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    $20.27 $15.44 list($28.95)
    1. House of Flying Daggers
    $42.83 $40.91 list($59.98)
    2. Fawlty Towers - The Complete Collection
    $26.24 list($34.99)
    3. Anne of Green Gables
    $22.49 $21.48 list($29.99)
    4. The Chorus (Les Choristes)
    $22.49 $15.78 list($29.98)
    5. Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi (2
    $26.24 $25.88 list($34.98)
    6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
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    7. Princess Mononoke
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    8. Caligula (Unrated Version)
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    9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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    10. La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's
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    11. Bad Education (Original Uncut
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    12. I, Claudius
    $95.00 list($24.98)
    13. Audition
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    14. Shaka Zulu - The Complete Miniseries
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    15. THE WINTER WAR (Talvisota)
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    16. A Hard Day's Night
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    17. The Gospel of John
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    18. Sex/Erotica for Women: Candida
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    19. Monty Python's Life of Brian
    $28.04 $14.29 list($32.99)
    20. Malena

    1. House of Flying Daggers
    Director: Yimou Zhang
    list price: $28.95
    our price: $20.27
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007Q6VXC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 65
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    No one uses color like Chinese director Zhang Yimou--movies like Raise the Red Lantern or Hero, though different in tone and subject matter, are drenched in rich, luscious shades of red, blue, yellow, and green. House of Flying Daggers is no exception; if they weren't choreographed with such vigorous imagination, the spectacular action sequences would seem little more than an excuse for vivid hues rippling across the screen. Government officers Leo and Jin (Asian superstars Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro) set out to destroy an underground rebellion called the House of Flying Daggers (named for their weapon of choice, a curved blade that swoops through the air like a boomerang). Their only chance to find the rebels is a blind women named Mei (Ziyi Zhang, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) who has some lethal kung fu moves of her own. In the guise of an aspiring rebel, Jin escorts Mei through gorgeous forests and fields that become bloody battlegrounds as soldiers try to kill them both. While arrows and spears of bamboo fly through the air, Mei, Jin, and Leo turn against each other in surprising ways, driven by passion and honor. Zhang's previous action/art film, Hero, sometimes sacrificed momentum for sheer visual beauty; House of Flying Daggers finds a more muscular balance of aesthetic splendor and dazzling swordplay. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (153)

    1-0 out of 5 stars DO NOT buy this crap!
    OK! Who the hell gave this movie 4 stars??!! Poor story, poor dialog, poor EVERYTHING!!! This movie sucked. Get stabbed by a dagger and the girl stays alive until the unnecessary long fight between two bad actors is over??!! Come on! This movie is worse than the Hindi crap that comes out of Bollywood. Wish I could give it zero stars, but I can't. Amazon, will you please see that movies of this low quality get zero stars?

    4-0 out of 5 stars Technically breathtaking, but left this viewer a little cold
    Zhang Yimou's HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS continues where the director's HERO left off: it is a film of immense visual beauty and amazing choreography, supporting a plot with melodramatic elements to it. But whereas HERO could conceivably, amidst the dazzling imagistic pageantry and big emotions, be interpreted as a political statement (the film ends with a ruler having to sacrifice a hero for what he considers the greater cause of unifying feudal China), HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is content to be romantic melodrama, plain and simple.

    Personally, I kinda prefer the extra intellectual and thematic stimulation offered by HERO. At the end of that film, you really had something to think about; at the end of HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS...well, the story is over (and a song sung in English by soprano Kathleen Battle plays over the closing credits). Nothing of great consequence, I felt, had really happened in this film; it is basically one ravishing image and one amazing fight sequence following another, interspersed with (admittedly well-acted) moments of intimacy or high drama. If Zhang Yimou was aiming for thematic subtlety in HERO, here he goes for operatic emotions and visual spectacle. And for all its technical brilliance, the whole thing ultimately left me a little cold---maybe a bit too melodramatic and soapy for my taste.

    That is a very personal reaction, of course. The technical brilliance Zhang Yimou brings to HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is not to be denied; these are some of the most breathtaking (and breathtakingly filmed) fight sequences seen since the last notable "wuxia" film, Ang Lee's CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. And the actors bring as much conviction as possible to their basically two-dimensional characters: certainly, as House of Flying Daggers member Mei, Ziyi Zhang brings convincing passion to her role, as do Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau as, respectively Jin and Leo, two police deputies who rescue Mei from prison and try to trick her into bringing them to the House of Flying Daggers to stop their rebelliousness once and for all.

    Perhaps the best way to appreciate HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is to look at it as a cinematic opera. Zhang Yimou is clearly not afraid to work on a big canvas, and he brings all the big emotions and spectacular sights he can to tell his melodramatic story. Those who go into this film expecting to be dazzled will most likely be satisfied; it is a genuine technical marvel. For me, though, I was expecting more substance to the film than it delivered. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS may be more purely enjoyable than HERO, but the latter, to me, is a much more interesting movie than this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super Cool Movie!!!
    The action and special effects sequences in this movie are incredibly fun to watch.Zhang Ziyi is flawless as usual, and her perfomance and beauty justifies buying this DVD in itself.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great cinematography, weak story
    Genre: Foreign, Martial Arts, Romance

    Genre Grade: B+

    Final Grade: A-

    This was another great film from Chinese director Yimou Zhang. Although not even close to comparing to his last film, Hero, it still was a great movie. Zhang is an artist, it is as simple as that. His locations are perfect, the colors are vibrant, and the characters are passionate. This is much more a love story than anything. It offers some good surprises concerning the characters and keeps the mystery of the "House of Flying Daggers" a secret to even the viewers. Actress Ziyi Zhang should learn to speak English because she could be a huge star in the United States.

    I recommend this film to anyone who enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero. It is dubbed in English so you don't have to read subtitles if you don't want to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars stunning
    Yimou is a true artist of cinema. Hero and House of Flying Daggers are beautiful and spiritual adventures in Asian cinema. Both films are remarkable acheivments that are lost on the reviewer who gave this film one star. True art is often missunderstood by the masses. ... Read more

    2. Fawlty Towers - The Complete Collection
    list price: $59.98
    our price: $42.83
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005LC1H
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 184
    Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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    Inspired by a hotel John Cleese once stayed in when he was filming "Monty Python." This complete set of Fawlty Towers episodes includes special new commentary by John Cleese. Please see individual volumes for episode descriptions. ... Read more

    Reviews (166)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great DVD set for an even better TV show
    Fawlty Towers, among those who know about it, is generally considered one of the funniest television shows of all time. Created by and starring John Cleese (of Monty Python fame), each of the twelve episodes is sheer genius in some way or another.

    The setup is simple: Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, the rather snide owner of a second-rate hotel. Cleese surrounds himself with hilarious characters, including his overbearing (but far more competent) wife and the bumbling but good natured waiter Manuel ("You'll have to excuse him; he's from Barcelona.") Each episode finds Fawlty involved in some scheme, which usually has something to do with abusing customers and hiding things from his wife. The plots build in classic screwball fashion, as the situations get more and more absurd while Cleese digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole. The comedy ranges from incredible dialogue to some perfectly timed slapstick, and all of it's funny.

    Though I'd seen all of the episodes before many times, the DVD set was a great buy. It's packed with extras, including commentaries by the director of each episode and some really informative, in-depth interviews with John Cleese and other cast members. In fact, while I got the discs just because I wanted copies of the episodes, I've had a ton of fun with the extras. Add in fairly nice packaging (the art on each disc is hilarious) and some other cool things such as cleverly designed menus, and this is one of the better TV collections I've seen.

    Well worth your money if you've never seen the show but enjoy British comedy, or if you're an old fan and looking for a new way to appreciate this great series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic & Timeless British Comedy
    Now almost 30 years old, this classic comedy series is still holding it's own against today's more contemporary material, and being discovered by a whole new audience. US viewers who may not have been exposed to it, may miss some of the more subtle aspects, but any fans of John Cleese, or more recently Mr Bean, will certainly find it memorable. It is NOT however Monty Python type material, for those expecting more outrageous, and off the wall satire. Basil Fawlty (Cleese) is the owner and operator of a modest seaside Hotel, and is more than ably supported by a great ensemble cast. Ever hen pecked by his domineering wife, often outsmarted, or assisted by his clever maid, and constantly frustrated by his pidgeon English speaking waiter, the results are hilarious, witty and very amusing. Some of the episodes can make the viewer cringe a little (at the frustrating aspects of Cleese's character) but the overall picture is enormously pleasing. If you have never seen Fawlty Towers, you have certianly missed out, and the DVD collection is the best buy, with ALL epsiodes, and some great extra material included. You will laugh, and laugh again at each side splitting episode which manages to be funny, without be overtly sexual, full of innuendo, and reliant on cheap laughs. Great entertainment!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excrutiatingly Funny
    You are invited to the vist the worst-run hotel in England to enjoy a mixture of slapstick and word-wit. Each episode is based around the mental unravelling of the co-owner, Basil Fawlty, as his ill-conceived schemes spiral into the ground with the aid of his long suffering hapless helper Manuel.

    2-0 out of 5 stars I third the notion that tensionfest is the word
    I find little humorous about this sitcom. I actually find it all pretty nervewracking and painful to watch.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great DVD Set - if you have binoculars
    Love this series which is, IMHO, the funniest sitcom series ever shown on either side of The Pond. There's no disappointment in re-watching all the wonderful episodes.

    There is, however, beaucoup de frustration with the way in which the links were designed. You have sit right in front of the TV, no more than 4' away to read the postage-sized stamps which indicate episodes, commentary, etc. (I still can't read them.)

    Still, once you get going, it's hours of laughter, great performances, and great writing. ... Read more

    3. Anne of Green Gables
    Director: Kevin Sullivan
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $26.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005YNTR
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 455
    Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Import only NTSC/Region 1 DVD. Megan Follows, Tony Award-winner Colleen Dewhurst & Academy Award-nominee Richard Farnsworth give unparalleled performances in this critically-acclaimed motion picture, based on the international best-selling novel. Filmed amidst the spectacular scenery of Prince Edward Island, Canada, this Emmy Award-winning production follows the provocative life drama of orphan Anne Shirley (Follows), from her struggles as an adolescent to her triumphs as a young woman. A delicate epic full of wit, style & emotional power. Special features include behind-the-scenes clips, missing scenes, director's commentary, cast bios, previews, Megan Follows' audition. production stills & scene index. 1995. ... Read more

    Reviews (231)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent film!
    This is a terrific adaptation of the classic L.M. Montgomery coming of age story. It centers on young Anne Shirley, a strong willed, independent orphan who is adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. They originally wanted to adopt a boy to help out at their farm, but instead received a surprise when Anne arrived at the train station. Anne's adventures growing up are both funny and heart-warming. This is a fantastic movie that will please youngsters and adults alike, as there is something here for everyone! Megan Follows is excellent as Anne Shirley, Colleen Dewhurst is wonderful as the stern but loving Marilla and Richard Farnsworth is great as gentle Matthew. The supporting cast also give splendid performances. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless memories of a Canadian childhood
    I can still remember the excitement I felt when I first saw Anne of Green Gables almost fifteen years ago. It accurately and lovingly captures the thrills of childhood, of breathless anticipation, the joys of friendship, and the final moment when we must bid our childhood goodbye and take our place in the grownup world. The performances are flawless and capture the original flavour of each of the characters from the book. Megan Follows IS Anne Shirley, Shuyler Grant is a kindred Diana Barry, and Colleen Dewhurst is the stern Marilla Cuthbert who finds her heart unexpectedly embracing the joys of motherhood.

    Everything about Anne of Green Gables is done with the utmost love and respect in regard to the original novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne is every child, with her eyes open to the world, her thirst for knowledge, her immediate trust, her quest for adventure, and most of all her imagination. Megan Follows captures the timeless appeal of the orphaned Anne with spirit, grace, and wit. Her humorous mishaps, personal struggles, and her newfound love for the Cuthberts as well as her love for Avonlea make her an enduring heroine throughout the ages. Who knows? After seeing this film you may discover that you are a kindred spirit as well!

    5-0 out of 5 stars its a classic!!!
    What can i say, I LOVE this movie. I grew up watching this one and Anne of Avonlea(now the sequel) I also read the books when i was young. I still enjoy watching them as an adult. I just wish i had a daughter to watch it with and enjoy with me. (we have two wonderful boys and most likely wont have any more) The characters fit the roles perfectly and are excellent. You just fall in love with them all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars DVD QUALITY GREAT ! I can see the print of the wallpaper
    After watching this often on vhs I bought a DVD and I noticed the difference right away! You can see the print of fabrics, wallpaper, and details of everything much better. This is a wonderful story and the music is beautiful. All the actors are excellent. Great movie for little girls with red hair! Its not easy growing up with red hair. I love the way Anne is portrayed in this movie. There is a black and white version made in the 1930's and its okay. This movie also shows a girl taking her education seriously. The only thing I didn't like was that Gilbert is a little too much the lovesick fool. I think most guys would have given up on her, she was very mean to him.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Favorite For Any Generation
    This series has always been in my heart and always will be. I can always see myself in Anne Shirley, just as I'm sure every other young girl will. Kevin Sullivan did a beautiful job of bringing to life the works of Lucy M. Montgomery's series of Anne of Green Gables. I loved this movie the first time I saw it on television on PBS and I was thrilled to finally find it on DVD. Anne Shirley is a young orphan girl with a huge imagination, daydreams, and a huge talker. She's transferred from home to home and then back to the orphanage until she is finally picked to live in a town called Avonlea. She lives with a family Marilla & Mathew Cuthbert (played by: Colleen Dewhurst & Richard Farnsworth). After worrying she wouldn't be adopted because she's not a boy she warms their hearts and starts a new life with them. And she then soon meets her bosom friend Diana Barry (Schuyler Grant) and of course Gilbert Blythe (Jonathan Crombie). We follow the lives of these characters that Anne meets along the way. This series is for any young girl or for any girl at any age to enjoy and the entire family. The fun part is you can also see parts of the cast that end up being in Kevin Sullivan's production of Road to Avonlea. But this series is wonderful, charming, and full of adventures. The supporting cast is quite amazing as well they include: Rachel Lynde (Patricia Hamilton), Miss Stacy (Marilyn Lightstone), & Aunt Josephine (Charmion King) just to name a few of my favorites. This movie is also about life and the human heart that we see through Anne's eye's. The DVD is full of tons of great stuff such as Megan Follow's audition, a small behind the scene's moments, missing scene's, & tons more. So I do highly recommend this film for everyone. ... Read more

    4. The Chorus (Les Choristes)
    Director: Christophe Barratier
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007NMJPO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 183
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero (though securely in the traditions of the My Most Memorable Teacher movie); he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 'Music that soothes the savage beast...'
    LES CHORISTES (THE CHORUS) is director Christophe Berratier's first foray into the realm of full-length films and his adaptation of the 1945 film LA CAGE AUX ROSSINGNOLS written by Georges Chaperot and René Wheeler serves to introduce his talents as a master storyteller well.This tale of how music can alter the lives of even most renegade of boys is warm, sensitive, and satisfying on every level.

