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    $64.99 list($99.98)
    1. The Sopranos - The Complete Fifth
    $69.99 $61.58 list($99.98)
    2. Six Feet Under - The Complete
    $85.74 $79.95 list($119.99)
    3. Band of Brothers
    $19.47 $13.55 list($29.95)
    4. The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen
    $38.99 $24.99 list($59.98)
    5. The West Wing - The Complete Fourth
    $32.47 $31.00 list($49.95)
    6. Dawson's Creek - The Complete
    $59.94 $55.88 list($79.92)
    7. Controversial Classics Collection
    $18.89 $15.65 list($26.98)
    8. Hotel Rwanda
    $159.99 $99.99 list($239.52)
    9. The West Wing - The Complete First
    $69.99 list($99.98)
    10. Deadwood - The Complete First
    $79.42 $44.44 list($105.90)
    11. The Godfather DVD Collection
    $27.97 $23.95 list($39.95)
    12. Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition)
    $20.99 $18.99 list($29.98)
    13. What the Bleep Do We Know!?
    $20.27 $15.44 list($28.95)
    14. House of Flying Daggers
    $41.99 $29.00 list($59.98)
    15. Gilmore Girls - The Complete First
    $44.94 $43.45 list($59.92)
    16. The Errol Flynn Signature Collection
    $18.87 $16.95 list($26.96)
    17. William Shakespeare's The Merchant
    $24.49 $23.49 list($34.98)
    18. Kinsey (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    $76.23 $60.00 list($99.98)
    19. The Sopranos - The Complete Second
    $41.99 $34.00 list($59.98)
    20. The West Wing - The Complete First

    1. The Sopranos - The Complete Fifth Season
    list price: $99.98
    our price: $64.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007YMVWO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com


    James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in a not-so-nice mood
    Facing an indeterminate sentence of weeks/months/years until new episodes, fans of The Sopranos are advised to take the fifth; season, that is. At this point, superlatives don't do The Sopranos justice, but justice was at last served to this benchmark series. For the first time, The Sopranos rubbed out The West Wing to take home its first Emmy® for Outstanding Dramatic Series. Michael Imperioli and Drea de Matteo also earned Best Supporting Actor and Actress honors for some of their finest hours as Christopher and Adriana. From the moment a wayward bear lumbers into the Sopranos' yard in the season opener, it is clear that The Sopranos is in anything but a "stagmire." The series benefits from an infusion of new blood, the so-called "Class of 2004," imprisoned "family" members freshly released from jail. Most notable among these is Tony's cousin, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi, who directed the pivotal season three episode "Pine Barrens"), who initially wants to go straight, but proves himself to be something of a "free agent," setting up a climactic stand-off between Tony and New York boss Johnny Sack.


    Carmela and Tony
    These 13 mostly riveting episodes unfold with a page-turning intensity with many rich subplots. Estranged couple Tony and Carmela (the incomparable James Gandolfini and Edie Falco) work toward a reconciliation (greased by Tony's purchase of a $600,000 piece of property for Carmela to develop). The Feds lean harder on an increasingly stressed-out and distraught Adriana to "snitch" with inevitable results. This season's hot-button episode is "The Test Dream," in which Tony is visited by some of the series' dear, and not-so-dearly, departed in a harrowing nightmare. With this set, fans can enjoy marathon viewings of an especially satisfying season, but considering the long wait ahead for season six, best to take Tony's advice to his son, who, at one point, gulps down a champagne toast. "Slow down," Tony says. "You're supposed to savor it." --Donald Liebenson

    Explore More
    For an even deeper immersion into the world of crime (movies, that is) see our guides to crime classics and our who's who compendium of famous mob bosses.

    Bada Bing! More of The Sopranos at Amazon.com

    The Complete First Season

    The Complete Second Season

    The Complete Third Season

    The Complete Fourth Season

    Seasons 1-5

    The Sopranos Family Cookbook

    ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Goombas Are Back In Town:WARNING - SPOILERS
    Time to stuff your face with pasta and wave your hands around when you talk, dropping an F-Bomb every other word - the long anticipated season 5 of the Sopranos is finally available on DVD to satisfy America's love affair with the mafia and pretending to be Italian.

    Now here comes the shocker: you may have already heard this, but Season 5 reveals to us that Tony Soprano is Darth Vader's father.Also, the five families get together and put a hit on Meadow - putting US all out of our misery.Thank GOD.Junior gets a prescription for Viagra - and the best of all:Janice dies from choking, due to stuffing her face with a 96 ounce steak.Nobody has the physical strength to remove her fat @ss, so she's buried right there in Artie's restaurant.

    The cover of this set - inspired by scenes from Dante's Inferno - was a horrible choice.It really bugs me.I hope season 5 is good.Haven't seen it yet, so don't spoil it for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Aphrodesiac on Television
    Maybe we have been too influenced by the Tarantino ultra- violent popular culture zietgiest machine, but my baby and me watch this show and afterwards we get it ON!

    The sex, the violence, the food! These good-fellas and their exploits are da bomb!

    A perfect warmup for animal passion with methods we learned on the dvd NEW SEX NOW...

    Sometimes I fantasize about Tony and his hooker on the boat.

    Oh my!

    5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT A SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    what an amazing season. from the bear to tonys standoff with johnny sac over his cousin. pretty close to the best season if not the best season so far!

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Sopranos - The Complete Fifth Season
    This Is a great Season and a great show but all the actors heads and wallets are starting to baloon way too big(James Gandolfini) Come on, they are acting like babys that are spoiled by their mother!! It really ruins the show when I think back to James Gandolfini holding out on the contract(like he ever had a better role in his life) HBO made him and he should be very thankful to them, as for me I wont buy this dvd but instead I ask all of you to buy HBO's Deadwood!!! better storys and a truling addicting show. HBO, Fire James and put the saved money into New Pilots and greatness will rise from the Soprano ashes, You have done it many times now and will again. Thats all I have to say about that. John Reynolds, Santa Barbara, Cal

    5-0 out of 5 stars Back in Business
    After the 4th Season's emphasis on the Soprano domestic front, the 5th Season returns to the "family business" with a vengeance.

    But, with all the backroom maneuvering, parking lot beatings, and streetside shootings, the most powerful moment came with the ultimate fate of Adrianna: after all the episodes and seasons that entertained and endeared us to this family, THE SOPRANOS reminds us of who these people really are.
    It almost felt like the viewer got whacked at the end of the 5th Season.Pretty wild.

    As usual, I can't wait for the next (and supposedly final) season. ... Read more


    2. Six Feet Under - The Complete Third Season
    list price: $99.98
    our price: $69.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007R4SWM
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 28
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    No other show captures the ebb and flow of day-to-day human relationships like Six Feet Under, which chronicles the dysfunctional lives of the Fisher family, who run a funeral home in Los Angeles. Though the overt theme of the series is mortality--every episode opens with the death of someone whose body will end up on the Fishers' slab--but the third season, even moreso than the first two, explores the intertwining struggles for connection and for personal freedom. The season starts slowly but compellingly, laying out the changes in the Fishers' lives. Nate (Peter Krause, We Don't Live Here Anymore) has married and has a baby. David (Michael C. Hall) is settling into tense domesticity with his angry boyfriend. Claire (Lauren Ambrose) has launched into art school. Ruth (Frances Conroy), their mother, is reaching out for companionship from an emotionally stilted young intern, and Brenda (Rachel Griffiths, Hilary and Jackie), Nate's ex-fiancee, has apparently vanished from their lives.

    But as storylines unfold across the 13 episodes, the emotional heft of the season comes from the expanded roles of the family's intimates. Federico (Freddy Rodriguez), who has leveraged his way into a partnership with the Fisher brothers, finds himself fighting to be treated as an equal at work and struggling with his wife's depression at home. Trying to sort out their relationship, David and Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) negotiate everything from therapy to threesomes. Meanwhile Lisa (Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol), Nate's unhappy wife, increasingly becomes the center of the season as her jealousy and need become unbearable. Though big events happen, the most jolting drama on Six Feet Under comes from small conflicts--miscommunications, crossed desires, habits that don't mesh. The cast, writers, and directors can, with breathtaking skill and subtlety, spin a brief conversation into a microcosm of the character's lives. By this third season, the show has taken on the richness and complexity of a great novel; it's an impressive and deeply enjoyable achievement.--Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (39)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I want more!
    I only watch the show for two reasons: David and Keith. I like everybody else, but seeing them together makes me happy. I hope they can put their heads together and get help. I want them to salvage whatever it is to save the best "gay" relationship on TV today. The show is ground-breaking, and having interesting and thought-provoking characters like David and Keith make me tune in every week to see what happens. I love the show! Keep up the great work! Matthew.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
    I have been following SFU as it has been released on DVD. I have to say that I am not a fan of Season 3. It has become a bit soap-opera-ish. Season 1 and 2 made you think and relfect on each episode, and the person who died in it, and what you could learn from their death. This one seems to have forgotten that; with the characters being two dimensional.I hope it picks up in Season 4.

    Saying that, I still think this is an awesome series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not as good as seasons 1 and 2
    Six Feet Under is one of my favorite shows - I love the writing; the realistic, flawed, and very likeable characters; the storylines; and the great acting. Watching 6FU on DVD is really the way to go - you watch on YOUR schedule - no more waiting a week for new episodes.

    If you haven't seen Season 3 yet, I won't ruin the surprises that are in store for you, I will just try to set up what happens.

    The first episode resolves the cliff-hanger from Season 2 regarding Nate's brain surgery.The episode also fast-forwards a few months, and we see the Fisher family having gone through some changes.Nate's situation is very different now - Brenda is out of the picture, and Nate's daughter Maya is a bigger part of his life.In Season 2, Lisa moved to LA to have Nate's baby, and in Season 3 she is a regular character on the show.She and Nate go through some interesting stuff, and later in Season 3, Brenda shows up and complicates things.

    At the end of Season 2, David and Keith were together again, but having rough spots; now they are going to couples counseling to work on their issues.Ruth is now newly single, having left Nikolai the florist, and there's ample room in her life for a new friendship with an eccentric character played by Kathy "I'm your number one fan!" Bates.Ruth's love life also gets some attention in Season 3.At the end of Season 2, Claire was just about to start art school; in season 3, her storylines revolve around art school, another student, and a teacher there.By the end of Season 3, just about everyone is at a crossroads.

    Like Seasons 1 and 2, Season 3 has plenty of very dramatic, emotional scenes that are so well-written and so well-acted, they really make you FEEL what these characters are feeling.For us viewers, the experience of seeing them suffer is visceral.

    But unlike Seasons 1 and 2, season 3 doesn't have as much dark, quirky humor (like in Season 1 when Ruth accidentally took the ecstasy that David hid in the aspirin bottle).I missed this.

    The first half of Season 3 is a bit uneven - some episodes and storylines are great, others feel like filler to keep things moving along.The second half is really great, compelling, like a great page-turner that you don't want to end.Be warned: the last 4 episodes, while riveting and incredibly well-acted, contain some pretty depressing stuff.Also be warned that the last episode's very last scene, while excellent, will leave you wanting more.

    One thing I loved about Seasons 1 and 2 was the epiphanies or transformative growth that one of the main characters would sometimes experience as a result of their interactions with the families of the people that die at the beginning of each episode.This happens much less in Season 3, unfortunately.However, toward the end of the season, Nate starts seeing connections between his own situation and that of the families of the deceased.And in the last episode, there's an extended scene involving Claire, her deceased father, and other characters in Heaven (don't worry - Claire's not dead) that brings a sense of resolution to a number of storylines that had been kind of left open, and is really quite beautiful.

    All things considered, I definitely recommend Season 3, but the first half of the season is not quite up to the standard of excellence set by Seasons 1 and 2.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the last of the best
    I have long believed that SFU was the best written/acted show on television (excuse me-it's not television it's HBO).In the opinion of a rabid fan season three was the last really primo season for this masterpiece program.Season four was so forced it was just lost in space.It wandered aimlessly until Lisa's body was found (ding dong the bitch is dead!) and Nate got himself beaten senseless to demonstrate his guilt.Back to season three.I believe it was the best of SFU and I will ad it to my collection of seasons one and two when released in May.I have no plans to watch season five when it begins in June.Season four destroyed my interest in this superb series and I am truly saddened. This is one program which should have ended after season three. It's sad when producers drag a story line out beyond it's logical and qualitative end point for the sake of money. I have canceled HBO because I can't bear to watch season five drag it down further and SFU was the only reason I subscribed to HBO in the first place. At least I'll soon have the last of the best three seasons to enjoy as reminders of one of the top five shows of all time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Season Three
    Season three starts out with a bang. The first episode shows a completely different life for the protagonist Nate. For the rest of the Fisher family everything is different too. To start off Rico has become a partner and Claire has started art-school. Ruth is getting fed up with Nikolai. The season's main brilliance comes in its incredibe developement of all the characters. Although it's sad to see Claire out of highschool, without her shrink, without ParkerMcKennough, she goes through a major transition through her interactions with Russel and other art school friends. Ruth becomes close with Bettina (played by Kathy Bates) who is looking after her sister while she gets rid of a Vocodin addiction. Brenda is seeking help for her sexual addiction.

    The brilliance of the show is only furthered for the characters as this season appears to be a season of transition in their lives.

    The cast continues to rock out in this season and Alan Ball and Laurence Andries continue to kick ass with their intense cinematography and beautifully crafted Los Angeles landscapes. Unlike many shows that depict California as a land of promise Six Feet Under portrays it in it's independant apathetic reality. The show also shows how the landscape as affected it's characters, mainly Brenda and Claire. ... Read more


    3. Band of Brothers
    list price: $119.99
    our price: $85.74
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006CXSS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 27
    Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Description

    Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elete rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend. ... Read more

    Reviews (703)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Band of Brothers - The Complete 10 Chapter Miniseries
    This 10 chapter miniseries set is an exquisite mix of Saving Private Ryan with the documentary feel of an A&E type production and the drama, look and the inevitable touch of Spielberg/Hanks brilliance and genius.

    Incredibly real and gut wrenching, the miniseries begins at 101st Airborne Division training camp at Camp Toccoa, USA. Whereupon we learn about the tough reality of being in the Airborne Division and the severity of living under a military chain of command. Under the command of Lt. Sobel, Easy Company is trained and drilled every single day until they become on of the best companies in the Division, a fact that will prove to be woeful in battle.

    At long last (2 years in training) the Allies have concocted a plan to start the invasion/liberation of Nazi occupied France and Europe. D-day is gruesome but Easy Company is more terrible events are yet to come.

    As we follow along the story, we slowly get into knowing people like Lipton, Luz, Perconte, Winters, Buck, Bull, Skip Muck, Popeye, Guarnere and many memorable characters who we see triumph, survive and perish in the cruelty of war.
    We are taken into the very jaws of the enemy at battles like Foy, Carentan, Bastogne, the Eagle's nest, all these in the dreariest and bitter conditions of bad weather and lack of supplies. We are also shown the harsh confrontation and evil they were up against when Easy and other companies face the concentration camp in Landsberg.

    A miniseries all WWII fans and followers are sure to enjoy, hands down a top 5 stars and Thumbs Up.

    You will enjoy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful testament to the human spirit
    BAND OF BROTHERS (USA/UK TV 2001): The trials and tribulations of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, from the D-Day landings in Normandy to their capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Austria at the end of World War II.

    Co-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, HBO's epic 10-part miniseries (based on a terrific bestselling book by the late Stephen E. Ambrose) was the most expensive TV undertaking of its day, costing a massive $120 million to produce. And, as the old saying goes, every penny is up there on the screen. Borne from the success of Spielberg's SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) - with which it shares a similar dramatic and visual style - BAND OF BROTHERS' recreation of a glorious (and hard-won) chapter in American history assumed an even greater patriotic significance during its initial US broadcast, when it coincided with the horrific attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in September 2001. Written with economy and grace, and directed with emotional intensity by a series of directors (including Phil Alden Robinson, Richard Loncraine and Hanks himself) whose combined efforts achieve a genuine aesthetic uniformity, the movie is a masterpiece of storytelling and historical documentation. Punctuated by horrific battle sequences, in which the camera is placed within mere inches of the death and destruction, the film manages to transcend its educational remit by its relentless focus on the human cost of war. Almost every episode opens with testimony from surviving members of Easy Company (none of whom are identified until the end of the series), which further strengthens the emphasis which BAND OF BROTHERS - book and film - places on the bonds which drew them together in times of conflict. And, because it's a true story, there's no telling from one episode to the next which of the 'characters' will live or die, which makes it all the more potent and visceral.

    The entire production represents quality writ large: Beautifully filmed on various European locations (including the UK and Austria), the movie is noble without being the least bit pompous or austere, and it manages to humanize a large cast of essential characters with small touches of humanity and humor, all of which serves to heighten the sense of terror as they descend into the maelstrom of conflict. The first - and longest - episode is deceptively staid, featuring David Schwimmer (a long way from TV's 'Friends') as the bullying, cowardly commanding officer Herbert Sobel, whose tyrannical methods nevertheless shaped Easy Company into a fighting force which eventually cut a swathe through the heart of occupied Europe. Brit actor Damian Lewis takes the spotlight thereafter as Easy Company's most respected platoon leader, Richard Winters, with Ron Livingston as his right hand man, Lewis Nixon. Other standout performances in a flawless cast include Matthew Settle as battle-hardened platoon leader Ronald Speirs whose wartime career was distinguished by numerous acts of bravery (fuelled by a unique - if morbid - personal philosophy), Shane Taylor as company medic Eugene Roe, Neal McDonough as 2nd lieutenant 'Buck' Compton (laid low by his horrific combat experiences), and Donnie Wahlberg as 1st sergeant C. Carwood Lipton, who maintained the morale of his fellow soldiers, even when the odds seemed stacked against them. Every episode has its merits, but stand-outs include David Leland's 'Bastogne' (ep. 6), which recounts the horrendous circumstances surrounding Easy Company's involvement in the Battle of the Bulge, and David Frankel's 'Why We Fight' (ep. 9), in which the full horror of the Nazi regime is uncovered in a German forest. Additionally, the closing moments of chapter 10 ('Points', directed by Mikael Salomon) are truly heartbreaking.

