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1. Master and Commander - The Far
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2. Master and Commander - The Far
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3. Witness
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8. Master and Commander - The Far
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19. Best of Fox Action DVD Bundle

1. Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $39.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001DI0FI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 262
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (403)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful and Commanding
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the latest attempt by the Hollywood establishment to revive the nautical adventure genre that enjoyed great popularity during Hollywood's "golden age." Based on Patrick O'Brian's phenomenally successful novels about British heroism during the Napoleonic Wars, the film traces the efforts of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his loyal crew to intercept and destroy an errant French warship in the Pacific waters near the Galapagos Islands. Although this movie will disappoint any audience member who is expecting a great deal of background information about the historical intricacies and personalities of the Napoleonic Age, it will thrill and entertain all filmgoers who love the kinetic energy and old-fashioned showmanship of a well directed swashbuckler.
Veteran director Peter Weir is entitled to an Oscar nomination simply for staging some of the most dazzling and exhilarating naval battle sequences of all-time. The violent encounters between Aubrey's HMS Surprise and its French counterpart the Acheron were so gripping and realistic that several audience members at the showing I attended were literally gasping for breath as they left the theater (the sound of cannon fire and rushing water no doubt reverberating in their ears). However, Weir deserves the most credit for his detailed and provocative portrayal of every aspect of life aboard a British warship, circa 1805. Audiences get to see the chief lieutenants create strategies and chart courses, the midshipman cope with the responsibilities holding authority over much of the crew while still conforming to the expectations of their superiors, and the common sailors, mates and boatswain confront unbearable weather and inedible food as they prepare to risk their lives for the country they love. Several characters leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of viewers, particularly Max Pirkis as a prepubescent crew member who faces the amputation of an arm with unwavering courage and Lee Ingleby as an indecisive midshipman who becomes convinced that his presence is cursing the ship. The battle scenes owe much of their punch and power to Weir's realization that it is far more engaging to watch complex, multifaceted figures battle it out for God and country than it is to watch caricatured personalities scramble through combat without purpose or motivation.
At the center of the fray is Russell Crowe, who thoroughly captures Captain Aubrey's intensity and charisma. It isn't easy to play a character that orders the vicious beating of an unruly sailor in one scene and makes charming toasts to wives and sweethearts ("may they never meet!") in another, but Crowe succeeds brilliantly by imagining Aubrey as an impulsive individualist who stands by his instincts and emotions in any context. When the Captain engages in heated philosophical discussions about loyalty and leadership with his friend Dr. Steven Maturin (Paul Bettany), it is riveting to watch the star's fascinating portrait of a man obsessed with his own righteousness. Crowe will almost certainly reap some significant awards from this impressive performance, and at the very least he has found a profitable new franchise to sail through the rest of the decade with.

3-0 out of 5 stars The War on the Waters
I came to 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World' with little expectations beyond reasonable entertainment. I was thus surprised that this was a powerful little human drama about a vicious chase in the high seas.

What makes 'Master and Commander' successful is not the plot, which is a straightforward cat and mouse story. Rather, it succeeds because of its gritty sense of realism and the ability to capture the feel of time and place.

While most historical movies feature ordinary, contemporary people in period dress (see 'Gangs of New York'), Master and Commander does feel like it takes place in the early 19th century. It is little things, like Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) motivating his troops by demanding "Do you want your children to sing 'La Marseillaise'?", or the real excitement the characters display in discussing Nelson.

Also powerful is the film's feel for the hardships of warfare on the Sea. Early in the film, a child loses his arm, and throughout the movie real characters suffer casual death. At one point Jack Aubrey must choose between saving one man and saving his crew, and he allows the man to drown. This form of realism is so rare in Hollywood films, in makes 'Master and Commander' truly unique.

The great weakness of the film is its episodic nature. There is scarcely a plot - the hunt for the French frigate "Acheron" is merely a framework for the individual happenings, which include a storm, a suicide, and most infamously, a rather overlong subplot about Crowe's sidekick's (Paul Bettany) Darwin-like expedition to Galapagos Islands.

Indeed, the emergence of this subplot makes the second half of the film slow and much less interesting then the first half. Although the scenery is breathtaking, the story just fails to move, until Bettany's accidental discovery of the Acheron, which sets the stage for the climatic battle.

Director Peter Weir and his crew should be commanded for a great adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's seafaring adventure. If there will be a sequel, I will go with high expectations.

4-0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHING --& more!!
1. this is THE cute guy movie. from 8 to 80, small, tall, thin or round, this movie will have someone for you. i can only imagine my sister, who once had a list of 254 men she Truly Cared About that included people like the guy 3d from the left in the second scene of Star Trek 2, drooling like a pet of pavlov w/in the first 3 minutes.

2. & speaking of star trek-----

russell crow _IS_ Captain James T. Kirk.

this is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen!!

here is an actor playing a captain playing an actor playing a captain!!

i think captainhood has been forever embedded in the mind of anyone young or old & privileged enough to see the _real_ & _only_ Star Trek as meaning one thing: William Shatner. watch the timing!! watch the _gestures_!! watch the way he looks at the camera. the likeness is uncanny!!

my partner watched this movie a couple of days before i did & when i said to him, "you know who that is--" he said he had thought the same thing.

amazing!!

dont worry, i LOVE Captain James T. Kirk. when i was a very little kid, even younger than any of the little kids in this movie, my parents & i saw him (the actor, not the captain) screaming at his girlfriend at a folk dance festival. that image is embedded in my brain as well!!

anyway.

Captain Kirk, in order to be Captain Kirk, MUST have his Spock. & here, of course, he does. but oddly his Spock is only the entrée into........

3. the Monty Python element. think John Cleese, younger (much much younger), w/ a lot of freckles & a slightly skinnier jawline. think his uppercrust gestures & the way he often looks up at you (thru the camera) w/ those eyes..... right here. Mr. Spock as a naturalist-warrior-sailor-doctor who also, on the side, runs the Ministry of Silly Walks.

but thats not all!!

you also get, in this movie that was modeled on "Star Trek transports itself into Monty Python & the Holy Grail on the High Seas" --the old guy. you remember the Old Guy. he is embedded in yr brain too. i know he is. & it will be very very hard for you to watch a scene wherein he appears w/o thinking of eric idle, hanging on a dungeon wall & singing. every single time.

but nobody is singing "la marseillaise" b/c when you finally do meet those french types, they are too busy yelling things like:

"oh you english pig-dogs!!" --you get that too!! i almost expected a bunch of fruit & a cow to come flying over the side of the boat.

& theres more-- so much more-- it makes ones brain itch trying to remember it all.....

4. &, speaking of an itchy brain, in addition to heroic self-surgery, one also gets: trepanning. woohoo!! personally, i recommend amanda fielding's video (worth looking up) as she is doing real-life, real-time self-trepanning, but this one works as a little preview. & besides, she doesnt stick a quarter into her skull.

5. &, wait, there is so much more!! poop on the poopdeck (rewind or you will miss it. my partner, who worked on lots of boats made us rewind so i wouldnt miss it)-- & LOTS & LOTS of animals. i LOVE this movie!!

but probably not in the way that peter weir intended. which is why i gave it 4 stars. it is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen. the whole thing seems plotted, directed & acted as if it were a bunch of archetypal television programs strung together or laid on top of one another (lets not forget marlon brando (rip) in "mutiny on the bounty," although that might just have been inspiration for the costumes) (& do remember "the poseiden adventure" & undoubtedly "titanic" (i havent seen it)) w/ unbelievably fabulous images of oceans, islands, ground & ships-- just gorgeous stuff from the director of "the last wave."

& yes, it is a roiling barrel of entertainment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cat and Mouse on the high seas
Set in the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteeth century, Master and Commander is based on the Patrick O'Brian's historical novels. The essence of the story is a chase starting off the coast of Brazil and ending up off the Galapogos islands, between a French ship with its clever commander and the HMS Surprise- the ship at the center of the story.

The movie itself is richly laid out in genuine props of the era, which succeeds in giving it an air of realism. Russell Crowe does a fine job as Captain 'Lucky Jack' Aubrey, a man with a history of experience and well respected by his sometimes grumbling men. The supporting cast is excellent with a list of characters that adds to the richness of life on a seafaring ship of that era.

Crowe doesn't grandstand and take over the movie allowing the story, other characters and action to speak for themselves. A lot of credit should of course go to Peter Weir for his direction and his adaption of O'Brian's novel.

Master and Commander is very reminiscent of old Hollywood epics and a quite enjoyable movie. I honestly didn't expect much and came away very satisfied and entertained.

Highly entertaining and recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well acted action-adventure film
A definite surprise - I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. Very well acted, especially Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin and Max Pirkis as the very young midshipman who loses his arm in the opening battle scene. While the special effects of the movie are amazing, they didn't overshadow the depth of the characters protrayed. Unless you are a reader of the O'Brian novels (which I recommend even more highly than the movie), you wouldn't notice one major change. The Acheron was really the USS Norfolk - an AMERICAN ship - not French. I guess the producers figured we wouldn't put down our dollars to see a movie where we were the losers. ... Read more


2. Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Edition)
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001HLVS2
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 381
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (403)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful and Commanding
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the latest attempt by the Hollywood establishment to revive the nautical adventure genre that enjoyed great popularity during Hollywood's "golden age." Based on Patrick O'Brian's phenomenally successful novels about British heroism during the Napoleonic Wars, the film traces the efforts of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his loyal crew to intercept and destroy an errant French warship in the Pacific waters near the Galapagos Islands. Although this movie will disappoint any audience member who is expecting a great deal of background information about the historical intricacies and personalities of the Napoleonic Age, it will thrill and entertain all filmgoers who love the kinetic energy and old-fashioned showmanship of a well directed swashbuckler.
Veteran director Peter Weir is entitled to an Oscar nomination simply for staging some of the most dazzling and exhilarating naval battle sequences of all-time. The violent encounters between Aubrey's HMS Surprise and its French counterpart the Acheron were so gripping and realistic that several audience members at the showing I attended were literally gasping for breath as they left the theater (the sound of cannon fire and rushing water no doubt reverberating in their ears). However, Weir deserves the most credit for his detailed and provocative portrayal of every aspect of life aboard a British warship, circa 1805. Audiences get to see the chief lieutenants create strategies and chart courses, the midshipman cope with the responsibilities holding authority over much of the crew while still conforming to the expectations of their superiors, and the common sailors, mates and boatswain confront unbearable weather and inedible food as they prepare to risk their lives for the country they love. Several characters leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of viewers, particularly Max Pirkis as a prepubescent crew member who faces the amputation of an arm with unwavering courage and Lee Ingleby as an indecisive midshipman who becomes convinced that his presence is cursing the ship. The battle scenes owe much of their punch and power to Weir's realization that it is far more engaging to watch complex, multifaceted figures battle it out for God and country than it is to watch caricatured personalities scramble through combat without purpose or motivation.
At the center of the fray is Russell Crowe, who thoroughly captures Captain Aubrey's intensity and charisma. It isn't easy to play a character that orders the vicious beating of an unruly sailor in one scene and makes charming toasts to wives and sweethearts ("may they never meet!") in another, but Crowe succeeds brilliantly by imagining Aubrey as an impulsive individualist who stands by his instincts and emotions in any context. When the Captain engages in heated philosophical discussions about loyalty and leadership with his friend Dr. Steven Maturin (Paul Bettany), it is riveting to watch the star's fascinating portrait of a man obsessed with his own righteousness. Crowe will almost certainly reap some significant awards from this impressive performance, and at the very least he has found a profitable new franchise to sail through the rest of the decade with.

