Jim's DVD Collection


Click titles to go to the Amazon page (when available)

(Note: I didn't write the descriptions!)




 

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3-Iron

Director: Ki-duk Kim (II) Seung-yeon Lee, Hyun-kyoon Lee, Hyuk-ho Kwon, Jeong-ho Choi, Ju-seok LeeArt House & International
Studio: Sony Pictures R
Language (Country): Korean, French
Words really do get in the way in "3-Iron", a strange, poignant South Korean film from director Kim Ki-Duk ("Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring") in which the central character doesn't utter a single word. It's not explained why the puck never speaks, but it adds an element of mysticism to this love story that's at once humorous and disturbing. In this case, the knight in shining armor, Tae-Suk (Hee Jae) is a vagabond who supports himself by breaking into people's homes when they're on vacation. But rather than steal possessions, he cooks himself a meal, carefully washes the dishes, takes a bath, does their laundry, fixes anything broken, sleeps in their pajamas, and leaves each home spic and span. One day he trespasses on the home of a battered wife (Seung-yon Lee) who's still home. Fascinated, she leaves her husband and joins in his adventures, until one of their random break-ins gets them in trouble and the couple is forced apart.
Adding in a reliance on some stunning visuals, "3-Iron" does a good job filling itself out in a non-implicit way. In this case, compliments and banter aren't needed to tell you that the pair has found a bond that no one can wrest away from them. The ending may tickle suspended reality (it's either becoming supernatural or someone's a lot more nimble than we thought), but it's still a poetic conclusion to this twisted fairy tale. "--Ellen A. Kim"


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The 39 Steps Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock Robert Donat, Madeline Carroll
Studio: Criterion Collection NR
Language (Country): English
The 39 Steps is a heart-racing spy story by Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho), following Richard Hannay (Oscar winner Robert Donat of Goodbye, Mr. Chips), who stumbles into a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across the Scottish moors—a chase in which he is both the pursuer and the pursued—as well as into an expected romance with the cool Pamela (Madeline Carroll). Adapted from a novel by John Buchan, this classic wrong-man thriller from the Master of Suspense anticipates the director’s most famous works (especially North by Northwest), and remains one of his cleverest and most entertaining films.


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The 400 Blows

Director: François Truffaut Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy
Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct) NR
Language (Country): French
The unforgettable debut feature by Fran‡ois Truffaut (Jules and Jim) is a wrenchingly personal coming-of-age story that introduced the character that would become the director's lifelong cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre L‚aud, in one of the screen's great child performances). With the utmost sensitivity, The 400 Blows dramatizes the trials of Truffaut's own difficult childhood, characterized by aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. The film marks its maker's official transition from influential critic to one of Europe's most brilliant auteurs, and is considered the first true work of the French New Wave.


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Abel Raises Cain

Director: Jenny Abel, Jeff Hockett Jeanne AbelNR
ABEL RAISES CAIN is an unprecedented glimpse into the life and bizarre career of Alan Abel, the infamous underground media prankster. He has made a name for himself several times over with stunts that are just ridiculous enough to be believable, especially to a media that feeds on salacious, far-fetched stories.

In this loving portrait of an eccentric father, Alan's daughter, Jenny, tells her firsthand account of what it was like growing up with a prankster. She, along with co-director Jeff Hockett, takes the audience on a roller coaster ride through the myriad of elaborate hoaxes and schemes that Abel pulled off over the years, all of which were designed to provoke and amuse...while at the same time, make people question everything that they see, hear and read.

"An affectionate portrait of a gadfly dedicated to lampooning American society's foibles, the laziness of the media and the tendency in all of us to swallow what we really want to believe but shouldn't."-STAR-TRIBUNE

"A humorous and highly personal documentary"-LA TIMES

"Its an impressive debut, featuring a story that's almost too perfect to be true. The film can keep you talking, telling others about this hilarious man whos still pulling the wool over the eyes of an unsuspecting media."-MINN. DAILY

"A fun and fascinating look at an American original"- ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

"Long before Borat hauled his mustachioed mischief across the Western Hemisphere, Alan Abel was giving interviews in the guise of ridiculous characters and whipping the world into an outraged lather...Narrated and co-directed by his daughter Jenny, ABEL RAISES CAIN is a small, sweet film - a loving portrait of an eccentric father." -THE STRANGER

Grand Jury Award Best Documentary-Slamdance; Audience Award Best Documentary-Sarasota Film Festival; Grand Jury Award Best Documentary- Newport International Film Festival; Grand Jury Award Best Feature-Brooklyn Underground; Voted Top Ten Audience Favorites - Hot Docs Toronto.


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Abode of Illusion: The Life and Art of Chang Dai-chien

Director: Richard Gordon, Carma Hinton Documentary
Studio: Direct Cinema Limited



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Action: The Complete Series

Director: Jay Mohr, Illeana Douglas, Jarrad Paul, Jack Plotnick, Buddy HackettTelevision
Studio: Sony Pictures NC-17
Language (Country): English
Immoral, politically incorrect, and fiercely funny, "Action: The Complete Series" is a timeless comedy focusing on a group of Hollywood insiders whose moral compass has spun out of control. Led by uber-producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr), the series' first and only season ferociously lampoons the sleaziness of modern-day Hollywood. Dragon--seemingly the separated-at-birth brother of slimy uber-agent Bob Sugar (also played by Mohr) from "Jerry Maguire"--is a jerk who pretends to be gay when it's convenient and doesn't understand why Salma Hayek (playing herself) would slap him silly for making inappropriate suggestions during an earlier audition. In Dragon's lair, sexual harassment is an inconvenience, the screenwriter is an afterthought, and a movie isn't a film unless it's got mega-explosions. Mohr and Illeana Douglas (portraying an ex-child star turned prostitute turned studio executive) are a joy to watch. When a sycophantic colleague accuses Dragon of promoting a hooker over him, he calmly says, "She's my prostitute. You're my whore." A subtle difference, yes, but one that makes a world of difference in Hollywood. If there's a plus side to this topnotch series being canceled in 1999, it's that the writers didn't have time to let the show disintegrate into hackneyed clichés. There is no warm-hearted parable to justify the nasty means--just a lot of quick-witted dialogue and an excellent ensemble cast that makes viewers enjoy the characters despite (or should that be "because of"?) their numerous flaws. "--Jae-Ha Kim"


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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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The Alamo (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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All About Eve (in Studio Classics Collection)



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American - The Bill Hicks Story

Director: Paul Thomas, Matt Harlock Comedy
Studio: 2entertain Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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American Mystic

Director: Alex Mar Morpheus Ravenna, Chuck, Kublai
Studio: Alive Mind NR
Language (Country): English
Set against the rich, color-soaked backdrop of America's rural landscapes, Alex Mar's lyrical first work is a bold and artful documentary that braids together the stories of three young Americans who have chosen to sacrifice comforts in order to embrace the fringes of alternative religion. The subjects include Chuck, a Lakota Sioux sundancer in the badlands of South Dakota; Morpheus, a pagan priestess living off the grid in northern California's old mining country; and Kublai, a Spiritualist medium in the former revivalist district of upstate New York. In the radical, separatist spirit of early America, each has extracted himself from the mainstream in order to live immersed in his faith and seize a different way of life. Mar takes a personal, visually lush approach, enveloping the viewer in the subjects experience of their controversial faiths through their own words, their rituals, and the sprawling, majestic imagery that makes up each of their worlds.


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American Splendor

Director: Shari Springer Berman Chris Ambrose, Nick Baxter, Vivienne Benesch, Shari Springer Berman, Earl BillingsAction & Adventure
Studio: HBO Video R
Language (Country): English
One of the most acclaimed films of 2003, "American Splendor" is also one of the most audaciously creative biographical movies ever made. Blending fact, fiction, and personal perspective from the comic books that inspired it, this marvelous portrait of Harvey Pekar--scowling curmudgeon, brow-beaten everyman, insightful chronicler of his own life, and frustrated file clerk at a Cleveland V.A. hospital--is an inspired amalgam of the media (comic books, TV, and film) that lifted Pekar from obscurity to the status of a pop-cultural icon. As played by Paul Giamatti in a master-stroke of casting, we see Pekar and his understanding wife (played by Hope Davis) as underdogs in a world full of obstacles, yet also infused with subtle hope and (gasp!) heartwarming perseverance. We also see the "real" Pekar, and this multifaceted commingling of "reel" and "real" turns "American Splendor" into a uniquely cinematic celebration of Pekar's life and, by extension, the tenacity of an unlikely American hero. "--Jeff Shannon"


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American: The Bill Hicks Story

Director: Matt Harlock Action & Adventure
Studio: 2 Entertain Unrated
WITH MORE THAN FIVE HOURS OF BONUS FEATURES! Growing up in Texas, Bill Hicks first started performing comedy at the age of 15. He soon became a regular in Houston's comedy circuit, before moving to LA and embarking on a touring schedule, playing up to 300 shows a yea, all in a country where he was largely unknown. In 1990, Hicks performed in the United Kingdom for the first time, and became an instant star, finding fame and notoriety which had escaped him in the US and it was just as Hicks seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough in America, that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died on February 24, 1994 at just 32. Using never-before-seen animation techniques we hear Bill's story, for the first time, through the people who knew him best, his family and friends, showing a timeless legacy left that's as fresh and relevant today as it was when he wrote it. Special Features include 30 minutes of UNSEEN footage and rare clips from Bill's career *** 3 hours of extend interviews *** Bill's personal audio journals *** Trailers and audience reactions *** 6 deleted animation scenes *** Featurettes including: Bill's family visit Abbey Road and Dominion, Q&A panel, Comedy School and Dwight in London, The Ranch and Making of Arizona Bay.


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Ancient Worlds

Director: Richard MilesDocumentary
Studio: 2entertain Exempt
Language (Country): English



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André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films

Director: Jonathan Demme, Louis Malle Wallace Shawn, André Gregory, Julianne Moore, Julie Hagerty
Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct) Unrated
Language (Country): English



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Annie Hall (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Antonia's Line

Director: Marleen Gorris Willeke van Ammelrooy, Els Dottermans, Dora van der Groen, Veerle van Overloop, Esther VriesendorpArt House & International
Studio: First Look Pictures R
Language (Country): Dutch
To a small Dutch town filled with characters known by such names as Crooked Finger, Loony Lips, and the Mad Madonna, Antonia returns with her daughter Danielle after 20 years away. Covering the next 40 years, "Antonia's Line" looks at the matriarch and her offspring, stretching out to her great-granddaughter, Sarah. A whimsical story with fairy-tale conventions, this movie deals with the cyclical nature of time as well as the strength of women. While this is not just a "woman's movie," men "are" regulated to the background in a story that tells of women breaking free of traditional roles. Surprisingly, this movie achieves a light-hearted tone while tackling serious subjects: small-town prejudices, rape, and suicide. Yet the drama's comedic heart shines through as Antonia collects a rather odd assortment of people, outsiders who become part of her extended family. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, "Antonia's Line" is moving and beautiful, imparting a sense of hope and joy to the viewer. "--Jenny Brown"


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The Apartment (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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The Ascent Of Man : Complete BBC Series

Director: Documentary
Studio: 2 Entertain Video Exempt
Language (Country): English



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Automorphosis

Director: Harrod Blank Steve Baker, José Benavides, Harrod Blank, Hyler Bracey, James BrightDocumentary
Language (Country): (USA)



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Badlands

Director: Terrence Malick Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri, Alan VintCult Movies
Studio: Warner Home Video PG
Language (Country): English, French
Still one of American cinema's most powerful, daring filmmaking debuts, Terrence Malick's "Badlands" is a quirky, visionary psychological and social enigma masquerading as a simple lovers-on-the-lam flick. Inspired by the 1958 murders in the cold, stark badlands of South Dakota by Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, the film's plot, on the surface, is similar to that of other killing-couple films, like "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Gun Crazy". Martin Sheen, in an understated, sophisticated performance, plays the strange James Dean-like social outcast who falls in love with the naïve Sissy Spacek--and then kills her father when he comes between them. The two flee like animals to the wilderness, until the police arrive and the killing spree begins.
What sets the film apart from others of its genre is Malick's complicated approach. Gorgeous, impenetrable images contrast sharply with Spacek's nostalgically artless narration, serving as ironic counterpoints, blurring concrete meaning, and stressing that nothing this horrific is simple. Malick observes, rather than analyzes, the couple in a manner as detached and apathetic as the couple's shocking actions. No judgment or definitive motivations are offered, though Malick's empathy often leans toward his senseless protagonists, rather than the star-struck society that makes killers famous. Compared with the interchangeable uniform cops who hunt them and the film's other nameless characters stuck in suburban banality, the couple are presented like tarnished, warped and frustrated results of squelched individuality.
"Badlands", on one level, views America's suffocating homogeneity and, conversely, its continued obsession with celebrities (individuals considered different but adored) as hypocritical. Ambiguous and bold, the movie hints that society may be as guilty as the killers. "--Dave McCoy"


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The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack

Director: Aiyana Elliott Jack Elliott, Gil Gross, Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, Harold LeventhalDocumentary
Studio: Winstar PG-13
Language (Country): English
Ramblin' Jack Elliott has been many things in the course of a life now nearing the end of its seventh decade: trucker, sailor, cowboy, storyteller, ladies man, eccentric, iconoclast, and a folksinger-guitarist who's considered the link between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. What he hasn't been is much of a father, and that becomes the poignant focus of this documentary directed, written, coproduced, and narrated by his daughter, Aiyana. The film includes plenty of material (home movies, performance footage both old and new, interviews with friends, family, and Elliott himself, etc.) about Elliott's life, and a remarkable life it's been.
Born Elliot Charles Adnopoz in 1931, son of a Jewish doctor from Brooklyn, he left home to become a cowboy, eventually becoming Guthrie's protégé and a minor legend in his own right who was well-known in England in the '50s and on the scene during the early '60s folk boom in New York. His own irresponsibility and lack of ambition and focus kept him from being a bigger name, and those are the same flaws that have afflicted his relationship with his daughter. "I can't remember having an actual conversation with my dad," Aiyana says, and by the end of the film that still seems to be the case. In what may be the most telling moment here, she asks her mother (one of Elliott's four wives) if Ramblin' Jack "had any talents as a father." What follows is a long, bemused pause... and no response at all. A fascinating document, but not one that you'd call uplifting. "--Sam Graham"


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Band of Brothers / The Pacific

Director: Various Various
Studio: HBO Studios NR
Language (Country): French, Spanish, English
Band of Brothers-
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.

The Pacific-
The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII's Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines - Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow Marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain firests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day. The viewer will be immersed in combat through the intimate perspective of this diverse, relatable group of men pushed to the limit in battle both physically and psychologically against a relentless enemy unlike any encountered before.

He Has Seen War- is an exclusive documentary that examines the postwar lives of veterans of both Band of Brothers and The Pacific. From their initial steps at reintegrating into civilian life to the lasting impact the war had on each of their lives, He Has Seen War features Easy Company and 1st Marine Division veterans and their families relaying their own unique stories. Complemented by renowned historian and author Donald L. Miller as well as rarely seen archival and documentary footage, He Has Seen War captures the struggle and ultimate triumph of a generation who, after helping rescue the world from unprecedented calamity, reclaimed their lives and re-forged a country.


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Baraka

Director: Ron Fricke
Studio: MPI Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
The word "Baraka" means "blessing" in several languages; watching this film, the viewer is blessed with a dazzling barrage of images that transcend language. Filmed in 24 countries and set to an ever-changing global soundtrack, the movie draws some surprising connections between various peoples and the spaces they inhabit, whether that space is a lonely mountaintop or a crowded cigarette factory. Some of these attempts at connection are more successful than others: for instance, an early sequence segues between the daily devotions of Tibetan monks, Orthodox Jews, and whirling dervishes, finding more similarity among these rituals than one might expect. And there are other amazing moments, as when sped-up footage of a busy Hong Kong intersection reveals a beautiful symmetry to urban life that could only be appreciated from the perspective of film. The lack of context is occasionally frustrating--not knowing where a section was filmed, or the meaning of the ritual taking place--and some of the transitions are puzzling. However, the DVD includes a short behind-the-scenes featurette in which cinematographer Ron Fricke ("Koyaanisqatsi") explains that the effect was intentional: "It's not where you are that's important, it's what's there." And what's here, in "Baraka", is a whole world summed up in 104 minutes. "--Larisa Lomacky Moore"


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Barry Lyndon (Blu-Ray)

Director: Stanley Kubrick Ryan O'neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, Diana Koerner
Studio: Warner Home Video PG
Language (Country): English
In 1975 the world was at Stanley Kubrick's feet. His films "Dr. Strangelove", "2001: A Space Odyssey", and "A Clockwork Orange", released in the previous dozen years, had provoked rapture and consternation--not merely in the film community, but in the culture at large. On the basis of that smashing hat trick, Kubrick was almost certainly the most famous film director of his generation, and absolutely the one most likely to rewire the collective mind of the movie audience. And what did this radical, at-least-20-years-ahead-of-his-time filmmaker give the world in 1975? A stately, three-hour costume drama based on an obscure Thackeray novel from 1844. A picaresque story about an Irish lad (Ryan O'Neal, then a major star) who climbs his way into high society, "Barry Lyndon" bewildered some critics (Pauline Kael called it "an ice-pack of a movie") and did only middling business with patient audiences. The film was clearly a technical advance, with its unique camerawork (incorporating the use of prototype Zeiss lenses capable of filming by actual candlelight) and sumptuous production design. But its hero is a distinctly underwhelming, even unsympathetic fellow, and Kubrick does not try to engage the audience's emotions in anything like the usual way.
Why, then, is "Barry Lyndon" a masterpiece? Because it uncannily captures the shape and rhythm of a human life in a way few other films have; because Kubrick's command of design and landscape is never decorative but always apiece with his hero's journey; and because every last detail counts. Even the film's chilly style is thawed by the warm narration of the great English actor Michael Hordern and the Irish songs of the Chieftains. Poor Barry's life doesn't matter much in the end, yet the care Kubrick brings to the telling of it is perhaps the director's most compassionate gesture toward that most peculiar species of animal called man. And the final, wry title card provides the perfect Kubrickian sendoff--a sentiment that is even more poignant since Kubrick's premature death. "--Robert Horton"


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The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash, Ugo PalettiArt House & International
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): French, Arabic
Director Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 movie "The Battle of Algiers" concerns the violent struggle in the late 1950s for Algerian independence from France, where the film was banned on its release for fear of creating civil disturbances. Certainly, the heady, insurrectionary mood of the film, enhanced by a relentlessly pulsating Ennio Morricone soundtrack, makes for an emotionally high temperature throughout. Decades later, the advent of the "war against terror" has only intensified the film's relevance.
Shot in a gripping, quasi-documentary style, "The Battle of Algiers" uses a cast of untrained actors coupled with a stern voiceover. Initially, the film focuses on the conversion of young hoodlum Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) to F.L.N. (the Algerian Liberation Front). However, as a sequence of outrages and violent counter-terrorist measures ensue, it becomes clear that, as in Eisenstein's "October", it is the Revolution itself that is the true star of the film.
Pontecorvo balances cinematic tension with grimly acute political insight. He also manages an evenhandedness in depicting the adversaries. He doesn't flinch from demonstrating the civilian consequences of the F.L.N.'s bombings, while Colonel Mathieu, the French office brought in to quell the nationalists, is played by Jean Martin as a determined, shrewd, and, in his own way, honorable man. However, the closing scenes of the movie--a welter of smoke, teeming street demonstrations, and the pealing white noise of ululations--leaves the viewer both intellectually and emotionally convinced of the rightfulness of the liberation struggle. This is surely among a handful of the finest movies ever made. "--David Stubbs"


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The Battle of Britain (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Begging Naked

Director: Karen Gehres



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Belleville Rendez-Vous

Director: Sylvain Chomet Mari-Lou Gauthier, Lina Boudreau, Béatrice Bonifassi, Michel Robin, Michèle CaucheteuxWorld Cinema
Studio: Tartan Video Universal, suitable for all
Language (Country): French, Portuguese
One of the more surprising critical hits of 2003, Sylvain Chomet's "Belleville Rendezvous" is a French animation that combines occasional beauty and charm with sardonic grotesquerie. People have commented about its bitchy portrait of a USA where everyone is overweight and over-helpful; it is equally nasty about a provincial France, where everything is grey and nothing is convenient. A grandmother and her dog set out to rescue a cyclist who has been kidnapped by the French Mafia and is forced to race endlessly into a receding projected landscape; she is helped by a superannuated trio of female close-harmony "chansonniers" marooned in American poverty.
Nothing in this film is mere chance--almost everything we see turns out to be relevant. There is also little dialogue--most of the time, sound effects and music take its place, from the irritating squeak of a mechanic's breathing to the sublimity of Mozart's "Kyrie" as a storm rages at sea. "Belleville Rendezvous" uses the best of traditional animation techniques and modern technology to produce something sharply funny and beautifully composed; it is not quite like anything you have seen before. --"Roz Kaveney"


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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Director: John Madden Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel
Studio: 20th Century Fox PG-13
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Some of the finest actors in England lend their formidable talents to "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", a charming fish-out-of-water yarn. The Brits, who include Evelyn (Judi Dench), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Douglas (Bill Nighy), and Graham (Tom Wilkinson), are planning retirement in a less expensive country. After "thorough research on the Internet," the group chooses what looks to be a grand, peaceful retreat, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It turns out that the bloom is off this marigold--it's shabby, antiquated, and as chaotic as the city in India, Jaipur, where it is set. Who can adapt to this very different retirement experience, and who founders? That question lies at the heart of the plot of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". The cast is uniformly superb, as the retirees bond and bicker and fall out and then try to encourage one another. And Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire") shines as Sonny, the barely-holding-it-together Marigold Hotel manager. Patel and Tena Desae, who plays Sunaina, his girlfriend, are charming yet face adaptation struggles of their own, in a modern-day India still tied strongly to its traditions but rapidly charging into the future. And the young Indians also seem to represent the energetic future, as the Brits represent the old world that's fast falling. At its heart, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", deftly directed by John Madden, is an uplifting journey, allowing the viewer to feel what the retirees are discovering on the screen. When Evelyn sighs, "Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected," Muriel crisply replies, "Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff." "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is most definitely the good stuff. --"A.T. Hurley"


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The Best That Never Was

Director: Jon Hock Sports
Studio: Team Marketing NR
Language (Country): English
In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big time football programs sat waiting for the decision of a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. Having already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. What followed, though, was a forgettable college career littered with conflict, injury and oversized expectations. Eight-time Emmy Award winner Jon Hock examines why this star burned out so young and how he ultimately used football to redeem himself.
"This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply."


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Bicycle Dreams

Director: Sports
Studio: Auerfilms NR
"Bicycle Dreams" is the powerful true story of the Race Across America, a 3000-mile bicycle race that challenges riders to cross the country in just ten days. They must overcome searing desert heat, agonizing mountain climbs, and endless stretches of open road, all while battling extreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation. But what begins as the adventure of a lifetime is transformed in an instant when tragedy strikes the race. These voyagers discover what is truly at stake as they pedal on, praying for the deliverance only the finish line can bring. By journey's end, some are saved, others are lost, but all learn that the fuel that takes a soul toward its own true destiny is desire.



"Bicycle Dreams" has won over 15 major awards, including Best Documentary at the Las Vegas, Yosemite, Solstice, and Grand Rapids film festivals. For more on the film, including a trailer, photos, and reviews, visit www.bicycledreamsmovie.com




Also available now is the "Bicycle Dreams/Race Across America" 2-Pack, which includes director Stephen Auerbach's first cycling film, "Race Across America". At under $40 for these two critically acclaimed films, it's an unbeatable deal. Check out
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045EJLZW for details.




What the critics are saying:




""Bicycle Dreams" is a beautiful film that probes deeply into the sport's heart of darkness, offering an inspiring glimpse at the high price of glory." --USA Today




"Winner of fifteen film festival awards, "Bicycle Dreams" is a truly gripping film, with more drama in 8 days than an entire Tour De France. "Bicycle Dreams" is riveting, possibly because it's less about bikes and more about people. It's a fierce human drama with bikes simply and literally being the vehicles for hope, pain, disillusionment, despair, happiness, effort, and as the title suggests, dreams. It's an impressive, inspirational film." --CinemaTalk


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Bicycle Thieves

Director: Vittorio De Sica Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Vittorio AntonucciDrama
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): Italian
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, Vittorio De Sica's Academy Award-winning Bicycle Thieves defined an era in cinema. In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle and main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. Simple in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy: emotional clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty.


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The Big Lebowski

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David HuddlestonComedy
Studio: Gramercy Pictures R
Language (Country): English, German, Hebrew, Spanish
After the tight plotting and quirky intensity of "Fargo", this casually amusing follow-up from the prolifically inventive Coen (Ethan and Joel) brothers seems like a bit of a lark, and the result was a box-office disappointment. The good news is, "The Big Lebowski" is every bit a Coen movie, and its lazy plot is part of its laidback charm. After all, how many movies can claim as their hero a pot-bellied, pot-smoking loser named Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) who spends most of his time bowling and getting stoned? And where else could you find a hairnetted Latino bowler named Jesus (John Turturro) who sports dazzling purple footgear, or an erotic artist (Julianne Moore) whose creativity consists of covering her naked body in paint, flying through the air in a leather harness, and splatting herself against a giant canvas? Who else but the Coens would think of showing you a camera view from inside the holes of a bowling ball, or an elaborate Busby Berkely-styled musical dream sequence involving a Viking goddess and giant bowling pins? The plot--which finds Lebowski involved in a kidnapping scheme after he's mistaken for a rich guy with the same name--is almost beside the point. What counts here is a steady cascade of hilarious dialogue, great work from Coen regulars John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, and the kind of cinematic ingenuity that puts the Coens in a class all their own. Be sure to watch with snacks in hand, because "The Big Lebowski" might give you a giddy case of the munchies. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Bill Hicks - Sane Man

Director: Bill Hicks (II)Comedy
Studio: Rykodisc NR
Language (Country): English
Comic Bill Hicks's star shone so bright and emitted such intense heat that he almost seemed destined to die before his time--which he did, at age 32 in 1994. But while he was here, Hicks's brilliance enabled him to thrive in circumstances that were sometimes less than ideal. On "Flying Saucer Tour Vol. 1", he turned a gig in front of "the worst audience I've ever faced" into a triumph; and here on "Sane Man", an hour-long, early-career performance recorded in 1989 in Austin, TX, the force of his personality and humor overcome some nagging technical problems. In what amounts to a glorified home video, the picture is grainy and the audio is indistinct; the latter is the bigger problem, as it lessens the impact of Hicks's delivery. But his sheer presence--not just what he says, but his restless physicality and wild vocalisms--eventually trump those distractions. Fans will recognize many of these bits, as Hicks's riffs on smoking, drinking (he was newly sober at the time), and drugs ("not only do I think pot should be legal, it should be mandatory") were staples of his repertoire throughout his career. So were his takes on pop music, but although they're somewhat dated now (cf. potshots at Kenny Rogers and George Michael), they provide the funniest and most extreme moments here, including a hilariously raunchy fantasy involving Debbie Gibson and Tiffany that proves yet again that Hicks had no peer when it came to pure, unalloyed bile. "Sane Man"'s bonus features are generous, to say the least: an extended (by about 20 minutes) version of the main feature, lengthy clips from other performances, a long text bio, and even a CD/DVD "Hicksography" with audio clips accompanying every entry. "--Sam Graham"


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Billy the Kid

Director: Jennifer Venditti



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The Birdcage (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Birdman of Alcatraz (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Black Mirror: White Christmas

Director: Jon Hamm, Rafe Spall, Oona ChaplinTV
Studio: Channel 4 DVD Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Christmas special of the Channel 4 drama written by Charlie Brooker which explores the role of technology in modern society. Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall star as two men who are forced to celebrate Christmas together whilst working in a remote cabin. To better know one another, Matt (Hamm) and Joe (Spall) tell stories of their previous jobs and how they came to end up in the outpost. First, Matt recounts how one of his side jobs was as a dating coach where he could contact clients through an augmented reality device known as a Z-Eye. To Joe's horror, Matt also details his real work in which he tortured self-aware computer programs into serving their real-life counterparts. Later, Joe reveals how he transpired to be in the cottage, including revealing events which led to the end of his relationship with former partner Beth (Janet Montgomery). But despite all their revelations, the pair may still be hiding partial truths from one another. ...Black Mirror White Christmas


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Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Blu-Ray)

Director: Ridley Scott Edward James Olmos, Harrison Ford, Rutger HauerAction & Adventure
Studio: Warner Home Video
Language (Country): English



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Blanco Y Negro: En Vivo

Director: Bebo & CigalaArt House & International
Studio: RCA Victor Group NR
Language (Country): Spanish
I LOVED this cd the moment I first listened to it. It is one of the most beautiful, touching albums I have ever heard. It is one of my top 5 ALL TIME recordings. To see the evolution and collaboration of these two amazing artists was a gift. To see the love between Bebo and Cigala as people and as artist was touching. I can watch and listen to this DVD over and over again.


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Blue Bird

Director: Walter Lang Shirley Temple, Spring Byington, Nigel Bruce, Gale Sondergaard, Eddie Collins
Studio: 20th Century Fox G
Language (Country): French, Spanish, English
Visually beautiful, full of imaginative sets, and splendidly photographed in rich Technicolor, this enchanting fantasy was Twentieth Century Fox's answer to "The Wizard of Oz". In a rare departure from her usual screen persona, Shirley plays a selfish, spoiled little girl named Mytyl, who doesn't appreciate her loving family. Only after a good fairy sends her and her brother (Johnny Russell) on a journey to find "the bird that means happiness" does she end up discovering happiness right in her own home.


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Borgen Trilogy

Director: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Pilou AsbækTV
Studio: Arrow Films Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): Danish
Borgen is a BAFTA winning Danish drama series from the producers of The Killing. Following the intricate and complicated lives of politicians, media spinners and the reporters who feed off their triumphs and failures, Borgen uncovers a world of political and personal intrigue. The setting is Borgen, the nickname for Denmark's Parliamentary building, otherwise known as "The Castle . After scoring her party a landslide victory through her idealism and work ethic, the smart and sexy populist Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) now faces the biggest dilemma of her life as Prime Minister. Will she succumb to pressure of compromise on her ideals and face consequences both on and off the political stage? In Series 2 Birgitte has been Denmark s Prime Minister for two years years that have severely taken their toll on her private life. Increasingly, Birgitte finds herself having to make questionable compromises as the inevitable tensions between the various parties continue to mount. In Series 3 Over two years have passed and Birgitte Nyborg is no longer the Prime Minister of Denmark. Disillusioned with the way her old party is heading she decides to try to make a comeback by publicly challenging the incumbent Party Chairman. Failing narrowly in this attempt, Birgitte assesses her options and concludes that her only way back into politics is to start again and found a new political party. Forging an unlikely alliance with journalist, Katrine Fønsmark, who becomes her new media adviser and spokesman, the third season of BORGEN follows the journey of Nyborg and her new party towards a taking a fresh shot at parliament and fighting her way back to power back to Borgen .


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Bowling for Columbine (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Brazil - The Criterion Collection -

Director: Terry Gilliam Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Jim Broadbent, Anthony G. Brown, Patrick Connor, Robert De NiroArt House & International
Studio: Criterion R
Language (Country): English
Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" is an extremely ambitious effort brimming with socio-political criticism. It is filled with intense, chaotic images of a highly centralized, technological, authoritarian society gone horribly sour. It is 1984 brought to flesh, and done with the Gilliam touch where dreams are the only way to escape a reality that is completely insane. What is disturbing is that this world looks so familiar...the endless paperwork to do the simplest things...the failure of gadgetry to make life easier...bureaucracy failing to take into account people...nepotism, vanity, the constant threat of "terrorists" to unite people in fear...mindless consumerism as religion...yes, Gilliam's kinetic visuals are indeed center stage, but much of the world in this film is a prophecy and funhouse refraction of our own world. Welcome to fascism: welcome to Brazil.


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Breaking the Maya Code

Director: David Lebrun Richard Agurcia, Michael Coe, CCH Pounder
Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES NR
Language (Country): English
For a people to lose their history is a tragedy; to recover it, a miracle.

Breaking the Maya Code is the story of the 200-year struggle to unlock the secrets of the world's last major undeciphered writing system. Based on archaeologist and historian Michael Coe's book of the same title (which The New York Times called "one of the great stories of twentieth century scientific discovery") and filmed in over 40 locations in nine countries, this amazing detective story is filled with false leads, rivalries and colliding personalities. It leads us from the jungles of Guatemala to the bitter cold of Russia, from ancient Maya temples to the dusty libraries of Dresden and Madrid.

The heroes of the story are an extraordinary and diverse group of men and women: an English photographer, a German librarian, a Russian soldier, a California newspaperman, an art teacher from Tennessee, and an 18-year-old boy immersed in the glyphs since early childhood. Surprisingly, the decipherment reveals not peaceful kingdoms but warring citystates in a long struggle for domination. The texts also reveal a strange world of kings and queens who regularly shed and burned their blood to invoke the Vision Serpent, a world shaped by an intricate cosmology that weaves together the lives of humans, the deeds of mythic heroes and the cycles of the planets and the stars.

For the six million Maya alive today, a people who had been cut off from their own extraordinary past, the decipherment is like a time machine - uniting them with their own lost history and opening up an invaluable treasure for all of us.


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Breathless - Criterion Collection

Director: Jean Domarchi, Van Doude, Roger Hanin, Henri-Jacques Huet, Claude MansardArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): English, French
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, crackling personalities of rising stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and anything-goes crime narrative, Jean-Luc Godard's debut fashioned a simultaneous homage to and critique of the American film genres that influenced and rocked him as a film writer for Cahiers du cinema. Jazzy, free-form, and sexy, Breathless (A bout de souffle) helped launch the French new wave and ensured cinema would never be the same.