    The story opens with the reunion of two men who were classmates at Fond de l'Etang, a boarding school for troubled boys in France in 1949.Pepinot (Didier Flammand) arrives at the door of consummate symphony conductor Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin) with a journal written by their beloved teacher Clement Mathieu , now dead, and the two read the journal, recalling their shared childhood experiences at Fond de l'Etang.

    1949 and the Fond de l'Etang is a dreary jail-like, rundown place run by the cruel disciplinarian headmaster Rachin (François Berléand).Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) is an older, bald, failed musician who seeks employment as a prefect in the school and immediately is forced to confront the rigors of the school's harsh discipline with the still flagrantly wild boys.Mathieu slowly wins the confidence of his boys by standing up to the cruel Rachin and when he is near his wits' end as to how to transform his class, he hears a boy sing and decides to use his musical talent to change these boys' lives.Two of the chief problem children are the angry but vocally gifted Pierre Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier) and Leclerc (Théodul Carré-Cassaigne) and Mathieu coaxes them into the inner circle of his newly developing chorus.The other child who is without talent but for whom Mathieu empathizes when the child waits every Saturday for someone to claim him at the gates is Pepinot (Maxence Perrin) who Mathieu assigns as his assistant chorus master!

    Through a series of incidents including the cruelty of Rachin, the appearance of Violette Morhange (Pierre's poor working mother who cannot afford to feed him), the success of the chorus in the eyes of the Countess (Carol Weiss) who acts as benefactor to the school, andsome evil doings of the more difficult children, Mathieu's Chorus becomes a symbol for how problem children can bond in mutual need to the enrichment music provides.Rachin cannot tolerate Mathieu's success and fires him without allowing him to say a farewell to his beloved choristers.The manner in which this is portrayed is most touching and spiritually enriching and serves to resolve the mystery of Mathieu's departure to the adult Morhange and Pepinot as they finish the journal.

    Simple story, told before, but superbly acted and performed.The music is by Jean-Philippe Rameau with original songs by director Barratier and Bruno Coulais, all beautifully sung by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc with young actor Jean-Baptiste Maunier singing his own solos.The cinematography is in the capable hands of Jean-Jacques Bouhon, Dominique Gentil, and Carlo Varini.In French with English subtitles. Highly recommended little jewel of a film!Grady Harp, May 05

    5-0 out of 5 stars Touching French Drama: Beautifully Told and Beautifully Sung
    'The Chorus' became a huge hit in France in 2004, and there's a good reason for that.Despite some obvious flaws, the film is moving and uplifting as any good music is, and anyone who likes films like 'Dead Poets Society' will surely love this one too.

    The theme of the film is nothing new, but quite universal.A middle-aged music teacher Matthew is sent to a school.The setting is post-war France, and we find the educational environment there is worse than Matthew expected -- the pupils are rebellious and the headmaster is strict.To adjust to the new situation, Matthew, himself a failed musician, thinks of organizing the kids into a chorus group.

    That's it, and the story of the film is certainly predictable.The boys at first make a fool of the new teacher, and then starts to listen, revealing their brilliant singing voices.Among them, one handsome and quiet boy Morhange (newcomer Jean-Baptiste Maunier who really sings here) turns out the best singer, who is given the solo part.

    The film (written and directed by first-timer Christophe Barratier) goes smooth, and for some critics, goes too smoothly.In fact, some accused the film of being too sentimental.Maybe so.But I for one think that the film is made with honest heart, with humanities enough to convince the sincerity of the filmmakers and actors.Sentimental or not, what really counts is good acting, good story, good characters, and good music.And the good music is as moving as the story itself.What else do you want?

    Jacques Perrin appears as grown-up Morhange (in the same way he did in 'Cinema Paradiso'), and he is also one of the producers of the film.The little boy 'Pepinot' (waiting for Saturdays to come) is played by Maxence Perrin, his real-life son.The chorus part is supplied by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc.

    So you want to see a good film?Here's the one for you.I don't say it's perfect.But I can assure you that you will be won over and immensely moved in the end.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever!
    Fact is that this is a truly incredible, moving film.
    I am not a fan of European movies, however, this movie is extremely well done. Is never boring, it is sentimentally rich and the music is fantastic.

    It is certainly not a new topic: The music teacher that changes the lives of bad students. We have seen that with Mr. Holland Opus or Sister Act. But the truth is that this movie makes the others so secondary, that you really have to see it yourself. I saw it today while on vacation in Mexico city and decided to order the DVD immediately.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most uplifting, you can't help but be moved.
    I was fortunate to catch this film this past weekend and was enthralled. The reviews were mixed and I'm glad that I ignored the so-called 'Critics' who were less than flattering in their reviews of this wonderful film. From the start of the film to it's uplifting ending, the acting was superb. But the main highlight was the music, and the emerging joy and hope in the children as they discover something so wonderful within themselves. By all means, get the film and also the wonderful soundtrack. You won't be sorry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes! Choral music cures the soul!
    Well, I'm a choral conductor myself and I specialized in children's choirs so this film touched the deepest fibers in my soul. I watched it (cried it) the first time a week ago and I've seen it 3 more times since that. Yes, as a choral conductorI've witnessed, I've promotedI`ve seen the miracle of choral music doing what many other aspects of "education" just can't do today. Why would that be? It may sound harsh, but many schools and many fields of "education" have turned into plain business all around, just preocupied with "manufacturing" consumers for the market world, as John Holt once said, no matter how this is acieved. Obviously, we're talking here about 1949: the post war times of this story, we all know,were very hard, sick with so many missconceptions about "discipline" and "order". But this globalized times with new nazis like Mr. Bush, Blair or Berlusconi are not so different. Children feel all that violence and , deep within them, they resent it. Art, on the contrary,and choral music in particular, was then and still is nowa deep language of the soul and no kid is alien to it as long as a true artist helps him discover it. This is obviously, the very foundation behind Europe's old and solid choral culture. So, this is what Mr. Mathew does with this group of lonely and abandoned kids so abused by the hard, stupid ways of Mr. Rachin. They come to discover their true souls through the power of music. As an artist, Mr Mathew knows this and goes for it with love and faith.
    The story is beautifully put to screen, somehow reminding us of the classic films by Truffaut. The Saint Marc kids chorus is an A-1 group with a lovely head voice sound and, not only Rameaus piece, but all selections by Bruno Coulais are lovely.
    It goes without saying that as a musician I'm really pleased to know that today's kids may have a chance of enjoying a film such as this one. Our actual choristers will remain with us, strongly motivated. And we may receive new ones!
    I give this picture, and the sound track 6 stars each!
    Don't miss it. ... Read more

    5. Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi (2 Pack)
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXAY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1095
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    First-time filmmaker Godfrey Reggio's experimental documentary from 1983--shot mostly in the desert Southwest and New York City on a tiny budget with no script, then attracting the support of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas and enlisting the indispensable musical contribution of Philip Glass--delighted college students on the midnight circuit and fans of minimalism for many years. Meanwhile, its techniques, merging cinematographer Ron Fricke's time-lapse shots (alternately peripatetic and hyperspeed) with Glass's reiterative music (from the meditative to the orgiastic)--as well as its ecology-minded imagery--crept into the consciousness of popular culture. The influence of Koyaanisqatsi, or "life out of balance," has by now become unmistakable in television advertisements, music videos, and, of course, similar movies such as Fricke's own Chronos and Craig McCourry's Apogee. Reggio shot a sequel, Powaqqatsi (1988), and completed the trilogy with Naqoyqatsi (2002). Koyaanisqatsi provides the uninitiated the chance to see where it all started--along with an intense audiovisual rush.

    Powaqqatsi (1988), or "life in transformation," is the second part of a trilogy of experimental documentaries whose titles derive from Hopi compound nouns. The now legendary Koyaanisqatsi (1983), or "life out of balance," was the first. Naqoyqatsi (2002), or "life in war," was the third. Powaqqatsi finds director Godfrey Reggio somewhat more directly polemical than before, and his major collaborator, the composer Philip Glass, stretching to embrace world music.Reggio reuses techniques familiar from the previous film (slow motion, time-lapse, superposition) to dramatize the effects of the so-called First World on the Third: displacement, pollution, alienation. But he spends as much time beautifully depicting what various cultures have lost--cooperative living, a sense of joy in labor, and religious values--as he does confronting viewers with trains, airliners, coal cars, and loneliness. What had been a more or less peaceful, slow-moving, spiritually fulfilling rural existence for these "silent" people (all we hear is music and sound effects) becomes a crowded, suffocating, accelerating industrial urban hell, from Peru to Pakistan. Reggio frames Powaqqatsi with a telling image: the Serra Pelada gold mines, where thousands of men, their clothes and skin imbued with the earth they're moving, carry wet bags up steep slopes in a Sisyphean effort to provide wealth for their employers. While Glass juxtaposes his strangely joyful music, which includes the voices of South American children, a number of these men carry one of their exhausted comrades out of the pit, his head back and arms outstretched--one more sacrifice to Caesar. Nevertheless, Reggio, a former member of the Christian Brothers, seems to maintain hope for renewal. --Robert Burns Neveldine ... Read more

    Reviews (97)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inproper Matting? Who Cares!
    Although some people are quick to point out that the MGM version of Koyaanisqatsi is improperly matted to 1.85:1, who really cares? If you are a fan of the 'qatsi films, then you are well aware that they have been out of print (unavailable to the public for purchase or even rental) for a LONG time. I have long been trying to obtain a bootleg, or even laserdisc copy of the films. On ebay they usually went for upwards of $100 a copy. When I heard that MGM was releasing the films on DVD, I was estatic, and after watching them at home on my TV, I am even more happy.

    Koyaanisqatsi is a love-hate film; you either love it, or hate it. For me, the brillance of Koyaanisqatsi comes in the juxtaposition of it's imagery and film score. The imagery is stunning: beautiful yet disturbing at times. The filmmaker Godfrey Reggio gives the viewer imagery and lets them make their own decisions about "what it means." This renders Koyannisqatsi a film where the viewer is quite active. If you do not like to think, or do not like abstractions you will most definitely not enjoy these films. If you enjoy thinking, and want to watch an experimental film that will leave you thinking for weeks, if not months afterwards, I can't recommend this film more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a very different movie
    I just found out that this movie is not available for purchase and is hard to find for rent. I bought a copy on VHS over ten years ago and just realized how rare it is today.

    If you are an environmentally and socially conscious person and feel that you are pro-earth and pro-people then this movie will connect with you. If you aren't, then don't bother. The message will be lost on you and you'll just fall asleep watching it.

    However, the images are something else. I was on a 36 hour fast and put this video on again. I had not watched it in some time. It was like I had never seen the movie before.

    The only way that you can get this movie on DVD today is to make a 180 dollar contribution to the makers of this movie who have run short of money and are working on the third part of the trilogy of "Qatsi" movies. They have a website where they will tell you how to make the purchase. Just enter the title of the movie plus .com

    It would be well worth the money spent to get this on DVD because of the powerful imagery and the Glass soundtrack.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
    The only shortcoming of the masterpiece epic "Koyaanisqatsi" on DVD is technical: the tape-to-DVD transfer is quite noisy: it's evident in some shots and colors where the shimmering "noise" detracts slightly from the visuals. Nevertheless this is a groundbreaking film, and seeing it 21 years after its cinematic release, yah it blows me (and anyone else who sees it)away.

    So hey GR howzaboot a complete remastering, on par with the excellent soundtrack remaster? This film deserves nothing less. One of the top 5 films of all time.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Yes, get the 2- pack!
    The first film, "Koyaanisqatsi," is superior, but the second film, "Powaqqatsi," has many visually stimulating moments as well. "Koyaanisqatsi" was a landmark film when it was first released, using time-lapse photography and other trick-cinematography to show the world in a new way. There are many provocative moments, my personal favorites being shots of landscapes and night-time city-scapes accelerated. The final shot of a rocket exploding is simply visceral to the point of being haunting. I can still see the swirling, fiery image days afterward. Now, for the second film. "Powaqqatsi" has some amazing shots, as well, but it lacks the first film's unique originality, using many of the same techniques from the first film but with fewer jarring sequences. However, the score to the second film is what really carries it to the end. The music, in my humble opinion, is more memorable and gives a sense of worldly ambience. Indeed, I loved the score so much that directly after watching "Powaqqatsi" I went on-line and purchased the CD. As a combination, these two films are engrossing, dated here and there, annoying at times, but overall, emotionally moving. What sold me on the 2-pack is the fact it's only a couple of bucks more for both. To me, it was worth it. It's like I got the second film as a rental that I never have to return. Adios.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Astounding
    This film is one of few that has used this form of media to it's full potential. The combination of images and music presented in a fashion that allows the view to extrapolate meaning (rather than have meaning thrust upon them) is both refreshing and thought-provoking. This trilogy is a true artistic masterpiece. ... Read more

    6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Director: Alan J.W. Bell
    list price: $34.98
    our price: $26.24
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    Asin: B00005YUNJ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1126
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    With the galaxy's best-selling tour guide and a good towel, earthling Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect (actually from planet Betelgeuse) are transported, among other places, to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and back to the beginning of time. ... Read more