3-0 out of 5 stars The War on the Waters
I came to 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World' with little expectations beyond reasonable entertainment. I was thus surprised that this was a powerful little human drama about a vicious chase in the high seas.

What makes 'Master and Commander' successful is not the plot, which is a straightforward cat and mouse story. Rather, it succeeds because of its gritty sense of realism and the ability to capture the feel of time and place.

While most historical movies feature ordinary, contemporary people in period dress (see 'Gangs of New York'), Master and Commander does feel like it takes place in the early 19th century. It is little things, like Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) motivating his troops by demanding "Do you want your children to sing 'La Marseillaise'?", or the real excitement the characters display in discussing Nelson.

Also powerful is the film's feel for the hardships of warfare on the Sea. Early in the film, a child loses his arm, and throughout the movie real characters suffer casual death. At one point Jack Aubrey must choose between saving one man and saving his crew, and he allows the man to drown. This form of realism is so rare in Hollywood films, in makes 'Master and Commander' truly unique.

The great weakness of the film is its episodic nature. There is scarcely a plot - the hunt for the French frigate "Acheron" is merely a framework for the individual happenings, which include a storm, a suicide, and most infamously, a rather overlong subplot about Crowe's sidekick's (Paul Bettany) Darwin-like expedition to Galapagos Islands.

Indeed, the emergence of this subplot makes the second half of the film slow and much less interesting then the first half. Although the scenery is breathtaking, the story just fails to move, until Bettany's accidental discovery of the Acheron, which sets the stage for the climatic battle.

Director Peter Weir and his crew should be commanded for a great adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's seafaring adventure. If there will be a sequel, I will go with high expectations.

4-0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHING --& more!!
1. this is THE cute guy movie. from 8 to 80, small, tall, thin or round, this movie will have someone for you. i can only imagine my sister, who once had a list of 254 men she Truly Cared About that included people like the guy 3d from the left in the second scene of Star Trek 2, drooling like a pet of pavlov w/in the first 3 minutes.

2. & speaking of star trek-----

russell crow _IS_ Captain James T. Kirk.

this is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen!!

here is an actor playing a captain playing an actor playing a captain!!

i think captainhood has been forever embedded in the mind of anyone young or old & privileged enough to see the _real_ & _only_ Star Trek as meaning one thing: William Shatner. watch the timing!! watch the _gestures_!! watch the way he looks at the camera. the likeness is uncanny!!

my partner watched this movie a couple of days before i did & when i said to him, "you know who that is--" he said he had thought the same thing.

amazing!!

dont worry, i LOVE Captain James T. Kirk. when i was a very little kid, even younger than any of the little kids in this movie, my parents & i saw him (the actor, not the captain) screaming at his girlfriend at a folk dance festival. that image is embedded in my brain as well!!

anyway.

Captain Kirk, in order to be Captain Kirk, MUST have his Spock. & here, of course, he does. but oddly his Spock is only the entrée into........

3. the Monty Python element. think John Cleese, younger (much much younger), w/ a lot of freckles & a slightly skinnier jawline. think his uppercrust gestures & the way he often looks up at you (thru the camera) w/ those eyes..... right here. Mr. Spock as a naturalist-warrior-sailor-doctor who also, on the side, runs the Ministry of Silly Walks.

but thats not all!!

you also get, in this movie that was modeled on "Star Trek transports itself into Monty Python & the Holy Grail on the High Seas" --the old guy. you remember the Old Guy. he is embedded in yr brain too. i know he is. & it will be very very hard for you to watch a scene wherein he appears w/o thinking of eric idle, hanging on a dungeon wall & singing. every single time.

but nobody is singing "la marseillaise" b/c when you finally do meet those french types, they are too busy yelling things like:

"oh you english pig-dogs!!" --you get that too!! i almost expected a bunch of fruit & a cow to come flying over the side of the boat.

& theres more-- so much more-- it makes ones brain itch trying to remember it all.....

4. &, speaking of an itchy brain, in addition to heroic self-surgery, one also gets: trepanning. woohoo!! personally, i recommend amanda fielding's video (worth looking up) as she is doing real-life, real-time self-trepanning, but this one works as a little preview. & besides, she doesnt stick a quarter into her skull.

5. &, wait, there is so much more!! poop on the poopdeck (rewind or you will miss it. my partner, who worked on lots of boats made us rewind so i wouldnt miss it)-- & LOTS & LOTS of animals. i LOVE this movie!!

but probably not in the way that peter weir intended. which is why i gave it 4 stars. it is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen. the whole thing seems plotted, directed & acted as if it were a bunch of archetypal television programs strung together or laid on top of one another (lets not forget marlon brando (rip) in "mutiny on the bounty," although that might just have been inspiration for the costumes) (& do remember "the poseiden adventure" & undoubtedly "titanic" (i havent seen it)) w/ unbelievably fabulous images of oceans, islands, ground & ships-- just gorgeous stuff from the director of "the last wave."

& yes, it is a roiling barrel of entertainment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cat and Mouse on the high seas
Set in the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteeth century, Master and Commander is based on the Patrick O'Brian's historical novels. The essence of the story is a chase starting off the coast of Brazil and ending up off the Galapogos islands, between a French ship with its clever commander and the HMS Surprise- the ship at the center of the story.

The movie itself is richly laid out in genuine props of the era, which succeeds in giving it an air of realism. Russell Crowe does a fine job as Captain 'Lucky Jack' Aubrey, a man with a history of experience and well respected by his sometimes grumbling men. The supporting cast is excellent with a list of characters that adds to the richness of life on a seafaring ship of that era.

Crowe doesn't grandstand and take over the movie allowing the story, other characters and action to speak for themselves. A lot of credit should of course go to Peter Weir for his direction and his adaption of O'Brian's novel.

Master and Commander is very reminiscent of old Hollywood epics and a quite enjoyable movie. I honestly didn't expect much and came away very satisfied and entertained.

Highly entertaining and recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well acted action-adventure film
A definite surprise - I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. Very well acted, especially Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin and Max Pirkis as the very young midshipman who loses his arm in the opening battle scene. While the special effects of the movie are amazing, they didn't overshadow the depth of the characters protrayed. Unless you are a reader of the O'Brian novels (which I recommend even more highly than the movie), you wouldn't notice one major change. The Acheron was really the USS Norfolk - an AMERICAN ship - not French. I guess the producers figured we wouldn't put down our dollars to see a movie where we were the losers. ... Read more


3. Witness
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000J123
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2311
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars An extraordinarily good film ...
At the end of a disappointing summer movie season, I've started watching some of my favorites on tape. This movie is near the top of my all-time list; here's why:

ACTORS -- Most of the actors gave career-high performances in this movie. "Witness" helped establish Harrison Ford as a serious (i.e., non-Star Wars) action hero, and he demonstrates emotional range in this movie that doesn't show up very often in more recent films. Kelly McGillis is compelling, gradually and believably transforming from a shy widow out of her element to a strong, spirited member of her Amish community. Lukas Haas, who plays her son, offers a level of child acting that has only recently been matched by Haley Joel Osment. As other reviewers have noted, his wordless scene with Ford in the police station is a brilliant piece of acting -- an enormous amount of information and emotion is conveyed in complete silence. And Alexander Godunov brings a gentle grace to his role as the Amish farmer competing with Ford for McGillis' affections. It's sad that he didn't get more opportunities to demonstrate his acting ability before his death a few years later.

CINEMATOGRAPHY/SCORE -- As with most of Peter Weir's films (cf. "Dead Poet's Society"), "Witness" is visually stunning. The shift from the gritty heart of Philadelphia to the rolling hills of Amish country is jarring, and leaves one with a palpable sense of longing. I think the barn-raising scene in the middle of the movie is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen filmed, both visually and thematically. Underscored (so to speak) with music reminiscent of Copland's "Appalachian Spring," it drives home the value of community and shared endeavor. It's a marvelously uplifting segment.

ROMANCE/EROTICISM -- The relationship between Ford and McGillis is very well done. The attraction that arises between them (driven in no small part, apparently, by Ford's kindness to the young boy) is constantly and realistically tempered by the awareness that they come from fundamentally different cultures. That slows the development of a relationship between them, which provides the movie with a delightful undercurrent of romantic tension. That tension reaches a peak in a powerful scene in which Ford sees McGillis giving herself a sponge bath. There is nudity in this scene (McGillis turns and shows herself, topless, to Ford), but it seems to be precisely the kind of nudity that, as actresses like to say, "is essential to the story." Given the way in which the Amish are portrayed in this film, McGillis' character is making a very bold (and risky) offer, and the difficulty of Ford's refusal is evident in his face. There certainly is a lot of gratuitous nudity in film, but "Witness" is not in that category.

This movie is aging extremely well, in large part because of the sweep of its vision, the powerful simplicity of its story, and the skill of its execution. It is a terrific movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive film!
"Witness" is defineately one of the greatest thriller/romance movies ever made. Directed by Peter Weir, the plot concerns a yuong Amish boy (Lukas Haas) who witnesses a murder in a Philadelphia train station bathroom while traveling to the city with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis in her best performance). Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) is assigned to the case, and quickly discovers that a corrupt narcotics cop (Danny Glover) is the killer. After a close shave, Book, Rachel, and her son escape to Amish country, where Book hides out as an Amish farmer--while also protecting the witness and his mother.
Of course, at the end there is one whopper of a scene when the corrupt cop & friends discover Book's safehouse.
"Witness" received several Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, and won for Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound, and Film Editing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ford at the top of his game
Some of the most powerful romances can spring up when both sides have to be restrained; here, the widowed Amish woman and the cop-in-hiding know that they come from different worlds, know that a relationship between them will not practically work, and so fill the screen with unresolved sexual and romantic tension.