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Brick

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emilie De Ravin
Studio: Universal Studios R
Language (Country): English
High school collides with hard-boiled film noir in the twisty, cunning "Brick". When he gets a mysterious message from his ex-girlfriend, a high school loner named Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Mysterious Skin") starts to dig into a crisscrossed web of drugs and duplicity, eventually getting entwined in the criminal doings of a teenage crime lord known as the Pin (Lukas Haas), his thuggish henchman Tugger (Noah Fleiss, "Joe the King"), and a mysterious girl named Laura (Nora Zehetner, "Fifty Pills"). "Brick" has not only the seductive, labyrinthine plot of a crime thriller by Dashiell Hammett ("The Maltese Falcon") or Raymond Chandler ("Farewell, My Lovely") but also a dense high-school version of hard-boiled lingo that's both comic and poetic. The movie unfolds with headlong momentum as Brendan manipulates, fights, and staggers his way through layers of high-school society. Gordon-Levitt is excellent; between this and the equally compelling "Mysterious Skin", he's left his "3rd Rock from the Sun" days behind. Also featuring Meagan Good ("Waist Deep") and Richard Roundtree ("Shaft"). "--Bret Fetzer"


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A Bridge Too Far (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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The Bridge: Series 1 & 2

Director: Sofia Helin, Kim BodniaTV
Studio: Arrow Films Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): Swedish, Danish
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: The Bridge (Seasons 1) When a body is found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, right on the border, Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish Saga Norén have to share jurisdiction and work together to find the killer. The Bridge (Seasons 2) Season 2 begins 13 months after the events of the first season. A coastal tanker leaves the Öresund waterway and is headed straight for the Øresund Bridge. When the Coast Guard board the ship they discover there is no crew, and three Swedish and two Danish youths are chained below deck. Saga Norén, County Police, Malmö, is put in charge of the case and contacts Martin Rohde, who is still haunted by the death of his son. Soon it turns out the chained youths were just the beginning... Someone wants to direct our attention to the changing climate and the use of our planet's resources, and will stop at nothing to do it. It all turns into a race against the clock to prevent a disaster where many lives are at stake... SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...The Bridge (Complete Seasons 1&2) - 4-Disc Set ( Bron/Broen ) ( The Bridge - Complete Seasons One and Two ) (Blu-Ray)


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A Brighter Summer Day

Director: Elaine Kam, Cheung Kwok Chu, Yang De Chang
Studio: A Brighter Summer Day
Language (Country): Mandarin
From visionary Taiwanese directory Edward Yang comes A Brighter Summer Day, an epic four-hour film set in 1960s Taiwan. Using a cast of nonactors and natural, real locations, Yang brings what looks like a tale of rival street gangs to the screen. But his focus is really one young man, who faces his own individual struggles as the people of Taiwan come to grips with their personal identity. The boy's generation is the first born to Taiwan after the massive immigration of Nationalist Chinese from the Mainland following the rise of Communism. These new Taiwanese struggle to define their own identity, and find inspiration in sources from Chinese swordplay novels, to Russian literature, to Japanese weaponry, to American pop culture and music.The world of A Brighter Summer Day is opposed to its hopeful title, and reflects one of uncertainty, where the future has never seemed quite so cloudy or unpredictable. Yang draws upon the trials of his own childhood - the daily dangers of gang violence, his own rural background, and the true-life murder of a thirteen year-old girl by a fourteen year-old boy - to weave a complex tapestry of the anxieties and fears facing a nation uprooted by change and exile. A stunning, mesmerizing film which exemplifies the notion of film as art, A Brighter Summer Day is one of the definitive films of modern Taiwanese cinema.


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Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Director: Neten Chokling



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Broken Flowers

Director: Nicole Abisinio, Frances Conroy, Julie Delpy, Ryan Donowho, Alexis DzienaComedy
Studio: Universal Studios R
Language (Country): English
Bill Murray gives yet another simple, seemingly effortless, yet illuminating performance in Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers". Don Johnston (Murray, "Lost in Translation", "Rushmore") receives an anonymous letter telling him that he has a 19 year old son who's looking for him. Don only decides to investigate at the prompting of his neighbor Winston (the indispensable Jeffrey Wright, "Shaft", "Basquiat"), who not only tracks down the current addresses of the possible mothers, he plans Don's entire trip down to the rental cars. Almost against his will, Don finds himself knocking at the doors of four very different women (Sharon Stone, "The Quick and the Dead"; Frances Conroy, "Six Feet Under"; Jessica Lange, "Sweet Dreams"; and Tilda Swinton, "The Deep End") who were once his lovers. Part road movie, part detective story, part existential meditation, "Broken Flowers" is even more minimalist than most Jarmusch movies ("Stranger Than Paradise", "Dead Man", "Mystery Train")--anyone looking for an easy resolution should look elsewhere. But for anyone willing to let a movie be a poem as much as a story--i.e., let it observe behavior without explaining it--"Broken Flowers" will offer a wealth of mysteries, gestures, and Bill Murray's soulful eyes. It's a movie that's wonderfully eloquent about what's not being said. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Bullitt (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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Burden of Dreams - Criterion Collection

Director: Les Blank Miguel Ángel Fuentes, José Lewgoy, Alfredo De Rio Tambo, Father Mariano Gagnon, Ángela ReinaDocumentary
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): English
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete the most ambitious and difficult film of his career-Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man's attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made all the more perilous by Herzog's determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of natives to pull a full-sized, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded passion of one of cinema#s most fearless directors.


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Burmese Harp - Criterion Collection

Director: Kon Ichikawa Rentaro Mikuni, Shôji Yasui, Jun Hamamura, Taketoshi Naitô, Kô NishimuraArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): Japanese
Kon Ichikawa's Buddhist tale of peace, "The Burmese Harp", is universally relevant in various eras and cultures, although it comments specifically on the destruction of Burma during World War II. Based on the novel by Michio Takeyama, "The Burmese Harp" stars a Japanese platoon stationed in Burma whose choir skills are inspired by their star musician, Private Mizushima (Rentaro Mikuni), who strums his harp to cheer the homesick soldiers. As the troop surrenders to the British and is interred in Mudon prison camp, Mizushima escapes to be faced with not only his imminent death, but also the deaths of thousands of other soldiers and civilians. Relinquishing his life as a military man, Mizushima retreats into a life of Buddhist prayer, dedicating himself to healing a wounded country. Filmed in black and white, strong visual contrasts heighten the divide between peace, war, life, and death in this highly symbolic film. Scenes in which the Japanese soldiers urge opposing forces to sing with them portray military men regardless of alliance as emotionally sensitive. Showing the humanistic aspects of war, such as the male bonding that occurs between soldiers, doesn't justify war as much as deepens its tragedy. This release includes interviews with the director and with Mikuni, further contextualizing its place in Japanese cinema. "The Burmese Harp", with its lessons in compassion and selflessness, is so transformative that viewing it feels somewhat akin to a religious experience. "--Trinie Dalton"


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By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two

Director: Stan Brakhage, Joseph Cornell
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): English
In Criterion's first volume of the anthology By Brakhage, we brought twenty-six astonishing works by the avant-garde film pioneer Stan Brakhage to home video for the first time. Now, in this second installment, we are proud to present thirty more of Brakhage's innovative creations, from 1950s films to his final work, from 2003. Highlights of this collection include the antiwar film 23rd Psalm Branch; hand-painted films from the Persian Series; The Wonder Ring, made for a commission by Joseph Cornell; the autobiographical Scenes from Under Childhood, Section One; his only found-footage film, Murder Psalm; and much more. (Films date from 1954-2003).


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Cafe Lumiere

Director: Hsiao-hsien Hou Yo Hitoto, Tadanobu Asano, Masato Hagiwara, Kimiko Yo, Nenji KobayashiArt House & International
Studio: Fox Lorber NR
Language (Country): Japanese
One of today's greatest filmmakers, Hou Hsiao-hsien pays homage to one of the masters, Yasujiro Ozu, commemorating the centenary of Ozu's birth. In a residential Tokyo neighborhood, Yoko, a young freelance writer defies her strongly traditional parents with news that she is pregnant and has no desire to marry the father. She calmly accepts this reality and stoically deals with the worried reactions of her family. In an effort to alleviate her loneliness, she befriends the owner of a second-hand bookstore. He falls in love with her, but keeps his feelings silent. Gradually, Yoko begins to re-evaluate everything in her life in this meditative masterpiece of young urban solitude.


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Capturing the Friedmans

Director: Andrew Jarecki Arnold Friedman (II), Elaine Friedman, David Friedman (IX), Seth Friedman (II), Jesse Friedman (II)Documentary
Studio: HBO Video NR
Language (Country): English
A Sundance Grand Jury prize winner and a true conversation starter, "Capturing the Friedmans" travels into one apparently ordinary Long Island family's heart of darkness. Arnold and Elaine Friedman had a normal life with their three sons until Arnold was arrested on multiple (and increasingly lurid) charges of child abuse. Because the Friedmans had documented their own lives with copious home movies, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki is able to sift through their material looking for clues. Yet what emerges is more surreal than fiction: the youngest Friedman son went to jail, the eldest became a birthday-party clown. In the end, we can't be sure whether Arnold Friedman is a monstrous child molester or the victim of railroading. The portrait of a disconnected family is deeply disturbing, either way, and this film is further proof that a documentary can be just as spellbinding as anything a great storyteller dreams up. "--Robert Horton"


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Carrier: Fortress at Sea (in Discovery Channel Collection)



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Casino Royale (in The Peter Sellers Giftset)



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Cathedrals of Culture

Director: Wim Wenders, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Robert Redford, Margreth Olin TV
Studio: Metrodome Exempt
Language (Country): English



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Certified Copy

Director: Abbis Kiarostami Juliette Binoche, William ShimellAction & Adventure
Studio: Artificial Eye Suitable for 12 years and over
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: ***ATTENTION***Film contains English subtitles; Audio is a mix of English, French and Italian languages***From acclaimed director Abbis Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us) comes the story of a couple's apparent chance meeting in beautiful Tusccany. He (William Shimell) is a British author in town to talk about his new book. She (Juliette Binoche) is a French gallery owner in search of originality. Together they tour the local galleries, cafes and museums and discover that nothing is quite what it seems and truth, like art, is always open to interpretation. A captivating film, Certified Copy marries post-modern reality games with mature romantic comedy in a single playful and provocative package. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cannes Film Festival, ...Certified Copy (2010) ( Copie conforme ) ( Copia conforme )


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Cham Lineages of Bhutan



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Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror - Series 1

Director: Rory Kinnear, Lindsay DuncanTV
Studio: Channel 4 DVD Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror - Series 2

Director: TV
Studio: Channel 4 DVD Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Be Right Back: Martha and Ash are a young couple who move to a remote cottage. Ash is big user of social media, Martha doesn't really mind, she loves him and is looking forward to their new life together. When Ash is suddenly killed in a car accident a friend of Martha tells her to sign up to a service that allows her to keep in touch with the deceased. The Waldo Moment: Meet Waldo, a blue bear from a children's educational TV show who teaches them about the world through interviews with politicians and establishment figures. In reality however Waldo is an anarchic animated character on a satirical late-night topical comedy show who, once he has lured someone into the studio unleashes a series of humorous innuendo, sarcasm and childish vitriol. White Bear: Victoria wakes in a house that she does not recognise and cannot remember anything about her life. There are photos of her with a man and another photo of a young girl on the mantelpiece - neither of whom she recognises. The TV is on and is playing a symbol that means nothing to her. Confused and agitated, she leaves the house only to find a deserted street but then she notices she's being watched, filmed. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Emmy Awards, ...Black Mirror - Complete Series 2 ( Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror: Series Two )


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Children of Men (Blu-Ray)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Michael Caine
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment R
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Presenting a bleak, harrowing, and yet ultimately hopeful vision of humankind's not-too-distant future, Children of Men is a riveting cautionary tale of potential things to come. Set in the crisis-ravaged future of 2027, and based on the atypical 1993 novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the anxiety-inducing, action-packed story is set in a dystopian England where humanity has become infertile (the last baby was born in 2009), immigration is a crime, refugees (or "fugees") are caged like animals, and the world has been torn apart by nuclear fallout, rampant terrorism, and political rebellion. In this seemingly hopeless landscape of hardscrabble survival, a jaded bureaucrat named Theo (Clive Owen) is drawn into a desperate struggle to deliver Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), the world's only pregnant woman, to a secret group called the Human Project that hopes to discover a cure for global infertility. As they carefully navigate between the battling forces of military police and a pro-immigration insurgency, Theo, Kee, and their secretive allies endure a death-defying ordeal of urban warfare, and director Alfonso Cuaron (with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) capture the action with you-are-there intensity. There's just enough humor to balance the film's darker content (much of it coming from Michael Caine, as Theo's aging hippie cohort), and although Children of Men glosses over many of the specifics about its sociopolitical worst-case scenario (which includes Julianne Moore in a brief but pivotal role), it's still an immensely satisfying, pulse-pounding vision of a future that represents a frightening extrapolation of early 21st-century history. --Jeff Shannon


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Chimes At Midnight

Director: Comedy
Studio: Hollywood's Attic NR
Sir John Falstaff (Shakespearian character superbly portrayed by Orson Welles), is the charming although drunken and obese companion of young Henry V. At first Prince Hal and Falstaff lead a life of debauchery and idleness, but as the prince sees the import of his destiny as the future king of England, Falstaff fearfully believes their relationship might be heading for trouble. Welles marvelous portrayal of this jovial but tragic character and strong acting throughout make Chimes at Midnight an exceptionally worthwhile film.


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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger

Director: Marty Callner Chris RockComedy
Studio: Hbo Home Video Unrated
Language (Country): English
Chris Rock in 3-D? That’s more or less what you get with "Kill the Messenger". Recorded in 2008, the 79-minute show is actually a compilation of three different gigs (in London, New York, and Johannesburg, South Africa) deftly edited into a single performance, presumably drawing on the best takes from each. It’s an effective technique, as it sustains visual interest (i.e., Rock’s wardrobe changes) and reveals the comedian’s gift for making his act seem spontaneous when in fact it’s basically the same every night during a given tour. As for the content, it’s what you’d expect from Rock: rude (f-bombs fall like acid rain, the "n word" flows freely, and the sexual references are extremely graphic), incisive, and hilarious. Some of the material has already passed its sell-by date; jokes about the ’08 presidential election, while funny (John McCain is "so old, he used to own Sidney Poitier"), are obviously no longer current. Elsewhere, Rock riffs on the difference between "career" and "job," gay fans, ringtones, and even Gwen Stefani, but it’s his observations about race that are central to the performance--and they never lose their bite, especially when it comes to black-white relations (on black men’s predilection for, uh, larger women: "A black man’ll drop-kick Keira Knightley to get to Rosie O’Donnell"). On the whole, he seems optimistic, if somewhat bemused ("All my black friends have a bunch of white friends. All my white friends have one black friend"), even as he remains acutely aware of the persistence of racism and inequality. If you’re easily offended, steer clear of "Kill the Messenger". Otherwise, get ready to laugh. "--Sam Graham"


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The Cincinnati Kid (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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Client 9: Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Director: Alex Gibney Eliot Spitzer, Kim Allen, Wrenn Schmidt, Laura Somma
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment R
Language (Country): English
The fascinating documentary "Client 9" has all the qualities of a Hollywood thriller: money, sex, and the destructive power of unbridled hubris. Eliot Spitzer had a meteoric rise as the aggressively progressive attorney general of New York State, gaining headlines and popularity for pursuing white-collar crime involving some astoundingly wealthy people and imposing regulatory reform on Wall Street. His success led him to become governor of New York--where his dictatorial style rubbed other politicians the wrong way. Could the enemies he made in the business and political worlds have had anything to do with the revelations that Spitzer patronized the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced prostitution ring? "Client 9" praises Spitzer's substantial achievements but doesn't turn a blind eye to his weaknesses and failures. The interviews--with Spitzer's enemies, escorts he'd hired, Emperors Club employees, and Spitzer himself--create a complex portrait of Spitzer and his career, as well as spinning out the suspense as revelations and investigations lead to catastrophe. However dubious Spitzer's moral juggling may have been, in the wake of the financial crisis, his Wall Street reforms--most of which were dismantled after his fall--now seem not merely prudent, but practically psychic. An engaging and illuminating movie. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Cobra Verde (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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Comedy Central's TV Funhouse

Director: Comedy Central's TV FunhouseComedy
Studio: Comedy Central NR
Language (Country): English
COMEDY CENTRAL'S TV FUNHOUSE (DVD MOVIE)


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Commune

Director: Jonathan Berman Peter Coyote, Michael Tierra, Elsa Marley, Richard Marley, Creek HanauerDocumentary
Studio: First Run Features NR
Language (Country): English



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The Contender

Director: Rod Lurie Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott, Philip Baker Hall, Kathryn Morris
Studio: Dreamworks Video R
Language (Country): English
When the truth becomes a weapon, power comes at a stunning price. Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater deliver electrifying performances in this controversial, suspenseful and critically-acclaimed thriller that Ebert & Roeper and the Movies call "exciting and unusually intelligent, two very enthusiastic thumbs up!" Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot.


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Coupling - The Complete First Season

Director: Martin Dennis Jack Davenport, Gina Bellman, Sarah Alexander, Kate Isitt, Ben MilesComedy
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
This witty, instantly addictive British series could also be called "Chaps" or "Squelchy in the City". "Coupling" charts the tangled sex lives of a close-knit group comprising "exes and best friends": womanizer Jack, hapless nice guy Steve, "strange and disturbing" Jeff, uninhibited Susan, neurotic Sally, and manipulative Jane. "Coupling" may inspire feelings of déjà-view. The obvious frame of reference is "Friends" (Steve and Susan are the Ross-Rachel equivalent), but this series also echoes "Seinfeld" in its coinage of catch-phrases (although it's doubtful that "the boyfriend zone" will replace "master of your domain") and plotlines (in episode one, Steve tries to dump Jane, who refuses to accept). But "Coupling" has its own fresh and provocative takes on relationships. At one point, a furious Susan discovers that Patrick not only had a videotape of the former couple having sex, but that he also taped over her. An American remake is reportedly in the works. Didn't the "Fawlty Towers" knockoffs, "Amanda's" and "Payne", teach us anything? "--Donald Liebenson"


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Creature Comforts - The Complete First and Second Seasons

Director: Nick Park, Richard Goleszowski The Great British PublicKids & Family
Studio: Sony Pictures NR
Language (Country): English
" Creature Comforts " is a brilliant and hilarious clay animation series about the lives of animals as told by the animals themselves. Interviews with these lovable claymation creatures leave no stone unturned, no tree unclimbed, no sea uncrossed in the quest to discover what our fine-finned, furred and feathered friends really think about the issues that are closest to their hearts. It's a "mockumentary" like none you've ever seen, and it could only come from Nick Park and the untamed minds at Aardman Animation.


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Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

Director: Fatih Akin Alexander Hacke (II), Baba Zula, Orient Expressions, Duman, ReplikasArt House & International
Studio: Strand Releasing NR
Language (Country): German

German-born Turkish director Faith Akin captures in his film the endless variety of the different styles in music and songs in Istanbul, a city that is a bridge between East and West, a city that is uniquely located on both sides of the Bosporus, in Europe and in Asia. Kurdish dirges represented by Aynur, who performs her own brand of Kurdish gospel music, passionate and melodic. We are introduced to Romany instrumentals, to Orhan Gencebay, who has been called the Elvis of Arabesque music - sounds of music are heard everywhere in the city as Faith Akin takes us into underground clubs, to the street performers, and to recording sessions. German bassist Alexander Hacke who comes to Istanbul to play and to learn about Turkish music quotes Confucius, "To understand the place, you have to listen to the music it plays". Akin's fine documentary does just that - gives us 90 minutes of music that helps to cross the bridges. For me, watching the movie was especially interesting because I recently visited Istanbul as a part of my vacation and spent four days there. The city fascinated me by its images, colors, crowds, vibrancy and visual beauty. Now, I can add the sounds of music to the ever-changing portrait of Istanbul



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The Cult of the Suicide Bomber

Director: Robert BaerArt House & International
Studio: Disinformation NR
Language (Country): English
Features Robert Baer, former CIA Agent and the man whose book "See No Evil" was the basis for the film "Syriana", and the man George Clooney’s character in the film is based upon.
Their devastating and deadly actions punctuate the world news almost nightly, yet they remain faceless figures amidst the violence and turmoil that engulf the Middle East. And, whether it’s the C4-laden martyrs of Hezbollah or the car bombing insurgents of Iraq, what could possibly compel a suicide bomber to voluntarily take their own lives, along with those of hundreds of innocent victims? There is perhaps no one better equipped to investigate this terrifying practice than Robert Baer, a decorated, former Middle East CIA Agent and the man George Clooney’s character was based on in the Academy Award®-winning film, Syriana.
Robert Baer returns to his former center of operations, the Middle East, to trace the origins of the modern day bomber. In this poignant documentary, Baer reveals the fascinating story of the world's first suicide bomber, 13-year-old Hossein Fahmideh–who was martyred in the Iran-Iraq war and is now a hero in Iran; and visits his highly decorated grave in the graveyard of martyrs just outside Tehran.


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Dancer in the Dark

Director: Lars Von Trier Jean-marc Barr, Bjork, Cara Seymour, Udo Kier, David Morse
Studio: New Line Home Video R
Language (Country): English
Masterpiece or masquerade? Lars von Trier's digicam musical split the critics in two when it debuted at Cannes in 2000. There were those who saw it as a cynical shock-opera from a manipulative charlatan, others wept openly at its scenes of raw emotion and heart-rending intensity. There is, however, no in-between. "Dancer in the Dark" is that rarest of creatures, a film that dares to push viewers to the limits of their feelings.
In her first and most probably last screen performance (she has foresworn acting after her bruising on-set rows with von Trier), brittle Icelandic chanteuse Björk plays Selma, a Czech immigrant living in a folksy American small town with her young son, Gene. Selma is going blind and so will Gene if she does not arrange an important operation for him. To cover the expense, Selma works every hour she can, cheating on her eye tests so she can keep working at the local factory long after her vision has become too unreliable to work safely. She sublets a house from a local cop, Bill (David Morse), and his wife, Linda (Cara Seymour). When nearly bankrupt Bill asks Selma for a loan, she refuses, but he later returns and steals the money, which she demands back in a furious confrontation. In the ensuing melee, Bill is fatally shot and Selma is arrested and put on trial. Will justice prevail?
Von Trier's passionate, provocative film runs all our emotional resources dry with suspense, giving us occasional flashes into Selma's gold heart and mind with superb song-and-dance numbers she conjures to banish the nightmare (Björk also wrote the score). At some two-and-a-half hours, it's not for lightweights, but anyone bored with today's smug, "ironic" cinema will relish this as an astonishing assault on the senses and a stark reminder of von Trier's uncompromising talent. "--Damon Wise"


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Dangerous Liaisons

Director: Stephen Frears Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Keanu ReevesDrama
Studio: Warner Home Video R
Language (Country): English, French
A sumptuously mounted and photographed celebration of artful wickedness, betrayal, and sexual intrigue among depraved 18th-century French aristocrats, "Dangerous Liaisons" (based on Christopher Hampton's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses") is seductively decadent fun. The villainous heroes are the Marquise De Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte De Valmont (John Malkovich), who have cultivated their mutual cynicism into a highly developed and exquisitely mannered form of (in-)human expression. Former lovers, they now fancy themselves rather like demigods whose mutual desires have evolved beyond the crudeness of sex or emotion. They ritualistically act out their twisted affections by engaging in elaborate conspiracies to destroy the lives of their less calculating acquaintances, daring each other to ever-more-dastardly acts of manipulation and betrayal. Why? Just because they can; it's their perverted way of getting get their kicks in a dead-end, pre-Revolutionary culture. Among their voluptuous and virtuous prey are fair-haired angels played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, who have never looked more ripe for ravishing. When the Vicomte finds himself beset by bewilderingly genuine emotions for one of his victims, the Marquise considers it the ultimate betrayal and plots her heartless revenge. "Dangerous Liaisons" is a high-mannered revel for the actors, who also include Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, and Keanu Reeves. "--Jim Emerson"


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Dark City

Director: Alex Proyas Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O'BrienAction & Adventure
Studio: New Line Home Video R
Language (Country): English, French
If you're a fan of brooding comic-book antiheroes, got a nihilistic jolt from "The Crow" (1994), and share director Alex Proyas's highly developed preoccupation for style over substance, you might be tempted to call "Dark City" an instant classic of visual imagination. It's one of those films that exists in a world purely of its own making, setting its own rules and playing by them fairly, so that even its derivative elements (and there are quite a few) acquire their own specific uniqueness. Before long, however, the film becomes interesting only as a triumph of production design. And while that's certainly enough to grab your attention ("Blade Runner" is considered a classic, after all), it's painfully clear that "Dark City" has precious little heart and soul. One-dimensional characters are no match for the film's abundance of retro-futuristic style, so it's best to admire the latter on its own splendidly cinematic terms. Trivia buffs will be interested to know that the film's 50-plus sets (partially inspired by German expressionism) were built at the Fox Film Studios in Sydney, Australia, home base of director Alex Proyas and producer Andrew Mason. The underground world depicted in the film required the largest indoor set ever built in Australia. Befitting a film of such ambition, the DVD includes a feast of bonus features, including audio commentaries by the director, producer, writers, and cinematographer, and also by film critic Roger Ebert, who named "Dark City" one of the best films of 1998. Also included is an isolated music track, an interactive game, and a photo gallery of production stills and set design sketches. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Director: Michel Gondry Dave Chappelle, Lauryn Hill, Big Daddy Kane, Andrea Smith, Rudolph WalkerComedy
Studio: Universal Studios R
Language (Country): English
Few movies, documentary or otherwise, capture the relaxed exuberance of "Dave Chappelle's Block Party". This is Chappelle's first project since his show on Comedy Central received so much popular and critical attention that he apparently had a psychological meltdown and fled to Africa to escape. You can still see a hint of weariness and wariness in his eyes--but even more you can see his relief to be launching a project that bears no expectations. Funded by his own money and free to all who attended, Chappelle set up a secret concert location in Brooklyn and pulled together a musical lineup of stellar acts, including Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Common, the Roots, Dead Prez, and the reunion of the Fugees, all of whom give vibrant performances. But "Block Party" doesn't just capture the show; at least a third of the movie is Chappelle wandering around Brooklyn or the Ohio neighborhood where he lives and interacting with the people he meets, many of whom he gives free tickets for the show. These scenes, combined with footage of the performers rehearsing or just gassing around before the show, offer a sense that for Chappelle performing is just an extension of his everyday life; that he takes just as much pleasure from goofing around with one person as he does goofing around in front of hundreds or thousands. Putting together this event becomes a unique self-portrait as well as an experience that rejuvenated Chappelle. If you surrender to the vitality of the show and Chappelle's loose comic jazz, you may find it rejuvenating too. "--Bret Fetzer"


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David Lynch's Inland Empire

Director: David Lynch Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin TherouxDrama
Studio: Absurda / Rhino R
Language (Country): English, Polish, French
Though Inland Empire's three hours of befuddling abstraction could try the patience of the most devoted David Lynch fan, its aim to reinvigorate the Lynch-ian symbolic order is ambitious, not to mention visually arresting. The director's archetypes recognizable from previous movies once again construct the film's inherent logic, but with a new twist. Sets vibrate between the contemporary and a 1950s alternate universe crammed with dim lamps, long hallways, mysterious doors, sparsely furnished rooms and, this time, a vortex/apartment/sitcom set where rabbit-masked humans dwell, and a Polish town where women are abused and killed. Instead of speaking backwards, mystic soothsayers and criminals speak Polish. Filmed on video, the film's look has the sinister, frightening feel of a Mark Savage film or a bootlegged snuff movie. Constant close-ups, both in and out of focus, make Inland Empire feel as if a stalker covertly filmed it. A straightforward, hokey plot unravels during the first third of Inland Empire to ground the viewer before a dive off the deep end. Actor Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is cast as Susan Blue, an adulterous white trash Southerner, in a film that mimics too closely her actual life with an overbearingly jealous and dangerous husband. When Nikki and co-star Devon (Justin Theroux) learn that the cursed film project was earlier abandoned when its stars were murdered, the pair lose their grasp of reality. Nikki suffers a schizophrenic identity switch to Sue that lasts until nearly the film's end. Suspense builds as Nikki's alter ego sleuths her way through surreal situations to discover her killer, culminating in Sue's gnarly death on set. Sue's actions drag on because any sign of a narrative thread disappears due to idiosyncratic editing. Non-sensical scenes still captivate, however, such as when Sue stumbles onto the soundstage where she finds Nikki (herself) rehearsing for Sue's part. In this meta-film about identity slippage, Dern's multiple characters remind one of how a victim can become the hunter in their fight for survival. Lynch's portrayal of Nikki/Sue's increasing paranoia is, in its own confusion, utterly realistic. Laura Dern has created her own Lady Macbeth, undone by her guilt over infidelity. Even though Inland Empire is too long and too random, Laura Dern's performance coupled with Lynch's video experiments make it magical. --Trinie Dalton


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Day Break: The Complete Series

Director: Rob Bowman, Bryan Spicer Taye Diggs, Moon Bloodgood, Victoria Pratt, Meta Golding, Ramon RodriguezMystery & Thrillers
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment NR
Language (Country): English
Taye Diggs (Private Practice, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) stars in an action-packed thriller from director Rob Bowman (The X-Files, Reign of Fire) and writer Paul Zbyszewski (After the Sunset).Hopper must find the delicate balance between doing what s important and what s right to get through this killer day and move on to tomorrow.Originally aired on ABC with10 million viewers for the Premier!


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Deadwood: The Complete Series (Blu-Ray)

Director: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown
Studio: HBO Studios Unrated
Language (Country): English, Spanish
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. 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 others. --Tom Keogh


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The Decalogue (Kieslowski)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski Artur Barcis, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Olaf Lubaszenko, Piotr Machalica, Jan Tesarz
Studio: FACETS NR
Language (Country): Polish
Krzysztof Kieslowski's Decalogue explores the timeless moral issues of human existence through ten contemporary tales, each based on one of the Ten Commandments. Originally produced for Polish television, this brilliant series of ten separate but subtly intertwining films transcended the boundaries of film and TV, winning honors in both arenas as it played around the world. The Decalogue won the FIPRESCI Award at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, was honored as Best Foreign Television Program by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named Best Foreign Language Film by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 1997. Each episode was co-written by Kieslowski's longtime collaborator Krzysztof Piesiewicz and features music by Zbigniew Preisner. All ten films in a three-disc set.


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Defending Your Life

Director: Albert Brooks, Rip Torn, Lee Grant, James Eckhouse, Art FrankelComedy
Studio: Warner Home Video PG
Language (Country): English, French
Albert Brooks proves there's laughs after death with this almost heavenly comedy--almost heaven as in Judgment City, where recently perished Daniel Miller (Brooks) learns whether he is worthy of advancing to a higher plane of existence or will be sent back to earth for another incarnation.
His fate will be determined in a very special trial, during which scenes from his life are replayed on a giant screen. "Isn't it realistic?" a judge asks. "It makes some people nauseous." While the steely prosecutor (Lee Grant) will try to prove that Daniel failed in life to face his fears and insecurities, his glad-handing, reassuring defender (Rip Torn) will argue on behalf of this hapless "little brain" (a Judgment City term for residents of earth).
As Woody Allen did for the future in "Sleeper", so does Brooks create an original vision of the afterlife. In Judgment City, white-robed residents can eat as much as they want without guilt or fear of gaining weight. They can also visit the Past Lives Pavilion, where they are greeted by a hologram of--who else--Shirley MacLaine.
Daniel finds himself touched by an angel. Meryl Streep gives an enchanting performance as Julia, whose exemplary life is in stark contrast to his. During her trial, the court watches in rapture as she saves not only children, but a cat from a burning building.
Daniel and Julia are a match made in Judgment City, but first Daniel must summon up the courage to express his true feelings for her, or she will surely advance without him.
"Defending Your Life" is Brooks's most ambitious film and, with "Mother", his most accessible. "--Donald Liebenson"


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Derren Brown - The Specials

Director: Documentary
Studio: 4dvd Suitable for 15 years and over
How does he do it?

There is a bit in Derren Brown's book where he makes a point often made by magicians, illusionists, mentalists - call them what you will: you don't really WANT to know how it's done. Usually the trick is so simple and straightforward that it's profoundly disappointing to know the secret. The real trick, of course, is the breathtaking showmanship with which it is executed.

All the same, I really WOULD like to know how he did these! These are some of his most audaciously-executed one-offs and fans have been waiting for them to come out on DVD for some time. His Russian Roulette stunt got the whole country talking. Some people seemed genuinely surprised that there was any element of trickery involved at all ('What, so he was never in any real danger of blowing his own head off? Aw!') but whatever your perspective, it plays brilliantly with your expectations and creates real tension.

As for The Seance, despite the fact that he TOLD everyone it was trickery and nothing supernatural was going on, it became one of Channel 4's most complained-about programmes because loads of people thought he was meddling with dark forces. This reveals just how convincing his stunts are.

I was once asked, in my capacity as a psychologist, to be in the audience of one of his other specials, The Gathering, but it wasn't one of his classics. How I wish I'd been in one of these four instead! Mesmerising stuff!


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The Designated Mourner

Director: David Hare Mike Nichols, Miranda Richardson, David de Keyser
Studio: Urban Works R
Language (Country): English
In David Hare's adaptation of Wallace Shawn's three-character stageplay, Mike Nichols plays a journalist who relates a story of his past involving ex-wife Miranda Richardson and her father, author and liberal activist David de Keyser, whose political beliefs get him in trouble with the totalitarian government of their unnamed homeland. 95 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; theatrical trailer; scene access.


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The Devil, Probably

Director: Robert Bresson Antoine Monnier, Tina Irissari, Henri de MaublancPeriod
Studio: Artificial Eye Suitable for 18 years and over
Sometimes, the outward manner of a work of art (the "style" or "form") may be incredibly rigorous and intensely stylized, yet the thematic concerns (the "story" or "content") may be wildly disorganized, almost anarchic. It may seem a heresy to say this of Robert Bresson, but after UNE FEMME DOUCE (1969), his concentration on youth and his determined pessimism led him into a series of increasingly fragmented works, perhaps mirroring his fractured sense of the world.

THE DEVIL, PROBABLY is surely one of the most schizoid film in Bresson's career: there are (literally) unleavened chunks of didactic discourse, droning lectures over immaculately edited stock footage showing atrocities done to animals (baby seals, etc.) and the planet. The "message" isn't even subtle: Bresson wants to clobber his viewer with his vision of a planet gone beyond redemption, now in the throes of degradation and destruction. Yet Bresson lingers over his youthful protagonists, in their (deliberately) blank ambiguity (innocence? inexperience?), and he allows the camera to catch them in moments which come perilously close to emotion.