    7. Princess Mononoke
    Director: Hayao Miyazaki
    list price: $32.99
    our price: $28.04
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXBK
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 737
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (687)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mononoke a must for Fantasy Fans
    This is an amazing anime feature reminding me a little of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Except that was Chinese Folklore). It has simplistic yet very professional and detailed animation by Hayao Miyazaki. Featuring a beautiful instrumental score rendered by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. This movie is set in isolationist Japan, and is filled with eastern/Japanese cultural elements for us westerners to attempt to understand. Along with a decent fantasy helping of personified animals and Gods. Be careful watching it if you can constitute a western audience member. This isn't a tree hugger movie like Fern Gully (me shudders). If you think this movie has contemporary western political motives then you are thinking too hard! I had to stop myself and just enjoy it. The story really has no antagonist because both sides in the story are equally guilty of one emotion (try and find the best line in the movie that sums up what I just said) it smacks of Eastern values and mythology. And that's all I'm going to say about the story. If a devout conservative can love this movie...anyone can. Leave the soap box at home. Incidentally the english dub features the voices of American Hollywood stars such as Gillian Anderson (The X-Files)and Billy Bob Thorton (Armageddon, Pushing Tin, etc...)...But don't tell the real Anime buffs that I watched it know only real anime fans watch subbed anime.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Display of how our world is!
    I have experienced some of the things that Miyazaki has put in "Princess Mononoke". For example, i've had to step into fights and then get rejected by both sides. We ourselves are demons in a certain view. We hurt others when they're in the way of our dreams or whatever. For example, if I wanted to rule the world and my friend opposed me, I would hurt him. Miyazaki is clearly showing this and that's why I give "Princess Mononoke" a 5-stars rating.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Be literal, "artistic" metaphors are stupid!!
    Don't listen to rhogen, he's not smart. So what if all the characters have human actions, this movie is full of dizzying contradictions and superstitious crap!! Those who think in a literal way are much smarter than those who don't. I'm not an Evangelist Christian from Mississippi who thinks Princess Mononoke is full of paganism, I'm a Soviet Marxist who thinks Princess Mononoke is full of anti-human new-age supersition and metaphors that are silly and nonsensical. Miyazaki screwed up and should keep his enviromental anti-human commentary in Japan, like killing people will help trees grow. Watch Akira (Streamline version), Ninja Scroll, and Ghost In The Shell. All of those anime have adult and provacative content, but don't have anti-human new-age spiritual crap, "artistic" metaphores, and they don't make you puke out your lunch.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't be so literal, this is artistic metaphor at its best
    I have to respond to those who freak out about the "superstitions" of this film. Being a totally non-magical thinker myself I can understand the first-order reaction. But frankly, you need to see the metaphors. When the spirit gods express anger at "humans", this is metaphorically our own conscience questioning and evaluating what we are doing. It's that simple. If you can do that, you will be able to LOVE this film. SEMI-SPOILER: The first great thing about it is that there are no mustache-twirling villains. Everyone's motivations are human, they're doing what they think is best. That's just the appetizer. Great stuff!

    The reviews for this typical Miyazaki blockbuster are so rabidly of the WOW mentality that you may expect something mind-blowing. 'Manage your expectations and enjoy the bloody ride' is my advice.

    In terms of sheer execution this is one of the best anime capers you'll see, replete with beasts of mythic proportions, lush forests, sparkling waterfalls, and some mind-numbing inter-galactic slaughter. I could wager in a blink that this is what inspired Tarantino to do that little anime insert in Kill Bill Vol 1.

    Plus, the film has some swank credentials under its belt: the Japanese voices are dubbed, not just subtitled, by big *American* stars -- Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, Claire Danes, Bill Crudup, etc -- who lend their laryx to a host of universally relevant issues such as the plight of indigenous people and nature in the face of unchecked business interests, the death of spirituality in the name of social progress, misogyny in its many variations, etc.

    But I have my gripes. The film is violent. Very violent. Sometimes senselessly violent. I had to frequently turn my volume knob to the left. There are gigantic guns, and blood and guts splatter the landscape every minute. Most of this soon seems overdrawn (and the film is looooong) with all this supposedly cool action amounting to precious little in terms of any clear message about good versus evil. The underlying purpose is summed up brilliantly by a roadside beggar when he says something like the world is cursed, but we still find a reason to live.

    I also found something lacking in the animation itself. While exquisitely vivid it seems to lag in its flair for capturing natural motion. Disney or Pixar movies pore over a sense of suppleness when an eye is raised or a muscle is twitched by a character. Miyazaki's animators on the other hand haven't penetrated beyond the skin, the moving creatures feel inarticulate and jerky, particularly when played against the very 2D painted backgrounds.

    But that still doesn't stop me from recommending this powerful cult flick, a must if you're an anime acolyte. If not, then be prepared for a Tarantino x 100 and you'll do fine. ... Read more

    8. Caligula (Unrated Version)
    Director: Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000214F0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1423
    Average Customer Review: 3.28 out of 5 stars
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    Caligula may very well be the most controversial film in history. Only one movie dares to show the perversion behind Imperial Rome, and that movie is "Caligula," the epic story of Rome's mad emperor. All the details of his cruel, bizarre reign are revealed right here: his unholy sexual passion for his sister, his marriage to Rome's most infamous prostitute, his fiendishly inventive means of disposing of those who would oppose him, and more. The combined talents of cinematic giants Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud and Shakespearean actress Helen Mirren, along with an acclaimed international cast and a bevy of beautiful Penthouse Pets, make this unique historical drama a masterwork of the screen. Not for the squeamish, not for the prudish, "Caligula" will shock and arouse you as it reveals the deviance and decadence beneath the surface of the grandeur that once was Rome. ... Read more

    Reviews (165)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Porno or poor movie, absolutely unique among movies
    This movie is a masterpiece in that it accomplishes what it set out to do: to depict decadent, pagan Rome circa 37 AD. I cringed throughout the FIRST VIEWING, unsure what to expect, fearing revulsion in each scene. The SECOND VIEWING was better, I knew what to expect: a simple plot about unchecked power with gratuitous violence and sex. Guccione may have overstated the sex and violence but that is what you get from pagan cultures. The THIRD VIEWING reveals the movie as art: as pornographic and dangerous as ancient Rome at its worst with interesting props and sets. Maybe Guccione wanted to contrast sexual cultures of ancient Rome with his magazine culture of today: to prove that he himself and/or current exploitation of women isn't so bad after all--only sexually explicit. Generally, sex of any kind still has a bad reputation. This movie only needs be a reasonably accurate historical account (ostensibly derived from museum artifacts commonly found around the world) to maintain historical relevance. Many will hate this sort of reality, but not every movie has to "sublimate" reality according to family movie standards to please puritanical hypocrites. Face it: only a world as lost as Caligula's could crucify Christ. (Notice how persecution against the spiritually pure was greatest then?) Yes (?) Nevertheless, this movie entertains by being so over-the-top that exquisite sound and editing are not necessary. Again, this was the real Rome. Finally, if you are an adult who desires full knowledge of the depth of human depravity, then Vidal, Guccione, et al. should be praised for accomplishing such an important (by virtue of its controversy) historical film. I recommend this film to everyone to either love or hate. I love it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A graphic depiction of a decadent time and a ruler gone mad
    Caligula is a non-stop parade of perversions, gore, and stunning sets. Mix all that with a decent job of acting from some brilliant actors and you find that while you may be repulsed by some of what you see, you'll also want to see it again.

    The movie graphically depicts of the rise and fall of Caligula (Malcolm McDowell), one of the most notorious of all Roman emperors. It's rather straight forward in it's portrayal of the man and his exploits. Throughout the movie you definitely get a feel for how demented Caligula became and in the end you are almost relieved when his life is ended. The major draw back to the story line is that they never really develop any of the other characters and it leaves them as shallow figures.

    Keep in mind that this movie was brought to us by Penthouse so to say that there is a fair amount of nudity and sex is an understatement. There are also some rather gruesome scenes as well. I've read many reviewers use these points to put the movie down, but what they fail to realize is that Rome did have it's dark days of mass perversion. Yes, the movie did go over the top a bit, but it's not too far off from the decadence of the time. If you keep this in mind you will love the movie.

    As for the DVD itself. The sound quality is much better the the original VHS version, but still leaves a bit to be desired. The picture is a bit grainy and that does tend to draw away from the breathtaking sets. I recommend the unrated version for the sole fact that the R-rated version cuts out a large chunk of the movie. It also has a nice documentary on the making of the film.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Whoops! Caligula isn't anything like Gladiator
    Let me share a true story.

    Ridley Scott's Gladiator is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen. You know, the film with Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, etc. Totally jazzed after seeing the epic Gladiator in the theater, my girlfriend and I rushed over to the local video store in search of another Roman-era flick.

    In the New Release section was ... Caligula. (It had just come out on DVD.) We had never heard of it before. But starring Malcolm McDowell! and Helen Mirren! and Peter O'Toole!, we were certain we had found a winner.

    Boy, were we surprised! Caligula turned out to be a banal porno movie albeit a lavish one (a lot of money must have been spent on this production). Beyond the overwhelming flesh and violence, the plot was simply ridiculous! My girlfriend fell asleep in 20 minutes, but I watched the whole thing (hey, it was too outrageous to stop).

    Thank goodness it wasn't our first (or last) date!

    1-0 out of 5 stars I need a shower
    What a horrid, disgusting little movie "Caligula" is. If anyone knows much about history, then thay know that Caligula was an insane Roman Emperor who had most inappropriate relationship with a lot of women (including a prostitute and his sister), played sick games with gladiators and political opponents, and was too self absorbed for the Imperial Senate to let rule. That story would be very interesting to tell, and to film. But this is not that movie. I guess I should have known better than to go watch a Bob Guccione movie (for those of you who are unaware of who Mr. Guccione is, he is editor in cheif of "Penthouse" magazine). But I like Malcolm McDowell, and it was about one of my favorite historical periods, so I took the chance. The plot of the movie is as I had stated above. We are introduced to Caligula while he is commiting the moral crime of incest. He is then summoned by the current Roman Emperor (played by Peter O'Toole), and sees (and approves of) the perversions and corruption of the current throan. After O'Toole's death, Caligula is appointed Emperor, and then brings the Empire through the most depraved and perverted era of human existance. The violence in the movie is done with such a combination of malice and nonchalance that it was hard to take, even for me. The many (many) sex scenes are handled much the same way, with all the sensitivity that an ape would have. "Caligula" has to be the most unpleasent movie I have ever set through and watched. There was absolutly no redeeming value to this move what so ever. The spirit of the movie is so mean that it is almost like the directors (well Guccione anyway) is daring you to like it. I have a feeling it will appeal to only the most hardcore members of the S&M lifestyle. I usually don't have a problem with some sex and violence in a movie for gratuitous sake only (look at my reveiws for the "Friday the 13th" movies); but this was too over the top, completly and pointlessly sleezy. I just couldn't stomach it. The cast is an odd assortment. Like I said, Peter O'Toole is present, which really sort of shocked me; I would have thought he would have been above such junk as this. Malcolm McDowell I can imagine in a movie like this; his Caligula is like Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" if Alex had remained unchecked. Helen Mirren looked totally lost here, and indeed she probably was. And the rest of the cast was filled out by "Penthouse" centerfolds who are subject to humiliations innumerable. I would like to see a movie that takes the material about Ancient Rome and the Emporer Caligula seriously. But not this piece of junk; not by a long shot.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever produced
    I first saw this movie when it came out in the movie theatre. I have been waitng since then to purchase the movie. I almost bought it on VHS about 10 years ago but wasn't prepared to pay $80 then. This is a must see. It has one of the best story lines of any movie in recent history. Oh the sex scenes aren't too bad either. ... Read more

    9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Single Disc Edition)
    Director: Jim Sharman
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006D295
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 733
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (291)

    4-0 out of 5 stars 'The Rocky Horror Show' Movie
    There is one reason why everyone should see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": it is the best cult film ever made. There are also three reasons why everyone should want to watch it: 1) It is one of the only 'R' rated musicals in existence. 2) It has strong science-fiction overtones. 3) It is very funny. The movie starts Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon (before they were stars) as the recently engaged Brad and Janet. However, they are upstaged in nearly every scene by Tim Curry who plays Frank N. Furter, the mad doctor. The cast delightfully performs many memorable songs including "Over at the Frankenstein Place" and, of course, the "Time Warp". To fully enjoy RHPS, one must not be closed minded or the picture could prove to be quite offensive. Don't think it's gratuitously violent- it isn't. Merely, the situations the characters find themselves in could shock or appall overly sensitive viewers. If you think you won't enjoy RHPS, going to a midnight screening might be your best bet. The live audience participation will guarantee you a good time, despite your opinion of the actual film. So overall, RHPS is quite a good adaptation of Richard O'Brien's original concept, which always honors its roots on the stage.

    5-0 out of 5 stars DVD = Perfect format to truly experience "Rocky" at home
    I loved going to "Rocky Horror" when I was in college, but watching on home video just wasn't the same. I'm probably committing heresy but there's a reason why this sci-fi, horror, B-movie satire, rock musical didn't really make it big until theaters started showing it as a midnight movie and fans started attending in costume and talking back to the screen. The 25th anniversary DVD, with several audience participation options, really is the next best thing to being there.

    For the uninitiated, "Rocky Horror" tells the story of two clean-cut American youths, uptight Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick of "Spin City") and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon of "Dead Man Walking") whose car breaks down on a dark, deserted road in the middle of a storm--the classic beginning to many horror movies--and who seek help at a nearby castle. Castles, as Rocky fans know, don't have phones! What this castle has instead is a cross-dressing mad scientist Frank-N-Furter Tim Curry, in perhaps his finest performance), two very creepy servants, Riff-Raff (Richard O'Brien, who wrote the musical) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and various other hangers-on, including lovers Columbia (Little Nell) and biker Eddie (Meat Loaf). Brad and Janet walk in on a party celebrating the creation of Frank-N-Furter's muscle-bound boy-toy "Rocky." Bed-hopping chaos soon ensues, until the servants reveal their true identities and take control.

    Punctuating this wacky plot are some of the wildest rock-musical songs ever written. In addition to the classic "Time Warp," there's O'Brien's salute to cult-classic B-movies, "Science Fiction Double Feature," Meat Loaf's "Hot Patootie," and Sarandon ode to sexual self-discovery, "Toucha Toucha Touch Me!"

    So much for the "Rocky virgin" portion of the review... What makes the DVD so exceptional is the chance to experience "Rocky Horror" at home nearly like you would in the theater. The DVD has the option of turning on the audience screen comments as well as another option for viewing members of the Rocky Horror Fan Club performing select scenes before returning to the main movie. For those less familiar with audience participation, the DVD can prompt when to throw toast, toilet paper, rice, etc., light a match, put your newspaper on your head, etc.