Woven into the more grisly details of murder and police corruption are scenes of humor and beauty. Dancing in the barn to "Don't Know Much About History". Having to wake up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. It's funny to see how the cop, John Book, tries to fit himself into Amish life the best he can. And it's very moving to see his growing love for the Amish woman who nursed him through a bad gunshot wound and has enchanted him with her character and beauty. The movie's climax is also riveting; it's not often that one sees gunfighting at an Amish farm.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor quality transfer
"Witness" captures director Peter Weir's first exploration of the cultural clash between America's Amish community and modern society. We witness two worlds that collide and two people that can't bridge the gap between their two worlds despite their blossoming love for each other.

The story revolves around Samuel a little boy who has witnessed the murder of an undercover police officer, his mother Rachel (McGillis)and John Book (Ford) who investigates the murder discovering corruption, deceit and a conspiracy at it the heart of his department. After he discovers that his witness isn't safe, Book whisks them back to their Amish farm where he's forced to hideout as well.

One of Weir's finest films to focus on America, this so-so transfer looks grainy and has lots of compression issues. The transfer isn't a widescreen anamorphic transfer but is presented in that format (i.e., it's presented with the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen but the transfer isn't high definition). The picture occasionally comes across as soft and the rich use of color and light that vividly brought the film to life in theaters isn't well represented here. Hopefully Paramount will update this and remaster it the way it deserves to be done.

The extras include an interview with Weir obviously done around the time the film was made or first appeared on video and the original theatrical trailer. I would have expected a commentary track but since Weir isn't all that big on them to begin with, that would be hoping for too much.

A great film just a poor translation to DVD.

3-0 out of 5 stars Comparing Witness: 1985 and 2004
As I write my title, it is weird to think this film is nearly 20 years old! How time flies! Anyway...I first saw this film when it first came out and I remember I really really liked it. I was 23 years old and not a Christian at that time. Now, I am soon to be 42 and have been a Christian for over 18 years. For 10 years of my life, I lived as a Mennonite (like Amish in many ways, but we drove cars, had electricity, etc.) I am no longer a Mennonite, and now I watch films again. I appreciate classic cinema very much, but recently have wanted to watch Witness again, to see if I would like it as much as the first time, and to see if I thought they portrayed the Amish correctly.

So, I watched it last night. It was interesting in that I remembered so much, even some small details about it. So it really did impress me that first time when I was young. This time, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't say it is a film I would watch over and over again, as I watch some classic films. To see it once more was enough to just satisfy my curiosity about my memories of it.

I did feel they portrayed the Amish quite well, with the clothes and such. What they did wrong about the portrayal was that in no way would it be allowed for an Amish woman to tend to a wounded man who wasn't her husband, by herself in a room alone with him. It just isn't proper, isn't done. In reality, a man would have done that, or an older woman would have done it, with another woman there. I think the movie allowed the Rachel character to have way more "access" to a man alone than would be allowed in a real Amish or Mennonite community. I doubt he would have really been allowed to stay in the house. In reality he would have been placed in a home with a family who had a bunch of boys and he would work with them and the father, and not have all that time alone with Rachel.

I don't like violence...I knew that the bad part happened in the train station in the beginning, so we were able to fast forward that part. Also, we were able to fast forward the ending "shoot out" stuff. I didn't care for the bad language. The scene with Rachel taking her sponge bath, well when I was young and not a Christian, I found that very romantic. Now, I found it rather silly. A devout Amish girl/woman would not have just calmly turned around and let a man stare at her while unclothed. And later on, when she and he finally "meet" for the romantic moment, I found that sort of offensive. Why kiss out in the yard where anyone could see you? Eli could have easily looked out the window (a real Amish father would have kept better tabs on his daughter with a strange man around the place). I felt that scene was very much just an animal passion thing...sort of vulgar. Not at all romantic, truly loving or gentle. It seems people sure knew how to kiss and show romantic love a lot better in the old movies! And right before she went out there, she took her prayer veiling off. Which again, no Amish woman would do. But then she obviously was rebelling. There was that other time too, when she and John Book were in the barn listening to his radio, and she had it off then, and I am not sure why, for no Amish or Mennonite woman will go without it in front of people or outside the house.

The ending left me wondering...would Rachel just go ahead and marry Daniel? Would she really be happy with him? She really would have to repent of her sins with John Book to be truly happy. I also noticed that the film never showed a church service. Also, none of the Amish folks never seemed to care to tell John Book how to be a Christian. But then there are many Amish who are not born- again Christians, but just are "culturally Amish"...they live the way they do because they have always done so. These must have been that type of Amish. It did seem that Grandfather knew the Bible...he quoted some good verses when talking to the boy about the gun. That was good to see, yet sad that such violence had to even be witnessed by this child.

Oh, of course any film with Amish must have a barn raising scene, and this one did. Also, so many movies with cows mus have the scene where the city person doesn't know how to milk a cow. Of course John Book must learn. He makes a joke about "teats" in this scene, and grandfather Eli laughs at it, which again, I doubt a devout Amish man would do.

Well, these are my thoughts. It was interesting to revisit this film again. In closing, I would say it is an okay film for adults but I would not recommend it for children. ... Read more


4. Dead Poets Society
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $19.99
our price: $14.99
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Asin: 6305144168
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 859
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Robin Williams stars as an English teacher who doesn't fit into the conservative prep school where he teaches, but whose charisma and love of poetry inspires several boys to revive a secret society with a bohemian bent. The script is well meaning but a little trite, though director Peter Weir (The Truman Show) adds layers of emotional depth in scenes of conflict between the kids and adults. (A subplot involving one father's terrible pressure on his son--played by Robert Sean Leonard--to drop his interest in theater reaches heartbreaking proportions.) Williams is given plenty of latitude to work in his brand of improvisational humor, though it is all well-woven into his character's style of instruction. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (255)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dead Poet Society
The title of the film is "Dead Poet Society" It mainly takes place in preparatory school,in the East Coast of the U.S.A.One of the main character is John Keating played by Robin Williams.He is an English teacher.Other main characters are Neil,Todd,Knox and Charlie. Mr Keating moved to Welton Academy. He said "Carpe Diem"(in English,Seize The Day") The boys made the club,Dead Poets Society. They read poetry in cave in the evening. Neil wanted to act in a play,but his father forced him study,so he couldn't obey the order,and at the end of the film,certain tragedy happen...Knox fell in love with Chris who had already her boyfriend.But he got a chance to watch the play with her.Charlie didn't obey shool rules,and the headmaster expelled him.

We particularly likeed the last scene because the students opposed Mr.Nolan,and stood up on their desks in the last scene.It gave us deep impression. We like Charlie.He was daredevil but he always had his will and did as he liked.

The main massage is Seize The Day means to be active and live fully.The themes of this film are education,friendship,freedom and relationship with parents.

The film made us courageous by Mr.Keating's words. We were moved by the last scene.We learned many things.When you become tired of your school life,teacher or friend,We recommend you to see this film.

We learned to Seize The Day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Question life. Oppose mass-thinking. Carpe Diem
"Live life to the fullest. Leave your mark during the very short term you exist. There's so much to explore, and so much to be. Look at life from all aspects."

I'm normally not a Robin Williams fan, but after having seen this movie, I feel almost obliged to rent/buy a few other movies starring him. Williams simply excels in this movie, along with Robert Sean Leonard (Swing Kids (Which, if you never saw it is a MUST-SEE)) and Ethan Hawk (Gattaca (See this one too!)).

At a private boy's school, a new english teacher, John Keating (Williams) is introduced. His form of teaching completely opposes everything the high-class school stands for (ripping pages out of books, standing on desks, and developing one's own walk). Naturally, the school's administration is less-than-happy with it, but the students love it.

They find out Keating was once part of a secret society: The Dead Poets Society". They quickly form their own, and learn to appreciate the great masters from there. English made from something boring into something great.

Between the lines, the viewer is asked to think out of the box. Don't accept what you're being offered; question it. Why would you settle for anything less than you yourself desire?

You hold the key. Unlock the world today...

5-0 out of 5 stars Super!! Echt ganz toll!!
Robin Williams takes his 1st stap at a dramtic role with fairly positive results. It's an suggestion to one's inteligence to see these film. More over to see Robin Williams( Mr. Keating) like a doctor in English, when he teaches his class. He doesn't teach normaly. He makes his own thing. I think it is good what he make. This is a film that really does challenge us to live, and move us to seize the moment. The story and the setting of this movie are amazing. I like the atmosphere in the school. It is dark and mysterious like Harry Potter in the castle. The Film have a lot of features. A little bit of romance, action and mystery.
Briefly said: very good film

4-0 out of 5 stars Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is about a group of boys at Welton Acadamy, a boarding school for boys. The guideline of the school is based on: tradition, honour, excellene and perfection. Everything changed when the English teacher John Keating arrived. He is against the stiffed and one-sided visibility of the school and inspirid the boys to seize the day and to make most of their lives. The resurrecting of the Dead Poets Society, a club where John Keating was in at student, brings about that the boys defy the school, their parents and their present view of life.
In my opinion the film is very dramatically and tangent. On a very impressive way it shows how difficult it is to be faithful to yourself and to stand up for one's beflief. It's marvelous how it is demonstrated that pressure doesn't help to find who you really are. Through the different but also classic characters of the movie you can realize that every individual reacts on a different way to influences. Thereby it shows that everybody needs support and enough freedom to follow his own dreams and to find his own way of living.

5-0 out of 5 stars CARPE DIEM - SEEZE THE DAY
"Dead Poets Society" was shown in my German English lesson as a teaching device for transcendentalism.

Though I do not believe wholeheartedly in the ideas of transcendentalism, I found "Dead Poets Society" to be one of the most moving films that I have ever seen. As a student, I know what it is like to feel pressure to academically succeed, and through my classmates, I have seen the strain that pressure can put on a parent-child relationship.

"Dead Poets Society" logs the effect of one inspiring teacher on upon a group of boys that have never been given the chance to think for themselves.

One boy, Neal, realizes his dreams to be more than becoming a doctor, but also an actor. His struggle with his father brings him to drastic measures, but he is an admirable character for overcoming his ability to overcome his fear of standing up to his father. Other boys experience trouble and triumph with authority, love, and fear. Their stories are classic, but also portrayed beautifully.