The fracture in the movie's structure is symptomatic of what seems to be an almost hysterical need to make a statement on Bresson's part (and he was never known for didacticism before). Yet, as photographed by Pasqualino De Santis, this is one of Bresson's most seductively tacticle works, with the lighting seeming to irradiate most of the scenes.

The late 1960s and early 1970s seemed to be a time when many in the French cinema were driven to make apocalyptic fantasies: Godard with ALPHAVILLE and WEEKEND, Truffaut with FAHRENHEIT 451, Louis Malle with BLACK MOON, Alain Resnais with JE T'AIME JE T'AIME, even Jacques Demy with THE PIED PIPER. But Bresson didn't turn towards science fiction for his apocalypse: he turned to science fact, and let the facts speak for themselves to come up with this vision of hell on earth.


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Discovery Channel 20th Anniversary DVD Collection

Director:
Studio: Discovery Channel
Product Detail:
Celebrate two decades of globe-spanning exploration and top-notch entertainment with this special, five-disc collection. Featuring a variety of hit programs from Discovery's first 20 years some never before available on DVD.

Forbidden City: The Great Within
Explore one of the world's most extravagant palaces the Forbidden City of Beijing. Unprecedented access reveals for the first time some of its reputed 9,999 rooms and 240 acres of palace grounds, schools, temples and theaters. Once closed off to the world, this icon of Chinese imperial power is now yours to discover.

Wolves at Our Door
Join documentary filmmaker Jim Dutcher and his wife, Jamie, as they share their experiences living with a family of wolves for three years. By bottle feeding them as puppies and being a constant presence in their lives, the Dutchers gain unprecedented acceptance into the world of these lively but misunderstood canines.

Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster
Touted as unsinkable prior to its maiden voyage, the manner in which the Titanic sank has long been a source of debate. Watch as scientists and researchers combine underwater archaeology, forensic science, metallurgy and other disciplines to get to the bottom of this 90-year-old mystery.

Queen of the Elephants
As India's population explodes, precious elephant grazing areas are beginning to disappear. Join conservationist Mark Shand and elephant handler Parbarti Barua as they stride 300 miles across India on the backs of elephants to generate awareness for the plight of these gentle giants.

Carrier: Fortress at Sea
Meet the crew of the USS Carl Vinson and shove off for a six-month, 45,000-mile voyage from San Francisco to the Persian Gulf. Along the way, thrill to the real-life story of the Navy's top guns as told by the men themselves and marvel at the visual excitement of flight deck operations and footage from jet-mounted cameras.

Presented in full screen format.


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District B13 (note: disk missing)

Director: Pierre Morel Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D'Amario, Bibi Naceri, Dany VerissimoAction & Adventure
Studio: Magnolia R
Language (Country): French, English
For eye-popping kinetic thrills, "District B13" tops the class. In the near future, the worst ghettos of Paris have been walled in and left to rot. When a neutron bomb gets stolen by a criminal kingpin in seedy "District B13", Damien--a cop who specializes in deep cover assignments (Cyril Raffaelli, a stuntman turned actor)--has to team up with Leito (David Belle), who grew up in the district and has his own reason for going back: the kingpin kidnapped his sister (tough yet adorable gamine Dany Verissimo). The plot takes a few preposterous turns, but it's beside the point--every turn serves only to maintain the relentless flow of sheer physical prowess. Belle is one of the inventors of a sport called parkour, which treats a city's architecture like an obstacle course; while running from gun-toting thugs, Leito leaps, bounds, and scrambles up and down buildings with astonishing grace. The fight sequences are just as down-to-earth yet over-the-top as Damien whirls, kicks, and crunches through armies of bad guys. Just as important is the tongue-in-cheek tone that never turns smirky; the movie doesn't take itself seriously, but doesn't mock itself or its basic cinematic pleasures. Anyone looking for a break from the overbearing CGI and self-important pomp of Hollywood action movies should watch "District B13". "--Bret Fetzer"


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Doc Martin - Series 3 - Complete

Director: Minkie Spiro, Ben Bolt Joe Absolom, Lucy Punch, Carol Catz, Stephanie Cole, Martin ClunesComedy
Studio: Momentum Pictures Home Ent Suitable for 15 years and over
The adventures of Doctor Martin Ellingham--more commonly known as "Doc Martin"--have proven to be one of ITV's most popular hits of recent years. And within this series three DVD set, you've got plenty of evidence as to why.
For newcomers, "Doc Martin", played with effortless skill by Martin Clunes, is a surgeon based in a small Cornish village. But it's not his direct, blunt manner that proves to be his only problem. No, the issue too is that the Doc has a phobia of blood. It's not the handiest problem for a Doctor to have, but it does allow "Doc Martin" to mix in good chunks of comedy alongside its drama.


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Doc Martin Series 1 & 2

Director: Joe Absolom, Martin Clunes, Carol Catz, Ian McNeice, Lucy PunchComedy
Studio: Momentum Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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Doc Martin: Series 4

Director: Martin Clunes, Ben BoltComedy
Studio: Acorn Media NR
Language (Country): English
He’s surly, tactless, self-centered, and uptight--but he’s the only doctor in town.
"A smart, gentle comedy with loads of wit and zest" --"The Globe and Mail" (Canada)
After his wedding day disaster, Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes, "Men Behaving Badly") is even grumpier and ruder than before. His former fiancée, Louisa (Caroline Catz, "Murder in Suburbia"), has left the village to avoid embarrassment. The doctor himself plans to return to London as a surgeon--if he can conquer his fear of blood. But it’s hard to leave a place as charming and full of eccentric characters as Portwenn.
Matters quickly become complicated when Louisa moves back with startling news. Meanwhile, Martin’s old flame, Edith Montgomery (Lia Williams), takes a job at the local hospital and sets her sights on the doc. Sparks and rumors fly as patients crowd his office: a shouting oil rigger, the inept local constable, a woman who sees her dead husband’s ghost, and a man who eats his own hair. Facing all this, will Doc Martin leave Portwenn after all?
"Contains graphic medical scenes.


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Doctor Who: City of Death

Director: Michael Hayes Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Julian Glover, Catherine Schell, John CleeseAction & Adventure
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros. NR
Language (Country): English
The late Douglas Adams ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") co-wrote this enormously popular four-part story from 1979, which pits the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward) against a time-traveling alien (Julian Glover) whose body, fragmented by an accident, spurred evolution millions of years ago. Now restored to his full (and horrific) form, he plans to travel back in time and prevent the destruction of his ship--which in turn would profoundly affect the course of humanity. A terrific blend of science-fiction thrills and humor (well-played by Baker and Ward), "City of Death" also benefits from its Paris locations and terrific performances by Glover and "Space: 1999"'s Catherine Schell, as well as a pair of unexpected cameos from John Cleese and Eleanor Bron as art critics. The story's high caliber was rewarded with phenomenal ratings (reportedly, the largest ever for "Doctor Who"), and has remained a fan favorite ever since.
DVD features
Thanks to its popularity, the two-disc DVD of "City of Death" comes with an abundance of typically topnotch supplemental features. The commentary by Glover, co-star Tom Chadbon, and director Michael Hayes, is the longest and most informative of the extras, but it's well-matched by "Paris in the Springtime", a 45-minute making-of featurette that offers rare archival interviews with Adams and many of the cast (but not Baker or Ward, sadly) and crew. "Paris, W12" offers 20 minutes of studio footage taken from 1/2-inch videotape, while "Prehistoric Landscapes" and "Chicken Wrangler" are very different views of the story's special effects (the latter is a particularly amusing glimpse at the challenges of working with live animals). Finally, there's "Eye on Blatchford", a wry parody of BBC "human interest" news items, here focusing on another alien attempting to live peacefully in the rural English countryside. Production notes and photos and a batch of well-concealed Easter eggs round out this highly enjoyable set. "--Paul Gaita"


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Doctor Zhivago

Director: David Lean Geraldine Chaplin, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Rod SteigerDrama
Studio: Warner Home Video PG-13
Language (Country): English
David Lean focused all his talent as an epic-maker on Boris Pasternak's sweeping novel about a doctor-poet in revolutionary Russia. The results may sometimes veer toward soap opera, especially with the screen frequently filled with adoring close-ups of Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, but Lean's gift for cramming the screen with spectacle is not to be denied. The streets of Moscow, the snowy steppes of Russia, the house in the country taken over by ice; these are re-created with Lean's unerring sense of grandness. The movie is so lush and so long that it becomes an irresistible wallow, even when logic suffers--like "Gone with the Wind" before it and "Titanic" after. Sharif, who achieved stardom in Lean's previous film, "Lawrence of Arabia", mostly looks noble, but the supporting cast is spiky: Rod Steiger as a fat-cat monster, Tom Courtenay as a self-righteous revolutionary, and Klaus Kinski and Alec Guinness in smaller roles. Geraldine Chaplin, in her adult debut, plays the doctor's compliant wife. Robert Bolt's screenplay won one of the film's five Oscars®, with another going to perhaps the most immediately recognizable element of the movie: Maurice Jarre's romantic music, with its hugely popular "Lara's Theme" weaving in and out of a swooning score. "--Robert Horton"


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Dogville

Director: Lars von Trier Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul BettanyDrama
Studio: Lions Gate R
Language (Country): English
The latest galvanizing and controversial film from Lars von Trier ("Dancer in the Dark", "Breaking the Waves", "The Kingdom"), "Dogville" uses ingenious theatricality to tell the Depression-era story of Grace (Nicole Kidman, "The Others"), a beautiful fugitive who stumbles onto a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains. Spurred on by Tom (Paul Bettany, "Master and Commander"), who fancies himself the town's moral guide, the citizens of Dogville first resist Grace, then embrace her, then resent and torment her--little realizing they will pay a price for their selfish brutality. The town is indicated by fragments of building and chalk outlines on a soundstage floor, stylishly pointing to the movie's roots in classic plays (particularly Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and Friedrich Durrenmatt's "The Visit"). Several critics have stridently attacked "Dogville" as anti-American, but the movie's dark, compelling view applies as easily to Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, or pretty much anywhere in the world. Also featuring Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Stellan Skarsgârd, Chloe Sevigny, and many more. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Down to the Bone

Director: Debra Granik Vera Farmiga, Hugh Dillon, Clint Jordan, Caridad 'La Bruja' De La Luz, Jasper DanielsDrama
Studio: Arts Alliance Amer R
Language (Country): English
Irene is a working class mother living in upstate new york. She struggles to keep her marriage together & raise two sons while keeping her cocaine addiction a secret. Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 08/14/2007 Starring: Vera Farmiga Run time: 104 minutes


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Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist - Season 1

Director: Jonathan Katz, H. Jon Benjamin, Laura Silverman, Will Le Bow, Julianne ShapiroComedy
Studio: Paramount NR
Language (Country): English
"Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: Season One" includes the first six 1995 episodes from the Comedy Central animated series, which was based, the story goes, on comic actor Jonathan Katz's personal life. Playing himself (i.e., providing the voice for his cartoon self) as a divorced psychologist whose clients include a number of comedians, Katz is very funny in a non-confrontational, quietly frustrated yet loquacious way. Dr. Katz lives with his grown son (H. Jon Benjamin), an unemployed, apparently unskilled loser who hangs around Katz's office ineptly trying to pick up his dad's prickly receptionist (Laura Silverman). The latter is so surly and self-centered she tells Katz he doesn't "know what it's like" to spend a day around "crazy people" at work. (Katz, being Katz, has no comeback to that remark.) These three absurd characters (and the inspired performers behind them) would be enough to fill a show by themselves. But the biggest plus in "Dr. Katz" is a succession of vocal performances (which sound largely improvised) by some welcome comedians playing neurotic versions of themselves, including (and especially) Ray Romano, Wendy Liebman, Dave Attell, Laura Kightlinger, and Larry Miller, all in the first season. Each episode exudes anxiety and churns along to the sound of rambling dialogues that barely paper over repressed desire and rage. Sort of like real life, except funnier. "--Tom Keogh"


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Dr. No (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-Ray)

Director: Niels Arden Oplev, Daniel Alfredson Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre
Studio: Music Box Films Unrated
Language (Country): Swedish
Available in Swedish with English subtitles and with English dub track.


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The Duke of the Bachata Preview Edition

Director: Adam Taub Action & Adventure
Studio: Horizon Line Documentary
The Duke of the Bachata is a documentary film about Joan Soriano, a Bachata Musician from the Dominican Republic, as he struggles to reach his goal of a hit CD and success as a musician. It is also the story of his large extended family living in the rural countryside of Monte Plata near Santo Domingo. They dream along with him, hoping that his success will improve their economic situation and quality of life.The bachatas and merengues he plays have their origins in the Dominican Republic yet draw upon a variety of musical influences from regions of Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Soriano is a practitioner of Afro-Dominican traditional salve and palo as well, and he blends these percussive styles with bachata to create a fresh sound.* This is a preview version of the documentary "The Duke of the Bachata"This version contains the documentaryas initially screened in 2009.The DVD does not include chapters, an extensive menu, nor bonus features.The film contains spoken Spanish and English with English subtitles over the spoken Spanish.
"This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply."


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Eddie Palmieri And Friends-Dvd Salsa Y Jazz Live



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Eden

Director: Michael Hoffman Josef Ostendorf, Charlotte Roche, Devid Striesow, Max Rudlinger, Leonie StebbComedy
Studio: Drakes Avenue Pictures Suitable for 12 years and over
Michael Hoffman's film is yet another tale of food on screen as an allegory.. in this case passion. This idea has been done so many times now (Chocolat most notably) that it is difficult to approach without a jaded eye, and yet there is some enjoyment to be had.
A gluttonous chef, proud of his 137 kilo girth, is renowned for his culinary masterpieces which are so good we only see people eating ravenously and never delicately. When his path crosses with that of a waitress and her Down's Syndrome daughter, his food rejuvenates her passion and his affection grows into something more. So far, so Hollywood, but the rub is the passions his food ignites only bring her closer to her husband, and not as he hopes to himself. Gluttony, jealousy, ignorance and unrequited love follow. There are problems... The food as photographed never quite sets the mouth watering enough to make you believe it can have the miraculously aphrodisiac effects it does, and not a single one of the characters are truly endearing enough to make you really care.
Story-wise, the movie follows an interesting course, while still feeling a little bloated (pun intended) at 98 minutes... and without giving anything away, the ending is more satisfactory than any Hollywood version would have been, making the wait worth it.
Subtitles are reasonably good, and the German is clear. Worth watching then - but enough with the food related films for a while, ok?




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EDWARD THE KING

Director: Timothy West, Annette Crosbie, Robert Hardy, John Gielgud
Studio: Acorn Media NR
Language (Country): English
"Engrossing and glittering" -- "The Washington Post"
"Superb performances" -- "The New York Times"
The award-winning drama about England’s first truly 20th century monarch
Though he waited nearly 60 years to become king and reigned for only nine, Edward VII changed the British monarchy forever. Derided by his mother, Queen Victoria, as frivolous and untrustworthy, Edward was in fact a skillful, determined diplomat who longed to be useful to his country. This classic 13-part British miniseries dramatizes his life from frustrated prince and inveterate philanderer to loving father and respected statesman. Firmly grounded in history, it intimately depicts the palace dynamics that reverberated in Parliament and beyond during the years preceding World War I.
Winner of an Emmy® and multiple BAFTA awards (including best drama series), this deluxe production boasts a star-studded cast, including Timothy West, Annette Crosbie, Robert Hardy, John Gielgud, Felicity Kendal, Charles Dance, and Francesca Annis. With richly detailed sets and costumes, "Edward the King" recreates England at the height of its empire and a monarchy on the verge of transformation.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE commentaries for selected episodes by Timothy West, Annette Crosbie, and director John Gorrie; two featurettes; introductions for selected episodes by Robert McNeal; trailers; and photo gallery with commentary by the stars and director.


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Eisenstein: The Sound Years Criterion Collection

Director: Dmitriy Vasilev, Sergei M. Eisenstein Nikolai Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov
Studio: Criterion Unrated
A biography of the first czar of Russia was the final movie project of the great Sergei Eisenstein's life. It would be his undoing, as Stalin was not pleased with part II of this epic. But "Ivan the Terrible, Part I" still stands as a magnificent, rich, and strange achievement. This is a "composed" film to make Hitchcock look slapdash; every frame is arranged with the eye of a painter or choreographer, the mise-en-scène so deliberately artificial that even the actors' bodies become elements of style. (They complained about contorting themselves to fit Eisenstein's designs.) If you don't believe movies can be art, this could be (and has been) dismissed as ludicrous. But Eisenstein's command of light and shadow becomes its own justification, as the fascinating court intrigue plays out in a series of dynamic, eye-filling scenes. This is not a political theorist, but a director drunk on pure cinema.
"Part II" continues with the struggle for power and the use of secret police, a controversial segment that caused the film to be banned by Stalin in 1946 (the film was not released until 1958). The predominantly black-and-white film features a banquet dance sequence in color. Obviously the two parts must be viewed as a whole to be fully appreciated. Many film historians consider this period in Eisenstein's career less interesting than his silent period because of a sentimental return to archaic forms (characteristic of Soviet society in the '30s and '40s). Perhaps it was just part of his maturity.
"Alexander Nevsky" (1939), Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century, was wildly popular and quite intentional, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the Battle on the Ice sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well.


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El Sistema: Music to Change Life

Director: Paul Smaczny, Maria Stodtmeier Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Caracas Children's Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel, Jose Antonio Abreuvideo_MC
Studio: EUROARTS NR
Language (Country): Spanish
A film by Paul Smaczny and Maria Stodtmeier. Venezuela's unique system of music education takes children from violent slums and turns some of them into world-class musicians. 'El Sistema' shows how Venezuelan visionary Jose Antonio Abreu has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the past three decades. This lyrical and moving documentary takes us from the rubbish dumps and barrios of Caracas to the world's finest concert halls. Children from streets dominated by the gun battles of gang warfare are taken into music schools, given access to music, and taught through the model of the symphony orchestra how to build a better society. Paul Smaczny and Maria Stodtmeier's film finds hope and joy in unlikely places.

'I have nothing but admiration for Jose Antonio Abreau's commitment (in both a cultural and a social context). What he has achieved with El Sistema and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra is simply unique in the world.' -- Claudio Abbado


'The future of classical music lies in Venezuela.' -- Sir Simon Rattle


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El Topo (Blu-Ray)

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Jose M. Barrutia Legarreta, Alfonso Arau, Jose Luis Fernandez
Studio: ANCHOR BAY NR
Language (Country): English
"El Topo's" surrealism is more slapstick than Jodorwosky's brilliant follow-up, "Holy Mountain", making it more akin to a spaghetti western than a psychedelic journey through the subconscious. The director stars as the gunfighter, El Topo (The Mole), who first gives his 7-year old son (played by real life son, Brontis Jodorowsky) a glimpse of manhood in the form of weaponry, then abandons him for a horseback revenge trip focused on a heartless team of raping, pillaging bandits. Along the way, he meets Mara (Mara Lorenzio), whose tough love encourages him to become a monk. On El Topo's new quest, he encounters spiritual leaders and endures a series of personal realizations about his past violence. Absurd moments, such as when the viewer first encounters the bandits sniffing and drooling over high-heeled women's shoes out in the desert, make "El Topo" satirically wry. Brutal scenes in which rivers of blood run through towns, or people slaughter each other in firing lines, remind the viewer of Mexico's bloody history. The mixture of ironic humor and violence in "El Topo" encapsulates Jodorowky's vision of a world in which reality and the imagination are fused, yet completely separate. This paradox, of great thematic concern in all of Jodorowsky's films, is most resonant in "El Topo" when Mara and The Mole sadistically communicate with whips, guns, and knives. As "Holy Mountain's" religious message centers wholly around The Alchemist's transformation of Jesus, "El Topo" introduces love between man and woman into the symbolic mix, compensating for the divine settings and imaginative characters that elucidate the protagonist's enlightenment in the later "Holy Mountain". Only by viewing the two films as a double feature will one get the full power of Jodorowsky's Buddhist message, one of self-sacrifice and suffering towards a greater end. "--Trinie Dalton"


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El Topo (in The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky)



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Elegy

Director: Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Dennis Hopper
Studio: Sony Pictures R
Language (Country): English
There are very few men who wouldn’t eagerly sell their souls to be with Penelope Cruz (or whatever character she happens to be playing). But with "Elegy", director Isabel Coixet and screenwriter Nicholas Meyer (adapting a novel by Philip Roth) pose some thorny questions: How many are willing, let alone able, to see past a woman’s beauty and embrace her true being? And when beauty fades, what then? David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley) is a successful New York author, teacher, and literature maven; a semi-celebrity due to regular TV appearances, he’s self-satisfied if not exactly smug, seemingly unconcerned about his advancing age (he’s now in his sixties, but as he tells us in voice-over, "In my head, nothing’s changed") or his strained relationship with the son (Peter Sarsgaard) who still resents him for abandoning his marriage years ago, and content with his occasional and purely sexual relationship with a middle-aged businesswoman (Patricia Clarkson). All of that changes when Consuela Castillo (Cruz) enrolls in one of his classes. More than 30 years his junior, she’s not just gorgeous but mature and smart as well. And for all his worldly cool, charm, and experience, once he’s involved with Consuela, David turns into just another possessive, jealous, obsessed ("On the nights she isn’t with me, I am deformed"), and insecure man, convinced that it’s only a matter of time before their age difference pulls them apart. It’s a given that David will see to it that his self-fulfilling prophecy comes true. But will his lies and fear of commitment prove to be his ruination, or will the tragedies that ensue help him find a path to redemption? The film’s various performers (including Dennis Hopper as David’s best pal) and overall sophisticated, grownup tone, along with Cruz’s almost impossible beauty, make "Elegy" consistently watchable and compelling. "--Sam Graham"


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The Essential Steve McQueen Collection

Director: Norman Jewison, John Sturges, Sam Peckinpah Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Tuesday WeldAction & Adventure
Studio: Warner Home Video PG
Language (Country): English
6 Steve McQueen classic movies are now available in one giftset -- THE ESSENTIAL STEVE McQUEEN COLLECTION! BULLITT TWO DISC-SPECIAL EDITION: Buckle up for gritty police procedure and a wild, trend-setting chase over Frisco's hills with THE GETAWAY DELUXE EDITION A heist gone wrong is dead-right in the hands of McQueen and director Sam Peckinpah. THE CINCINNATI KID McQueen and Edward G. Robinson ante up. Norman Jewison guides the big-time poker flick. NEVER SO FEW Commando action in World War II Burma! McQueen's first big-budget film. Frank Sinatra stars. PAPILLON Can McQueen and Dustin Hoffman escape Devil's Island? From the director of Patton. TOM HORN True to the cowboy way! McQueen rides tall in a star-packed elegy to a changing West. Titles also available separately.


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Evangelion: 1.11 You Are Not Alone (Blu-Ray)

Director: Hideaki Anno Allison Keith-Shipp, Spike Spencer, Colleen ClinkenbeardThrillers
Studio: Funimation PG-13
Language (Country): Japanese, English
The stunning rebuild of the anime masterpiece is now extended and enhanced with never before seen new animation and 266 visual and audio improvements.
Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines – the Evas – and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01.
Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind’s battle for survival in this visually striking rebuild of one of the most important anime of all time. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight – Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00. In this film experience not to be missed, Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.


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Everest

Director: David Breashears, Greg MacGillivray, Stephen Judson Liam Neeson, Lhakpa Dorji, Dorje Sherpa, Ed Viesturs, Muktu Lhakpa SherpaDrama
Studio: Miramax Unrated
Language (Country): English
Filmed in the IMAX format, this film had the luck (or lack thereof) to be shot during the same fateful and fatal climb of Mount Everest chronicled in Jon Krakauer's book, "Into Thin Air", in which a group of rich hobby climbers found themselves trapped by a blizzard near the summit. The IMAX film contains footage of those people, but focuses on its own group, as they make their assault on the top of the world's highest peak. Some startling footage of the mountain and the approaches--and, as in Krakauer's book, the depiction of what is involved in this kind of adventure (particularly the pain and suffering)--makes you wonder exactly where the fun is. But documentary film is about showing you something you're not likely to see otherwise, and this movie certainly fills the bill. "--Marshall Fine"


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Ewan McGregor And Charley Boorman - Long Way Round

Director: Ewan McGregor, Charley BoormanTelevision
Studio: EMI Exempt
Language (Country): English
"Long Way Round" is a documentary detailing the 20,000-mile motorcycle trip Ewan McGregor took around the world with best friend Charley Boorman over 115 days. Their trip took them from London through locales such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, and Canada, to name a few, before ending in New York.
Armed with a cameraman, McGregor and Boorman encounter separation anxiety from their families; a shifty stranger (later revealed to be Mafia) who leads them through winding dark corridors to a posh hotel room; delays at international borders; hosts who offer them animal parts for dinner; injuries, equipment breakdowns, and more.
The pair also film their own video diaries, in which they voice concerns and frustrations. The result is an emotional, rich breadth of experiences, from the hardship of logistical setbacks paired with the joy of visiting the children of Chernobyl and encountering hospitable locals who insist on escorting them wherever they go. McGregor and Boorman also make witty emcees, cheerfully upbeat even when they wonder aloud if one of their gun-happy hosts is a psycho murderer. The seven-episode series concludes with their emotional ride into the Big Apple and some surprises for the pair courtesy of the show's producers.
"Long Way Round" may have been an arduous once-in-a-lifetime experience, but you can't help but hope McGregor and Boorman suit up for another road trip someday. -- "Ellen A. Kim"


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Fairweather Man

Director: Aviva Ziegler Jack FrischDocumentary
Studio: Fury Productions
Language (Country): (Australia)
When Ian Fairweather died in 1974 Australia lost an extraordinary artist and one of its greatest eccentrics. The reclusive, driven man left behind a body of paintings that today command huge prices at auction and hang on the walls of galleries around the world. At 60 years of age, Fairweather set off on a solo voyage across the sea on a hand-built, primitive raft. It is said that before the voyage he was a talented artist, but after-wards he became an extraordinary one. 'Fairweather Man' is the story of Ian Fairweather's life and travels, and also a journey deep into the heart and soul of the man and his work.


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Fando y Lis (in The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky)



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Fanny and Alexander (Blu-Ray)

Director: Ingmar Bergman Borje Ahlstedt, Allan Edwall, Ewa Froling, Jarl Kulle, Bertil Guve
Studio: Criterion Collection R
Language (Country): Swedish
It was instantly acclaimed the crowning masterwork of Ingmar Bergman's career, and time has not dimmed the Olympian status of "Fanny and Alexander". Bergman drew upon memories of his own childhood for this portrait of the Ekdahls, the upper-class Swedish family whose celebrations and tribulations are seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve). The world of the theater, of puppet shows and magic lanterns, does battle in this scenario with the cold realities of the palace of the bishop--a man whose influence over Alexander's mother gives the movie the stark outlines of a fairy tale.
As for the Criterion five-disc DVD: This may be the most beautiful DVD release ever devoted to a single film. The original 188-minute international release is here, of course, in all its original glory. (It won four Oscars: foreign language film, costumes, art direction/set decoration, and cinematography--the last to longtime Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist.) An audio commentary by Peter Cowie gives useful background.
That film was carved out of Bergman's preferred 312-minute version, telecast on Swedish TV and included here. While the shorter cut remains a wonderful movie, and complete unto itself, the five-hour film is a deep, luxurious expansion. There is more of the Christmas Eve party that begins the film, more of the theater, more of Alexander's imagination. Especially meaningful is a long sequence between Fanny and Alexander and their doomed father, as he demonstrates the nature of storytelling with a simple chair.
Also here is "The Making of Fanny and Alexander", Bergman's feature-length self-portrait, and a fascinating look at the rapt attention he bestows on actors and camera. DVD extras include a penetrating hourlong TV interview Bergman gave in 1984, and a 40-minute documentary shot in 2004 with reminiscences from cast and crew (including actors Guve, Pernilla August, and Erland Josephson). A handsome booklet includes essays by Rick Moody and Paul Arthur, and one disc is made up of pithy introductions shot by Bergman in 2003, for 11 of his classics, plus a sampling of trailers. "Fanny and Alexander" was Bergman's final theatrical film, though he has gone right on making TV movies and writing screenplays. This is a fitting treatment of his triumph. "--Robert Horton"


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Fargo

Director: Ethan Coen, Jeffrey Schwarz, Joel Coen William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English, French
Leave it to the wildly inventive Coen brothers (Joel directs, Ethan produces, they both write) to concoct a fiendishly clever kidnap caper that's simultaneously a comedy of errors, a Midwestern satire, a taut suspense thriller, and a violent tale of criminal misfortune. It all begins when a hapless car salesman (played to perfection by William H. Macy) ineptly orchestrates the kidnapping of his own wife. The plan goes horribly awry in the hands of bumbling bad guys Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare (one of them being described by a local girl as "kinda funny lookin'" and "not circumcised"), and the pregnant sheriff of Brainerd, Minnesota, (played exquisitely by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role) is suddenly faced with a case of multiple murders. Her investigation is laced with offbeat observations about life in the rural hinterland of Minnesota and North Dakota, and "Fargo" embraces its local yokels with affectionate humor. At times shocking and hilarious, "Fargo" is utterly unique and distinctly American, bearing the unmistakable stamp of its inspired creators. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Fawlty Towers - The Complete Series

Director: Fawlty TowersArt House & International
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
Inspired by a hotel John Cleese once stayed in when he was filming "Monty Python." This complete set of Fawlty Towers episodes includes special new commentary by John Cleese. Please see individual volumes for episode descriptions.


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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Criterion Collection

Director: Terry Gilliam Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary BuseyComedy
Studio: Criterion R
Language (Country): English
The original cowriter and director of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was Alex Cox, whose earlier film "Sid and Nancy" suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filming Hunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humor of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because "Fear and Loathing" is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Fiddler on the Roof (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman - Criterion Collection

Director: Ingmar Bergman Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnel Lindblom, Max von SydowArt House & International
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment Unrated
Language (Country): Swedish
Between 1961 and 1963, Ingmar Bergman released a remarkable trilogy of so-called chamber dramas, each one concerned with the futility of sustaining faith in God, family, love, or much else. The series proved transitional for the internationally renowned Swedish filmmaker, securing his crucial collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist (with whom Bergman would go on to make his many masterpieces--including "Persona" and "Cries and Whispers"--of the '60s, '70s, and early '80s), and underscoring a new preference for intimate, relationship-driven stories, austere settings, and haunting tones of emotional isolation and despair.
"Through a Glass Darkly" concerns a psychologically fragile woman, Karin (Harriet Andersson), who seeks recovery from a nervous breakdown while on a remote-island vacation with her family. Unfortunately, her father (Gunnar Björnstrand), a successful writer, regards her with clinical detachment, her husband (Max Von Sydow), a doctor, feels unavailing in the effort to treat her, and her brother (Lars Passgard) is wrapped up in his own quest for sexual fulfillment. Karin's descent into further loneliness and delusion exacerbates the heretofore unspoken alienation at the heart of this entire family, and drives the characters to brood over the existence of God (or, in Karin's case, imagine that God is the chilling spider hidden behind an attic door). "Through a Glass Darkly" is a heartbreaking, powerful work of art.
"Winter Light" reunites Björnstrand, this time playing a pastor suffering a crisis of faith while ministering to a shrinking congregation, and Von Sydow as a parishioner lost to acute anxiety over the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. Neither man can help or heal the other, or even inspire renewed confidence in practiced rituals and older, more certain views of the world. Set on a chilly, Sunday afternoon, "Winter Light"'s heavy stillness, lack of music, preference for intense close-ups and distancing long shots, and barren setting all lead us inescapably into the core of a profound silence, an echo chamber in which love can't grow and religion rings hollow.
"The Silence" is the most abstract entry in the trilogy, a somewhat eerie story of two sisters, Esther (Ingrid Thulin) and Anna (Gunnel Lindblom), and the latter's son (Jörgen Lindström), all traveling by train to Sweden but forced to stay in a foreign country when Esther's chronic bronchial problems require her to rest. A stifling atmosphere, a desolate hotel, encounters with a troupe of carnival dwarves, Anna's anchoring illness, and an empty sexual encounter for Esther underscore the unnerving feeling that God has abandoned these characters to dubious salvation in their own connection. A highly memorable film. "--Tom Keogh"


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The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky Alejandro Jodorowsky
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay NR
Language (Country): English
How can so much mysticism be contained in a simple DVD box set? "The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky" is a divine collection of the director's early films, restored and ready for repeated viewings. For it does take several viewings to imbue Jodorowky's invented archetypes with personal meaning and to familiarize oneself with his avant-garde approach to communicating artistic concepts. In this box, "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain", Jodorowsky's stories of spiritual journeys through barren deserts, are paired with "Fando Y Lis" and "La Cravate", a never before seen gem from the 1950s. This alone justifies the box set. "La Cravate" is a Technicolor tale of a man whose sadistic girfriend urges him to visit the head shop to shop for a new head. Miming his way through rows of living human heads, and trying several on with the help of a shop manager skilled in stitching skin, this Frankensteinian story establishes Jodorowsky's affinity for pitting effusive love against cruelty for maximum tension between involved characters. "Fando Y Lis", on the other hand, is an early version of the later two masterpieces, about a couple whose quest for an imaginary land in the future, called Tar, introduces them to wizened forest masters, wild packs of women bowling, and enlightened drag queens. Filmed in black and white, "Fando Y Lis" proves that Jodorowsky's radical use of color in "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain" is no simple trope. Here, he relies more heavily on dramatic physical action, including miming and a paraplegic protagonist who is wheeled around in a wagon by her lover.
The box set contains the film soundtracks, director commentaries, and several interviews with Jodorowsky, including the documentary, "La Constellation", in which he discusses his reliance on intuition, the notion of absurdism versus mystery, and his infamous usage of violence, which he eloquently explains as creative violence versus the destructive. Though this talented director refuses the claim that he is a mystic, it becomes clear in watching this body of work that he is achieving the sublime in a visually transcendental fashion. "--Trinie Dalton"


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First Moon: Celebration of a Chinese New Year

Director: Carma Hinton
First Moon (37 min., 1987) looks at lunar New Year celebrations in the Chinese countryside.