    The second disc contains fascinating interviews with cast members, where fans can find out about their reaction to starring in this cult classic. Meat Loaf's description of not realizing what "Rocky Horror" was going to be about and running out of the theater when Tim Curry entered wearing fishnet stockings, spiked heels, a merry widow, and a leather jacket and singing "Sweet Transvestite" is hysterical. Patricia Quinn talks about how her fondness for the opening song, "Science Fiction Double Feature" made her want to take the role even though she hadn't read the rest of the script. What? Don't remember Quinn singing that number? In the stage versions she did, but the song got reassigned in the film version--and Quinn makes her feelings about that QUITE clear. Sarandon makes the interesting observation that "Rocky Horror" probably kept a lot of art house theaters in business over the years, since they could count on good revenue from the midnight movie, even if the latest regular-hours offering flopped. In Bostwick's interview, however, the actor sounds a bit like William Shatner giving his anti-Trekkie diatribe on "Saturday Night Live."

    The only disappointments on the DVD are that the outtakes really aren't that interesting and actor bios aren't provided. I would have liked to see what else the "minor" cast members did after Rocky, but that information is limited to a few lines in the companion booklet. Also, some of the audience-participation comments are nearly impossible to understand because fans are talking over each other. But then that's part of the modern-day theater experience. Even Sarandon noted in her interview that talking back to the screen has gone from the more unison catechism approach to a loud free-for-all.

    What seemed so risqué and shocking a few decades ago seems much more innocent today, but it was great when it all began and it's still great! If you've never ventured into the theater to experience "Rocky Horror," this is the best way to experience it at home.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing film.
    This is a very outrageous movie. The rock is the background to tell us a horror movie but also spiced with sex , ransvestism and above all a splendid tribute to the movies specially King Kong .
    One couple strands in an old house full of weirdos . This movie (here between you and me)could have inspired for Tim Burton in Beetle juice .
    In this decade there were great visuals films too . Sherman built a magnificent story absolutely free , intelligent and sarcastic, irreverent and bitter . You might state that Fellini's influence (dressed of english manners and clothes) is present all along the film .
    Inmediatly after its release this one acquired the status of cult movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The original is still the best!
    Don't bother with the play, or the music from the play. The original is still the best. Nobody can fill the shoes of Sarandon, Curry, etc. They originated the roles and have been associated with them for far too long for anyone else to come in try to change them so many years later and attempt to redo them. Stay with the best.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Those Gold Shorts!
    Ahhhhh...Rocky had such a lovely outline showing in his gold lame shorts. ... Read more

    10. La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Director: Federico Fellini
    list price: $34.98
    our price: $26.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JKGO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 658
    Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Existential Masterpiece
    Although "8 1/2" is often touted as Fellini's greatest work, this other, equal masterpiece from roughly the same period grows more and more profound over time. An amazingly photographed and energetic survey of ennui and despair, "La Dolce Vita" is Fellini's rumination on the intellectual and moral death of an aspiring artist, who is equally a Fellini surrogate and a stand-in for the director's perception of modern man.

    Though it began life as a sequel to "Il Bidone," "La Dolce Vita" ended up an autobiographical precursor to "8 1/2" by fictionalizing Fellini's earlier life as a journalist and newspaper caricaturist rather than his career as one of the great filmmakers of the 50s and 60s. As the celebrity journalist in crisis, Marcello is fantastic -- as graceful and intelligent and sexy a performance as the screen has ever seen -- and his romp with the unbelievably pneumatic Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain is one of the great iconic moments of world cinema. There's a haunted, despairing quality to Mastroianni's acting here that is so subtle and cumulative that by the end of the film his predicament of quiet despair overwhelms the viewer.

    Bottom line: no thinking person's film collection should be without this movie, which is as beautiful and moving as any piece of art ever created, in any medium. Fellini and his fantastic cast are all at their peak as artists, and few films have ever approached their achievement.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get this onto DVD!
    My favorite Fellini film, combining the brilliant kaleidescopic parading of faces that characterize his later films with the humanistic neorealism of his earlier work. Told in a series of all-night parties that each end with the recognition of dawn, the movie tells the story of a tabloid writer who has risen to the top of his profession only to be dragged down because he can't find any sustaining meaning in the glitz and glamour.

    But the story line, although more important here than in later Fellini films, is really just a device to put actors on the screen, and nobody does this better. The cast is real reason to see this; Mastroianni in the role of his life, Anouk Aimee as a bored rich woman, and Anita Ekberg spilling out of her dress as an American actress are merely the most famous - every single performance, even by the most trivial of parts, is astounding and some of the best ever captured on film. My personal favorite is the clown trumpet player with the balloons at the Cha-Cha Club - in the middle of his performance he flashes one quick look at Mastroianni that speaks volumes.

    Unfortunately, the only version I have ever seen is in a standard screen ratio that is obviously badly panned - in a film this full of images there is almost more panning than actual camera movement going on, and still too much is happening off-screen. This movie needs badly to be letterboxed and given a new subtitle translation - but in the meantime, even if you have to settle for the poor VHS version, just enjoy what we have, from the awesome set pieces like the chasing of the Madonna and the final party, to the amazing Nino Rota score and the haunting organ melody of "Patricia".

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5 star FILM--0 stars for a DVD that isn't released!!
    WHERE IS THE DVD of 'La Dolce Vita'?? This is far superior art and entertainment to that wonderful-but-ridiculous '8 1/2' I mean, we all love Fellini, but why is his most coherent and artistically mature film lying around in some distributor's vault while trash like 'Shanghai Surprise' and box-sets of Whoopi Goldberg movies get all these million-copy releases?? Fellini is more than '8 1/2'; FEEL FREE TO RELEASE THIS DVD ANYTIME!! Ugh, do I have to get a region-free DVD player to watch foreign films? Heck, there are some American classic films that do not have release here, but are being printed in UK and European codes. What is wrong with American distributors?? We want our Fellini, and we want it now!! Gimme the sweet life gimme the sweet life GIMME THE SWEET LIFE!!!!

    P.S. To all sympathizers, Bergman's 'Persona' is FINALLY getting American release in February. Cross your fingers they don't back out at the last minute in favor of a straight-to-DVD sequel to 'Finding Nemo': 'Filet of Nemo: Almond Crusted with a Side of Rice Pilaf,' starring the voices of Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Aniston, and Dom Deluise.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini 's Vita
    I am very fortunate to meet Guiletta Masini, the lovely wife of Federico Fellini. I several times wrote letters to Fellini himself and he answered back me. That had been going for a while till he died. If you doubt me, I can provide you copies.
    I am only one Deaf authority on Fellini and his movies. I have a good collection of video, vhs or dvd. Many books about him and his movies.La Dolce Vita and 8 and half are my top favorites. I saw them in 35mm, 16mm, tv, vhs and dvd versions but the 35mm verisons are always the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks, F.R. Gomez

    3-0 out of 5 stars So ... ?
    I does lack a plot. I almost fell asleep during the first half. It picked up during the 2nd half when the main character ran into his father. That was interesting for me, for personal reasons. But, having just watched it, all I can say is that it left me with an emtpy, hollow feeling. If that was the point, then the movie is quite successful. Mind you, I'm not the usual "simplistic" movie watcher. But that was my feeling... ... Read more

    11. Bad Education (Original Uncut NC-17 Edition)
    Director: Pedro Almodóvar
    list price: $26.96
    our price: $20.22
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OCG5G
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 193
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar's dark, sexy Hitchcock homage is his best work since his Oscar-winning All About My Mother, and deepened by a sun-dappled sadness. Handsome, enigmatic Ángel (Gael García Bernal) arrives at the Spanish movie offices of director Enrique Goded (Fele Martinez) and happily proclaims that he's actually Enrique's long-lost school chum Ignacio--an announcement that is both less than convincing and more than it seems. A novice actor, Ángel pitches a semi-autobiographical screenplay in which he's determined to star, a revenge-laden reflection of the doomed love he and Enrique shared as boys before a pedophile priest cruelly intervened. The script, and the lost days it recalls, carefully unfurls into a series of brooding movies-within-movies and memories-inside-memories, which allow the sensual, multiple-role-playing Bernal to give the performance of his young career--among other things, he makes a stunningly convincing drag queen--and Almodóvar the opportunity to movingly suggest that people will pay any price to ensure that their stories are told. --Steve Wiecking ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars '¡Eh!' '¡Despierta!'
    This film is incredible. I'm relatively fluent in Spanish and had to make do without subtitles which always tend to detract from the full experience of a film. It took me a couple a viewings to fully understand everything that was said but when I finally twigged, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
    We start off with Enrique, an up and coming movie producer. He's on the look out for a good story and one comes walking right through his door. Turns out his old school friend, Ignacio, who now wants to be known adamantly as Angel, has the perfect solution. He's written a screen play depicting certain points of their lives with added fiction, naturally, and hopes Enrique will consider producing it, with him staring as the principle character Zahra, a transvestite. Sound unusual? We haven't even scratched the surface. When Ignacio and Enrique were boys, they attended a strict catholic boarding school. The two of them were in love, much to the distress of El Padre Manolo, who wanted Ignacio all to himself. One poignant scene is during a field trip. We see the school boys frolicking happily in a lake while hearing a beautiful coir boy rendition of `Moon River'. All of a sudden the song is cut short with Ignacio running out from behind a bush with El Padre in pursuit. Ignacio falls, a rock cutting his forehead. As the blood slides down the centre of his face, we here him remark `I knew that ever since that moment, my life would for ever be divided in two'. After a little mis-hap in the boys bathroom after lights out, El padre Manolo expels Enrique and continues his advances on Ignacio, which is left to the viewers' imagination. The years go by, and they never meet again, until now, back to the present day. Enrique is delighted to have been reunited with his lost love but Ignacio or `Angel' is behaving rather strangely. Not remembering their favourite song from their school days and indeed turning a rather horny Enrique down in a risqué pool sequence (¡calienta poyas!), something's definitely not right. Angel leaves in a huff and forgets his lighter which conveniently has his hometown address on the side. Enrique journeys to Valencia only to find that *his* Ignacio died 4 years ago and his brother Juan, Stage name Angel, took it quite hard. Part devastated part intrigued, Enrique decides to play along, giving Angel the part and taking him as a lover, all in the desire to find out what makes Juan tick, he's an impenetrable mystery. The story, aptly named `La Visita' has its ending rewritten and as the final dramatic shoot comes to an end Enrique is still at a loss, that is, until he receives a visit of his own!
    I'll leave the rest to you; this movie has many intricate threads woven in. A story within a story as they say. The actors are spectacular and Gael García Bernal manages to come off as childish, sensual, innocent, conniving and in the end quite chilling, he also makes a stunning drag queen. I recommend this move to anyone that likes a good mystery. I'm on the hunt for the soundtrack. ¡Cómpralo ya!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Intense & Provocative but not how you'd think
    This exceptional film is entirely unique in its intensity and depth, but not how I expected. The priestly molestation is rather matter-of-fact, and not dramatized to the extreme as so many movies have done of late. The sex & nudity is very carefully placed, not at all gratuitous (unfortunately-more would have been welcomed albeit unnecessary for the story). In fact I can not tell why this version is NC-17, have Americans really become That Victorian?
    Much has been written about the story, what I didn't know prior to viewing was the intensity of plot twists and turns. I won't spoil any secrets here, but suffice it to say that it isn't even the secrets that are so intense, it is the masterful way in which things are revealed. This is really a film about sex as power, and all of the power plays which don't make anyone happy.
    Almodovar's direction and cinematography are stunning, erotic, and intensley emotional. He tells so much of the story visually without dialogue. What a treat.
    The film ends on a realistic note. There are no firey car crashes, no earth-shattering explosions, no full-frontal nudity, none of the usual supects, but this film sneaks up on you, shakes you to your being, and as you are drawn in by the sensuality and drama, the film demonstrates that life isn't fair, kind, or even very pretty sometimes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars all stars
    After watching many of Almodovar's films in a Spanish cinema class at UNC-Chapel Hill, I must say this one is the most accessible so far.Gael Garcia Bernal does one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen in a film- ever.If you can stomach the subject matter it's worth watching.

    Almodovar's attention to detail is amazing, just watch Sr. Serrano cut stories out of the newspaper and you'll see what I mean... Amazing.And Almodovar messes with your mind by the way he does the casting.. don't want to spoil it for anyone, just see for yourself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Almodóvar Illustrates the Aftermath of Bad Education...
    To see is to believe, some say, yet what one sees in Bad Education should not be trusted, as everything has a sinister characteristic.All of the characters are ominously sleazy, even the protagonist of the film offers an element of darkness around him, which seems to stem from a criminal background.This dark theme suggests that the story offers a film noir experience.However, even the concept of film noir does not give this film justice, as it goes beyond the known borders of this genre while venturing into a new territory.Pedro Almodóvar creates a refreshing cinematic experience that takes sudden turns when least expected while traveling into a dubious world.Many of Almodóvar's previous films offer laughter and contemplation, yet most of them deal with a dubious theme, as does Bad Education. His personal insignia with colorful photography still leaves traces throughout the film, even though it is slightly subdued.

    Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez), who some might have seen in the bloodcurdling Thesis (1996), or in the mesmerizing Open Your Eyes (1997), is on the rise in the Spanish world of cinema as he has recently made a successful film.Nonetheless, he is now struggling to come up with an equal or better idea for his next film when Ignacio Rodriguez (Gael García Bernal), from Amores perros (2000), Y tu mamá también (2001), and the recent Motorcycle Diaries (2004), appears from out of the blue.Together Enrique and Ignacio used to attend a private catholic school where sexual and physical abuse was predominantly common while the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco heavily tainted the school regulations.They were close friends, but they also discovered their first love in one another in the unforgiving school run by Catholic priests.Now years later they reunite, as Ignacio offers him a film script that he has written based on their time at the Catholic School.

    At first, the film seems to focus on the Catholic School where Ignacio was a victim of severe sexual abuse, which is told through the screenplay.This is a clever curveball that Almodóvar throws at the audience, but it is necessary to understand what happens as the development of the story rests in the past of Ignacio and Enrique.However, this review will not elaborate on the notion of what happens next, as it would skew the initial experience with the film.Nonetheless, the script that Ignacio gives to Enrique portrays a world where Ignacio seeks a way to have an operation to reach what he desires the most - to be a woman.Cleverly, Almodóvar throws out the gender boundaries of film noir, as he exchanges his femme fatale for a man that seeks womanhood through modern technology.This displays Almodóvar's ingenious way of telling a captivating story, as it does not follow the conventional rules that often make films one of dozens.

