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    $139.99 list($199.92)
    1. Jazz - A Film by Ken Burns
    $48.14 list($59.98)
    2. Roots
    $11.97 $7.58 list($14.96)
    3. Menace II Society
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    4. The Corporation
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    5. The Color Purple
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    6. Friday (New Line Platinum Series)
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    7. The Weather Underground
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    8. Love Jones
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    9. Shaft
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    10. Glory (Special Edition)
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    11. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
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    12. Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
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    13. Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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    14. Waiting to Exhale
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    15. The Brothers
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    16. Africans in America
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    17. Naqoyqatsi
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    18. Set It Off
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    19. Rosewood
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    20. What's Love Got To Do With It?

    1. Jazz - A Film by Ken Burns
    list price: $199.92
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004XQOU
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2279
    Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    Accompanied by a menagerie of products, Ken Burns's expansive 10-episode paean, Jazz, completes his trilogy on American culture, following The Civil War and Baseball. Spanning more than 19 hours, Jazz is, of course, about a lot more than what many have called America's classical music--especially in episodes 1 through 7. It's here that Burns unearths precious visual images of jazz musicians and hangs historical narratives around the music with convincing authority. Time can stand still as images float past to the sound of grainy vintage jazz, and the drama of a phonograph needle being placed on Louis Armstrong's celestial "West End Blues" is nearly sublime.

    The film is also potent in arguing that the history of race in the 20th-century U.S. is at jazz's heart. But a few problems arise. First is Burns's reliance on Wynton Marsalis as his chief musical commentator. Marsalis might be charming and musically expert, but he's no historian. For the film to devote three of its episodes to the 1930s, one expects a bit more historical substance. Also, Jazz condenses the period of 1961 to the present into one episode, glossing over some of the music's giant steps. Burns has said repeatedly that he didn't know much about jazz when he began this project. So perhaps Jazz, for all its glory, would better be called Jazz: What I've Learned Since I Started Listening (And I Haven't Gotten Much Past 1961). For those who are already passionate about jazz, the film will stoke debate (and some derision, together with some reluctant praise). But for everyone else, it will amaze and entertain and kindle a flame for some of the greatest music ever dreamed. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

    Reviews (118)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Series on Jazz, Despite Its Flaws
    I am a jazz musician, son of a jazz musician, am conservatory trained, and this series stands toe to toe with the best lectures by the best music historians and music theory experts I have studied with. If Ken Burns chose to follow a the pillars of jazz in depth rather than give ten minutes to every musician to come along in the past hundred years, we are better for it. If you want ten minutes on each musician, read liner notes. Mr. Burns series will be remembered precisely because it does go into such depth. Bird, Duke, Pops and Dizzie do not come clear to you without much study. We should be grateful for the fact that this series is anything but shallow. It is true to the art. If this series, because of such depth, asks more of viewers than they want to give, then let such viewers only seeking entertainment seek that. Americans, everything is not entertainment.

    Jazz itself, from its outset and to this very day, asks more of you than any other music. A series about it should do no less.

    This series is not perfect. Jazz is also imperfect. As Thelonius Monk said, there are no wrong notes. So are there no bad jazz documentaries, as long as they are unflinching, whole, and about the forces that shaped the music. This one is. It's only real flaw is that it is too in love with its own story and the music. That is entirely forgiveable.

    If you have any interest in jazz, buy or rent this series and watch each one like a student, and learn in wonder at the extraordinary music brought to us by African Americans. It is one of the glories of American culture, and of the world, and we should join Ken Burns, his historians, critics and musicians in joyously celebrating the collective creation of the geniuses that graced our land in the past 100 years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "History," "Documentary," "Theory of" are not in the title.
    The negative reviews of this series assume that Burns is compiling a documentary, writing a historical survey, or undertaking some theoretical analysis of jazz. Burns is above all a biographer. His primary interest is in the life of a particular artist, solider, athlete, explorer, etc.: the overall trajectory of their lives--the choices they make, the risks they are or aren't willing to take, their sufferings in the face of prejudice, misunderstanding, and failure--and how the individual life fits within the larger social context. Hence his emphasis on annecdote, personal letter and photograph, character analysis, and why he has baseball players and actors and club owners as well as scholars and musicians commenting on these people. And why he traces the entire career of someone like Louis Armstrong or Billy Holiday, rather than devoting more time to contemporary muscians whose story it is still too young to be told. Everything else is secondary to this main concern, and to miss this focus is to miss the point of all Ken Burns' documentaries. To grasp it is to experience life within a wider, wiser, almost epic, context. The so-called jazz expert who is miffed over some apparent omission, or overemphasis, or seeming bias, is like the librarian who has all the books catalogued and all the facts at their fingertips but can't see that they might refer to something outside the four walls of their narrow expertise.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Provides a very useful orientation
    Jazz is a relatively recent interest for me--maybe half a dozen years. I'd learned about scattered fragments of jazz, but never developed a systematic understanding, a clear orientation--though a couple of times I'd tried: I bought Gary Giddons' "Visions of Jazz," for instance, which is very good but just didn't capture my imagination.

    Ken Burns' "Jazz" gave me what I've been wanting for years--a clear, evocative, comprehensive way into the genre as a whole.

    Okay, it may not be the last word on the history of jazz. Yeah, some things really irritated me--like the slighting, mentioned by many, of Bill Evans, and the excessive excision of many white musicians to make the generally accurate point that jazz springs more from the experience of Black Americans. (Hint to Burns: You make your argument stronger by showing how apparently contrary data fit, not by leaving them out.) But over all, I found this a very helpful overview. And I enjoyed getting to know the biographies of, and the personal relations among, the players.

    You won't likely get such an orientation from buying a few of the original CDs *instead* of the "Jazz" series. Few of us have the ears or training to discern what's taught in this series. You'd be highly unlikely to realize that, for instance, what was new with Be-Bop is improvising on the underlying chord changes rather than the melody. You'd really have to be perceptive and paying attention to notice what distinguishes Kansas City jazz from New Orleans jazz from New York jazz from West Coast jazz. And *no* album can place *itself* in history. For instance, you cannot learn from listening to an album featuring Coleman Hawkins-or Charlie Christian or Kenny Clarke--that *before* that album people played very differently. In short, you'd have to be far better trained musically and far more observant than most of us are, and listen to dozens (if not hundreds) of albums, to learn what this series teaches.

    As I watched over a period of a couple of weeks, I bought several of the CDs that Burns produced to survey the music, and I found them very instructive. No, as listening experiences, they're not as good as some of the various albums on which the cuts originated. But that's not the point: They are very good ways to get an overview, to get oriented, to know where to go next.

    After seeing this series and studying the accompanying CDs, when I go into the music store and start perusing the jazz disks, I find that I recognize a whole lot more and can surmise a whole lot better what's what and what would interest me. For instance, tonight I saw "From Spirituals to Swing," a three CD set of Carnegie Hall jazz concerts in 1938 and 1939. A month ago, the list of personnel would have meant near-nothing to me--I probably wouldn't have even known what I was looking at, and I doubt I would have looked at the thing for more than thirty seconds. Now, though, I studied and comprehended the personnel and got all excited--"This I gotta hear." So I bought it, and it's great.

    Now, isn't that reason enough to recommend this series?

    That the overall interpretive framework of the series may need correction is not a trenchant criticism, in my opinion. To get a comprehensive understanding of anything, you have to start with *some* systematic framework, which you can then modify, maybe even refute, as you encounter further data. Logically, the first such framework you acquire has to come from someone else, unless you are a genius of extremely wide learning.

    No, Ken Burns' "Jazz" isn't the only guide to jazz you'll ever need--as others have noted, some of the omissions are glaring. But it's fine place to start.

    If you really want to get a sense of jazz, this is an excellent investment, in my opinion. Yeah, it's pricey--but cheaper than, say, an adult education course on jazz appreciation at your local community college (if you include texts and other supporting material). And if you don't want to spend the money--well, you can hint real hard to your significant other that you'd like it for your birthday or Valentine or some such thing.

    Postscript: I almost didn't buy this because of the characterization of Wynton Marsalis's role by several other reviewers here. I'd never much liked his music--it always seemed too cerebral, almost architectural, for my tastes--chilly, not very visceral. (That's just my personal taste--I also find most of Ella Fitzgerald--except her duo wok with Armstrong--a bit emotionally distant, unlike Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday or Carmen McRae or many others.)

    I was skeptical about any documentary that made Marsalis the central story teller.

    Well, two things: (1) He just isn't the central story teller here. He does not have anything approaching the majority of commentator air time. It is certainly true that he plays a role analogous to Shelby Foote's in "The Civil War"--he is a unifying presence, especially in the early going and toward the end. This is just good film making--to establish "characters" whose presence throughout helps give unity to the piece. (2) I really liked Wynton in this documentary. He came off as much earthier, more laid back, mischievous, funnier and more fun, than I ever would have imagined. And he is really quite illuminating, especially when he explains various musical concepts--like the "Big 4." (I went back and listened to "Thick in the South," thinking maybe I'd like his music more now. Nope. Still feels too thought-out, too chilly, to me. Oh, well.)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better
    I guess it says something that I have gone back and watched Burns' "Civil War" documentary more than a dozen times since I first saw it, and have only watch "Jazz" once since the first time. The Civil War documentary certainly is rife with factual inaccuracies but by & large gets the essential story of the conflict right. "Jazz," on the other hand, treats its subject as though the last 40-50 years never happened. It is as though the Civil War documentary would have lingered over the years 1861-1863 incessantly, then sped through the last two years ("Oh yeah, there were a couple of battles, Atlanta burned, Lee surrendered, the war was over. The end." Something like that) as though they didn't matter.

    As I found the documentary going into its umpteenth hour and we STILL weren't out of the 1930's yet, I had a bad feeling about where this was going. You would have thought that Louis Armstrong had been annointed as the Jazz Pope and he ruled over the world of jazz for 40 years. In his proper context, Armstrong is very important, but Burns seems positively fixated on him. He dwells on every facet of Armstrong's upbringing & early career. Unless he planned on making a 60-hour documentary, there was no way Burns could hope to do justice to the more recent history of the genre, and sure enough he basically hits the fast forward button once the be-bop era is coming to a close.

    Personally, I cannot stand fushion jazz, but nonetheless some mention needs to made of a style that was dominant in jazz for almost as long as the swing style, for crying out loud. Also, relying almost exculsively on Wynton Marsalis (doing his best impression of a crochety old man on his front porch, railing at a world that has passed him by) really was not a good idea & imbues the entire documentary with a hopelessly retrograde flavor.

    I watched it once, and came away disappointed. I watched it a second time, hoping that I could find more to appreciate, but only found that it continued to disappoint. I don't know if it merits any future viewings, and that is indeed a shame, because it is a subject that deserves better treatment than this.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for what it is
    It's surprizing how vociferously some "snobs" condemn "Jazz" simply because it's not as comprehensive as they seem to think it should be. From reading these reviews you would think Ken Burns is a half-step above a holocaust-denier for not including Roland Kirk or Eric Dolphy. "Jazz" is a wonderful, inspiring and, yes, traditional look at the art form. Newcomers shouldn't be dissuaded because it's not as complete as it should be. ... Read more


    2. Roots
    list price: $59.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005QW6Y
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2071
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The spirit and the Spirituals
    Two days ago, I finished watching "Roots" ( the re-edited DVD version) , a series I scarcely remembered from my adolescent years. I remembered I had liked it. That was just about it.
    Well.....now I'm 40, a musician (choral conductor and educator) and a profound lover of Spirituals and Gospel music. So....let me tell you that "Roots" moved the very bottom of my heart. I cried every episode, deeply touched by the sadness of the story but also by the invincible courage that has led African Americans through a hard history in the U.S. From my knowledge of Spirituals I've always admired this courage, this strength of the spirit reflected throughout all the melodic and rhythmic richness, ( "Hush...hush... Somebody's calling my name") the spiritual and physical beauty of a race, the deep and sincere approach to Christianity!
    I think and I do hope that, someday, those "in power" all around the world will open their eyes and finally come to understand that racism, and all forms of discrimination, belong to the darkest and the most ignorant side of the human heart!
    Just one last question: Is it possible to buy the printed Screenplay?
    Santiago Zuleta. (Bogotá, Colombia)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Roots of Roots
    Warner Brothers has done a wonderful job in bringing David Wolper's 1977 television classic to DVD. This 3 DVD box set comes in an attractive tri-fold insert with an extensive chapter list and summary of each episode of the 573 minute production. The picture is colorful and sharp and the audio is a satifactory digital mono. The box claims "feature-length" audio commentary. Although commentary is extensive and entertaining, it does not run through the entire feature, constantly. There are also video commentaries on each disc from various people who worked on the film, which show highlights from the film as the actors speak on their memories. Some of actors have not aged well. There is also a behind-the-scenes documentary. My only quip is that one can not switch back and forth between the film's audio track and the commentary track at whim. One has to go to the main menu and switch to the commentary feature, much like Warner Brothers's release of Ben Hur, a mild irritation. There is a Spanish language track and English, French, Spanish subtitles. It is interesting to read the subtitles to study subtle nuances of the dialog. It is a pleasure to finally discard my 6 bulky, cumbersome tapes and replace them with 3 thin discs that I can access any portion instantly. If you love the story, you'll want to own this boxset.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Really sad!
    All though i only saw first part of these mini-series it's really sad.How kuntah kinte and some other blacks were forced to be in a slaver,get sold to plantation owners and such.And its really heartwrenching when they abuse the slaves and hit them with their whips,anyways this is a cool series.You sometimes think how can other people have treated other people in the past like this.5/5!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny & Dramatic
    I liked the movie. I mean, I'm kind of young but I really liked the movie. It was funny too. In the way it was funny was when like, they talk in these Southern accents when they come from New York, or something like that. The dramatic part is when they get raped and stuff like that. It's really sad to know that my people was treated like that. You know what I mean? Not the white people's people just the black peoples' people, you know. I think it was a good show. My favorite character was Kizzy my least favorite character was the overseers. You know, the slavemasters. Well, I liked the movie and I can't wait to see the Next Generation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great educational series
    This is truly one of the great epic mini-series of all time. This series caused me to do research of my own. Everything told in this story happened at various places and times in the United States (both North and South) and some things even worse. One of the glaring things that was left out (that relates to modern times ) was the fact that many of the Africans were sold to Christian White European Slavers or their Black agents by conquering Arabic and Black Moslems (selling people who wouldn't convert to Islam) who were crusading through Africa (and still are). Why would the Whites want to risk getting hurt or killed when they had lots of people willing to gather this "Human" harvest for them? This program of Slavery continues today in Africa and Asia. While you can take my word or not this series should challenge people to find out the truth for themselves. Discover the true "Roots" of the modern world, not just America. Alex Haley did it, but be prepared...Alex didn't tell everything...he was being kind and politically correct. Ask yourself why Mr. Haley didn't become Moslem himself when he had many good friends (he was a very open minded man) who were Moslems. Could it be that he found the idea of converting to a religion that sold his ancestors into slavery unappealing. Buying this DVD and reading the book is a GREAT place to start, but don't stop at the PG version. ... Read more