"A beautifully made film which shows how many elements of traditional Chinese village life co-exist with the new."

Jonathan Spence, Yale University




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A Fish Called Wanda

Director: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Jeremy ChildComedy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English, Italian, Russian
Kevin Kline took home an Oscar for his performance as a self-absorbed lothario who prepares for lovemaking by drinking in his own "manly" musk, but it would be hard to single him out as the best thing about the film. The fact is, the entire cast of this hilarious comedy is perfect: John Cleese as the conservative barrister defending a member of sexy Jamie Lee Curtis's gang, Ms. Curtis as the conniving crook out to grab the haul for herself, and Michael Palin as the stuttering, animal-loving hit man whose attempts to murder a little old lady only decrease the size of her poodle pack. Cleese cowrote the zingy script with British comedy veteran Charles Crichton ("The Lavender Hill Mob"), whose smooth direction balances Monty Python farce, hysterically tasteless gags, and an unexpectedly romantic subplot with style and confidence. "--Sean Axmaker"


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Fitzcarraldo (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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The Five Obstructions

Director: Jørgen Leth Jacqueline Arenal, Patrick Bauchau, Bent Christensen, Marie Dejaer, Stina EkbladDocumentary
Studio: Koch Lorber Films Unrated
Language (Country): Danish, English, French, Spanish
Once upon a time--1967, to be precise--Danish director Jørgen Leth released "The Perfect Human". In "The Five Obstructions", fellow countryman Lars von Trier ("Breaking the Waves") challenges his "hero" to remake the short five times and provides a different set of "obstructions" for each. Because Leth likes cigars, von Trier suggests the first be made in Cuba. For the second, however, he sends Leth to "the worst place on earth"--Bombay's red light district. The obstructions keep coming, interspersed with conversation and clips from the original film, in which actors engage in a variety of activities, like eating and dancing, while the narrator posits oblique questions like "Why is joy so whimsical?" (Von Trier claims to have watched it "at least 20 times.") In the end, the two Danes have whipped up an unclassifiable concoction that plays less like documentary and more like a duel between friendly adversaries. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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Forbidden City: The Great Within (in Discovery Channel Collection)



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Free Spirits

Director: Bruce Geisler Michael Metelica Rapunzel, Elwood Babbitt, & 33 members of the Brotherhood of the Spirit communeDocumentary
Studio: Acorn Productions NR
When high school drop-out Michael Metelica and eight hungry friends retreated to a rural Massachusetts treehouse in 1968, they never imagined it would grown into one of the largest, most controversial New Age communes of the 1960s and 70s. At its peak, the Brotherhood of the Spirit (later named Renaissance Community) had nearly 400 full-time members, real estate in four Massachusetts downs, an airplane, music recording and filmmaking facilities, and a million dollar a year income. Many members stayed a decade or longer, committing their youth, sweat and worldly possessions to building an intentional community that they hoped would serve as a model of brotherhood and spiritual awareness for the whole world. For some, their time there was the highlight of their lives, filed with humor, danger, intense personal growth, and daily absurdity. For others, it was a cultish nightmare. Their story reflects the 60s/baby boomer generation, as they survived the hostility of the towns around them - fire bombings, the brutal murder of a member - only to fall because of internal forces, including the changes in their founder and leader, Michael Metelica Rapunzel.


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The French Lieutenant's Woman

Director: Karel Reisz Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae, Emily Morgan, Charlotte MitchellArt House & International
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Writer Harold Pinter ("Betrayal") and director Karel Reisz ("Isadora") take an experimental spin with John Fowles's magnificent novel set in Victorian England, and come up with something puzzling. Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep play the forbidden lovers in Fowles's story, but in a parallel story line they also play contemporary actors performing those characters in a movie production and having an affair of their own during off-hours. Got that? Considering that Fowles himself presents alternative endings in his novel, something equally eccentric is called for here. But little is accomplished by this intertwining of a fictional past and present, and the opportunity to do justice to a great story is lost. On the plus side, Irons and Streep are instantly striking as a natural couple on screen, and their presence makes watching this film easy enough despite the larger problems. "--Tom Keogh"


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From Other Worlds

Director: Barry Strugatz Peter Bartlett, Cara Buono, Isaach de Bankolé, Laura Esterman, David LansburyComedy
Studio: Bfs Entertainment Unrated
Language (Country): English
"Cara Buono, in a charming lead performance... amiable and arch comedy... fun..." - Variety
"A witty and sincere take on one of my favorite genres... a real treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it." - Jonathan Demme, Oscar® Winning Director
From the Writer of "Married to the Mob" and "She-Devil"
"A Comic Cosmic Caper to Combat Catastrophe!"
In a bizarre incident, depressed Brooklyn housewife Joanne (Cara Buono - "Artie Lange's Beer League") suspects that she has had a UFO encounter. Joanne meets Abraham (Isaach de Bankolé - "Casino Royale") and establishing a common bond, these two ordinary people embark on a search for answers that becomes a frantic adventure of ancient scrolls, Egyptian symbology, threats, aliens, thievery - and Earth's impending destruction!
Starring: Cara Buono, Isaach de Bankolé, David Lansbury and Robert Downey, Sr.
Special Features: Cast Profiles / Cara Buono's Audition / Commentary Track / Trailer
approx. 89 mins. col. WIDESCREEN


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Frost/Nixon (Blu-Ray)

Director: Ron Howard Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones
Studio: Universal Studios R
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Sounds like a good match: a historical drama from the author of The Queen, but with an American subject in the generational wheelhouse of director Ron Howard. And so Peter Morgan's Tony-winning play morphs into a Hollywood movie under the wing of the Apollo 13 guy. Morgan's subject is a curious moment of post-Watergate shakeout: British TV host David Frost's long-form interviews with ex-President Richard Nixon, conducted in 1977. It was a big ratings success at the time, justifying the somewhat controversial decision to cut an enormous check for Nixon's services. The movie adds a mockumentary note to the otherwise straightforward style, having direct-to-camera addresses from various aides to Frost and Nixon (played by the likes of Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, and Kevin Bacon); these basically tell us things we already glean from the rest of the movie, adding unnecessary melodrama and upping the stakes. In this curious scheme, the success of Frost's career, which could bellyflop if he doesn't get something worthwhile out of the cagey, long-winded Nixon, is given somewhat more weight than the actual revelations of the interviews. Even with these questionable storytelling decisions, there's still the spectacle of two actors going at it hammer and tongs, and on that level the movie offers some heat. Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair not only in The Queen but also in another Morgan-scripted project, The Deal, is adept at catching David Frost's blow-dried charm, as well as the determination beneath it. Frank Langella's physical performance as Nixon is superb, and he certainly can be a commanding actor, though veteran Nixon-watchers might find that he misses a certain depth of self-pity in the man. Both actors were retained from the original stage production, a rare thing in Hollywood--and probably Howard's best decision of the project. --Robert Horton


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Ganges (Blu-Ray)

Director:
Studio: BBC Worldwide NR
Language (Country): English
Watching Ganges, one might be inclined to hit the pause button every now and then so as to ponder and absorb the images that have just passed by, so breathtakingly beautiful is nearly every frame of this extraordinary film. This is the kind of production that was born to be viewed in High Definition, and one that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the groundbreaking Planet Earth. But while both series were made by the BBC, there are notable differences between the two. For one thing, Ganges is considerably shorter (its three parts total about two and a half hours); for another, while its focus is largely on nature and wildlife, it has a much more prominent human presence (no surprise, considering that the river wends its way through India, the world's second most populous nation, and that nearly a tenth of all people on Earth live within the Ganges' basin).
Regarded as a goddess, described as the nexus of the natural and spiritual worlds, and variously known as "The Daughter of the Mountains," "The River of Life," and "Ganga Ma" (Mother Ganges), the river begins in the Himalayas (the exact source is uncertain; four sacred sites are visited by Hindu pilgrims). Fed by numerous streams, snowmelt, glaciers, and rain, it makes its way westward across the plains of the Indian subcontinent, passing through Rishikesh, Varanasi (known as the holiest city on the river), the teeming metropolis of Calcutta, and the forbidding delta forest known as the Sunderbans before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, we see an astonishing variety of animals: snow leopards, hawk-like lammergeiers with their ten-foot wingspans, langurs and macaques, mahseer (the world’s largest carp, weighing up to 50 kilograms), peacocks, otters, cranes, tigers, rhinos, and on and on. Meanwhile, the Hindu reverence for nature is constantly apparent--especially in a village where deadly cobras roam freely in the streets, virtually ignored by the residents (who consider themselves virtually immune; bites are frequent, but no one seems to die from them, a strange anomaly in country where twenty thousand people are killed by snakes every year). The cinematography is never less than gorgeous, whether it’s a closeup of a rhododendron or a panoramic mountain vista; frequent use of time-lapse photography only adds to the grandeur (cf. an incredible sequence depicting the arrival of the summer monsoon). Expertly narrated by Sudha Bhuchar, Ganges combines bravura technique and sheer artistry to create a genuinely inspiring viewing experience. Extras include a "making of" mini-doc and deleted scenes. --Sam Graham


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Gentleman's Agreement (in Studio Classics Collection)



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The Getaway (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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Goldeneye (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Gone With the Wind (Blu-Ray)

Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia De Havilland, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel
Studio: Warner Home Video G
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
David O. Selznick wanted "Gone with the Wind" to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia de Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we're talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film. "--Tom Keogh"


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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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The Graduate

Director: Mike Nichols Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray HamiltonComedy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English, French
Nominated* for seven Academy AwardsÂ(r) and winner for Best Director, this ground breaking and "wildly hilarious" (The Boston Globe) social satire launched the career of two-time OscarÂ(r)-winner** Dustin Hoffman and cemented the reputation of acclaimed director Mike Nichols. Pulsating with the rebellious spirit of the '60s and a haunting score sung by Simon and Garfunkel, The Graduate is truly a "landmark film" (Leonard Maltin). Shy Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) returns home from college with an uncertain future. Then the wife of his father's business partner, the sexy Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), seduces him, and the affair only deepens his confusion. That is, until he meets the girl of his dreams (Katharine Ross). But there's one problem: she's Mrs. Robinson's daughter!


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The Great Escape (in The Steve McQueen Collection)



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The Great Escape (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Great World of Sound

Director: Craig Zobel, R. Craig Zobel Robert Longstreet, Pat Healy, Rebecca Mader, John Baker, Kene HollidayTelevision
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment R
Language (Country): English
Martin is an uncomplicated guy who responds to an ad in the paper for a company called Great World of Sound. Joining the crew, Martin partners up with larger than life Clarence, and the two hit the road to discover and sign new musical talent. As the veneer falls away from GWS, the two have to reconcile the excitement with the reality of the job. Have they become scam artists, or are they victims of the scam?


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The Greatest Story Ever Told (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Grey Gardens / The Beales of Grey Gardens - Criterion Collection

Director: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer Edie Beale, Edith Bouvier BealeDrama
Studio: Criterion PG
Language (Country): English
Although it's typically described as a cult phenomenon, "Grey Gardens" is something more than that by now. The 1975 documentary by brothers Albert and David Maysles (who filmed the proceedings and co-directed with Muffie Meyer and Ellen Hovde) has been turned into a hit Broadway show, with plans for a feature film in the offing; it's also the title of a song by Rufus Wainwright, and has been referenced on TV shows like "The Gilmore Girls", "The L Word", and even "Rugrats". In the process, "Grey Gardens" has become part of the cultural zeitgeist, at least in the gay community, a circumstance that no doubt had some influence on the decision to package it with "The Beales of Grey Gardens", a 90-minute assemblage of outtakes and other unused material from the original film supervised by Albert Maysles and released in 2006.
One wonders if any of this would have transpired had Edith Ewing Bouvier (known as "Big Edie") and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie") merely been garden variety eccentrics, instead of quasi-celebrities (the aunt and cousin, respectively, of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, "nee" Bouvier). On the other hand, there's a certain can't-turn-away-from-a-car-accident fascination that comes with watching the two Edies at home in their rundown, squalid East Hampton, Long Island estate (they were ordered to fix the place up before the documentary was shot, but it's still a dump, albeit a large one). With her endless parade of different "costumes," every one of them featuring a scarf, a towel, or some such material wrapped around her head (then in her mid-fifties, she had an oddball fashion sense that's a big part of her now-iconic status), Little Edie is quite a character. Considerably less appealing is her mother, a bitter, poisonous woman who apparently pressured her daughter to move back home and care for her after Big Edie's husband quite understandably abandoned her in the early 1950s. "My whole life, I've been ground down and insulted every minute," Little Edie confides to the camera, but she gives as good as she gets; the two of them squabble endlessly, mostly about past events and the careers they might have had (Big Edie as a singer, her daughter as a dancer and model). There are obviously many viewers who find this sort of terminal dysfunction appealing, even charming. For others, words like annoying and tedious may be more appropriate. And while "The Beales of Grey Gardens" offers more evidence that the two women actually cared for one another (there's also a good deal more interaction between the Beales and the filmmakers, along with various other visitors), it's essentially just more of the same. "--Sam Graham"


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Grounded

Director: Steve Kroschel Dr. Joseph Mercola, Steve Kroschel, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Laura Koniver MD
Studio: Passion River
The movie tells the true tale of an Alaskan wildlife filmmaker s persistent curiosity and quest to test the claims of what appears to be an outrageously simple and too good to be true healing concept physical, bare skin contact with the Earth which may have been known by civilizations throughout history. New research has started to confirm the unexpected, that the surface of the Earth has healing power, like a gigantic treatment table. He introduces this concept to his fellow townsmen in Haines, Alaska (population 1,700), many of whom suffer from major pain or disabling conditions. Starting with his own pain relief, he witnesses and films a surprising and miraculous healing in the town generated by simply grounding people to the Earth, that is, reconnecting them to the Earth s healing energy. Even an orphaned moose calf named Karen participates in the healing. The news of the town s response draws the attention of Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon, as well as doctors and scientists. This highly unusual and eye-opening movie premieres on many media platforms, beginning in October, 2013. It will change the way you look at the Earth beneath your feet!


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Groundhog Day (Blu-Ray)

Director: Harold Ramis Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment PG
Language (Country): English, French, Portuguese
Bill Murray is at his wry, wisecracking best in this riotous romantic comedy about a weatherman caught in a personal time warp on the worst day of his life. Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer (Andie MacDowell) and a smart-aleck cameraman (Chris Elliott), TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard, which he failed to predict, and finds himself stuck in small-town hell. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they do. Phil wakes the next morning to find it's Groundhog Day all over again... and again... and again.


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Guest of Cindy Sherman

Director: Paul H-O and Tom Donahue



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Gustavo Dudamel: Live from Salzburg - Beethoven/Mussorgsky

Director: Christian Kurt Weisz
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon NR
Language (Country): English
This DVD portrays Gustavo Dudamel's thrilling debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2008 recorded live in the heat of the moment at the Grosses Festspielhaus. This compelling concert features Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated in psychedelic colors by Ravel, eliciting rousing playing from Dudamel's young instrumentalists. For the Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Dudamel assembles the classical dream team including pianist Martha Argerich, violinist Renaud Capuçon and cellist Gautier Capuçon who bring emotionality to one of Beethoven's most emotionally naked compositions. DVD EXTRAS: Die Schule des Hörens--master classes in listening led by Dudamel, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and the SBYOV as given at the 2008 Salzburg Festival.


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Head-On

Director: Fatih Akin Cem Akin, Philipp Baltus, Meltem Cumbul, Francesco Fiannaca, Stefan GebelhoffArt House & International
Studio: Strand Releasing R
Language (Country): German, Turkish
"Head-On", Fatih Akin's gritty drama, is like a great punk-rock song-- rough around the edges, but filled with heart. Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a middle-aged drunk whose apartment looks like the toilet in "Trainspotting". Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) is a suicidal woman half his age, stuck at home with repressive relatives. They're two troubled Turks, adrift in Germany. A chance encounter at a psychiatric hospital represents a way out. If Cahit will marry her, Sibel can flee her family. They'll accept him, because he's Turkish. As for Cahit, he won't be alone anymore, left to mourn his dead wife and drink his life away. At first, things go as planned. Sibel moves into Cahit's dump and spiffs it up. The two live, eat, and party together, while continuing to see other people. Gradually, their marriage of convenience starts to resemble the real thing--until Cahit's violent tendencies get the best of him. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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Herzog/Kinski Collection

Director: World Cinema
Studio: Video Treasures
Language (Country): German



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The High Life

Director: Siobhan Redmond, Alan Cumming, Forbes Masson, Patrick RyecartTV
Studio: 2entertain Suitable for 12 years and over
Language (Country): English
Alan Cumming stars in this campy comedy series about the zany antics amongst the crew of a charter jet. Includes all six episodes of the series. Episodes include: Feart Birl WinchChoobDug Dunk


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High Noon: 60th Anniversary Edition

Director: Fred Zinnemann Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado
Studio: Olive Films NR
Language (Country): English
This groundbreaking western was voted at the 33rd greatest film of all time by the AFIr (100 Years. 100 Movies). Gary Cooper won the Oscarr for Best Actor in this classic tale of a lawman who stands alone to defend a town of cowardly citizen against a gang of killers seeking revenge. In one of the greatest showdowns in cinema history, Cooper's Sheriff Will Kane stands to lose not only the town, but also his bride, Grace Kelly. The stellar cast includes Lloyd Bridges, Thomas Mitchell, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Henry Morgan, Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef. High Noon won a total of four Academy Awardsr including Best Editing, Score (Dimitri Tiomkin) and Song, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", written by Tiomkin and Ned Washington and sung by Tex Ritter. High Noon also received Oscarr nominations for Best Picture (Stanley Kramer), Best Director (Fred Zinnemann) and Best Screenplay (Carl Foreman).


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Hiroshima Mon Amour - Criterion Collection

Director: Alain Resnais Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud, Bernard FressonArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): French
An extraordinary and deeply moving film that retains much of its power since its original release in 1959, Alain Resnais's "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" is the story of a French woman (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese man (Eiji Okada) who become lovers in the city of Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb to end World War II in the Pacific. Written by Marguerite Duras and juggled, as if by wandering thoughts, in chronology and setting by Resnais, the film reveals the miserable and mortifying experiences of each character during the war and suggests the obvious healing properties of their relationship in the present. An emotional allusion or two can certainly be made with the more recent "The English Patient", but nothing can quite prepare one for Resnais's extreme yet intuitively accessible experiments in fusing the past, present, and future into great sweeps of subjectively experienced memory. Yet audiences have never had trouble relating to this bold milestone of the French New Wave, largely because at its heart is a genuinely affecting, soulful love story. "--Tom Keogh"


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History Of Britain (in the Simon Schama Collection)



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A History of Violence

Director: David Cronenberg Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton HolmesAction & Adventure
Studio: New Line Home Video R
Language (Country): English
On the surface, David Cronenberg may seem an unlikely candidate to direct "A History of Violence", but dig deeper and you'll see that he's the right man for the job. As an intellectual seeker of meaning and an avowed believer in Darwinian survival of the fittest, Cronenberg knows that the story of mild-mannered small-town diner proprietor Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is in fact a multilayered examination of inbred human behavior, beginning when Tom's skillful killing of two would-be robbers draws unwanted attention to his idyllic family life in rural Indiana. He's got a loving wife (Maria Bello) and young daughter (Heidi Hayes) who are about to learn things about Tom they hadn't suspected, and a teenage son (Ashton Holmes) who has inherited his father's most prominent survival trait, manifesting itself in ways he never expected. By the time Tom has come into contact with a scarred villain (Ed Harris) and connections that lead him to a half-crazy kingpin (William Hurt, in a spectacular cameo), Cronenberg has plumbed the dark depths of human nature so skillfully that "A History of Violence" stands well above the graphic novel that inspired it (indeed, Cronenberg was unaware of the source material behind Josh Olson's chilling adaptation). With hard-hitting violence that's as sudden as it is graphically authentic, this is "A History of Violence" that's worthy of serious study and widespread acclaim. "--Jeff Shannon"
On the DVD
On a single disc and with little fanfare, this DVD makes an excellent case for the best extras of the year. Dive into the one-hour-long documentary and learn more about moviemaking than on many a double-disc. The secret lies in director David Cronenberg's (and his usual crew) folksy casualness in showing off the craft, be it makeup (green screens were used), directing (Cronenberg doesn't storyboard), or art direction (the diner set). It also is very funny to hear about "fish Fridays" and how Maria Bello's Uncle Pete became an influence. Even the infamous sex-on-the-staircase scene is diagnosed with candor as stars Viggo Mortensen and Bello act as if there is no backstage camera. There's only one deleted scene, but it's uncommonly deconstructed on why it was filmed and why it was cut (it's a very Cronenbergian dream sequence). A short bit on Cannes is also a delight. So much is here that Cronenberg's smart commentary track is nearly superfluous. Isn't that a nice surprise? "--Doug Thomas"


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Holy Men and Fools

Director: Michael Yorke
A 71 minute profound insight into the mystical world of the Hindu ascetics living in caves in the high Himalayas.


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The Holy Mountain (in The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky)



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Hope Springs

Director: Alex Kingston, Annette Crosbie, Ronni Ancona, Siân Reeves, Christine BottomleyComedy
Studio: Acorn Media UK Ltd Suitable for 15 years and over
This is the best drama series I have seen in a very long time. Fast-paced and totally gripping it has had me on the edge of my seat as I followed all the twists and turns of the plot. The characters of Ellie and the girls, Sadie and all the others are so well-developed that I soon felt as if I knew them all intimately. The Scottish scenery is too gorgeous for words and I felt as if I was breathing in that champagne clear air and walking the landscape. I have already watched it twice, each episode I wanted to know what was would happen next while at the same time wanting to linger in the moment. Eight episodes is far too short. I can't possibly understand why the BBC would declare that Hope Spring " did not reach it's target audience". Just bow to popular demand and give us a sequel, quick as!


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Hotel Rwanda (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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How Green Was My Valley (in Studio Classics Collection)



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How to Cook Your Life

Director: Doris Dörrie, Doris Doerrie Edward Espe BrownDocumentary
Studio: Lions Gate PG-13
Language (Country): English, German
Dorris Dörrie's jazz-inflected documentary should come with a disclaimer: Don't watch on an empty stomach. While it doesn't cover the basics of food preparation, "How to Cook Your Life" offers a delectable introduction to Buddhist living. Yes, subject Edward Brown is both pastry chef and Zen priest, but Dörrie's approach is more holistic than instructional. (For culinary specifics, viewers can always pick up Brown's bestselling how-to guide, "The Tassajara Bread Book".) In other words, home cooking--as opposed to fast food and pre-packaged goods--isn't just healthier and better for the environment; it connects the creator to the product of their efforts. And it helps if they know more about the tools of their trade. Hence, the director of 2000's "Enlightenment Guaranteed" and a Buddhist practitioner herself, also interviews organic gardeners, cookware salespeople, and the like. Throughout, Brown shows students in the US and Austria how to prepare vegetarian pizza, fruit tarts, and other wholesome delights. All the while, he talks about the connection between the body and the spirit. Fortunately, Brown isn't some kind of holier-than-though type. Little things, like hard-to-open packages, can set him off, but he's just as quick to laugh. To him, cooking is a way to nourish yourself and others. As he likes to say, "When you wash the rice, wash the rice." (True, he sounds like Yoda at times; it’s actually quite charming.) Like "Super-Size Me", "How to Cook Your Life" is an elegy for those long-lost days of leisurely dinners with loved ones. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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How to Draw a Bunny

Director: John W. Walter Roy Lichtenstein, Gerald Ayres, James Rosenquist, Judith Malina, Ray Johnson (VIII)Documentary
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd Unrated
Language (Country): English
A fascinating look inside the New York art scene and the predecessor class to Warhol. I confess that I knew absolutely nothing about this artist before watching this documentary, and yet I couldn't get enough of it. Truly a man who lived his life as art. And his death? That's the central guessing game of this film, and it makes for a captivating and vaguely haunting biopic.


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Idiocracy

Director: Mike Judge Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard, Anthony 'Citric' Campos, David HermanComedy
Studio: 20th Century Fox R
Language (Country): English, Spanish
Given that "Office Space" is a bona fide cult classic, it comes as some surprise that Mike Judge's follow-up wasn't more heavily promoted. Granted, this live-action comedy is a darker, more pointed proposition, but it's unfortunate that few theater patrons got the opportunity to, well, judge for themselves. In "Idiocracy", the "King of the Hill" creator visualizes what would happen if Devo's proposition--that mankind is in the process of devolution--came to pass. The catalyst: the overeducated start having fewer children while the undereducated have more. Enter Joe (Luke Wilson), a military librarian with no family and even less ambition. The Pentagon chooses him for a top-secret hibernation project due to his extreme "average-ness." They select Rita ("SNL"'s Maya Rudolph), a prostitute, for the same reason. When the experiment goes haywire, the two emerge 500 years later--rather than one. Now it's 2505 and they're the brightest people in the over-polluted land. Everyone else is, basically, Beavis and Butt-head. Yes, the satire couldn't be less subtle, but the premise gives Judge license to make as much fun of junk food pop culture as dystopian classics like "1984" and "Planet of the Apes". Wilson wisely plays it straight, even if the actors who surround him sometimes succumb to excess. And the effects may be cheesy, but that just adds to the fun. "Idiocracy" features former footballer Terry Crews ("Everybody Hates Chris") as President Camacho and Dax Shepard ("Punk'd") as Joe's futuristic friend Frito. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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The idiots

Director: Lars von Trier Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing, Troels Lyby, Nikolaj Lie KaasR
Language (Country): Danish



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The Importance of Being Earnest (in The Oscar Wilde Collection)



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In the Loop (Blu-Ray)

Director: Armando Iannucci James Gandolfini, Peter Capaldi, Anna Chlumsky, James Doherty, Mimi KennedyArt House & International
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO Unrated
Language (Country): English
It s the razor-sharp smash that critics are calling brilliant (San Francisco Chronicle), blisteringly funny (USA Today) and "One of the best films of the year... a little piece of heaven (Chicago Tribune). Peter Capaldi stars as a foul-mouthed British government spokesman who must act quickly when a mid-level minister (Tom Hollander of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) tells an interviewer that U.S. war in the Middle East is unforeseeable . But when they are both summoned to Washington D.C., the hapless politico quickly becomes a pawn of bureaucrats, spin doctors and military advisors, including a hardnosed General (James Gandolfini, in a performance Rolling Stone hails as slyly hilarious ). Gina McKee (WONDERLAND), Anna Chlumsky (MY GIRL) and Steve Coogan (TROPIC THUNDER) co-star in this hilarious satire from director/co-writer Armando Iannucci, the award-winning creator of the classic BBC sitcoms I M ALAN PARTRIDGE and THE THICK OF IT.


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In the Mood for Love - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Wong Kar-Wai Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Rebecca Pan, Lai Chin, Siu Ping-LamArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): Cantonese
Winner of numerous awards including Best Actor at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, "In the Mood for Love" confirmed that Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is a major figure in world cinema. As passionate as it is politely discreet, his film takes place in 1962 Hong Kong, where neighboring apartment dwellers Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) discover that their oft-absent spouses are having an affair. This realization parallels their own mutual attraction, but fidelity and decency ensure that their intimate bond remains unspoken though deeply understood. With a stealthy, eavesdropping camera style and a screenplay created through spontaneous on-set inspiration, Wong Kar-wai crafts an intricate, finely tuned platonic romance, enhancing its ambience with a kaleidoscope of color (most notably in Cheung's dazzling wardrobe of "cheongsam" dresses) and careful attention to character detail. Deservedly placed on many critics' top 10 lists, this elegant film should not be missed. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks

Director: Ingmar Bergman Art House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): German, Latin, Swedish
The late Swedish master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman rose to international stardom in the 1950s. Here together in one box set are four of his most cherished unforgettable masterpiecesSystem Requirements:Run time: 384 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA/BIOGRAPHY Rating: NR UPC: 715515027625 Manufacturer No: CC1735DDVD


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Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie (Documentary about the making of Winter Light) (in



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Into Great Silence

Director: Philip Groning The Carthusian Order
Studio: Zeitgeist Films Unrated
Language (Country): English, French, Latin
Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks quarters for six months filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it s a rare, transformative experience for all.

DISC ONE, THE FILM:
Breathtaking 16:9 anamorphic transfer, created from Hi-Def elements
U.S. theatrical trailer
Optional English subtitles

DISC TWO, THE EXTRAS:
The Making of Into Great Silence : With behind-the-scenes footage,
location photos and handwritten notes from the monks
Additional scenes, including a segment on the preparation of the
Carthusian s world-famous Chartreuse liqueur
Night Mass
The Carthusian Order : An informative guide to the rules, architecture, and
daily schedules of the monks and the monasteries
Extensive photo, poster, and press kit galleries
And more!


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The IT Crowd Series 1 & 2 Box Set

Director: Richard Ayoade, Christopher Morris, Chris O'Dowd, Katherine ParkinsonComedy
Studio: 2 Entertain Video To Be Announced
Bored with sit-coms ?
Not seen anything new in a while ?
Well I think this is a fantastic fresh comedy with 3 new characters that are very very lost and end up working together in the basement of a big corporation biulding.
It could have worked a lot better without the background laughs , that ruins it a bit sometimes.


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The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season

Director: Graham Linehan Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO NR
Language (Country): English
From the Producer of the Office and Director Graham Linehan

Version 3.0 has finally arrived, and your most urgent IT Department queries can now be answered: Will Jen s builder urinate in all her sinks? Why is Moss speaking like a manly football fan? How did Roy end up living on the street? Who is Reynholm s new Employee Of The Month? Can anyone stop the horror of Friendface? Should a charity calendar ever feature topless nerds? Have you tried turning it off and on again? Chris O Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry star in this all-new season of the Emmy winning IFC hit from writer/director Graham Linehan (FATHER TED) and executive producer Ash Atalla (THE OFFICE). THE IT CROWD proves, says Wired, that nothing beats funny walks or electroshock-therapy pants when it comes to getting a big-ass belly laugh!


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Italian for Beginners

Director: Lone Scherfig Anders W. Berthelsen, Anette Støvelbæk, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Peter Gantzler, Lars KaalundArt House & International
Studio: Walt Disney Video R
Language (Country): Italian
Not your usual lighthearted romance, Lone Sherfig's heartwarming comedy warms the usually chilly Dogme 95 world of prickly eccentrics and damaged souls with a glowing sense of hope and passion. A belligerent restaurant manager, a repressed hotelier, a lonely hairdresser, and a clumsy, childlike bakery clerk are among the lonely thirtysomethings who escape the social disasters and comic chaos of their unfulfilled lives in an Italian-language evening course. It becomes a place to dream and to heal emotional wounds (and they have more than their fair share of scars). Sherfig manages to turn the familiar social landscape of films as "The Celebration" and "The King Is Alive"--fractured families, abusive parents, tragic pasts--into a backdrop for romantic comedy. If not exactly profound, "Italian for Beginners" remains a sweet, hopeful, and affirming tale of eccentrics who find friendship, family, and romance while learning the language of love. "--Sean Axmaker"


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Jack Goes Boating

Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-VegaComedy
Studio: Overture Films R



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Jacob's Ladder (Blu-Ray)

Director: Adrian Lyne Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Studio: Lions Gate R
Language (Country): English
Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pe+Ýa. A recently returned Vietnam vet seems to be living in a gruesome nightmare and can't separate fantasy from reality. 1990/color/116 min/R.