    As mentioned previously, the film does not concentrate on the Catholic Church, but instead the aftermath of Ignacio's education.Through several turns the film illustrates what happen to Ignacio.Much of this goes back to his years when the head priest sought him out for his own pleasure, which continues to trouble Ignacio well into adulthood.This seems to be the reason why Ignacio wrote the script in the first place, as he tried to exorcise his demons while trying to find an existence that fits with his upbringing and education.The story drifts between Enrique reading the script to the present time with occasional flashbacks that provide additional information in regards to the story.Initially, it might seem a little confusing, however, Almodóvar has been nice enough to add a couple of side bars whenever there is a flashback or a scene from the script that Enrique reads.Eventually, the audience will have gone through a very troubling, yet spellbinding tale that makes All About Eve (1950) seem like a Cinderella story.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent acting from Bernal
    García Bernal is not only doing one, but three roles in the same movie, and he plays them all convincingly. Seeing dressed in drag is quite an experience. However, the movie is darker than previous Almodovar works, because of the nature of the plot: church, sex and homosexuality. Those are touchy subjects, but Almodovar makes us watch by using a well played game of role reversals and twists. It's and enjoyable film, I recommend it. ... Read more

    12. I, Claudius
    list price: $89.99
    our price: $67.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004U12X
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 988
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Roman history comes alive in this magnificent 13-part series. "I, Claudius" (1976, 668 min.) ranks among the most acclaimed productions in BBC history. Tracing the lives of the last of the Roman emperors, it's an epic of ruthless ambition, shocking debauchery and murderous intrigue set in one of history's most fascinating eras. Bearing witness to the saga is Claudius, whose stutter and limp have marked him a fool--yet whom prophesies have foretold will one day rule Rome. This collector's edition set includes a unique documentary feature, "The Epic That Never Was" (1965, 71 min.), a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at Alexander Korda's ill-fated 1937 screen adaptation of "I, Claudius." Starring Merle Oberon and Charles Laughton, the chronicle of this uncompleted masterpieces is an unforgettable coda to one of the greatest stories ever told. ... Read more

    Reviews (129)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece
    This is quite an ambitious project taken on by the BBC. It covers the reigns of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. It is more or less the memoirs of the sagacious Claudius (based on the book by Peter Graves). The series features Derek Jacoby as Claudius, Brian Blessed as the eccentric but magnanimous Augustus and Patrick Stewart as the conspiring Sejanus, head of the Praetorian Guard. We also get some cameos of Livy and Horace to boot!

    The film starts before Claudius was born - about 20 years post-Actium. It traces thru enough conspiracies, scandals and debauchery to make modern day soap-operas look tame by comparison. It has its share of femme fatales, between the insidious Livia, the selfish Messalina and the gregarious (to say the least) Julia. It details the ruthless nature of those close to the top, all wanting to wear the purple themselves, or conniving to get their next-of-kin to assume the throne.

    The film has the "feel" of a play. The sets are static, there is no incidental music and the movie lacks panoramic views of the architecture of ancient Rome. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with this approach, just that it is not the same type of movie as, say, "Gladiator" or "Spartacus" in this respect.

    This is a wonderful, must-see production for any fan or historian of antiquity. The film covers a whole lot of ground (to say the least), but still fits in allusions to numerous historical nuances (such as the defeat of Varrus by Armenius of Germany, as well as the horse that Caligula made into a senator). I would suggest that anyone who wishes to watch this film first read Michael Grant's "The Roman Emperors" thru the reign of Nero to get a backdrop on what is going on. Also, the DVD "Cleopatra," starring Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, was an ambitious project which leaves off about 20 years before the beginning of "I, Cladius."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Fearsome; A Great Work of Art
    Based on Robert Graves' famous novel, I, CLAUDIUS is the ultimate soap opera, vicious, cruel, manipulative--and this famous English miniseries grabs the attention and holds fast throughout the entire length of its complex tale of ancient intrigue.

    The great strengths of I, CLAUDIUS are in the driving pace, sharp wit, and ferocity of Jack Pulman's script and the host of brilliant performers who play it out. Chief among these are Sian Phillips as the calculating, murderous, and unspeakably cold Livia, wife of Augustus; although Derek Jacobi gives a justly famous performance in the title role, it is Phillips who dominates and drives the story with this, the most brilliant performance of her career. But this is not to disparrage the overall cast, which is remarkably fine and includes such noted artists as Brian Blessed, John Hurt, Patricia Quinn, Patrick Stewart, and a host of others.

    Like the serpent that appears in the open credits, the story twists and winds--and covers several generations of the ruling family as Rome slips from the republic to royal rule, largely due to the manipulations of Livia, who has few if any scruples in her determination to rule first through her husband and then through her son. Although the look of the film is somewhat dated, it in no way impairs the power of the piece, and I, CLAUDIUS remains one of the handful of miniseries that actually improves upon repeated viewings. Strongly, strongly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not Enough Stars in a 5-Star Scale to Give Praise!
    "I, Claudius" is, quite simply, a masterpiece of acting, of writing, and of what television can do like no other medium.

    Clocking in at eleven hours, "I, Claudius" rips the curtain back from Imperial Rome and shows the savagery, the venality, the evil, and yes, the goodness at work in the court during the early days of Imperial Rome. Tracking a story over several decades, "I, Claudius" tells an epic story of murder, deceit, seduction, and justice that is simultaneously grand and intimate -- the story is simply too grand a scale to be made into a feature film (well, with the caveat that if Peter Jackson can film the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, he can film any epic out there).

    Narrated by an aged Emperor Claudius (Derek Jacobi, in a career-making performance), "I, Claudius" starts with the reign of Caesar Augustus (Brian Blessed, delightfully Machiavellian) and his vicious wife, Livia (Sian Phillips, almost stealing the show). Augustus, reluctant to drive a stake through the heart of the Roman Republic, nevertheless seeks to consolidate his power; Livia is fully committed to burying the Republic forever and seating her reluctant son, Tiberius (George Baker) on the throne. Through seduction, wily craft, and generous doses of poison, Livia gets her way. Her parting scene with Augustus is a masterpiece of acting on both sides.

    As an aside, the acting in "I, Claudius" more than makes up for an obviously limited budget and virtually no special effects . . . it's like watching a televised play. On-screen violence is nevertheless convincing, and the entire cast hits each precious note with skill. Watch for a young, bewigged(!) Patrick Stewart as the ambitious Sejanus, John Hurt as the deranged Caligula, and John Rhys-Davies as Marcro, Sejanus' second-in-command.

    Claudius, born lame with both a twitch and a stutter ("That boy could destroy the Empire just by strolling through it!"), is nevertheless prophesied to save Rome from her bloody fate. As his older, wiser friends repeatedly tell him (usually just before their own murder), Claudius should play up his disabilities in order to stay alive. Which Claudius does, and as an amateur historian he chronicles the lives (and deaths) of so many noble Romans.

    Tiberius succeeds Augustus (thanks in large part to Livia's gift with poisons), and as he falls into depths of depravity, Sejanus makes his play for the throne. Caligula inherits the throne from Tiberius, although not as smoothly as he would have liked, and he shows the truth in the absolute corruption brought about by absolute power. Claudius, staunch Republican that he is, nevertheless finds himself on the Imperial throne, a captive of the Praetorian Guard, following Caligula's untimely end. He works to restore the Republic, but such is not to be, and ultimately Nero ascends to the throne.

    But on the way, Claudius spins one heck of a tale. Far from the magisterial views of Imperial Rome so often shown in films, "I, Claudius" thrusts us into the courtrooms and bedrooms of the Roman nobility, and it's a captivating, but often ugly, sight.

    2-0 out of 5 stars tedious and boring
    first i must explain that i am a longtime student of roman history and the julio-claudinians in particular. my expectations were very high in regard to this series and i was very disappointed. i knew i wasn't going to be seeing a visual spectacle like gladiator, but i expected something to happen. i don't mind the historical inaccuracies for the sake of drama too much. what bothers me is that the characters are nothing like the real people that are recorded in the history books. brian blessed's portrayal (or should i say betrayal) of augustus could not have missed the point any further. he was in fact a stern serious minded man devoted to his work, not the joking buffoon presented here. the pacing reminded me of dark shadows and it was almost as campy. this series is far too english for the subject matter. i give it 2 stars for the handful of good actors who couldn't save this flawed project. watch caligula to get a closer look at what rome was about during this time period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great drama
    I remember seeing this series on TV many, many years ago when I was still in high school. And was very happy to find it on DVD now. The DVD transfer is very good too. But enough said about that.

    If you like British historical drama of outstanding quality or just Roman history, this is a set you ought to buy. The acting and script are spellbinding. I have watched all of the 5 DVD's in three days, which was sth of a marathon watch. There are no weak spots in the acting and it is fun watching a young 'captain Picard' (yes I also love to watch Star trek). The sets are old-fashioned and nothing like the sets of, for instance, productions like Elizabeth.

    But who cares about sets and the like if the acting is so good. The whole series breathes 'theatre' and I love it. It brings back the stories from Latin classes in High school. The Gods, Augustus, the Roman empire and all the Roman stories come to life, as seen through the eyes of Claudius. They are living and breathing (and very fascinating) people. No computer tricks and such needed. The script and the acting speak for itselves.

    Just buy, borrow or hire the set. Pretend you are not at home in the weekend, do not answer the door or the phone (better still, get it off the hook). And enjoy. ... Read more

    13. Audition
    Director: Takashi Miike
    list price: $24.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000640S9
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 11735
    Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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    If you want the full sledgehammer-to-the-stomach effect of Audition, stop reading this review now. Just watch it and take the consequences. At first glance, Takashi Miike's jack in the box of a movie works like a romantic comedy: amiable widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it's time to find a new wife, and a friend suggests holding a fake audition to find the right girl. It soon becomes clear that there is something wrong with Aoyama's choice. This is no ordinary Fatal Attraction-style thriller, however; Audition slowly and carefully builds into a wrenching exploration of both deep male fears and the stereotype of the cute, submissive Japanese woman. Audition is by no means an easy movie to watch--even hardcore horror fans may have trouble--but it will stay with you for a long, long time. --Ali Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (103)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tender and brutal
    You've probably heard that "Audition" is extremly violent - and that's true. But what makes this violence so disturbing is the tenderness that lies in this movie's heart.
    Basically, it's a story about two lonely people, in a lonly society (as one character notes - "All of Japan seems lonely"). These two people try to make a connection, and each of them fails miserably. The man find it hard to see past his ideals about what a woman should be - and misses the person in front of him, while the woman needs, probably because of her troubled childhood, demands total love.
    Out of the failure of the relationship comes a climax, which is very brutal and graphic (I've found it hard to watch - and I'm a med school student and am used to the dissections...). The fact that you come to care so much about these characters, make the violence seem human, and not horror movie cartoon gore.
    A spacial notice should be made to the work done by the lead actrice, Eihi Shiina. It's her first time on-screen, and acording to the director's note, a large part of her acting in the latter part of the film came from improvisation. Perhaps she was working on her inner demons, but her performance is hard to forget.
    I'd recommend this to anyone who thinks he can stomach graphic scenes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A+
    AUDITION - directed by Takashi Miike (2001)
    Japanese with English Subtitles
    This film is un-rated and contains graphic violence.

    Takashi Miike has accomplished drawing the audience in slowly with subtle and well-made storytelling that turns into a roller coaster ride of white-knuckle extreme terror. At first it seems as though Miike is presenting at straightforward family drama. Husband/father Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) widowed seven years prior decides under the gentle and humorous direction of his son (Tetsu Sawaki) it is time to remarry. Simple? Well, no. Aoyama's drinking buddy Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) decides to hold a fake audition for a film in search of the perfect woman. The editing during this sequence has a natural rhythm and humor that highlights the whole facade as the numbers of unusual women are asked a series of questions. Enter Asami (Eihi Shiina), a former ballet dancer, who seems to have suffered in her past. Aoyama falls in love quickly, and against the warnings of Yoshikawa moves forward in quest for the perfect mate," a compliant woman is best." Takashi quickly cuts to a still shot of Asami, sitting on the floor her head bent down, her hair falling over her head so we can't see her face, a telephone in the foreground, and a very large canvas bag. Throughout soundtrack is very well done and there are very different types of music to fit each scene. At this point, however, there is total silence. Long enough to create tremendous tension. Miike takes the audience with Aoyama as hints Asami's of psychotic disintegration almost subliminally sneak into the narrative. At the midway point we become just as disoriented as Aoyama. Is love blind and deaf? In a series of well-edited montage scenes we are shown previous shots of conversations with different dialog, or simply, more direct. Asami seems to be disclosing all of her painful and tragic past. Or is she? Do we really listen when we are in love, or do we simply hear what we want to hear? Asami's lifelong forced submission and compliance have been driven so deep they boomerang ..standing these traits on their heads. I enjoyed Takashi's sense of direction. The film flows, picking up pace towards the final scenes effectively employing the lost art of giving the audience the maximum amount of tension and fear while revealing little. By then it is too late. Throw in a couple of misplaced acupuncture needles, dismembered limbs, three fingers and a tongue. Well, you can imagine the scenarios. Or can you? This is a slow burn, with a great pace and it really pays off. Not for the squeamish, faint of heart or anyone who is afraid of needles. Deeper, deeper..deeper.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audition
    The other reviews will give you a description of what the film is about (though probably too much of one), so I won't dwell on the subject. It's a film that Should be seen and not described anyway. This Is one of my all time favorite films, so I am going to be incredibly biased. This film is excellent: Takashi Miike (the director) is perfectly in his element with this kind of film. The best way, I think, to describe this film is to say that Audition is to Japan, what Silence of the Lambs or Psycho is/was to America. The lead actress, Eihi Shiina, does a frighteningly great job in her film debut. Simply put, Audition is an awesome and exceptional film :).