    Like the movie itself, HBO's region 1 DVD is magnificent. Housed in a beautifully embossed metal case, all ten episodes are spread across five discs (running a total of 624m 23s). The image is letterboxed at 1.78:1, anamorphically enhanced, and picture quality is stunning throughout, with faded colors (a deliberate artistic choice) and strong contrasts. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is spectacular and horrific, designed specifically to immerse the viewer in some of the most terrifying battle scenes ever captured on film. Closed captions are included, though there are no open subtitles. Crucially, each disc contains biographical information on the soldiers represented in every episode, which allows the viewer to keep track of an extensive array of characters, and there's a useful glossary, map and timeline of Easy Company's advance across Europe. Perhaps the number of chapters per episode could have been doubled (as it stands, there are six for each instalment), but that's a minor glitch in an otherwise exemplary presentation. The sixth disc in HBO's package contains a fascinating, feature length documentary on the real members of Easy Company (essential viewing), and a series of video diaries by actor Ron Livingston of the boot camp to which many of the cast were subjected in preparation for filming, during which the actors seem to have cultivated the same bonds of friendship experienced by real soldiers in combat situations.

    It's doubtful that a more fitting tribute to the men of Easy Company could have been devised than BAND OF BROTHERS, a truly remarkable experience, given the Rolls Royce treatment on DVD. By turns engrossing, provocative and deeply, profoundly moving, it stands as a testament to those who fought and died for our freedoms, almost a lifetime ago.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Who did save Europe?
    I have seen this mini-series and like every movie that will ever be made by any film maker (US, Ireland, China, Germany, etc…) it is not an accurate account of what really happen. If the US did not save Europe who did? Was it the Russians, the French, the German’s? I forgot the German’s where conquering Europe. Ireland, who did HELP save Europe? Any way, I am thankful and grateful for all who fought to free Europe and the rest of the countries in this world. I am a naturalized citizen and retired member of the Arm Forces of the USA, who with out their sacrifices I would have not been able to come to this great, wounderful, and giving nation I call my home. It also shows the stupidity of the leadership of all nations, but most of all it shows the prize that Americans paid for the freedom we have today. God bless all those who fight for freedom. This is what this movie is all about, FREEDOM!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Idiot's guide to WWII
    This tripe just reinforces the idiotic opinion held by so many Americans that "America saved Europe" from the Nazi's. Rubbish. Read a good book instead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "It appears the Germans are bad, very bad."
    I was lucky enough to catch this excellent mini-series on a replaying on the history Channel because 1.) I don't have HBO and 2.) I don't have over $100 to spend on this box set. But I wish I did. This is probably the best war movie I have ever seen. It follows Easy Company, probably the most famous platoon of world war 2 from their training in boot camp, to the very end at hitler's "Eagle Nest." They were a platoon that suffered 150% casulties.

    With the exception of its length (over ten hours) this is right up their with a big bedget movie. It has great actors, awesome cinemetogrophy, and great war special effect. Don't let the fact that this tv miniseries is a wimpy piece of junk. It's not! Because it was on HBO, the makers made sure to keep it realistic with the violence (lots of blood, injures, lossed limbs, etc...), theirs bad language and even a little nudity. So don't let a little kid watch this. The late Michael Kamen provides the excellent score and really provides a ambient backdrop to the sorrow and loss and horrible side of war.

    If you are at all interesting in Worl War II or like war movies in general. You must do yourself a favour and check this masterpiece out. You will not be dissapointed. ... Read more


    4. The Aviator (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080ZG10
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    From Hollywood's legendary Cocoanut Grove to the pioneering conquest of the wild blue yonder, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator celebrates old-school filmmaking at its finest. We say "old school" only because Scorsese's love of golden-age Hollywood is evident in his approach to his subject--Howard Hughes in his prime (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in his)--and especially in his technical mastery of the medium reflecting his love for classical filmmaking of the studio era. Even when he's using state-of-the-art digital trickery for the film's exciting flight scenes (including one of the most spectacular crashes ever filmed), Scorsese's meticulous attention to art direction and costume design suggests an impassioned pursuit of craftsmanship from a bygone era; every frame seems to glow with gilded detail. And while DiCaprio bears little physical resemblance to Hughes during the film's 20-year span (late 1920s to late '40s), he efficiently captures the eccentric millionaire's golden-boy essence, and his tragic descent into obsessive-compulsive seclusion. Bolstered by Cate Blanchett's uncannily accurate portrayal of Katharine Hepburn as Hughes' most beloved lover, The Aviator is easily Scorsese's most accessible film, inviting mainstream popularity without compromising Scorsese's artistic reputation. As compelling crowd-pleasers go, it's a class act from start to finish. --Jeff Shannon


    DVD Features
    In his commentary track, director Martin Scorsese offers his own impressions of Howard Hughes and rattles off his memories of experiencing Hughes's films.He mentions how he made Cate Blanchett watch every Katharine Hepburn film from the '30s on the big screen, and observes that Kate Beckinsale had "a real sense of the stature of a Hollywood goddess."But in general he doesn't talk much about the craft of making the film.That area is covered better by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who also appears on the commentary track, and producer Michael Mann makes a few appearances (all were recorded separately).The picture is brilliant, but the 5.1 sound is not as aggressive in the rear speakers and subwoofer as one might expect, other than some nice surround effects in the Hell's Angels flying sequence.

    The second disc collects almost three hours of features.There's one unnecessary deleted scene, and an 11-minute making-of featurette that's basically the cast and director heaping praise on each other.More interesting are the short featurettes on visual effects (including the XF-11 scene, of course), production design, costumes, hair and makeup, and score, and Loudon Wainwright discusses his and his children's musical performances.Historical perspective is provided by spotlights on Hughes's role in aviation and his obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a 43-minute Hughes documentary from the History Channel (part of the Modern Marvels series, it focuses on his mechanical innovations and spends less than a minute on his movies).More unusual are DiCaprio and Scorsese's appearance on an OCD panel, and a half-hour interview segment DiCaprio did with Alan Alda.--David Horiuchi

    The Personalities ofThe Aviator

    Click the links to explore more movies by these stars.

    Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes
    "Sometimes I truly fear that I... am losing my mind. And if I did it... it would be like flying blind."
    Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn
    Howard Hughes: "You're the tallest woman I have ever met."
    Katharine Hepburn: "And all sharp elbows and knees. Beware."
    Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner
    Howard Hughes: "Does that look clean to you?"
    Ava Gardner: "Nothing's clean, Howard. But we do our best, right?"
    Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow
    Jean Harlow in Hell's Angels: "Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?"
    Jude Law as Errol Flynn
    Errol Flynn in Captain Blood: "Up the riggings, you monkeys! Break out those sails and watch them fill with the wind that's carrying us all to freedom!"
    Director Martin Scorsese
    "You get a sense of Howard Hughes being Icarus with the wax wings. Those wings were great for a while, but he flies too close to the sun." --Martin Scorsese

    Other Movies by The Aviator's Oscar® Winners

    Production Designer Dante Ferretti
    Film Editor Thelma Schoonmaker
    Costume Designer Sandy Powell
    Cinematographer Robert Richardson
    See all the Oscar® winners atOscar Central

    The Aviator at Amazon.com


    The Aviator soundtrack

    The Screenplay

    Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator


    Howard Hughes movies

    Great movies of the 1930s

    The films of Martin Scorsese

    ... Read more

    Reviews (147)

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Bring in the milk!"
    Let me state a few facts about myself and, in doing so, set up a very sincere question about "The Aviator."

    1) I'm a huge fan of Howard Hughes, an absolute buff on the guy.I've read two biographies of him and have to say he's one of the most interesting historical figures of the past century: His brilliance, his wealth, his flaws, his successes, his peculiarities and the periods in which he lived all combine to create a fascinating figure.

    2) I'm a tremendous fan of Martin Scorsese.He's made some of my favorite movies and I think he's probably one of the top five greatest directors working today.There's just something about the way he photographs images and people that makes even his worst movies worthwhile.

    3) I also think Leonardo DiCaprio is a really good actor, a fact that has been publicly obscurred (but not hampered) by the "Titanic" hype and by some poor choices (or lack of choices, in recent years).

    4) And I think "The Aviator" was probably the best produced movie of 2004.The cast is excellent, the sets and costumes and designs are fabulous, the cinematography is exquisite.

    So, THAT SAID, why didn't I like the movie more?It's an impressive achievement but I seem to appreciate the parts more than the whole.And as good as DiCaprio is, I think he may have been miscast.Only a star of his level could've gotten this kind of budget, but he simply doesn't look right in the part.It's not until after he grows a moustache that he really start to resemble Hughes.Most of the time, Hughes looked like a guy who was quietly trying very hard not to leap out of his skin but DiCaprio seems more intent on burrowing deeply *into* his body.
    He just doesn't have the same kind of intrinsic uncomfortability.

    Still, it's an impossible movie not to recommend.There are long stretches of space but every so often, there's a brilliant explosion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The opulance and scope. Brought to you by Scorsese.
    This film is entertaining, and much more effective than any one biography of Howard Hughes. The pace of the movie, coupled with the fantastic acting by Leonardo DiCaprio as the livid Howard Hughes, gives an aura of 3hrs much in the way of inspiration. For underachievers this is a shockingly, unbelievable film. You can feel the energy pulse out of the life of Howard. Sharing his passions for aviation. Revealing the breadth of his contributions to air america. The esprit de corp is flavorful, in symbolisms of the fastest jet planes and the hardest hitting reality at zero hour. A much more breaking of the usual norm of film. It is so wonderful to think that movies such as these aren't being overlooked by the latest craze. When will Scorsese win a *(**( academy award for best director!

    2-0 out of 5 stars IT WAS OKAY!
    THE AVIATOR WAS OKAY I REALLY DIDN'T CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT IT IT WAS TOO LONG!

    FROM KIRSTEN

    4-0 out of 5 stars Another Oscar-worthy epic from Martin Scorsese.
    Director Martin Scorsese makes filmmaking look so easy sometimes.With "The Aviator" he once again breaks from the Gangland themes of his more famous films such as "Mean Streets" and "Goodfellas" and journeys off on yet another unexpected road (e.g. "The Age of Innocence," "Kundun," "The Last Temptation of Christ").Yes, he recently directed "Gangs of New York," but he followed that with yet another left turn by doing a biography on the intensely eccentric Howard Hughes, "The Aviator."Leonardo DiCaprio owns his role here of the off-center genius who has frequent and exponential mental breakdowns, leaving all around him wide-eyed and wondering why he keeps repeating himself as if a record in his brain is skipping.This is easily the best work he has done in years.There are two other actors here that match him.One is Cate Blanchett who nails her characature of the late, great Katherine Hepburn and her short-lived romance with Howard Hughes.Her performance is a breath of fresh air amid all the seriousness of the story.The other is a diabolical and utterly slimy turn from veteran actor Alan Alda.It doesn't hurt that he has some of the best lines in the script, but his scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio have some of the best ebb-and-flow, subtelty acting that I've seen in a very long time.The two pros are butting heads and enjoying every minute of it!There are many solid acting performances from a stellar cast of name actors, though it would have been nice to see the character of Ava Gardner, played competently here by Kate Beckinsale, in depth and her more substantial connection to Howard Hughes.But the movie was long enough, anyway.The visual effects and overall production value are excellent, and the scope of the picture is epic and professionally done.This is top-notch filmmaking in every respect, and is easy to recommend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hughes Air West
    You have to give credit where credits due. "The Aviator" is a fantastic film.I think it will be more appreciated by film fanatics, it's not what I would call a "popcorn movie".I enjoyed the cinematography more than anything.I have never seen a film using the shades of colours they used.It was enough to wake up the senses.The acting was phenomenal, Leo was fantabulous as were the rest of the cast.Cate Blanchett soared as Katheren Hepburn, in some scenes emulating Ms. Pac Man with those outrageous red lips flapping away."The Aviator" soared with creativity and good quality film making.The score, which evokes a deep yet frantic appeal tells the story of a flawed, troubled soul as it unravels into a quary of intense and manic emotions. Martin Scorsese directs another classic film, although overlooked by the Academy (which seems to have cast a blind eye).R U blind or do u have 20/20 vision, "The Aviator" paints an abstract portrait of someone who had too much and didn't know what to do with it. ... Read more


    5. The West Wing - The Complete Fourth Season
    list price: $59.98
    our price: $38.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OY2N0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The winning streak for this veritable show continues through its fourth year. As with many long-running series, The West Wing faces the inevitable--a cast member chooses to leave. But this show handles Rob Lowe's exit with such well-executed grace, a could-be-harmful experience (or at least sudden) is turned into an asset. The season begins with three staff members marooned in the heartland (played mostly for laughs) and ends with a dramatic cliffhanger even more powerful than the initial season's shooting. In between are 20 excellent episodes packed with the series' trademark wit and pace, and an uncannily ability to create excellent moments for the entire cast. The election nears and West Wingers brace for the final onslaught including a make-or-break debate. There's a horrible genocide in Africa changing the course of the Bartlett administration and a covert assassination with effects lingering throughout the season. There's also the now-annual flashback episode, this time to the first days at the White House (with another comforting appearance by Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Landingham). The series also has its first episode set mostly outside the West Wing when C.J. (Alison Janney) goes back to Ohio for a high school reunion and visits her father (Donald Moffat) who is starting to feel the effects of Alzheimer's.

    Lowe's Sam Seaborn picks a new fate at the spur of the moment and is eventually replaced by the very person whose verve he was swept up by--a harried, vastly intelligent campaign manager, Will Bailey (Josh Malina, best known for his work in creator Aaron Sorkin's previous show, Sports Night). He's an excellent fit for the West Wing, both fictionally and for the series. Part of the show's success belongs to the continuity, helped immensely by high-caliber guest stars continuing long runs on the show, including Mary-Louise Parker, John Amos, Marlee Matlin, Tim Matheson, Timothy Busfield, Lily Tomlin, Anna Deavere Smith, and Ron Silver (hey, that's a pretty good cast for their own show). One-time guest stars are also used to the fullest. Notice how a single-episoe appearance by Christian Slater (as a naval attaché who strikes Donna's fancy) turns into a three-episode arc. Matthew Perry delivers an Emmy-nominated performance in a key role in the season's final arc. This fourth season was capped by the departure of creator-writer Sorkin and producer-director Thomas Schlamme, plus another Emmy win for Best Drama, its fourth straight. Many were surprised or even angered that the series kept up the winning streak. Perhaps the series was not as relevant to the times as four years earlier, but the proof is in the pudding--the series was still in rarefied air by the end of this season.

    Luckily, Sorkin and Schlamme were invited to air the commentaries for the DVDs, here on three episodes. It allows them to talk about their departure, a subject barely mentioned in the two making-of featurettes. One deals with speechwriters and other with Stockard Channing's role on the show. Note: the documentaries and deleted scenes are hard to find. Look for the pointer (>) at the bottom right of the special features menu of the sixth disc. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

    Reviews (31)

    4-0 out of 5 stars West Wing - Thanks
    I just wanted to write and thank the reviewer (Chris - Hamburg, NY) who informed me how to get the extras on the 6th disk.

    The > was too near the Main Menu to seem to be a separate icon. To Brother Ziegler of the recent request - check out April 8th 2005 for the correct method.

    As regards the series, Aaron Sorkin or no, it is still the best thing on television.Intelligent, witty, well acted and well written; it will be watched for many years to come.

    I do agree that the constant introduction of guest characters, can be a little tedious at time - but at least it hasn't sunk to the level of 'Will and Grace' - also a very well written series, but for different reasons. There, an episode seems not to go by without some celebrity popping up.An ensemble cast of the calibre of the West Wing (or indeed 'Will & Grace') doesn't need it so much.

    The 4th Season box set is well worth the purchase price.Enjoy it for what it is - good television, and many thanks again to Chris from Hamburg NY for unlocking the key to the extras problem.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not up to the first three seasons
    Not only has it become even more TOO LIBERAL AND PREACHY, to agree with a previous reviewer, it's become just plain boring!This season is much more soap opera and less a plausible look at real issues than the earlier excellent seasons.Whereas I used to easily watch a whole disk (3-4 episodes at once) in one sitting, it now takes five sittings to get through a single episode.I don't plan to buy any more season sets.

    3-0 out of 5 stars the good and the bad...
    First the good:great program, and Season Four continues the good acting from this cast, as well as Aaron Sorkin's superb writing, mixing informative dialogue with amusing banter, that keeps one caring about this ensemble, and makes this whole series one to return to again and again.