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The Jazz Singer

Director: John G. Adolfi, Max Fleischer, F. Lyle Goldman Otis Skinner, Beryl Mercer, Betty Jane Graham, Loretta Young, Walter PidgeonDrama
Studio: Warner Home Video Unrated
Language (Country): English
It's one of the most famous titles in film history, and everybody knows why: in a handful of sequences in "The Jazz Singer", sound and image are excitingly synchronized. By 1927, some short subjects had already been "talkies," and a few features had synchronized music, but "The Jazz Singer" gets the prize as the breakthrough. Because the film is largely without dialogue, you can--even watching the film today--almost palpably sense the shift in movie epochs, as cinema takes an evolutionary leap from one form to the next. The movie itself, based on a successful Broadway show by Samson Raphaelson, is strictly melodrama of an ancient kind. Young Jakie Rabinowitz is expected to follow in the long line of family Cantors, but his heart yearns to sing "Toot Toot, Tootsie" instead of "Kol Nidre." Al Jolson plays Jakie (later Jack Robin of footlights fame), and you get a taste of why he was widely considered the greatest entertainer of his time; watch him with a tearjerker such as "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face" and you'll see the skillful, completely irony-free manipulations of a master storyteller. Equally fun is Jolson's non-singing patter--in fact, this is where you get the thrill of talking pictures, more so than the songs. "You ain't heard nuthin' yet," he burbles, and it's hard not to catch the excitement.
Jolson's numbers include his blackface act, a longstanding tradition of minstrel shows and music halls, and an unavoidable source of awkwardness for later viewers (see "The Savages" for an amusing account of the embarrassment this can cause). Blackface is a bizarre show business reality, and it's part of the movie, so some historical context is required.
Warner Bros. rightly considers "The Jazz Singer" a key moment in the studio's history, and this three-disc DVD package gives the deluxe treatment. The film itself is beautifully restored, and reproductions of original supporting materials (souvenir program, stills, ads) are fun. A booklet on early Vitaphone shorts clearly predates "The Jazz Singer", for Jolson is mentioned only as a star of Vitaphone shorts, and George Jessel is tabbed as the future star of "The Jazz Singer" (he'd played Jakie on Broadway). A 90-minute documentary gives a fine account of how the Vitaphone system worked, and how other systems actually became the industry standard.
Supplemental short films are a true treasure trove. "A Plantation Act" is more Jolson blackface, "Hollywood Handicap" a studio short comedy directed by Buster Keaton, and "I Love to Singa" a hilarious 1936 Tex Avery cartoon--a spoof of "The Jazz Singer" starring a bird named Owl Jolson. A flabbergasting collection of Vitagraph shorts--over four hours' worth--makes up disc 3 of this set: utterly weird and wonderful performances by some of the strangest acts ever to kill vaudeville. There are a few names here: George Burns and Gracie Allen in a short called "Lambchops", the Foy Family doing wacky stage business. But the cornball timed jokes of Shaw & Lee, the saucy songs of Trixie Friganza, not to mention "The Wizard of the Mandolin," Bernardo De Pace--these are gems, folks. Anyone with a taste for showbiz past will love them. "--Robert Horton"


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Jean-Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child

Director: Tamra Davis Jean Michel BasquiatDocumentary
Studio: NEW VIDEO GROUP NR
Language (Country): English
"Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child" is a respectfully vivid, accurate, and entertaining homage to a painter who led a radical life and left an ambitious body of work behind after his premature death. The film opens with 1986 footage of Basquiat being interviewed in a hotel room by friends Becky Johnston and director Tamra Davis. For Basquiat fans, this film will prove essential viewing to flesh out an understanding of downtown New York's art scene in the 1980s, and to see Basquiat's pivotal role in this. While "Downtown 81" is an awesome fictionalized portrait of Basquiat and his crew, and Julian Schnabel's feature "Basquiat" serves as tribute via Schnabel's dramatic artistic interpretation, "Radiant Child" offers the best possible documentary coverage of Basquiat's triumph and demise. This feature-length film, constructed after Davis unearthed her 10-years-buried Basquiat footage to make a 20-minute short, then buried that another 10 years because of her strong wish to avoid exploitation, contains so much footage of Basquiat painting, partying, and being his charismatic self that one trusts it immediately. Additionally, Davis has interviewed every affiliated gallerist, among them Diego Cortez, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Annina Nosei, and Jeffrey Deitch, not to mention all of Basquiat's surviving close friends, including Schnabel, Fab 5 Freddy, Glenn O'Brien, Maripol, and Thurston Moore. The film, organized chronologically to chart Basquiat's move out of Brooklyn to Manhattan, his beginnings as an itinerant street artist named Samo, his rise to gallery stardom, and his struggles at the end, marks time by showing paintings throughout that commemorate moments in Basquiat's life. While the film obviously ends on a melancholy note as a warning about sudden fame and fortune, this film is ultimately more than a documentary about one man. It is a well-made testament, from the actual participants' perspectives, about what conspired in New York to allow Basquiat to shine. For viewers who recall those times, it may feel nostalgic; for viewers who glorify 1980s New York, this film will solidify New York's greatness; viewers who are artists may identify most, as one experiences a glimpse of a New York lifestyle that has come and gone. "Radiant Child" is not only a riveting story but a valuable archival resource, yet another fantastic release from the stellar distributor, Arthouse Films. --"Trinie Dalton"


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Jeeves And Wooster : Complete ITV Series

Director: Robert Young, Simon Langton, Ferdinand Fairfax Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Charlotte Attenborough, Robert Daws, Simon TrevesTelevision
Studio: ITV DVD Parental Guidance
Language (Country): English



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Jekyll

Director: James Nesbitt, Adam Burton, Victor Power, Tony Gardner, Fenella WoolgarArt House & International
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
One of the most novel interpretations of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," this BBC TV mini-series offers a terrific performance from James Nesbitt as Tom Jackman, a modern-day descendant of Stevenson's scientist hero who discovers that he shares his ancestor's penchant for transforming into a more animalistic alter ego. While Mr. Hyde (also played by Nesbitt) is physically less of the monster than previously portrayed in movie adaptations (his actions speak a different story), he's also cunning, id-driven version of Jackman, and soon discovers that he's the target of a shadowy organization out to discover the secret behind the transformation for its own nefarious purposes. Part Hammer-style horror-thriller, part "X-Files" conspiracy fiction, and part solid drama (the relationship between Jackman/Hyde and his wife, played by Gina Bellman, gives the fantastic storylines a basis in reality, though his flirtations with sultry assistant Michelle Ryan of "Bionic Woman" tip more towards heavy-breathing pulp), "Jekyll" is terrific fun from executive producer Stephen Moffat ("Coupling", "Doctor Who"), who understands how to deliver engaging science fiction for a wide audience. The two-DVD set includes uncut versions of all six episodes, commentaries by Moffat and members of the cast and crew (including Bellman and Moffat's wife and co-executive producer, writer Beryl Vertue), as well as two featurettes, including a 45-minute look at the making of the series. " -- Paul Gaita"


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Jerome Robbins: Something To Dance About - The Definitive Biography of an American Dance Master

Director: Judy Kinberg Ron Rifkin, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Stephen Sondheim
Studio: Kultur Video NR
Language (Country): English
'Give me something to dance about and I'll dance it.'
Jerome Robbins to Irving Berlin
No other creative figure of the latter twentieth century was as contradictory as Jerome Robbins, and few were as controversial. He was a master of the Broadway musical, transforming its possibilities with such works as West Side Story, Gypsy, and Peter Pan, and was one of the greatest ballet choreographers this country has ever produced.
This first and only documentary on Robbins features excerpts from his personal journals, archival performance footage, and never-before-seen rehearsal recordings, as well as interviews with Robbins himself and over forty witnesses among them Mikhail Baryshnikov; Jacques d'Amboise; Suzanne Farrell; Arthur Laurents; Peter Martins; Rita Moreno; Austin Pendleton; Frank Rich; Chita Rivera; Stephen Sondheim; and Robbins Fiddler collaborators Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein.
'Robbins' remarkable body of work forever redefined dance and musical theater for a contemporary audience', says Susan Lacy, Creator and Executive Producer of WNET's AMERICAN MASTERS, a six-time winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. 'The revival of West Side Story on Broadway this winter just validates his lasting importance, his lasting impression. We are thrilled to air this film in tribute to Robbins' genius, celebrating the 90th anniversary of his birth.'
Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About was directed and produced by six-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Judy Kinberg and written by best-selling Robbins biographer Amanda Vaill. This film is narrated by Ron Rifkin (Brothers & Sisters), who performed the roles of both Robbins and his father in a workshop production of the director/choreographer s theatrical autobiography, The Poppa Piece.


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Jimmy Bosch: Allstar Band Live in Puerto Rico

Director: Music Video & Concerts
Studio: Mri Associated NR
Language (Country): Spanish
The fourteenth edition of the Heineken Jazzfest at the Tito Puente ampitheatre in San Juan, Puerto Rico took off with the explosive performance of the Jimmy Bosch Allstar Band.
It was a unique and impactful experience with ample deployment of talent and a reaffirmation as one of the most promising figures in carribean music, in particular, Salsa Dura. Jimmy Bosch's intention was to demonstrate the rich value of great Salsa through its descarga element showcasing the freedom of expression through improvisation on top of the Clave and the Montuno.
Without a doubt, his redemption of a pledge was impressive due to an allstar group of musicians that accompanied him:
Edwin Sanchez - Piano, Ruben Rodriguez - Bass, Nicky Merrero - Timbales, George Delgado - Conga's, George Padilla - Bongo, Angie Machado - Trompeta, Jeff Lederer - Tenor Sax, Maurice Snith Jr. - Baritone Sax / Flute, Juan Rey Byaone - Lead Vocals
The prodigious jam sessions and extraordinary display of musicality by Jimmy's allstar band created a musical dialogue which provoked a climate of ecstacy with each tune.


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John Cleese's Personal Best

Director: Monty Python's Flying CircusComedy
Studio: A&E Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
The SAINTS of SATIRE, The LORDS of LAUGHTER, The HIGH PRIESTS of LOW COMEDY have sold out once again. For more than 40 years, John Cleese has made millions--nay, billions--of fans laugh themselves into a state of near incontinence. But have you ever asked yourself, "What makes John Cleese laugh?" You haven t, have you, you selfish git? Well, for once in your life think about someone else and pick up this copy of JOHN CLEESE S PERSONAL BEST. It s chock full of Python bits selected by The Great Cleese himself, plus original never-before-seen material created by The Magnificent One exclusivey for this sacred DVD. Collect all six PERSONAL BEST collections. For the Python lover, they're concentrated joy. For the novice, a dangerously addictive substance to be administered with care. DVD Features: Behind the Scenes of JOHN CLEESE S PERSONAL BEST; The John Cleese 15-Question, 15-Ton Megaquiz; Biography and Selected Credits; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection


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John from Cincinnati - The Complete First Season

Director: Adam Davidson, Daniel Minahan, Ed Bianchi, Gregg Fienberg, Jeremy Podeswa Rebecca De Mornay, Greyson Fletcher, Willie Garson, Luis Guzmán, Keala Kennelly
Studio: Hbo Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
A 2007 HBO television series created by "Deadwood's " David Milch, " John from Cincinnati" details a week in the dysfunctional Yost family--a family comprised of three generations of men obsessed with surfing who experience firsthand the perils of fame, paranormal events, and an inexplicable realization of the interconnectedness of man. Past surfing great Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood) had his career halted by a knee injury, but passed his love of surfing onto his son Butchie (Brian Van Holt) only to have fame drive his son to a heavy drug use that's destroying his life. Butchie's son Shaun (Greyson Fletcher) is being raised by Mitch and his wife Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay) and also possesses a deep love surfing and a talent that promises him a great future, if he can only get his grandfather to allow him to compete. The family's circle of friends and acquaintances seem mostly to argue, swear, and generally tear each other down and include retired and mentally unstable police officer Bill (Ed O'Neill), surfer girl Kai (Keala Kennelly) who works at the Yost's surf shop and watches out for Shaun, motel manager Ramon (Luiz Gứzman), Butchie's settlement lawyer Palaka (Paul Ben-Victor), and a few other seemingly unrelated townspeople. The mysterious arrival of John, who insists on seeing Butchie, sparks the beginning of one strangely paranormal experience after another for the family and community including unexplained levitations and visions, a haunted hotel room, and two resurrections from death. Somehow, John emphasizes the connectedness of both family members and townspeople and, while John himself comes across as significantly dim, he has a knack for saying the profound without understanding a word of what he speaks. As the days go by, it becomes apparent that John gives voice to the words of his father or The Father. This eight-episode series is an exploration of self-centeredness, fear, and faith and John's role as savior, doomsayer, unwitting pawn, or simpleton is never clear--the end of the season at day seven brings no real resolution or sense of whether the Yost family is better off or worse than they were before John appeared. A truly bizarre show full of unanswered questions and crude language and subject matter, it is somehow intriguing even as it is repulsive and unsatisfying. "--Tami Horiuchi"


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Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story

Director: Joni MitchellDocumentary
Studio: Eagle Vision USA NR
Language (Country): English
One of the great talents of her or anyone else's generation gets the royal treatment with this superb two-hour (with bonus material) documentary. It's all here (via interviews, including conversations past and present with Mitchell herself, photos, generous helpings of concert footage, and more): her Saskatchewan childhood, her lovers, her painting, her reunion with the daughter she had left behind at age 19... and, of course, her music, the songs, recordings, and performances, so intensely personal yet so universally accessible, that comprise one of the most extraordinarily original and significant (if not always wildly popular) bodies of work any artist has ever produced. Even true fanatics are likely to find revelations here; the rest of us can simply rejoice in the life and artistry of Joni Mitchell. The extras are highlighted by complete concert readings of four songs, including "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock." "--Sam Graham"


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Journey After Awakening

Director: Adyashanti



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Judgment at Nuremberg (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Jules and Jim - Criterion Collection

Director: François Truffaut Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino, Boris BassiakArt House & International
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): French
François Truffaut's third feature, though it's named for the two best friends who become virtually inseparable in pre-World War I Paris, is centered on Jeanne Moreau's Catherine, the most mysterious, enigmatic woman in his career-long gallery of rich female portraits. Adapted from the novel by Henri-Pierre Roché, Truffaut's picture explores the 30-year friendship between Austrian biologist Jules (Oskar Werner) and Parisian writer Jim (Henri Serre) and the love triangle formed when the alluring Catherine makes the duo a trio. Spontaneous and lively, a woman of intense but dynamic emotions, she becomes the axle on which their friendship turns as Jules woos her and they marry, only to find that no one man can hold her. Directed in bursts of concentrated scenes interspersed with montage sequences and pulled together by the commentary of an omniscient narrator, Truffaut layers his tragic drama with a wealth of detail. He draws on his bag of New Wave tricks for the carefree days of youth--zooms, flash cuts, freeze frames--that disappear as the marriage disintegrates during the gloom of the postwar years. Werner is excellent as Jules, a vibrant young man whose slow, melancholy slide into emotional compromise is charted in his increasingly sad eyes and resigned face, while Serre plays Jim as more of an enigma, guarded and introspective. But both are eclipsed in the glare of Moreau's radiant Catherine: impulsive, demanding, sensual, passionate, destructive, and ultimately unknowable. A masterpiece of the French New Wave and one of Truffaut's most confident and accomplished films. "--Sean Axmaker"


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Junior Bonner (in The Steve McQueen Collection)



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Justified - Season 06

Director: Timothy Olyphant, Erica Tazel, Margo Martindale, Jeremy Davies, Walton Goggins
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Unrated
Language (Country): Spanish, English
From creator Graham Yost, each episode of the edge-of-your seat final season propels U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and criminal mastermind Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) ever closer to their ultimate confrontation. While Raylan is torn by just how far he will go to bring Boyd down – including using Boyd’s fiancée Ava (Joelle Carter) as his secret informant – both Raylan and Boyd must now contend with the new incendiary force in town (Sam Elliott), a drug lord intent on building his own pot empire in Harlan. Based on the short story “Fire in the Hole” by Elmore Leonard, the Peabody Award-winning drama now takes its place in the pantheon of acclaimed drama series.


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Kill Bill: Volume 1 (Blu-Ray)

Director: Quentin Tarantino Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Lucy Liu
Studio: Miramax Lionsgate R
Language (Country): English
Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" is trash for connoisseurs. From his opening gambit (including a "Shaw-Scope" logo and gaudy '70s-vintage "Our Feature Presentation" title card) to his cliffhanger finale (a teasing lead-in to 2004's Vol. 2), Tarantino pays loving tribute to grindhouse cinema, specifically the Hong Kong action flicks and spaghetti Westerns that fill his fervent brain--and this frequently breathtaking movie--with enough cinematic references and cleverly pilfered soundtrack cues to send cinephiles running for their reference books. Everything old is new again in Tarantino's humor-laced vision: he steals from the best while injecting his own oft-copied, never-duplicated style into what is, quite simply, a revenge flick, beginning with the near-murder of the Bride (Uma Thurman), pregnant on her wedding day and left for dead by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (or DiVAS)--including Lucy Liu and the unseen David Carradine (as Bill)--who become targets for the Bride's lethal vengeance. Culminating in an ultraviolent, ultra-stylized tour-de-force showdown, Tarantino's fourth film is either brilliantly (and brutally) innovative or one of the most blatant acts of plagiarism ever conceived. Either way, it's hyperkinetic eye-candy from a passionate film-lover who clearly knows what he's doing. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Kill Bill: Volume 2 (Blu-Ray)

Director: Quentin Tarantino Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox
Studio: Miramax Lionsgate R
Language (Country): English
"The Bride" (Uma Thurman) gets her satisfaction--and so do we--in Quentin Tarantino's "roaring rampage of revenge," "Kill Bill, Vol. 2". Where "Vol. 1" was a hyper-kinetic tribute to the Asian chop-socky grindhouse flicks that have been thoroughly cross-referenced in Tarantino's film-loving brain, "Vol. 2"--not a sequel, but Part Two of a breathtakingly cinematic epic--is Tarantino's contemporary martial-arts Western, fueled by iconic images, music, and themes lifted from any source that Tarantino holds dear, from the action-packed cheapies of William Witney (one of several filmmakers Tarantino gratefully honors in the closing credits) to the spaghetti epics of Sergio Leone. Tarantino doesn't copy so much as elevate the genres he loves, and the entirety of "Kill Bill" is clearly the product of a singular artistic vision, even as it careens from one influence to another. Violence erupts with dynamic impact, but unlike "Vol. 1", this slower grand finale revels in Tarantino's trademark dialogue and loopy longueurs, reviving the career of David Carradine (who plays Bill for what he is: a snake charmer), and giving Thurman's Bride an outlet for maternal love and well-earned happiness. Has any actress endured so much for the sake of a unique collaboration? As the credits remind us, "The Bride" was jointly created by "Q&U," and she's become an unforgettable heroine in a pair of delirious movie-movies ("Vol. 3" awaits, some 15 years hence) that Tarantino fans will study and love for decades to come. "--Jeff Shannon"


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The Killing - Series 1-3

Director: Sofie Gråbøl, Søren Malling, Bjarne Henriksen, Lars Mikkelsen, Ann Eleonora JørgensenTV
Studio: Arrow Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English, Danish
Languages: Danish / Subtitles: English


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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Director: Seth Gordon Billy Mitchell, Steve WiebeDocumentary
Studio: New Line Home Video PG-13
Language (Country): English
The stuff of gladiatorial battle is here: good versus evil, right versus wrong, nerd versus... super-nerd? At any rate, it's a more entertaining showdown than most fictional movies can muster. "The King of Kong" is the saga of Steve Wiebe, a Redmond, Washington dweeb who sets a new record in the video game "Donkey Kong", only to see his accomplishment challenged by the grand poobahs of the gaming establishment. And if you don't know how pernickety the grand poobahs of the gaming establishment can be, well, one of the pleasures of this movie is finding out about this collection of oddballs. It seems Wiebe has toppled a score that has stood since 1982, when eminent "Gamer of the Century" Billy Mitchell set it, and Mitchell isn't too happy about being overthrown. A black-mulleted showboat, Mitchell provides the perfect counterpoint to Wiebe's mild-mannered family man, and the smaller fish around him are no less colorful. This is one of those movies you watch in delighted disbelief, marveling that such people exist--and that they gladly allowed themselves to be filmed. Director Seth Gordon does an important thing in presenting this world of eccentrics: he doesn't mock them, or provide editorial nudging; he simply lets them be. The result is an ingratiating classic. "--Robert Horton"


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The King of Masks (Hong Kong Version)

Director: Zhu Xu, Wu Tian Ming
Studio: Mei Ah (HK)
Language (Country): Mandarin
Wu Tianming directs The King of Masks, a compelling tale of a master and his apprentice, and a time-honored tradition on the brink of extinction. Wang Bianlian (Zhu Xu) is an elderly street performer who possesses the knowledge of amazing "face-changing" opera techniques. Bianlian wishes to impart his knowledge to future generations, but he has no heir. Enter Gou Wa (Zhou Renying), an orphaned boy adopted by Bianlian, who is quickly charmed by his newly appointed heir. But Gou Wa possesses a secret which traditionally mandates that Bianlian to keep his art from the young child. Should Bianlian save his art, but violate the socially-accepted ways of the society in which he lives? That conflict is the center of The King of Masks, an affecting and surprising drama that explores the rigid gender and cultural politics of 1930s China.


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Kinski: My Best Fiend

Director: Isabelle Adjani, Claudia Cardinale, Justo González, Mick Jagger, Klaus KinskiDocumentary
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay NR
Language (Country): English, German
Most people associate the director Werner Herzog with the actor Klaus Kinski--but few know how twisted and enmeshed their relationship was. Though Kinski has made dozens of movies, he probably remains best known for the five he made with Herzog: "Aguirre: The Wrath of God", "Woyzeck", "Nosferatu the Vampyre", "Cobra Verde", and "Fitzcarraldo". In this documentary/cinematic memoir, Herzog uses clips from these remarkable films, on-the-set footage, and personal recollections to create a portrait of Kinski as both a deeply passionate actor and a raving lunatic; it's hard to say whether he's defaming Kinski or being generous to this mercurial, erratic actor. There's no question that their relationship is fascinating; after their first movie ("Aguirre", probably the best of their collaborations) they both described moments of wanting to kill each other--in fact, both agree that Herzog threatened to shoot Kinski at one point, though they differ on the details. Yet they went on to make four more movies, almost all of them under circumstances that would be difficult for the most serene personalities. "My Best Fiend" was inspired by Kinski's death, and probably the movie's weakest aspect is that we don't get Kinski's side of their friendship. But even though it's one-sided, it's still a remarkable portrait of two artists who were willing to go to extremes to capture their visions. Any fan of either will find this unique documentary indispensable. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Kumbh Mela : The Greatest Show on Earth

Director: Michael Yorke
A series of nineteen ‘as-if-live’ television broadcast events from the Maha Kumbh Mela Hindu pilgrimage on the Ganges River in India in 2001; dubbed ‘the largest human gathering on earth’. In total this is six and a half hours of film. I devised, directed and shot it with a team of 63. Produced by Rex Mundi Films for Channel Four TV. Total 340 minutes.

This series is made up of:
1. “The Introduction”. A superb 52 minute film that introduces the idea of what the Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage is; the nature of the holy men or sadhus that go to it, and the motivations of the average Hindu for attending.

2. “The Daily Broadcasts”. This is 15 x eight-and-a-half-minute daily “as-if-live” broadcasts of the major events that took place each day at the Kumbh Mela. 127 minutes

3. “The Weekend Summaries”. This is three 30 minute summaries of what happened each week, presented by Nitin Ganatra. 90 minutes

4. “The Christmas Special”. This is a sensational 52 minute compilation of the highlights of the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela that was broadcast as a Christmas Special on Channel Four TV, UK.


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Kung Fu Hustle

Director: Kwok Kuen Chan, Chi Ling Chiu, Xiao Lung Ding, Zhi Hua Dong, Xiaogang FengAction & Adventure
Studio: Sony Pictures R
Language (Country): English, French
Stephen Chow (director and star of Shaolin Soccer) is at it again with his newest action-packed and comedic martial-arts adventure, KUNG FU HUSTLE. From wildly imaginative kung fu showdowns to dance sequences featuring tuxedoed mobsters, you've never seen action this outrageous and characters this zany! With jaw-dropping fight sequences by Yuen Wo Ping (famed action choreographer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix), KUNG FU HUSTLE will blow you away! In a town ruled by the Axe Gang, Sing (Stephen Chow) desperately wants to become a member. He stumbles into a slum ruled by eccentric landlords who turn out to be kung fu masters in disguise. Sing's actions eventually cause the Axe Gang and the slumlords to engage in an explosive kung fu battle. Only one side will win and only one hero will emerge as the greatest kung fu master of all.


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La Ronde Criterion Collection

Director: Max Ophuls Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, Simone Simon, Gérard PhilipeArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): French
Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls's delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's controversial turn-of-thecentury play La ronde. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, and aristocrats, all are on equal footing in this multicharacter merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting and shot with Ophuls's trademark intricate cinematography. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer, Audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls, Interview with Max Ophuls's son, the Academy Award winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls
Interview with actor Daniel Gelin (Napoleon, Testament of Orpheus)
Interview with film scholar Alan Williams, Selected correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Schnitzler (the playwright's son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play
New and improved English subtitle translation. PLUS: A new essay by film critic Terrence Raffert


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The Lady Eve - Criterion Collection

Director: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William DemarestArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): English
In 1941, Barbara Stanwyck was offered two screwball roles equally suited to her tart intelligence, deft comic timing, and undeniable sex appeal, and it's a photo finish as to which was funnier--showgirl-on-the-lam Sugarpuss O'Shea, the title character in Howard Hawks's "Ball of Fire", or con artist Jean Harrington a.k.a. Lady Eve Sidwich, the delirious fulcrum for this classic Preston Sturges comedy. Under Sturges's typically antic microscope, the collision between the gold-digging Harrington and the very rich, very hapless brewery-heir-turned-herpetologist Charles Pike (a wonderfully callow, guileless Henry Fonda) yields ample opportunity for the writer-director to skewer issues of class and sex; as always, Sturges is bold in pushing the censors' envelope, capturing a palpable erotic heat between the canny Jean and the literally feverish Charlie, who, after a year up the Amazon, is instantly smitten by the mere sight of her shapely ankles (in hindsight, a precursor to her subsequent effect in "Double Indemnity"). To give away the plot machinations driving the farce would spoil the fun, beyond confirming impersonations, mixed signals, and misunderstandings as the turns in a consistently rollicking ride that makes good use of Charles Coburn and screwball character veterans Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, and Eric Blore. "--Sam Sutherland"


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The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection

Director: Emile Boreo, Mary Clare, Selma Vaz Dias, Catherine Lacey, Philip LeaverMystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): English
In this best-loved of Hitchcock's British-made thrillers, a young woman on a train meets a charming old lady (Dame May Whitty), who promptly disappears. The other passengers deny ever having seen her, leading the young woman to suspect a conspiracy. When she begins investigating, she is drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure.


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Lady Windermere's Fan (in The Oscar Wilde Collection)



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Lamayuru Sanctuary of Dance



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Last Chance to See (Blu-Ray)

Director: Tim Green, John Paul Davidson, Ben Southwell Stephen Fry, Mark Carwardine
Studio: BFS Entertainment NR
Language (Country): English
"Animals on the verge of extinction"

Beloved British comedy legend Stephen Fry follows in the footsteps of his good friend, the late writer Douglas Adams ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), along with zoologist Mark Carwardine, to remote regions in search of some of the rarest, most threatened animals on Earth.

Twenty years ago, Carwardine and Adams embarked on a groundbreaking expedition to find some of the world's most endangered animals. This time, Stephen Fry takes up the challenge with Mark to see how those animals have been faring and which, if any, have survived.

From the Amazon's steamy jungles to New Zealand's icy mountain tops, they seek some of the most remarkable creatures on Earth. "Last Chance to See" is an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking adventure - and a unique insight into the fascinating world that we are in danger of losing.


Episodes: Amazonian Manatee / Northern White Rhino / Aye-Aye / Komodo Dragon / Kakapo / Blue Whale


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The Last Emperor

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci Joan Chen, John Lone, Peter O'Toole
Studio: Criterion Collection PG-13
Language (Country): English
Bernardo Bertolucci s The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable the life of emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and outside of the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Qing-dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.

Special Features
* - DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FOUR-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
* - All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the extended television version
* - Audio commentary featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
* - The Italian Traveler: Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director's geographic influences, from Parma to China
* - Video images taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China
* - The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 52-minute documentary that revisits the film's making
* - A new, 47-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
* - A 66-minute BBC documentary exploring Bertolucci's creative process and the making of The Last Emperor
* - A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
* - A new interview with composer David Byrne
* - A new interview with Ian Buruma examining the historical period of the film
* - Theatrical trailer
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by Bertolucci, and an essay and production-diary extracts from Fabien S. Gerard


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Last Year at Marienbad

Director: Alain Resnais Giorgio Albertazzi, Delphine Seyrig, Sacha Pitoëff, Françoise Bertin, Jean Lanier
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): French
One of the most ferociously iconoclastic and experimental films of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais's 1961 feature, winner of the grand prize at that year's Venice Film Festival, is based on a script by Alain Robbe-Grillet. At its center is what seems to be a simple but unanswerable puzzle: Did its protagonist (Giorgio Albertazzi) have an affair the year before with a woman (Delphine Seyrig) he just met (or possibly re-met) at his hotel? The inquiry becomes an unsettling experiment in flattening the dimensions of past, present, and future so that any difference between them becomes meaningless, while Resnais's coldly formal but oddly dreamlike geometric compositions make space itself seem a function of subjective memory. Add to that Resnais's trademark tracking shots--long, smooth, a visual correlative of a wordless feeling--and this is a film that truly gets under the skin in almost inexplicable ways. One of the most influential works of its time. "--Tom Keogh"


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Late Spring

Director: Yasujiro Ozu Chishu Ryu, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura, Hohi Aoki
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): Japanese
One of the most powerful of the family portraits by Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story), Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Eminent Ozu players Chishu Ryu (There Was a Father) and Setsuko Hara (Late Autumn) command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever and as strong a justification for its maker's inclusion in the pantheon of cinema's greatest directors.


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Le Plaisir

Director: Max Ophuls Jean Gabin, Simone Simon, Danielle DarrieuxArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): French
Roving with his dazzlingly mobile camera around the decadent ballrooms, bucolic countryside retreats, urban bordellos, and painter's studios of late nineteenth-century Parisian society, Max Ophuls brings his astonishing visual dexterity and storytelling bravura to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the limits of spiritual and physical pleasure. Featuring a stunning cast of French stars (including Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin, and Simone Simon), Le plaisir pinpoints the cruel ironies and happy compromises of life with a charming and sophisticated breeziness. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:New, restored high-definition digital transfer, Introduction by filmmaker Todd Haynes, English- and German-language versions of the opening narration, From Script to Screen, a video essay featuring film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthome discussing the evolution of Ophuls's screenplay for Le plaisir, Interviews with actor Daniel Gelin, assistant director Tony Aboyantz, and set decorator Robert Christides, New and improved English subtitle translation. PLUS: A new essay by film critic Robin Wood.


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Leap!

Director: Chad Cameron and Isaac Allen



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The Leopard Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Luchino Visconti Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Paolo Stoppa, Rina Morelli
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): Italian
An epic on the grandest scale, Luchino Viscontis THE LEOPARD (Il gattopardo) re-creates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italys Risorgimento, when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster (The Killers, Brute Force) stars as an aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by the gorgeous Alain Delon (Purple Noon, Le samoura) and Claudia Cardinale (8 , Once Upon a Time in the West). The Criterion Collection is proud to present THE LEOPARD in two distinct versions: Viscontis original and the English-language one released in America.


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Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

Director: Les Blank Les Blank
Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct) NR
Language (Country): English



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Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Director: Roger Vadim Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Philipe, Annette Vadim, Madeleine Lambert, Jeanne ValérieArt House & International
Studio: Fox Lorber NR
Language (Country): French
The imperious Jeanne Moreau stars in this modernized adaptation of the classic French novel of seduction and deceit, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses". Moreau and Gérard Philipe play the amoral Juliette and Valmont, a wife and husband in 1960s Paris who tell each other everything about their endless affairs; they respect nothing but each other's manipulative skill. But when Valmont genuinely falls in love with a virtuous woman (Annette Vadim, the director's wife at the time), Juliette tastes the bitterness of jealousy for the first time. Her revenge destroys not only their lives, but the lives of several innocents as well. Director Roger Vadim is unsubtle, but not without style. Like his other films ("And God Created Woman", "Barbarella"), "Liaisons" features discreet nudity and aloof displays of passion, but the brilliantly orchestrated plot gives "Liaisons" real momentum, helped by a fantastic score from jazz giant Thelonious Monk. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Lessons of Darkness / Fata Morgana

Director: Eugen Des Montagnes, Lotte Eisner, James William Gledhill, Wolfgang von Ungern-SternbergArt House & International
Studio: Anchor Bay NR
Language (Country): German
"Lessons of Darkness" shows the disaster of the Kuwaiti oil fields in flames after the Gulf War. This comes packaged with a special bonus DVD of "Fata Morgana", which also takes a special non-linear look at the beauty of the Sahara Desert.


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The Life and Times of Tim: Season 1

Director: Various Various
Studio: HBO Studios NR
Language (Country): English
What happens when your girlfriend comes home before your hooker hasleft? What do you do when a priest asks you to object to a wedding, as a prank? What happens when your boss orders you to change your ethnicity in order to meet his corporate quotas? Meet Tim: an ordinary guy who makes a habit out of misunderstanding in The Life & Times of Tim – a hilarious, new, adult animated series from Budweiser advertising wunderkind Steve Dildarian.]]>


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Life On Mars : Complete BBC Series 1

Director: John Simm, Philip Glenister, Ashley Pharoah, Bharat Nalluri, Claire Parker (IV)Television
Studio: Contender Home Entertainment Group Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English
How would the modern face of policing cope in the land of "The Sweeney"? That’s the question posed by "Life on Mars", as DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) a modern cop transported back to 1973 after a nasty car accident. There, he finds himself dealing with the significantly rougher attitudes and behaviours of "old-school" British policing, as exemplified by his new boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). It’s a fish-out-of-water story, as Tyler attempts to teach his new colleagues some very modern methods, while attempting to get used to sheepskin jackets, wide lapels and man-made fibres.
This first series of the hugely successful BBC programme sets the scene and introduces the characters that make up Tyler’s new world, but stumbles a bit by trying too hard to explain exactly how he got there (the "coma" subplot just gets in the way). "Life on Mars" is at its best when Glenister is on screen--he’s bigoted, chauvinistic and aggressive, and goes through each episode alternately bellowing or scowling. But he’s a product of his times, and in his heart, all he wants is to catch the bad guys. For Tyler, it’s all about the means, while for Hunt it’s all about the ends. They may not like each other much, but their on-screen chemistry is undeniable, and just one of the things that make this excellent series so watchable. "--Ted Kord"


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Lightning in a Bottle

Director: Action & Adventure
One Night in New York, History was made. A Historic and Joyous Musical Summit.


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The Lion in Winter

Director: Anthony Harvey (II) Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, John Castle (II), Nigel TerryDrama
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) PG
Language (Country): English
In this 12th-century version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), meet on Christmas Eve to discuss the future of the throne. These two are having slight marital problems, as she is kept in captivity most of the year for raising a rebellion against him, and he flaunts his young mistress. Then there are the problems raised by their three treacherous and traitorous sons.
James Goldman won an Oscar® for the brilliant screenplay, based on his Broadway play. It is a tad wordy, as the action is kept to a minimum, but those words are sharp as daggers. The humor is wicked and black and delivered with very dry, dead-on precision. Sparks fly and the screen sizzles whenever Hepburn and O'Toole tango, which is often. Both were nominated for Academy Awards® for their vigorous performances. (She won; he didn't.) There's also an infamous homo-erotic exchange between Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) and Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins). Both actors were making their feature-film debuts. "--Rochelle O'Gorman"


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Little Murders

Director: Vincent Gardenia, Elliott Gould, Lou Jacobi, Jon Korkes, Martin KoveComedy
Studio: 20th Century Fox R
Language (Country): English
Based on jules feiffer's play about a man who marries the girl who saved him from muggers.


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Live-In Maid

Director: Jorge Gaggero Norma Aleandro, Mónica Gonzaga, Elsa Berenguer, Susana Lanteri, Marco MundstockArt House & International
Studio: Koch Lorber Films Unrated
Language (Country): Spanish
In this universally acclaimed film from writer-director Jorge Gaggero, Academy Award-nominated actress Norma Aleandro plays Beba, a sophisticated older woman whose recent divorce has left her in a precarious financial position. Despite her attempts to keep up appearances, she is finally forced to do the unthinkable - discharge her live-in maid. Dora has worked for Beba for thirty years and is dutiful but distant and reserved. When both women finally face life without the other, they soon discover that their relationship is more different than either had ever imagined.