Robin Williams plays Mr. John Keating, the English teacher that inspires the boys of Wellton Academy to think on their own and to seize the day. They re-initiate the Dead Poets Society, a group that Keating was in as a student at Wellton. Through their club, the boys discover the magic of poetry and the power of words. Keating uses famous quotes from Whitman, Thoreau, and other classical thinkers to motivate his students. His charisma and optimistic view of life is uplifting and leaves one inspired for days. Perhaps his outstanding performance is best portrayed in his line, "Life is a play and you may contribute one verse. What will it be?"

The film is well acted and revives memories of one's first experience in standing up for one's own beliefs. I recommend this movie to anyone who finds inspiration in literature, and to every person who wants to make the most of his life. It is teachers like Keating that breed our future philosophers and geniuses. This film is a thank you to every teacher who has unknowingly inspired his or her students to do great things. The final scene when the boys pay tribute to their teacher who is punished for influencing them is enchanting! ... Read more


5. The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.24
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Asin: 6305252521
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2147
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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The whole world is watching--literally--every time Truman Burbank makes the slightest move. Unbeknownst to him, in this hauntingly funny film by Peter Weir, his entire life has been an unending soap opera for consumption by the rest of the world. And everyone he knows--including his mother, his wife, and his best friend--is really an actor, paid to be part of his life. In this intriguing and surprisingly touching 1998 film, writer Andrew Niccol imagines an ultimate kind of celebrity, then sees it brought to life with comic intensity and emotional honesty by Jim Carrey in what may be the performance of his career. Carrey has exceptional support from Laura Linney and Ed Harris, but it's his show, in a portrayal that demonstrates just what kind of range Carrey is capable of. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (401)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Film of 1998-Forget Shakespeare in Love!
Nobody will ever accuse the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of having common sense or good taste. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why this film was beat out by "Shakespeare in Love", and why Jim Carey, who turned in the best performance of his career in "The Truman Show", wasn't even nominated for best actor.

The plot of this movie is simple enough-Jim Carey plays a young man whose entire life has been entertainment for the rest of the world. He dares to reach beyond the giant bubble which is his universe to see what's out there, only to be foiled.

Of particular note is the scene toward the end of the film where Truman reaches the end of the dome shaped studio and is told by Christoph (Ed Harris) about his world. This stands out as one of the most magical scenes in an extraordinary motion picture.

I realize that this movie isn't for everyone (my wife, for one, didn't particularly like it), but Carey's performance alone justifies the purchase of this video. He displays a vulnerability and childlike fascination that is unlike anything I've ever seen. A very good supporting cast includes the shamefully overlooked Ed Harris, as well as Laura Linney.

"The Truman Show" is one of the most brilliant and overlooked motion pictures ever made. The ersatz "Ed TV", which followed a similar plot, doesn't begin to approach the craftsmanship of "The Truman Show". Hopefully, the Academy will make up for their slight of Jim Carey with "Man on the Moon, which appears to be his second acting tour de force.

4-0 out of 5 stars oustanding!
Imagine that your whole life is a lie, everyone is watching you everywhere, and the people who you love and with whom you've been sharing your life, including your best friend and your beloved and always funny wife are just actors. The Truman Show's basic idea carries an undoubtful cruel and sad felling, but in the hands of Peter Weir, a talented filmmaker who believes in the humanity and in hope, the film turns out to be an interesting, funny, and entertaining masterpiece, although it has an undeniable sad context. Truman is played to perfection by an actor who I've never thought that he could actually act, Jim Carrey. In this dramatic, powerful and blessed hole, Carrey delivers an excellent job! certainly he deserved the Golden Globe for this breakthrough performance. Carrey builds an ingenuous, good and honest man, making impossible for the audience stop caring and loving him. And during the whole running time of the film, you will find yourself laughing, having a great time and sometimes crying for Truman at each curve his fate takes. The supporting performances stand out for their quality, Laura Linney (from Congo, a great flick about explorers who are hunted down by killer gorillas in a mountain, available at Amazon) offers an unforgetable interpretation, playing with ear-to-ear smiles a cold and cruel actress. It's beyond me the reason why she didn't receive any Oscar nomination, but it's said that Paramount, Truman's studio, tried to nominate her in the Best Actresses Category but the year's other main performances (Cate Blanchet, Fernanda Montenegro) were more applauded, but had they took the Supporting Category, she would be a tough contestant for the Oscar. Ed Harris' Christof is one of those characters that will live forever in the hearts of the audience, and Truman, well, Truman is perhaps the most upright, honest and sweet hero that Hollywood ever conceived. The technical aspects count with curious, never-seen-before camera movements, intelligent and different ways of shooting the scenes and a strong direction by Weir. The Truman Show is available at Amazon, the DVD and VHS include the original trailers and interviews with the cast and director. Own this masterpiece! And don't forget to take a look at Congo.

2-0 out of 5 stars My expectations were too high
I really like Jim Carey and the word of mouth about this movie was very good. It sounded like such an interesting premise. I watched it and was not entertained.

5-0 out of 5 stars 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, Truman Show!
Who would have thought that 'The Truman Show' would be entered among the great literary and movie classics ever made. Where 1984 gives a bleak look at a government who looks at everything and Brave New World about cloning, The Truman show is the premierve movie about the most horrible of all television rages in the last 10 years: Reality-TV.

But in this case Truman does not it. The awful outside world has made him into an item of fun, a person used for the amusement of others.

Are we all watchers or maybe in a way all Trumans? Trying to get out if this spectacle called life?

Deep, great, wonderfullly acted and a seminal movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hollywood's view of the fall of man
It amazes me that so few people notice that this is a religious allegory. Sure, on the surface this is about how the media have invaded every square inch of our lives, and it is a prescient take on reality television, but more than that, the story is about the fall of man and the end of innocence. If you've seen this before, watch it again and notice the parallels to Genesis, especially near the end where Christof (How obvious the name!) talks to Truman (true man) from the clouds. He even addresses himself as "the creator."

Jim Carrey gives what is still his best performance to date. And the screenplay gives you a great deal to think about. Watch this and "Pleasantville" back to back and notice the theological similarities. The Truman Show is definitely one of the best movies of the decade. And I think years from now, when people really begin to appreciate the depth of the screenplay, they will come to recognize it as the masterpiece that it is. ... Read more


6. Gallipoli
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B00000J11Z
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3212
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Heart wrenching
Incredible effort by director Peter Weir and a very young Mel Gibson. A powerful statement on the futility of war and the terrilbe toll it takes on youth and innocence. Stunning cinematography and great acting, highlight this tale of the ill-fated Austrialian attack against the Turks during WWI. Two friends enlist hoping for adventure and glory, but learn first hand the horrors and helpless of war. If you liked Saving Private Ryan, you will love this film. A epic movie that that is hard to forget, with a gut wrenching finale. See it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking
'Gallipoli' is one of the most gut-wrenching & heartbreaking films of all time, & is simply a must. The utter futility of war & the callous disregard for human life displayed time & again by High Command are laid out before us as two young ANZACs (Mark Lee & Mel Gibson) are manouvred inexorably to their deaths, along with thousands of their comrades-in-arms, in order to provide a diversion for the landing of British troops.

Ironically, the troops landed on Suvla Bay & were given the order to stay put. Many were slaughtered, caught between the Turks & the deep blue sea, while their officers dithered & High Command refused to issue orders.

One Australian reviewer has rightly reviled the British High Command's cavalier attitude to the deployment & slaughter of ANZACs (universally lauded for their courage); what is not mentioned - either by the reviewer from Brisbane, or in the film itself - is the casual disposal of British troops. As every British schoolchild knows, whole British villages & towns were left without able-bodied men between the ages of 15 & 50 after WWI, such was the carnage. This war changed the face of western civilisation, fuelling a revolution in attitudes to class & war, & the sheer brutality & pointlessness of it all should no more be forgotten than the astonishing bravery & self-sacrifice displayed by ordinary men (& women - nurses, drivers, & others) in the most desperate of situations.

I defy you to watch this film without crying. If you can, you need serious psychiatric help.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT MANY REVIEWERS FAIL TO NOTICE...
IS THE BRAVERY OF THE TURKISH ARMY, AND THE INCREDIBLE HUMANITY LESSONS TO BE DERIVED FROM THE TURKISH COMMANDER:(SPEAKING FOR ENEMY SOLDIERS)
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives..you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.. You,the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; Your sons are in peace.After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK

4-0 out of 5 stars Credit where it's due
As an English woman (I hate the term Brit - surely it's racist, isn't it? A bit like Paki or Frog?) I have the utmost respect for the ANZAC's. However - after reading a few of the reviews posted here, I'm not going to sit by and allow my own country to be denigrated.

There were thousands of British troops at Gallipoli as well as a smaller French contingent - under the command of Sir Ian Hamilton, a man acknowledged for his excellent bravery, but lacking the decisive qualities needed for the leadership of such an expedition.

In fact - despite the well-known WW1 poem about the Australian buried at Suvla Bay, there were mainly British forces put ashore there, (the famous 'Lost Battalion' of 1/5th Norfolk Reg. being one of them.) Most of the ANZAC forces landed further south at Anzac Cove.

Australia and New Zealand both entered the war behind Britain on an upsurge of patriotism - not surprising given that the then population of Australia who were of European descent was 96% British. ANZAC recruiting remained entirely voluntary throughout the whole of the war and the response from both the Australian and NZ populus was magnificent. Some 332,000 troops served overseas, of whom 212,000 were wounded and 60,000 were killed, a casualty rate of more than 82%.

There is no doubt the ANZAC's suffered terrifically during the Dardanelles campaign. The whole campaign was badly timed and hugely underestimated the Turks and their reorganisation by the German general Otto Liman Van Sanders. However, the British suffered too - a fact that is often forgotten.

As regards the film itself - it's a lesson in why war is futile, a study of loss of innocence, a moving demonstration of comradeship and love between men under the most execrable of conditions. Harrowing and intensely compelling. Peter Weir evokes atmosphere unlike any other.