    3. Menace II Society
    Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
    list price: $14.96
    our price: $11.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 630469623X
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3382
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (98)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Movie Iz Crazy
    Im am a 14 year old and I want to talk about the Movie Menace II Society.Menace II Society is the tightest Movie I ever saw since "Boyz N The Hood" & "South Central".It all started out as a young boy name Caine (Tyrin Turner) telling a story about surviving the streets for good.My favorite Scence is When Caine & O-Dog(Larenz Tate) was in the liquor store when these two got evloved in a murder by O-Dog kill the korean grocer and also killed the korean lady while O-Dog threatens to get the video tape from her.In The Movie, They mention O-Dog as "The American's Worst Nightmare" and They also mention that O-Dog is Young, Black, And Don't Give A [care]. They also have a cool soundtrack with MC Eith(Streith Up Menace) and all other cool artists.I Recommend this movie to everyone.If U love hood movies and u have not seeen it yet, nows it the time to spend your money and buy this classic.On the internet, they also mention the "Director's Cut"(which is Unrated and the orignal verison is an R-Rated Movie).So if you Moviegooer and u have not seen that movie yet, now's the time to get that movie.One more thing,The Directors Allen & Albert Hugues(From Hell,Dead Presidents) did an good job on this movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars True 2 Life
    Okay, since im from London, i cant accuratly depict if this is, or is not the real situations encountered by members of the LA public. But upon watching this for the first time, it really hit me that the horrific things portraid in this movie could happen to anyone of us.

    Caine, the main focus of the movie, was brought up in a drug filled home, his father was a drug dealer, and his mother a heroin addict. Caine first saw someone be shot when he was just a child, as shown in the films early scenes. Following this his father is murdered in a fixed drug deal, and his mother overdoses, and dies.

    Caines best friend O-Dogg is a 16year old, who, as is said in the movie is 'Americas worst nightmare', hes young, Black, and he just dont giv'a F***.

    I wont spoil the movie by saying anymore, but take it from me this is one of the the best movies you will see in a long time, especially if you like the whole gang thing, it also has historical content of the 'Watt's rights'. I say buy it as soon as you can.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful movie
    This movie is a veery powerful movie. It will give you some laughs and then youll be crying. It is very moving and it wshows you what the ghetto is really about. Growing up and surviving in the hood is very hard and this movvie shows just how hard it is.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Top 10
    Menace II Society is one of my Top 10 movies of all time. I could watch it 5 times a day every day. Tyrin Turner should have become a big star after this movie. This movie had great actors, a good storyline, and production. Just wanted to say he was in Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation video as the kid walking around that place, whatever it was, for some strange reason.

    5-0 out of 5 stars After Boyz in da hood
    came this, a raw powered movie, that brings to the real of the early 90's South Central LA. This movie is pretty violent and gory, but yet it has a pretty strong message in it. Do you care wether you live or die?

    Tyrin Turner(Kaydee) did a excellent dabut about a man who gets cought up in a situation he wants to get out of. Larenz Tate(O-Dog) is more of a straight up gangsta, but did a real good job at acting. Movies with strong messages like this make up for a excellent drama.

    If you loved boyz in the hood and don't have this, that's a real shame, even if you didn't watch bouz in da hood, you should get this, and boyz in da hood as well, because those 2 movies are wll-worth the money.

    peace ... Read more


    4. The Corporation
    Director: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007DBJM8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 97
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    An epic in length and breadth, this documentary aims at nothing less than a full-scale portrait of the most dominant institution on the planet Earth in our lifetime--a phenomenon all the more remarkable, if not downright frightening, when you consider that the corporation as we know it has been around for only about 150 years. It used to be that corporations were, by definition, short-lived and finite in agenda. If a town needed a bridge built, a corporation was set up to finance and complete the project; when the bridge was an accomplished fact, the corporation ceased to be. Then came the 19th-century robber barons, and the courts were prevailed upon to define corporations not as get-the-job-done mechanisms but as persons under the 14th Amendment with full civil rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., power and profit)--ad infinitum.

    The Corporation defines this endlessly mutating life-form in exhaustive detail, measuring the many ways it has not only come to dominate but to deform our reality. The movie performs a running psychoanalysis of this entity with the characteristics of a prototypical psychopath: a callous unconcern for the feelings and safety of others, an incapacity to experience guilt, an ingrained habit of lying for profit, etc. We are swept away on a demented odyssey through an altered cosmos, in which artificial chemicals are created for profit and incidentally contribute to a cancer epidemic; in which the folks who brought us Agent Orange devise a milk-increasing drug for a world in which there is already a glut of milk; in which an American computer company leased its systems to the Nazis--and serviced them on a monthly basis--so that the Holocaust could go forward as an orderly process.

    The movie goes on too long, circles too many points obsessively and redundantly, and risks preaching-to-the-choir reductiveness by calling on the usual talking-head suspects--Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore. And except for an endlessly receding tracking shot in an infinite patents archive, there's scarcely an image worth recalling. Still, it maps the new reality. This is our world--welcome to it. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

    Reviews (30)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Review of the Corporation
    Like the behemoths it chronicles, The Corporation is monstrous in scope, clocking in at nearly two and a half hours.While none of the footage seems dispendable, the documentary could certainly have used some tightening up.If it had remained comitted to its subject matter, the history and structure of the corporation, it would have been more effective.The most useful parts were in the begining of the film, which really made me look at history differently: we see how the post Civil War treatment of the Corporation as an individual, in one legal decision, was actually one of the hugest paradigm shifts of the modern age.However, The Corporation goes on to tackle every single aspect of globalized, late capitalist life: advertising, marketing, branding, intellectual property.There is plenty of scholarship on marketing and advertising out there, and while the segments here were well done, they made this documentary feel bloated and meandering.The argument, while devastating, loses its complexity as it moves along.The documentary begins with Corporations as monstrous structures that are not necesarily the sum of their parts.The most amazing footage is that of a CEO and his wife having their home surrounded by hippy protestors, only to bring them coffee and tea, and sit down to chat with them.This scene, in which consumer-citizens and corporate spokesmen form a genuine ecology, was pivotal and ultimately describes what corporate interface may have to become if they are to survive (or if we are to survive, for that matter), cut off from boardrooms, immersed in the environment of which they are a part.As the documetary progresses, however, the tone becomes one of Evil Empires and patholically insane citizens servicing institutions without understanding their actions.This may be partially true, but it leads to an argument for localized, community based consumer resistance, which may be less effective than corporation-based, intercommunity collaboration. The end of this documentary was a gnostic, transcendentalist veil lifting: we can fight the corporation, if we only take control of our Selves! Where it should have run a bit deeper than that:We ARE the corporation, and the survival, reformation or downfall of these structures relies on how we learn to treat one another.Additionally, blame on environmental destruction was placed squarely on the power of corporations, and not on the more guilty culprit: overpopulation.I believe it's possible to make corporations fiscally accountable for population growth, if only because it is in their immediate best interest.(The lower the population, the more money there is to go around.Every corporation on Earth would benefit from a population decrease in several generations' time.)Despite the overly broad approach, this is an absolutely neccesary documentary to view for anyone interested in corporations or the structures of late capitalism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer on corporate globalization
    I saw this documentary twice in the theaters, and recently purchased a copy of the DVD from the film distributor's website, Zeitgeist Video, not Amazon.It's an excellent ethnography of corporations and their abuse of power in the U.S. and abroad.The film starts off with a history of corporate charters, and how they gained a definition of personhood through manipulation of the Supreme Court decision that freed slaves after the Civil War.And, as a person, the corporation can be diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder using the DSM-IV.A criticism that I have about the movie is that it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem with corporations: it's not corporations that's the problem, but the underlying economic system of capitalism.It's capitalism that causes corporations to look towards the global south to enslave cheap labor to make a profit.Capitalism that causes corporations to pollute the environment and spew toxins into the air.Capital interests that control the ruling ideology and prevent the voices of dissent from being heard.(The film shows two Fox reporters who were silenced for making a show about cow's milk laced with hormones produced by Monsanto.)The film stops short at pointing a finger at the real culprit for ecological destruction and global stratification today - capitalism.That being said, it's still a good primer on corporations, and I plan to use it in my intro sociology class for undergrads.It is a long movie, for other educators out there, at 145 minutes.The second disc of the movie has 5 hours of interviews with people from the film including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and the horrid Milton Friedman.And, the website for the film, TheCorporation.com, has a helpful instructor's guide.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Defamation DOES NOT equal credibility
    This documentary is absolutely and categorically disgusting in every form of the word.This is a socialist onslaught against capitalist success and no one seems to care.Here's just an example of how radical and meritless this film is...it stretches to compare coporations with Nazi facism...its disgusting.Do not support the liberal lying media; boycot this crap.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning Food for Thought, Whatever Your Politics
    Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan have collaborated in THE CORPORATIONto produce a documentary version of Bakan's book of the same name (subtitled "The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power"). In doing so, they have outlined the legal history of corporations in America and compiled a litany of concerns over the increasingly unregulated and growing power of that institution.

    There can be no doubt that THE CORPORATION takes a left of center view of American business, as witnessed by the film's featured "talking heads:" Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, and Michael Moore. Viewers can argue over balance or the choice to "diagnose" the legal personhood of the corporate institution as pathological. Nevertheless, this movie raises important issues that deserve consideration regardless of the viewer's political leanings. When an organizational form accumulates as much power and influence as the corporation has, and when that institution is legally bound to consider first and foremost its profit maximization over all other factors, the consequences of disregard and lax regulation (and popular unawareness) may be dire indeed.

    Achbar and Abbott begin with a brief history of corporations, noting that the origin of corporations' rights as "legal persons" arose out of judicial interpretations of the equal protections clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was written to end slavery. This interpretation granted corporations the rights of individuals, but overlooked many of the responsibilities and accountabilities of citizens. "Corporation as person" opens the door for Bakan's psychoanalysis, from which he deems the institution to qualify under DMS-IV as psychopathic.

    THE CORPORATION is at its best and most revealing when it tells stories, such as the little-known plot to overthrow FDR in 1934 by a cabal of industrialists, including representatives of Bethlehem Steel, DuPont, Goodyear, and J.P. Morgan. Perhaps only the conscience of General Smedley Butler, the man approached by those industrialists to lead a 500,000-man, militarized march on Washington, prevented America from experiencing a military coup. Stories about GM, Ford, Coca-Cola and IBM under Hitler's regime are equally fascinating, and equally disturbing (did you know, for example, that Coke invented Fanta Orange to keep its German factories open in the 1930's?).

    Three particular stories give THE CORPORATION its greatest impact and best serve to humanize the issues. The first concerns child labor in Asian sweatshops, particularly with regard to Kathy Lee Gifford's clothing line. The second story concerns the privatization of water in Cochabamba, Bolivia as a condition for that country's receipt of World Bank loans. Bechtel Corporation comes off as the bad guy here, particularly as a result of the extraordinary greed and hubris the company displayed in managing to make the collection of rainwater illegal in such a poor area. Finally, there is the story of Monsanto's rBGH bovine growth hormone, rejected throughout Europe and Canada for its cancer links but approved by the FDA. The story behind the story here is Fox News's blatantly coercive actions to suppress a report on rBGH compiled by its own staff from ever appearing on the air, presumably in order not to offend a major advertiser. Each of these three stories prove that "little people" can still be heroes - Charles Kernaghan (Director, National Labor Committee) in the first case, Oscar Olivera in the second, and Steve Wilson and Jane Akre in the Fox News story.

    THE CORPORATION runs long (145 minutes) and can seem dry at times, but the story is too important to ignore. This movie is two and a half well-spent hours, and you will finish it with a lot to think about. The separate "Majority Report" interview of Joel Bakan by Janeane Garofolo provides a good summary and review of the many different topics covered by the full documentary. It would be nice to imagine NBC or even PBS airing this movie someday, just as it would be nice to imagine students at Harvard or Wharton business schools being required to view it in their coursework. Would that it were so. Hopefully, enough concerned citizens will watch it on their own to raise some consciouses.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Corporation - Politics, Economy, Society, and Logo Loyalty
    The documentary Corporation provides an angry and dark image of the leading corporations of the world, and justly so.This image originates with the 14th Amendment, which the government generated in order to give the slaves the same freedoms as its owners.Somehow, similar corporations that exploited the slaves took the opportunity to maximize their powers through the very same document that helped slaves gain their freedom.Through the 14th Amendment, Corporations gained rights of individuals, yet without individual responsibilities for the actions of the corporation.