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The Lives of Others

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment R
Language (Country): German
Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this is a first-rate thriller that, like Bertolucci's "The Conformist" and Coppola's "The Conversation", opts for character development over car chases. The place is East Berlin, the year is 1984, and it all begins with a simple surveillance assignment: Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe in a restrained, yet deeply felt performance), a Stasi officer and a specialist in this kind of thing, has been assigned to keep an eye on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch, "Black Book"), a respected playwright, and his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck, "Mostly Martha"). Though Dreyman is known to associate with the occasional dissident, like blacklisted director Albert Jerska (Volkmar Kleinert), his record is spotless. Everything changes when Wiesler discovers that Minister Hempf (Thomas Thieme) has an ulterior motive in spying on this seemingly upright citizen. In other words, it's personal, and Wiesler's sympathies shift from the government to its people--or at least to this one particular person. That would be risky enough, but then Wiesler uses his privileged position to affect a change in Dreyman's life. The God-like move he makes may be minor and untraceable, but it will have major consequences for all concerned, including Wiesler himself. Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck starts with a simple premise that becomes more complicated and emotionally involving as his assured debut unfolds. Though three epilogues is, arguably, two too many, "The Lives of Others" is always elegant, never confusing. It's class with feeling. --"Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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Local Hero

Director: Bill Forsyth Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson, Norman ChancerArt House & International
Studio: Warner Home Video PG
Language (Country): English
When Mac MacIntyre (played with deadpan perfection by Peter Riegert) is sent by his star-gazing, slightly insane Knox Oil and Gas boss (Burt Lancaster) to Scotland's West Coast to buy the rights to a seaside town slated to be the site of an oil refinery, Mac embarks on his journey reluctantly. "Why do I have to go to all the way to Scotland?" Mac complains to a coworker. "I'm really more of a Telex man." But on the way to closing the deal, a funny thing happens: the place takes root in Mac. The town's eccentric inhabitants, eventful night sky, and stunning scenery soak into his psyche and combine to bring a very different Mac to the surface, a Mac who collects seashells, walks on the beach in his jeans instead of his suit, and throws his calendar watch, beeping "meeting time in Houston," into the sea.
Mac eventually vies to switch places with Gordon Urquhart--accountant, bartender, innkeeper, and community representative in the land deal. After an evening spent drinking 42-year-old scotch ("old enough to be out on its own," Mac chirps, and then laughs smugly at his own joke) and negotiating the real estate deal, Mac tries to negotiate a deal for himself--to trade his high-rise Houston apartment, Porsche, and oil-company job for Urquhart's less traditional, but more fulfilling, life.
The plot runs along almost as if behind the scenes, and the characters are intriguing, but the real appeal here is the incisive yet gentle humor. During a visit to a Knox Oil lab, Mac is shown into a room that contains a miniature of the town he has been sent to purchase. The head of the lab says, "Welcome to our little world," and then gives Mac the plastic replica of the town as a souvenir. "Dream large," he intones. The irony's easy to miss and is just one example of the intelligent presence--in the form of writer and director Bill Forsyth--working behind the scenes here.
Mark Knopfler's delicate, haunting soundtrack complements the sometimes melancholy, sometimes hilarious currents of "Local Hero" to perfection. "--Stefanie Durbin"


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Lomax the Songhunter

Director: Rogier Kappers Alan LomaxMusic Video & Concerts
Studio: Rounder Europe PG
Language (Country): English
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) earned a singular place for himself in American culture and arts. Building on the pioneering work of his father, John, whom he accompanied on folk-song recording tours of the American South and Southwest in the 1930s and '40s, Alan set out after World War II to do nothing less than draw the folk music map of the world. Sensing that the world's indigenous music was on the point of being swept away by mass commercial culture, Lomax brought considerable energy and urgency to his awesome task. He also brought an infectious love for the varied homespun musical traditions, especially the songs passed mouth to ear for generations.
When Dutch filmmaker Rogier Kappers set out to make a documentary about Lomax in 2001, he found the once-tireless traveler and talker, having suffered a stroke, in the care of his daughter, Anna, in Florida. Lomax, 86, could no longer make himself understood, though he was delighted to hear his recordings and essays. Kappers had access to experts, friends, and archival footage and recordings. But wanting something essential that might have come from Lomax's own recollections, Kappers decided to add a more offbeat tactic. He retraced some of Lomax's journeys to remote places in pursuit of the vanishing folk song and he found living testimony to the lasting impression Lomax and his bulky tape recorder made some 60 years earlier. Lomax died on July 19, 2002.
Being the son of the man who discovered Leadbelly (in fact, got him out of jail) and who helped introduce Woody Guthrie to the American public might have daunted most men. But Alan Lomax, born in Austin, Texas, inherited his father's determination as well as his passion for folk songs. He joined his father on tours of cotton fields in the South, rock quarries in Oregon and prisons in Louisiana and Texas, where they recorded and wrote down for the first time such American classics as "Rock Island Line, John Henry, Home on the Range," and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." These songs were, as Lomax says in archival footage, simply the most beautiful music he'd ever heard. His quest eventually led him to towns and villages in Scotland, Spain and Italy to discover and preserve the folk songs of those regions.
For the Lomaxes the music was beautiful because it was created by ordinary people as part of their everyday lives - songs sung to make the work go smoothly, to entertain one another, to preserve stories, to pass on news, to express popular opinions. Folk music recorded their history and feelings in highly localized, popular language in stark contrast to the pop music made by professionals for mass consumption. It was the shared genius of father and son to use the very instrument, the tape recorder only 50 years old when John Lomax started his work to preserve the old musical life that the new recording industry was wiping out.
Lomax the Songhunter includes interviews with Alan Lomax's friends and colleagues, among them renowned banjo-picker and singer Pete Seeger, who catalogued records for him; Pete's half-sister, singer and activist Peggy Seeger; British folksinger and writer Shirley Collins; and Jean Ritchie, who landed in New York fresh from Kentucky in 1947 and was promptly drafted into recording her family's entire repertoire of folk songs for the Lomax Archive at the Library of Congress. Lomax associates and collaborators such as Peter Kennedy, one of England's leading folklorists; world-renowned ethnomusicologist Henrietta Yurchenco; and Vittorio de Seta, who met Lomax in Italy testify to his intensity, ego, energy and engaging ability to get often-suspicious people to sing into his recorder.


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Lonesome Dove

Director: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Robert Urich, Frederic Forrest
Studio: Rhi Entertainment NR
Language (Country): French, Spanish, English
Experience the Emmy Award-winning masterpiece as never before with Lonesome Dove 2-Disc Collector's Edition. Presented for the first time in Widescreen and 5.1 surround sound, this all-time western classic is now digitally re-mastered with all-new bonus features. Based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Larry McMurtry and set in the late nineteenth century, this sprawling epic of the Old West is the story of the last defiant frontier, a daring cattle drive, and an undying love. Featuring epic performances by Robert Duvall, Tommy lee Jones, Angelica Houston, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Robert Urich, and Chris Cooper, Lonesome Dove continues to be a treasured classic for generations to come.


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Long Way Round Collection 8-DVD Box Set

Director: Russ Malkin, David Alexanian
Studio: EMI Records
Australia released, NTSC/Region 0 DVD:LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ),WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Alternative Footage, Box Set, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Collectors Edition, Deleted Scenes, Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Photo Gallery, Scene Access,SYNOPSIS: Long Way Round
Follows the path of the renowned Dakar Rally, an annual off-road race that is open to amateur and professional entries. During sixteen weeks in 2007, we follows the race's route, shadowing the aftermath of the rally. But also, we learn about the people encountered on the sides of the road, inhabitants of impoverished forgotten hamlets in arid, inhospitable lands of Africa.

Long Way Down
In a follow-up to the documentary series 'Long Way Round', actors and best friends Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman travel from John O'Groats, Scotland down to Cape Town, South Africa on motorcycles. They travel down through Europe and Africa, getting an up-close view of the local cultures. They also stop at various UNICEF projects to offer support and assistance to the children there.

Race to Dakar
This documentary series follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York. The filming will be done by on board cameras and one ride along cameraman.


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Lost - The Complete First Season



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Lost in Translation

Director: Sofia Coppola Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Akiko Takeshita, Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, Kazuko ShibataComedy
Studio: Universal Studios R
Language (Country): English, French
Like a good dream, Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" envelops you with an aura of fantastic light, moody sound, head-turning love, and a feeling of déjà vu, even though you've probably never been to this neon-fused version of Tokyo. Certainly Bob Harris has not. The 50-ish actor has signed on for big money shooting whiskey ads instead of doing something good for his career or his long-distance family. Jetlagged, helplessly lost with his Japanese-speaking director, and out of sync with the metropolis, Harris (Bill Murray, never better) befriends the married but lovelorn 25-year-old Charlotte (played with heaps of poise by 18-year-old Scarlett Johansson). Even before her photographer husband all but abandons her, she is adrift like Harris but in a total entrapment of youth. How Charlotte and Bill discover they are soul mates will be cherished for years to come. Written and directed by Coppola ("The Virgin Suicides"), the film is far more atmospheric than plot-driven: we whiz through Tokyo parties, karaoke bars, and odd nightlife, always ending up in the impossibly posh hotel where the two are staying. The wisps of bittersweet loneliness of Bill and Charlotte are handled smartly and romantically, but unlike modern studio films, this isn't a May-November fling film. Surely and steadily, the film ends on a much-talked-about grace note, which may burn some, yet awards film lovers who "always had Paris" with another cinematic destination of the heart. "--Doug Thomas"


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The Lost Room

Director: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Peter Jacobson, Dennis Christopher, April Grace
Studio: Lions Gate NR
Language (Country): English, Spanish
If you're a fan of NBC's 2006 hit show "Heroes", chances are you'll get a similar kick out of "The Lost Room", a three-part, 4.5-hour Sci-Fi Channel miniseries originally broadcast in December 2006. It's pure hokum (especially when compared to "Heroes", which rises from the same creative zeitgeist), and not nearly as clever at it initially seems to be, but there's something undeniably compelling about its premise, which turns everyday objects from the Kennedy era into powerful talismans of supernatural force. The present-day story is rooted in a dark, terrible, and cosmically reverberant incident that occurred in a remote motel room in 1961. Now it's 45 years later, and Detective Joe Miller ("Six Feet Under"'s Peter Krause) has acquired a motel-room key that turns any door into a portal to "the lost room," a kind of alternate-reality no-man's-land, where his young daughter Anna (Elle Fanning, a look-alike for her older sister Dakota) soon goes missing. In his quest to retrieve her, Miller attracts the dangerous attention of various secret factions (with names like The Order, The Legion, and The Collectors) in heated competition to locate the many objects that hold strange powers and could, when gathered together, yield amazing benefits or tear reality apart.
Beginning with Krause, superb casting makes "The Lost Room" constantly engaging, even when its logic borders on nonsensical. Clearly intended as a potential series, it leads to a let-down ending where too many questions remain unanswered, but getting there is a blast. And while the smart, beautiful Julianna Margulies seems cast adrift as Miller's bland love interest (and a member of the object-seeking underground), the story grows increasingly intriguing with the introduction of a wealthy father (Kevin Pollak) obsessed with curing his cancerous son with the objects; an unstable nebbish (Peter Jacobsen) who's been driven nearly mad by his visits to the lost room; a devious doctor (Dennis Christopher) who falls in with a group of religious zealots convinced that the lost room leads to God; and various supporting characters (including comedian/monologist Margaret Cho) and subplots that lead you to believe this is all leading to something fantastic. That "The Lost Room" fails to deliver on its early promise doesn't mean it's a waste of time; it's got the same clever appeal as "Heroes" and "Lost", and one can easily see how it might've made a more rewarding long-form series. Individual reactions will vary, but fans of supernatural sci-fi will want to check it out for themselves. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Louie: Season 2 (Blu-Ray)

Director: Louis C.K. Louis C.K., Hadley Delany, Ursula Parker, Nick DiPaolo, Pamela Adlon
Studio: 20th Century Fox NR
Language (Country): English
The second season of Louis C.K.'s un-sitcom delves even deeper into the humor and pathos of life as a standup comedian and divorced father of two girls. Sequences range from the mundane (Louie tries to explain the basic unfairness of life to his younger daughter, but ultimately succumbs to her furious preadolescent sense of justice) to verging-on-absurd (Louie gets picked up by a woman for sex after a performance, but ends up lost in the suburbs of New Jersey). While driving through the country, he sings along with full abandon to a song on the radio while his daughters watch, half-fascinated, half-horrified; he goes on a talk show to debate a young Christian reformer about masturbation; he discovers a duckling in his baggage when he goes on a USO tour to Afghanistan; he tells a woman he's in love with her despite her blunt statement that she is not attracted to him. In short, C.K. wrestles with the extremes, the everydayness, and the humiliations of being an adult American male in the 21st century. In one episode, Louie comes off the stage and finds an old friend waiting, a fellow standup comedian who never made it and who is planning to kill himself (played, with brutal directness, by Doug Stanhope). C.K. grapples with this subject without moralizing; he pleads with his friend not to kill himself, but he's unable to come up with any compelling argument why the guy shouldn't do it. Somehow, the result is not depressing, just a little sad and a little sobering. The line between comedy and dismay has never been thinner, to the point that some viewers may wonder if this is comedy at all--but for others, "Louie"'s careful balance makes it both funnier and richly humane. "Louie: The Complete Second Season" features an abundance of guest stars, including Joan Rivers, Dane Cook, Steven Wright, and Chris Rock, all playing deadpan versions of themselves. The only disappointment is that there are only a few extras: a promotional featurette and a handful of episode commentaries from C.K., full of his engagingly rambling mixture of technical details and thoughtfulness. Louis, your fans want more! --"Bret Fetzer"


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Louie: Season One (Blu-Ray)

Director: Louis C.K.
Studio: FX Network NR
Language (Country): English
The brilliance of Louis C.K.'s semiautobiographical sitcom came into focus in just the second episode, in which a caustic poker game among comedians turned into a trenchant discussion of homophobia in comedy, with Louie himself uncomfortably on the hook for things he's said. Every episode of "Louie" has moments like this, when what's funny peels away to reveal surprising insights into human behavior. Louis C.K.'s humor cuts through social illusions in the tradition of George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, but with a unique sense of ruefulness; Louis C.K. doesn't seem angry so much as perplexed and frustrated. He tries to get motivated but sags into an orgy of ice cream and marijuana. On a date, he faces a teenage bully and ends up humiliated--and then he follows the boy home, where he ends up sitting with the boy's father, commiserating about parenting. Even scenarios that could be fodder for conventional gags, like going to the dentist, end up in strange places; under the influence of the dentist's gas, Louie hallucinates talking to Osama bin Laden and convinces him not to be a terrorist. Much of the comedy revolves around Louie's status as a divorced dad with two daughters. Arranging play dates, buying a dog, and trying to give the girls moral lessons are all opportunities for chaos, embarrassment, and examinations of the subtle but potent social forces that shape our lives. It's a little ridiculous to argue that comedy or television can be important, and Louis C.K. would probably scoff at the idea--but truly, "Louie" feels kind of important. And at the same time, it's really, really funny. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Lucky Louie - The Complete First Season

Director: Louis C.K.
Studio: Hbo Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
Take the regular ingredients for a run-of-the-mill TV sitcom: an overweight and unattractive husband, a wife that seems way out of his league, their adorable but bratty child, and some whimsical neighbors. Add in the plethora of expletives folks have come to expect from HBO television, some occasional male nudity, and terribly raunchy one-liners. Mix those up with a live studio audience, cheap sets, and an overall low budget look, and "Lucky Louie" is what comes out. That being said--the show is intelligent and hilarious.
"Lucky" Louie (Louis C.K.) is a stay-at-home dad who works part-time at a muffler shop. His wife, Kim (Pamela Adlon), is the breadwinner of the household, but her meager wages can barely provide them with a run-down apartment in a bad neighborhood. Louie has the moral support of his friends Mike (Mike Hagerty, "Friends") and Rich (Jim Norton), who provide some of the show's funniest and most disgusting moments. To only make things more inappropriate, Louie is constantly trying to cultivate a relationship with his African American neighbor Walter (Jerry Minor)--only because he is dying to have a black friend. This very adult sitcom takes a refreshing step back from the regular "one-hour conflict resolution" depiction of family, and instead suggests that healthy relationships are full of constant discord. C.K. and Adlon, who build off each other superbly, give an honest love-hate portrayal of marriage and parenting. For those who enjoy listening to NPR "and" the most vulgar of stand up comedy, this show is sure to please. "--Jordan Thompson"


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Lunch Line

Director: Michael Graziano, E. Joong-Eun Park Documentary, History, News
Studio: Uji Films
Language (Country): English (USA)
Weaves together history and agriculture, advocacy and bureaucracy, and frames the current debate over school lunch reform within a larger national and political context.


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Lust, Caution

Director: Ang Lee Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wei Tang, Joan Chen, Lee-Hom Wang, Chung Hua Tou
Studio: Universal Studios NC-17
Language (Country): Mandarin Chinese, French
"Lust, Caution", Ang Lee's follow up to "Brokeback Mountain", for which he won the Academy Award® for Best Director, continues his exploration of people with a passion for each other trapped in a world where their passion could be life-threatening, but in a very different context this time. Set in China during the Japanese occupation of early World War II, the underlying plot concerns the story of young Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei), an actress and member of a small group of student resistors planning to infiltrate the home of Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), a high-ranking collaborationist government official, in order to kill him for his role in the torture and executions of Chinese resistance fighters. Chi ingratiates herself with Yee's wife, the sophisticated and cultured Mrs. Yee (Joan Chen) under the guise of being the wife of a wealthy but unseen tycoon. Flashbacks tell the tale of how Chi came to be involved with the resistors: her acting ability is her most valuable asset, and her assignment is to act the role of Mr. Yee's lover, right down to the sex. The story of their love and the painful intimacy it involves for both of them is told through their sexual relationship, which starts out violently, drifts into S&M, and shifts with their feelings, moving from pain and fear to some sort of desperate connection. This is lust with a capital L; the film's sex scenes have become famous for their frankness and acrobatic portrayals (they took 12 days to film), but amazingly enough, it's never prurient. The nature of their sexual relationship, and not the sex itself, is the point. Chi falls in love with the man she's supposed to kill, but there is no stopping the mission and she knows it. The danger of it all collapsing for them both is ever present, and that's the Caution. The cinematography and direction in "Lust, Caution" is masterful, and every scene is beautiful. The film does drift into a languid pace, and at times one wonders why Lee would feel the need to draw it out at the expense of delaying the crucial climactic scenes. Still, it's a wonderful piece of storytelling that should only help solidify Ang Lee's place in cinematic history as a master of films that express the difficulty of being essentially human in an inhumane world. "--Daniel Vancini"

Stills from "Lust, Caution" (click for larger image)


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The Magician

Director: Ingmar Bergman Max Von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andersson, Axel Duberg, Lars EkborgWorld Cinema
Studio: Tartan Video Parental Guidance
Language (Country): Swedish
A sort of existential horror movie set in what often feels like a darkly imaginary 1846, "The Magician" is Ingmar Bergman's meditation on the restrictive nature of modern rationalism. Max Von Sydow cuts a suitably melancholy and mystical figure as Dr Vogler, the mute hypnotist who travels with a group of players to Stockholm, only to be examined and humiliated by a team of sceptical inquisitors led by Gunnar Bjornstrand's Dr Vergerus and a hog-like police chief. Dr Vogler exacts his revenge on Vergerus, however, in an extraordinary feat of illusion.
With its elaborate, occasionally expressionistic sets and its feel of a scrupulously re-enacted nightmare, "The Magician" is reminiscent at times of Poe or even "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari". However, the "below stairs" characters--including Ake Fridell's ebullient Master of Ceremonies and a host of giggling wenches--add comic energy to what is otherwise a startling and sombre reflection of the nature of art and life. It would prove a turning point in Bergman's career as he moved away from his early, "romantic" period.
On the DVD: Presented in the original academy ratio, the mix of soft light and harsh shade for which credit should go to photographer Gunnar Fischer, is well-restored here. In notes from his memoirs included here, Bergman relates how his adventures and privations as part of a theatre company in Malmo provided inspiration for "The Magician", while critic Ronald Bergman's notes talk of "the ability of the artist to find truth in both fact and fantasy". --"David Stubbs"


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The Magnificent Seven (in The Steve McQueen Collection)



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The Magnificent Seven (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Maigret: Complete Collection

Director: Michael Gambon
Studio: Acorn Media NR
Language (Country): English
Based on Georges Simenon's classic detective novels “Gambon is terrific.” —The Times (U.K.) Emmy® nominee Michael Gambon (Harry Potter, The Singing Detective) is Jules Maigret, the “wonderfully entertaining sleuth” (Austin American-Statesman) at the heart of novelist Georges Simenon’s beloved detective series. Equipped with rigorous logic, uncanny judgment of character, and, of course, his signature pipe and fedora, Inspector Maigret relishes the challenge of solving any mystery. Filled with dangerous crimes and elusive characters from the villages of rural France to the alleyways of Montmartre, this series brings the most intriguing and complex puzzles from Simenon’s anthology to the screen. Broadcast on Masterpiece Mystery!, this complete collection features a strong cast of familiar faces, including Brenda Blethyn (Pride & Prejudice), Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting), Barbara Flynn (Cranford), Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders), Edward Petherbridge (A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery), and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon).


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Mala Noche (BEWARE DEFECT) Criterion Collection

Director: Gus Van Sant Tim Streeter, Ray Monge, Doug Cooeyate, Sam Downey, Nyla McCarthyDrama
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): English, Spanish
The first thing that strikes you about "Mala Noche" is the raw, beautiful cinematography--a high-contrast black-and-white that captures the gutters of Portland, OR, like the setting of a long-lost "film noir". Next, you'll be struck that the narrator, a convenience clerk named Walt (Tim Streeter), rhapsodizes about his love for a young Mexican hustler named Johnny (Doug Cooeyate) without guilt or fear--perhaps reflecting the rare occasion of a movie by an openly gay filmmaker (Gus Van Sant, making his feature film debut) based on an openly gay autobiographical story (by Portland poet Walt Curtis). Though the movie doesn't have much of a plot--basically, Walt alternately tries to woo Johnny and his friend Roberto Pepper (Ray Monge), gaining little more than a suspicious, combative friendship and some fervid but isolated sex--but the rough but engaging flavor of the storytelling gives the movie momentum and a rich charm. The Criterion edition features two splendid extras: First, a low-key, unpretentious interview with Van Sant (who notes that the movie had the spontaneous and low-tech spirit of the Dogme 95 movement, though made several years earlier); and a ramshackle, pugnacious documentary by Portland-born animator Bill Plympton ("I Married a Strange Person!") about Walt Curtis, who proclaims himself a "jerk-off poet therapist." If there is a Portland aesthetic, this compilation captures it. "--Bret Fetzer"


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A Man Escaped

Director: Robert Bresson François Letterier, Charles Le Clainche, Roland Monod, Marice Beerblock, Jacques ErtaudPeriod
Studio: Artificial Eye Universal, suitable for all
Language (Country): French, German
I first saw "A Man Escaped" in my Introduction to Cinema Studies course during my first year at university. It immediately became one of the the greatest films I had ever seen. Over time, my feeling on it has evolved to the point that it is now one of my favorite films as well. The story is told in a sparse, visually narrow style that forces the viewer to use their imagination. The prison is never seen as a whole, we are only shown pieces of it--a wall, a doorway, and so on. The German prison guards are more often only heard as footsteps coming to the prisoner Fontaine's cell door. Rarely do we venture outside of Fontaine's cell once he is imprisioned, and when we do, it is usually to the same place, where he washes himself with the other prisoners. With the exception of the end, the plot of the movie revolves entirely around Fontaine's plan and execution of an escape. The magic of the film is that Bresson makes these minutae indescribably watchable; we are invested in Fontaine's every action through the whole of the film, and we watch with anticipation as he grows closer to his goal with each passing month, day, minute. "A Man Escaped" is a beautifully rendered work of cinema, and it will appeal to everyone who wishes to do more than while away the time seeing a simple 'movie'.

Having seen the paltry American disc which is overpriced and intermitently available, I greatly anticipated this release from Artificial Eye, and I am quite pleased. The film itself has never looked better, bright and clean with minimal dirt and clear sound. If that weren't enough, there is also a wonderful Dutch documentary (with English subtitles) called "The Road to Bresson" which is almost an hour long and features interviews with Andrei Tarkovsky, Louis Malle, and Paul Schrader amongst others. There is also footage of the notoriously camera-shy director accepting his award for Best Director (for "L'Argent") at the 1983 Cannes film festival. Finally, there is also a delightful surprise at the end for Bresson fans which I will not ruin here.

Even though I am region locked to the US Region 1 (I have to watch this on my PC), I purchased this DVD instead because I was so excited to see it so well presented by AE. It's slighlty cheaper than our DVD on Amazon.com as well (even with the exchange rate), and has an excellent bonus feature. Well worth the price and bravo to Artificial Eye for doing such a fine job!


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The Man Who Bought Mustique

Director: Joseph Bullman Documentary
Studio: First Run Features NR
Language (Country): English
this british produced gem about a rogue aristocrat tells a fascinating story behind the world's wealthiest gated community. i produce documentaries, and this is a beautifully edited and filmed journey into the mind of a cranky and brilliant guy. it's a shame it isn't better known.


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Manchurian Candidate (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Marley

Director: Kevin MacDonald Bob Marley
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment PG-13
Language (Country): English
Bob Marley's musical (and cultural) shadow is so large that the man clearly needed an authoritative documentary portrait--and "Marley" steps in with all the right stuff to fill the role. Working with official rights to the music and access to Marley's family and friends, Oscar-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald ("One Day in September") creates a thorough account that hits the major points, not stinting on some of the less admirable aspects of Marley's life (including his brood of children fathered with women other than his patient wife, Rita, whose presence indicates just how much she puts Marley's legacy above his personal infidelities). Especially interesting is the sketch of Bob Marley's youth, as a mixed-race--and thus socially ostracized--kid from the village of Nine Mile who began to put together a reggae sound with a group of like-minded musicians in Jamaica in the late '50s and early '60s. That period comes to life, and the account of Marley's ascent, while familiar from such sagas, has its share of offbeat incidents. His death, at age 36 in 1981, does not dominate the movie, but Macdonald does a good job of getting that story laid out. In the meantime, the music and the concert footage are more than enough to justify the movie's existence, and Macdonald makes time to include thoughts about politics, ganja smoking, and Rastafarianism, too. If it's not the final word on Marley, it's an excellent start. "--Robert Horton"


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Marty (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Marwencol

Director: Jeff Malmberg Mark HogancampSports
Studio: Cinema Guild NR
Language (Country): English
Outside a small bar in Kingston, NY, Mark Hogancamp was beaten nearly to death, his memories wiped away. Seeking recovery, he builds Marwencol, a miniature World War II-era town filled with doll versions of his friends, fantasies, and even his attackers. As he documents the town s dramas with his camera, the dolls become living characters in an epic tale of love, adventure, resurrection and revenge. When his photos are discovered by the art world, Mark is suddenly forced to choose between the safety of his imaginary world and the real world he s avoided since the attack.
Winner of over a dozen awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards and Best Documentary of the Year from Boston Society of Film Critics.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Eight Additional Marwencol Story Sequences
- Deleted Scenes
- Mark s Reaction to the Film
- Mark at the Red Carpet Premiere
- Stills Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- Introduction by film critic Elvis Mitchell
- Collectible Marwencol mini-print by Mark Hogancamp


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Mary and Max

Director: Adam Elliot Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana, Barry Humphries, Bethany WhitmoreAnimation, Comedy, Drama
Language (Country): (Australia)



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The Master

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, Price Carson
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay R
Language (Country): English
Paul Thomas Anderson's closely observed character study represents a reverse image of its predecessor, "There Will Be Blood", in which a prospector (Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis) and his protégé (Paul Dano) engaged in an epic battle of wills. In this more tonally consistent effort, the acolyte takes center stage. Gaunt, tightly wound, and eerily reminiscent of Montgomery Clift, Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an ex-naval officer suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Since World War II, he's had difficulty holding down a job due to his hot temper and affinity for paint thinner-spiked potions, but the charismatic Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman in a more subtle, but equally skillful turn) finds him irresistible as a project, a surrogate son--maybe even the shadow self that he normally keeps hidden (Dodd shares Quell's propensity for the occasional splenetic outburst). Lancaster welcomes him to join the Cause, a movement that recalls Scientology by way of Freud, since he focuses on the elimination of past trauma through a pseudo-psychoanalytic exercise called processing. If he provides Quell with a surrogate family, much like Burt Reynolds in "Boogie Nights", his loyal wife (Amy Adams) and cynical son (Jesse Plemons) seem more skeptical. While participating in their rituals, Quell sails with the group from San Francisco to Pennsylvania, but it's hard to tell whether he really believes or whether he's just going through the motions. The lack of clear-cut conclusions will leave some viewers cold, but you've never seen a performance--simultaneously riveting and repellent--like Phoenix's before. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Director: Robert Altman Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, John SchuckDrama
Studio: Warner Home Video R
Language (Country): English, French
One of Robert Altman's most provocative films turns the Wild West on it's ear. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie are a small-time gambler and a madam who go into business together. Year: 1971Running Time: 121 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: WESTERN/MISC. Rating: R UPC: 085391105527


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Michael Wood's Story of England

Director: Michael WoodDocumentary
Studio: 2entertain Exempt
Language (Country): English



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Midnight Cowboy (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Mikey & Nicky

Director: Elaine May Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty, Rose Arrick, Carol GraceDrama
Studio: Homevision R
Language (Country): English
It's not written or directed by John Cassavetes, but Elaine May's eclectic portrait of two petty, middle-aged goodfellas on the streets of Philadelphia is electrified by the same nervous energy and volatile personalities of Cassavetes's best work. Nicky (Cassavetes), a trembling wreck convinced there's a contract out on his life, calls his boyhood buddy, Mikey (Peter Falk), who comes to his aid in the middle of the night. Over the course of one long night stretching to dawn, they scramble through city streets, smoky bars, dark alleys, and a graveyard of ancient memories of camaraderie and duplicity. While they engage in mind games and accusations, a betrayal brews in the background. The tragedy of the drama is that they are likely the best friends either ever had, and the closest thing to family either of them has left. May takes her low-budget picture to the streets and lets friends and former collaborators Cassavetes and Falk hit their shaggy rhythm while she peels back their sneering bravado to find sad, scared, vulnerable men underneath. It was a down-and-dirty shoot for May, whose rush can be seen in momentary glimpses of her crew in a few shots and overhead lights sometimes dipping into the frame, but that same on-the-fly drive gives the film its edgy, restless energy. "--Sean Axmaker"


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Milestones / Ice

Director: Robert Kramer, John Douglas Grace Paley, Paul Zimet
Studio: Icarus Films NR
Language (Country): English
Following dozens of characters - hippies, filmmakers, immigrants, political and union activists through America s vast landscape as they try to reconcile their ideals with the realities of post-Sixties life, MILESTONES weaves together intimate discussions on diverse subjects from activism, responsibility, slavery, Vietnam and Cuba, to feminism, parenting, settling down, and communal life. The protagonists negotiate their relationships and the challenges of their world through both scripted and unscripted moments.
Now available for the first time on DVD, made from a restored 35mm print, MILESTONES premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. When it screened that year at the New York Film Festival, Vincent Canby wrote in the NY Times, Kramer seems incapable of shooting a scene, framing a shot, or catching a line of dialogue that isn t loaded with levels of information one usually finds only in the best, most spare poetry.
Bonus: ICE by Robert Kramer This gritty cinema-verité style thriller centers on a revolutionary group plotting an attack against the American government, and chronicles the inner working, disputes and tensions within its members. A speculative fiction that unfolds in an enhanced, Orwellian version of New York City... Surprisingly personal and beautifully somber... Breathtaking. John Patterson, LA Weekly Two disc set + 16-page booklet with texts by Robert Kramer, John Douglas, and Peter Gessner


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Misfits - Series 1-3

Director: Robert Sheehan, Lauren Socha, Nathan Stewart-Jarett, Antonia ThomasScience Fiction
Studio: Channel 4 DVD Suitable for 18 years and over
Language (Country): English
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes, Box Set, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, Short Film, SYNOPSIS: When five teenage outsiders get caught in a freak storm while on community service they suddenly find themselves with strange superpowers. Hard-as-nails Kelly finds she can read minds, disgraced sporting hero Curtis can turn back time, party-girl Alisha can send people into a sexual frenzy with one touch and painfully shy Simon can turn invisible. At first smart-alec Nathan is miffed he is the only one who doesn't have a power until he discovers what it is. Then some of the other townsfolk, including cocky Rudy, discover they've also been affected by the storm. Unlike their more conventional counterparts, our misfits don't swap their mobile phones and ankle tags for capes and tights. Instead, they discover just how tough life can be when you're all that stands between good and evil. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Misfits - Series 1, 2 & 3 - 6-DVD Box Set ( Mis fits - Series One, Two and Three )


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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters - Criterion Collection

Director: Paul Schrader Ken OgataArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection R
Language (Country): Japanese, English
Paul Schrader's visually stunning, structurally audacious collagelike portrait of acclaimed Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima (played by Ken Ogata) investigates the inner turmoil and contradictions of a man who attempted an impossible harmony between self, art, and society. Taking place on Mishima's last day, when he famously committed public seppuku (ritual suicide), the film is punctuated by extended flashbacks to the writer's life as well as gloriously stylized evocations of his fictional works. With its rich cinematography by John Bailey, exquisite sets and costumes by Eiko Ishioka, and unforgettable, highly influential score by Philip Glass, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is a sincere tribute to its subject, and a bold, investigative work of art in its own right.