    The bad:the boxed set was sent without the booklet listing the episode titles and descriptions, so it is hard to find the episodes ones wants to watch. Returning for exhange didn't help, as ALL the stock in a major outlet was also missing the booklet, so I tried to track down the booklet separately, from the online seller, as well as from Warner Home Video directly - still waiting, after 2 months.I'd advise potential buyers to wait until this is sorted out, and ask specifically if the booklet is included, before purchasing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Consistency.
    "The West Wing" is easily the most reliable series I have ever purchased.The level of quality filmmaking that this show achieves is remarkable.From the professional direction, to the great ensemble chemistry, to the often incredible writing, there really is no reason to hesitate gathering all the episodes currently available and showcasing these DVD collections prominently and proudly.Having praised "The West Wing" with all due accolades, Season 4 is actually the least effective of the first four seasons.The acting is good, as per usual, as are the direction and cinematography and writing; but it was a rare moment when I got that buzz that made the second half of Season 1 and all of Season 2 so phenomenal.Season 3 was an effective continuation, but during Season 4 I frequently felt the throughline story was sent to the back of the bus to be tabled for a later date, or ignored altogether, so a new character 'name' actor could be introduced in the hopes of injecting some charisma.Of those I remember, there was Christian Slater, Matthew Modine, John Goodman...To be completely honest, these actor-infusions were more distracting than helpful.The cast is already one of the best ever assembled in the history of dramatic television.Then there is the one episode where C.J. goes to her hometown reunion and has to deal with her Father's descending mental capacity.I thought I had put in the wrong DVD.This is supposed to be "The West Wing," not some Sunday afternoon melodrama.Regardless, Season 4 does have plenty of stellar moments.There are no standout episodes, in particular, such as episode 17 from Season 3 entitled "The U.S. Poet Laureate," which is absolutely all-around brilliant, but there is enough excellence strewn throughout Season 4 to recommend it highly."The West Wing" is, without a doubt, the most consistent dramatic program I have ever had the pleasure and privilege of watching.Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sorkin's "Swan Song"
    Great season - "Game On" and the espisode about Toby's father are some of my favorites.
    QUESTION:Can anyone tell me HOW you access the special featurettes?Not the commentaries...but the "Behind Every Good Man..." and Unaired Scenes.I can't play these items!!! ... Read more


    6. Dawson's Creek - The Complete Fifth Season
    list price: $49.95
    our price: $32.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007V6IW6
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 100
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    It's goodbye to Capeside, hello to Boston in Dawson's Creek's fifth season (a.k.a.: Dawson's Creek: The College Years).While the end of the fourth season sent the five friends their separate ways--Dawson (James Van Der Beek) to USC Film School, Joey (Katie Holmes) to Wilmington College, Jen (Michelle Williams) and Jack (Kerr Smith) to Boston Bay College; and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) to the high seas--it doesn't take them long to find themselves together again.That's a good thing, especially when tragedy strikes a family member and threatens to tear the survivors apart.

    More than anything, the fifth season seems to be about falling into bad relationships.Jen dates a cute but sleazy musician (Chad Michael Murray), Pacey gets a job in a restaurant where he pursues a woman (Lourdes Benedicto) already having an affair with a married man, then fends off a vampish new boss (Sherilyn Fenn, Twin Peaks).Joey is drawn to her handsome English professor (Ken Marino).And Jack joins a frat, becomes a jerk, and starts a devoted relationship with his beer bottle.Dawson meets an eccentric young filmmaker (Jordan Bridges) which in turn leads to a meeting with his favorite Boston film critic (Meredith Salenger).And Joey's new roommate, the annoyance-with-a-heart-of-gold Audrey (Busy Phillipps), becomes the newest major addition to the cast. The irritation factor is high this season, a couple of "Joey is threatened" interludes don't have the punch that they could have, and in the season finale, the inevitable resolution of the show's central relationship doesn't really resolve anything at all.But viewers who have followed the Capeside crew for four seasons will still want to see what happens in the fifth.

    The fifth season is the first to have no DVD extras at all, and it continues the music-replacement strategy (which, since the second season has replaced much of the music, and since the third season has replaced Paula Cole's theme song, all due to licensing expenses).In addition to the usual background-music switches, some scenes have been edited (for example, the episode "Highway to Hell" has cut two of the performances on-stage at the Drunk & Dead).Also, the opening credits of "The Long Goodbye" and "Downtown Crossing" had originally used instrumental versions of "I Don't Want to Wait," which had underscored the emotion of those episodes. In the DVD set, those have been replaced by the standard version and an instrumental version, respectively, of "Run Like Mad." --David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    4-0 out of 5 stars happy but not satisfied
    I loved season 5 all the way back to season one but I have to say the cuts and change of songs are pretty disapointing I to delt with the changed theme song all though i hate it. anyways I don't have any thing to bad to say but i do feel like i got ripped off I was looking forward to extras and bonuses. i red in some one review that we would pay top dallor if thats what it takes and i second that if you need to bump up the price then please do so .

    3-0 out of 5 stars Paul Stupin, you're killing me!
    I've heard it all before.It costs a lot of money to get credits for songs.But when I think I'm buying Season 5 of "Dawson's Creek" and what I really get is some whacked-out EDITED version of the show, I'm gonna be unhappy!This is the situation.I dealt with the theme song change.I dealt with some horrendous replacement songs.But I shouldn't have to deal with the decision to edit out some scenes for licensing issues.I hope I speak for many when I say that I am willing to pay top dollar for the unedited, as they aired versions of each and every episode of "Dawson's Creek".The DVDs as they are do not do the show justice.Only Season 1 is in its original state.It's the only set I suggest buying.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Season. Not As Bad As Everyone is Saying.
    The fifth season saw alot of change for Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen, and Jack, but it also brought a more "adult" and loose feeling to the cast that, otherwise, wasn't there in seasons 1-4. Having said that, I feel that this season isn't as strong as other seasons, but it still worth the watch. I definitely think if you skip this season, then you will not get the season six. The reason I said that is because I quit watching Dawson's Creek around the middle of this season. I quit watching not because I thought it wasn't any good at the time, but rather that I was really busy with work and school.

    Anyway, this season as I said, brings forth change, but one thing remains is the Joey-Dawson-Pacey love triangle and the Jen and Jack friendship. College really messes these characters up. They find themselves in a new environment with new characters like Audrey (Joey's college roommate), whom I think isn't that great of a character, but does add a nice break from the five.

    People can say what they want to about this season. I like it. I know it's not as good as the other seasons, but it does have an interesting feel that the other seasons didn't. Things change and so do people. This is most comfortable I've seen these characters since their early beginnings in Capeside. It's definitely a different season, but I think it's a very welcoming change that has some interesting plots and twists.

    4-0 out of 5 stars its missing alot
    I can understand the idea of not including certain songs because of the cost, but at the same time there are soemthings you just shouldn't change and should be forced to pay the money for. For example joey only sings one song when she performing with charlie at the dive bar.They totally edited that out, also when jenn dedicates a song to dawsons, how do u not get the rights for REM's Nightswimming.That song was chosen in the Tv series especially for that scene, i just dont get it.Also coem on Paul how about a little commentary, you definityl shoudl have had some words to say about a few episodes, such as the episode where Joey gets mugged and the episode with Mitch's funeral.Oh well at leats we have the episode on dvd

    3-0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing!
    Okay, I am a hardcore Dawson's Creek fan...and yes I have bought this set of DVDs...but for a producer who was very passionate about this series, he didn't really put much into it. Some of the episodes look very grainy and the 100th episode, in the first flashback between Joey and Dawson, they forgot to mix in Dawson's dialogue so you only hear Joey talking, and Dawson's mouth moving, but no sound...all I have to say to Paul Stupin is..wtf? If he cared enough he might have taken the time to do some commentary, perhaps even get the rights to some of the better songs that they played during this season. For instance, the song in "Downtown Crossing"...the one Joeys dad used to sing to her, they cut out Joey humming the song and they replaced it with some other song. Mary Beth Meziarz is an awesome pianist and singer and they should have tried to keep her in the soundtracks. All we have here is the 23 episodes of the 5th season with music changes. Paul Stupin, I beg of you, please do something with Season 6...make buying these DVDs worth while! ... Read more


    7. Controversial Classics Collection (Advise and Consent / The Americanization of Emily / Bad Day at Black Rock / Blackboard Jungle / A Face in the Crowd / Fury / I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang)
    list price: $79.92
    our price: $59.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNKQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 400
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Otto Preminger expanded his vision in the 1960s with a whole series of ambitious, expansive dramas with huge casts and big themes. Advise and Consent (1962), an examination of deal making, party politics, and congressional diplomacy in Washington's legislative halls (based on the novel by Allen Drury), is one of his best. Preminger broke the blacklist with his previous film, Exodus, and it rings through in this drama about a controversial nominee for secretary of state (a confident, stately Henry Fonda) accused of being a Communist. The nomination process becomes the center ring of the political circus, with fidgety accuser Burgess Meredith in the spotlight; devious, silver-tongued Charles Laughton cracking the whip as a southern senator with a grudge against Fonda; and party whip Walter Pidgeon lining up votes behind the scenes. Arm twisting and diplomatic hardball turns to perjury and blackmail, and a melodramatic twist gives this lesson in party politics a salacious soap opera dimension.

    With The Americanization of Emily (1964), screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky (Marty) sinks his satirical fangs into a story of an American naval officer (James Garner) selected to be the first victim at the invasion of Normandy. Julie Andrews plays a prim, British war widow who falls for him. Cynical in tone, the story becomes an interesting collision of manipulative interests and renewed life, the same formula that worked so well in Chayefsky's scripts for Network and Hospital.

    One of the first Hollywood films to deal openly with white racism toward Japanese Americans during World War II, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) (directed by action maestro John Sturges, The Great Escape) stars Spencer Tracy as a one-armed stranger named MacReedy, who arrives in the tiny town of Black Rock on a hot day in 1945. Seeking a hotel room and the whereabouts of an ethnic Japanese farmer named Komoko, MacReedy runs smack into a wall of hostility that escalates into serious threats. In time it becomes apparent that Komoko has been murdered by a local, racist chieftain, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), who also plans on dispensing with MacReedy. Tracy's hero is forced to fight his way past Smith's goons (among them Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin) and sundry allies (Anne Francis) to keep alive, setting the stage for memorable suspense crisply orchestrated by Sturges. Casting is the film's principal strength, however: Tracy, the indispensable icon of integrity, and Ryan, the indispensable noir image of spiritual blight, are as creatively unlikely a pairing as Sturges's shotgun marriage of Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven.

    Novelist Evan Hunter burst America's postwar bubble when he described an inner-city school terrorized by switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquents. Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks's 1955 adaptation of Blackboard Jungle still packs a tremendous wallop (even if it was shot mostly on the back lot). A forerunner of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, this black-and-white classic--set to Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"--is part exposé, part melodrama, part public-service announcement. Glenn Ford, at his slow-to-rile best, plays Richard Dadier, an incoming English teacher at North Manual High School. An idealist who knows how to handle himself in a dark alley, Dadier stands his ground and earns the begrudging respect of school thugs led by Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Anne Francis plays Ford's especially vulnerable wife; Richard Kiley is the timid math teacher with the priceless jazz-record collection; Louis Calhern and John Hoyt are among the more cynical North Manual High veterans. See if you can ID Jamie Farr and director Paul Mazursky as gang members. The film was nominated for four Oscars.

    More timely now, perhaps, than when it was first released in 1957, Elia Kazan's overheated political melodrama Face in the Crowd explores the dangerous manipulative power of pop culture. It exposes the underside of Capra-corn populism, as exemplified in the optimistic fable of grassroots punditry Meet John Doe. In Kazan's account, scripted by Budd Schulberg, the common-man pontificator (Andy Griffith) is no Gary Cooper-style aw-shucks paragon. Promoted to national fame as a folksy TV idol by radio producer Patricia Neal, Griffith's Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes turns out to be a megalomaniacal rat bastard. The film turns apocalyptic as Rhodes exploits his power to sway the masses, helping to elect a reactionary presidential candidate. The parodies of television commercials and opinion polling were cutting edge in their day (Face in the Crowd was the Network of the Eisenhower era), and there are some startling, near-documentary sequences shot on location in Arkansas. An extraordinary supporting cast (led by Walter Matthau and Lee Remick) helps keep the energy level high, even when the satire turns shrill and unpersuasive in the final reel.

    Fury is tough stuff from director Fritz Lang (M), making his first American film with this 1936 story of an innocent man (Spencer Tracy) who escapes a lynch mob and then orchestrates his apparent murder at their hands. Tracy is superb, and the film is uncompromising, until studio interference takes some of the wind out of Lang's sails right at the end. But as the portrait of a character who comes to reflect the destiny he is trying to avoid, this is still essential Lang and a pre-noir classic.

    I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) is one of the toughest and most uncompromising movies to evercome out of Hollywood. Paul Muni stars as a regular Joe, just back from World War I, who is unjustly convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years of bruisingly unfair treatment on a chain gang. Even a successful escape can't shake the spectre of the chains, nor the amazingly fatalistic twists the screenplay has in store. This picture could only have been made at Warner Bros., where social-justice movies flourished in the 1930s and criticism of judicial systems and prisons was sanctioned. Muni's weird acting style (he was recently off Scarface) somehow fits the film's furious tone, and director Mervyn LeRoy--as in his earlier Little Caesar--was dexterous enough to build the action to an unforgettable ending. It's a film that filters the American Dream through Depression realities and noirish pessimism (with a streak of pre-Code sexual frankness--note the one-night "friend" Muni makes the night of his escape). This one holds up, folks; it's a stunner. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Adequate boxed set
    Samuel Goldwyn once said, "If you want to send a message, try Western Union."This collection of message movies from the early '30s to the mid '60s shows just how right the old mogul was.

    In most cases, the messages have aged badly.Hiller's "The Americanization of Emily" is a pathetic attempt to portray World War II as a sham, while the conciliatory pacifism of Otto Preminger's "Advise and Consent" seems naive now that the Cold War has ended.(Preminger's treatment of Gay themes is silly and superficial, especially when compared to superior British efforts of that time such as "Victim.")Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd" is deeply condescending -- the people of Piggott, Arkansas, have never quite forgiven the director for turning their perfectly pleasant small town into a gallery of sweating grotesques -- and its satire of mass media was hackneyed even in the 1950s.Richard Brooks's "Blackboard Jungle" is a squaresville expose of juvenile delinquency disguised under hip rock-and-roll music.

    I've always felt that John Sturgis's "Bad Day at Black Rock" is a much-overrated film, though I confess I enjoy Andre Previn's dramatic score; the film's message against racism, however, is surprisingly feeble, especially given that the film's only nonwhite character is a mute, grinning railroad porter.And who today seriously favors lynch law, the target of Fritz Lang's "Fury"?(Again, this is a movie about a racial issue -- lynching -- in which nonwhite characters are never granted a voice.)Oddly, the oldest film in this set is the only one that still packs a punch: Mervyn LeRoy's "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" helped put an end to this brutal form of incarceration.Now that the chain gang is making a comeback, perhaps this film should, too.

    But even when the messages don't work, the films themselves usually do -- with the exception of "Emily," this collection's one real dud.Each DVD features a transfer that ranges from merely adequate ("Black Rock," "Fury") to superb ("Advise and Consent"), with an original theatrical trailer and, in all but one case, an audio commentary.(The commentaries come from film scholars or directors, and as such are far more interesting than an average gabfest.)Perhaps to break the monotony, "A Face in the Crowd" foregoes audio commentary in favor of a brief documentary, comprised mostly of interviews with the aging cast.A few of the DVDs also offer period theatrical shorts.

    This is hardly Criterion quality, but for the money it's not a bad value.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT ASSEMBLAGE OF LANDMARK FILMS AT A GREAT PRICE
    Warner Brothers home video department just keeps topping their previous exceptional achievments.

    Here we have SEVEN magnificent, acclaimed feature films from the 1930s to the 1960s that still have the power to reach the "gut" of the viewer and be profound and provocative. Of course, each film is available individually, but the value of buying this boxed set brings the price to around $8 per film. Unreal.

    Any serious cinema afficiando owes it to him or herself to buy this.

    Pre-release reviews have praised the exceptional transfers (typical of WB), and I cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by this boxed set of incomparable films.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Selection of Socially Sensitive Cinema
    Warner Home Video has done it again.Their "Film Noir Classics"
    collection was an excellent quintet of seminal noir movies, and
    this collection is an equally well-considered compilation of
    socially conscious movies, movies that challenged the American
    conscience, and helped effect politial and social change.

    This collection is also a good introduction to the work of
    a number of prominent directors, including Otto Preminger,
    Elia Kazan, and Fritz Lang.

    I must quibble with a previous reviewer who stated that
    BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK was a black-and-white movie.It
    is, in fact, in color.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Bad Day At Black Rock" on DVD?!?!? Finally!!!
    I've been waiting for years! My first chance watching this was renting the Criterion Laserdisc 500 years ago or so when the dinosaurs still walked the Earth (we needed the larger Laserdiscs to fend ourselves from the dinosaurs). This is a black and white, widescreen (they better not crop this thing) noir/mystery with great wit and an edge. Spencer Tracy rocks the house in BDaBR as the one-armed man. Gotta love it. Great twists, lovely female co-star. If you can't afford to go to film school, buy this pack of films and take notes (I'm only familiar with "Blackboard Jungle" - but the rest are supposed to be classics as well, especially Chain Gang, and Fury is German filmmaker Fritz Langs first American film, also with Spencer Tracy) - buy Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in The West" too since that movie is a class in filmmaking in itself. Oh yeah, if you're gonna skip film school you should probably buy some books from these guys too. And get some popcorn, ice cream and beverages too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks George!
    Vice President of Warner Home Video's classics catalogue, George Feltenstein, recently promised us this fantastic collection of films and here they are way sooner than expected! While individually they have very little to do with one another, aside from their controversial response upon initial release of course, they are all a very worthwhile addition to the collections of serious film lovers. ... Read more


    8. Hotel Rwanda
    Director: Terry George
    list price: $26.98
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    Asin: B0007R4T3U
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 34
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Solidly built around a subtle yet commanding performance by Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda emerged as one of the most highly-praised dramas of 2004. In a role that demands his quietly riveting presence in nearly every scene, Cheadle plays real-life hero Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in the Rwandan capital of Kigali who in 1994 saved 1,200 Rwandan "guests" from certain death during the genocidal clash between tribal Hutus, who slaughtered a million victims, and the horrified Tutsis, who found safe haven or died. Giving his best performance since his breakthrough role in Devil in a Blue Dress, Cheadle plays Rusesabagina as he really was during the ensuing chaos: "an expert in situational ethics" (as described by critic Roger Ebert), doing what he morally had to do, at great risk and potential sacrifice, with an understanding that wartime negotiations are largely a game of subterfuge, cooperation, and clever bribery. Aided by a United Nations official (Nick Nolte), he worked a saintly miracle, and director Terry George (Some Mother's Son) brings formidable social conscience to bear on a true story you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (146)

    5-0 out of 5 stars OPEN YOUR EYES - see it
    In 1994 a mass genocide took place in an African country called Rwanda. Have you not heard of this tragedy or have you CHOSEN to turn the other cheek? Now, let us break down the word genocide, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group." Does Hitler pop into your mind? Well, less then ten years ago (in your lifetime) this event happened. The movie Hotel Rwanda is an excellent portrayal of the absolute devastation that took place. Millions of Rwanda natives were killed in this mass genocide. Don Cheadle gives an astonishing portrayal of Paul Rusesagagina a savior for thousands caught up in the madness occurring right outside the gates of the Hotel Mille Collines. "When the world closed its eyes, he opened his arms," a tagline that fits oh so well into the heartfelt movie that puts you right into the conflict. Perhaps you did not care to pay attention in 1994 when the conflict fully unraveled, but see this movie and you may change your thoughts about looking at the horrors occurring abroad within our own small world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A horrifying, eye-opening, yet uplifting and inspiring film.
    One of the most intensive killing campaigns in human history was conducted in the tiny Central African country of Rwanda in 1994. The brutal ethnic conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus, which exploded into mass murder that year, have origins which go back to Belgium's colonial rule, where the minority Tutsis were favored, thus exacerbating differences between the two tribes.