    Cleverly, filmmakers Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), which psychological health professionals use to assess and diagnose mental disorders.The psychological profile of a corporation should be justifiable, if they intend to fall under the same category as an individual in a legal sense.Through the psychological profile of corporations, several deviant behaviors occur such as "failure of conforming to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest" (see pp. 649-650 in DSM-IV.) In the film they checked of all seven criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, and only three of them need to be checked in order to receive this diagnosis, which in common mouth is referred to as being a psychopath.

    The case studies in the film offer a more intricate view of how some of the ruthless corporations advance through the American and world community.For example corporations have been found guilty of performing deceitful exploitation of people, their money, and their health as the Monsanto corporation deceitfully informs the public that their rBGH drug does not have any side effects on cows or human beings while Canada and other European countries have banned the supplement for increased milk production.A FOX television news show did research the topic and tried to air the news in regards to the cancer inducing effect of rBGH and how cows suffered dire consequences of the drug.Nonetheless, the reporters could never air the show, as Monsanto methodically prevented the truth from reaching the people through the legal system.This triggers the notion that corporations are above the law while they can squelch the opportunity for all citizens to exercise their first amendment right through exercising economic fear within those who dare to speak up.

    Numerous studies have suggested that milk cows injected with rBGH have a lowered immune system and higher bacteria level.Farmers in turn treat cows with high-level of antibiotics to prevent bacterial infestations in the cows, but it also increases the likelihood of the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria that could eventually cause people to die from simple illnesses.Corporations such as Monsanto do not have to carry responsibility, as they have the law on their side while they can externalize the damages (i.e., let someone else pay for the damages) when random health problems such as cancer could appear.Some corporations even take in consideration what it would cost if law enforcement would catch them, and they often deem it to be worth the risk when penalty fees would not exceed the profit margin.This raises the notion, where does society draw the line of biological attacks on a nation?

    Besides the negative and dark image of the corporation the audience also gets to hear the CEO of Interface, Roy Anderson, expressing his concern of corporations continual plundering of the earth.The viewers also get to learn about Shell's concern about environmental issues, yet they do not seem willing to hastily find an alternative resource for oil.Even Michael Moore informs the audience that many corporations provide a good product, but it is the excessive profiteering that seems to upset him.

    There are several other topics that are brought to the audience's attention such as the stock trading blindness that occur on Wall Street and places alike, as the only notion that crosses the trader's mind is the profit.Several intriguing examples are provided as many made big profits after 9/11 in gold while the first war in Iraq increased the price on oil that gave many a large dollar profit.The audience also learns how companies enter war, that they do not have to pay for while harvesting large profits on the situation.There is also a swift and detailed report on ownership of the patents of living things, as the judicial organ that ruled in the first case had no clue what it was talking about which resulted in people now being able to own the rights to certain genes or microbe essential for living.They even talk about ownership of space, water, and air, which displays an ugly event in Bolivia and how American corporations continued their business deals with the Nazis in Germany.An interesting question would be whether these companies or the people working for these corporations have committed any acts of treason .

    Ultimately, the Corporation offers a cinematic experience that will unsettle all viewers without consideration for what side of the issue they stand.It is also remarkable how the film causes cerebral unrest, as if it tries to reach out to the audience to take action.If the audience wants to get more information in regards to the film or issues in the film they can visit the website www.thecorporation.com, which offers a little of everything for the interested.Otherwise, it provides some interesting notions to ponder in regards to current and future politics, economy, society, and corporate loyalty. ... Read more


    5. The Color Purple
    Director: Steven Spielberg
    list price: $19.96
    our price: $14.97
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    Asin: 0790729717
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2066
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Steven Spielberg, proving he's one of the few modern filmmakers who has the visual fluency to be capable of making a great silent film, took a melodramatic, D.W. Griffith-inspired approach to filming Alice Walker's novel. His tactics made the film controversial, but also a popular hit. You can argue with the appropriateness of Spielberg's decision, but his astonishing facility with images is undeniable--from the exhilarating and eye-popping opening shots of children playing in paradisiacal purple fields to the way he conveys the brutality of a rape by showing hanging leather belts banging against the head of the shaking bed. In a way it's a shame that Whoopi Goldberg, a stage monologist who made her screen debut in this movie, went on to become so famous, because it was, in part, her unfamiliarity that made her understated performance as Celie so effective. (This may be the first and last time that the adjective understated can be applied to Goldberg.) Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and actress (supporting players Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery were also nominated), it was quite a scandal--and a crushing blow to Spielberg--when it won none. The digital video disc requires flipping to play the whole movie. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

    Reviews (128)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning, effective and heart-felt...
    I saw this within the first week of its release, and I was profoundly shaken by its power. Spielberg, after "E.T." proved himself as a director to be reckoned with. Too bad the Academy didn't think so. There's little to be known about the plight of rural Black landowners during the depression, so we're relying on Alice Walker's novel as the basis of the riveting narrative of Celie's journey through a remarkable life. I remember protests against the film because of Danny Glover's wonderfully centered mean guy (even though he's the ultimate, sad hero). I've seen nastier people in White-centered films, and Danny's nastiness doesn't even come close. Still, he was deserving of a nomination, showing many layers of a complicated character. I really think this is a women-driven film, since the best characters (and acting) came from the many fine women's roles. Whoopi was certainly wonderful, though she didn't show up until a half hour into the film. Celie's young character, played with wonderful strength and pathos by Desreta Jackson was appealing. Akosua Busia was confident, as was Dana Ivey, in a bit of inspired casting, as the rich white woman, a grand display of idiocy and ignorance. Rae Dawn Chong's character should've been developed more, since she figured significantly in the final outcome. Oprah, of course, was the most memorable character, since she had the showiest role...or did she? I wanna know what happened to Margaret Avery (Shug). To me, she gave the best performance in the film. Trashy, sweet, soft, sensitive...she had to do it all. Her final scene with her father brought tears, her strength of character made Celie the strong character that she became. Her career should've taken off after this film. The women are the driving force in this film, and there's not a weak one in the bunch. Larry Fishburne (Swain) had one of his first roles, and Willard Pugh was delightful as Harpo...and whatever happened to him? I loved Avery the most, but Glover, after a great role the previous year in "Places in the Heart", showed great versatility. Overall, this is a film of passion, warmth and emotion. It's always been one of my favorites. The DVD version is lacking in too many ways; I'm sure an anniversary version will be coming out soon. Commentaries would be nice, since most of those involved are still around. I was a bit annoyed that I had to turn the disc over during Celie's most life-affirming scene. There was also protest that this film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won nothing, suggesting anti-Black behavior from the Academy. 8 years earlier, "The Turning Point" was also nominated for 11 Oscars and won nothing. As one critic said, "Does this mean the Academy is anti-tutu?" The whole argument is silly, and no one can explain why Spielberg won the Directors Guild award though no Oscar nomination...this is a great argument for people to ignore awards and critics. This film is a delight...sad, humorous, insightful...and very powerful. You should see this, and have tissues handy. When Shug hugs her father at the end, the power of the music and the moment can't help but take you away. Then, of course, there's the final moment when Celie sees her kids... Then there's Oprah, snapping out of her funk and announcing that she's home again. See it. Love it. It's worth it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Miss Celie, I Feels Like Singin'!"
    I just bought this disc and watched it last night. I bawled my eyes out. I haven't seen it in many years and had forgotten what an incredible film it is. I gave it only 4 stars because of what many other reviewers have said about the DVD -- it's not double-layered and requires a "flip" right after Celie and Shug kiss.

    I was particularly moved by Oprah Winfrey's performance. We all know her as OPRAH now. I'd forgotten how amazing she was in COLOR PURPLE.

    I think if Spielberg made this movie today he might not shy away from some of the heavier themes like he did in 1985. But his filmmaking technique was incredible for this film. It plays like an old-fashioned Hollywood movie. The colors are gorgeous. (How did they get all those perfectly purple flowers in that field ? ) The camera work is exciting.

    Everyone has their "crying" moments in COLOR PURPLE. These are mine: 1. The breakup of the sisters ("Ain't no mountain, ain't no sea..."). 2. Celie gets the letter ("I got two children..."). 3. God's Tryin To Tell You Something ("See daddy, even singers got soul") and, of course, 4. The end.

    It's about life. It's about love. It's about us. Thank you Alice Walker, Steven Spielberg, and Whoopi.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "It's about time we had some stability around here."
    This film received 11 Oscar Nominations back in 1985, won none of them(Shame on you, Academy voters!), and really should have won Best Picture over "Out of Africa." Whoopi Goldberg never got another role like this one, showing her incredible and untapped acting talent by way of Steven Spielberg's inspired and altogether ambitious direction. Mr. Spielberg was not even nominated for Best Director(Shame on you, Academy voters!). It was great to hear that he did win the Director's Guild Award(handed out by his peers), but this horrible oversight still needles me to this day. Back to the acting. Oprah Winfrey was given an Oscar nomination, as was Margaret Avery, but there are so many stunning performances here from the entire cast that pointing out any standout performances is nearly impossible. There is also some clever film editing(certainly the most under-rated facet of filmmaking), that keeps the film constantly fresh and the story moving forward with some fantastic cinematography. The only thing that breaks the continuity is that the character "Celie" is played by two different actresses, while her sister "Nettie" is played by a single actress both at a young age and when she is older. It is really a small discrepancy given that both actresses that play "Celie" are excellent(in particular, Whoopi Goldberg). For those who know only Whoopi's fairly lame films like "Burglar," I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by her amazing work here. There are many moments in the film that are so genuinely touching and heartfelt that by the end of the final scene I suddenly realized that it never felt so good to cry. This is easily one of my favorite "Spielberg" films. Everything about this movie is gorgeous! Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely A Classic
    A black movie nominated for 11 Oscars should hint every citizen that this movie is definitely beyond a classic. It, in every way epitomizes the plight of being black in the United States. Every person should have this DVD in their collection and reflect on the better things of life & respect evry human being. Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Congratulations to you all. Fabolous performances. I hope that the Academy of Film can give the African American society a chance to bloom their talent. Its really not fair. I mean talent is out there and it is not being regarded in anyway. Once the black man is allowed to make movies then he should be recognized on the same grounds with the white man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Inspiring Movie.
    Usually when people hear the names Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, we usually think of Day Time Talk Shows and comedic film roles. Both women as well as the other cast of the film deliver awesome performances as African Americans fighting to survive in a predominately white town. The movie will make you have a new take on life no matter what race you are. It teaches you respect and loyalty, as well as passion for the people you love. If you are a fan of Forrest Gump and other movies that whisk you away to different eras, you will love this. One of Spieldberg's best. ... Read more


    6. Friday (New Line Platinum Series)
    Director: F. Gary Gray
    list price: $19.96
    our price: $15.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6305308756
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2802
    Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (173)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Weekend Classic (5 Stars)
    You can't go wrong with this movie. While there wasn't much of a plot, the action and the humor made you forget about all that. The cast alone makes this the best out of the entire series of movies, but what really makes this movie stand out from the other three was the impact it had. Ice Cube was brilliant as Craig, Chris Tucker stole the show as Smokey, and Tiny Lister became America's favorite bully (and in some places, his name is slang for bully now) as Deebo. And the rest of the lineup was perfect too. You had John Witherspoon (Mr. Jones), Bernie Mac (The Reverend), Faizon Love (Big Perm, I mean, Big Worm), and who could forget the hilarious A.J. Johnson (Ezell)? You can sift through the entire movie and find one liners and dialogue that people STILL use today. You can't say that about the other two movies. Even though Next Friday and Friday After Next are funny in their own way, they will never come close to the original. When I first saw it, I laughed so hard that I started crying. Even the opening scene was hilarious (when the Jehovah's Witnesses get the door slammed in their faces). I can watch this movie everyday for a week and still find it just as funny as the first time I saw it. If you haven't seen it by now, then you must not want to see it. Go out and get it, you'll love it. Trust me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Ghetto Comedy
    Ice Cube pulls off a great performance as Craig, who is the straight-laced guy who recently got fired from his job and he has a lot of crazy friends, his best friend 'Smokey' (Chris Tucker) is a pothead who is smoking the weed that he was suppose to be selling for 'Big Worm'. Later we meet the street thug Deebo who is a huge guy and he's the kind of guy who'll mess with you if you ever step in his way and the situations that Craig and Smokey get into are hilarious, Meanwhile Big Worm is getting fed up with Smokey playing with his money and he tells Smokey that if he doesn't have his money by 10:00, he's killing to kill him and Craig and together they try to come up with ideas on how to come up with the money, later on we get to the highlight of the movie when Craig beats the living ... out of Deebo.

    If you love gangster comedies, then you'll love Friday, also recommended are Don't Be a Menace and Friday After Next.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Three
    If you want to laugh your ass off buy this movie. It stars Ice Cube as Greg, and Chris Tucker as Smokey. Chris Tucker makes this movie good with his winny girly voice and always smokin weed. Ice cube delivers a good performance as Greg the guy who gets fired on his day off for stealing boxes and gets high for the first time. There are other great charecters like Debo the tall bully of the hood, Disel the crack head who will doing anything for two dollars, and daddy Gregs bog catching father who has to use the bathroom constantly. Over all this movie is hilarious just like the second and third one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hey Craig...Lemme borrow yo VCR right quick!
    "Ain't nobody out here man I don't even know why I'm trippin, Don't nobody wanna mess wit da Smoke Dog Rooo Rooo, roooo rooo, Roooo Roooo!....who dat?!?"

    "It ain't dem niccas that act hard...."

    "Oh SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

    Man this movie is hands down the greatest comedy I have ever seen. Even when it turns serious and they are about to get smoked it is still funny. And when Craig was finna get beat up by Deebo, the classic line that makes me laugh everytime comes up "yeah put that gun down Craig and get knocked out like ya father used to!"
    There are so many memorable lines and scenes that it would be useless to try and go through them all cause I would end up reciting the whole movie. My favorite parts however are when REd gets knocked out by Deebo and the father gets out the car.
    "YOu want some of this too old man huh!"
    "NO!!!!!!!get yo a$$ up boy and get in this car, I told you bout messing around with these people!"