If you're English - try to forget Mel's pathological hatred of us for a couple of hours and remember why our own fathers/grandfathers who fought in that terrible war had such tremendous respect for the ANZAC troops they encountered. And of course . . . we can always think of the Rugby!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gallipoli
Story is Australian Patriots in WWI. Who gave there lives largely a result of there British Officers Error. I saw this on the History Channel and wanted a copy for myself. I understand that when this movie was shown in Australia for the first time. The audience sat in silence for 20 or 30 minutes contemplating. Mel Gibson and Mark Lee are tops. ... Read more


7. Picnic at Hanging Rock - Criterion Collection
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
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Asin: 0780021134
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11086
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Situated somewhere between supernatural horror and lush Victorian melodrama, director Peter Weir's lyrical, enigmatic masterpiece is an imaginative tease. The setting is a proper turn-of-the century Australian boarding school for girls, a suffocating institution built on strict moral codes, repressed sexuality, and a subtle but enforced class structure. As the film opens, girls draped in immaculate white dress prepare for a picnic at the nearby volcanic formation, Hanging Rock, and Weir hangs an air of dark foreboding over the proceeding. "You'll have to love someone else, because I won't be here very long," says one virginal girl, Miranda, to her friend. Her words are prophetic: during the picnic, Miranda, along with two other girls and an uptight schoolmistress, vanish into the rocks. While a search party repeatedly returns to the rock to look for either the girls or the reasons for their disappearance, Weir leaves the mystery unsolved. Like Antonioni's L'Avventura, the vanishing is open to numerous interpretations--both rational and illusory--but Weir drops enough allegorical clues that it feels like a parable. He transforms the landscape and weather into menacing and eerie images; outlines of faces can be seen in the rocks, while the oppressive heat beating down on the picnic doubles as an atmospheric metaphor for the girls' unbearable social and sexual confinement. These images and other plot twists toward the end hint that this mysterious vanishing, on some level, was actually a form of spiritual escape--the only out, other than death, from the film's bleak, tightly structured community. Regardless of how you see it, though, this hypnotic puzzle remains the highlight of the '70s Australian New Wave. The DVD version presents the film in letterbox form. --Dave McCoy ... Read more

Reviews (95)

4-0 out of 5 stars EERIE BUT INTRIGUING.
First, this enigmatic film is NOT based on a true story. A group of school girls go on a school excursion to "Hanging Rock" in Victoria, Australia. The period is around early 1900s. Four girls decide to climb the rock along with a teacher. At the end of the day, only one hysterical girl can be found, and can shed no light on what happened to the others.

Sound intriguing enough? This film asks more questions that it answers, inviting the viewer to dream up their own explanation for what happened to the girls. According to the Joan Lindsay novel's "missing chapter", the girls were sucked down a wormhole (or something), but I think both Lindsay and Weir were wise to leave this out. Which perhaps adds to the mystique.

In all its nebulous beauty, the film actually does a remarkable job of capturing a resplendent mood. The Australian vistas are even more evocative than that of "The Piano" -- ethereal and brooding. This curious rock that hangs over the film with its menacing presence is given almost mythical status, and even to the viewer on the other side of the screen seems oddly alluring.

Personally I'd have liked the ending to be a bit different, but hey, the movie is hauntingly memorable, and if it's any consolation, it's not until after the movie you may wish for a more clear-cut resolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars A chillingly beautiful mystery
On St.Valentine's day, 1900, a party of girls from a private school set out for a picnic at Hanging Rock in the Macedon Ranges in Australia. While they are on the rock, something mysterious and disturbing happens and, when the party returns to the school, they have left three girls and one teacher behind. All missing on the rock.

Rather than follow the normal mystery rules of working towards an answer, the film concentrates on the effect of the disappearances on those connected either directly or by circumstance. What will happen to the school after such an event? How will the other girls react? What of the young Englishman who was the last person to see them alive. He is both under suspicion and obsessed with the fate of the missing girls.

This sense that the events just cannot be explained is bolstered by one of the most memorable and haunting soundtracks of any film ever made. The director really has an eye and an ear for setting a mood of something beautiful and precious which has been lost and will never be regained. The images of the outback are stunning. They convey the feel of a landscape that is both threatening and spiritual.

The film has aquired a reputation for being based on a true story. We are used to unresolved mysteries in real life but not in fiction. Despite the rumours of a real event which was mysteriously unreported, this is a work of fiction. The film was based on a novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay.

This film really is one that you should see and its beauty means that you will want to watch it many times over.

2-0 out of 5 stars Tedium ad infinitum, avec mademoiselles
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a beautifully shot movie about the mysterious disappearance of 4 women on a geologically intriguing exposed volcanic plug. This occurs in the first 35 minutes. It is a slow and steady decline from there on out to the unusual ending an hour later, and requires determination to stick it out.

Nice score which includes the pan flute. Nice photography. Mostly pretty women dressed head to toe who use formal proper speech.

I don't know what to recommend it for, though. There is no message or answers, here.

2-0 out of 5 stars Overrated, pretentious, but interesting
I came to this film fully expecting to like it because of the many glowing reviews I'd read over the years. While it has its positives (evocative photography; haunting atmosphere; rich, overblown sets; some strong performances) it's essentially a tedious exploration of Victorian psycho-sexual dynamics, seen from a very 1970s perspective. The plot is so thin it's constantly in danger of floating away. I had to force myself at regular intervals not to turn it off because of shear boredom.

The film leads you to believe it's based on a true story, which, frankly, was one of the reasons I stuck with it. But it's not. The story's a total fabrication, which makes the film even more ridiculous in retrospect.

Unless you're a devotee of Peter Weir, Australian cinema, or 1970s costume and hair design trying to look "Victorian," I suggest you watch The Beguiled instead.

1-0 out of 5 stars Really bad and cliche...
and not even worth further words. Save your time and money. ... Read more


8. Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Full Screen Edition)
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0001HLVSC
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1165
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (403)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful and Commanding
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the latest attempt by the Hollywood establishment to revive the nautical adventure genre that enjoyed great popularity during Hollywood's "golden age." Based on Patrick O'Brian's phenomenally successful novels about British heroism during the Napoleonic Wars, the film traces the efforts of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his loyal crew to intercept and destroy an errant French warship in the Pacific waters near the Galapagos Islands. Although this movie will disappoint any audience member who is expecting a great deal of background information about the historical intricacies and personalities of the Napoleonic Age, it will thrill and entertain all filmgoers who love the kinetic energy and old-fashioned showmanship of a well directed swashbuckler.
Veteran director Peter Weir is entitled to an Oscar nomination simply for staging some of the most dazzling and exhilarating naval battle sequences of all-time. The violent encounters between Aubrey's HMS Surprise and its French counterpart the Acheron were so gripping and realistic that several audience members at the showing I attended were literally gasping for breath as they left the theater (the sound of cannon fire and rushing water no doubt reverberating in their ears). However, Weir deserves the most credit for his detailed and provocative portrayal of every aspect of life aboard a British warship, circa 1805. Audiences get to see the chief lieutenants create strategies and chart courses, the midshipman cope with the responsibilities holding authority over much of the crew while still conforming to the expectations of their superiors, and the common sailors, mates and boatswain confront unbearable weather and inedible food as they prepare to risk their lives for the country they love. Several characters leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of viewers, particularly Max Pirkis as a prepubescent crew member who faces the amputation of an arm with unwavering courage and Lee Ingleby as an indecisive midshipman who becomes convinced that his presence is cursing the ship. The battle scenes owe much of their punch and power to Weir's realization that it is far more engaging to watch complex, multifaceted figures battle it out for God and country than it is to watch caricatured personalities scramble through combat without purpose or motivation.
At the center of the fray is Russell Crowe, who thoroughly captures Captain Aubrey's intensity and charisma. It isn't easy to play a character that orders the vicious beating of an unruly sailor in one scene and makes charming toasts to wives and sweethearts ("may they never meet!") in another, but Crowe succeeds brilliantly by imagining Aubrey as an impulsive individualist who stands by his instincts and emotions in any context. When the Captain engages in heated philosophical discussions about loyalty and leadership with his friend Dr. Steven Maturin (Paul Bettany), it is riveting to watch the star's fascinating portrait of a man obsessed with his own righteousness. Crowe will almost certainly reap some significant awards from this impressive performance, and at the very least he has found a profitable new franchise to sail through the rest of the decade with.

3-0 out of 5 stars The War on the Waters
I came to 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World' with little expectations beyond reasonable entertainment. I was thus surprised that this was a powerful little human drama about a vicious chase in the high seas.

What makes 'Master and Commander' successful is not the plot, which is a straightforward cat and mouse story. Rather, it succeeds because of its gritty sense of realism and the ability to capture the feel of time and place.

While most historical movies feature ordinary, contemporary people in period dress (see 'Gangs of New York'), Master and Commander does feel like it takes place in the early 19th century. It is little things, like Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) motivating his troops by demanding "Do you want your children to sing 'La Marseillaise'?", or the real excitement the characters display in discussing Nelson.

Also powerful is the film's feel for the hardships of warfare on the Sea. Early in the film, a child loses his arm, and throughout the movie real characters suffer casual death. At one point Jack Aubrey must choose between saving one man and saving his crew, and he allows the man to drown. This form of realism is so rare in Hollywood films, in makes 'Master and Commander' truly unique.

The great weakness of the film is its episodic nature. There is scarcely a plot - the hunt for the French frigate "Acheron" is merely a framework for the individual happenings, which include a storm, a suicide, and most infamously, a rather overlong subplot about Crowe's sidekick's (Paul Bettany) Darwin-like expedition to Galapagos Islands.

Indeed, the emergence of this subplot makes the second half of the film slow and much less interesting then the first half. Although the scenery is breathtaking, the story just fails to move, until Bettany's accidental discovery of the Acheron, which sets the stage for the climatic battle.

Director Peter Weir and his crew should be commanded for a great adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's seafaring adventure. If there will be a sequel, I will go with high expectations.

4-0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHING --& more!!
1. this is THE cute guy movie. from 8 to 80, small, tall, thin or round, this movie will have someone for you. i can only imagine my sister, who once had a list of 254 men she Truly Cared About that included people like the guy 3d from the left in the second scene of Star Trek 2, drooling like a pet of pavlov w/in the first 3 minutes.

2. & speaking of star trek-----

russell crow _IS_ Captain James T. Kirk.

this is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen!!

here is an actor playing a captain playing an actor playing a captain!!

i think captainhood has been forever embedded in the mind of anyone young or old & privileged enough to see the _real_ & _only_ Star Trek as meaning one thing: William Shatner. watch the timing!! watch the _gestures_!! watch the way he looks at the camera. the likeness is uncanny!!

my partner watched this movie a couple of days before i did & when i said to him, "you know who that is--" he said he had thought the same thing.

amazing!!

dont worry, i LOVE Captain James T. Kirk. when i was a very little kid, even younger than any of the little kids in this movie, my parents & i saw him (the actor, not the captain) screaming at his girlfriend at a folk dance festival. that image is embedded in my brain as well!!

anyway.

Captain Kirk, in order to be Captain Kirk, MUST have his Spock. & here, of course, he does. but oddly his Spock is only the entrée into........