    In April 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down. This event was the last straw which, after years of strife, triggered the tragic and brutal genocide. Extremist Hutu militia, aided by the Rwandan army, launched systematic massacres against Tutsis almost immediately after the plane crash. Despite reports of mass killings, most of the world turned a blind eye to the people of Rwanda. The UN failed to take immediate action to stop the bloody genocide, due to opposition from France and the US. Militiamen broke into supposedly sacrosanct Red Cross ambulances and hospitals searching for victims. Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed within 100 days, and over three million people fled to neighboring countries.

    Terry George's "Hotel Rwanda" is a gritty, realistic depiction of this terrible tragedy. The storyline is based on the true life activities of a single, man whose goal was to save as many people as humanly possible. Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan who formerly managed the Milles Collines, a Belgian-owned luxury hotel in the capital city of Kigali. When Hutu extremists begin to slaughter members of the minority Tutsi tribe, Rusesabagina, who has been working as a diplomat, returns to the hotel and does everything in his power to save his family, friends, then orphans, and ultimately strangers. He uses the 4 Star facility as a refuge for as many as the walls will hold, and then some. The film follows Rusesabagina, through his real life drama, as he wheels, deals, finagles and barters for seemingly every single human life he touches. A Huti married to a Tutsi, Paul qualifies as a target for both factions. His story is that of an ordinary man who rises-up, courageously, to defy death in the name of his fellow man. "Paul Rusesabagina saved the lives of 1,268 Africans by standing with them at Hotel Rwanda."

    The almost nonstop fear, suspense and sense of anxiety which permeate this film are due, in part, to Mr. Cheadle's extraordinarily believable performance, and in part, because Director George so clearly conveys here the chilling reality of recent history. George, who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson, was assisted in his work by the actual Paul Rusesabagina and by eye witnesses to the events.

    The supporting cast is excellent and features: Sophie Okonedo, who gives an outstanding performance as Tatiana, Rusesabagina's wife; Joaquin Phoenix as Jack, an American news reporter; and Nick Nolte as the indefatigable UN Colonel Oliver, who tries against all odds to keep the peace.

    Man's wont to commit genocide, in the 20th century alone, makes a somber, shameful statement about the human race. Watching "Hotel Rwanda" does take an emotional toll. It is a powerful, disturbing, educationally eye-opening experience. There are some extremely unsettling images, as when Rusesabagina and a co-worker get out of their vehicle on a foggy morning, just after dawn, to inspect the road for obstructions. They find it littered with corpses, as far as the eye can see. I found myself sobbing more than once. Do not let this deter you, however. This is a brilliant movie with some incredibly uplifting and inspiring moments. "Hotel Rwanda" is a must see film about a period in recent history when most of us were too busy going about our lives to pay much attention to what was going on a small world away.
    JANA

    5-0 out of 5 stars Too powerful to be described by mere words
    "The Kite Runner" may be the best book I have read in recent history, and without a doubt, "Hotel Rwanda" wins the corresponding prize for movies.Unable to believe the senseless violence and slaughter of innocents, my eyes opened wider and wider as the movie progressed, until at some point, the tears could not be held back any longer.

    Don Cheadle aces a career making role as Paul Rusesabagina, the quiet, understated hotel manager of a five star hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, who breaks every rule in the management book to protect not only the hotel guests, but refugees from both sides of the genocide that rocked Rwanda in 1994, while the rest of the world looked the other way.

    A Hutu by birth and passport stamp, Paul is married to a Tutsi woman (Sophie Okonedo, whose voice changes drastically in octave as the role demands), and by this distinction, his children are also Tutsi, and therefore branded as cockroaches to be exterminated.

    Because of his position and well-placed contacts, Rusesabagina is able to cling tenuously to his little safe house, putting up a brave front for the 1200 people he is sheltering from the Hutu tribal forces.When he finds out that the UN peacekeepers cannot help them, and that the rest of the world doesn't want to know about African problems, he resorts to the local language, securing protection by whatever means necessary from the authorities, led by General Bizimungu, who has a weakness for Scottish water of life, foreign currency and self preservation.Being only human, and in a crisis situation, he makes crucial errors in judgment, but by his conviction he manages to hold it all together for as long as necessary.

    There are too many powerful scenes to describe, and you have to watch the movie to fully appreciate the horror.There are no gory images as in "Saving Private Ryan" or "Blade", but the Director manages to effectively portray the despair and mass killings without being offensively graphic or crude.One of the most heart rending scenes takes place on a road in the early morning fog, and this is the final straw that rips through Rusesabagina's brittle façade of being in control.

    Joaquin Phoenix (you know I have to mention him), in a small role as a cameraman sums it up best when he said "I've never been so ashamed."

    This one is a must see.

    Amanda Richards, May 23, 2005

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone bailed, Anarchy reigned, and 1 MILLION DIED!
    Whoah.
    I was a freshman in college in 1994, and all I remember are bleeps on the news about Rwanda.Maybe I was like the rest of the world, and just wasn't paying attention enough.

    This movie is about the modern day holocaust.A movie about people being killed for no reason, other than a cosmetic attachment of how certain people are labeled via "tribe name" by how wide their noses are and how tall they are.A movie about a man who risked his life again and again, playing games, telling white lies, and doing everything he could to ensure the safety of some 1200 people inside a nice hotel in the Rwanda.

    What grabs you about this film as well, is the documentary.At first I was angered when I found out that NOONE, not a single nation, did a damn thing to stop it.Then I was even more outraged when it showed that the French military that were at one of the killing sites actually dug the holes to bury the 45,000 dead.That very same 45,000 had fled to that spot because they thought the French would help them.

    Why is it we are in the 21st century but this kind of horrible thing still happens?It's minds boggling, sad, atrocious, and horrifying.

    I can't tell you how much this movie could move you, and like the American press reporter played by Jaqioun (sp) Phoenix said:
    "I've never been...so ASHAMED!"Nick Nolte does an excellent job playing a UN field commander who's hands are tied.Yes this movie show's that the UN, like in BLACK HAWK DOWN, really didn't accomplish anything.Like Nolte's character exclaims; "We're peace keepers, not peace makers".Of course that was right when they were getting all of the "white people" out to head to the airport and basically save them before the slaughtering came their way.

    Okay I know I could go on and on...but watch this movie.Watch it with family..well not little kids it's a bit graphic of course.But watch it with your loved one.Hold them close.Talk about what you think brings people to be ignorant and hateful, what mistakes were made, and how it could be prevented in the future.If more people did this, perhaps we could stop the genocide that is happening around the world today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Five stars, this one . . .
    What can an ordinary Rwandan hotel manager possibly do?

    Plenty, as it turns out. Paul is a Hutu, but his wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), is a Tutsi, and so, by default, are their children. He is driven by a primal need to save his own family, but as the slaughter continues, more and more friends and neighbors beg him for help.

    By the end, Paul shelters 1,200 people in his hotel, saving them from certain death by doing what he always has done: bribing and cajoling the Hutu powers, calling in favors, lying and outsmarting his foes.

    He is the Oskar Schindler of Rwanda, a man who becomes a hero by chance and circumstance, using qualities not generally considered heroic. He's no Rambo: He's scared, and conflicted, and full of doubts. Throughout the film, you can see he'd rather just save his family and not have to shoulder this burden of heroism.

    Director Terry George (SOME MOTHER'S SON) knows not to get in the way of this harrowing story, which Rusesabagina himself insisted on telling straight, without movie-ish embellishment. It's all true and, given the context, remarkably subtle. (George earned the PG-13 rating by only suggesting the terrible violence, not showing it.)

    Still, as the tension builds you can't help but feel you're watching the heir to a classic Western -- perhaps the "High Noon" of modern times, or SHANE -- as this one man steps up to save the town from the marauding bad guys. Of course, he doesn't save the entire town. As with SCHINDLER'S LIST, you're left with the grim knowledge that the people Rusesabagina saved were but a tiny percentage of those who were killed. The triumph comes tempered by the greater tragedy. ... Read more


    9. The West Wing - The Complete First Four Seasons (4-Pack)
    list price: $239.52
    our price: $159.99
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    Asin: B0007OY2PI
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 411
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I say thee, YEA!
    I just wanted to add my two cents to the review written by Mr. Marold of Bethlehem, PA.I agree with nearly everything Mr. M had in his review, with the exception of his comment about the episode where Bartlett stepped aside while his daughter was being held captive.I believe that was an entirely plausible situation and it was presented in an accurate manner.

    Be that as it may, I have a different reason for enjoying "The West Wing".I too came to the show late in it's run and somewhat reluctantly.I thought, given the cast, that they would be laying on the liberalism with a heavy hand.Being an independent and a moderate, I have some liberal tendancies, but I do think of myself as a conservative and the thought of Martin Sheen and company preaching at me for an hour was too much with which to cope.However, once I saw the reruns on Bravo and some of the new episodes, I began to warm up to the show.I found that 95% of the time, the liberal cant is handed out in managable portions.The other 5%?Well, I can live with that because I found another overwhelming reason for loving this show.They...make...me...LAUGH OUT LOUD!The banter back and forth amongst the staffers gets to be hilarious and the President will joke with anybody from his aide, Charlie, to Adm. Fitzwallace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.I cannot think of an episode that I watched where there wasn't something that made me burst out with laughter.Maybe the "Zoe kidnapping" episodes.

    Watch "West Wing" for the political machinations and the insight into our political and constitutional systems.But also for the humor and wit.You will be well rewarded on all fronts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Major Entertainment and Civics Class, all in one!
    This DVD set includes all available `The West Wing' seasons in a single package and it represents the least expensive way of acquiring all four seasons, if you do not already own one or more seasons on DVD.

    I am late in coming to appreciate this show, as my attention over the last four years has primarily been on retiring, learning to cook, and religiously following the careers of my various Food Network heroes. I have just recently started watching this show when the Bravo network started running `The West Wing' marathons and showing episodes on most weeknights.

    The very first criterion I have for buying a DVD might be called `rewatchability'. There are certain movies and certain shows that are so rich that you are still detecting nuances after the fourth or fifth viewing. Compared to a show like the CSI incarnations, `The West Wing' easily retains its power on a third or fourth or fifth viewing. `CSI', except for those with a big element of office politics in the plot, loose their punch after you remember who the perp is as soon as you know what episode it is you are watching. Once the rush from listening to the great `The Who' intro passes, so does the thrill.

    `The West Wing' has gotten lots of praise and awards for the quality of its writing and acting, but I am almost willing to believe it has gotten less than it deserves. I have never been moved so much by a scripted television show since some of the very best `All in the Family' episodes. Amid the flood of reality shows, I am even tempted to say that between `The West Wing', `CSI', `Law and Order' and all of the various spin-offs of these shows constitutes a golden age of scripted television drama, especially in this twilight of the great comedies of the past decade.

    The quality of `The West Wing' for me lies primarily in the accuracy with which it portrays the realities of American politics and, beyond that, the realities of politics in general. In doing so, I believe the show can help to explain to most Americans why political `horse trading' is essential to the way our policy making works, why raw power is not always effective on the international stage, regardless of how seductive the use of that raw power may be. It also highlights that most important political virtue, loyalty. I have not read James Carvell's book on this subject, but I suspect that he would say that without party loyalty, government would simply be impossible, or at least much more difficult than it is now. As so many stories show so well, political loyalty works two ways. An elected official must be loyal to his constituents or the representative will not get reelected. An elected official must also be loyal to his party, or he will get no political largess bestowed on the people in his constituency. I can thing of no more dramatic example of this than in the change in benefits coming Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley after the election of Ed Rendell to be Pennsylvania governor, replacing Tom Ridge. Ridge and most other governors in my lifetime came from outside the Philadelphia sphere of influence, into which the Lehigh Valley falls. Thus, it almost seems as if Harrisburg suddenly discovered that the Lehigh Valley was now a part of Pennsylvania when Rendell was elected.

    The third energy, after politics and international crises which drives the plots of `The West Wing' are the particular strengths and weaknesses of the principle characters, starting with President Bartlett and his remitting MS weighed against his great intellectual ability and accomplishments. For other major characters, it is part of the great genius of this show that while they are riddled with human frailties, they are sustained and succeed in high government positions due to their loyalty to both Bartlett and basic American and Democratic ideals. The chief of staff is a brilliant politician with alcoholism, the head of White House communications is a sour puss who is rarely wrong on principles, the assistant chief of staff is a little boy in a grown up body who has a great imagination for political tactics, the White House press spokesman has a father with Alzheimer's and a passion for women's issues which she sometimes needs to control if it conflicts with White House policy. The assistant head of communications is a brilliant writer with a weakness for inappropriate liaisons. The first lady is an important, talented medical doctor who compromises medical ethics to care for her husband and his political vulnerabilities.

    One of my greatest pleasures is the fact that while I share the political priorities of the Democratic Bartlett administration, the Republicans, who are written to control both houses of the Congress, are not represented as straw men with positions which it is easy to dismiss. The tactics of the Bartlett team would not be nearly as believable if the House and Senate Republicans were cardboard caricatures. It almost seems like the writers intentionally make House and Senate Democrats and members of the cabinet as ornery and as difficult to work with as the Republicans.

    If I have any difficulties with the plots of these stories at all, it is with the suspicion that a real modern president would not get involved in a lot of small details such as in the episode when two American girls were arrested in central Africa for prostylicizing for a Christian church. In real live, it seems this would reach no higher than an assistant Secretary of State. Another implausibility is when Bartlett stepped down from the presidency temporarily, handing it over to the Republican speaker of the house, while Bartlett's daughter was kidnapped by Arab terrorists. But then, we would not have had the pleasure of watching John Goodman play president for three episodes!

    This show is great and parts should be required watching in high school civics classes.
    ... Read more


    10. Deadwood - The Complete First Season
    list price: $99.98
    our price: $69.99
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    Asin: B0006FO5LO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1523
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    The remarkable first season of Deadwood represents one of those periodic, wholesale reinventions of the Western that is as different from, say, Lonesome Dove as that miniseries is from Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo or the latter is from Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur. In many ways, HBO's Deadwood embraces the Western's unambiguous morality during the cinema's silent era through the 1930s while also blazing trails through a post-NYPD Blue, post-The West Wing television age exalting dense and customized dialogue. On top of that, Deadwood has managed an original look and texture for a familiar genre: gritty, chaotic, and surging with both dark and hopeful energy. Yet the show's creator, erstwhile NYPD Blue head writer David Milch, never ridicules or condescends to his more grasping, futile characters or overstates the virtues of his heroic ones.

    Set in an ungoverned stretch of South Dakota soon after the 1876 Custer massacre, Deadwood concerns a lawless, evolving town attracting fortune-seekers, drifters, tyrants, and burned-out adventurers searching for a card game and a place to die. Others, particularly women trapped in prostitution, sundry do-gooders, and hangers-on have nowhere else to go. Into this pool of aspiration and nightmare arrive former Montana lawman Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and his friend Sol Starr (John Hawkes), determined to open a lucrative hardware business. Over time, their paths cross with a weary but still formidable Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine) and his doting companion, the coarse angel Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert); an aristocratic, drug-addicted widow (Molly Parker) trying to salvage a gold mining claim; and a despondent hooker (Paula Malcomson) who cares, briefly, for an orphaned girl. Casting a giant shadow over all is a blood-soaked king, Gem Saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), possibly the best, most complex, and mesmerizing villain seen on TV in years.Over 12 episodes, each of these characters, and many others, will forge alliances and feuds, cope with disasters (such as smallpox), and move--almost invisibly but inexorably--toward some semblance of order and common cause. Making it all worthwhile is Milch's masterful dialogue--often profane, sometimes courtly and civilized, never perfunctory--and the brilliant acting of the aforementioned performers plus Brad Dourif, Leon Rippy, Powers Boothe, and Kim Dickens. --Tom Keogh ... Read more


    11. The Godfather DVD Collection
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    list price: $105.90
    our price: $79.42
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    Asin: B00003CXAA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 175
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (463)

    5-0 out of 5 stars If there was ever an offer you couldn't refuse, it's this!
    Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount Home Entertainment held a press conference and street fair in Brooklyn, and yours truly was there! The exciting news, of course, was announcing the release of THE GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION on October 9, 2001! If the preview of the set is any indication, then I must say this will be the crown jewel in any DVD collection!