    My other favorite part is when Craig is high and he's talking to Debbie on the couch, and he turns and sees little puppie dogs staring at him and he goes "What the FHFG! man i'm trippin"

    Another part when it's getting dark and Smokey and craig are trying to come up with a plan and Smokey says:
    "Alright here's what we gon do, I'ma give you the gun, then I'ma go to my house and chill, you sit here on the porch and wait for dem niccas and later on you call me and tell me what happened!"

    THis movie is funny from beginning (Jehovah's Witnesses and No Milk) to end ("I don't wanna die...Hey craig I love you man") and is very memorable. The performances were excellent, the cast was excellent. Even the concept of letting the plot come to them as they sit on the porch all day and do nothing is excellent. The music and soundtrack was also excellent. The movie is excellent. A Must have.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME!
    Hilarious!!! This movie cheers me up everytime I pop it in to my DVD player. Chris Tucker and Ice Cube are brilliant together. Smokey(Tucker) is my favorite character. He's just plain hilarious in this movie and alls he does is smoke weed..."That's alright, dont worry about what the F*** I be doin" LOL. My fav line is..."I know you dont smoke weed, I know this, but its friday, you aint got no job, and you aint got S*** to do". I love watchin this on a hot summer day, sippin on lemonade and chillin. BUY THIS DVD. ... Read more


    7. The Weather Underground
    Director: Bill Siegel, Sam Green (II)
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $22.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001LYFKO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5442
    Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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    The key players in the radical movement known as the Weather Underground are skillfully brought to life in this Oscar-nominated documentary. The Weathermen were born of sixties protest, but took their scheme to overthrow the U.S. government to especially violent extremes. Never a well-populated movement, the Underground petered out as its leaders aged during the seventies; by decade's end, weary of hiding, most of them had turned themselves over to the authorities. That journey, by which a fire-breathing revolutionary such as Bernadine Dohrn became a (still fiery) gray-haired wife and mother, is an intriguing one. This film, rich in period footage (and some unnecessary sensationalism) captures the era somewhat broadly. But the present-day interviews with the participants, contrasted with their radical selves, provides an exceptionally detailed look inside the organization itself. It's not a nostalgic look back, and the overall mood is sobering rather than celebratory. Lili Taylor provides the narration. --Robert Horton ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful look at American 60s radicals
    In some ways, the group known as the Weather Underground (originally the Weathermen, an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society) were more a symbol of 1960s radical idealism than a real revolutionary movement. Although they planted many bombs during a decade-long period, they never did anything that seriously threatened the government or power structure. Their goal, of course, was to spark a mass movement and inspire others to follow their example, but they remained essentially marginalized. The film, The Weather Underground does a good job at letting members of this group explain their motives and, in some cases, misgivings about their foray into revolution. Directors Bill Siegel and Sam Green seem to be sympathetic with the movement, and most of the material is told from the point of view of members. Leaders of the group Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers have retained their radical views and are anything but apologetic about their past actions.

    Most members of the group, despite the bombings, were committed to not harming people. This brings up a rather blatant omission in the film -Kathy Boudin, perhaps the group's most notorious member (for her participation in a robbery where a man was killed) is not mentioned at all. This was an unfortunate decision, apparently done to portray the Weathermen as essentially nonviolent. To leave out such a well known chapter in the group's history leaves a gaping hole. Still, the parts that are included are fascinating and give a glimpse into the idealism and naivete of these leftist radicals.

    In retrospect, it is (at least from one perspective) a little sad to see how little long term effect the 1960s counterculture had on society. It seems that they were no match for the propaganda machine of the government and mass media. This film, of course, employs propaganda methods of its own, as when brutal footage from the Vietnam war is shown. Propaganda it may be, but it does serve to almost trivialize the violence committed by the Weathermen compared with that perpetrated by the government it was opposing. The other side to this argument is that the fact that these radicals are still alive and that a film like this has been allowed to be made is proof that America is not as oppressive as some would have us believe. Yet, this is only true to some extent; as the film explains, the FBI made a concerted (and mainly illegal) effort to destroy radical movements. There is also evidence that the government murdered members of the Black Panthers.

    How you react to The Weather Underground depends on your political and cultural perspective. Regardless of this, this film is a compelling study of a radical group and gives us a glimpse into their world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nominated and should have taken the Oscar
    Looks like McNamara won again with his anti-war doc. film. The insight and proggressive beliefs that the Weather Underground stayed true to act as a legitamite foundation for the liberated America we live in. If you are enticed by politics but are sick of corruption in America check out this film about a group derived from the SDS that took its war with the government to an extreme that had to be recognized. I never knew they busted Timmothy Leary out of jail and attacked symbols of American injustice without using murder (the tool those in power use to stress their point) don't think you've seen a film like this before, it left me energized with a tendency toward learning about political struggles of today! Who'd think a gen-Xer could look at a film about revolutionairy soldiers of the past and wonder what he could do today to maintain the liberation sparked by students from the 60's. A must have for any leftist, documentary fan, or anyone interested about the origins and movements of the "New Left"

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not Bias
    Weather Underground doesn not seemed to be a bias look at the organization. It doesnt say their actions were good, they let the people speak for themselves. An interesting film on US history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical treatment
    I am absolutely opposed to violence as a form of protest so the Weather Underground was not a group I agreed with, yet, one could agrue that they did play a role in the Vietnam protest era so this film is a good review of that.

    The film is well done. I feel the Todd Gitlin, Mark Rudd and Brian Flannagan were the more realistic people on this DVD. Clearly they had come to see that the Weather Underground's methods were not ultimately the most effective and said so. They also saw the orgies as self indulgent and stupid.

    In the end, all would truly admire a man of peaceful protest like the late David Dellinger for his methods as his were better than their methods.

    This film should be seen as a great period piece. It should also be seen to affirm that violence wasn't the answer then and it isn't in Iraq now.

    This is an educationally significant film that should be seen by all who are interested in the 60's.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Spoiled Brats
    Where do I sign up for the FBI? And if a few rules are broken - shock! - to break these guys up, so be it. And if they use their rich connections to get out of jail time... the system can't be that bad, right? Most rich kids backback through Europe, and these guys went to Cuba and came back to blow up buildings... before going back to booshy comforts. If Hoover had went over the top to nail these guys, I'd have looked the other way. They are very, very, ugly. ... Read more


    8. Love Jones
    Director: Theodore Witcher
    list price: $14.97
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000JGHO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3794
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Say hello to Darious Lovehall (Larenz Tate) and Nina Mosley (Nia Long), two confused lovebirds who discover that you can never underestimate the power of a love jones. ... Read more

    Reviews (76)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Acting with style.............
    This movie had reminded me of watching the old black and white movies with my dad. More true to life characters looking for love, being in love, and loosing it. Old story fresh view. Larenz Tate was so Cary Grant in style as the character may have been in a clumsey situation, but the actor kept him from looking silly and like a cardboard cut out.
    Nia Long has always been a favorite of mine she is sweet even whe she is tough, almost like a Kathrine Hepburn.
    This is one of his best work and showing that he is better than always playing an angry black man.

    Great movie an great performance bye all.....BUY THIS MOVIE!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars When Harry Met Sally: Urban Style
    Love Jones is a film worth upholding. It is a beautiful love story full of realistic characters. It is one of the few black films in the last twenty years that deplicts blacks like we truly are: intelligent, cultural and just as obsessed with being in love as anyone else.

    Larenz Tate plays Darius. Being an author myself I could relate fully to his character. While struggling with his upcoming book he meets Nina played by Nia Long. Nina is a photographer who's struggling just as much as he is, but her feet appear to be on the ground more firmly than Darius'. Darius and Nina begin a passionate love affair that is cut short when Darius' friends and Nina's ex get too involved. This is the perfect example of how a relationship can suffer due to too many " outside " opinions. Darius and Nina realize they cannot focus on their careers because their hearts and minds are on each other. Nina returns to the spot they first met: the sultry poetry and blues club where Darius first spied her. Nina delivers a touching poem in Darius' honor unaware that he is around. The two pick up where they left off and declare their love for one another.

    This film is touching without being as mushy as some romance movies. Larenz and Nia have wonderful chemistry despite the fact that Long is five years older than Tate. The supporting characters include the wonderful Isiah Washington and MTV's Bill Bellemy. If you keep your eyes open you'll see Khalil Kain playing another delightful supporting role as Nina's ex.
    I am a big Larenz Tate fan and I've liked Nia Long since her days on " Guiding Light ". The two have both grown tremendously as actors and they prove it in this film. I wish there could be a sequel. I'll keep my fingers crossed. If you haven't seen this movie you've been cheated out of one hell of a love story. It's a modern " starcrossed lovers " romance suited for all ages and professions.

    3-0 out of 5 stars O.K.
    I watched this movie about four times before I could begin to like it. It's still not one of my favorites but it does showcase admirable performances by both Larenz Tate and Nia Long.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad At All
    It was great to see Chicago look so beautiful in this well told love story. I hope we get more movies like Love Jones. The DVD is a wonderful edition to my collection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars great love story
    i felt as fof that it has happen to me as the characters played on throughout the story. I felt i was well written and the ending was great. ... Read more


    9. Shaft
    Director: John Singleton
    list price: $19.99
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    Asin: B00004Z1FX
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 11120
    Average Customer Review: 3.43 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (86)

    3-0 out of 5 stars So-so action film...
    I've never watched the original Shaft, so I have nothing to base this remake on. It's not a very serious action film. Jeffrey Wright and Busta Rhymes providing most of the comic relief. It is interesting to note that Richard Rountree (the original shaft) and Gordon Parks (the original director) played parts in this film.

    After watching this film, I can say I don't mind it. I've seen a lot worse, and I've seen better. Atleast with this film, you have Samuel Jackson playing another cool, suave character. It's too bad Venessa William didn't play a more integral part to the story. I would've liked to see a better dynamism between the two. But then again Shaft has always been a lone-ranger of sorts.

    This is not a plot-heavy story. It's about a rich kid that murders an African American, but this crime is witnessed by a waitress who goes into hiding after being threatened. Shaft is disheartened by the inadequacy of the system and decides to investigate on his own. Like I said, not plot-heavy.

    LEAP rating (each out of 5):
    ============================
    L (Language) - 3 (nothing special, except for Jeff Wright's almost incomprehensible speech)
    E (Erotica) - 1 (opening sequence and a good kiss scene)
    A (Action) - 3.5 (unapologetic killings)
    P (Plot) - 2 (simple plot)

    2-0 out of 5 stars This film should have gotten the "shaft"
    "Shaft" (2000)

    Shaft's (Richard Roundtree) nephew, also last-named Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson), is the star in this movie. But it is nothing like the original starring Roundtree and directed by Gordon Parks (although both of them make cameos in this film). The first "Shaft" was a blaxploitation flick and is a classic. This movie, directed by John Singleton, seems less black, more made-for-Hollywood. The plot is thin and unlike the original, the only love scene to be found is in pieces during the opening credits. And what was Busta Rhymes' purpose? It added nothing to the movie. Sorry, Sam Jackson is a hell of an actor but his Shaft doesn't make me forget about Roundtree's. -EJR

    1-0 out of 5 stars Singleton ruins yet another legend. somebody stop him.......
    Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft could have been a great movie. He has the talent and skill to effectively play the role. Unfortunately, he is prevented from doing a giving a good performance because of the weak direction and script by Hack Extrodinare John Singleton. Someone please stop Mr. Singleton Before he directs again.
    Singleton's terrible script and direction turns Shaft into a campy over-the top superhero movie instead of an intruigung murder mystery. Most of the characters come off like cartoonish stereotypes instead of real people the way they did in the 1971 original. Shaft fans know he is smart, smooth and clever; he's subtle about the way he does things. He's not a black batman wannabe as depicted in this film. Perhaps Mr. Singleton dreams of doing a Batman movie and thought he could apply those concepts here. He was sadly mistaken.
    In the openeing scene he comes off as menacing and threatening, that he scares the witness even more and puts the white racist (Christian Bale) on the offensive by arresting him. A litle subtlety would have helped the story here and made the character more interesting. In the subplot our menacing shaft threatens a neighborhood drug dealer (Geoffrey Rush) and arrests him on some trumped up charges. While in jail the two consipire to find a witness who can finger Bale's character for the murder he committed. Sounds a lot like Batman Returns doesn't it? Just so he can have something to do, Shaft goes on a macho search to find the witness who can help his case. Personally, I think Singleton wanted to have a ton of frames of Sam Jackson looking cool in Armani leather. This goes on until the last act the movie which turns into a great big comic book action sequence chock full of shootings and mayhem. To conclude the story, the scene where Bale's character is coming to court to finally stand trial for his crimes is ripped straight from Mario Van Peebles ending scene of New Jack City.
    Singleton wastes yet another opportunity and fails to utilize his cast of talented actors who do their best with his terrible script. Sadly, Gordon Parks, the man who wrote and directed the original Shaft was on set and Singleton did take the opportunity not pick his brain for ideas or even ask him what he was thinking when he set up certain scenes. This film would have been better if Singleton would have done thatn andjust STUDIED the films of this genere and understood the subtle nuances that make them work before starting this project. Then when he understood what made those films work he could then apply those approaches to his work. John Singleton needs to go back to film school. He still has a lot to learn about the craft of moviemaking.