3. the Monty Python element. think John Cleese, younger (much much younger), w/ a lot of freckles & a slightly skinnier jawline. think his uppercrust gestures & the way he often looks up at you (thru the camera) w/ those eyes..... right here. Mr. Spock as a naturalist-warrior-sailor-doctor who also, on the side, runs the Ministry of Silly Walks.

but thats not all!!

you also get, in this movie that was modeled on "Star Trek transports itself into Monty Python & the Holy Grail on the High Seas" --the old guy. you remember the Old Guy. he is embedded in yr brain too. i know he is. & it will be very very hard for you to watch a scene wherein he appears w/o thinking of eric idle, hanging on a dungeon wall & singing. every single time.

but nobody is singing "la marseillaise" b/c when you finally do meet those french types, they are too busy yelling things like:

"oh you english pig-dogs!!" --you get that too!! i almost expected a bunch of fruit & a cow to come flying over the side of the boat.

& theres more-- so much more-- it makes ones brain itch trying to remember it all.....

4. &, speaking of an itchy brain, in addition to heroic self-surgery, one also gets: trepanning. woohoo!! personally, i recommend amanda fielding's video (worth looking up) as she is doing real-life, real-time self-trepanning, but this one works as a little preview. & besides, she doesnt stick a quarter into her skull.

5. &, wait, there is so much more!! poop on the poopdeck (rewind or you will miss it. my partner, who worked on lots of boats made us rewind so i wouldnt miss it)-- & LOTS & LOTS of animals. i LOVE this movie!!

but probably not in the way that peter weir intended. which is why i gave it 4 stars. it is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen. the whole thing seems plotted, directed & acted as if it were a bunch of archetypal television programs strung together or laid on top of one another (lets not forget marlon brando (rip) in "mutiny on the bounty," although that might just have been inspiration for the costumes) (& do remember "the poseiden adventure" & undoubtedly "titanic" (i havent seen it)) w/ unbelievably fabulous images of oceans, islands, ground & ships-- just gorgeous stuff from the director of "the last wave."

& yes, it is a roiling barrel of entertainment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cat and Mouse on the high seas
Set in the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteeth century, Master and Commander is based on the Patrick O'Brian's historical novels. The essence of the story is a chase starting off the coast of Brazil and ending up off the Galapogos islands, between a French ship with its clever commander and the HMS Surprise- the ship at the center of the story.

The movie itself is richly laid out in genuine props of the era, which succeeds in giving it an air of realism. Russell Crowe does a fine job as Captain 'Lucky Jack' Aubrey, a man with a history of experience and well respected by his sometimes grumbling men. The supporting cast is excellent with a list of characters that adds to the richness of life on a seafaring ship of that era.

Crowe doesn't grandstand and take over the movie allowing the story, other characters and action to speak for themselves. A lot of credit should of course go to Peter Weir for his direction and his adaption of O'Brian's novel.

Master and Commander is very reminiscent of old Hollywood epics and a quite enjoyable movie. I honestly didn't expect much and came away very satisfied and entertained.

Highly entertaining and recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well acted action-adventure film
A definite surprise - I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. Very well acted, especially Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin and Max Pirkis as the very young midshipman who loses his arm in the opening battle scene. While the special effects of the movie are amazing, they didn't overshadow the depth of the characters protrayed. Unless you are a reader of the O'Brian novels (which I recommend even more highly than the movie), you wouldn't notice one major change. The Acheron was really the USS Norfolk - an AMERICAN ship - not French. I guess the producers figured we wouldn't put down our dollars to see a movie where we were the losers. ... Read more


9. Green Card
Director: Peter Weir
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Sales Rank: 6895
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars CAPTIVATING
The slim premise of Green Card -- a French slob wants to be a US citizen; a left-wing socialite wants a fabulous apartment with a greenhouse; they get married -- creeps up on you, and expands in ways that will surprise you. Yes, this is a love story, but it is somehow much more than that. Peter Weir, who directed Witness (a wonderful, evocative romance), has a way of weaving a spell on you with his movies. Here, he is aided by the galvanic performance of Gerard Depardieu, who is life itself. Andie MacDowell, who is his inferior in the acting department, is suited to her uptight role in a way that favors her: you can actually believe she could be this person, which is usually not the case with this lovely but inept actress. Bebe Neuwirth is her usual dead-on self, in a great, if small, supporting role. The New York locations, particularly that spectacular greenhouse apartment, are winning, and shot with affection. On top of everything, the movie features, in key moments of tension and emotion, the music of Enya, which of course elevates and punctuates scenes in inventive ways. The final moment is a well-earned emotional one, and I think you, like me, will find it hard to resist Green Card, after all is said and done.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most romantic and funny movies, Gerard is so swee
Gerard performs as a sloppy frenchman in search of his legal residency in the U.S. by marring a prissy Macdowell who is perfect for the part. Moving story of a poor composer searching for a new life and falling in love for a young girl that despises him with her heart, only to fall overwheels in love with him after sharing her apartment with "Georges" for a weekend to benefit the Inmigration interview as a "bonafide" married couple. Georges wins his lady's heart with his abrupt sweetness and kind heart that wins over arrogancy and "vegeterianism". One of the most romantic and sweet scenes is when they are studying and temptation is flowing on both sides, but Georges knows how to respect the girl. And of course the kisses at the end of the movie with all that combination of music is terrific. Even if this is an old movie, I am buying the soundtrack and I am head overwheels in love with Depardieu myself! Worth watching, deserves all kind of statuetes. Even the rest of the cast is terrific, Mom, Dad (so cute), Loren and her parents. good!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo Gerard!!
Gerard is fabulous in this one. It's a heart warming picture about two characters with very different personalities, forced together in human circumstance. Five stars!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Well done but no surprise
It's not a holywoodian love story. It's a simple story of 2 people meeting "randomly" - with some fun, some sadness, some laughs and some love.
Good picture, good film, but not that more.

4-0 out of 5 stars Charming little film
For those unfamiliar with Gérard Depardieu, GREEN CARD is a charming introduction. Good performances from both Depardieu and Andie MacDowell, and Bebe Neuwirth is delightful in a supporting role. When things get "unfair", the reminders that the central marriage of convenience is illegal are refreshing.

The DVD is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with both English and French Dolby 5.1 audio tracks. No extras, but even so an excellent bargain. ... Read more


10. The Last Wave - Criterion Collection
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $29.95
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Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11424
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Description

Richard Chamberlain stars as Australian lawyer David Burton, who takes on the defense of a group of aborigines accused of killing one of their own. He suspects the victim has been killed for violating a tribal taboo, but the defendants deny any tribal association. Burton, plagued by apocalyptic visions of water, slowly realizes his own involvement with the aborigines...and their prophecies. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shocking, haunting, evocative
I saw this film when it first came out in 1977. It blew my mind then. I recently saw it on television and it still blew my mind once again. Pretty good for a film that is over 20 years old. This is a fantastic film that covers a variety of genres. It's a mystery, it's a thriller, it's science fiction, it's a drama. It should appeal to anyone who like the strange and the wonderful. Richard Chamberlain is fantastic as David Burton a lawyer who finds himself representing a group of young Aborigines accused of a brutal murder. However this is not just any murder, and Chamberlain finds himself drawn into a battle between the old and the modern when he finds out that the man's death is connected to the theft of some ancient stones that depict the end of mankind. To add to his problems Chamberlain is having strange dreams, dreams in which he is surrounded by water and he is drawn to the Aborigines and the secret world of dreamtime and ancient prophesies. For David Burton is part of what is happening, he is part of something that is old as old as time, history is repeating itself and the Last Wave is about to fall... This film is packed galore with symbolism, pretty good special effects and damn good acting. David Gulpilil is great as the young Aborigine torn between the past and the present and Nanjiwarra Amagula is superb as Charlie, a pure blooded Aborigine who just might have answers to secrets spanning thousands of years. This is a thinking-person's film. It is slow moving but suspenseful and the plot is sometimes complicated but never confusing. Well worth adding to your video collection if you want something excitingly different and intellectually stimulating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eerie, evocative, and haunting
Our modern, rational culture floats like a small boat on a huge, dark ocean of unguessable depth. Richard Chamberlain, in perhaps his best role ever, is a lawyer specializing in the arid technicalities of corporate taxation who is, by chance [well no, not really, as it turns out] drawn into the Shamanic world of the tribal aborigines who, unknown to most people, still inhabit Sydney, Australia. Little by little, the comfortable everyday world in which Chamberlain's character lived starts to dissolve, or at least become transparent, before the unguessably ancient and very different world around it. Meanwhile nature is acting very strange, paralleling the breakdown in Chamberlain's character. A wonderful movie, full of rich metaphors and images (including the final one) that remain in the mind long after the film is over. Even the soundtrack: some aboriginal instruments, some very nervous-sounding Australian-Irish dance music, and some spare but oh-so-telling chords, can stay with you for days. What are dreams anyway and what do we buy by living in a daylight world where we cannot see them? Weir suggests some provacative and disturbing answers.

2-0 out of 5 stars disappointing
the story was just ok and the acting was fair but the quality of the vhs tape wasn't very good. actually the sound was terrible!!!!
actually worse than a homemade movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Future Shamans learn from Past Shamans
Frankly,my college degree emphasis was on Philosophy focusing on Aesthetics; this movie is a classic. It is amazing that the time period of movie represents a conception of reality that is difficult for any film to convey. As such, modern film uses the software animation for the art of props which used to be done by artists with skilled hands.

The early movies could not easily portray ideas and concepts which were beyond simple props. An example is a car scene prop - a car with a painting of a scene in the background.

Dreams are the most diffifult imaginal form of concept to convey because a dream is pre-reality. Artists since the dawn of art have tried to portray dreams. From that art we arrive at religion, science and hence psychology.

Art is a communication of the abstract. In this film, the Dream Time is communicated as it is: an imaginal world which overlaps the objects we perceive as a real world.

Future Shamans must always be aware that our Ancestors knew what reality was based upon their sense of Pre-Imaginal Conception. Shamans of the Animalistic Religions knew that We Dream Our Reality because We Percieve through our Imaginal Sense of Reality.

Never believe that the props are real. The props are the illusion. The message of this movie comes from the line;

" You are already in trouble. You forgot how to dream..."

We forget that the props of our world are our inventions; in another time, another realm, our beliefs mean nothing. We dreamt the meaning into them.

Dream Awake; Dream Aware. The Dream Time gives us clues if we can remember that we are living our dreams, and for some our night mares. If we know that we are creating our illusions, we might be able to live like our ancestors... with the nature as our home.