    The three films will only be released together in this set. The Godfather and The Godfather Part III will each be on one disc, and The Godfather Part II will take two discs. The first of the good news? Francis Coppola has recorded full-lenth audio commentaries for all three films!

    But wait, there's a fifth disc that will blow your socks off! Check this out -- the bonus disc contains 3+ hours worth of special features, including: > "The Godfather Family: A Look Inside" documentary > "Francis Coppola's Notebook", an inside look at taking the book to screen! > "On Location" with production designer Dean Tavoularis! > "The Godfather Behind The Scenes" 1971 featurette! > "The Cinematography of The Godfather"! > "The Music of The Godfather" -- two featurettes! > "Coppola and Puzo on Screenwriting"! > Storyboards from GF2 and GF3! > "The Corleone Family Tree" character and cast bios! > Academy Award® acceptance speeches! > Photo galleries with captions! > Theatrical trailers! > Filmmaker bios! > Corleone Family timeline, with real-life events mixed in! > Never-seen alternate opening of GF3! > And "all" of the extra footage found in the televised Godfather Saga!

    The picture quality looked fantastic -- Coppola's American Zoetrope did a wonderful job restoring the films! From what I could tell, the sound quality was perfect, and the on-screen menus looked great. And the DVD packaging looks very nice.

    All three films are in widescreen format with English 5.1 surround sound, French mono, and English subtitles.

    Perhaps the only "bad" news I heard was that there were no plans at this point to release the chronological version on DVD. Francis said that the films were meant to be seen with the flashbacks, and I tend to agree. The biggest plus of having The Godfather Trilogy or Epic on tape, or watching The Godfather Saga on TV, was all the extra footage included. Well, the bonus disc in The Godfather DVD Collection contains "all" of the extra footage, and even something we've never seen anywhere before: an alternate opening for The Godfather Part III. Francis didn't give a firm "no" though; he cited technical reasons for not being able to include all the extra footage on DVD: the different scenes are in various levels of production ("they weren't mixed and scored"), making it difficult to add them seemlessly with today's technology. Maybe, but they seemed to be okay in the boxed sets and on TV to me.

    Do yourself a favor and order the biggest DVD release of all time!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Godfather Series: Movies You CANNOT Refuse.
    What can one say about The Godfather series? All three films were masterpieces. Classics. Part One told the tale of Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando--the Mafia Don of a family in the 40's and 50's, which eventually is head by his son, Michael (Al Pacino) in the sequel. Part Two also tells the story of Vito as a young man in Sicily played by Robert DeNiro. In the final installment set about twenty years after the original, Michael's dreams of becoming legit are countered by his trigger-happy nephew (Andy Garcia), along with new and opposing foes that make it impossible to go straight and leave his crime backround behind. To quote Pacino: "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in," and countless other lines will be quoted for years to come. The performances are absolutely perfect, the screenplay and direction are superb by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. What more can I say? You must watch all three to appreciate just how great these movies are. At three hours apiece they would be great fun for a rainy day. Pop them in at 8 in the morning and by 6 you'll be a member of the family. Part One is my favorite. Check out GoodFellas, another one of the best films of all time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
    Ah, the music, the scenery, the horse's head...

    Belonging to a family headed by two German matriarchs who married two Italian guys, watching The Godfather every year or so was a family tradition. I felt like I knew the Corleones and loved them, never mind they knocked off a few people who deserved it now and then. This mixed feeling is what makes the series so fascinating.

    The story is really about four men - Marlon Brando/Robert de Niro as Don Vito Corleone, the ultimate old-school mob boss, and his three sons - James Caan a force of nature as hotheaded Sonny, who lives to regret going to his sister's rescue one fateful day; John Cazale heartbreaking as Fredo, who's existence depends on his mother's continued good health after he makes the worst mistake of his life, and, most of all, Al Pacino; bonechilling as Michael, who outlives them all but lives to wish he hadn't.

    The first movie has most of the cliches - the Italian wedding, the "sleeping with the fishes" line, the amazing baptism/massacre scene, and Brando's whole performance. The second ostensibly deals with the respective rises of Vito and Michael to power and Michael's gripping cat-and-mouse game with wily old Hyman Roth, but I'll bet what everyone never forgets about this one is what happens to poor Fredo. If Michael hasn't lost his soul by the end of Part I, he's lost it by the end of Part II. Part III was inevitable, I suppose, but there's really nothing else to say. A good movie, yes, but the other two are so great that it's almost an anticlimax.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Coppola's legacy enclosed with others
    While the original film ranked #2 on the AFI's list of 100 Greatest Movies (#1 being Citizen Kane), many film buffs, afficionados, and audiences believed that the first Godfather film deserves that #1 spot. How many people do you know who know some of those famous quotes like, "I'm gonna' make him an offer he can't refuse," or "Never take sides against the family again, ever..." A few maybe? Or perhaps you grew up in an Italian family like mine and your father can translate the Italian for you while you watch? Now how many people can quote Citizen Kane beyond, "Rooooosebuuuud...."

    Despite the excellence of the first film, it is my opinion that Godfather part 2 delves deeper into the family, more into the two-toned life that Michael Corleone orchestrates between the family business and his family. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the relationship he cultivates between himself and Hyman Roth (wonderful performance by Lee Strasberg), cementing the old adage that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. On the surface they are friends, behind closed doors they are co-conspirators, between each other they are close friends and confidants. Beneath it all, in the depths of each man's heart, they are mortal enemies, Corleone ultimately the victor. The whole movie is a mounting tension between the two, reaching heights as when Hyman fumes over the death of a great man, Mo Green, whom Corleone had killed in the first film. In the end, Hyman becomes just another victim, mowed down by a Corleone footman.

    The court proceedings are shot in a way that transmits the claustrophobia and morose tedium of the justice system back in the days of McCarthyism (the eras align somewhat, both post-war 1950's). The court is crowded, people line the walls, journalists write furiously in the heat of the courtroom, in the background, people walk in and out of the proceedings like is was a Wal-Mart. People speak into microphones, their voices drone in the hollow, sparse room.

    And then Michael Corleone has his own brother killed. Many would say this is when Michael gives himself over fully to the title "Godfather." This is actually one of the central themes of the first film, when exactly does Michael become Godfather? The first film has a wonderful moment where, in the family office (the predominant colors are brown and orange), Brando gets out of his chair, moves over to the side of the office, Michael gets up from the couch on the other side, moves to the desk, and sits in his fathers chair. This is when Michael becomes Godfather in my opinion, but Coppola is good enough to give us more moments that question exactly, "When?"

    Coppola's film legacy lies within this box set, as does Pacino's, Brando's, Caan's, and Duvall's. DeNiro managed to go off and do other things, his legacy lies somewhere else, but to the aforementioned actors, they have never done another film or role as well as what they did in the Godfather films. You don't realize it until you pop in the bonus disc, but composer's Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola also put their legacy into this film with the music. Who can forget Rota's seven-note theme that opens and closes the film? Carmine Coppola adds a more Italiano flavor to the music in the flashback scenes featuring DeNiro as a young Vito Andolini (a.k.a. Don Corleone in the first film).

    There's so much to go over, the least of which is film #3. But the contents of the other three discs justifies the cost, which could actually be higher. But really, this collection is an offer you can't refuse, or do I have to put a gun to your head??

    5-0 out of 5 stars Godfather collection~ a def. 5 stars
    personally, I thought Godfather II was the best out of the three films. I loved the fact that the movie kept fading from Michael's reign as Godfather to Vito Corleone's in 1920s New York and his olive oil (wink wink) business. great storytelling on Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Copolla's respective parts in II.
    Godfather was a classic, no mistake in that..what's weird is that the movie makes the audience love the mafia...never have I seen the mafia world portrayed from the inside out so unbelievably.
    part III was a bit disappointing...really made us want more of Michael Corleone and the rest of the family. ... Read more


    12. Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition)
    Director: Simon Langton
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $27.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005MP58
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 82
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (596)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A marvelous adaptation of one of the great novels.
    This A&E/BBC miniseries is a true masterpiece, bringing Jane Austen's most popular novel to life in a near perfect production. It has everything: authentic Regency Period atmosphere, costumes, settings, a beautiful musical score, excellent performances by a well-chosen cast. Andrew Davis's script does full justice to Austen's original. Colin Firth is excellent as Mr. Darcy, but Jennifer Ehle just takes my breath away with her magnificent performance, which catches every nuance of Elizabeth Bennet's character exactly right in every scene. It is a pleasure to watch all 4 1/2 hours straight through again and again. As a longtime devoted admirer of Jane Austen's works, I am very critical of any movies based upon her novels, but this has to be one of the very best adaptations of any major literary work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WORTH OWNING AND REPEAT VIEWING
    I'm usually very hesitant about adaptations from book to film (especially classics), but this movie does justice to Jane Austin's timeless masterpiece. I rented this movie on a whim, thinking that it would at least be somewhat entertaining, but to my surprize and great pleasure, it not only captivated the true essence of the novel but the characters really came alive and stayed true to the story the whole way through. I eventually bought the DVD and I have NOT had "buyer's remorse" ever since. I get caught up in every moment of every scene of every viewing.

    There are no annoying "Hollywood stars" in it like in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, yet the acting is incredible. Although I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility (on the second viewing because the first time I watched it I fell asleep), it doesn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice. This adaption lets your imagination steep in the imagery, language, and essence of the film so you never get "pulled out" of a scence. If you're unsure as whether or not to buy this gem, just do what I did and rent it for the weekend. You'll soon discover that your movie collection will be lacking without this rendition of Pride and Prejudice.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Superb, true to Jane Austen adaption
    This version of Pride & Predjudice is my absolute favorite. I have owned the tapes and the original DVD. As far as the movie itself goes, the characters are all perfectly cast. From the embarassingly annoying Mrs. Bennet, the sweet oldest sister Jane, the condescending and IQ challenged Mr. Collins, to the feisty Elizabeth and the Proud Mr. Darcy, you will find yourself engrossed in every character's story. The script was written to stay true to the original novel. The scenery in breathtaking, and you will find yourself paying as much attention to the beautiful countryside as you will the drama.
    As for technical details, the biographies that are included on this special version are simply printed words on the screen. Interesting information, but each bio is only one or two paragraphs long with a complete list of credits for only a few of the characters. The mini featurette is okay.
    My bottom line: if you love romance, drama, and history then this is the movie for you. If you already own it on tape or have the original dvd, save your money and enjoy the version you have.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Period Movie - Lovely to watch
    As an avid lover of period movies, I received this particular one last Christmas. I've been able to watch it multiple times. I love Colin Firth's portrayal of a proud and prejudice man who finally learns there are more important things. It's funny and romantic and the dialogue, as with any period piece, will keep you on your toes . . . maybe that's why I can re-watch so many times. It is a timeless movie!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Colin Firth...need I say more? Great Movie Colin Firth aside
    This movie is so amazing I've watched it so many times and I never get tired of it. I thought this was by far the best film adaptation of the novel. Colin Firth portrayed Mr. Darcy exactly as I pictured him in my mind. I loved all the characters and felt like the actors/actresses lived up the their characters in the novel. While the picture quality may not be that great (read several comments about it) it didnt bother me one bit. The locations they filmed were simply beautiful, the story and characters entralling, and the costumes and scenes eye catching....I didnt even notice the quality. ... Read more


    13. What the Bleep Do We Know!?
    Director: Betsy Chasse, Mark Vicente, William Arntz
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0006UEVQ8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 9
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The unlikeliest cult hit of 2004 was What the (Bleep) Do We Know?, a lecture on mysticism and science mixed into a sort-of narrative. Marlee Matlin stars in the dramatic thread, about a sourpuss photographer who begins to question her perceptions. Interviews with quantum physics experts and New Age authors are cut into this story, offering a vaguely convincing (and certainly mind-provoking) theory about... well, actually, it sounds a lot like the Power of Positive Thinking, when you get down to it. Talking heads (not identified until film's end) includeJZ Knight, who appears in the movie channeling Ramtha, the ancient sage she claims communicates through her (other speakers are also associated with Knight's organization). What she says actually makes pretty good common sense--Ramtha's wiggier notions are not included--and would be easy to accept were it not being credited to a 35,000-year-old mystic from Atlantis. --Robert Horton ... Read more

    Reviews (314)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Open your mind to the possibility...
    ...that you may not know everything about life and the world around us...

    ...that there may be a different way of looking at things, a different perspective, which will transform your life into something much easier, different, and better...

    ... That there may be a bit of information which you do not possess -- one so simple that it can be conveyed to you by a silly little movie starring marlie matlin -- which you can watch on your very own dvd player in the privacy of your bedroom...

    This is that movie, that moment, and that possibility. This movie can open your eyes to a new way of living. And it will, if you open your mind to that possibility. It will do to your metaphysical existence what the dvd "NEW SEX NOW" will do to your sexuality -- deliver you to a realm of existence which you never knew existed, but which is beyond your wildest dreams.

    It is shocking to me that life can become so different because of my interaction with the internet; ordering a couple of DVDs from Amazon has changed me so completely, I am amazed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Revolutionaryand Inspirational!
    What the Bleep is an extraordinary film that takes you to the outer reaches of consciousness.It is mind-blowing in its clear presentation of the true nature of reality from both the point of view of physics and the mind: believing is seeing. The movie teaches while it entertains--the bottom line is that the observer and the observed are inextricably entertwined.This holds true in all relationships, including the thorniest relationship of all: love.

    The movie, along with Dr. Emoto's startling work with water (which is in the movie) were so powerful for me that I featured them both in Opening Love's Door, my novel that deals with the nature of self-created romantic and spiritual love.

    Definitely buy this movie.You will come away with new energy to design and create your own life.

    3-0 out of 5 stars What the Bleep Do THEY Know?
    This film, What The Bleep Do We Know, had some interesting concepts and a good premise. It could have been done so eloquently, and yet could have is the opperative word here. Being somewhat versed in quantum theory, I understood some of what was being discussed. However, much of the discussion pertained to elementary concepts and not all of these concepts were presented accurately. It was somewhat "dumbed down" and lacked scientific truth. The "scientists" appeared to be reading off of a contrived script and were not very intelligently arguing the points. This movie raised some interesting and intriguing questions but the theological questioning of god and religion was very biased and had no scientific evidence. Much of the movie misused scientific thought and tried to make it malliable to the presenters view points. Apparently the rabbit hole only skimmed the surface and was ill-constructed...The movie could have been great...But I was fairly disappointed...What the bleep do they know?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre at its best
    If you were hoping form some form of a thought provoking idea here and there about life, preception and the brain function this movie might give a glips of that.However it is not even half as good as I expected it to be and certainly poses no real intelectual, spritual or factual revelations worth making this a worthwhile documentary. The production is mediocre, the theme is noble, but the logical flow and conclusive reasoning behind it is loaded with philosophical and religous falicies and rediculous claims. What is worse is that the interviews with some of the scientists even though start out as interesting (as they introduce certain facts about the brain and perception as it relates to the physical realty around us) but as it turns out all this leads to the puffing up of intelectual egotism of the scientists in bringing forth their foolish beleives and conclusions about life, theology and the meaning behind their existence. It is the formulation of propostrous conclusions about life, religion, existence and reality that go WAY beyond the scope of the facts at hand that really got to me. The heart of this movie is an empty shell of questions that are healthy to ask but certainly not healhty to try to answer to an already confused world. I say skip it and read about quantum physics and the neurology of the brain in NON lamens terms and form your own conclusions.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get past the first 10 minutes!
    i rented this movie because i thought it was going to be a thought-provoking flick. Something different, you know? They call it 'A Sleeper Hit'. Well, i was almost a sleeper after the first 10 minutes of the repetative phrase "Quantum Physics". if i wanted that kind of thought-provoking material, i would go back to school. i don't see what everyone is raving about. Worst waste of my money. ... Read more


    14. 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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    Amazon.com

    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


    15. Gilmore Girls - The Complete First Season
    list price: $59.98
    our price: $41.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001CCXZW
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 108
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    A very atypical mother-daughter relationship is at the center of Gilmore Girls, a comedy-drama that immediately set itself apart from the herd with smarter-than-smart dialogue and an endearing mix of whimsical comedy and family drama. Set in the Capra-esque burg of Stars Hollow, where everybody knows everyone and eccentrics abound, Gilmore Girls was less a mother-daughter show and more of a screwball buddy comedy in which the two buddies happened to be parent and child. Pregnant at 16, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) left her rich parents to bring up her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) on her own terms; when Rory herself turns 16, Lorelai wants to send her academically gifted daughter to the prestigious Chilton school. The catch is, Lorelai can't afford it on her own, and rather than let Rory go without, the elder Gilmore girl brokers an uneasy truce with her parents (Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop), who finally get a chance to bond with their granddaughter while financing her education.

    It sounds like a premise potentially fraught with angst and trauma, but in reality Gilmore Girls was one of the freshest, airiest, most enjoyable shows to air on the perpetually melodramatic WB network, critically praised once viewers got hooked on its unique brand of humor. Rory's growing-up adventures, including her acclimation to snooty Chilton and romance with townie dreamboat Dean (Jared Padalecki), gave the show a teen-friendly feel, but Gilmore Girls was anchored in the adult by the luminous Graham, a brilliant comedic leading lady who could turn dramatic on a dime and never break stride. The show's hallmark was its rat-a-tat, whipsmart dialogue, delivered perfectly by Graham and Bledgel, as well as a host of wacky supporting characters who would go on to become invaluable cast members. The first season allowed the show--and its lead actresses--to bloom gracefully and establish a deep, humorous rapport that lent itself perfectly to weekly travails both comedic and dramatic. --Mark Englehart ... Read more

    Reviews (192)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gilmore Girls is coming to DVD! (in the 1st half of 2004)
    Gilmore Girls is one of the best shows on television. It shows strong women doing what they want to do. Lorelai Victoria Gilmore (played by lovely Lauren Graham) got pregnant in her middle teens and gave birth to a daughter named Lorelai Leigh Gilmore (played by the stunningly beautiful Alexis Bledel). This Lorelai's called Rory though. Rory and Lorelai have a close relationship and because of their close age, it often seems like they are sisters instead of mother and daughter. In the series premiere, Rory got accepted to the prestigious private school of Chilton Prep. But Mom couldn't pay for tuition so Lorelai went to her rich parents (played by veteran actors Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop) even though she didn't want to. There was one condition on how Lorelai would get the money from them. This was Friday night dinners with them.