    4-0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD REMAKE OF THE 1971 CLASSIC
    SHAFT'S SAME-NAMED NEPHEW [SAMUEL L. JACKSON] GOES AFTER A DOMINICAN DRUG LORD AND A RACIST SERIAL KILLER. VERY GOOD REMAKE. IT HAS PLENTY OF GOOD ACTION, AN INTERESTING STORY, AND IT HAS GOOD CHARACTERS. THIS IS ACTUALLY NO BETTER OR WORSE THAN THE ORIGINAL. RICHARD ROUNDTREE [WHO PLAYED THE ORIGINAL SHAFT] AND GORDON PARKS, JR. BOTH MAKE APPEARANCES IN THIS MOVIE.

    4-0 out of 5 stars wonderful remake
    a great remake with Jackson being the man Shaft. good action with some unexpected turnabouts. Christian Bale is menacing as the racist who kills Mehki Phifer then has to answer to Shaft and Jeffrey Wright is a spectacular badguy as well. a good ride ... Read more


    10. Glory (Special Edition)
    Director: Edward Zwick
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $22.46
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    Asin: B000051YMQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1537
    Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (279)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Honor and Horror
    The story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry is told in a solid and entertaining movie. The casting is brilliant, including the surprisingly good choice of Matthew Broderick, an actor I'm normally indifferent to, who is utterly believable as the scion of a wealthy Boston family who accepts a commission as Colonel in command of the first black regiment in the Civil War. Rounding out the cast are Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, the two finest actors of ANY color working in Hollywood these days, and Cary Elwes in easily his best performance since The Princess Bride. If there is anything negative to say about this film, it is in the archetypical nature of several of the characters (I do not know how "fictionalized" the indivdual soldiers are) and a bit of, yes, "glorification" of what ultimately was one of the most horrific and wasteful events in history. But ultimately that is what makes honor and glory: sacrifice for the future. The tragedy should not be forgotten in the glory. So when you see this movie, let your heart swell for the glory and honor, and let your eye weep at the waste of human life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Movie for Warmongers and Pacifists alike
    The Academy Award winner from 1989 stands out as a monumental film with stunning acting, crisp cinematography and one of the most realistic depictions of the horrors of war ever filmed.

    Matthew Broderick is compelling as Robert Gould Shaw, the young and inexperienced commander of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, an all-black unit initially deprived of the right to fight but eventually allowed to prove its mettle in a pivotal battle of the Civil War. Morgan Freeman exudes paternal strength and wisdom as the eldest member of the platoon. Andre Braugher, Cary Elwes, Jihmi Kennedy, and a brilliant Denzel Washington (winner of "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar) make this film a genuine classic.

    Making small but significant contributions to the film are Jane Alexander as Shaw's mother and veteran Raymond St. Jacques (his last role) as Frederick Douglas.

    A further nod of praise goes to James Horner's masterful score. His music, along with the harmonies of the Boys Choir Of Harlem provides as glorious a background as is the inspirational story itself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great American Movie!
    This is one of the most historically acurate films about the Civil War. Not only that, it's one of the best acted and best shot movie in many years. Denzel Washington's performance is worth the Oscar he recieved. Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman are also exceptional. It's an unforgetable film about an event that changed the course of history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN!
    Matthew Broderick is AMAZING buy it and you won't be disapointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars American tragedy
    For so long, the image of the Civil War has existed in the collective American mind as a series of sepia-tone Matthew Brady photographs: ghoulish and nightmarish landscapes littered with bodies and body parts. However, with the notable exceptions of his portraits of the field generals, there is a sort of anonymity to the corpses in Brady's works. In one of GONE WITH THE WIND's most powerful scenes, scores upon scores of wounded soldiers lie in the streets, until they appear to be one large, unidentifiable mass of pain--which was the filmmaker's point. Edward Zwick's GLORY was one of the first films to put a human face and individuality to those who fought and died in America's most brutal years. Based upon the true story of Boston's young colonel, Robert Shaw, and his efforts to allow his all African-American outfit (the "54th") to fight on the side of the Union, GLORY is one of those rare films that successfully combines history with movie-making.

    Wonderful performances abound in this powerful film: Washington, Broderick, Freeman and Elwes all give their best efforts. But the real star of the show is the camera. The battle sequences, as other reviewers have mentioned, are horrific, as is the scene in the triage tent. (THIS MOVIE IS NOT FOR PEOPLE WITH WEAK STOMACHS.) But the scenes in between, the relatively quiet ones, have as great an impact. I especially have in mind the training sequences. In another director's hands, the scenes in which the troops begin understanding each other, and as the officers begin understanding their troops could have wound up a syrupy mess. Instead, their horrible predicament unites them in an unsentimental, yet sensitive manner. Zwick's camera-work throughout is exemplary, making GLORY one of the best films about America's most tragic episodes. ... Read more


    11. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
    Director: Stanley Kramer
    list price: $14.95
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    Asin: 0767821483
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1565
    Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    Spencer Tracy's last performance was in this well-meaning, handsome film by Stanley Kramer about a pair of white parents (Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) trying to make sense of their daughter's impending marriage to an African American doctor (Sidney Poitier). The film has been knocked over the years for padding conflict and stoking easy liberalism by making Poitier's character in every socioeconomic sense a good catch: But what if Kramer had made this stranger a factory worker? Would the audience still find it as easy to accept a mixed-race relationship? But there's no denying the drawing power of this movie, which gets most of its integrity from the stirring performances of Tracy and Hepburn. When the former (who had been so ill that the production could not get completion insurance) gives a speech toward the end about race, love, and much else, it's impossible not to be affected by the last great moment in a great actor's life and career. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

    Reviews (64)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An All-time Classic
    Aside from calmly, reasonably confronting a social taboo of the '60s -- racially mixed marriages -- in a thoughtful, touching manner, this film features career-high performances from several of Hollywood's finest. Spencer Tracy is absolutely brilliant in his final screen appearance as the avowed liberal newspaper publisher Matt Drayton, who, along with his idealistic wife (a role that earned Katherine Hepburn her second Best Actress Oscar) learns that their barely-20-year-old daughter is planning to elope with a black physician (played with cool passion by Sidney Poitier). The story evolves from Poitier's confidence in the two shocked parents that, without their full approval, the marriage will not go on -- and there are only hours to decide. Add his parents to the mix, and as the list of dinner guests grows so does the tension. Aside from the marvelous script, memorable performances and outstanding direction, photography and music there is a chemistry in the mix that truly creates an energy greater than the sum of its parts -- and when the parts are this good, the result is a film for the ages that goes straight to the heart of themes like love, passion, prejudice and family conflict. In the end love does conquor all in Tracey's powerful final speech, made more poignant by a visibly moved and misty Hepburn -- perhaps cognizant that she was witnessing the final curtain call of a great actor. This is the magic Hollywood is capable of, a movie that re-affirms one's faith in the ideals of love and equality, and certainly belongs in every collection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars; Needs Historical/Cultural Context Remembered
    The Story: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play the parents of young Katharine Houghton, who brings home her well-educated fiancee to meet the parents. The parents are not expecting their daughter's fiancee, a physician, to be African-American, but Sidney Poitier certainly is. The film focuses on the parents' discomfort over the biracial marriage.

    When the story begins, it's easy to think that the movie studios were aiming to do two things: make one more movie with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (this was his last film, and he was quite ill during its making); and make a simple statement about racial tolerance. This film could easily have ended up with a very contrived, forced air to it. But, that doesn't happen when you put Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier together in a film. The cast rises above the simplicity of the premise. Some have said that making Poitier's character a well-educated doctor weakened the racial conflict potential, but I lived just outside of Detroit in 1967, and ANY biracial marriage was a controversial idea to base a film upon. It also put the race issue right on the table, as the parents had no basis upon which to object to their daughter's marriage, except for their discomfort over the race issue.

    Overall, if the viewer remembers when this film was made, the quality of the cast makes it a real winner.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Bit Prepackaged for My Taste
    More like 3.5 stars. There's nothing particularly wrong with this movie but it's not the genius its been made out to be either. It's not nearly as daring as it likes to think it is. He's a wealthy, smart, sophisticated mature professional. She's an airhead. He's black and she's white. He's a catch and a half and she's a twit. The real question should not be why does she want to marry a black man but rather what he sees in her. Of course they will have problems with the intolerant aspects of society. Of course their children will be teased and mistreated by racist adults and ignorant children. But this film was made in the late 60's, not the late 30's. It's also set in San Francisco (Liberal Heaven) and not in rural Mississippi. The white girl's parents are liberals through and through. Poitier's character's parents are a working man & his wife from Los Angeles. Notice how Tracy's character does not object to his daughter marrying a black man but is deeply concerned by how a mixed couple & their children will be received in society. This movie gives itself every break it possibly can to ease its way down a receptive audience's throat.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Boring...
    This movie has been hailed as being a great piece of work; I tried to watch it. I really did and I could not do it. Portier plays his role well; but then again it is not like he has to act; he just has to be himself. Stay away from this miserable piece(...).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Landmark film about racial prejudice
    Considered a landmark film, it addresses racial prejudice and interracial marriage in a time when sixteen states in America still upheld laws that made miscegenation a crime. It is important to pay attention to past racial and ethnic issues, in order to understand those today and to see whether any 'progress' towards a more 'tolerant' society has been made. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is an entertaining, straightforward and well-meant film that will hopefully make students aware of the controversy of interracial relationships throughout the decades and centuries even. Being a child of mixed race parents, I find the film meaningful in showing two people of different races, being very much in love and very willing to face all the social obstacles their interracial relationship is bound to encounter.
    Summary
    In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner the 23-year-old, white, upper class Joanna "Joey" Drayton (Katharine Houghton) brings home her fiancé John Wade Prentice (Sidney Poitier) to meet her parents. When he turns out to be a distinguished 37-year-old black doctor, the "liberal" progressive parents (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) are forced to re-examine their beliefs regarding interracial marriage and are given one single day to do so. Before the parents can get all of their objections sorted out, they have John's parents coming to dinner as well. Both sets of parents have reservations about this union, but try to come to terms with the interracial marriage.
    Discussion
    Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? raises several questions or issues that might be interesting to discuss after viewing it. The film's main themes are interracial relationships and prejudice, and it advocates a mixed race marriage, which makes it a very progressive movie for the 1960s. Considered progressive as well are Joey's 'liberal' parents who have raised their daughter not to be prejudiced and they have done this successfully, with her 'lack of' prejudice extending to her being able to fall in love with an African American. The parents are then left to consider whether they really believe in their acclaimed 'liberal thinking' and this may raise important questions with the viewing audience. Are human beings really as liberal or conservative as they think they are when it comes to practicing what they preach?
    If it is not race that prevents the parents (the fathers in particular), both Joanna's and John's, from approving the marriage, what is?
    The only objection to the interracial marriage vocalized in the film is the harsh treatment they will most likely receive from society. Although this is a valid and probably accurate objection, it is debatable on whether the fathers do not have more personal objections. The movie glosses over the subject of interracial marriage without getting too detailed, but the concern on whether the couple understands the adversity they will face if they go ahead with their interracial marriage is very clear.
    The themes addressed in the film were still much of a taboo in the 1960s, so in order to merely create a 'mild controversy', the director seems to have made the relationship between John and Joey as 'acceptable' as possible. Infallible and with impeccable credentials as a prize-winning doctor and working for the World Health Organization, John is portrayed as an in-laws dream. The character is in every socioeconomic sense a 'good catch': What parent would not want him as a son-in-law? But what if the director had made the fiancé a factory worker? Would the audience still find it as easy to accept a mixed-race relationship?
    Also, to reduce the seriousness of the racial themes, the film is presented as a comedy. This means that conservative viewers can laugh about it while telling themselves that these events would never really happen. Finally, Joey and John avoid their biggest challenge by intending to live abroad for John's work. Therefore, they will not have to cope with the racial tensions in the country and they will not have to combine two communities and identities or have to pick one over the other.
    When it was released it 1967, Guess Who`s Coming to Dinner reflected upon the changing race relation in America. Interracial intimacy and marriage in particular were delicate themes to discuss, which makes this film so important, both at that time as well as today. The individual right to choose a sexual partner, select a spouse and raise a family could not be fully exercised in all of the United States up until the Loving decision in 1967, which banned anti-miscegenation laws. Although these laws disappeared, the prejudices that had always accompanied them, could not be banned so easily. They persisted, despite the colour blind ideal.
    The fact that the Joey's father is an intellectual liberal forced to face his own buried prejudices gives the film an important message that should still be considered today. On some deeply personal level many people are still prejudiced, no matter how hard they try to tell themselves otherwise. In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Spencer Tracy's character comes to this realization, but is able to put his objections for his daughter's happiness. The film chooses to be colour blind like Joey's father and lets pure and simple love instead of race be the basis for a successful marriage. Or as Matt Drayton argues in his 'final analysis' in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner:
    "[...] in the final analysis it doesn't matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel for each other. And if it's half of what we felt ... that's everything". ... Read more


    12. Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
    Director: Melvin Van Peebles
    list price: $19.98
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    Asin: B0000714EY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5928
    Average Customer Review: 2.92 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Baadasssss is Bad asss
    This movie was revolutionary. Unfortunately it spark the blaxploitation era in cinema, a genre of low budget kill whitey flics, that with their high violence, low budgets, and great soundtracks(minus the political message of Sweetback) began to define an era in cinema when black directors where able to make black movies with black cast in leading roles. Released independently by Melvin Van Peoples in 1971 at a time when blacks in the cinema was next to non-existent (unless they were docile and shuffling their feet). Sweetback tells the story of a man that has had enough of the man and fights back. This movie was revolutionary from its polititcal message to its cinematography. The cinematography of this film which set the president for all other blaxploitation movies to follow was amazing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This film is for people who can appreciate independent films
    This is a great film. The story line isn't completely coherent, but the cinematography is great, the soundtrack is great and the cast is great. The film edits and audio layering are so seventies but, so sweet; reminiscent of seventies porn (I'm not even talking about the sex scenes). I'm really glad I picked this one up. This film is for people who can appreciate independent films.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Please let's get serious ....
    I bought this DVD based on a .... believe it or not .... three star review in USA Today film selections last week. The negative reviews didn't scare me because I have seen campy, thought provoking movies get drubbed before and I had to see for myself.