    2-0 out of 5 stars Overrated
    Audition is a film that relies heavily on the last twenty minutes of its running time. In the first eighty minutes there is only one, but good, scare. Otherwise this is a fairly tedious film that has very little emotion, for which the director is to blame. On this film is given a 7.3/10 rating. I feel that this film deserves more of a 4/10 rating, becasue it really is boring. The review states that this film will stay with you long after you have seen it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is good. This film relies on the violence towards the end of the film for its substance. This violence too is ridiculous, just like the rest of the film, which is not really a true horror movie. I am not a person who rejects violence; I like movies like The Wild Bunch, Kill Bill Vol.1 and Evil Dead, because those movies actually had something to go with the violence. I don't recommend this film unless you are a true horror fan or you are just curious.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It was okay.....still better than most Hollywood thrillers!
    I went into the viewing of this film with great anticipation since I'd heard how terrifically chilling it is. Although I will try and write about the film as a whole without giving away too much of the events, please be warned that some plot points may exposed.

    However, as you may already know, the story centers around a single father(Aeyoama) that is considering the prospect of a second marriage; with his 16-yr old son's approval and recommendation, actually. After holding phony auditions, with the aid of his friend, to find the "perfect" girl, he is smitten as a kitten with a girl named Asami, and together they begin the courting process.

    Too much time was spent in scenes where Asami proclaimed how happy she was that Aeyoama had called her for a date, or happy he called her, blah blah blah. I don't know how Aeyoama could not help but roll her eyes (I was!) after listening to her express that sentiment over & over, but hey, perhaps that is the type of complacency he was searching for in a wife? Originally, he'd picked Asami out of a stack of eligible partners as a result of the thoughts she had written down on her application. After meeting her though, it seemed like he became much more interested in her physical appearance. In one isntance, Aeoyama
    compliments his son on the sexy young lass that followed him home from school that afternoon.

    Eventually, she disappears and Aeyoama completely loses it, goes against his best friend's advice as well as his dead wife's warnings (in dreams) and goes to search her out, whatever the cost.

    When she finally does reappear, Asami is no longer her shy bashful self. Instead, she is at the far end of the sensitive scale, to put it lightly. She inflicts pain on Aeyoama that can be expressed as the novel "Misery" times 100.

    It seems as though the unspoken arrangement between torturer & torturee was written soon after Asami had gained Aeyoama's love for her. But apparently, this love was based on the love that Asami had been shown in her own life, as we are treated to scenes of Asami growing up & her studies of ballet. This is something that Aeyoama was not aware of, or probably failed to pick up on. It would be interesting to discover if he would have volunteered for the severe torture at the end of the film, had Asami asked; in comparison to Van Gogh's cutting off of ear. Apparently baking a cake for the loved one was not an option.

    Anyway, there is a bit of confusion on this last idea since she is definitely getting her cookies out of the carnage she is inflicting; the idea being that she is the heroine and Aeyoama is the filthy "man" that uses and abuses females. She must phsyically alter him to represent the grotesque being he really is.

    Very interesting ideas, very well adapted into film, but falls short in arriving at a conclusion of any kind. Some may view that as a plus, but I wanted Aeyoama to either accept responsibility for the violence infliced on him, or reject it. ... Read more

    14. Shaka Zulu - The Complete Miniseries
    list price: $79.95
    our price: $71.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006JDQO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 8620
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    This sweeping miniseries from 1986 captures the rise and fall of an African emperor. Shaka Zulu begins following a British expedition sent to bargain with the fearsome Zulu army assembling on the outer edges of the British colonies in South Africa. Led by Lt. Francis Farewell (The Day of the Jackal, A Bridge Too Far), the expedition hopes to bamboozle a superstitious primitive, but their arrogance gets taken down a notch by a cunning and ruthless warlord who has unified vast territories through a combination of political charisma and military discipline. At this point, the focus shifts to how Shaka (the riveting Henry Cele), king of the Zulus, rose from a brutal childhood to royal grandeur--a semi-mythological tale filled with family strife, political intrigue, witchcraft, and bloody warfare. Powerful performances by Cele and Dudu Mikhize (as Shaka's iron-willed mother, Nandi) give this sprawling epic the drive and emotional scope of a Shakespearean drama. Shaka Zulu also draws sneaky parallels between the Zulu and British empires, often to sharp satirical effect. Full of richly conceived characters and compelling political maneuvering, this eight-hour series brings faraway history to living, breathing life. Also featuring Christopher Lee (whose always-steady career exploded at age 79 with juicy roles in The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones). --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
    This is a Brave heart movie wayyyyy ahead of time, great plot, landscapes, action, and is a real history that is a "wanna see movie"

    5-0 out of 5 stars S P E C T A C U L A R !!!!!!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Something to remember.
    I saw this mini series when I was 13 - ten years ago. Even then it had a major impact on me. I've been trying to find it at rental stores for the last five years, but unfortunately, I'd been living in a small town and the movie rental stores were less than impressive in regards to selection. Only recently did I find out that Amazon sells movies as well as books (and lots of other merchandise) and so I immediately searched for it.

    And Voila! I found it.

    I can't in good conscience put five stars here, since I haven't actually seen the DVD version - but I KNOW that the mini series merited at least four stars. I highly recommend this set to anyone interested in history, Africa, or even just an excellent epic story of adventure, adversity, and triumph over the life-sucking blood-spattered desert sands.

    I honestly don't think cutting 3 hours of film out of this does the film creator's vision justice. I suggest you at least rent the mini-series, even if you decide to buy the 5-hour version.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Turning The Tides of Warfare
    Empires rise for the sole purpose of cresting in the valleys of time, destined to always find a stumbling block and fall into the sea. From those that never see the setting of the sun to those rapidly built on the dreams and conquests of one man, this is the legacy of anything that rises to power. So has it been with many, and so it was with the birth of the Zulu nation and their prophetically foretold figurehead, Shaka, as they moved forward and conquered all.

    The validity of this tale, well, that would remain something of a speculative tale since there are so many elements of witchcraft and prediction riddling it. Here, things that might have been mentioned briefly are accented to play out the 220 minutes of production, birthing a legacy of darkness and shadows. Still, as far as a tale adapted for television goes, it was brilliant and enjoyable to watch. Many of the elements that led to the myths of this man and the growth of his empire are included herein, from tales of a son that would one day slay his father and propel his people into power to those that spoke of how he would succumb. It covers the boy himself, his relationship with his mother and how they were outcast, and it shows him grow into something that was propelled only by the need for vengeance. Here, turns that could have prevented this from happening are showcased and the markers making him are defined, helping one understand his accent from nothing to a soldier to a feared ruler.
    And it also introduces many people that know nothing of history to a name they should all know; that of Shaka Zulu.

    Presented alongside this is the European side of the coin and what Shaka Zulu meant to it. It shows the overestimation of how expansionism into areas fueled by "savages" were, and how the cultures of those neighbors shared were actually more than the occupiers bargained for.
    Seeing the Zulus as nothing more than barbarians, the British Cape Town establishes itself and survives with little to know interruptions. Then, out of the blue, the Zulus begin taking over everything. Tribesmen could be found running to the hands of the slavers, trying to avoid Zulu spears.
    And that makes the British apprehensive.
    Then it one day finds itself looking at a situation of enormous proportions, the Zulu close at hand and the white men knowing nothing about them. Added to this was the fact that the garrisons therein weren't equipped to deal with a force of that size, the journey for reinforcement is a four-month journey by sea, and they could find themselves overrun by then. So, an alternative solution is rendered, sending a crew of men out to negotiate and to showcase fear in order to provide a solution.
    And thus begins a tale of gunpowder and magic, of chess and tactics, with groups of men from different worlds playing mental games of chess.

    In the rendering of this tale I personally liked how both sides were shown as players trying to outmaneuver the other. More impressive than that, however, was the fact that Shaka Zulu was portrayed as a powerfully intellectual leader and not as an insignificant threat. Instead of falsely delivering a savage into our midst, the viewer is shown a world outside of the world that the Europeans knew, introduced to its continental customs the people that conquered it with shields and spears. Within those showings, the game of cat and mouse is played and the outcomes, they have more to do with internal afflictions than anything delivered by the white man.
    It also covers the effects Shaka had on the way wars were fought, on the way people were encouraged, and on the impressive way that one man's mind functioned.
    And then there's all the lovely impalings that begin to fall like rain, too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shaka Zulu an Exceptional Production
    Shaka Zulu was by any standard an exceptional production. The cinematography, script, actors and setting were all superb. Henry Cele was extraordinary as Shaka and I can't imagine that there is an actor anywhere in the world who could have portrayed him any better.

    The native settings and attire added greatly to the production.

    The characters and performances were all top notch and the relationship between Edward Fox (as Farewell) and Henry Cele (as Shaka) was portrayed beautifully and powerfully. Drama at its very best.

    This production is without doubt as good as anything I've ever seen on television or in the movies.

    The DVD would have been greatly enhanced if post production interviews could have included Henry Cele. He was truly the star of this series, and that's saying a great deal given the quality of all of the other performances. ... Read more

    15. THE WINTER WAR (Talvisota)
    Director: Pekka Parikka
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $45.00
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    Asin: B0000646UN
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 10757
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good movie about a little known war
    This was a war that the Soviet Union waged on Finland in the winter of 1939 to gain access to a port. They got quite a shock when they were met by extremely stiff resistance. This movie chronicles a group of friends who go together to the front to fight. This is a tough bunch of guys, but they never lose their humanity, like most of the nazi soldiers did. The Soviet forces were lacking leadership due to the fact that Stalin had decimated their ranks in one of his insane paranoid murderous purges. This is the war that convinced Hitler that the Soviets would crumble when his army attacked them. The film does have a kind of washed out, grainy look, a little more than Saving Private Ryan did, but that didn't detract from the movie. It kind of emphasized the bleakness those men were facing. This movie has great battle action sequences, and I'll bet if there were environmentalists on the set, they'd have all had heart attacks because of the number of trees that were destroyed by tanks and artillary. This movie isn't hampered by contrived plots, like SPR, or unnecessary love triangles, like what is in Enemy at the Gates (which is a good movie in every other respect). The only quibble I have with this movie is that the subtitles were sometimes hard to read and the English wasn't always correct (but that was kind of comical).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good movie about a little known war
    This was a war that the Soviet Union waged on Finland in the winter of 1939 to gain access to a port. They got quite a shock when they were met by extremely stiff resistance. This movie chronicles a group of friends who go together to the front to fight. This is a tough bunch of guys, but they never lose their humanity, like most of the nazi soldiers did. The Soviet forces were lacking leadership due to the fact that Stalin had decimated their ranks in one of his insane paranoid murderous purges. This is the war that convinced Hitler that the Soviets would crumble when his army attacked them. The film does have a kind of washed out, grainy look, a little more than Saving Private Ryan did, but that didn't detract from the movie. It kind of emphasized the bleakness those men were facing. This movie has great battle action sequences, and I'll bet if there were environmentalists on the set, they'd have all had heart attacks because of the number of trees that were destroyed by tanks and artillary. This movie isn't hampered by contrived plots, like SPR, or unnecessary love triangles, like what is in Enemy at the Gates (which is a good movie in every other respect). The only quibble I have with this movie is that the subtitles were sometimes hard to read and the English wasn't always correct (but that was kind of comical).

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great combat scenes but some boring parts
    This is an okay movie. It tells the extremely dramatic story of Finnland's heroic resistance against the Soviet invasion of 1939 (this, by the way, is one of the things that the Russians would like you to forget about when they assert that they essentially won World War II on their own).

    Anyway, the combat scenes are impressive for a film made in 1989. However, unless you speak Finnish, you're likely to get bored and start pressing the fast forward buttton when Talvisota gives you a series of verbose scenes at the beginning that last almost a half hour. There are several shorter (mercifully) interruptions punctuating the combat.

    I've often wondered why Hollywood has never made a film about the brave fight that the Finns put up against the Russians. It would seem to me that the story would have the same appeal that "Braveheart" did. But then, I'm not a Hollywood producer.

    The bottom line: If you can't rent it, I'd recommend buying it used (like I did). It simply isn't worth 45 dollars brand new.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Guy's Movie!
    I give this film 5 stars not so much for its storyline or plot (which is virtually non-existant) but for its attempt to show a little known conflict. The combat scenes in this movie are intense. The waves of Soviet infantrymen throwing themselves upon the Mannerheim line gives the viewer a good idea what it must have been like for the Finns. The production value of this film is superb. Those are authentic Soviet T-26 light tanks, and early Yak Fighters. Again, don't look at this movie if you want to see a human interest story or standard plot. The intent of this work is docu-drama. The film accurately shows what the Finns did to resist the Soviet onslaught of 1939-40. There is not much character development here, pretty much all the Finns look like another, but what you see is a gritty determination of a small nation to defend itself against Stalin's tyranny. In the end of course the Finns had to make unfortunate concessions, but few modern wars show a more inspiring image of a small determined people fighting for their survival. This film is worth looking at for its marvalous combat scenes, equippment, and sheer grit. This is certainly a guys movie par excellenece. If you are inspired by it you should read the fine recent history of the conflcit entitled "A Frozen Hell"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Original Film Was Oscar Worthy, DVD Is Cut In Half
    I wanted badly to purchase this DVD. However, the DVD running time is only 125 minutes. The film, when released, ran 3 hours and 16 minutes!!! That translates to 196 minutes. I am not surprised that this DVD has collected some very negative reviews here. It is missing an hour of content!!! I am now off on a search for an uncut version. I still have a Los Angeles Times review of this film from December 8, 1989 (when it arrived as Finland's official Oscar submission) written by Kevin Thomas who marvels at "a classic war picture, at once intimate and epic, majestic and numbing." ... Read more

    16. A Hard Day's Night
    Director: Richard Lester
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
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    Asin: B0000542D2
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 702
    Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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    In 1964, the Beatles had just recently exploded onto the American scene with their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The group's first feature, the Academy Award-nominated "A Hard Day's Night," offered fans their first peek into a day in the life of the Beatles and served to establish the Fab Four on the silver screen, as well as to inspire the music video format.Songs: I'll Cry Instead, A Hard Day's Night, I Should've Known Better, Can't Buy Me Love, If I Fell, And I Love Her, I'm Happy Just to Dance with You, Ringo's Theme (This Boy), Tell Me Why, Don't Bother Me, I Wanna Be Your Man, All My Lovin', She Loves You. ... Read more

    Reviews (264)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Film with FABulous Extras
    This is one of the great films from the 1960s and should be seen by everyone at least once during their lifetime.

    The film has held up very well and the editing still looks innovative nearly 40 years later. One thing that is very noticeable with this set is that the music has been digitally remastered and the sonic quality of the songs is markedly different from the dialogue in the rest of the movie.