    There are quirky townspeople in the town of Stars Hollow, CT where Lorelai and Rory live. There's Luke, the grouchy proprietor of Luke's Diner where the Girls eat practically everyday. It's obvious though that he has a crush on Lorelai.

    Well, I've got to run so buy this DVD ...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Meet The Gilmores
    Gilmore Girls is one the best-written, well acted shows on television. The program bounces along at a breakneck pace, filled witty dialogue and banter between characters that are reminiscent of Hollywood films of the 30's and 40's. The show focuses on the mother-daughter relationship between Lorelei (Lauren Graham) & Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) who are really best friends. Lorelei comes from a wealthy Hartford family and got pregnant at sixteen and moved to a small Connecticut hamlet called Stars Hollow to raise Rory. Lorelei runs the local Independence Inn and Rory is an incredibly gifted high school student. The show's plots are built around the girl's relationship which each other and the conflicting lives Lorelei leads. One is her life in Stars Hollow, which is filled with quirky residents and odd town events. The other is with her estranged parents (Kelly Bishop & Edward Hermann), whose blue-blooded ways rankle with her free spirit. Lorelei is forced to take her parents help in order to pay for Rory's tuition at the prestigious Chilton School which will help Rory try to fulfill her dream of going to Harvard. As a condition of giving her the money, Lorelei and Rory must attend weekly Friday dinners at their house. These dinners lead to numerous confrontations between Lorelei and her parents throughout the season. The residents of Stars Hollow provide comfort and friendship to the Gilmores. Among them are the gruff and grumpy Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) who owns the local diner, Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy) who is Lorelei's best friend and chef at the inn and Michel Gerard (Yanic Truesdale) who is desk manager at the inn and is incredibly sarcastic. Ms. Graham is a revelation in her role. She commands every scene she is in and she can deftly deliver the rapid-fire dialogue that is in every show. She is one of the most over-looked and underrated actresses on television. The extras on the disk are as good as any on tv show box set. One interesting extra is a pop-up video version of the "Rory's Dance" episode. A big trademark of the show are the incredible amount of pop culture references included in each episode. This extra provides you with a pop-up each time one is made and in the pop-up, it tells you where the reference is from. If you've overlooked this quality show in the past, the you should check out this excellent package that gives the show its due.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice, romantic, funny mother-daughter show
    I was pleasantly surprized by this mother-daughter show. It's really thrilling play. Very nice actors, nice dialogs. Good fillings of the nice small town and relationship between people. I think it was very nice time expenditure for me.
    Thanks everyone for this DVD set!!!
    Just love it so much!!!
    Waiting for other seasons :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
    I really love "Gilmore Girls", especially Lorelai and Ms Kim! I've to say i was quite surprised when i first saw GG: i had expected just another boring, silly series ( as there are many). But this is different: It is entertaining, it is funny and -nevertheless- it deals with problems everbody knows (like breaking up with your boyfriend, problems with a class mate ...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Einfach Traumhaft
    Eine absolut geile Serie ! Das Verhältnis zwischen Mutter und Tochter ist so wie es sich viele wünschen würden ! Die Schlagfertigkeit der beiden ist einfach genial ! Wir hoffen das die beiden bald auch bei uns in Deutschland auf DVD erscheinen ! ... Read more


    16. The Errol Flynn Signature Collection (Captain Blood / The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex / The Sea Hawk / They Died with Their Boots On / Dodge City / The Adventures of Errol Flynn)
    list price: $59.92
    our price: $44.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OY2PS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 221
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Errol Flynn is one of those names that define movie stardom. Chiseled good looks that stopped just short of being preposterous. A brash and jaunty manner that charmed men and women alike. Whiffs of bad-boy scandal offscreen that only enhanced his legend (not for nothing did "In like Flynn" become a national catchphrase!). And enough marquee-worthy titles that in memory's ear ring like classics.

    Flynn's stardom wasn't on a par with the richly ambiguous artistry of Cary Grant, or the deep, enduring heroic legacy of John Wayne, or the indelible character work amassed by Flynn's Warner Bros. contemporaries Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson. Still, this most celebrated of Tasmanian devils was a one-of-a-kind, often raffishly entertaining icon of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s who played a big part in making the golden age glow. And for most of us, to say "swashbuckler" is to conjure up Flynn's wolfish grin above a rapier, director Mike Curtiz's wall-filling shadows of dueling men, and the symphonic, trumpet-filled music scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

    Stardom came swiftly. After two small-part assignments at Warners, the studio awarded Flynn the title role in Captain Blood (1935)--in retrospect, a sort of rough draft for his most beloved movie,The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938; not in this collection). The hero, an Irish-born physician wrongly convicted of treason during the reign of King James, is sentenced to a life of slavery in Jamaica. In short order he's charmed his new master's niece (the bright-eyed Olivia De Havilland, Maid Marian-to-be) and contrived an escape with his rebel comrades to become lusty, albeit passionately populist, buccaneers. The film's budget was clearly limited (there's a stark absence of horizons in the tropic and seagoing scenes), but director Curtiz's camerawork cunningly evokes the ever-present tilting and rolling of life aboard ship. Much-Oscar-nominated, the movie certified Flynn as the Douglas Fairbanks of the sound era--even in blond tresses and without what would become his signatory mustache.

    If Captain Blood became the Flynn-Curtiz prototype for swashbucklers, The Sea Hawk was the last, luxury model off the line. Warners was always wired in to the zeitgeist, and this 1940 movie about English privateers saving Queen Elizabeth's island nation from the Spanish Armada does double duty as an in-Der-Fuehrer's-face allegory of the looming world war. No blank horizons here, and every wall sports a towering map of a world ripe for conquest. Slickness is all: Claude Rains and Henry Daniell are impeccably devious diplomats, and Sol Polito's black-and-white cinematography shifts into sultry sepiatone when the Sea Hawks sneak off to the tropics on a transatlantic espionage mission. (As for Flynn's mission, his swashbuckling would hereafter be confined to contemporary war pictures for the duration.)

    He also saddled up for some lively Westerns. Dodge City (1939) is a knock-down, drag-out barn-burner in brassy Technicolor, with Flynn as a trail boss reluctantly turned town marshal. Curtiz directs yet again, with flair if not necessarily historical conviction, and the presence of Robin Hood costars Olivia De Havilland and Alan Hale (Little John) is virtually mandatory by this point. Ripe villainy is supplied by Bruce Cabot and--substituting, perhaps, for the un-frontier-worthy Basil Rathbone--the fox-faced Victor Jory.

    They Died with Their Boots On (1942) is filled with spectacular Civil War and cavalry action, though its hagiographic treatment of George Armstrong Custer should set historically enlightened viewers on the warpath. Nonetheless, it features Flynn's most interesting performance in the collection. Whereas Curtiz was the ideal director for the star in boy's-own-adventure mode, Raoul Walsh elicited more nuanced work from him (see especially their wonderful Gentleman Jim, not included in this collection), and the scenes between Flynn and Olivia De Havilland achieve a tenderness that deepens with each reel. The magic-hour cinematography is by veteran John Ford cameraman Bert Glennon.

    And that--apart from a new documentary feature, The Adventures of Errol Flynn--leaves The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Sad to say, that doesn't leave much. Bette Davis (taking the role Flora Robson played in The Sea Hawk) and Flynn (as the English knight the not-so-Virgin Queen loved but feared as a rival) have zero chemistry; she delivers a mannered performance only a Bette Davis impersonator could love, and Flynn demonstrates how stiff he could be (no pun intended) when clueless about his material. In fairness to both, the movie is a static adaptation of a very repetitious and declamatory Maxwell Anderson play. Its inclusion here is notable only as a vast technical improvement on the long-ago VHS release. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    4-0 out of 5 stars In Like Flynn...Again
    Okay, here it is. Strait up. I adore Errol Flynn. Always have, always will. Can't remember which of his films I saw first on television years ago (though my little grey brain cells keep whispering "They Died With Their Boots On"), but whatever it was, it made me instantly a Flynn junkie and I have remained so ever since. It is hard to say which of the "Tasmanian Devil's" movies I like the best, though I'm inclined to believe it is a toss-up between "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (this awesome film amazingly MISSING from this "signature" collection...and it's unfathomable absence the priciple reason I have rated this collection as only 4 stars instead of 5). How does one have an Errol Flynn "signature" collection with "Charge of the Light Brigade" so glaringly unincluded? Boggles the mind.One would hope Turner Classics would produce a "Volume II" to this, a follow-up that would feature "Light Brigade", "The Dawn Patrol", "Gentleman Jim","Adventures of Don Juan", and one of Joanne Woodward's favorites, "That Forsyte Woman" from MGM (or else "Uncertain Glory" or "Edge of Darkness").

    It is good to see Flynn coming back "In" again (to play on the old "In like..." expression). He took a major hit some two decades ago with a most worthless book that became a bestseller ("The Secret Life of Errol Flynn" by Charles Higham )and smeared his name and reputation mean-spiritedly. This author, Higham, termed Flynn a traitor and Nazi spy and pedophile homosexual, supposedly using "credible" witness tesitimony and "classified documentation" to bolster his outrageous claims. He had Flynn doing all sorts of things to further the cause of the Reich and hooked him up with secret meetings all across Europe and in the Caribbean with his "Nazi intelligence controllers". Among his claims were that Errol used his influence to have secret aerial shots of Pearl Harbor filmed during the production of "Dive Bomber", which he funnelled to German Intelligence ("Abwehr"), and thence to the Japanese to help plan their attack.
    He also had Flynn at a secret nazi confab in the Bahamas with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and other British traitors. These were only two "for instances" of this kind of thing. Then he had Flynn "spy controlled" by Dr. Julius Erben, a low-level Abwehr agent....with documents (supposedly) to "prove" it.

    In short order, all Higham's claims came crashing down in the face of REAL research by REAL researchers digging up REAL facts.
    All the times Higham had Flynn meeting with "Nazis" in Europe, he could not have done so, as all the Warner Brothers' shooting logs still exist and Flynn's whereabouts can be tracked meticulously. Higham hadn't counted on that when he began his smear campaign. In fact, on the very day when Highman had Errol "conspiring" in the Bahamas with the Windsors, the actor was, in fact, standing on a log across a stream in Chico. California, facing Alan Hale with a quarterstaff while William Keighly directed the meeting of Robin Hood and Little John for "The Adventures of...". And, as for "Dive Bomber", the Japanese ALREADY HAD their Pearl Harbor mockups built (courtesy of Honolulu spies)and were preparing for the raid WHILE "DIVE BOMBER" WAS IN PRODUCTION....AT SAN DIEGO...NOT PEARL HARBOR!!!!
    Situations like this...CONNIVANCES....turned up everywhere in the Higham book. And the "documentation" he offered turned out to be edited out of context, and, in some cases, the blacked out names didn't relate to Flynn at all...Higham just CLAIMED they did. But originals obtained under the Freedom of Information Act proved the distortions here as well. And Dr. Erben? Well he WAS a German agent, but he only knew Flynn briefly, and ,interviewed before his death, he affirmed that Errol had NEVER been a German agent, that he...Erben...had used Flynn's celebrity to gain him access to people, but that Flynn himself never realized he was being used in this manner. It should also be noted that the Abwehr, under Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, worked secretly more AGAINST Hitler's Nazis than FOR them. aided in the assassination plots AGAINST Hitler, and, by war's end, had been disbanded and taken over by the SS and its leaders executed.In fact there is strong reason to believe Abwehr may have been half-connected to the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. So even if Flynn might have UNKNOWINGLY been "associated" with this ANTI-Nazi German intelligence organization, that might not have been such a bad thing after all!
    As to the homosexual pedophile stuff, none other than Flynn's old arch-enemy BETTE DAVIS stepped forward to declare that a "crock". Said that sounded like Orry-Kelly malarkey, Orry-Kelly being a Warner's costumer in "the day". According to Davis, Kelly delighted in spreading nasty, vicious, hurtful rumors about people who "crossed him"...and Errol did that from time to time.
    To have "Queen Bette" the Flynn-hater come to his defense was astounding enough, but then the OTHER shoe dropped. JOAN CRAWFORD, Bette Davis' OWN arch enemy, came out BACKING BETTE!!! Crawford, who'd once called Flynn "The most beautiful man who ever lived", said the gay stories sounded EXACTLY like something that would come out of Orry-Kelly; that if you'd ever worked at Warners you'd have picked up on it immediately.

    An amazing happening. Bette Davis defending Errol Flynn and Joan Crawford backing her up. Shades of the Apocalypse.

    Though now totally discredited among those who KNOW, many uninformed people still are under the impression this hog swill was true.It all needs to be set right. The DVD "Adventures of Errol Flynn" in this collection attacks the old tale, Tony Thomas in "Errol Flynn, The Spy Who Never Was", demolishes it handily, as does Flynn's stunt double Buster Wiles in "Errol & Me". The Walt Disney movie "The Rocketeer" unhappily plays with the smear job, featuring Timothy Dalton made up as Flynn (though called "Neville Sinclair") and casts him as the dastardly villain Charles Higham worked so to make him appear(and the "why" of it has never been learned).I am a fan of the "Rocketeer" movie but this aspect of it has always distressed me.

    But it looks like Errol's turn is coming around again. This "Signature Collection" puts him center stage again and he deserves the limelight. "Elizabeth & Essex" lets him act, and "The Adventures of..." outlines his life. But "Captain Blood", "The Sea Hawk", "They Died With Their Boots On" and "Dodge City" show perfectly what it was he did...and how he did it...that let him charm America and the world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must for all Flynn Fans!
    This is a great collector's set.
    Absolutely fantastic!
    The movies are the best and the documentary is extremely well done.
    Seeing Olivia again was the best part. A class act at all times and still a beauty!
    I strongly urge all of you fans of Errol Flynn to pick up this boxed set.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but...
    Warners gives you good value here: multiple titles at one low price, plus the TCM documentary that aired early in '05.

    HOWEVER, it would have been nice if the color flicks ("Elizabeth and Essex" and "Dodge City") had been given the same loving restoration that Time-Warner bestowed on "The Adventures of Robin Hood."Both of these titles have color edging in various shots -- caused by uneven shrinkage of the three acetate negatives used in three-strip Technicolor.For "D.C. and "E & E" no such time, energy and moolah was wasted, so there are times when you think your vision is failing as you gaze at the blurry images.

    Nevertheless, it's a good package.Let's just hope that next time they digitally tweak the color and delete the print dirt and scratches.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE ACTION STAR OF THE 30'S AND 40'S
    The Adventures of Robin Hood Special Edition DVD that came out a couple of years ago was simply one of the greatest DVDs ever.But Flynn's films have been slow to come out on DVD and so it makes this set a veritable treasure chest for the dashing Flynn.The great thing is that Warner Bros. didn't go on the cheap and just throw these five films on disc...as with Robin Hood they are givig us a number of extras with the collector in mind.Again they have Leonard Maltin introducing each feature with the Warner Night at the Movies with short features and cartoons so you can simulate what it would have been like to go to the theater back in the era.This is really a great touch.Add to that each film has been re-mastered and looks fantastic.Also included is the outstanding new TCM documentary on Flynn.I had just seen this on TV a few weeks ago and it was just magnificent and features interviews with Olivia De Haviland, Flynn's daughter and former wives, and others who worked with the star.Absolutely fascinating!

    Besides Robin Hood, my two favorite Flynn Films are Captain Blood & The Sea Hawk.In Captain Blood from 1935, Flynn plays Dr. Peter Blood, an English physician unjustly convicted of treason and sentenced to slavery in the West Indies. Relying on only courage and brains, he escapes from his captors and becomes the legendary pirate known as Captain Blood, a brilliant swordsman and seaman whose crew is comprised of several of his fellow former slaves. Olivia de Havilland plays Arabella Bishop, the dashing pirate captain's romantic interest (and niece of the evil plantation owner and slaver, Colonel Bishop, who is played by Lionel Atwill). Sparks fly between Captain Blood and Arabella as their tempestuous relationship builds, and the conflict between Blood and builds as well as the pirate captain and his crew start to not only believe that they can fight Colonel Bishop, but they can win . . . .

    Basil Rathbone did his usual fine job as Flynn's rival (except for his attempt at a French accent!) Captain Levasseur. Also along is long time Flynn drinking buddy Alan Hale. The Young Olivia De Havilland, has never looked more beautiful, and you can see the chemistry between her and Flynn almost immediately. They would go on to star in seven more films together!!

    The Sea Hawk, 1940 - Along with Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk completes a grand trilogy of Flynn Swashbucklers and forever cemented his role as the king of that genre. Rousing action and grand battle scenes highlight this film as Flynn plays Captain Thorpe, an English privateer who is secretly given permission by Queen Elizabeth to attack Spanish ships in anticipation of war between the two countries. To the rest of the world, Thorpe is still a pirate, however.

    The specatacular opening sequence has Thorpe and his crew capturing a Spanish Galleon and taking the booty back to England. Thorpe soon finds himself attracted to the daughter of Spain's new ambassador Dona Maria Alvarez de Cordoba played by Brenda Marshall, making for some fun scenes. But England's devious Lord Wolfingham is in league with the Spanish and helps set a trap for Thorpe and his crew, ultimately capturing them and chaining them aboard a Spanish ship. Thorpe and his crew must now free themselves and hope to get back to England to help rescue them from the Spanish attack.