    This DVD has hit the high point as to the worst garbage ever put on a DVD. The acting is the pitts, if you can call it acting. Matter of fact th other people watching with me had to keep asking if the hero of the film, played by Melvin Peebles, talked or if he was dumb. To even bring up cinematography and the name of this DVD in the same sentence is ludicrous. The one song track is so badly played it's repeated ad infinitum just in case you didn't get to hate it in the first place.

    Toward the end of the movie, at least one quarter of the film by the way deals with short shots of a minute or less of Van Peebles running from the man through the brush, the sewer, the street, tunnels, railroad tracks, desert, parks, highways .... you get the picture .... To make matters worse, the best part of the movie was when after wearing the same crushed gold velour jump suit, and dark shirt, for the WHOLE movie during the last five minutes he FINALLY managed to convince a vagrant to change clothes with his ....

    Finally, to equate this film with any sort of greatness of black society and their creative ability is really doing an injustice ...... please please please just because it's done by and about blacks does NOT make this DVD great .....

    I am however giving serous consideration to cancelling my USA subscription!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Sweet Melvin's Horrible Asssss Movie
    This is one of the worst motion pictures ever made and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. Forget the technical stuff-bad lighting, worse acting and no screenplay to speak of, this is boring, incoherent and almost unwatchably slow. It gets a lot of credit for being the grandaddy of "Blaxploitation" cinema, but the truth is black movies were about to happen anyway and this one just happened to get there first. If I could give this zero stars, I would, but unfortunately one is as low as you can go. Unmitigated crap!!!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Baaaaaddddd DVD quality
    This movie may have been groundbreaking in its day, but the DVD is horrendous in terms of image and sound quality. Why wasn't this film cleaned up if it's an anniversary edition? The image has too much debris and the crackling and hissing in several sections of the soundtrack is annoying.

    Some of the acting is amateurish, but there are moments when the cinematography, editing, and directing is excellent. I would given the movie 5 stars for its uniqueness alone had it not been for this grotesque DVD transfer! ... Read more


    13. Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Spike Lee
    list price: $26.99
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    Asin: B0006J28L4
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 24148
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    14. Waiting to Exhale
    Director: Forest Whitaker
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $17.98
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    Asin: B00000ILEE
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 13741
    Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Chick flick? Yes. But men will laugh too!
    I think this movie would have gotten a more informed review from movie critics who could actually relate to the African-American female experience. If you have lived the Black female experience, then you will realize why women flocked to this movie in droves, dragging their husbands and boyfriends along with them. Finally, someone was telling a story about the joy and support of friendship, the pain and anger of loss of love. At the same time, the cinematographer made Black people look beautiful on-screen.

    Best scenes, Bernadine (Angela Bassett) destroying her ungrateful husband's material possessions, then meeting the surprise man of her dreams. People refer to this as a man-bashing story, but I'd like to point out there were actually two men who revealed themselves as strong, loyal, and moral characters in the movie.

    Written by Terry McMillan, directed by Forest Whitaker, and acted by a strong ensemble cast - notably Angela Bassett (who can do no wrong in film), Loretta Devine, and Gregory Hines. Waiting to Exhale was the precursor to Soul Food, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Eve's Bayou, Love Jones and more films featuring a Black, ensemble cast. Hollywood, are you listening? There is a market for these movies!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
    Depending on who you are, Terry McMillan's 1992 novel "Waiting to Exhale" is either a blessing or a dreaded curse. McMillan's third novel about four African American women struggling to attain stability, identity, and normalcy in Phoenix was praised in some circles for giving contemporary Black women a much-needed voice. But in other circles, mostly male, "Waiting to Exhale" was ripped to shreds as a spiteful and ungrounded damnation of Black men as philanderers, deadbeats, and no-good-dooers. It also made McMillan the biggest literary target of criticsm since Alice Walker unleashed her novel "the Color Purple." But whatever your take on the book is, the film adaptation won't likely change your stance, as it stays overall faithful to the book. Director Forest Whitaker does a respectable job bringing to life these characters: Savannah (Whitney Houston) is the buppie still in search for Mr. Right; Bernadine (Angela Bassett) just got dumped by her husband of 11 years for a white woman; Robin (Lela Rochon) is the ditzy bimbo still trying to shake off her no-good ex, and Gloria (Loretta Devine) is the full-figured owner of a successful hair salon. The best performances, hands down, are Bassett and Devine, who make the best impressions, and they help keep the film moving at a good pace. The script, co-written by McMillan, is crisp with enough funny one-liners and a story compelling enough to keep the viewer interested. But there are flaws. Whitney Houston struggles in her role as Savannah; her performance is wooden and forced, and when paired against a seasoned pro like Bassett, she flat out crumbles. A more relaxed approach to the material would have helped. Also, memo to Black filmmakers: drop the swishy gay hairdresser stereotype! It's tired, done a million times before, and, frankly, is grossly out of touch with reality. That aside, it's not often that a movie successfully adapts a novel as well as this one, and "Waiting to Exhale," warts and all, merits a B in my school of cinema.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Blah Blah Blah @ The Critiquing Of This Movie
    This is a great movie, will definately keep you laughing at the Diva's in this movie. So what the movie is not as good and thorough as the book(what movie is?) I mean if you want ever detailed in a book put on screen then we will still be sitting in the movie theatre trying to see the end.

    2-0 out of 5 stars good
    This should have been better but Angela Bassett's performance was the best, so I guess it's worth a watch.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "No she di-uhn": A different type of review
    Okay, so I've read every review on this movie, and none of them touch upon the things that I (and most of my friends) personally think make this movie great. One might say this movie is man-bashing, woman-empowering, etc, etc, and while it IS about these things, I think that those aspects pale in comparison to why this movie is great for me: these women are such DIVAS, it's RIDICULOUSLY hilarious! The lines that come out of their mouths, and the situations that they get themselves into are utterly jaw-dropping, causing you to say "NO SHE DIDN'T" just say that! "No, she DIDN'T just do that!" "NO SHE DIDN'T" just have sex with a man and say "my body NEEDS this!" You are constantly left absolutely amazed with the boldness, brashness, and utter DIVA-ness of these crazy hoochie ghetto mamas, who do and say the things that you wouldn't dare do yourself. If you are into seeing beautiful black divas who know they da sh*t, work their bad-a** selves and shake their booties, and still come out clean without breakin their acrylic nails, then you will think this movie is off the hizzy. If you don't understand what I just meant when I said all that, then you probably won't appreciate the humor in these BLACK DIVAS! ... Read more


    15. The Brothers
    Director: Gary Hardwick
    list price: $14.95
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    Asin: B00005LB86
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 8142
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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    Think of it as a male version of Waiting to Exhale. The Brothers similarly features four good friends who offer each other advice and support as they navigate the strange and treacherous waters of romantic relationships. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) is a doctor with serious commitment problems; he has dreams about a woman in a bridal gown aiming a gun at him. Brian (Bill Bellamy) is a lawyer with a caustic view of the opposite sex, inspired in large part by his untrusting and unaffectionate mother; he also has commitment problems. Upwardly mobile professional Terry (Shemar Moore) is a well-muscled womanizer who's finally decided to settle down, but as the wedding draws close it becomes clear that he, too, has commitment problems. Fortunately, the fourth member of the quartet, Derrick (D.L. Hughley), is married and devoted to his family--except that his wife refuses to engage in anything but straight missionary sex, which Derrick sees as manipulative. The Brothers depicts a glamorous world in which everyone is good-looking and well dressed; the number of characters makes it hard to delve into anyone's life with any depth, but the actors are engaging and the script makes an effort to look at the "battle of the sexes" from both sides. The immensely charming Gabrielle Union (from Bring It On) plays the girl who just might convince Jackson to give up his single ways. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    5-0 out of 5 stars impressed
    This movie is about true friendship triumphing over a number of impositions. The friendship first between the four main characters, the brothers get over their own self pride, to realise that friendship is support, not just giving your own opinion. Morris Chestnut who plays his role extremely well is just an average man with the fears every man has, he is afraid to commit to any woman, or when he does it always seems to turn bad for him because he just doesnt give it his all. Until the ever so talented and beautiful Gabrielle Union(Denise), comes into his life. He makes it obvious that he is not interested in a relationship. This doesnt last long as sex drags its arse into it, to find out the rest u would have to watch it, you will not be disappointed, this movie is definetly for everyone. 5 thumbs up. Enjoy.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Oh brother.....what a disappointment this movie is.
    The Brothers tries to copy Waiting to Exhale. However that film adaptation made the same mistake this film makes: The four men do not become characters who tell their own stories; they become caricatures of types of black men we all know. These stereotypes include the misogynist, the womanizer, the family man and the nice guy who finishes last. If these are the good brothers then I'm worried. Most of these guys only cared about money, clothes, cars and sex. I wanted some dimension to their personalities that would make them into real people onscreen.
    There was a great story here sadly, the writer couldn't tell it because the shallow producers decided to show pretty pictures of handsome actors wearing expensive designer clothes driving nice cars living in the lap of luxury. I wondered where the character development was. The relationships the Brothers have with the each other seemed contrived. These actors never bonded like "Brothers." There was no chemistry between them; the only thing they had in common was the paycheck they got for this film. "Brother" means someone you're very close to; I didn't get that feeling watching these four guys onscreen.
    The relationships these "Brothers" have with the women in their lives seemed convoluted as well. Falling in love in this film happens overnight; there is no natural progression to the romance. Morris Chestnut's character meets Gabrielle Union in the park, in one frame they meet and the next they're in bed and in another they're in love. Their big conflict: She used to date his Father-come on! Shemar Moore's character is saying he's a reformed womanizer and is getting married after having a two-month relationship! He gets cold feet and his jilted lover comes back to attack him with a gun in the climax of the film. DL Hughley says he wants to divorce his wife for not orally pleasuring him. Bill Bellamy's character is a misogynist because his mother treated him badly. I kept waiting for the stories of these brothers to get interesting but they went nowhere at all.
    I found a surprising amount of misogyny in the undertones of this movie. Why were all the women dressed in low-cut belly baring shirts? Why did the DL Hughley character feel he should divorce his wife because he wanted oral sex? Why were all the girlfriends dressed so sexy in most of the scenes? Where was the respect for the sisters? I'd like to have seen some balance in this film; show us some positive images of strong black women standing next to the images of positive black men.
    I hate to give this film a bad review. I know everyone who worked on it was trying to create a positive message about responsible black men. However the whole movie comes off as shallow and half-hearted. I give props to DL Hughley, Shemar Moore Morris Chestnut, Bill Bellamy, Gabrielle Union, Tamala Jones, Marla Gibbs and the rest of the cast for their work on this film, but I really expected the writer, producers and director to do a better job with this film. Rent if you really have to see it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Male version of Waiting to Exhale
    Okay the movie is not fantastic, but I liked it anyway. 4 men in different stages of their relationships. I pretty much thought of the movie as a Male version of Waiting to Exhale. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) has major commitment problems. Brian (Bill Bellamy) you will eventually figure out his relationship woes are due to the relationship he had with his mom giving him his jaded views on love. Terry (Shemar Moore) finally decides to settle down, and right before the big day, he let's his commitment phobia shine through. Derrick (D.L. Hughley), is married and devoted to his family. His problem? His wife refuses to have oral sex with him, and it's causing serious isses with their relationship. The movie has some funny moment and the acting though not academy award winning was decent. I happen to love the movie and I've watched my copy a few times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!
    Why? Because it was great to finally see a movie with some brothers who weren't gang bangers, had jobs, and discuss their relationships and fears/frustrations the same way women do. I only hope that black hollywood can keep churning out movies like this because it is needed.

    Morris Chestnut does a great job as usual, looking fine as ever. Shemar Moore, Bill Bellamy and DL Hughley (who is funnier here than on his own show) are fantastic as well. I'm sure you have seen/read the reviews and know the plot--so what are you waiting for? Go buy the damm DVD and check it out!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it too much
    I tried to get into this movie, but it just didn't click with me mainly because I don't like Gabrielle Union. She's just not a good actress to me. She's alright when she's playing the antagonist role to the main character because I don't have to like her, but when she's playing the lead role and I'm forced to cheer for her, it just doesn't work for me. But besides my dislike for Miss Union, I still didn't get into this film I guess because it was like the male version of Waiting to Exhale and being a woman I couldn't relate. Also another thing that bothered me was that the male leads didn't really mesh well together as best friends, it was like they were just forced together. Don't get me wrong I love all of the male leads, but together they just didn't click. ... Read more


    16. Africans in America
    Director: Susan Bellows, Noland Walker, Jacquie Jones, Orlando Bagwell, Llewellyn Smith
    list price: $59.95
    our price: $53.96
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    Asin: B00004U2MR
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 14437
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW! THIS HAS TO BE SEEN!
    You won't be the same after watching this amazing well done documentary. There are moments that will move you to tears. It's a declaration that Black American history IS AMERICAN HISTORY! How can an American go through life not knowing so many famous names like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, you don't get more American than that. EXCELLENT, a must buy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars AFRICANS IN AMERICA!
    Originally produced for PBS in 1998, this DVD includes all four installments of this POWERFUL DOCUMENTARY! The focus here is on SLAVERY IN AMERICA, starting with JAMESTOWN in 1607 and ending with the start of the CIVIL WAR in 1861! This documentary combines FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS and HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS with INTERVIEWS with not only historians but the descendants of those slaves! This might be the FINEST look at America's PECULIAR INSTITUTION available on DVD!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very moving series
    I actually watched this series when it was on PBS a couple of years ago and it almost brought me to tears. It was incredibly sad to hear about the way that the slaves were treated.

