a troll who is helped by a beautiful white lion into getting her fortune. But when her financee (Sean Bean!!) is kidnapped by the troll's daughter, she leaves all her riches in order to get him back.

"The Soldier and Death" tells of a soldier who manages to a deal with devils that results in him capturing Death itself in his sack. The portrayal of Death is fascinating, and the puppetry of the devils is amazing.

"A Story Short" is the Storyteller's own story about beggars and fleas, a cruel wife, a deal with a king and a pot of boiling oil. This is another of my favourites.

Finally, "The Luck Child" concerns a young man named Lucky who is fated to be the next ruler of the land. The jealous king sends him on a dangerous quest to prove his worth, instructing him to bring back the griffin's golden feather. The puppet of the griffin is amazing, and the humour in this episode is great: "No, you're a sensitive monster!"

Although some of the techniques used for scenery looks a little dated by today's standards, the puppets are as ingenious as ever, and "The Storyteller Collection" is an educational and intriging display of storytelling that I highly recommend. ... Read more


3. City Slickers 2 - The Legend of Curly's Gold
Director: Paul Weiland
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008DDXA
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6440
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Description

Urban cowboy Mitch Robbins, played by Billy Crystal, is at it again in this adventure-comedy film. After discovering a treasure map in the band of Curly's hat, he and his good pal Phil (Daniel Stern) and his mooching brother (Jon Lovitz) set out on an adventure to find the lost treasure. Jack Palance co-stars. Year: 1994 Director: Paul Weiland Starring: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz, Jack Palace ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Why no City Slickers III? (3.5 stars)
This sequel is at least as good as its precursor. It combines solid (if unspectacular) humor, with a feel-good message. But the director got it right. You need to start with the humor, to engage the viewer, before bringing in the heavier themes. Otherwise it's too easy for the uninvolved and sarcastic viewer to write the film off as corny or too sincere. It can be said that there is nothing truly innovative in this film; in some respects it aims for the common-denominator, but it hits it. The fact of the matter is, this is the level at which a lot of guys interact and bond. The treatment of westerners and women aren't great, but that's not what this modest movie is about. It's about male bonding.

Other pluses include the strong acting and the well-defined characters. Palance and Lovitz prove interesting muses for Crystal, albeit in very different respects. And even if we've heard it a million times before, it's good to be reminded that what you learn along the way is often more valuable than the what you are pursuing in the process.

So while this film is no great work of art, unlike the main characters in their quest, the moviemakers fully achieve what they set out to do.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Sequel That Is Good!
City Slickers is a very good movie and though sequels often pale in comparison this sequel was actually pretty good and Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Jack Palance were still in top form and I liked the addition of Jon Lovitz as Billy's lazy freeloading brother but I wish that Bruno Kirby was in this sequel too reprising his roll from the original but it's still a good movie and I highly recommend it and I hope to buy this and the first movie on DVD!

4-0 out of 5 stars "Let's get that gold!"
This is a very funny movie, with an A+ cast, and script. With quirky one liners and beautiful scenery, you really do feel like your in a western.
It was fun seeing the cast again in this sequel, except for Bruno Kirby, who was replaced by Jon Lovitz.
The commentary for the movie is also quiet good. It's fun learning about what went on behind the scenes and such.
I personally think this is one of the better sequels. Very nicely done. 

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't listen to CJ! It's a great sequel!
One of the few sequels that live up to the original. Yes there are a few gags repeated from the first movie - it's called CONTINUITY, CJ - look into it.

Other than that, it takes the likeable characters from the original and puts them in a brand new adventure. This isn't a retread of the original plot. Scenery is beautiful, Lovitz is a riot.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slick City guy returns to the west.
Billy Crystal is looking marvelous in the amusing comedy that is fun to watch. I actually like the sequel just slightly better than the original. Billy crystal is charming and funny and Jack Palance is great. ... Read more


4. Mr. Bean: The Best Bits of Mr. Bean
Director: Paul Weiland, John Birkin, John Howard Davies
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6305112851
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 34108
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars Wait for the complete series on DVD
Don't get me wrong, the footage is 5 stars - hilarious, being made up of skits from the BBC sitcom, "Mr. Bean", starring the brilliant Rowan Atkinson, but it is just a compilation. True fans will save their money for the complete series on DVD. Well, we have Blackadder, now where is Mr. Bean and "The Thin Blue Line" on DVD? Bean is completely opposite of Blackadder and Thin Blue Line in that as Bean, Rowan is all but mute and completely relies on physical comedy, where as in Blackadder (as Edmund) and Thin Blue line (as Inspector Fowler) Rowan talks his head off and the main source of comedy is in the dialogue, although physical comedy is not absent by any means. Those who only know Rowan for being Bean may be shocked when they see Blackadder or Blue line for the first time because of the drastic character change, but trust me he's just as funny with words as he is with physical action. "The Best Bits of Mr. Bean" is fine for a rental or for an extremely casual fan, but bigger fans of Rowan and Bean are still waiting for the complete series on DVD. I can highly recommend the Blackadder 5 disc DVD set, which contains all 4 series (24 episodes), a reunion special, and other goodies (read my review of that item for much more detail) but I recommend saving your money for the complete "Mr. Bean" series. The BBC series' "Mr. Bean" and "The Thin Blue Line" are essential comedy and I can't wait until they are represented as well as the brilliantly hilarious "Blackadder" series.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMERICA NEEDS MORE MR. BEAN MOVIES!!!
My husband and I have always enjoyed Mr. Bean.

Well flash forward. Our grand daughter is now his number one fan. Two years old and she can't wait to visit us. She sits for hours watching this wonderful comedian and all his antics. We can't pry her away from the "telly". "Mr. Bean Grandma - Mr. Bean!"

Mr. Atkinson, if you're out there Alexis H. is deffinantly you're number one fan and oh, by the way, please could you do a few more new episodes? I've seen the Best Bits of Mr. Bean about 1000 times. Please just a few new ones for Alexis!

Bean is delightful and funny all his episodes will make you laugh.

Money well spent. Fun for the whole family.

5-0 out of 5 stars sooooooooo funny. 16th april 2004.
The reason i loved this is because it shows you different parts off different tapes of mr bean. He makes me laugh he is great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great DVD
I'm an obsessed fan of Mr Bean and Although this is bits of Mr Bean - it still includes lots of funny footages. Because it's not enough for me, I am ordering the "complete" collection which they say is still slightly edited.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Funny
A lot of people are complaining about the length of the clips but if you look in the title it says the best "bits" which means they are only short clips. I think this video does a good job of selecting some of the Classic Mr.Bean moment. All of Mr. Bean is funny but if you want the most popular and most haliarous moment this is a good video to buy. ... Read more


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