    Flora Robson is absolutely brilliant as Queen Elizabeth, capturing the look that we've always seen in paintings of that famous ruler. Flynn's good friend and drinking buddy Alan Hale again is along for the ride as first mate Carl Pitt. The chemistry between these two was always magnificent. The only real cast weak link was Henry Daniell as Lord Wolfingham. He simply could not compete with Basil Rathbone as Flynn's villianous foe.

    The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, one of the finest directors of the 30's and 40's and who had already directed Flynn in Captain Blood, Charge of the Light Brigade, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. He and Flynn often clashed but there's no denying that Curtiz always got the best out of Flynn.

    I don't think you can argue much with any of the films included in this collection although I personally would like to have seen "Charge of the Light Brigade", "The Prince and the Pauper" or "Objective Burma" over the "Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" since I'm not a big Bette Davis fan.All in all this is simply a great colleciton of films from one of Hollywood's true legends.

    4-0 out of 5 stars His Wicked, Wicked Adventure Films
    This is not the definitive collection of Errol Flynn's best movies as Warner Brothers held back "The Adventures of Robin Hood", "The Dawn Patrol" plus his other films made under director Raoul Walsh. Obviously they will go into a second collection. But this is not a bad set as four of the films are excellent with only one clonker in the group (the movie adaption of the Broadway play, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex").

    The Collection retails for $42 while to buy the four action films separately ("Dodge City", "Boots", "The Sea Hawk", and "Captain Blood") would cost you well over $60. Plus you have thrown in the various extras and the exclusive documentary of his life in this Collection.

    If the viewer likes Errol Flynn as the charming rogue in his film roles and enjoys the Hollywood action spectacles prior to WW II, then you will enjoy this set. Mr. Flynn starred in over 60 movies, wrote three books and two screenplays. His gift for storytelling (and the truth as he saw it) is on display in his witty autobiography, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways." ... Read more


    17. William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
    Director: Michael Radford
    list price: $26.96
    our price: $18.87
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    Asin: B0007WRT4Q
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 72
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Rarely has The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare's most complex plays, looked as ravishingly sumptuous as in this adaptation, directed by Michael Radford (Il Postino). In a decadent version of renaissance Venice, a young nobleman named Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love) seeks to woo the lovely Portia (newcomer Lynn Collins), but lacks the money to travel to her estate. He seeks support from his friend, the merchant Antonio (Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune); Antonio's fortune is tied up in sea ventures, so the merchant offers to borrow money from a Jewish moneylender, Shylock (Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon). But Shylock holds a grudge against Antonio, who has routinely treated the Jew with contempt, and demands that if the debt is not repaid in three months, the price will be a pound of Antonio's flesh.

    The Merchant of Venice is famous as a "problem play"--the gritty matters of moneylending and anti-Semitism sit uncomfortably beside the fairy tale elements of Portia and Bassanio's romance, and some twists of the plot can seem arbitrary or even cruel. The strength of Radford's intelligent and passionate interpretation is that he and the excellent cast invest the play's opposing facets with full emotional weight, thus making every question the play raises acute and inescapable. Irons is particularly compelling; kindness and blind prejudice sit side by side in his breast, rendering the clashes in his character as vivid as those in the play itself. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (38)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps"
    This is, generally, a very satisfying filming of a very problematic play.Director Radford, who also adapted the screenplay, deserves credit for his bold choices in casting and for his not shying away from some of the more troublesome aspects of the text.Is Pacino a successful Shylock?I think so, although by way of Brooklyn.He is especially powerful in the famous courtroom scene, which otherwise comes dangerously close to being exploitative on the screen.There is much to recommend here, including a stellar supporting cast.Few actors can hold their own next to Pacino, but Lynn Collins comes close.After an unfortunate entrance as the young lawyer (she looks uncomfortably like Sonny Chiba), Collins makes us forget the incongruities in her role and attend, instead, to Portia's masterful polemics.The quality of makeup is not strained!(Collins, by the way, is an actress from Texas, but this does not become an issue.She has been linked romantically with Keanu Reeves, her costar in "Il Mare."Perhaps these two will at some point treat us to a film of "Anthony and Cleopatra"?--another of Shakespeare's plays that has been criminally neglected by Hollywood.)Other actors worthy of mention are MacKenzie Crook and Ron Cook as the younger and older Gobbos, and Kris Marshall and John Sessions as Gratiano and Salerio.Heather ("Kinsey") Goldenhersh as Nerissa and Allan Corduner as Tubal are also fine.Several up-and-coming young actors appear in supporting roles, including Tony Schiena, Julian Nest, and Tom Leick, who is soon to be seen in "House of Boys," with a screenplay by J.T. LeRoy.

    I have given the film 4 stars, but I would like to give the DVD itself 5. Watching the film, I had many questions for the director--for instance, why are certain scenes deleted, while others are out of sequence?--and I'm happy to say that most all of these are answered in the delightful director's commentary, for which Michael Radford is joined by Lynn Collins.I learned a lot about the rationale behind certain casting and directorial choices and came to appreciate the film itself better as a result.For example, the director has choreographed certain scenes to reflect a love triangle among Antonio, Portia, and Bassanio, something that is heavily debated in Shakespearan criticism.Radford even gives us a rationale for his having asked the actresses playing prostitutes to appear with their breasts exposed!See this film, certainly; it has many qualities to recommend it, not the least of which are a lovely soundtrack by Jocelyn Pook and location filming in both Venice and Luxemburg.But, to get the whole experience, see it on DVD and then watch the director's commentary.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
    Good sets.Good costumes.Al appears to be reading from cue cards off camera in some scenes, although I think he plays a believable part. I wish Jeremy could speak up a little. No subtitles in English, only French; kinda dumb isn't it?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Pacino and Shakespeare save this movie from itself
    Shakespeare's lines will carry any movie above the waterline, and the same can be said of Pacino's acting. They both make this movie presentable and even excellent at times. However, the angle of the movie seems to be one of contradiction to the text, beginning with the introductory text prior to the film's dialogue (text from the Director NOT Shakespeare). This text attempts to excuse the very play itself for its characterization of Christians and the Jew, Shylock. If the play needed an intro, Shakespeare would have written a prologue. It certainly works to bias the audience in a way. The other attempt to do this is several scenes where the "Christian" characters are carousing in a bawdy house with a bunch of half-naked prostitutes. Clearly, the director attempts to make a martyr of Shylock and hypocrites of all the non-Jew characters: however Shakespeare's text is what it is. The nudity is utterly unnecessary and detracts from the integrity of the play--plus it cannot now be shown to young people.

    Other than those detractions, I think the film is excellent. The trial scene is superb and brings the tension of the moment to life. Besides Pacino the other actors do a fine job. Unfortunately, though I am a lover of Shakespeare, I would not want to watch this again.

    Author of "Shakespeare on Spirituality: Life-Changing Wisdom from Shakespeare's Plays"

    3-0 out of 5 stars gratuitous nudity
    While this film is a relatively accurate and well acted version of the Shakespeare play, it has nudity in it where none is called for. This makes it unusable in the American classroom and cheapens the play itself.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great production of a play that is hard to like!
    This is an outstanding production of the one work of Shakespeare that is the most difficult to like.It is impossible to get around the anti-Semitism.This production tries very hard to put the anti-Semitism in context and I think to tone it down, but in the end it is impossible to eliminate it.To some extent Shylock is being punished for being vindictive and not showing mercy, but it is impossible to ignore that in the end the play seems to celebrate Shylock's foced conversion to Christianity.

    Al Pacino's performance is disconcerting as he seems to be playing Shylock with a New Yawk accent.But Lynne Collins is truly oustanding as Portia.This version of Merchant really shines in the comic portion of the story where Portia masquerades as a man and successfully entreats Bassanio to give up his wedding ring (which he had earlier promised Portia he would never part with).This is one of the few Shakespearean productions I have seen where a woman masquerading as a man is actually credible.

    The settings, costumes, and photography are all spectacular.I found I was able to focus on the positive elements and not get bogged down with the more distressing parts of the plot.But I sympathize with those who find the anti-Semitic aspects of the story too distressing. ... Read more


    18. Kinsey (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Bill Condon
    list price: $34.98
    our price: $24.49
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    Asin: B0007PALGQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 85
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    One of the best films of 2004, Kinsey pays tribute to the flawed but honorable man who revolutionized our understanding of human sexuality. As played by Liam Neeson in writer-director Bill Condon's excellent film biography, Indiana University researcher Alfred Kinsey was so consumed by statistical measurements of human sexual activity that he almost completely overlooked the substantial role of emotions and their effect on human behavior. This made him an ideal researcher and science celebrity who revealed that sexual behaviors previously considered deviant and even harmful (homosexuality, oral sex, etc.) are in fact common and essentially normal in the realm of human experience, but whose obsession with scientific method frequently placed him at odds with his understanding wife (superbly played by Laura Linney) and research assistants. In presenting Kinsey as a driven social misfit, Condon's film gives Neeson one of his finest roles while revealing the depth of Kinsey's own humanity, and the incalculable benefit his research had on our collective sexual enlightenment. With humor, charm, and intelligence, Kinsey shines a light where darkness once prevailed. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (66)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious Attempt
    In retrospection, Kinsey is over-rated. It rides on the 21st century's fetish of sexuality and pretends to be another "Beautiful Mind" but fails and flops. It is one of those pretentious artistic attempt.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Truth or Perversity?
    This became more and more difficult to watch as the movie went along.A selected biography in the style of Ray or Delovely, but quite a different choice of subject matter.

    Kinsey's father set the tone of Kinsey's own life, with a certainty that becomes obnoxious.The certainty that he knows what the answer is, in this case to the issues of human sexuality and its associated ignorance and taboos, and as with all people who think they know, there is a fall.At the time that Kinsey was achieving his fame there were restrictions on the entire subject of sex practices and sex mores.It stands to reason that the only people who were working in this area were strange themselves, or at least unconventional.That's where I had difficulty.Were Kinsey and his associates really as perverse as they appeared in the movie?Or were their banter and actions exaggerated for the sake of a good story.

    I found no sympathy for Kinsey nor for anyone else in the movie.And some of the conclusions that they reached seem so counter-intuitive that they defy belief.I didn't know whether they were trying to find truth or to present perversity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Potent Film with Certain Foundation for Heated Debate...
    Galileo Galilei and scientists alike announced through in-depth research that the Earth was not flat and faced heavy persecution.Their different thinking broke the standards of the 16th century pious beliefs, which had been used a long time before scientists questioned the validity and reliability in what they observed.This offended the Catholic Church who proclaimed that they held the highest truth, a truth deeply rooted in unquestioned morality.The questioning of the religious beliefs triggered a witch-hunt of the scientists that disagreed with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.However, the truth eventually emerged, as Galileo's theories are still the instruments of current astronomical research that continues to evolve the human existence beyond the earth.

    The Catholic Church and Lutheran Church persecuted people with different ideas of Christianity.Those who desired to exercise their own freedom of religion sought refuge in America where they could exercise their freedom to express their own ideas of religion.After the War of Independence, the founding fathers formed the Congress that drafted the 10 amendments.The first amendment brings the people freedom of speech, which includes religion.However, the very same ideas that sought freedom in America later turned from being the persecuted to the persecutor, as these notions harassed new different thinkers.The notion of cyclical history comes to mind when scientists like Alfred Kinsey are being silenced based on morality and unfounded facts.

    Kinsey (Liam Neeson), a biologist, was brought up under strict puritan rules, as his father consistently proclaimed being the ultimate source of knowledge.In a sense he grew up with similar persecuting standards as Galileo, but instead of conforming to the rules he broke the bond with his father when he accepted a partial scholarship to Bowdoin to study biology.Kinsey's father wanted him to become an engineer, which has a certain level of irony to it, as his father believed that all modern inventions at the beginning of the 20th century were evil.The pursuit of the biology degree brought him through Harvard to Indiana University where he took a position as an assistant professor while studying stag beetles and later the American Cynipidae also known as the gall wasp.

    Years of research and collecting the American Cynipidae allowed Kinsey to meticulously catalogue his gall wasp library.During this time Kinsey met his wife Clara (Laura Linney) with whom he had three children.However, before having the children they had difficulties in the bedroom, as Clara assumed it was because they physically would not fit together.This was an unacceptable answer for Kinsey who approached the problem, as if there were an answer, which there was.It simply was painful for Clara to have sex as her hymen was too thick, and with a quick procedure by a doctor she had this fixed.Consequently, Kinsey continued to help other couples with problems of sexual nature, but realized that he did not have any real answers to the questions that were posed to him.

    In the 1940s, Kinsey got his chance to do teach a marriage course in regards to sex and the social aspects of sex between husbands and wives.As the class went on his interest deepened through the vast number of questions people asked in regards to sex.This concluded in Kinsey beginning to research the taboo ridden topic, which so many have been taught to avoid at all costs except for the purpose of having children.Kinsey opposed the abstinence with his statement, "society has interfered with what should be a normal biological development..."

    The sex research forced Kinsey to travel uncharted waters, as he had to find a way to collect data that were valid and reliable.Through this process he design an interview style that had to be nonjudgmental in order for the interviewee to reveal everything without having to feel any negative feelings.This process gave them surprising facts about sex, as they also encountered homosexuality, extramarital affairs, and premarital affairs.They also found evidence of deviant sexual practices, which most of the society rightfully did not tolerate such as pedophilia.An important note to this is that Kinsey was only collecting data, he did not advocate harmful sexual practices.However, in the eyes of the society Kinsey was in the end drawn into the mud, as much of his intentions was misunderstood.

    Nonetheless, Kinsey helped breaking the ice of the forbidden issue that in the end opened up the society to understanding this hushed, but normal behavior.If Kinsey did not push the envelope the society might have continued its intolerance towards sexual issues, an intolerance that would force many to hide their true identity in the fear of repercussions and prejudice based on hatred and fear.For example, John Edgar Hoover created a profiling center for homosexuals and other undesirables.The very same intolerance would function as a shield that would have protected many of the Catholic priests that have been uncovered to molest children.It is thanks to Kinsey and researchers alike that it has become acceptable to discuss this taboo topic in media, where horrendous crimes such as child molesting can be caught.Yet, there are still many who believe that Kinsey was wrong to do what he did, and they are naturally free to have their own opinions.As they should let the truth be unveiled from darkness and not let erotophobia, i.e., learned negative emotional response to information of sexual nature, affect any decision-making that could help human beings discover a better future.

    Kinsey is a political and potent film that will undoubtedly make many feel awkward and uncomfortable.Yet, it is also an important film, as it displays the importance of learning the truth and not hiding behind groundless rules and laws based on fictionalized morality.The film also has historical value to our contemporary society where many laws often are passed based on morality, which ends up hurting a fraction of the society and slows the progress of humanity.When this happens, history seems to be have drifted into oblivion as prejudice and intolerance continues to haunt the society.Hopefully, the film Kinsey offers an opportunity for debate and insightfulness, and not continued narrow-mindedness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars On balance, a positive contribution to human understanding
    Alfred Kinsey did a great service to the study of sex.Yes, some of his methodologies were suspect, "self-selection" throwing a monkey-wrench in the whole randomization requirement.His subjects were perhaps not the most representative sampling of the population.Furthermore, he and his staff became too personally involved in the work.His assistants comprised a sort of swinger's club.Kinsey could be faulted for not having anticipated the conflicts brought about by such activities among colleagues.

    Unfortunately, these aspects of his life and the film will obscure - for many - the more significant meaning of his work: Bringing the discussion of sex out of the dark corners of human consciousness and into the light.Also, by removing the shame factor from sex, a natural healthy aspect of the human animal, Kinsey legitimized the scientific study of sex.

    As far as the film per se, I was impressed with the honesty of the piece.Contrary to what some reviewers have said, this film does not make Kinsey a hero.It rightly credits him for his work, yet reveals a conflicted, troubled psyche at the same time as Kinsey tries to navigate the line between his objective scientific observation and his subjective sexual experiences.This blurring is where Kinsey erred.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into groundbreaking study
    Alfred Kinsey was a pioneer in the study of human sexuality. He was a professor at Indiana University and spent the first 20 years of his career studying an insect, the "gall wasp." This movie, starring Liam Neeson in the title role, depicts Dr. Kinsey as having an obsession with his study of the gall wasp, collecting hundreds of thousands of specimens and devoting his life to studying this species. Tapped to teach a course on marriage and the family, Kinsey developed an interest in human sexuality and he bacame as obsessive in this study as he was in his earlier endeavor. He was driven and pushed his staff hard. He employed interviewers who spoke with thousands of people in taking sexual histories. Kinsey was very hands on as he personally instructed his staff on how to put subjects at ease as they conducted the interviews.

    Dr. Kinsey was the son of a morally strict father, convincingly played by John Lithgow. Neeson's depecition of Dr. Kinsey shows the results of this upbringing. His characterization of Kinsey comes across as very stiff and uptight. He is not one to really let his hair down yet, in his groundbreaking study, there is no taboo that he is unwilling to explore. Indeed, he explores his own sexuality as he has an extramarital gay affair. Despite serious misgivings at first, his wife, played by Laura Linney, is accepting.

    The studies were very controversial, having been done in the 1940s, long before the "sexual revolution." Some people found his findings to be very liberating in that they discovered that they were not alone in their sexual feelings. Other people were shocked, believing that the subject was taboo and should not be discussed. There is one brief scene in which a woman, who agonized over her lesbian inclinations, was liberated by Dr. Kinsey's findings and, thereby allowed herself to enter into a relationship. Others, including Kinsey's father, were scandalized. Ultimately, however, Kinsey's father allows himself to be interviewed by his son and reveals his own, painful secrets of a repressed childhood.