5-0 out of 5 stars Toke up and fall out, your in for a strange trip.
My father turned me on to this film when I was about 4. He used to play it for me when he was cooking dinner, listening to music, studying, any time he needed some time to himself and needed me to stay in one place. (Chariots of fire and The Warriors work well too. lol ) Well, I am 25 now and this film is as creepy, fascinating and hypnotic as it was then.

I mean, the third wave, for christ sake. It's over. Your outa here. Done. Would you be remembered as a quality addition to the human race? Really, "Who are you?"

I can add no more than my peers here, as all except one giant bozo found this film to be as good as I did. ... Read more


11. Fearless
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $9.97
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Asin: 0790742047
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6778
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars A definite MUST SEE film!
This is a "change your life" type of film.

A survivor of a plane crash must come to terms with this new and improved, awakened and liberated version of himself, this version of himself that has suddenly been unburdened of a lot of timidity and fearful emotional baggage he'd been lugging around through his adult life.

And those around him must also come to terms with this radically changed person that has emerged in the wake of his Near-Death-Experience.

The movie is beautifully acted. Bridges' performance is exceptional, perhaps his finest. As are the performance given by Perez and Rossellini and the rest of the cast. Weir's directing is superb and sublime. The script is a beautiful distillation of finer points of the novel of the same name; and the use of time in this novel is brilliant. And the music ................. what can I say: this is one of my favorite soundtracks.

This is movie of profound substance, profound enough to disturb, to awaken, to cause one to question one's life, perhaps even to effect real change. As Kakfa wrote, in a letter to a friend, "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. We need the books that affect us like a disaster, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us." I think Kafka would have really liked this film as it has high ax potential.

Very highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars What's fear?
Maybe everyone or at least I will sometimes wonder what if the plane I'm taking crash or something tragic happen...

This compelling movie gave me some idea or I should say insights of the aftermath of a plane crash, how Max Klein's(Jeff Bridges)life change after surviving a plane crash. Max suddenly become a phenomenon,he is fearless. Was it a miracle?? Did he become spiritual?? He saw the "Light",he help to lead some people out of danger. He then walked away from the scene. But Max was never himself again,he felt distanced from his wife and son and only reckon with helping Carla Rodrigo. Great performance by Rosie Perez as Carla Rodrigo(also a survivor)but a mother who unable to save her child and full with guilt and woe. He also realised that he's no longer having strawberry allergy. Bizzare things happened to him and he seem to enlighten by the true meaning of Life and death.

There's a twist in the end and I'm totally astounded by such brilliant and awakening finale.

Interesting way of depicting the situation by Max's recalling bits and pieces of the incident and through several angles from the survivors during their healing session.

Superb direction by Peter Weir. Vivid special and visual effects,amazing script by Rafael Yglesias. Mesmerizing movie which what me wonder what's life all about and what's fear?? Am I dare enough to face up to my greatest fear??

5-0 out of 5 stars A forgotten masterpiece of the '90's - one of Weir's best
There are directors making movies of modern cinema, and then there's Peter Weir. Here's a guy who has never gotten the commercial success of Spielberg, the artistic raves of Kubrick, but equals or surpasses them on so many levels. Case in point: Fearless, another great film in a slew of great Weir films that takes a genre and doesn't necessarily break from it but explores it in unexpected ways. The subject of choice is an airplane crash, of which Max Klein (Jeff Bridges, lacking a deserved Oscar nom for this one) is one of a few dozen survivors. While many would be racked with grief (he lost his best friend and business partner), Klein experienced an epiphany of peace and bravery that carries through his experiences post-crash as well. We've seen things of this vein so many times that I thought I knew where Fearless was going, but at each end I was surprised. I expected romantic subplots and the like, but Weir holds the film with a knowing, masterful grace that he fully concentrates into the character Bridges plays.

Fearless is less an exploration of grief than it is simply an intense look at the entire world of someone whose life is nearly taken. Rosie Perez receieved an Oscar nomination for her great work as a fellow survivor whom Max befriends, but the movie veers away from melodrama and woe-is-me theatrics even with them, instead showing what comfort we find among those who share our trauma. And Fearless never always seems like it's like the movie it appears to be, proof again of Weir's incredible talent of looking at a theme from another angle (what made Master and Commander an intimate character drama and not a mindless actioner). So much territory is covered in the film, yet it never seems dense, and the catharsis at the end is a payoff like none other. I found myself weeping at the film's magnificent finale - a lot - and yet the tears that Fearless elicits are not ones of sadness or happiness, but of satisfaction and pure emotional movement. It's nice to know there are directors out there who can make movies so powerful and yet never make us feel manipulated one bit. GRADE: A

4-0 out of 5 stars BRIDGES FALLING DOWN
Masterful director Peter Weir helms this story of a man who survives a plane crash, and hangs on to his newfound fearlessness to help others, while basically destroying himself. Jeff Bridges gives a riveting performance, one of his best, in the role of Max Klein. Before the crash, Max lived in a world like others, afraid of flying, and a victim of strawberry allergies. He becomes a hero as he seemingly saves the lives of several other survivors; one little boy is so taken with Bridges that he continues to visit him after the traumatic experience. Rosie Perez won an oscar nomination and deservedly so for her role as Carla, a young mother who blames herself for her little baby's death in the crash. Isabella Rosselini, as beautiful as ever, plays Bridges wife who tries to bring him back into the real world he so seemingly willingly left behind. Tom Hulce plays their lawyer, a good performance, one that makes you like him rather than find him repulsive. John Turturro as a grief counselor is excellent in a small but well developed role. Benicio del Toro merely fills the space as Perez' opportunistic husband; Deirde O'Connell as the widow of Bridges' partner is startingly effective.
FEARLESS moves at a slow pace, and I found myself getting angry with Bridges for neglecting his family to help Perez. The strawberry ending while definitely effective is also a tad too perfect in how it resolves Bridges' crisis.
But even with its flaws, FEARLESS is an unusual and moving film, heightened by the wonderful performances of its cast.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most life-affirming films ever made
"Fearless" is one of those great movies I decided to watch without any expectations. And I was absolutely floored, not only by the storyline, but by the letter-perfect performances, particularly Jeff Bridges (who is under-rated in general, never more so than here) and Rosie Perez (probably her best-ever performance). This film is second only to Kieslowski's "Three Colours: Red" in my all-time favorites. Both the opening and ending scenes are haunting, heartbreaking, and at the same time, fill you with a kind of hope based on the actions of certain characters. The ending scene, for me, is one of the great single scenes of the movies, and could reduce the most stoic man to tears. If you've never seen this film, you really are missing out on something truly special. I almost forgot about what could be the pivotal scene of the film: where Bridges tries to help Perez come to terms with her guilt by strapping her into the back seat of his sedan, placing a fire extinguisher into her arms, then taking off full speed in the sedan towards a brick wall while "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2 plays on the soundtrack. The combination is flawless and absolutely heart-wrenchingly human. This movie is just crying out for the Criterion treatment, as the pan & scan version of the current DVD is the only flaw. Don't miss it. ... Read more


12. The Mosquito Coast
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $9.97
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Asin: B0000399WB
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5539
Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

A year after his American film debut, Peter Weir reteamed with his Witness star (Harrison Ford) for a tricky adaptation of Paul Theroux's novel of a modern man who takes his family into the jungle. The results are mixed, but the film is galvanized by Ford's atypical performance as inventor/madman Allie Fox. Paul Schrader's script sets up Allie as a man who follows his idea: that America is dying and the real "four-in-the-morning courage" is found in returning to the essence of life, here the jungles of a fictional Central American country (it was shot in Belize). With his family in tow (including Helen Mirren and River Phoenix), Allie creates a utopia when his inventions create a local sensation, but seedier elements from bandits to evangelicals (led by Andre Gregory) take their toll. Certainly, it's hard to root for a central character who is unpleasant ("a know-it-all who is sometimes right," as one states), and the film's second half is not as interesting. But Weir's film is logical and true in its progression and, as usual, is beautifully crafted (he also reteams with the cinematographer, editor, and composer of Witness). Ford's rawness is reminiscent of many an actor's foray into the meaty role of an independent film--which this film is certainly not--and, unfortunately, it was not the direction he ultimately pursued. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Harrison Ford's best work
Peter Weir's under appreciated masterpiece draws a striking comparison between religious zealotry and the utopian fantasies of technological imperialism. The smarmy Reverend Spellgood heads south into Central America to spread the Christian faith. Paranoid inventor Allie Fox does likewise, but his mission is somewhat different though no less religious in its intensity - he wants to bring ice, and by his logic 'civilization', to the locals. Both men are 'missionaries', both equally blind to the personal and social costs of the 'salvation' they bring. The cast is universally excellent. Helen Mirren is flawless as the devoted but cautious mother, and River Phoenix really impresses as the coming-of-age son through whose eyes the story unfolds. But Ford is absolutely perfect as the father. This was truly inspired casting, as it uses our latent feelings for the actor to put us in precisely the same position as his on-screen family: we want to love him - this quintessentially paternal hero - despite his destructive obsession. But in the end we have to accept that he gets exactly what he deserves. I'm surprised Ford doesn't seek out more roles like this one, rather than settling for repetitive action fare or trying to reinvent himself as Bogart. Adapted with considerable skill by Paul Schrader from an exquisite novel by Paul Theroux, this film is a rare find: a powerful, gripping, moving story with something important to say.

3-0 out of 5 stars No Buzz for the Mosquito Coast.
After reading several reviews, the consensus is that the movie MOSQUITO COAST strays far from its original source..the book from which it is based upon. It seems those who are familiar with the book hate this movie and there is a hate it or love it attitude towards this film. With that aside,Harrison Ford gives one of his best performances as Allie Fox, a crackpot inventor disillusioned with society, particularly the American landscape. He moves his family to the rain forests of Central America to create a utopia so he can live in peace and build a ice-making machine (which he thinks would be the central core of his vision). Things are fine in the beginning, but Allie becomes obsessive and egotistical, and his family begins to become disillusioned by the whole concept. In this viewers opinion the movie is great for the first three quarters as Allie's ideas and dreams come to fruitition. He seems a little unstable, but his dreams are coming together. Then,the final phase of the film echoes the sentiments from an episode of the Twilight Zone called "Elegy" where in the final scene of this classic story, a character (an android named Mr. Wickwire) says "...because you are men, and you are here. And where there are men, there can be no peace!"; the results are almost identical in both stories. This is where the movie falls and where it will turn off most audiences. This is a tour de force acting vehicle for Ford, but the story, plot and somewhat downbeat ending will alienate audiences especially those who are used to seeing Ford playing strong and heroic characters. Good all around support cast with Hellen Mirren (CALIGULA),and the late great River Pheonix (STAND BY ME) who plays Charlie, Allie's(Ford) son. (Pheonix went on to play a young Indiana Jones in a flashback sequence in THE LAST CRUSADE; perhaps because of this role of playing the son of Ford's character.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Expertly Brought To Life
Striking locations, solid acting, and fidelity to the original story make this an excellent film. In contrast to what has been written in certain other reviews, this is exactly the way in which a book should be brought to life on the silver screen.