    The extra disc provides a lot of insight into the making of the film and the whole Beatles scene. Everyone from Richard Lester to the tailor and hairdresser on the film talk about their memories. Klaus Voorman gives an interesting interview where he shows drawings that he made during the early years of Beatlemania. There is also a documentary on the first disc that repeats clips from some of the interviews on disc 2 but most of the insights are unique to this special.

    Despite the fact that there is a lot of bonus content, even more would have been appreciated. While there is an interview with the man who designed the film's movie poster, an actual gallery of posters and lobby cards would have been appreciated. It would have also been appropriate to include theatrical trailers for the film. This set does include DVD-ROM content but I did not have access to it so perhaps these things are located there.

    Other things that could've been added to disc 2 include deleted scenes shown in "You Can't Do That! The Making of 'A Hard Day's Night'" and the "I'll Cry Instead" intro that was added to the film when it was re-released in the 1980s. Richard Lester's "Running Jumping Standing Still" film should have also been included since it's mentioned so much on the DVD.

    For fans of 1960s cinema or the Beatles, this set is a keeper. Here's hoping "Help!" gets similar treatment someday.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fab -- A very clean old movie
    "A Hard Day's Night" makes most critics' best-ever lists. It's widely considered an electrifying mix of great music and hip comedy, both a time capsule of the swinging '60s and a timeless entertainment. Roger Ebert calls it "one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies."

    Respect hasn't led to respectful treatment. Legal wrangling followed "A Hard Day's Night" throughout its home video life, resulting in oddities like the "tribute to John Lennon" musical prologue tacked on for VHS. The first DVD version, from MPI in 1997, disappeared after a few months of distribution.

    Here, finally, is an up-to-date rendition worthy of the film.

    "A Hard Day's Night" looks and sounds about as good as could be expected. The carefully lit black-and-white images should please most viewers -- even though they're on the flat side, with persistent minor speckling. The stereophonic songs swing as they must, smoking the tracks on Capitol's (shamefully outdated) soundtrack CD. (The MPI video had significantly worse sound but deeper contrasts.) Try this: Put on the Capitol version of "Tell Me Why" and then play the movie version. Perhaps Capitol can tell us why they continue to sell 15 year old Beatles CDs.

    The film, shot in 35mm, is presented in widescreen, letterboxed with a ratio of about 1.66:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The spiffed-up audio comes via Dolby Digital, with the musical numbers in stereo.

    The first disc contains the movie as well as "Things They Said Today," a new promo film that gives the big picture. The second disc is all interviews, arranged by category (cast, crew, etc.).

    Martin Lewis, a Beatles historian and pal to most of the filmmakers, conducted 30 video interviews for the package. They include key players -- Martin, director Richard Lester, United Artists exec David Picker, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor ("Star Wars") and Beatles publicist Tony Barrow -- as well as those who were just lucky to find themselves working on a film project "at the center of the universe."

    The reminiscences get infusions of energy from upbeat clips, some amplifying the talkers' points and others making Beatle-esque visual jokes. The production was extensively filmed and photographed, with hours of that material first seen in this collection. The interviews are tightly edited, surprisingly focused and often a great deal of fun. It becomes clear that contributing to the film profoundly changed the lives of most of these people.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Seriously Lacks Originality
    An overrated band starring in an overrated documentary. I was under the impression that the goal of a film such as this was to convey a sense of time and place, and realism, but apparently the cliched "flop tops" couldn't be bothered for that. In 90 minutes, these third-rate musicians skip a television rehearsal almost ruining the entire program, neglect responding to fan mail, harass their manager, harass young women, harass old women, harass the police, encourage school drop-out, endanger the elderly, and let's not forget play horrible generic pop music (which is obviously lip-synched, completely destroying any realism the director might have been going for). I'm surprised they weren't arrested, seeing as how all of their deeds were caught on film. If anyone had a Hard Day's Night from this film, it was me from the nightmares I had after seeing it. God bless Aaron Carter - now there's a candidate for a documentary!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Original
    This could have been a "B" movie exploitation film of a short lived pop group. Instead, it turned out to be the precursor to MTV and music videos, shows what made the Beatles so much fun and manages to play a few of their great tunes at the same time. The plot is minimal, consisting of the Beatles entourage getting the Beatles to a live television show on which the Beatles are to perform. Nearly from the beginning to the end, the Beatles are chased by pimple faced young teens, the police, their handlers, and everyone else. And throughout the film, Paul's grandfather, played by William Brambell (a very clean old man), keeps stirring up problems.

    The nominal plot allows the Beatles natural likeability to shine. This film established the personas of the individual Beatles (as portrayed to the media) -- Paul -- straightforward and good natured, John -- incessantly sarcastic, George -- subtle with a dry sense of humor, and Ringo -- quiet, shy and introspective. The movie is irreverent, inventive, funny, droll, deadpan, filled with non-stop movement, and some great, if dated, rock-n-roll! A wonderful film showing the exuberance of youth, the innocence of an earlier time, and Beatlemania in all its glory!

    The DVD's extras include interviews with about everyone still living who participated in the film except the surviving Beatles. While it is nice to have all of the insiders reminiscing about the film, it would have been nice to hear from some of the Fab Four.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Movie is great but extra features aren't that spectacular
    A Hard Day's Night is a GREAT movie and the DVD does help with the quality of the film. However when i bought this i thought possibly some of the extra features would contain interviews with the Beatles and so on. THERE WERE NONE..But since the movie is great and so is the quality i would still recommend buying it. ... Read more

    17. The Gospel of John
    Director: Philip Saville
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
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    Asin: B0006Q93ZG
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1108
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    An epic in the spirit of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, this widely acclaimed motion picture is a meticulous recreation of the turbulent era of Jesus and the events that changed the course of history! Narrated by Golden Globe nominee Christopher Plummer (Best Supporting Actor, AMERICAN TRAGEDY, 2000), it’s the bold and powerful story of Jesus as told by his disciple John. The best-loved but least understood of the gospels, John presents a uniquely human portrait of courage and passion encompassing Jesus' entire three-year ministry, the final years of his life. Intimate and reflective, THE GOSPEL OF JOHN offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the incomparable life and times of Jesus Christ. ... Read more

    Reviews (63)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Graceful Storytelling.
    I have watched both the 3 hour version and the 2 hour version and have found both to be very accurate in their presentation of the Gospel of John.I think the film will along with the free 'Jesus' film being distributed by Billy Graham are good tools in presenting the message of the Gospel.My middle son who has dyslexia and finds it hard to read his bible without help especially likes it.

    Since it is an almost direct word for word presentation of the Gospel of John it does suffer somewhat in entertainment value but the original source was written to inform not entertain.

    It is definitely a more graceful telling of the Gospel than 'The Passion of the Christ', and is probably a better medium for reaching unbelievers.

    The only quibble I have with the presentation is that Mary Magdelene seems to appear everywhere.She is in the upper room, she is at Gethsemane, places where it is not mentioned she actually was.It is as if she is the 13th disciple.It is almost as if they are trying to play to the Davinchi Code mania.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Visual John...
    So much positive feedback has been given about this film that to say anything remotely negative about it seems like the highest form of blasphemy. But what the film's supporters fail to grasp is that we curmudgeons are not attacking the content nor the message, but instead, its delivery.John's gospel is as intricate as it is explosive in its spiritual implications and this film conveys neither its richness nor its power.'The Gospel of John' falls far short in its attempt to recreate this supremely complex evangel.Phillip Saville simply wasn't equal to his task.

    I approached this film with trepidation and great expectation. At last, John's power put onto film.Needless to say, I was greatly disappointed with what opened before my eyes.So much so that my interest waned and I pressed 'stop' at John 18.Therefore, my review isn't completely fair, but in its defense, I doubt Saville's depiction of the Passion and Resurrection would have proved any more powerful than the first half of the film.

    Other reviewers have done a much better job of illuminating this film's many faults, so I wouldn't like to repeat them.Instead, I would like to examine 'why' this daring project doesn't succeed.The main problem is its over-riding tone.From the opening scene of the evening sun floating down over the water and Christopher Plummer enlightening us with the 'Word became flesh,' I felt I was back again in Sunday school. The film wants to instruct rather than show and thus fails at both.Its greatest drawback dogs it the whole way through: a lifeless literalism.OK, be true to the text. Include every and, but and thus, but at least make it come alive!Visceral energy and power are absent from this film.Although John is the 'most spiritual' of the Gospels, that doesn't mean it is in any way two-dimensional.Rather, there is layer upon layer...but we only get the bare surface withSaville's 'The Gospel of John.'

    The source of such flaccidity is the amateurism that pervades in scene after scene. With their undisguised Brit accents and wooden presentation, the Baptist and followers ruin things from the start. They are hardly believable and the film cheats with the 'inserted' baptismal scene, another homage to the certain 'interpretation' that the film seeks (under-the-cuff) to present.And ironically, such creative allowance is none too 'literal' as John is oddly silent about Jesus's baptism.

    With the Baptist's cry of 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,' Henry Ian Cusick's Yeshua comes before us.As one reviewer stated correctly, Cusick does the best he can and helps to save the film from complete mediocrity.According to John's Gospel, Jesus is God incarnate who visits us sinful humans to fulfil His redemptive mission.To play God incarnate?Is that possible?Cusick should have declined and Saville should have been thinking. Unable to give us neither the Son of Man nor the Son of God, Cusick falls into a bland no-man's-land.He gives neither passion, nor power--human or divine--and instead shouts and smiles his way through the Gospel. He states his part, but has he come to terms with it?I doubt it.Instead, what Cusick does manage to capture sometimes is the impenetrable authority of the Rabbi from Nazareth.The scenes when Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles provide a glimmer of what this film could have been.Jesus's stern corrections of the Pharisees contain a fragment of the righteous anger that is found in the text.(And yes, anger is there!)These spiritual sparring matches hold the viewer until a grinning Cusick lets out a mundane, 'You belong to your father the devil!'

    Outside of Cusick's performance, nothing can hold its own.Only the integrity of the text remains, but the lack of power in its presentation seems almost blasphemous.The miracles are all there:Cana, feeding the 5,000, walking on the water and Lazarus, but all shown so shoddily that they lose their 'unbelievability.' Isn't that the point of a miracle????How can you believe that the water indeed became wine when it is served up in plastic cups????How can we believe when Cusick walks across the waves with the left over background from the Ten Commandments??? And the Samaritan woman?Her forced facial contortions invoke more laughter and revulsionthan sincere consideration of Jesus's words.

    If this film had been truthfully marketed for what it is--an evangelical tool--then, I wouldn't have felt so cheated.I would have known what to expect.And had it been done more professionally--with true craftsmanship and respect, dare I say, awe, for its source material, then its message would have hit harder.Gibson's 'Passion,' with all its faults, succeeds in forcing the viewer to react, to confront, to decide.'The Gospel of John' provokes more blasphemous laughter than meaningful tears or serious self-inspection. For those who want the real kingdom, power and glory, then READ The Gospel of John rather than watch it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and illuminating
    This movie is cast and acted and directed with great sensitivity and veracity. It brings the familiar words of The Gospel of John to life in an entirely convincing way. It is both inspirational and educational. Every member of the cast is believable in his or her role. This is the best Biblical movie I have ever seen, not detracting from its source but illuminating it. Outstanding!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    If you've seen The Gospel of Matthew (TGM), know that this movie is as excellent as TGM is horrible; thus it's excellent indeed. I watched it soon after seeing The Passion of the Christ, and it's even superior to that. The Gospel of John excels on every level, particularly with the performances of those who play Jesus and John the Baptist. It's not simply great "entertainment" as the AP says in its review. The Gospel of John DVD has transformative power. I recommend that you read John's gospel first, then watch the film; you'll see how exact this word-for-word rendition is. I can't recommend it more highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful & riveting film!
    What a wonderful movie made about Jesus. This is an extremely powerful and riveting film. It is a word-for-word adaptation of the 21 chapters of the Gospel According to John. Christopher Plummer narrates parts of the film. Henry Ian Cusick is the most realistic Jesus I have seen portrayed on film. My other favorite Jesus performance is by Robert Powell in "Jesus of Nazareth" - a mini-series that first appeared on TV in 1977 and is 382 minutes long. That is also an excellent movie and worth buying on DVD.

    The directing, acting and musical score are done extremely well. This is an inspirational movie with a positive message and I highly recommend it to everyone.

    I recently bought the 2-disc DVD set of "The Gospel of John". My only complaint about this new 2-disc DVD set is that they got rid of the 3-disc DVD set and replaced it with the 2-disc set. So far, the only difference between the two sets that I can see are that this new 2-disc set dropped the DTS audio track but kept the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Also, this new 2-disc set includes a new 2-hour version of the film plus the original 3-hour theatrical version. I have no idea why someone would want to only watch a cut up version of a "word-for-word" movie version of "The Gospel of John".I'm assuming that because they included this chopped up version of the film, they dropped the DTS audio track to make room for this other version of the film. I tried to buy the 3-disc set version of this film but I waited too long. I cannot find it (brand new) even on the film's website. But I'm still glad I bought this 2-disc set - It's a lot less expensive than the 3-disc set was. I haven't finished watching everything on it yet so I hope it has all the extras that the original 3-disc set had. It seems to have most of the extras except the DTS soundtrack.

    This movie is HIGHLY recommended for anybody and everybody but especially those who prefer to SEE and HEAR the Gospel of John in a "visual" way in addition to reading and studying the Bible. It's a treasure to keep forever. I think the Gospel of Mark is coming soon to theaters made by the same people that did this movie.I hope they do as good of a job with that movie as they did with this one.My rating: A+ ... Read more

    18. Sex/Erotica for Women: Candida Royalle's Stud Hunters DVD
    Director: Candida Royalle
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $34.95
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    Asin: B0000DBK21
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 16044
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    A female erotic film director and her star head east to New York City to hunt for the perfect new stud for their next movie. Dozens of guys show up to audition, but things don’t go as smoothly as expected as the director tries desperately to keep her wannabe studs on the set and off the casting couch! Things spin hilariously out of control, but in the end, the director has her revenge in the most enviable of ways! This is a satirical look at the adult entertainment business and in a fun way spoofs everything from backstage shenanigans to the egos, fans, paparazzi and even Candida Royalle herself.