Special Features

- DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the director's cut, supervised and approved by director Paul Schrader and cinematographer John Bailey
- Optional English and Japanese voice-over narrations, the former by Roy Scheider, the latter by Ken Ogata
- New audio commentary featuring Schrader and producer Alan Poul
- The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima, a 55-minute BBC documentary about the author
- New interviews with Donald Richie and John Nathan, collaborators and friends of Yukio Mishima
- New interviews with Bailey, producers Tom Luddy and Mata Yamamoto, composer Philip Glass, and production designer Eiko Ishioka
- A new audio interview with coscreenwriter Chieko Schrader
- A video interview excerpt featuring Mishima talking about writing
- Theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Kevin Jackson and a piece on the film s censorship in Japan


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Monster (Blu-Ray)

Director: Patty Jenkins Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci
Studio: FIRST LOOK PICTURES R
Language (Country): English
Charlize Theron exploded in a magnetic Oscar-winning (Best Actress 2003) performance as convicted killer Aileen Wuornos. Severely abused and unloved Aileen immersed herself in the dangerous world of highway prostitution...until she met Selby Wall (Christina Ricci), a naive girl who was Aileen's last chance at a normal life. Ultimately, all Aileen understood was violence and nobody imagined the nightmare that awaited the seven men standing in the way of her happiness. A critically acclaimed film from writer/director Patty Jenkins.


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Moon Machines

Director: Christopher Riley, Nick Davidson Robert Seamans, Bill Stoney, Sonny Morea, Cliff Hess
Studio: Discovery - Gaiam NR
Language (Country): English
The right tools for the job... The U.S. Moon missions would never have gotten 10 feet off the ground without the pioneering engineers and manufacturers and the amazing machines they created to turn science fiction into history-making headlines. From nuts and bolts to rockets and life support systems, every piece of gear was custom made from scratch to perform cutting-edge scientific tasks while withstanding the violent rigors of space travel. Now here's your chance to climb aboard the capsule, put on a spacesuit and learn the real stories behind the right stuff.
Saturn V: October 4th 1957, and the Russians take a huge leap forward in rocketry when they successfully launch Sputnik 1 - the world's first artificial satellite. Over the coming years the Soviets would continue to astound the world with their space achievements. America needs to respond - and quick! Command Module: We recount the story of the engineers who built the Apollo Command Module, a fully pressurised living space that would need to provide three men with food, water, air, power, communication, navigation and above all protection, to the moon and back.
Navigation: We tell the story of how a group of computer scientists grappled with the challenge of navigation of a round trip to the Moon back in the days when computer code and software hadn't been invented and computing power was a fraction of what it is today.
Lunar Module: The story of the engineers challenged with building what became affectionately called the Lunar Bug. A constant battle to meet the seemingly impossible demands of weight restrictions, the Lunar Module was one of the greatest engineering feats in history.
Suits: To survive outside of a spacecraft, an new space vehicle would be required - the spacesuit. Flexible enough to allow man to function, yet provide protection from the hostility of space. Two unlikely companies from the east coast took the challenge. Lunar Rover: In the final film in the series we reveal the untold story of how a very small group of engineers wont take no for an answer and convinces NASA to build what ultimately became the Lunar Rover. As with all the engineering during the Apollo program, the Lunar Rover - a spacecraft on wheels.


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Mr. Show: The Complete First and Second Season

Director: John Moffitt, Stacy Peralta, Tom Gianas, Troy Miller Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Tom Kenny, Jill TalleyComedy
Studio: Hbo Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
Hey, everybody, it's Bob and David on DVD! In 1995 comics Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were simply "two people you've never seen before." Since then, each has insidiously entered the mainstream with appearances on TV ("Just Shoot Me", "The Drew Carey Show") and movies ("Scary Movie 2", "Dr. Dolittle 2", "Men in Black 2"). But to quote Odenkirk's bio (which is included on the first disc), "Mr. Show" is the thing you should see if you want to check them out. Like the late, lamented "The Ben Stiller Show", on which both toiled, and "Monty Python" before that, this midnight-hour HBO series gave a subversive twist to the traditional sketch comedy series. Classic characters include Cross's white-trash poster boy Ronnie Dobbs, the superstar arrestee on a "Cops"-like TV show. Totally out of left field is an infomercial for an instructional video series by "Van Hammersly, Champion Billiard Player," who at one point re-creates the 1974 Kentucky Derby with billiard balls (one of the equines is named "If Mandy Patinkin Was a Horse"). Punch lines? "Mr. Show" doesn't need no stinking punch lines, as one sketch flows into another.
Bob and David are ably supported by, among others, Second City veteran Jill Talley, Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob Squarepants!), Brian Posehn (the creepy guy on "Just Shoot Me"), Mary-Lynn Rajskub (from "The Larry Sanders Show"), Sarah Silverman ("Greg the Bunny"), and a pre-"Saturday Night Live" Jerry Minor, who enlivens one episode commentary with an impeccable Billy Dee Williams imitation. As with the Velvet Underground’s following, "Mr. Show" fans make up with fervor what they lack in numbers. According to "Mr. Show"’s own Web site, "non-fans outnumber our fans by the cajillions," but this essential set should change that. "--Donald Liebenson"


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Mugabe And The White African

Director: Andrew Thompson, Lucy Bailey Mike Campbell, BenFreethDocumentary
Studio: Dogwoof Exempt
Language (Country): English



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My Best Fiend (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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My Kid Could Paint That

Director: My Kid Could Paint That
Studio: Sony Pictures PG-13
Language (Country): English
In this thought-provoking documentary, Director Amir-Bar-Lev tracks the overnight celebrity of little Marla Olmstead, a toddler who creates gallery-worthy paintings on the dining room table of her family home. A media sensation by the age of four, critics compare her work with Jackson Pollock's. Sales of her paintings reach $300,000. But, sadly, the bubble bursts. When a 2005 profile by "60 Minutes" suggests that Marla had help making her paintings, the finger is pointed at her father, an amateur artist and night manager at Frito Lay. Almost overnight, her family is ensnared in a web of accusation and denial - with the burden of proof placed squarely in their lap: Is Marla a child prodigy or an innocent victim of a hoax?


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Neon Genesis Evangelion - The End Of Evangelion

Director: Hideaki Anno, Hiroyuki Ishidô, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Keiichi Sugiyama, Masahiko Ôtsuka Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yûko Miyamura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yuriko YamaguchiThrillers
Studio: WEA NC-17
Language (Country): English, Japanese
When the first "Evangelion" feature, "Death and Rebirth", proved no more satisfying than the last episodes of the original series, Hideaki Anno brought his watershed epic to its conclusion in this final installment. "End of Evangelion" begins where the series ended: with the Angels defeated, the sinister cabal SEELE attacks NERV headquarters to seize the Evas and realize their plan for humanity. Misato and Ritsuko fight from inside while Asuka decimates a new Eva series. But when Rei merges with Lilith, and Shinji seems to fuse with Unit 01, the final traces of a coherent storyline dissolve into a protracted collage of fantastic images, played against discussions involving Rei, Shinji, Asuka, and Kaoru. Anno's dazzling apocalyptic vision forms a weird but oddly logical finale that ultimately means whatever the viewer chooses to read into it. This unrated feature, suitable for ages 17 and older, contains considerable violence, profanity, grotesque imagery, and sexual situations. "--Charles Solomon"


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Never So Few (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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A New Leaf

Director: Walter Mathau, Elaine May, Jack Weston, James Coco, Jess OsunaComedy
Studio: Paramount G
Elaine May wrote, directed, and starred in this acidic comedy about a wealthy playboy (Walter Matthau) who discovers that he has nearly spent all of his fortune. Casting about for a solution to his money problems that won't actually involve work, he finds a desperate solution: He'll marry an heiress (May) for her fortune. The hitch: She's a social maladept ("The woman is feral," Matthau growls). Indeed, Matthau finds marriage so intolerable that he decides there's only one course of action, which is to actively pursue making himself a widower by bumping her off. An offbeat, funny, and dry film, with a wonderfully misanthropic performance by Matthau and a sharply drawn one by May. "--Marshall Fine"


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Nighty Night - The Complete Series 1

Director: Tony Dow Julia Davis, Angus Deayton, Rebecca Front, Sarah Arrif, Kevin EldonComedy
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
Some turn to scary movies for squirms, others to comedy. For the latter, the BBC's "Nighty Night" packs more squirms into a single episode than an entire season of "The Office" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm". Combined. In other words, this blacker-than-black Britcom is so dark it could almost qualify as horror. Simply put, Jill Tyrell (writer/creator Julia Davis, "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself") is the hairdresser from hell. She may lack the horns and the forked tail, but her approach to life couldn’t be more demonic. The vicious fun begins when preternaturally passive hubbie Terry (Kevin Eldon) is diagnosed with cancer--a malignant brain tumor, no less. After he's hustled off to the hospital for treatment, Jill tells everyone in town, including compassionate vicar Gordon Forks (Michael Fenton Stevens), that Terry has died and drops by the local dating agency to find a suitable replacement. Meanwhile, the ever-optimistic Cath Cole (Rebecca Front), who has MS, moves in next door. Upon meeting Cath's selfish spouse, Don (Angus Deayton, "One Foot in the Grave"), Jill decides he's the one. Her seduction plan begins by using Cath to get to him. When Don, who favors more pneumatic types--like the vicar's wife, Sue (Felicity Montagu)--proves resistant to her charms, Jill sets her sights on their teenaged son. Produced by Steve Coogan ("24 Hour Party People"), "Nighty Night" premiered in the US on the Oxygen Channel. Although there are only six episodes in the first series, the terrifying Mrs. Tyrell wreaks an admirable amount of havoc in each, culminating in one of the most hilariously squirm-inducing season finales in the Beeb's storied history. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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Nina Conti - Dolly Mixtures

Director: Comedy
Studio: Universal Pictures UK Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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Nina Conti - Live - Talk to The Hand

Director: Nina ContiComedy
Studio: IMC Vision Suitable for 15 years and over
Nina Conti - Talk To The Hand (DVD)


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Nina Conti: Her Master's Voice

Director: Nina Conti Nina ContiComedy
Studio: Nina Conti Productions NR



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No Country for Old Men (Blu-Ray)

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Javier Bardem, Rodger Boyce, Josh Brolin, Barry Corbin, Beth Grant
Studio: WALT DISNEY VIDEO R
Language (Country): English
The Coen brothers make their finest thriller since "Fargo" with a restrained adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel. Not that there aren't moments of intense violence, but "No Country for Old Men" is their quietest, most existential film yet. In this modern-day Western, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is a Vietnam vet who could use a break. One morning while hunting antelope, he spies several trucks surrounded by dead bodies (both human and canine). In examining the site, he finds a case filled with $2 million. Moss takes it with him, tells his wife (Kelly Macdonald) he's going away for awhile, and hits the road until he can determine his next move. On the way from El Paso to Mexico, he discovers he's being followed by ex-special ops agent Chigurh (an eerily calm Javier Bardem). Chigurh's weapon of choice is a cattle gun, and he uses it on everyone who gets in his way--or loses a coin toss (as far as he's concerned, bad luck is grounds for death). Just as Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), a World War II vet, is on Moss's trail, Chigurh's former colleague, Wells (Woody Harrelson), is on his. For most of the movie, Moss remains one step ahead of his nemesis. Both men are clever and resourceful--except Moss has a conscience, Chigurh does not (he is, as McCarthy puts it, "a prophet of destruction"). At times, the film plays like an old horror movie, with Chigurh as its lumbering Frankenstein monster. Like the taciturn terminator, "No Country for Old Men" doesn't move quickly, but the tension never dissipates. This minimalist masterwork represents Joel and Ethan Coen and their entire cast, particularly Brolin and Jones, at the peak of their powers. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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North & South - Complete BBC Series With Extras

Director: Brian Percival Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Sinead Cusack, Lesley Manville, Tim Pigott-SmithAction & Adventure
Studio: 2Entertain Video Suitable for 12 years and over
North and South is a powerful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's feisty and passionate novel, set across the social divides in the changing world of Victorian industrial society. Margaret Hale is one of literature's most original heroines: a southerner from a country vicarage newly settled in the industrial northern town of Milton. In the shock of her move, she misjudges charismatic cotton mill-owner John Thornton, whose strength of purpose and passion are a match for her own pride and wilfulness. When the workers of Milton call a strike, Margaret takes their side, and the two are brought into deeper conflict. As events spiral out of control, Margaret - to her surprise - begins to fall in love with Thornton...


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Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show

Director: Todd Holland, John Riggi Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Wallace Langham, Mary Lynn RajskubComedy
Studio: Sony Pictures NR
Language (Country): English
Garry Shandling wraps up the run of his groundbreaking HBO comedy series in definitive yet nostalgic fashion in this boxed set, wryly titled "Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show". Now there's truth in advertising. Along with 23 of what Shandling felt were the best episodes of the show's run (89 episodes from 1992-98) comes eight hours of newly produced material, including a feature-length "making of" documentary, cast and star interviews, deleted scenes, commentaries, and footage of Shandling on personal visits with stars like Alec Baldwin, Jon Stewart, and Jerry Seinfeld. The personal visits are some of the most interesting moments (a breakfast with Sharon Stone is so strained and forced it's hard not to laugh) and the new features bring so much of Garry's personal thoughts and feelings into play that maybe this set would have been better named "Being Garry Shandling". But it seems only fair to get such a subjective and in-depth personal view on the series from the man who made awkward self-consciousness a comedic art form.
"The Larry Sanders Show" was at the forefront of changing the genre of TV comedy, and influenced the development of many shows to follow, like "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Arrested Development", and both versions of "The Office". The source of that inspiration is on full display here, as talk-show host Larry Sanders (Shandling) along with his producer Artie (Rip Torn) and his "poor deluded bastard" sidekick Hank (Jeffrey Tambor), struggles to keep his late-night talk show on the air despite dropping ratings, absurd notes from the network, and a hilarious tendency to self-sabotage his personal life. His guest stars, including some of the biggest names in show business, seem to enjoy lampooning their images and provide some of the sharpest comic moments. It's great stuff, and it's too bad all six seasons are not scheduled to be released on DVD. Shandling reportedly went this route with the release, rather than continuing with complete seasons, because of a desire to wrap it all up at once after a long legal battle with producer Brad Grey. While many fans might bemoan the fact that there will be no complete-season sets of "The Larry Sanders Show" released after this, there are episodes from all six seasons here to enjoy, including the first and the double-part finale. With a gem like this, it's better to savor what's available than to lament what might have been. "--Daniel Vancini"


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Nothing Lasts Forever

Director: Tom Schiller Zach Galligan, Apollonia van Ravenstein, Lauren Tom, Sam Jaffe, Paul RogersComedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Studio: Broadway Pictures
Language (Country): English (USA)
An artist fails a test and is required to direct traffic in New York City's Holland Tunnel. He winds up falling in love with a beautiful woman, who takes him to the moon on a Lunar Cruiser.


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Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II Directors Cut

Director: Lars Von Trier Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie BellDrama
Studio: Artificial Eye Suitable for 18 years and over
Lars von Trier's cut of his controversial and sexually-explicit drama starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgård. When the well-read and knowledgeable bachelor Seligman (Skarsgård) finds a beaten and bruised young woman in an alleyway, he takes h


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The Office - The Complete Collection BBC Edition

Director: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant Television
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
It feels both inaccurate and inadequate to describe "The Office" as a comedy. On a superficial level, it disdains all the conventions of television sitcoms: there are no punch lines, no jokes, no laugh tracks, and no cute happy endings. More profoundly, it's not what we're used to thinking of as funny. Most of the fervently devoted fan base watched with a discomfortingly thrilling combination of identification and mortification. The paradox is that its best moments are almost physically unwatchable. Set in the offices of a fictional British paper merchant, "The Office" is filmed in the style of a reality television show. The writing is subtle and deft, the acting wonderful, and the characters beautifully drawn: the cadaverous team leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook); the monstrous sales rep, Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson); and the decent but long-suffering everyman Tim (Martin Freeman), whose ambition and imagination have been crushed out of him by the banality of ! the life he dreams uselessly of escaping. The show is stolen, as it was intended to be, by insufferable office manager David Brent, played by codirector-cowriter Ricky Gervais. Brent will become a name as emblematic for a particular kind of British grotesque as Basil Fawlty, but he is a deeper character. Fawlty is an exaggeration of reality, and therefore a safely comic figure. Brent is as appalling as only reality can be. "--Andrew Mueller"

The second series exceeded even the sky-high standards of the first. Indeed, it ventured beyond caricature and satire, touching on the very edge of darkness. Ricky Gervais is once again excruciatingly superb as David Brent, but in this series, Brent's to-the-camera assertions concerning his management qualities and executive capabilities are seriously challenged when the Slough and Swindon branches are merged and his former Swindon equivalent Neil (Patrick Baladi) takes over as area manager. To compensate, Brent cultivates his pathologically mistaken image of himself as an entertainer-motivator-comedian whose stage happens to be the workplace. Meanwhile, Tim, who can only maintain his sanity by teasing the priggish Gareth, continues to wrestle with his yearning for receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), a sympathetic character persisting in a relationship with a man about whom she still maintains unspoken reservations. As ever, it's the awkward, reality TV-style pauses and silences, the furtive, meaningful and unmet glances across the emotional gulf of the open-plan office, that say it all here. As for Brent, his own breakdown is prefaced by a moment of hideous hilarity--an impromptu office dance, a mixture of ""Flashdance" and MC Hammer" as Brent describes it, but in reality bad beyond description. Then, when his fate is sealed, he at last reveals himself in a memorable finale to perhaps the greatest British sitcom, besides "Fawlty Towers", ever made. "--David Stubbs"

The brilliant and devastating comedy of "The Office" is brought to a satisfying conclusion in "The Office Special", originally a two-part Christmas special on the BBC, set three years after the end of the faux-documentary's second season. The former office manager David (Ricky Gervais) now ekes out a desperate existence as an oblivious quasi-celebrity, making awkward, humiliating visits back to the office staff he still believes loves him. Gawky Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) has risen to manager and become a petty tyrant, while the sweet but snide Tim (Martin Freeman) continues to pine for former receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis), who fled to Florida with her fiance. When the documentary crew pays for Dawn to return for the holiday party, an unpredictable reunion looms ahead. "The Office" fuses scathing humor and genuine empathy, turning excruciating social discomfort into inspired satire. Fans will find this special rewarding in all respects. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Office Space

Director: Jennifer Aniston, Diedrich Bader, Joe Bays, Josh Bond, Gary ColeComedy
Studio: 20th Century Fox R
Language (Country): English, French
Ever spend eight hours in a "Productivity Bin"? Ever had worries about layoffs? Ever had the urge to demolish a temperamental printer or fax machine? Ever had to endure a smarmy, condescending boss? Then "Office Space" should hit pretty close to home for you. Peter (Ron Livingston) spends the day doing stupefyingly dull computer work in a cubicle. He goes home to an apartment sparsely furnished by IKEA and Target, then starts for a maddening commute to work again in the morning. His coworkers in the cube farm are an annoying lot, his boss is a snide, patronizing jerk, and his days are consumed with tedium. In desperation, he turns to career hypnotherapy, but when his hypno-induced relaxation takes hold, there's no shutting it off. Layoffs are in the air at his corporation, and with two coworkers (both of whom are slated for the chute) he devises a scheme to skim funds from company accounts. The scheme soon snowballs, however, throwing the three into a panic until the unexpected happens and saves the day. Director Mike Judge has come up with a spot-on look at work in corporate America circa 1999. With well-drawn characters and situations instantly familiar to the white-collar milieu, he captures the joylessness of many a cube denizen's work life to a "T". Jennifer Aniston plays Peter's love interest, a waitress at Chotchkie's, a generic beer-and-burger joint à la Chili's, and Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show") has a minor but hilarious turn as Peter's mustached, long-haired, drywall-installin' neighbor. "--Jerry Renshaw"


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Olivier's Shakespeare - Criterion Collection

Director: Olivier's ShakespearDrama
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): English, Spanish
Dubbed the greatest actor of the twentieth century Sir Laurence Olivier the classically trained and majestically handsome English theater veteran first transplanted his passion for Shakespeare to the big screen in the 1940s and in so doing allowed Elizabethan verse to break free of its stage-bound origins. Olivier directed only five films in his sixty-year career yet his three Shakespeare adaptations (Henry V Hamlet Richard III) presented here together on DVD for the first time are still widely considered the definitive film adaptations. Faithful to the playwright's words yet open to the unique possibilities of the cinema these works transcend both screen and stage with timeless passion. Criterion is proud to present this unprecedented filmmaking legacy.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: NR UPC: 715515018821 Manufacturer No: CC1638DDVD


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Opera Jawa

Director: Garin Nugroho Period
Studio: Yume Pictures Suitable for 12 years and over
Inspired by 'The Abduction of Sita' from the ancient Indian and South East-Asian literary classic The Ramayana, OPERA JAWA is a unique musical tale of love, lust and tragedy. Setio and his wife Siti, own a pottery business in a small village ran by Ludiro, a powerful and ruthless businessman. Ludiro, who is in love with Siti, seizes his chance when the couple's business collapses. He abducts and tries to seduce Siti. The two men fight and inevitably jealousy spills over into violence and tragedy. Utilising the genius of Indonesia's greatest artists, director Garin Nugroho has collected together the finest talents in the fields of art, music, design and dance to create an incredible and entirely unique experience. An ecstatic, surreal musical extravaganza, OPERA JAWA is unlike anything ever seen before in cinema.


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Orphic Trilogy - Criterion Collection

Director: Jean CocteauArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): French
"The Blood of a Poet"
"A realistic documentary of unreal situations" reads the introductory card of Jean Cocteau's debut film, which recalls the work of the silent surrealists (notably Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's "Un Chien Andalou" and "L'Âge d'Or"). Cocteau uses dream imagery to explore poetry, artistic creation, memory, death, and rebirth in four separate fantasy sequences. In the first scene, an artist confronts his creations when they take on a life of their own. In the second, he dives through a mirror (a primitive but startling effect Cocteau refines for "Orpheus") and into a skewed hall where every door reveals a fantastic dream scene. The third sequence finds a gang of boys turning a snowball fight into a cruel war, and in the last an audience gathers to witness a dead boy's resurrection amidst a strange card game. These descriptions do little to communicate the poetry of each segment, which rely on creative imagery to create meaning not in stories but in symbols and metaphors. Cocteau's realization is often stiff and stilted, the work of a visual artist transforming still images into an medium that moves through time, but it's never less than beautiful and evocative. Cocteau returned to many of the same themes in "Orpheus" and "The Testament of Orpheus". "--Sean Axmaker"
"Orpheus"
A Parisian poet becomes seduced by the prospect of eternal fame in Jean Cocteau's jazzy 1949 update of the ancient Greek myth of "Orpheus". The café set won't give successful Orpheus (Jean Marais) the time of day, so he obliges when the Princess of Death (Maria Casarés) orders him into her Rolls Royce with her injured young protégé. It isn't long before the poet realizes the commanding Princess is no ordinary benefactor of the arts; for one thing, she can travel through mirrors. The next day, Orpheus returns to his frantic wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) with the kindly chauffeur Heurtibise (François Périer), but remains distracted by the Princess and the cryptic messages from her car radio. The equally smitten Princess eventually takes Eurydice before her time, which results in an underworld trial about her actions. To get his wife back, Orpheus must promise to never to look at his wife, but his heart's not in it. This black-and-white film slyly explores the dark side of the creative urge with panache. Dreamy and mesmerizing, it depicts an underworld not too different from everyday life. With subtitles. "--Diane Garrett"
"The Testament of Orpheus"
It is the unique power of the cinema to allow a great many people to dream the same dream together and to present illusion to us as if it were strict reality. It is, in short, an admirable vehicle for poetry." Jean Cocteau, at age 70, thus ruminates on the life and purpose of the creative artist in a poetic essay. Cocteau himself stars as a time-traveling poet bopping helplessly through the ages until an experimental scientist grounds him in a kind of never-never land where he defends himself to the judges of Orpheus, dies, and is resurrected to complete his sentence: "condemned to live." Though the film opens with scenes from "Orpheus", the series of symbolic encounters and surreal images more resembles "The Blood of a Poet". What's different is his cinematic assurance and sly sense of humor: shot through with jokey gags and playful imagery, the film is less philosophical treatise than career summation by way of farewell party. He's invited fictional characters (most of the cast of "Orpheus") and real-life friends (cameos range from Brigitte Bardot to Yul Brynner to Pablo Picasso) from his past and present to send him off to an uncertain future. The new Home Vision video and Criterion DVD releases feature the restored color sequence. Cocteau died in 1963, three years after completing the film. "--Sean Axmaker"


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The Oscar Wilde Collection

Director: Stuart Burge, John Gorrie, Rudolph Cartier Paul McGann, Rupert Frazer, Alec McCowen, John Quarmby, John WoodnuttComedy
Studio: BBC Video NR
Language (Country): English
"Wilde" about witty dialogue, scandalous secrets and ingenious intrigue?
Let the BBC transport you back to the decadent aristocratic drawing rooms of 1890's England. Lovingly restored, these plays feature a who's who of great actors of the British stage & screen including stars like Sir John Gielgud, Joan Plowright, Jeremy Brett, Susan Hampshire, Margaret Leighton and Gemma Jones.
Rediscover the charm and delight of Wilde's masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest - "To loose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune...to lose both seems like carelessness." - Lady Bracknell
Unleash the chilling and ruthless melodrama of Wilde's notorious novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which disturbed the very foundations of Victorian society.
Indulge yourself in the scandalous gossip and intrigue of An Ideal Husband and Lady Windermere's Fan
"I can resist everything but temptation" - Lord Darlington
Treasure the genius of Oscar Wilde in this complete collection of his major works.
"I have nothing to declare but my genius" - Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest 1988, The Picture of Dorian Gray 1976, An Ideal Husband 1969, Lady Windermere's Fan 1985


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Papillon (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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The Party (in The Peter Sellers Giftset)



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Party Down: Season 1

Director: Rob Thomas Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Ryan Hansen, Martin StarrComedy
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay NR
Language (Country): English
Party Down is a Starz original series about a group of struggling dreamers who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirees. Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along.


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Party Down: Season Two

Director: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Jane LynchAction & Adventure
Studio: Starz/Anchor Bay NR
The catering crew from Party Down is back. And they’re all dressed up and going nowhere. The all-new season finds our dreamers stuck working for tips while struggling to get the life they really want.

Now that Henry (Adam Scott) is finally the manager, he’s not sure how to feel about it. However, after failing to start his own business, Ron (Ken Marino) would trade places with Henry in a heartbeat. Back from her stint doing stand-up on a cruise ship, Casey (Lizzy Caplan) is hoping to break out as a comedienne. Kyle (Ryan Hansen) is handsome, talented, and on the verge of being a star. At least in his own mind. And Roman (Martin Starr) is still waiting for the world to see his genius. The newest member of the staff, Lydia (Megan Mullally), is in L.A. to achieve stardom for her 13-year-old daughter, Escapade.

Follow this ensemble cast as they work all-new parties, mingle with the guests and dabble in their dramas.


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Party Down: The Complete Series

Director: Not Available Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Megan Mullally
Studio: ANCHOR BAY NR
FROM PAUL RUDD AND THE CREATORS OF VERONICA MARS. Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation), Jane Lynch (Glee), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Ken Marino (Marry Me), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) and Lizzy Caplan (Masters Of Sex) star as the employees of Hollywood catering company Party Down, a group of struggling actors and dysfunctional dreamers waiting for their big breaks while stuck serving hors d'oeurves. But in a town where everything is possible, can the ultimate going-nowhere job ever get them anywhere? Follow this ensemble cast in the Starz Originals hit that the Los Angeles Times calls smart, affable and unpredictable. Party Down is a movable feast of laughs!


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The Passion of Joan of Arc - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz, Antonin ArtaudArt House & International
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): English
With its stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Carl Th. Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" convinced the world that movies could be art. Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film, as the young maiden who died for God and France. Long thought to have been lost to fire, the original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981-in a Norwegian mental institution. Criterion is proud to present this milestone of silent cinema in a new special edition featuring composer Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, an original opera/oratorio inspired by the film.


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Paths of Glory Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Stanley Kubrick Kirk Douglas, Richard Anderson, Timothy Carey, George Macready, Ralph Meeker
Studio: Criterion Collection NR
Language (Country): English
A pivotal work by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange), PATHS OF GLORY is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole, Spartacus) stars as a French colonel serving in World War I who goes head-to-head with the army’s ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director’s customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene.


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Patton

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong, Carey LoftinAction & Adventure
Studio: 20th Century Fox PG
Language (Country): English, French
One of the greatest screen biographies ever produced, this monumental film runs nearly three hours, won seven Academy Awards, and gave George C. Scott the greatest role of his career. It was released in 1970 when protest against the Vietnam War still raged at home and abroad, and many critics and moviegoers struggled to reconcile current events with the movie's glorification of Gen. George S. Patton as a crazy-brave genius of World War II.
How could a movie so huge in scope and so fascinated by its subject be considered an anti-war film? The simple truth is that it's not--Patton is less about World War II than about the rise and fall of a man whose life was literally defined by war, and who felt lost and lonely without the grand-scale pursuit of an enemy. George C. Scott embodies his role so fully, so convincingly, that we can't help but be drawn to and fascinated by Patton as a man who is simultaneously bound for hell and glory. The film's opening monologue alone is a masterful display of acting and character analysis, and everything that follows is sheer brilliance on the part of Scott and director Franklin J. Schaffner.
Filmed on an epic scale at literally dozens of European locations, Patton does not embrace war as a noble pursuit, nor does it deny the reality of war as a breeding ground for heroes. Through the awesome achievement of Scott's performance and the film's grand ambition, Patton shows all the complexities of a man who accepted his role in life and (like Scott) played it to the hilt. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Peep Show: Series 1, 2 and 3

Director:
Studio: Channel 4 DVD
This 3 disc DVD boxset encompasses the complete Series 1, 2 & 3 of the award-winning comedy, following the inner lives of two very ordinary weirdoes, wannabe popstar Jeremy (Robert Webb) and Mark (David Mitchell), a 50 year old in a twentysomething body.


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Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Director: Jim Brown Joan Baez, Ronnie Gilbert, Tom Paxton, Bonnie Raitt, Tom SmothersDocumentary
Studio: Genius Products (Ingram) PG-13
Language (Country): English
Pete Seeger reads "The Wall Street Journal"! That's perhaps the most startling revelation in Jim Brown's ("The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time") wonderful documentary that etches an indelible portrait of an American icon and a global treasure. As a solo performer and as a member of the Weavers, Seeger introduced America to its musical heritage and was instrumental in ushering in the folk music revival in the 1960s. Branded as an "evil Commie" for his leftist beliefs, he is hailed here as an "absolute patriot" and "a living testament to the First Amendment." Seeger didn't call out politicians or presidents. He called out backward policies, unjust laws, and divisive attitudes. Songs that he popularized, or were covered by others, such as "We Shall Overcome," "The Hammer Song," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and "Turn, Turn, Turn," became Civil Rights and anti-war anthems. Music, he eloquently states in "The Power of Song", should not be used just to forget one's troubles, but to also help to understand and to do something about your troubles. Whether singing work songs at union rallies or Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" to schoolchildren, Seeger used folk music as a uniter. "The Power of Song" is a profile in courage. In dramatic archival footage, he is seen defying the House Un-American Activities Committee. Seeger, never in it for the money, recalls how he quit the phenomenally popular Weavers when the other members agreed to do a cigarette commercial. Seeger was green before green was cool. At 88, he lives in the log cabin that he built and continues to work the land; chopping wood and hauling water. This film also chronicles his successful campaign to clean up the polluted Hudson River.
"The Power of Song"" is more than a great life story. It's also a great love story. Toshi, his wife of more than 60 years, emerges as an extraordinary woman who has greatly sacrificed to allow Seeger to take his music and message around the world (at one point she jokes that she wished her husband chased women instead of causes so she could leave him). Seeger says his singing voice is gone, but his spirit is undimmed (one clip captures him standing on the roadside with a handful of war protesters). Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Mary Travers, and family members are among those who pay tribute, but Seeger's own plain-spoken words and the concert footage and performance clips--by turns joyous and profoundly moving--take full measure of the man as a musicologist, iconoclast, and "social artist." One admirer says of Seeger that he stood for justice and had powerful enemies. That makes him sound like a superhero. In his own gentle way, perhaps he was. "--Donald Liebenson"


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The Peter Sellers Giftset

Director: Blake Edwards, John Huston Peter Sellers, David Niven, Robert Wagner, Peter O'Toole, Woody AllenComedy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) Unrated
Language (Country): English
Disc 1: WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? Disc 2: THE PARTY Disc 3: The PINK PANTHER Disc 4: CASINO ROYALE (1967)


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The Piano in a Factory

Director: Zhang Meng Wang Qian-Yuan, Qin Hai-Lu
Studio: Film Movement Unrated
Language (Country): Mandarin Chinese
When Chen's estranged wife reappears asking for a divorce and custody of their daughter, Chen hopes to entice his talented daughter to stay with him by providing her with a piano. When efforts to borrow money and even steal a piano fail, Chen concocts a preposterous plan - he'll make a piano from scratch! He persuades a bunch of reluctant, but loyal, misfit friends to help him forge the instrument in a derelict factory from a heap of scrap steel. Though crude in design and tune, the factory piano awaits its first and final performance from his little girl.