To wit- much of the dialogue used in the film has been lifted directly from the book. The storyline follows the novel with nearly exact precision. Sure, some of the detail gets left out, but it's impossible to make a feature-length film from a full-length novel without losing some of the subleties. If they're that important to you, skip the movie and stick to the book.

Secondly, Harrison Ford's preformance as the self-destructive genius Allie Fox is beyond question. Author Paul Theroux was among Ford's biggest fans, once quoted as saying "He IS Allie Fox." Ford took the role after Jack Nicholson turned it down, and this is likely for the best - his performance, superlatives aside, is in fact Oscar-worthy. The rest of the cast offers standout performances - especially noteworthy are Helen Mirren and the late River Phoenix, as Mother and Charlie respectively.

Perhaps this film's biggest detriment is the story itself - the psychologically dark plot can be as off-putting as it is fascinating.

This film should be viewed for what it is - an excellent film version of the book and a fascinating, dark tale of self-destruction. Fans of Harrison Ford's lighter action films might not enjoy the movie because of the dark plot. This movie, however, was never intended to please all of the people all of the time; keeping that in mind, this is an excellent film.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slow
This is a slow starter and finisher, but it has many powerful scenes and a great cast. Filmed in Beliz, it takes me back to jungle memories.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an unusual, yet successful, role for Harrison Ford.
Reviews are only subjective.

Ford as Allie Fox is an inventor, a genius, a man too smart for the world around him. He is a mechanical engineer who takes his family to Central America in search of Utopia, as he defines it. Of course, his family does not want to leave behind civilization and all of the comforts that home brings, but no one can resist his will. Perhaps that and his abrasive irritating manner are aspects of his insanity.

He does not expect to find another zealot, particularly in the form of Reverend Spellgood (Andre Gregory) who has determined to bring Christianity to the natives. Fox's goal is to bring his definition of civilization. The conflict and comparison between two very strong characters is part of what makes Paul Theroux's story work

River Phoenix as Charlie, the son who comes of age, and through whose eyes we see this story, is brilliant. Helen Mirrin, recently of 'Calendar Girls,' is stunning; her portrayal of a woman in love with her family, wanting to support her husband, yet protect her family is touching. John Seale's, directory of photography, work is outstanding, and reminds me of other fascinating movies brought to life by the careful use of lights, shadows, and lush, verdant scenery.

Ford's portrayal of the disintegration of a brilliant man, inventor, know-it-all, family despot is compelling, but gets lost in the slow, tedious complexities of a long journey - both mentally and the one his family travels. Yet, it has been almost twenty years since I saw the theatrical release, and I remember this film. I still think about it, wonder about motives and actions - and that is what makes this an excellent film, in my opinion.

This is one of the most difficult films to rate because it was overly long and somewhat wearisome, but it is also powerful. However, when actors, a story, and cinematography linger in my imagination and analysis processes since 1986, I must give it five stars. I know that some people will be bored because it is slow, but I will watch it many times to enjoy the nuances.

Victoria Tarrani ... Read more


13. The Year of Living Dangerously
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $14.96
our price: $11.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004RFGO
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5415
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Exotic Film That is Well Acted and Directed!
This is one of those rare films that is difficult to categorize. It could easily be mistaken for a political thriller but it is not, it could have worked as a romance but Weir went for the big picture. So it is basically a political drama that is very heavy on mood and atmosphere. Peter Weir and Mel Gibson had successfully teamed up two years earlier with 'Gallipoli' and created one of the most powerful war films of all time. They re-teamed with this film creating a lesser film than 'Gallipoli' but still a very worthy effort. The film is very heavy on political issues but it doesn't really matter if you're informed on the subject. Linda Hunt stunned almost everybody when in 1983 she was nominated in the 'best supporting actress' category for the Oscars. This was because he played a man in the film so convincingly that nobody even noticed. But upon repeated viewings one begins to notice the femininity in her character. But still she delivered a mesmerizing performance, the best gender-switching performance since Jack Lemmon in 'Some Like It Hot'. Peter Weir is a very unique and talented director and he is an expert when it comes to expressing mood as we would see two years later with his American debut 'Witness' the critically acclaimed Harrison Ford vehicle that put him in the spotlight. But this film is one of the most intoxicatingly exotic movies ever filmed. Mel Gibson is excellent as an Australian correspondent who is thrown into the turmoil of political upheaval in Indonesia. Sigourney Weaver exudes much needed sex appeal, but her character was underdeveloped and her performance was unfocused. Some of the scenes linger in the mind long after the first viewing. A fascinating exotic drama that succeeds on many levels. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film an 8!

5-0 out of 5 stars In a foreign land
There have been a lot of political dramas about third world situations undergoing violent upheavals but none have captured their complexity quite as well as this one. In fact though it is a film about a specific revolution or populist uprising Year of Living Dangerously deals with that situation in a philosophic way, making a fable of all its elements which allows this film to speak specifically to that situation as it unfolds and generally about all such situations that occur with unfortunate regularity in the news from places all over the world where mass starvation undermines a current regimes authority.
The film is also about a wealthy nations role in such circumstance. Mel Gibson plays an Australian journalist and that allows him to report events as they occur but not have to get involved in them or think about what they mean. That changes however when Mel meets Linda Hunt. Her character teaches Mel how to care about the people not just the events and that is the most fascinating relationship in the film. Sigourney Weaver is the daughter of an English colonial administrator but now that the political climate is a threatening and perilously unstable one the English are departing. Her father is pompous and very English, his intentions are good ones but his methods have been ineffective because from his lofty English perch he can not see the real needs of the people. Mel falls for his daughter who as a free spirit and free thinker cares for the people and understands their needs in a way her father could not. It is not surprising that Linda Hunt likes her and wishes to see she and Mel together. And she has a fascination with shadow puppets that makes her think of herself as something of a puppet master in the Mel and Sigourney love affair. However there is another puppet show going on and that is the political one. Linda Hunt may play the puppet master in the private sector but other people are pulling the strings in the public arena. Disillusion follows and a very exciting finale. Really one of the few films of the last thirty years I would call perfect in every way. Complex enough to give you a new slant on these events every time you view it. Every element of the film is fulfillingly developed and explored in such a way as to make one feel one has just watched a perfect film.

1-0 out of 5 stars Edited for TV
I loved the original theatrical release of The Year of Living Dangerously. I watched it over and over. It was a beautiful, sensuous film. This is not the original. This DVD was the work of some hack who left the best parts of the movie on the cutting room floor. Gone is much of the gamelan music, many scenic shots of Indonesian countryside, and one of the hotest make-out scenes in cinematic history. Just as Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver are about to go at it the scene abruptly ends. Even the sequence of the original is changed. The over all effect is a coursening of what had been a classic. This was such a dark and murky print I still wonder if I somehow got a bootleg copy surreptitiously videotaped by some artless thug. I feel angry and cheated.
I recommend waiting until the original version is released. DON'T BUY THIS TRASH!

5-0 out of 5 stars took my breath away
I saw it on the big screen when it first came out, and i distinctly recall that breathing required a conscious effort for at least a couple of hours afterward. That was another time, and i don't promise all or even any will have a similar reaction, but I sure was moved. A bit claustrophobic at times, but I think that was the point. It features a wonderful Jessye Norman performance of Strauss' Four Last Songs, which is about as exquisite a piece of music as this sordid little species has ever produced.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dark
The movie is very dark. Could certainly use better lighting. Sometimes a little confusing. ... Read more


14. Pretty Woman/Green Card
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008OM50
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 16470
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15. Mosquito Coast/Running on Empty
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $19.96
our price: $17.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000E6FPN
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 28026
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16. The Cars That Ate Paris/The Plumber
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000BWVL4
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 35796
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Description

Lying in a gently rolling range of hills, the town of Paris has prospered from the hunting and destruction of cars: the road into Paris is a death trap. Into this trap drive George and Arthur Waldo. George is killed; Arthur survives and is pronounced harmless by the mayor. Although unaware, Arthur is a prisoner. He must never leave Paris. But the town that lives by the car shall die by the car, and eventually the hunters become the hunted, in this film directed by Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society and Witness).
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic!
What an off the wall film! I enjoyed it. But it is not for everyone.

It is a cult Aussie classic. Terry Camilleri is great as the leading man Arthur Waldo. Terry is still pals with director Peter Weir. I would have loved to have seen Terry in Master and Commander.

But check this Aussie classic out. It has great music, a weird plot, and great humor. Fun to be had for all! ... Read more


17. The Year of Living Dangerously
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $24.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792836006
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 23323
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Amazon.com essential video

Australian director Peter Weir had made several excellent films before The Year of Living Dangerously was released to critical acclaim in 1983, but it was this moody tale of romance and political upheaval that bought Weir and star Mel Gibson their tickets to Hollywood. (Weir's next film was the 1985 Harrison Ford hit Witness.) Set in Indonesia in 1965, the film focuses on a group of Caucasian journalists and photographers who are in Jakarta to cover the political upheavals that are threatening to collapse the unstable government of President Sukarno. Gibson plays an Australian correspondent named Guy Hamilton who's determined to get the best story, and he's given invaluable assistance from Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt), a half-Indonesian, half-Australian photojournalist who knows the culture inside and out. Billy introduces Guy to Jill (Sigourney Weaver) and their romance develops in an atmosphere of political unrest and constant personal danger. This journalistic adventure is compelling in itself (and Hunt's gender-switching performance won her a much-deserved Oscar), but it's Weir's creation of a rich, authentically exotic locale that gives the movie its alluring and subtly mysterious atmosphere. A tale of tragedy and survival, it's also a story about fascinating people at a turbulent juncture of history, and the empathy they feel for each other and the culture that surrounds them. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more


18. Dead Poets Society/Mr. Holland's Opus
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005KAR3
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 31313
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19. Best of Fox Action DVD Bundle (Master & Commander / Fight Club / Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid / Die Hard / The Last of the Mohicans)
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $89.90
our price: $62.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000356EWK
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 22546
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