    Starring: Ava Vincent, Alexandra Silk, Leila Swan, Tara Indiana, Brian Bishop, Johnny Dannon, Marcus Oralius and Grego. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fun surprise!
    I had heard of Candida Royalle's work but had never seen any and I have to admit I was skeptical. It was definitely different from other sex movies I've seen. It was funny and the erotic scenes were both tender and hot. Even my husband liked it! ... Read more

    19. Monty Python's Life of Brian
    Director: Terry Jones
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
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    Asin: 6305388458
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 265
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential video

    "Blessed are the cheesemakers," a wise man once said. Or maybe not. But the point is Monty Python's Life of Brian is a religious satire that does not target specific religions or religious leaders (like, say, Jesus of Nazareth). Instead, it pokes fun at the mindless and fanatical among their followers--it's an attack on religious zealotry and hypocrisy--things that that fellow from Nazareth didn't particularly care for either. Nevertheless, at the time of its release in 1979, those who hadn't seen it considered it to be quite "controversial."

    Life of Brian, you see, is about a chap named Brian (Graham Chapman) born December 25 in a hovel not far from a soon-to-be-famous Bethlehem manger. Brian is mistaken for the messiah and, therefore, manipulated, abused, and exploited by various religious and political factions. And it's really, really funny. Particularly memorable bits include the brassy Shirley Bassey/James Bond-like title song; the bitter rivalry between the anti-Roman resistance groups, the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea; Michael Palin's turn as a lisping, risible Pontius Pilate; Brian urging a throng of false-idol worshippers to think for themselves--to which they reply en masse "Yes, we must think for ourselves!"; the fact that everything Brian does, including losing his sandal in an attempt to flee these wackos, is interpreted as "a sign." Life of Brian is not only one of Monty Python's funniest achievements, it's also the group's sharpest and smartest sustained satire. Blessed are the Pythons. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

    Reviews (186)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Holy Hilarity!
    Life of Brian is not as well known by the movie going public as Monty Python?s classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", but it is definitely is as, or maybe even funnier than Holy Grail. This is especially true for people who are familiar with the Biblical stories it pokes fun at. It is perfect satire, for nothing is sacred and everything is a joke.

    The story revolves around Brian, a very unlucky resident of Judea who just happened to be born the same day the Christ child was born. Missing his chance at glory, Brian lives his life selling animal parts at the Coliseum, dominated by a violent mother who is very "friendly" to the Roman occupiers. The rest of Brian's environment is inhabited by a very wild bunch. The neo- or archo-Marxist group, the People's Front of Judea, battles the Romans daily by holding meeting after violent meeting, plotting against the legions and their arch rivals, the Judean People's Front. The Romans, on the other hand, are led by the Pontius Pilate, who, contrary to Biblical reports, has quite a lisp and an endearing sense of stupidity. When Brian rebels against his mother and joins up with the wild band of revolutionaries, his life is changed forever. Quite by accident, Brian is then thought to be the messiah, although he is quite reluctant in his leadership.

    Satirically, this movie is absolutely ruthless. Everything is skewered, everything. The performances are all fantastic, especially that of John Cleese, who is just the man in this movie, playing about six separate characters. Joke after joke hits the viewer, which results in just non-stop humor. It's just a wonderful movie by the Python pioneers who really revolutionized comedy. The Criterion DVD edition is great, with tons of hilarious extras that are worth the price on their own. To the people that use this to either justify their atheism or believe it to be an attack on their religion, calm down. It's a comedy for God's sake, why do the opinions of some British comedians affect your outlook on life? Just laugh damn it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great extras on this Python DVD
    THE LIFE OF BRIAN has remained one of my favorite Python flicks after the glow of the Holy Grail began to wear thin from overuse. If you're considering purchasing this movie, you've probably seen the movie already and are a Monty Python fan. If not, get ready for one of Python's most sacrilegious and hilarious movies of their collection! If you are easily offended, you might think twice. However, the satire here is equally distributed and is not aimed so much at religion itself but moreso at the amusing ways in which people can behave "under the influence" of zealotry.

    I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching the movie, but it was a great surprise to find that this DVD comes packed with some great bonus materials. Several full-length, revealing interviews with the cast go into more Python history than just that surrounding this flick. And a rather large collection of scenes cut from the final release are also quite interesting.

    The video and audio quality seem to be on par with most of the other DVD movies I've seen so far, despite the film's age.

    All in all, a great addition to any Python collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Is nothing sacred? NO! And that's why this is a riot!
    Irreverent, brilliant, ingenius... I'm getting all these words out of the way now before I forget them! Even though I'll probably use them a dozen times!

    The funniest thing to come from England since The Stamp Act, Monty Python's Flying Circus could always be depended upon to provide the world with brilliantly twisted humor. The LIFE OF BRIAN is no less a comic masterpiece than anything else these boys have done. Ostensibly a parody of the life of Jesus, LIFE OF BRIAN is a hilarious attack on liberalism, conservatism, colonialism, individualism, communalism, organized religion, disorganized religion, fanaticism, feminism... take your pick of any of a hundred topics. It doesn't matter, it's still brilliant. And the script and direction holds it perfectly all together, even if there's a space ship chase sequence thrown in for the hell of it.

    Once again, the members of MPFC each play several roles and every viewer has his or her favorites, so what the hell, I'll mention mine. Michael Palin, while playing a wonderfully foppy Pontius Pilate, is equally hilarious as a twitchy, hyperactive leper that Jesus had cured. Instead of being grateful, he complains that his rehabilitation has ruined his livelihood as a beggar. (Speaking of rehabilitation, Palin plays the part like a junkie in need of a fix.) John Cleese has several great moments, but his role as a Centurion turned sadistic Latin teacher is nothing short of genius. Everyone who has studied Latin will be beside themselves during this scene. And Terry Jones as Brian's mom still stuns me 25 years later. "My Brian is not the messiah! He's a very naughty, naughty boy."

    Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN is irreverent, brilliant, and ingenius and this edition, complete with outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews make this package worth the price. Whether you are an individual or not, "Monty Python's Life of Brian - Criterion Collection" will save your comic soul.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a review of a movie
    A brilliant movie with a brilliant finale.

    5-0 out of 5 stars funny but wheres Bodge?
    This is a very funny movie. It takes place int he Stone Age. About a guy named Brian and this is his life. Most of the humor is because his name is brian and people confuse him for somebody else. "I'm not so anso I'm Brian." Also there is a very funny moment when a man says his wife is called Continual Buttocks (a butocks is a bottom) or soemthing. Some of the humor is called toilet humor that I'm not a fan of. My friends and I only thought that Bodge would have looked great in this film with his beard and BRITISH accent!!! Where was he? He would have been perfect! ... Read more

    20. Malena
    Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
    list price: $32.99
    our price: $28.04
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXXY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5251
    Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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    When 12-year-old Renato, riding through his small Italian town on his new bicycle, sees the voluptuous Malèna, little does he know he's launching on an infatuation that will carry him through the tumultuous days of World War II. Malèna begins as an enraptured depiction of Renato's adolescent mind--the way he stares, hypnotized, at Malèna's garters pressing through the material of her tight skirt, or his frustrated rebellion against the indignity of wearing short pants--but soon transforms into a portrait of small-town prejudice. Malèna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point that Malèna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malèna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being. At the end, a twist of fate turns this tale of longing and jealousy into a heartbreaking love story. Monica Bellucci exudes the can't-help-it eroticism that makes Malèna such a lightning rod for everyone's desires; she's like a more zaftig Isabelle Adjani. The movie seems to wander at times, but the ending has a powerful emotional impact. From the director of Cinema Paradiso. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (79)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best!
    Malena is truly a great film. It works on so many levels. I have a relative who doesn't usually like foreign films but had to admit this is a great one. Its funny, its sad and it has a message. The story of the beautiful Malena is one that is heart-breaking. Malena is a beautiful woman whose husband is fighting in World War II and is left alone in this town. She is subjected to constant rumours and harassment by the men and women in their village.

    Renato is the young boy obsessed with her. He is also the only person who knows the truth about her and knows she doesn't do the things people say she does. Malena wasn't dating everyone, she was sewing for people into the night, carrying her husband's picture and dancing to their favorite music. The sad thing is that Malena has to become what everyone had labeled her once word got back that her husband was killed. Women refused to sell her food and she had to sleep with men to survive. There is a scene towards the end that really upset me. This movie shows how rotten both the men and the women were to her. Malena shows how dangerous lies and assumptions are to a person's standing in their community and their own self-respect.

    Malena is a very funny movie at times. There are scenes with Renato that made me laugh out loud. However, its a film that goes deeper than many out there. I would have to say this has become one of my all-time favorites. A beautiful, thought-provoking film.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Film
    This lovely and heart-wrenching movie was made even more special by the fact that the two main characters barely speak (well, one of them IS the narrator). I had never heard of the beautiful actress Monica Belluci (Malena) but now look forward to seeing her perform again. She was exquisite and spoke volumes with just her facial expressions.

    Giuseppe Sulfaro played Renato, a young boy feeling the first stirring of his sexual awakening who falls in love/lust with the beautiful Malena. His acting was very touching, especially when he goes to the church and lights a candle every day to try to ensure that Malena will come to no harm.

    This coming of age film about love, jealousy, ostracism, and hate during four tumultuous years of World War II was filmed on the coast of Sicily - and what beautiful cinematography it was. The score was also magnificent, befitting the gorgeous setting.

    4-0 out of 5 stars ETMR - Malena
    1. Humanity: The boy Renato, we learn, is a free spirit. He expresses, out of all the characters in the film, the willingness to step outside his natural, cultural boundaries and grow past his traditional philosophy. This film is not only about the life of Malena, but also about Renato's growth into an adult. What events force Renato to grow into this new kind of thinking?

    2. Implications: The film shows the evolution of Europe, and the break from traditional values, not only through Renato but through the insanity of the war. In what ways does the movie show a critical eye to the old world?

    3. Evolution: In what ways is the movie distinctly European, and yet more in detail, distinctly Italian? Do you think the film is trying to make a general statement on the madness of war, or is it trying to make a visceral attack on the rigidity of Italian traditionalism?

    4. Realism: The story premise is interesting: imagine if you had a guardian angel in the form of a young boy, but you never knew he existed... do you think the set-up of the story was meant to describe an actual sequence of events with the boy, or is the movie playing a more important role with symbolism?

    5. Stageplay: The script provides for a seedier look at the foundations of Fascist Italy. Do you think what was included was sufficient, do you think it was lacking in raw material, or do you think it contained too much teenage sensuality?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Lopsided film that doesn't have much life
    This is a story of an Italian boy who grows a adolescent infatuation with a married woman who is so beautiful that she is horribly gossiped about. Here are the reasons this is a bad film. 1)The film often drifts into the fantasies of the main character(all of them are about Malena). At one point, this is so prevalent you wonder sometimes what's real and not. You also start to wonder why the filmaker did this and I have no real answer except that he couldn't come up with anything else. These dream sequences pull the film away from a grounding reality that the film fails to establish. 2)The title character is almost non-existant as a real character. We see her in real life and in fantasy, but she hardly says anything, or reveals anything about her inner character. This makes her a hollow basis for the film because she is in fact hollow and the character who is infatuated is vacuous as well. 3) The combination of these characteristics makes this film get to its conclusion heavyhandedly and it never feels real even if the results at the time were close to what we see. Dramatically, it's just dumb and vacuous. You wish it were more because you feel that Malena would have something interesting to say, but the filmaker chose not to. These things only approach my biggest gripes with the film. The gossip sequences, which are many, seem flippant and careless, and not the razor-sharped judgement that they would have to be in order to be a real factor in her life, which they are in the film. Sloppy, just sloppy storytelling. How the film ends is also very telling of just how bad this film truly is. He speaks about how he's loved many women, but the one he remembers best is Malena, the ideal that never came to grips with. An ending like this would be good if the film developed a relationship beyond what is in this film. This would be compelling if the protagonist was someone with more of a vocal perspective rather than a visual one. As is, it would have been far more effective to use yet another fantasy to illustrate her historic importance to him, but by then I'm sure that the film would seem incredibly redundant because of the rest of it. If this film had established the strong importance of the difference between fantasy and reality and how the protagonist felt about that it would be better. The film doesn't take this road, however, by putting in the scenes of harsh realism which aren't earned from the deadpan, flippant tone of the rest of the film.

    5-0 out of 5 stars La Bella Bellucci
    Titillating, tantalizing, and tragic are just a few adjectives that come to mind...It takes no genius to realize Monica Bellucci is one of the most drop dead gorgeous international beauties of the current cinema. She is the Italian version bonafide beauty of Catherine Zeta Jones ! If that isn't saying much...

    Belucci seems to play recurring roles of women in great distress and abuse.She does this so convincingly and makes it look so effortless that she is a rare actress who can say much with her facial expressions and actions without really saying much; It's all in the eyes, baby. Malena is the telling of a 27 year old widow left to fend for herself in a small Italian village after the downfall of her husband during WW2.No one will employ her and the women sell her rotten food;it's cruelty in severe doses for Malena. Her father has disowned her due to false allegations of being the town temptress. Men and boys alike fantasize and want her. The women hate her. In comes a young 12 year old boy named Renato Amoroso who develops an obsessive crush over Malena but guards her and holds vigil from afar. This "crush" is what propels Renato into becoming and maturing into a young man who begins to understand that there is much more to romance and life than just lustful sex. He watches and follows Malena secretly and witnesses the many transformations she goes through to survive in a town that has turned hostile against her simply because of her striking beauty ! All of this will culminate towards an unexpected ending which will leave a strong impression to stay with Renato for the rest of his life!

    Cinematography is...well, it's filmed in Italy, what more can I say except stunning panoramic views of the Italian coastline.Plenty of comedic and colorful characters in the beginning. The film starts off with much humor when the viewer is permitted to see into Renato's mind concerning fantasies of farce and romance. But things turn sinister as a town bent on hate begins to enclose on Malena... The film score by Ennio Morricone is extrememly effective, captures the time period and also is very likeable and memorable ! The best surround effects take place during a German air raid over the town. You can also hear great detail in the surrounds of the ocean waves crashing and wind rustling through trees;this transports the viewer to an Italian vacation. The only gripe is that this Miramax dvd version of Malena is missing about 12 to 17 minutes of scenes that were included in the Italian or European release.This was due to more nudity involving Belluci's character and some scenes that raised eyebrows between more explicit sexual fantasies of Renato's. ... Read more

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