    This video would be a great learning experience for classes. I am thinking about using it as an visual aide for my speech on slavery in NY.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a journey that every American must make.
    Narrated by Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett, "Africans in America" is the first television/video documentary which works to chronicle the full history of slavery in America. The documentary is an incredibily ambitious effort that employs relevant scholarly data, interviews with noted historians, lively story-telling, and vivid accounts from slave descendants to detail, in four ninety-minute episodes, events from when Black and White indentured servants worked side by side (the colonial era) to the freedom from slavery that came at the end of the Civil War. "Africans in America" could not come at at a better time, when issues of racial strife continue to have a stranglehold on this nation. By looking at our racial past, we may be able to understand our racial present and future. The first part of the documentary, "The Terrible Transformation," details the origins of slavery in America. It dispels misconceptions that slavery was a sudden, full-blown institution. Rather, it shows that during the early 17th century slavery became institutionalized over many decades, law by law. Part two, "Revolution," focuses on the popularity of slavery in both the South and North, and on George Washington's role in legalizing slavery. Again, little known facts are highlighted, such as the role slaves played as combatants in the American Revolution. Part three, "Brotherly Love," turns to the then capital of the nation, Philadelphia, to recount how the government recommitted to slavery for Blacks while promising Whites liberty. This part also explores how the White scientific community worked to link the Black race with biological inferiority, thereby justifying the enslavement of African Americans. The final part of the documentary, "Judgment," covers antebellum and post-antebellum years. It reminds us of the constitutional amendment to free the slaves. More importantly, this final part challenges viewers to consider if slavery was really an inevitable institution, and, based on past behaviors, whether this country can ever gain racial harmony. "Africans in America" is thorough-- it took 10 years and millions of dollars to produce. It was shot on location across 12 states and 3 continents. It draws upon documents, scholars' insights, and a few well-knows such as Gen. Colin Powell. In all, it is a masterful educative effort. This is a journey that every American must make-- preferably through more than one viewing-- so that salient events are understood and so that we may begin to comprehend that the journey to racial reconcilation is far from over.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best teaching instrument to date on the issue of slavery
    I have always been interested in the issue of slavery. This video series is like none I have ever seen before, it is excellent! Its as if there are hundreds of slave narratives combined with countless facts and documents to back them up. These videos are more than history, they are windows into the the lives and hearts of American slaves. I would recommend this to any American, whether you are black or white. It is time for the truth. ... Read more


    17. Naqoyqatsi
    Director: Godfrey Reggio
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $14.99
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    Asin: B00005JLIA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1501
    Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (49)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Part three is a mixed blessing
    Like its predecessor films, this is an exquisite blend of sight and sound, featuring eye-popping imagery and gorgeous music. Once again, composer Philip Glass (accompanied by master cellist Yo Yo Ma) brings his minimalist stylings to bear on a score that is almost perfectly married to the visual content. (The soundtrack is available, and I highly recommend it). It is the music that ultimately distinguishes this film, because director Godfrey Reggio comes very close to sabotaging an otherwise excellent effort. The message here--that the forces of information, technology, and violence are threatening the continued existence of life on this earth--is almost drowned in a sea of flashy graphics and hyperactive camera work, processed imagery and synthetic visuals, all connected by sometimes thin narratives. It borders on overkill, like an MTV video gone mad, and there are points where the message gets lost in a sea of graphic imagery. That's a shame, because Reggio's previous efforts ("Koyaanisqatsi" and "Powaqqatsi," both highly recommended) made extraordinary statements about social justice and humanity's place in the world. This one does as well, but comes very close to missing the mark.

    In addition to this trilogy, I also recommend Ron Fricke's "Baraka," another mesmerizing blend of sight and sound.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great End to A Great Trilogy
    I bought the Naqoyqatsi DVD yesterday and have watched it two times since. My first impression was that this third in the Qatsi Trilogy was a lot like the first film only more hectic. I watched it a second time and it seemed a lot slower and not just a jumble of flashy digital images. On first viewing, I found the ending a bit disappointing but on the second viewing I was allowed to look more into the images. The film is great piece of art but still isn't as coheisive as Koyaanisqatsi. The music is probably what holds Naqoyqatsi together so well. The marriage of image and music is perfect.
    The DVD has a extremely short clip of Steven Soderburg and Godfrey Reggio talking about the film which isn't all that important. There is a conversation with Yo-yo Ma and Phillip Glass which is nice to have on the DVD but really doesn't give that much insight on the movie. Probably the best extra of the DVD is the NYU Panel Discussion with Godfrey Reggio, Phillip Glass, and Visual Designer Jon Kane.
    Some could call this just one long MTV video but I think it holds more substance than that. The message of the film could definitely be different for everyone but, I find that the message of the movie is that life is a stuggle, a struggle against technology, society, religion, and the future. Personally this is my second favorite "qatsi" film, second only to the first film. This is a great conclusion to a wonderful trilogy and should not be missed by fans of the Qatsi trilogy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Psychonatigated blissfulness of the holly allah [gati]
    A Journey for the minds eye, portal to the unknow. This shows you nothing and everything. Projecteed in a way to let you interpret the data in your own way. To view in as they say [eye candy] A psychodelic exploration of our world as a whole, a raw naked experience of our existence and fetish love. Or as a vissual interpretation of the spectrum of our world and what we do to it and or create. I do not believe in any way that watching all three of the films you are missing much that is out their in terms of what everything is catogorized in all of our american lives. Corperate greed, lusk, ideals, growth, poverty, raw, over stimulization, love beauty, hate, audio and visual awakenness, To really show us who we are and what we saposidelly need. The film is pressented in an all visual scences, some things we can just see to fully comprehend, some things are better unspoken. If you get tired of the current sound track change it feel free to breath new life into it everytime you watch it, our world changes why shouldnt this. Jah Wobbles solaris works very well, Or any Bill Laswells records. This Is by far the most raw psyconavigated piece of work ive ever come in contact with. Be awaken by this reality dream of beauty and dismay. Dont be afraid the future is hear now.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Effective
    Reggio has been lambasted to no end regarding this film, with most arguments against it more or less in opposition to his use of digital tools and technology in the creation of the visuals, the necessary bi-products of a digital, commodified age, a dehumanising practise which he is ostensibly critiquing. That criticism notwithstanding, the unending parade of seemingly arbitrary and/or obvious visual signs which are thrust at the viewer without much differentiation or care seems to frustrate viewers of Reggio's "art". I think that it is quite a stroke of genius to do this; in this film the form closely matches the content. It reflects the dreary, non-individualised, cyber/hyper consumer world very well, a world where the arbitrary image of a giraffe/zebra (on, say, a nature programme) can be set alongside an ad for coca-cola. There is no necessary link between the two, but we, as unassuming consumers of signs and imagery, do not notice this problem, it has become 'natural'. I believe that the imagery has been modified, warped (etc) to scare us into a realisation of how un-natural many of the ways we consume and see the world are. The critique proffered here has to be looked for. It is all on the surface. There is, necessarily, no depth to the film and its imagery.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Last Thoughts on a Thirty Year Long Polemical Effort
    Director Godfrey Reggio and Composer Philip Glass, in 1975, began work on a trilogy of films, that collectively take on as their dominant theme, the disintegration and fragmentation of modern civilized life. The trilogy begins with 1982's "Koyaanisqatsi", which deals with the "way of life" of the peoples of the northern hemisphere. 1988's "Powaqqatsi" speaks of the influence of that way of life on the more primitive peoples of the Southern Hemisphere. This 2002 film, "Naqoyqatsi", both explores and attempts to predict, what life will be like in the globalized world of the future.

    All three films form an abstract wordless narrative structure, achieved solely through the use of traditional or digital cinematography, accompanied by a musical soundtrack from composer Philip Glass. The titles of these films come from Hopi Indian philosophies, yet the vision of the films is not that of the Hopi peoples, but primarily that of director Godfrey Reggio, who left a Christian monastic life during his teenage years in order to better engage with the world.

    It is difficult to determine what influence that monastic upbringing had on Reggio's vision, however. In Christian apocalyptic literature, such as in "The Book of Revelations", a story is constructed "in which the secrets of the heavenly world or of the world to come are revealed by angelic mediation within a narrative framework". "Naqoyqatsi" is not properly a part of that tradition, though it's dominant theme still seems to be the disorder of a world which is rapidly approaching a tragic end.

    Extreems of love and despair both achieve their psychological power in a person's mind by denying contradictory evidence of their opposite. Extreems of love deny any quality of flaw in the beloved, while extreems of despair deny any possibility of a future communion with goodness. Clearly, the theme of "Naqoyqatsi" is a kind of "totalism" of despair, which utterly denies any of the fragile joys we experience in this life.

    The images we see in the film are all true, yet a viewer is compelled to make some sense of their own personal journey within this contemporary life. Indeed, one feels obligated to seek a meaning beyond the "Naqoyqatsi" message. Ultimately, that is why this reviewer does not find Reggio's vision to be personally satisfying, even though these films are an astonishing artistic success. Within the qatsi world view, Reggio leaves the audience with little hope of finding eventual solace. ... Read more


    18. Set It Off
    Director: F. Gary Gray
    list price: $14.97
    our price: $13.47
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    Asin: 6305505799
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 8519
    Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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    Even when it misses a dramatic opportunity in favor of generic action, Set It Off benefits from a sharp understanding of its well-drawn central characters. They're a quartet of young African American women in Los Angeles (Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise), all struggling against a system that seems designed to prevent them from realizing their dreams. The movie establishes their plight with credible attention to emotional detail, making their decision to rob banks believable enough to give the ensuing plot its inevitably tragic momentum. Cowritten by the screenwriter of What's Love Got to Do With It?, the film conveys genuine compassion for its characters, and the ensemble cast is uniformly strong--especially Queen Latifah as a brash lesbian whose fate is as certain as her forceful attitude.

    Set It Off expresses a real sense that these women have been close friends for years, and that gives the film additional impact, even when their transition to crime and violence feels somewhat forced and superficial. A romantic subplot involving Pinkett and a social-climbing banker (Blair Underwood) is too contrived to be convincing, and director F. Gary Gray (Friday) tries too hard to combine hard-hitting action with social relevance (a weakness shared by Gray's following film, The Negotiator). Still, Set It Off effectively avoids passing judgment; its emotional complexity transcends simple notions of right and wrong, injecting vitality--and a kind of renegade integrity--into the traditions of a familiar plot. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amateurish but entertaining
    "Set it Off" is far from remarkable, but it's amiable and entertaining. The screenplay was definitely written by amateurs, packing as much melodrama into the storyline as possible. First we introduce the character of Jada Pinkett's brother. She's like a mother figure to him, since their parents are dead. He's a nice guy, gets into a fight with his sister and flees the house. It's no surprise when he turns out dead two scenes later. Then Kimberly Elise's child accidentally swallows some household substances and the custody of the kid is handed over to child services. We have Vivica A. Fox who got fired from her job at the bank and Queen Latifah who's just plain crazy. Basically, the character motivations seem ripped from a soap opera.

    The film is predictable from the get-go, so just strap in for the ride. Don't expect high-class writing and high-class direction, especially from the guy who made "Friday." Don't get me wrong, that was a good movie, but like "Set it Off" it's only valuable as lightweight entertainment.

    One thing I have to say is this is one black movie that didn't go for the humdrum "white people bad, black people good" premise. I assumed that was the direction the film was going after watching the first scene in which the white bank manager fires Vivica for not following procedure, totally ignoring the fact that she was at gunpoint, along with everyone else in the bank. But then we get introduced to the other two managers, who are both black and both sleazy. Not to say that black people are sleazy; it's just good knowing that the writers weren't associating the term "white" with "sleazy" and didn't see the characters in terms of color. Even the John C. McGinley character, the detective who is out to get the four women, isn't entirely sadistic.

    SPOILERS AHEAD

    There are a few moments that are just too silly for their own good. Are you telling me two cops are gonna be so distracted by an obnoxious vagrant that they'll totally disregard a bank robbery (literally) taking place right behind them? As I said, you can tell this was written by amateurs. And then we have Queen Latifah driving through the bank in a minivan, which is stupid in the first place and shown simply for cinematic pretentiousness, and the four women drive out, still not being actively pursued by the cops. Latifah makes one turn and suddenly she loses the cops altogether? That's too much disbelief to suspend. And of course, in the usual cinematic tradition, the minor characters have to die first. Kimberly Elise dies in standard operatic fashion--in someone's arms, saying her last words. Only in the movies can someone die like that 90 % of the time.

    The acting is pretty good, though sometimes hammy. When Jada sees her brother dead on the street, screaming and crying out, "Whyyyyy!!" (I could be paraphrasing), that was too much. Latifah's role as a crazy thug wasn't much of a stretch, especially since this film was made back in her hip-hop days. She is a fine actress, though, and I prefer her more mature roles in films like "Living Out Loud." John C. McGinley and Blair Underwood add a touch of class.

    If F. Gary Gray weren't so dependent on melodrama and big action spectacles to create tension, this wouldn't been a much more compelling film. Maybe someone like John Singleton or the Hughes Brothers could've made this a more powerful film. Just don't set your expectations too high and you should have a good time.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Well, it sure ain't Waiting to Exhale...
    The characters in this story were so believable. One rough and rugged, one sweet and gentle, one sophisticated and wild, and one sensible and laid back. Although these women had such varying personalities, the genuine friendship between the four looked natural and unforced. They lived mundane lives, just struggling to make ends meet. And then, they are faced with trauma that sends them over the edge, one loses her job, and almost her life, in a bank hold-up - and is accused of being involved. Another loses her kid brother after he's shot by police officers when they mistake him for someone else. That's when they decide that the only way to make it out of their situation is to get fast money - by robbing banks. The humor at the beginning of the movie and in the first bank heist disappears, however, as these women become wanted and are risking their lives to pull off one last robbery. By the end of the movie, I felt like I had lost a few good friends.