    We live in a more sexually open era than we did, generations ago. This movie gives an insight into one of the reasons this is so. I recommend this dvd. ... Read more


    19. The Sopranos - The Complete Second Season
    list price: $99.98
    our price: $76.23
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    Asin: B00005NOHO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 286
    Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Episode 14--"Guy Walks into a Psychiatrists Office": In the long-awaited season opener, the more things change, the more they stay the same--and create agita for Tony Soprano.
    Episode 15--"Do Not Resuscitate": When Pussy goes to the doctor for steroid injections in his back, the person leafing through old magazines in the waiting room is FBI Agent Skip Lipari. As they drive home afterwards it's revealed that Sal Bompensiero, AKA Big Pussy Bompensiero, made man and life-long friend of Tony Soprano, is facing a heroin possession charge and has become an informant for the Feds.
    Episode 16--"Toodle-F***ing-oo": Big brother of the late, great Jackie Aprile, Richie has just finished ten years in prison and is looking to pick up where he left off. He figures it should be pretty easy, too. After all, the jerky kid he used to look out for in the old neighborhood has grown up to be none other than the current Boss, Tony Soprano.
    Episode 17--"Commendatori": Tony goes to the old country to conduct business while Carmela stays home and contemplates the nature of marriage.
    Episode 18--"Big Girls Don't Cry": Watch out, New Jersey, Furio Giunta has arrived. The latest addition to the Soprano crew is safely in the States and now that his operation has some new talent, the Boss can make a few organizational changes.
    Episode 19--"The Happy Wanderer": Now that he's back with Dr. Melfi, Tony tells her that he's angry with all the "happy wanderers" in the world: the people who manage to get through life "with a clear head." At the moment, however, he doesn't have time to explore this anger. He's got to organize the "Executive Game."
    Episode 20--"D-Girl": On the eve of Anthony, Jr.'s confirmation, uncertainty abounds. A.J. has discovered Camus and Nietzsche and thinks life is meaningless. Christopher has a tryst with his cousin's filmmaker fiancee and thinks he would rather be a player in Hollywood than New Jersey. And Pussy must decide whether the threat of thirty years in prison can force him to wear a wire into Tony's house.
    Episode 21--"Full Leather Jacket": Worried about Meadow's college prospects, Carmela asks her next-door neighbor, Jean Cusamano, for help. Richie makes a peace offering to Tony. Christopher's friends, Sean and Matt, seek to improve their status by pledging allegiance to Richie through an enterprising plan.
    Episode 22--"From Where to Eternity": Christopher, clinically dead for a moment during surgery, has a textbook out-of-body experience. Paulie consults a psychic. In therapy, Dr. Melfi tells her psychiatrist about her complex relationship with Tony, and discusses her growing substance abuse problems.
    Episode 23--"Bust-Out": Richie complains to Tony about his business situation, and seeks an alliance with Junior. Tony decides to spend more quality time with Anthony Jr., with mixed results. Tony orchestrates the bankruptcy of David Scatino's sporting goods store, while Carmela hires Scatino's virile brother-in-law Vic to wallpaper the Soprano powder room.
    Episode 24--"House Arrest": After dodging a legal bullet, Tony is advised by his lawyer to spend more time at his legitimate business interests. Junior relieves the tedium of house arrest in the company of widow Catherine Romano. Tony confronts Richie over drug sales. Stressed out Dr. Melfi gets into a public altercation.
    Episode 25--"The Knight in White Satin Armor": What's to be done about Richie Aprile? It's not a rhetorical question. And it's going to have to be answered soon because he's rapidly running out his string with Tony. Richie's not the only one with whom Tony would like to sever ties. He's been trying to break up with Irina, his Russian goomah, but she's not the kind of girl you can just shove a pie at, Junior-style. Meanwhile, Pussy's grown increasingly resentful of the Boss' treatment of him since his return. Is Pussy's resentment strong enough that he'll finally give Tony up to the Feds?
    Episode 26--"Funhouse": The last episode of the season finds things going pretty well for Tony. Business-wise, things are great. But despite his success, one night Tony's doubts about Pussy keep coming up--along with the chicken vindaloo he ate in an Indian restaurant. Tony wakes up determined to find out the truth about Pussy, one way or the other.

    (c) 2003 Home Box Office.All rights reserved.HBO(r) and The Sopranos(r) are service marks of Home Box Office, Inc. ... Read more

    Reviews (86)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Second Season: Nearly as Great as the First
    THE SOPRANOS had a tough act to follow after that remarkable first season. With so many characters having gotten wacked by the end of the first season, the show faced the always-tricky challenge of integrating new characters into the mix.

    Although there are some lulls early in the second season, the show ultimately surfs the transition extremely well. Episode 14, the first of the second season, reveals what became of Big Pussy Bonpensiero; it also introduces us to Janice, Tony's ne'er-do-well sister from the West Coast. In episode 16 we get a blunt introduction to Richie Aprile (brother of the late Jackie Aprile Sr.). Richie has just been released from prison, and we immediately know that he's going to be a nasty thorn in Tony's side. But frankly, you could skip over episodes 17 and 18 and you would barely miss a thing. By far the most significant long-term development in those episodes occurs when Tony brings Furio back after a "business trip" to Italy.

    Things really start cooking in episode 19 when we meet Tony's high school buddy and "degenerate gambler" David Scatino, brilliantly played by the underrated actor Robert Patrick. (Frank Sinatra Jr. has a cameo in this episode). It would be unfair to newcomers to detail any more plot twists beyond this point.

    The sessions between Tony and Dr. Melfi remain the prism through which the entire show is filtered. One of their best and most pointed exchanges occurs in episode 22. Dr. Melfi asks Tony if he believes that his nephew Christopher will burn in hell because of his mob activities. Who among us really belongs in hell? "The serial killers, the people who kill for pleasure, the child molesters, the Hitlers, the Pol Pots. Those are the [...] who belong in hell, not my nephew," Tony responds (I'm paraphrasing a bit). After all, "Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan were crooks and killers too." But those Gilded Age elites needed Italian immigrants "to build their cities and dig their subways and make 'em richer." The rise of La Cosa Nostra early in the twentieth century, Tony concludes, was simply a class struggle in which the hard-working sons of Italian immigrants claimed their rightful "piece of the action." Not even Dr. Melfi can stomach this much moral equivalence. In one of the few times that she blows her stack at Tony, she angrily asks, "Does that justify EVERYTHING you do?"

    The show's little touches are almost as impressive as the big ones. For example, episode 23 begins with an eyewitness telling the cops about a murder. Later we see him at home, sipping wine and reading ANARCHY, STATE AND UTOPIA. This episode also reveals Richie and Janice's unorthodox (and hysterically funny) lovemaking techniques, which only the two of them could have dreamed up.

    One could go on and on about what makes this show so special. The key to the show's success, I believe, is that it tends to be character-driven, whereas too many other shows are strictly plot-driven. That explains why THE SOPRANOS almost always rings true. Thank God this show is on HBO and not regular network TV.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Every time I think I'm out, it pulls me back in!
    Things are going pretty well for Tony Soprano at the beginning of the second season of "The Sopranos." With most of his enemies safely sidelined, he is the unchallenged boss of the New Jersey mob, with lots of lucrative business opportunities presenting themselves. Yet, as always, new problems present themselves. His kids Meadow and A.J. are as rebellious as ever, and wife Carmela is increasingly fed up with Tony's absences, infidelities and fits of temper. Janice, his hippie-dippy sister, shows up unexpectedly. Richie Aprile, a mobster so greedy and violent that he scares even Tony, is released from prison and starts muscling in on Tony's business. Dr. Melfi, Tony's shrink, refuses to talk to him. And then, as always, there are the feds... As always, "Sopranos" creator David Chase and his superb team of writers cook up a fascinating, mesmerizing witch's brew of money, murder and various misbehaviors, enacted by what may well be the best ensemble cast in the history of television. (If there were a Nobel Prize for TV acting, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco certainly would be on the short list every year.) Once again, if you're offended by rough language, nudity and violence, stay away. Otherwise, be prepared to get hooked.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The 21st Century Is Awesome, So Is This Cable TV Show
    Thank God for the 21st century, we live in a great time of great
    movies like The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Crouching Tiger
    Hidden Dragon, A Beautiful Mind, and Chicago. A great time of
    great music like: Linken Park, and Fisher Spooner. A great time
    of miniseries: Band Of Brothers, the miniseries of Ken Burns, and Angels In America. A great time of Books: Film books, and
    all other types of reading. And also a great time of great TV:
    HBO's Oz, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Family Guy, and of course The Sopranos. What I love about this show is everything, it is completely flawless from the fascinating storylines to the outstanding performances from
    everyone involved. James Gandolfini not only plays mafia family
    man Tony Soprano with character and depth, but with his persona-
    lity he captures the works of Hollywood legends Robert De Niro,
    and the late Marlon Brando, who was such a legendary actor with
    classic films like The Godfather and On The Waterfront (I coulda
    been a contender) which De Niro used for his Jake La Motta role
    in the flawless masterpiece Raging Bull. Edie Falco brings
    human emotion to her role in the show as Carmella Soprano, and
    another standout is Michael Imperolli (Who played Spider in
    Goodfellas). This is what TV should be. Five Stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Can you survive thirteen episodes with The Sopranos?
    I was totally looking forward to this second series of The Sopranos. Its amazing writing and compelling story lines are the finest ever to emerge from TV. Never as a TV show had the same effect on you as a movie does.

    Series Two is a lot better than series one and contains more depth in the characters. If the Sopranos just went about killing one another we wouldn't really care about it, but because it could almost be described as a psychological drama (with guns) it is fantastic. I'm Italian American and don't mind one iota at some of the humor in this and appreciated every second this DVD had to offer.

    If the creator David Chase is reading this (ha) then when The Sopranos finishes, how about a prequel/spin off with JOHNNY 'BOY' SOPRANO in the fiftys? It'll be a sure hit.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's a Family Thing....
    The Sopranos is one of HBO's greatest achievements (although I admit that I think it lost some of its momentum and spark with seasons three and four). When I first saw the show, I was hooked. I'd watch anywhere from three to four episodes a day. One of the great things about first watching this show on DVD was that I could watch any number of episodes instead of just watching one per week.

    "The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season" has to be my favorite season. As much as I love the first one, this was when things were really funny, intense, dramatic and involving. The season doesn't let us down when it comes to Tony having more problems than ever before. Both in his Mafia Family and his immediate family, Tony can never get a break. His wife gives him grief while his kids keep doing things that upset him. And don't get me started on his ill mother and self-centered sister. Life isn't much better in his Mafia Family when the brother of Jackie is released from prison and is giving Tony a hard time both personally and professionally. Not to mention that his long time friend, Big P. comes back from a long hiatus when he was first suspected of turning rat to the Feds. All of this leads to one incredible and unpredictable season that showcases the show like none other.

    For me, this was the most entertaining season of them all. I loved the characters, the constantly changing storylines, and the personal and business life of Tony Soprano, which is superbly balanced in this season. There's still the much appreciated humor in these episodes that were found lacking in the next two seasons. It doesn't feel like a soap opera, but a more enhanced look into the Mafia world. There's plenty of action as well as dramatic storylines that will make everybody happy for the most part.

    This season comes in a set of four discs, totaling at 13 episodes. The great thing about the show is that it is presented to us in a widescreen format that is enhanced for widescreen TVs. This really makes the show that more effective because you feel like you're actually watching a movie rather than a show on cable. The picture and sound quality is great and really shows. There are some nice little extras, such as featurettes, brief previews and recaps of episodes, web-links and more.

    "The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season" is a bundle of laughs, suspense, drama, action and surprises. You're always on your toes and you never know what's coming next. One thing's for sure; this is the most unpredictable season out of the four seasons (the fifth one looks pretty promising thus far). While you'll want to start with the first season if you've never seen the show before, you'll know that you will have something special to look forward to once you get to the second season. In my opinion, this is where Sopranos is flawlessly at its best. -Michael Crane ... Read more


    20. The West Wing - The Complete First Season
    list price: $59.98
    our price: $41.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JLF3
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 110
    Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    Conventional wisdom prior to season one of The West Wing was that the only successful television shows were half hour sitcoms and hour long police, legal, or medical dramas. Building on surplus ideas from his film The American President and the walk-and-talk style of comedy and drama from his critically acclaimed television show Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin bucked the trend and created his masterpiece, one of the most memorable American political depictions to reach the big or small screen. Season one introduces viewers to a Nobel Prize-winning economist and unabashed intellectual president Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his key staff members, a newly elected Democratic administration trying to find its footing amidst the corridors of the White House's west wing. To the credit of its cast and their brilliant ensemble acting, The West Wing manages to immediately conjure nearly a dozen distinct and memorable characters. Perhaps the greatest star of all is Sorkin's rapid-fire dialogue, especially as delivered by Press Secretary C.J. Craig (Alison Janney), Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), and Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer). They carry on conversations while stalking purposefully and unhaltingly down corridors, around corners, and through doorways, and all of it unfurls with the choreographic precision of a classical ballet and the pace of an Olympic ping-pong rally.

    What emerges is more than a collective liberal dream of an impassioned administration battling back ultra-conservative bogeymen ranging from the religious right to bigots to gun-toting militants. Wonderful episodes like "The Pilot" and "In Excelsis Deo" portray a government led by heroic, intelligent, and decent men and women. Whether or not one regards that as a political fantasy, it's a remarkably refreshing and appealing vision of politics and its practitioners, one that the public embraced with consistently strong television ratings. In a country whose citizens are used to viewing their elected leaders with mistrust and cynicism, that might be The West Wing's greatest accomplishment. --Eugene Wei ... Read more

    Reviews (131)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Show on TV
    This DVD has the first eleven episodes with a bonus of interviews with the writer Sorkin and most of the cast.

    West Wing is one of the better ensemble dramas ever screened on television. However it was only after seeing the interviews of Sorkin and the cast members that one realised how it was done. Sorkin is clearly highly intelligent and his scripts are powerful and the basis of the show. This becomes clear when you hear the cast members talk. They lack the presence of their on screen personalities and although they are talented actors one realises that it is the structure of the plot and their lines which creates the characters.

    Sorkin also indicates how in reality the plots have a high level of sentimental resolutions. One doesn?t pick this up in watching it. Sorkin explains how he uses humour to break up the flow of the story and to prevent the material becoming mawkish. He also indicates that although the White House portrayed is a Democrat one, he interplays conservative and liberal story lines. On first viewing the show it appeared to be moderately liberal but on re-watching the episodes on the CD Sorkin is right. The second episode is highly nationalistic and the last scene is the character played by Martin Sheen regretting that Americans cannot walk the earth with the same protection that was afforded the ancient romans. In other episodes the character Donna argues strongly the Republican line on taxation.

    Watching these eleven episodes after watching them on TV some years ago, one is still struck by the strength of the characters, the frantic pace of the action and the fact that the scenes are seldom static. Even though one begins to see that there is a sentimentality which initially slips by you, one can still be moved when Toby arranges the funeral and honour guard for the homeless war veteran. It is however the humour and intelligence which is the driving force of the series and what makes it so watchable.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best DVDs I've bought... Too bad they're the UK version
    By this point there should be no doubt as to the quality of the television programming captured on these DVDs. Every review I've read, both on Amazon and elsewhere, and my own immense enjoyment of the set attests to its quality.

    How disappointing then that US fans of this show must look outside their own country to buy the DVD set. I went to Amazon.co.uk (the British local site for Amazon) and found the West Wing Season 1 set there. Be forewarned, however: These are Region 2 discs, meaning they can be readily played only by folks in Europe, the Middle East and Japan. If you are in the US, with a standard (i.e., non-region free) US player, you are out of luck. Your only recourse is to buy a "Region Free" player (many Web sites hawk modified low market players that can play any disc), modify your own player (don't even think about it), or try getting your computer DVD drive to play it.

    This last option is what I've accomplished, and though I'm happy to be able to watch these West Wing episodes whenever I like, it's a bummer to have to view them on my computer monitor. C'est la vie, I suppose.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    I watch a lot of TV, too much really, and the vast majority of the time I feel guilty about it. But the one show that I never feel guilty watching is The West Wing. There's not a character I don't like, or an episode that does not make me laugh then cry. The writing is at times humorous and at other times inspiring. Finally, I learn something new about government, or people, or the world at large every episode. Makes you feel better about watching all that tv.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the BEST
    I missed WW on TV. When I heard about it I rented the first season DVDs. What a show! It is just great. It will make you laugh and make you cry. This has got to be one of the best shows out there.
    And, I have seen a lot of movies. One of the few movies that I agree with the critics on.

    Warning: Be carefull, if you buy it or rent it you will be hooked. Very difficult not to start watching the next episode when the previous one ends.

    The series deals with many current issues and shows us how the people behind the politics really try to do their best (in most cases). Not that this is real life, mind you. But could sure serve as an inspiration to those that serve as our elected officials and those that aspire to serve in that capacity in the future.

    What else can I say. Buy a copy, rent a copy but you just have to see this series. Then let us all know what you think.

    I was blown away. I think you will be too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All I can say, it "Wow"
    I was skeptical about buying the series before I've even seen it but I've always been a fan of movies with a theme like this one. "The American President", for example. While deployed with the US Military, I took a chance and didn't buy just the first season, but both season I and II at once. I was hooked within the first few minutes of the pilot episode. The mix of drama, suspense and humor have been done with expert precision and I couldn't wait until I saw the next episode. The clifhanger from season I to II had be ripping the disk from my computer just to plow the next one in. All I can more is I really wish Season III was available as I have so much more time deployed and really want to watch more of this show. Several of us at work are now watching it as well. This show has my backing! ... Read more


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