    This is a great movie with a combination of romance, humor, and hard-hitting action that centers around a group of women (for a change.) - And they don't go out like Thelma and Louise either!

    5-0 out of 5 stars TALENT!!
    It's a great film, with great acting and a great story. Queen Latifah played a shocking part, but she did it well. Jada Pinkett ( one of my favorites) was just as good..., actually all the actresses did a fine job. I defintely recommend people to see this movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Oldie But Goodie
    I love this movie no matter how many times I watch it.My favorite part is where Queen Latifah says to Jada Pinkett-Smith "Look Stoney we HOT then she says I know you not gonna play us for that bumpie at the bank" This shows some camaraderie as sister friends which is really hard to find. This movie also was very sad at certain points with mucho action.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Off the Hook!!!!
    This film is good!!!! 4 ladies finally have enough of the tough life, and come up with a sceme to rob banks so they can get out of the hood. All I have to say is surpurb acting!!! Especially by Queen Latifah. She was just convincing as the lesbian tough gal. All the women in this film were great, and the movie was a good, good film. ... Read more


    19. Rosewood
    Director: John Singleton
    list price: $14.96
    our price: $13.46
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    Asin: 0790732211
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 9429
    Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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    A shameful chapter in American history is powerfully dramatized in Rosewood, but moviegoers in 1997 may not have been ready for the African American equivalent of Schindler's List. And while the massacre that occurred in the nearly all-black town of Rosewood, Florida, in 1922 cannot compare in scale to the Nazi holocaust, it potently illustrates the same issues of racism and inherited intolerance that percolate at every level of human existence. An estimated 40 to 150 blacks were killed in Rosewood by an all-white lynch mob from the neighboring town of Sumner, where a white woman falsely claimed she'd been assaulted by a black man. The resulting mayhem ignited a tinderbox of resentment toward the flourishing citizens of Rosewood, and those few who survived were so traumatized that they remained silent until the truth was revealed by an investigative journalist in 1982.

    The film is blessed with richly authentic production design, lush cinematography, and a subtly effective John Williams score, and director John Singleton and screenwriter Gregory Poirier embellish the truth of Rosewood with a fictional hero named Mann (Ving Rhames), who arrives to buy a five-acre plot coveted by Rosewood's white grocer (John Voight). The emerging trust between these two characters--and the fate of an extended family led by a defiant father (Don Cheadle)--gives shape to the movie's devastating depiction of racism and the courage of those who opposed the lynch mob's brutality. Singleton and Poirier fall prey to some bad dialogue and a broadly unbalanced depiction of bloodthirsty hayseeds, but the film's passion is maintained by its superb cast and the timeless echoes of history. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (30)

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent docu-drama
    What an excellent movie. A moving portrait of the 1922 massacre in Rosewood, Florida. Without shedding too much blood or jeopardizing the truth of the story through unneccessary action, director John Singleton narrates the tragic events over New Years' eve weekend, leading to the destruction of a peaceful black town. Ving Rhames & Jon Voight are the characters crossing the racial lines in their effort to save at least some women & children from the raging crowd. And all, because of a single lie.
    Highly recommended for everybody interested in history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful Filmmaking, Sadly Overlooked
    This tale of a Florida Black town and racism and hatred gone unchecked is one of the most powerful, emotional films I have ever seen. You won't hear about this tragic event in public school, that's for certain. A certifiable massacre, brought about by a WHITE woman's infidelities, this movie still resounds in my head after only one viewing. Ving Rhames as the heroic "Mr. Man" helps save some of Rosewood's citizens from slaughter, but he can't prevent the horror the white mob brings to the town. A haunting example of ignorance unchecked, it's hard to decide whether this is a drama or a horror film. Jon Voight's portrayal of the reluctant shopkeeper is stellar, and the entire cast is wonderful. John Singleton makes great movies that sadly get overlooked. This movie should be known everywhere for it's unflinching depiction of a terrible stain on America's history. A film that would be dangerous to forget.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Shameful Democrat past once again rebuked
    This film reminds us of the horrors that the Southern Democrats inflicted upon African Americans. As Wayne Perryman reminds us in his book, "Unfounded Loyalties",

    "One party and their abolitionist supporters believed the Bible instructed them to lay down their lives for the slaves, the other party and their supporters believed the Bible gave them the right to take the lives of blacks if they rebelled against being slaves.

    "On the issue of slavery, one party and its supporters gave their lives to expand it (to Northern states) and the other party and their supporters gave their lives to ban it.

    "One party was heavily influenced by the Abolitionists and the radical wing of their party ... and the other party was influenced by the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups.

    "One party and its supporters started the Freedman's Bureau and other programs to help build communities for blacks, the other party and their supporters engaged in practices to hinder those efforts and to destroy those communities (Wilmington, North Carolina).

    "One party and its supporters established quality schools and colleges for blacks, the other party and their supporters engaged in practices that attempted to close some of those schools or diminish their quality.

    "One party passed laws and Constitutional Amendments (13th , 14th , 15th) to include blacks as part of mainstream society, the other party passed laws to exclude them from the mainstream (Jim Crow Laws and Black Codes). ..."

    Sadly, many do not know that that "one party" was the Republican Party, while the "other party" was the Democratic Party. I myself didn't know at the time I watched this stirring film. I suppose burning crosses make us assume the bad guys are aligned with the religious right. Unfortunately, the "other party" used a nonsensical interpretation of the "curse of Ham" to justify slavery; fortunately, "one party" saw through it.

    This film is also a great example of how history is being rewritten or dumbed down. While many films have shown lynchings and other abuse of African Americans, they usually leave you with the impression that the bigots were "Bible bashers" ... as you can see, this is only half the truth. Very rarely are we reminded that it was Republicans who laid their lives on the line to defend blacks, based on their Christian faith.

    We are all sinners. Perhaps the shameful past that the Democrats are trying to forget - indeed, most youngsters today do not need to forget, they haven't even been taught - will spur them onto greater deeds that may even outshine the "one party".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful Unfortunate History
    "Rosewood", starring Jon Voight and Ving Rhames, is a gripping true story about an all African-American town that was burned by an all white lynch mob in 1923, which killed many. Its powerful message sends an eyeopening attack in audiences' hearts. The filmmakers deserve tremendous respect for deeply exploring these chain of events to such levels. This was highly necessary for people to understand the impact of violence and racism. The intensity is so groundbreaking that it forces audiences inside the movie. Their research is highly obvious, making it very educational. The movie plot is brilliant, keeping the heart and soul alive in every scene:

    A small town, Rosewood, is usually a peaceful, loving town. In New Years Eve 1922, everything functioned as usual. Around that time, a woman from a nearby town, Sumner, falsely accuses a black person of raping and assaulting her (it was actually a white man, but there was no rape). Once word is out, all hell breaks loose.

    The recreation of the town is perfect. Every detail is flawless, including the styles of the early 1920's. Every building structure and creation is flawless. The costume designs are as flawless, looking like actual 1920's clothing.

    The acting was intensely great. Everyone offers their own heart and soul sense into this movie, making it more powerful. Jon Voight and Ving Rhames capitalize the acting talents. This is Rhames's best role in years. His tough warrior image never fades for a second, which is very convincing. His presentd talents were wrongfully overlooked in the 1997 Acadamy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. Jon Voight's role as a man who comes to terms of what a true ally is. His heartdrenching role forces audiences to feel his character's learning progress and emotions.

    "Rosewood" is a great movie for those looking for an factual intense drama. This will surely educate audiences about reality. This movie will become a classic in the near following years as it deserves.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellant movie about what happened in Rosewood
    I first watched this movie on HBO, after viewing it with my wife we decided to rent it so our children could see what realy happened in Rosewood and learn about history, we are a white family and I feel it is important for my children to learn what realy happened there. After watching the movie we took a ride to the site that was once Rosewood, the only remaining structure is mr. Wrights house, the town is gone, we walked through the area that was once Rosewood and tried to imagine it as it was in the movie, we then went to Sumner and saw the site that was once the mill,we found some relics there, along with some buildings that had housed the residents of Sumner who worked in the mill, we then visited Mr. Wrights grave in Sumner, all in all the movie was great as it taught my family and myself about the history of the town and how horrible racism was back then. ... Read more


    20. What's Love Got To Do With It?
    Director: Brian Gibson
    list price: $14.99
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6305428409
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 4245
    Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (34)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPHANT STORY OF A REAL LIFE SURVIVOR....
    This is an incredible, highly energized film about the life of rock and roll diva, Tina Turner, and her stormy relationship with her controlling and physically abusive husband, Ike Turner. Award calibre performances are turned in by Angela Bassett, as Tina, and Laurence Fishburne, as Ike. They are both absolutely riveting.

    Ms. Bassett plays Tina with all the earthy charm and sexual magnetism of the real life Tina Turner. Laurence Fishburne gives an amazingly effective performance as Ike, at once both repellent and charismatic. The movie focuses on their relationship, one which sowed the seeds for the Tina Turner we know today.

    What started out as a match made in heaven, quickly soured as Tina naturally took the lead musically in their Ike and Tina Turner Revue. When it became clear that Tina was the one for which the fans were clamoring, Ike did not take lightly to being second banana, and their relationship became one of domestic discord and abuse, with Ike easing into the role of abusive husband with relative ease.

    When Tina finally had had enough, she divorced Ike, taking nothing from the marriage except her children and her show business name, the name she earned. From there, she went on to rebuild her life and career, becoming the world reknowned rock and roll diva she is today. Ike, a substance abuser, ended up in prison for narcotics possession and fell into relative obscurity, little more than a footnote in rock and roll history.

    This is a film well worth watching, with great performances and great music. Look for the live stage performance by the real life Tina Turner at the end of the film. That alone is worth the price of this video.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Intense and Extremely Well Performed
    Celebrity bio-pics are very hit or miss, but once in a great while a really good one comes along--and WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT is one of them. Based on the autobiography of Tina Turner, the film offers a glossy but intense portrait of her rapid rise to stardom under the sponsorship of husband-manager Ike Turner--a relationship that quickly turned dark and became increasingly abusive as Tina's fame began to outstrip Ike's own.

    Although the film is a bit on the obvious side, it is well-crafted and the two leads offer powerhouse performances. Angela Bassett is simply astonishing as Tina Turner; where most other actresses might have simply imitated, Bassett accomplishes the impossible: she makes you believe that she is Tina Turner, capturing both Tina's famous on-stage performing style (the concert scenes are really exciting) and giving a completely believable interpretation of her off-stage personality as well. The script offers Laurence Fishburne little more than a one-dimensional role, but he plays it brilliantly from start to finish, and both are well supported by the overall cast.

    There is certainly a great deal more to the lives of both Ike and Tina Turner than this film conveys--but what it does show it presents with considerable power and conviction, and by the time Tina finally hits back at Ike you'll be roaring for her to hit him again--and again--and again--and eager to see her finally triumph entirely on her own. Recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ANGELA IS WONDERFUL !
    Even though Dorothy Dandridge & Whoopi Goldberg have the most incredible performances by any actresses Angela's personification as Tina made me forget that she wasnt Tina. I was enchanted so much that even though Angela has no resemblance to Tina my mind couldnt tell otherwise. Angela is definitely my Queen. She has made such an impact and has widened the doors for the African American actresses. Even though the Academy failed to properly recognize her, we the fans would forever cherish her amazing performance as PROUD MARY. You go GIRL.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All that I can say is...
    WOW! I have seen this movie hundred's of times and I never get sick of it. Angela Bassett does an excellent job potraying Tina Turner, from the costumes, the singing, to the emotions, it was all wonderful. Laurence Fishbourne is FANTASTIC as Ike Turner, he embodies the real Ike Turner's personality so well. It's a conspiricy that NEITHER Angela B. Or Laurence F. recieved an oscar for their roles in this movie because they both gave excellent performances. Vanessa Bellcalloway also gives a suprisingly good performance.
    I dont feel the need to go into detail because I think most people know the movie is about Tina Turner's life and how Ike was horrible to her and abused her THIS MOVIE WILL MAKE YOU laugh at Ike's ignorant and at the same time wanna smack him for how mean he is. You will cheer for Tina, when she finally gets away from that man. BUY IT NOW!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Angela Bassett Deserved the Oscar, not Halle Berry
    That is my sentiment. When Angela Bassett exploded on the silver screen as the irrepressible Tina Turner and was nominated for an Oscar....I was certain she would win. However, she didn't. Instead, Halle Berry earned the distinction of the being the first woman of African descent to win the Best Actress Award...and for a performance that doesn't come anywhere close to Bassett's. In fact, many Oscar winner's performances pale to Bassett's and people still remember Bassett's showstopper and didn't even remember whom she lost the award to.

    Based on Tina Turner's autobiography, it "chronicled" Tina's rise to stardom as Ike Turner's partner. The relationship, already tumultous from the start, turned for the worst when Tina's fame pulled ahead of Ike's. Tina finally left the relationship and started from scratch, becoming the successful solo artist that she is today.

    Ike is very much maligned in this movie, understandable since it is told from Tina's point of view. In any case, Laurence Fishburne delivered a tour-de-force performance that rivals Bassett's.

    As for Bassett herself, I agree with reviewers that she did not imitated, or even looked much like Tina. To imitate someone only shows you are NOT that person. In any case, Bassett did an incredible job of endearing herself to the audience into believing that she IS Tina Turner. So successful was she that when the real Tina showed up in a concert clip at the end of the movie, it seems a bit of a comedown...because we have already attached to and identified with Angela; and invested a good portion of our emotions toward her.

    Some reviewers seem to take umbrage with the fact that Tina's Black husband is the villain of the piece while benevolent White men "saved" Tina in the end.

    Got news for you, despite what PC and feminism like to make you believe, heterosexual white men are not the only oppressors of the world. ... Read more


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