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Picnic at Hanging Rock Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Peter Weir Rachel Roberts, Anne Lambert, Jacki Weaver
Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct) PG
Language (Country): English
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO/3 DISC/WS 1.77/ENG SDH/5.1SUR/75) DRAMA


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The Picture of Dorian Gray (in The Oscar Wilde Collection)



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Pierrot le Fou - Criterion Collection

Director: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani, Samuel Fuller, Jean-Pierre LéaudArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): English, French
Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a man who has married for money and is terribly disillusioned with his life. When forced to go to a dinner party he does not want to attend, he throws a temper tantrum and returns home early. When driving Marianne (Anna Karina), the babysitter, back home, they fall in love and decide to run away from Paris. They embark on a series of escapades that begins with running illegal arms for extra cash and runs the gamut: love, death, ennui, boat chases, murder, betrayal, revenge, lost cash, and almost anything else you can think of, and all with a sense of reality that is an interesting contrast to the typical American film. Jean-Luc Godard ("Breathless", "Alphaville") blends different genres with great success and achieves moments of cinematic poetry in this quasi-epic of modern malaise. Also a cameo by the Hollywood director Samuel Fuller is something to watch for. Be aware that Godard is for people seriously interested in cinematic art. "--James McGrath"


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The Pink Panther (in The Peter Sellers Giftset)



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The Pink Panther (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series

Director: David AttenboroughDocumentary
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
As of its release in early 2007, "Planet Earth" is quite simply the greatest nature/wildlife series ever produced. Following the similarly monumental achievement of "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life", this astonishing 11-part BBC series is brilliantly narrated by Sir David Attenborough and sensibly organized so that each 50-minute episode covers a specific geographical region and/or wildlife habitat (mountains, caves, deserts, shallow seas, seasonal forests, etc.) until the entire planet has been magnificently represented by the most astonishing sights and sounds you'll ever experience from the comforts of home. The premiere episode, "From Pole to Pole," serves as a primer for things to come, placing the entire series in proper context and giving a general overview of what to expect from each individual episode. Without being overtly political, the series maintains a consistent and subtle emphasis on the urgent need for ongoing conservation, best illustrated by the plight of polar bears whose very behavior is changing (to accommodate life-threatening changes in their fast-melting habitat) in the wake of global warming--a phenomenon that this series appropriately presents as scientific fact. With this harsh reality as subtext, the series proceeds to accentuate the positive, delivering a seemingly endless variety of natural wonders, from the spectacular mating displays of New Guinea's various birds of paradise to a rare encounter with Siberia's nearly-extinct Amur Leopards, of which only 30 remain in the wild.
That's just a hint of the marvels on display. Accompanied by majestic orchestral scores by George Fenton, every episode is packed with images so beautiful or so forcefully impressive (and so perfectly photographed by the BBC's tenacious high-definition camera crews) that you'll be rendered speechless by the splendor of it all. You'll see a seal struggling to out-maneuver a Great White Shark; swimming macaques in the Ganges delta; massive flocks of snow geese numbering in the hundreds of thousands; an awesome night-vision sequence of lions attacking an elephant; the Colugo (or "flying lemur"--not really a lemur!) of the Philippines; a hunting alliance of fish and snakes on Indonesia's magnificent coral reef; the bioluminescent "vampire squid" of the deep oceans... these are just a few of countless highlights, masterfully filmed from every conceivable angle, with frequent use of super-slow-motion and amazing motion-controlled time-lapse cinematography, and narrated by Attenborough with his trademark combination of observational wit and informative authority. The result is a hugely entertaining series that doesn't flinch from the predatory realities of nature (death is a constant presence, without being off-putting), and each episode ends with 10-minute "Planet Earth Diaries" (exclusive to this DVD set) that cover a specific aspect of production, like "Diving with Pirahnas" or "Into the Abyss" (the latter showing the rigors of filming the planet's most spectacular caves, including the last filming ever officially permitted in the "Chandelier Ballroom," a crystal-encrusted cavern found over a mile deep in New Mexico's treacherous Lechuguilla, the deepest cave in the continental United States.)
With so many of Earth's natural wonders on display, it's only fitting that the final DVD in this five-disc set is devoted to "Planet Earth: The Future", a separate three-part series in which a global array of experts is assembled to discuss issues of conservation, protection of delicate ecosystems, and the socio-economic benefits of understanding nature as a commodity that returns trillions of dollars in value at no cost to Earth's human population. At a time when the multiple threats of global warming should be obvious to all, let's give Sir David the last word, from the closing of "Planet Earth"'s final episode: "We can now destroy or we can cherish--the choice is ours." "--Jeff Shannon"


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Playing Shakespeare

Director: John Barton, David Suchet, Alan Howard, Michael Pennington, Patrick StewartDocumentary
Studio: Athena NR
Language (Country): English
The Royal Shakespeare Company founder John Barton holds a master class featuring…
JUDI DENCH
IAN MCKELLEN
PATRICK STEWART
BEN KINGSLEY
DAVID SUCHET
Sit in on nine intensive acting workshops conducted by the legendary John Barton of the Royal Shakespeare Company. How does this world-renowned troupe make classic plays accessible to modern audiences, without compromising the text’s integrity? How do actors search Shakespeare’s verse for hidden clues to their characters’ motivations? How do they balance intellect and passion to make theatre’s most famous soliloquies seem fresh?
The answers come from Barton and 21 of Britain’s finest actors, including Oscar® winners Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, Iris), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler’s List), and Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage to India), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings, Gods and Monsters), Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation), and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot).
Also starring Sinéad Cusack, Susan Fleetwood, Sheila Hancock, Alan Howard, Donald Sinden, Michael Williams, and more.

(SDH subtitles)

BONUS FEATURES 20-page viewer’s guide includes key points, discussion questions, avenues for further learning, a history of the RSC, and "Vocabulary of Verse and Stage." Actor biographies and RSC stage credits Exclusive web extras
Cofounder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Barton directed productions there for over 40 years. In 2001, he received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare’s Globe for his pioneering contributions to Shakespearean performance.
View an Excerpt from the Guide Included with Playing Shakespeare


Playing Shakespeare


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Pope Dreams

Director: P. Patrick Hogan Julie Hagerty, Rex Smith, Stephen Tobolowsky, Marnette Patterson, Larisa Oleynik
Studio: Ocean Park Home Entertainment Unrated
Language (Country): English
In the vein of Good Will Hunting and Garden State, Pope Dreams is a coming of age tale about a young man at a crossroads in life. Filled with heart,music, life and loss.... and a set of drums.


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Power of Art (in the Simon Schama Collection)



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Pride and Prejudice

Director: Simon Langton Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Alison Steadman, Benjamin Whitrow, Susannah HarkerDrama
Studio: A&E Home Video Unrated
Language (Country): English
Jane Austen's classic novel of 1813, "Pride and Prejudice", still wins the hearts of countless schoolgirls with its romantic story of Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy. Now, the 1996 BBC miniseries is winning over adults, with its faithful adaptation, gorgeous scenery, and superb acting.
The essence of the story is the antagonism between Mr. Darcy, a wealthy single man who believes Elizabeth to be beneath him, and Elizabeth, who upon being insulted at a dance by the aloof Darcy refuses to associate with him in any manner. Austen evokes incredible tension with the wit and flirtation of the two characters, and director Simon Langton (who also directed "Upstairs Downstairs") successfully translates the repartee and conflict in this six-hour miniseries. Dialogue, for the most part, is painstakingly replicated, except when fleshing out and smoothing for modern sensibilities was necessary. Darcy, for instance, is drawn out, giving his personality significantly more depth. The acting sweeps you away to Regency England: Jennifer Ehle (of "Wilde") is convincing as the obstinate Elizabeth, who, despite her mother's attempts to marry her off, spurs the attentions of Darcy. And Colin Firth (of "The English Patient") will have women everywhere longing for a Mr. Darcy of their own.
For those who have been on an Austen binge--enjoying such excellent adaptations as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion"--this miniseries will round out the ultimate Austen video library. For those new to these romantic period pieces, this version of "Pride and Prejudice" will have you hooked and longing for more. One caveat, however: plan to watch it in an entire day, because very few have the self-control to not watch all six hours in a single sitting. "--Jenny Brown"

Beyond "Pride and Prejudice"
So you'd like to... Watch a Jane Austen Novel
So you'd like to... Watch a Charles Dickens Novel
Visit the A&E Home Video DVD Store
Stills from "Pride and Prejudice" (click for larger image)


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The Princess Bride - Dread Pirate Edition

Director: Rob Reiner Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) PG
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Screenwriter William Goldman's novel "The Princess Bride" earned its own loyal audience on the strength of its narrative voice and its gently satirical, hyperbolic spin on swashbuckled adventure that seemed almost purely literary. For all its derring-do and vivid over-the-top characters, the book's joy was dictated as much by the deadpan tone of its narrator and a winking acknowledgement of the clichés being sent up. Miraculously, director Rob Reiner and Goldman himself managed to visualize this romantic fable while keeping that external voice largely intact: using a storytelling framework, avuncular Grandpa (Peter Falk) gradually seduces his skeptical grandson (Fred Savage) into the absurd, irresistible melodrama of the title story. And what a story: a lowly stable boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), pledges his love to the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright), only to be abducted and reportedly killed by pirates while Buttercup is betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdinck. Even as Buttercup herself is kidnapped by a giant, a scheming criminal mastermind, and a master Spanish swordsman, a mysterious masked pirate (could it be Westley?) follows in pursuit. As they sail toward the Cliffs of Insanity... The wild and woolly arcs of the story, the sudden twists of fate, and, above all, the cartoon-scaled characters all work because of Goldman's very funny script, Reiner's confident direction, and a terrific cast. Elwes and Wright, both sporting their best English accents, juggle romantic fervor and physical slapstick effortlessly, while supporting roles boast Mandy Patinkin (the swordsman Inigo Montoya), Wallace Shawn (the incredulous schemer Vizzini), and Christopher Guest (evil Count Rugen) with brief but funny cameos from Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and Peter Cook. "--Sam Sutherland"


Beyond "The Princess Bride" on DVD
Watch "Once" on DVD
Check out an old favorite, "Willow" on DVD
See the new classic "Under the Same Moon" on DVD


Stills from "The Princess Bride" (Click for larger image)


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Pulp Fiction (Blu-Ray)

Director: Quentin Tarantino John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth
Studio: Lionsgate/Miramax R
Language (Country): English
With the knockout one-two punch of 1992's "Reservoir Dogs" and 1994's "Pulp Fiction" writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender. But "Pulp Fiction" was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that reestablished John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million) independent showcase for an ultrahip mixture of established marquee names and rising stars from the indie scene (among them Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, and Phil Lamar). It was more, even, than an unprecedented $100-million-plus hit for indie distributor Miramax. "Pulp Fiction" was a sensation. No, it was not the Second Coming (I actually think "Reservoir Dogs" is a more substantial film; and P.T. Anderson outdid Tarantino in 1997 by making his directorial debut with two even more mature and accomplished pictures, "Hard Eight" and "Boogie Nights"). But "Pulp Fiction" packs so much energy and invention into telling its nonchronologically interwoven short stories (all about temptation, corruption, and redemption amongst modern criminals, large and small) it leaves viewers both exhilarated and exhausted--hearts racing and knuckles white from the ride. (Oh, and the infectious, surf-guitar-based soundtrack is tastier than a Royale with Cheese.) "--Jim Emerson"


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Pushing Daisies - The Complete First Season

Director: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Jim Dale, Ellen GreeneComedy
Studio: Warner Home Video NR
Language (Country): English, Portuguese
Every not-so-often, along comes a show that's different. Wonderfully different. Pushing Daisies, TV Guide's Matt Roush writes, "restores my faith in TV's ability to amuse, enchant and entertain." It's the story of Ned, a lonely pie maker whose touch can reanimate the dead. Cool, but there's a hitch. If Ned touches the person again, the miracle is reversed. If he doesn't, a bystander goes toes up. What to do? Easy: Team with a private eye, bring murder victims back just long enough to discover whodunit, and collect the rewards. Things go well until Ned's boyhood sweetie is the next dear departed, and he can't resist bringing her back for keeps! Dig the wit, style and quirky romance: If you're not laughing, you may need a visit from Ned.


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Queen of the Elephants (in Discovery Channel Collection)



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Race Across America

Director: Stephen Auerbach Action & Adventure
Studio: AuerFilms NR
Now available on DVD for the first time ever, "Race Across America" tells the inspirational true story of the event that Outside Magazine calls the "toughest race in the world."



Every summer, a group of daring, passionate riders face the ultimate challenge of endurance: to ride 3000 miles across the United States in just 10 days. They must overcome not only the daunting physical obstacles Mother Nature has provided- searing desert heat, painful mountain climbs, and endless expanses of nothingness- but the mental demons that inevitably arise from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. "Race Across America" captures all the drama and emotion of RAAM, showing the riders' most difficult moments as well as their greatest triumphs. From the controversial battle for first to the constant struggle to overcome injuries and fatigue, all aspects of the race are covered in intimate detail.



Narrated by legendary sports broadcaster Jim Lampley, "Race Across America" is the first in a trilogy of spellbinding cycling documentaries by award-winning filmmaker Stephen Auerbach. The second in the series, "Bicycle Dreams", has already won 15 film festival awards and counting. The final installment of the trilogy, "Stay on the Bike", will be released early in 2011.




For more on "Race Across America", including a trailer, photos, and reviews, please visit www.raceacrossamericamovie.com





To read more about "Bicycle Dreams", including over 50 5-star customer reviews, please visit www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KJAIG0




Or save money by choosing the "Bicycle Dreams/Race Across America" 2-Pack at www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045EJLZW.
At $40 for these two critically acclaimed films, it's an unbeatable deal.


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Raging Bull (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Rain Man (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Random Lunacy: videos from the road less traveled

Director:
Studio: CreateSpace
PETER TRAVERS of ROLLING STONE says:

"Movies like to pretend they're different, but RANDOM LUNACY really, truly is. Gifted filmmakers Zimet and Silber throw us into a life that intoxicates, infuriates and leaves us panting for each unforgettable adventure. Prepare to be wowed."
"This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply."


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Rashomon - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Minoru Chiaki, Fumiko Homma, Daisuke Kato, Machiko Kyo, Toshiro MifuneArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): Japanese
Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, "Rashomon" is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife. Toshiro Mifune gives another commanding performance in the eloquent masterwork that revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema to the world.


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The Razor's Edge

Director: John Byrum Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Catherine Hicks, Denholm Elliott, James KeachAction & Adventure
Studio: Sony Pictures PG-13
Language (Country): English
This adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel is probably the best movie ever made dealing with the WWI generation and their attempts to make sense of their lives after experiencing the horrific slaughter of that senseless, brutal conflict. Bill Murray is amazingly effective in the lead role, his first dramatic film appearance. Yet he still has that wise-guy, sly humor charm that shows through to good effect. Denholm Elliot, Theresa Russell and the rest of the cast are marvelous, as well. The cinematography is masterful, giving a very authentic period feel to the production. This one of the very few films I've ever seen that I never tire of watching.


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The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Director: Taggart Siegel John Peterson, Lesley Littlefield, Teri LangDocumentary
Studio: Gaiam NR
Language (Country): English
Director Taggart Siegel focuses his cameras on radical farmer John Peterson for this documentary. Peterson turned his farm into a haven for hippies radicals and artists in the 1960s only to find the people he aimed to help turned on him as the years passed. THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN highlights these events and shows how Peterson eventually turned his life around after the tumultuous uprising against him.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/BIOGRAPHY UPC: 018713523181 Manufacturer No: 05-52318


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Refusing to be Enemies

Director: Laurie White



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The Remains of the Day

Director: James Ivory Terence Bayler, Peter Cellier, Paul Copley, Peter Eyre, Patrick GodfreyDrama
Studio: Sony Pictures PG
Language (Country): English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
This excellent film is probably best described as subtle elegance. Framed in the present, the movie deals with the lives inside an English country home just prior to World War II. Reunited with the filmmakers from "Howards End" are Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton, the head housekeeper, and Anthony Hopkins as Stevens, the impeccable butler. The bittersweet story centers on Stevens and his dedication to his master, Lord Darlington (a suitably officious and slyly pompous James Fox). Stevens summarizes: "I don't believe a man can consider himself fully content until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer." Enveloping Stevens's world are the pending war with Germany, Darlington's horribly misguided interests in said war, and, most effectively, his relationship with Miss Kenton. Stevens is the very essence of repression, but as played by Hopkins he is neither piteous nor self-righteous. Like his master, Stevens becomes misguided in his loyalties, although his is an emotional deprivation, possibly condemning him to lifelong regret. There's so much going on in this film, and yet the action is skillfully depicted through understanding and knowing glances, through emotions expressed only through eye contact. Like other Merchant-Ivory-Ruth Prawer Jhabvala collaborations, this film is sumptuous to look at, capturing the period effectively and affectingly. Jhabvala respectfully adapts from the Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Excellent in supporting roles are Christopher Reeve, Ben Chaplin, and Hugh Grant. "--N.F. Mendoza"


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Reservoir Dogs (Blu-Ray)

Director: Kirk Baltz, Randy Brooks, Edward Bunker, Steve Buscemi, Suzanne Celeste
Studio: Lions Gate R
Language (Country): English
Quentin Tarantino came out of nowhere (i.e., a video store in Manhattan Beach, California) and turned Hollywood on its ear in 1992 with his explosive first feature, "Reservoir Dogs". Like Tarantino's mainstream breakthrough "Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs" has an unconventional structure, cleverly shuffling back and forth in time to reveal details about the characters, experienced criminals who know next to nothing about each other. Joe (Lawrence Tierney) has assembled them to pull off a simple heist, and has gruffly assigned them color-coded aliases (Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. White) to conceal their identities from being known even to each other. But something has gone wrong, and the plan has blown up in their faces. One by one, the surviving robbers find their way back to their prearranged warehouse hideout. There, they try to piece together the chronology of this bloody fiasco--and to identify the traitor among them who tipped off the police. Pressure mounts, blood flows, accusations and bullets fly. In the combustible atmosphere these men are forced to confront life-and-death questions of trust, loyalty, professionalism, deception, and betrayal. As many critics have observed, it is a movie about "honor among thieves" (just as "Pulp Fiction" is about redemption, and "Jackie Brown" is about survival). Along with everything else, the movie provides a showcase for a terrific ensemble of actors: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Christopher Penn, and Tarantino himself, offering a fervent dissection of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" over breakfast. "Reservoir Dogs" is violent (though the violence is implied rather than explicit), clever, gabby, harrowing, funny, suspenseful, and even--in the end--unexpectedly moving. (Don't forget that "Super Sounds of the Seventies" soundtrack, either.) "Reservoir Dogs" deserves just as much acclaim and attention as its follow-up, "Pulp Fiction", would receive two years later. "--Jim Emerson "


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Rick & Morty: Season 1

Director: Various Various
Studio: Cartoon Network
Language (Country): English
Rick and Morty: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray+UltraViolet)


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The River

Director: Jean Renoir Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight, Arthur Shields
Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct) NR
Language (Country): English
An English girl grows up at her family's jute mill on the banks of the Ganges in Bengal. Directed by Jean Renoir.


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Robot Chicken, Season 1

Director: Robot ChickenTelevision
Studio: Turner Home Ent PG-13
Language (Country): English
Take the stop-motion animated toy action of "Kablam!" and the pell-mell-paced gag barrage of, say, "Laugh-In" and you've got the fast and furiously funny "Robot Chicken", the addictive addition to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late-night lineup. Co-created by geek-God Seth Green and filmmaker Matthew Senreich, "Robot Chicken" episodes run a scant 12 minutes or so, which invites repeat viewings to catch what you missed during the channel-flipping mayhem through TV, movie, and commercial parodies, and non-sequitur blackouts, all acted out by dolls and action figures. To truly appreciate this series, it helps to have a "Family Guy" grasp on pop-culture trivia, although you need not remember the failed TV series "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" to enjoy "Two Kirks (Admiral James T. and Cameron), a Khan and a Pizza Place." Suffice to say, if you grew up with the Transformers, Voltron, He-Man, and the Care Bears, you'll cackle loudly at "Robot Chicken". Each episode is hit and miss, with moments that border on mad genius, such as "The Diary of Anne Frank" re-imagined as a vehicle for Hilary Duff, or a sketch involving the Tooth Fairy and a little boy whose happiness is short-lived as his parents brutally bicker off camera. It may just live up to its billing as "the darkest sketch in television history."
Other moments to remember: actress Rachael Leigh Cook (voiced by herself) gets carried away during a "This is your brain on heroin" PSA; the shape-shifting superhero adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; a popsicle-stick adaptation of "Debbie Does Dallas"; and a "Behind the Music" devoted to Muppet house band the Electric Mayhem. "Robot Chicken"'s coolness cache extends to its voice cast, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane, Mark Hamill, and Macauley Culkin. This two-disc set hatches a wealth of archival goodies, including deleted scenes and "animatics," behind-the-scenes footage of animation meetings, and alternate audio takes. "Robot Chicken" is a fowl ball! "--Donald Liebenson"


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Rocky (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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The Royal Tenenbaums (Blu-Ray)

Director: Wes Anderson Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson
Studio: Criterion Collection R
Language (Country): English
In a fitting follow-up to "Rushmore", writer-director Wes Anderson and cowriter-actor Owen Wilson have crafted another comedic masterwork that ripples with inventive, richly emotional substance. Because of the all-star cast, hilarious dialogue, and oddball characters existing in their own, wholly original universe, it's easy to miss the depth and complexity of Anderson's brand of comedy. Here, it revolves around Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), the errant patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses, including precocious playwright Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), boyish financier and grieving widower Chas (Ben Stiller), and has-been tennis pro Richie (Luke Wilson). All were raised with supportive detachment by mother Etheline (Anjelica Huston), and all ache profoundly for a togetherness they never really had. The Tenenbaums reconcile somehow, but only after Anderson and Wilson (who costars as a loopy literary celebrity) put them through a compassionate series of quirky confrontations and rekindled affections. Not for every taste, but this is brilliant work from any perspective. "--Jeff Shannon"


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The Royle Family Album - The Complete Collection

Director: Caroline Aherne, Steve Bendelack Doreen Keogh, Ralf Little, Craig Cash, Caroline Aherne, Jessica HynesComedy
Studio: ITV DVD Suitable for 15 years and over
For anyone who hasn't watched the royal family the concept of sitting watching a family who are sitting watching tv may seem very non-comical... however i guarantee you will love it!

The casting is genius - led by Jim in his crusty jeans.
The writing is amazing - only this show can make you laugh one minute then be near to tears the next. (watch the queen of sheeba edition - you'll see what i mean)

Buy this - you wont be disappointed.

Enjoy


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The Rules of the Game - Criterion Collection

Director: Jean Renoir Julien Carette, Tony Corteggiani, Marcel Dalio, Eddy Debray, Paulette DubostArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): French
Jean Renoir's 1939 classic is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and Criterion is very proud to present the film in a special two-disc edition. Cloaked in a comedy of manners, this scathing critique of corrupt French society is about a weekend hunting party at which amorous escapades abound among the aristocratic guests-which are also mirrored by the activities of the servants downstairs. The refusal of one of the guests to play by society's rules sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy.


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Rushmore - Criterion Collection

Director: Wes Anderson Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian CoxComedy
Studio: Walt Disney Video R
Language (Country): English
Wes Anderson's dazzling sophomore effort is equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage, and screwball comedy. Tenth grader Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy's most extracurricular student-and its least scholarly. He faces expulsion, and enters into unlikely friendships with both a lovely first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) and a melancholy self-made millionaire (Bill Murray, in an award-winning performance). Set to a soundtrack of classic British Invasion tunes, "Rushmore" defies categorization even as it captures the pain and exuberance of adolescence with wit, emotional depth, and cinematic panache. Criterion is proud to present one of 1998's most acclaimed films in a Director Approved special edition.


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The Saddest Music in the World

Director: Guy Maddin, Matt Holm, Caelum Vatnsdal Guy Maddin, Matthew Davies, David Fox, Niv Fichman, Mark McKinneyArt House & International
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English
Only the mind of Guy Maddin could conjure up "The Saddest Music in the World", in which a double-amputee beer baroness invites musicians of all nations to compete in a grand music competition... in Winnipeg. The only thing zanier than the plot is Maddin's style, which makes the film look like a lost artifact from the "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" era, a jumble of Expressionist compositions and gauzy focus. It helps if you're already a fan of the director of "Careful" and "Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary", for this is not Maddin's most cohesive picture. "Kids in the Hall" stalwart Mark McKinney is a little too arch as a sharpie returning to Manitoba, but Isabella Rossellini is delicious as the "Beer Queen of the Prairie." By the time she straps on a pair of hollow glass legs filled with bubbly lager, you're either delighted by this movie or you've given up. "--Robert Horton"


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The Sandbaggers: The Complete Series

Director: Television
Studio: Network Parental Guidance



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Saturday Night Live - The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse

Director: Matthew Meshekoff, Tom Schiller, Walter Williams (IV), Mike Judge, Bill D'Elia Mel Brandt, Mitchell Kriegman, Laurie Metcalf, Emily Prager, Jack HandeyComedy
Studio: Universal Studios NR
Language (Country): English
The envelope-pushing cartoons created by Robert Smigel for "Saturday TV Funhouse" on "Saturday Night Live" are tasteless, crass, borderline offensive, and almost universally hilarious. This disc collects two dozen of the best, and viewing them together makes for a deliciously warped vision of Smigel and a relentlessly silly prism through which to view American pop culture. Case in point: The action-adventure heroes Ace and Gary, "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" (voiced, with deadpan earnestness, by Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert), are actually pretty unambiguous, but the joke is played just straight enough--while fighting to save the earth, they always allocate time to accessorize--and to pat one another on the bum for a job well done. In "Bambi 2002," Disney is roasted for its policy of pulling choice children's titles from the marketplace and releasing instead direct-to-video sequels that may not be up to the level of the original. In the "sequel," Bambi's mom is OK ("it was just a head wound, son"), and Bambi and his forest posse are hip-hop kids fighting terrorists in their spare time. "Remember, kids," the TV announcer intones, "it's all the Bambi you'll get for 10 years." Other highlights include the cartoon beauty contest "Are You Hot?" (in which Strawberry Shortcake beats out Betty Boop for sex appeal), and the black-and-white industrial training film "Sexual Harassment and You," which advises employees on the three rules for trysting with a co-worker while avoiding a sexual harassment lawsuit: 1. Be Handsome. 2. Be Attractive. and 3. Don't be unattractive. Elsewhere, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are skewered by their own words, and Michael Jackson reappears as a Hanna-Barbera creation--and still manages to be creepy. Extras include commentaries by Smigel, Carell, Colbert, Al Franken, James Carville, and others, as well as extra cartoon snippets and original art and storyboards. "--A.T. Hurley"


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Say Anything

Director: John Cusack, Ione SkyeComedy
Studio: 20th Century Fox PG-13
Language (Country): English
Seven years after he earned his first screen credit as the writer of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", former "Rolling Stone" writer Cameron Crowe made his directorial debut with this acclaimed romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Ione Skye as unlikely lovers on the cusp of adulthood. The casting is perfect, and Crowe's rookie direction is appropriately unobtrusive, no doubt influenced by his actor-loving, Oscar®-winning mentor, James L. Brooks. But the real strength of Crowe's work is his exceptional writing, his timely grasp of contemporary rhythms and language (he's frequently called "the voice of a generation"), and the rich humor and depth of his fully developed characters. In "Say Anything..." Cusack and Skye play recent high school graduates enjoying one final summer before leaping into a lifetime of adult responsibilities. Lloyd (Cusack) is an aspiring kickboxer with no definite plans; Diane (Skye) is a valedictorian with intentions to further her education in Europe. Together they find unlikely bliss, but there's also turbulence when Diane's father (John Mahoney)--who only wants what's best for his daughter--is charged with fraud and tax evasion. Favoring strong performances over obtrusive visual style, Crowe focuses on his unique characters and the ambitions and fears that define them; the movie's a treasure trove of quiet, often humorous revelations of personality. Lili Taylor and Eric Stoltz score high marks for memorable supporting roles, and Cusack's own sister Joan is perfect in scenes with her onscreen and offscreen brother. A rare romantic comedy that's as funny as it is dramatically honest, "Say Anything..." marked the arrival of a gifted writer-director who followed up with the underrated "Singles" before scoring his first box-office smash with "Jerry Maguire". "--Jeff Shannon"


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Scenes From a Marriage - Criterion Collection

Director: Ingmar Bergman Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Jan Malmsjö, Gunnel LindblomArt House & International
Studio: Criterion PG
Language (Country): Swedish
Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage" opens with a couple--Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson)--being interviewed for a magazine. Every moment seems to teeter on the brink of some rupture; just as they start to get comfortable, the interviewer has them freeze for a photograph. After making some bland general statements, they both start admitting intimate details, confessing that they were brought together by mutual misery, then cheerfully claiming that theirs is a model marriage. The entirety of "Scenes from a Marriage", which chronicles their emotional relationship even after their divorce and marriages to other people, continues to have these contradictory moments of honesty and self-deception, cruelty and kindness, concern and self-obsession--all laid bare by the skillful actors and the subtle, constantly shifting screenplay. Every scene is a small movie unto itself; in fact, "Scenes from a Marriage" was originally a six-episode TV show, which was carefully edited down into a unified film. This is one of Bergman's most immediate and accessible works, concerned more with the facts of human behavior than symbolism or abstract themes. Bergman understands how to balance what could be horrible pain and despair with the characters' earnest efforts to improve their lives. His imitators reduce everything to sheer suffering and alienation; Bergman sees the best in his characters, even when their actions are terrible. This 1973 film won numerous awards, including several acting honors for Ullmann. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Secretary

Director: Patrick Bauchau, Ezra Buzzington, Lauren Cohn, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Jeremy DaviesComedy
Studio: Lions Gate R
Language (Country): English
This kinky love story features a standout performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal, an offbeat young actress in her first starring role. Gyllenhaal plays Lee, a nervous girl who compulsively cuts herself, who gets a job as a secretary for Edward, an imperious lawyer (James Spader, an old hand at tales of perverse affection). Edward's reprimands for typos and spelling errors begin with mild humiliation, but as Lee responds to his orders--which are driven as much by his own anxieties and fears as any sense of order--the punishments escalate to spankings, shackles, and more. "Secretary" walks a fine line. It finds sly humor in these sadomasochistic doings without turning them into a gag, and it takes Lee and Edward's mutual desires seriously without getting self-righteous or pompous. Certainly not a movie for everyone, but some people may be unexpectedly stirred up by this smart and steamy tale of repressed passion. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Secrets and Lies

Director: Mike Leigh Timothy Spall, Phyllis Logan, Brenda Blethyn, Claire Rushbrook, Marianne Jean-BaptisteDrama
Studio: 20th Century Fox R
Language (Country): English
If a film fan had never heard of director Mike Leigh, one might explain him as a British Woody Allen. Not that Leigh's films are whimsical or neurotic; they are tough-love examinations of British life--funny, outlandish, and biting. His films share a real immediacy with Allen's work: they feel as if they are happening now. Leigh works with actors--real actors--on ideas and language. There is no script at the start (and sometimes not at the end). "Secrets and Lies" involves Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), an elegant black woman wanting to learn her birth mother's identity. She will find it's Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), who is one of the saddest creatures we've seen in film. She's also one of the most real and, ultimately, one of the most lovable. Timothy Spall is Cynthia's brother, a giant man full of love who is being slowly defeated by his fastidious wife (Phyllis Logan).
There is a great exuberance of life in "Secrets & Lies", winner of the Palme D'Or and best actress (Blethyn) at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival--not "Zorba"-type life but the little battles fought and won every day. Leigh's honest interpretation of daily life is usually found only on the stage. "Secrets & Lies" is more realistic than a stage production, however, especially when Leigh shows us uninterrupted scenes. Critic David Denby states that Leigh has "made an Ingmar Bergman film without an instant of heaviness or pretension." If that sounds like your cup of tea, see "Secrets & Lies". "--Doug Thomas"


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The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: Ingmar Bergman Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe, Bibi AnderssonArt House & International
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): Swedish, English
Ingmar Bergman's 1956 film has been parodied by everyone from Woody Allen to "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey", but it remains one of the strangest and richest classics of world cinema. Max Von Sydow plays a knight returning from the Crusades to encounter an apocalyptic scenario inspired by the Book of Genesis. He plays chess with Death (Bengt Ekerot), sees a manacled witch, watches a band of flagellants go by--all of it foretelling an inevitable end to life. Unabashedly allegorical and lyrical and existing in a world unto itself, the film is enormously mesmerizing no matter what one thinks of the weighty meanings Bergman has attached to it all. The DVD release has English subtitles, audio commentary by critic Peter Cowie, theatrical trailer, and Bergman's filmography. "--Tom Keogh"


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The Seventh Seal (in Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks)



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The Shadow Line

Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston, Kierston Wareing, Malcolm Storry, Rafe SpallTelevision
Studio: 2entertain Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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Shaun The Sheep - Saturday Night Shaun

Director: Children's
Studio: 2 Entertain Video Universal, suitable for all
Shaun the Sheep and the rest of the gang return for more mayhem in the meadow in these 8 new episodes.
This time the adventures of Shaun and the flock include a party in the barn which is gatecrashed by the Naughty Pigs, an attempt to get snoring Shirley out of the barn so that they can get a good nights sleep and Shaun even tries to be farmer for the day!
So join in and bleat with Shaun the Sheep...
Featuring 8 fleece-tastic adventures:
Saturday Night Shaun
Stick With Me
Shaun The Farmer
Sheep On The Loose
Tidy Up
Snore-Worn Shaun
Camping Chaos
If You Can’t Stand The Heat
Also Includes:
Snout, Trotter & A Curly Tail - How To Build A Pig


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Shaun the Sheep Box Set

Director: Children's
Studio: 2 Entertain Video Universal, suitable for all
Language (Country): English
"Shaun The Sheep Box Set" includes both of the barnstorming DVDs from Shaun the Sheep: "Shape Up With Shaun" and "Off The Baa!"
Join fun-loving Shaun and the rest of the flock for these 16 unbaa...lievable adventures!
"Shape Up With Shaun":
Shaun is a sheep who doesn't follow the flock - in fact he leads them into all sorts of scrapes and scraps, turning peace in the valley into mayhem in the meadow. Shaun and his pals run rings around their poor sheepdog Bitzer, as he tries to stop the Farmer finding out what's going on behind his back.
"Off The Baa!":
Every day brings new adventures for Shaun and the flock. This time they include a skiing trip around the farm with a goat, a football feud with the Naughty Pigs caused by a stray cabbage bouncing into the field, and a team effort to save Timmy's favourite sheep-dolly from the farm cat!


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Sherman's March

Director: Burt Reynolds, Charleen SwanseaDocumentary
Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES NR
Language (Country): English
Filmmaker Ross McElwee turns his cameras inward when his proposed documentary on Northern Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, perhaps the single most hated Union officer in the South, becomes a witty and unexpectedly engaging meditation upon his own ailing love life. As McElwee retraces Sherman's 19th-century march through the South, where his blazing trail left smoking ruins of Georgia's cities and towns in his wake, he can't seem to help but train his camera on a succession of Southern women he meets along the way, using the documentary as a sly method of meeting girls. (Aspiring filmmakers take note: it works surprisingly well.) "Sherman's March" evolves into an introspective meditation on love, happiness, the fear of nuclear holocaust, and the meaning of life. McElwee's light touch and relaxed, deadpan offscreen narration gives this genial documentary tour of his soul a rare kind of insight. "--Sean Axmaker"


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The Silence (in A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman - Criterion Collection)



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The Simpsons - The Complete Eighth Season

Director: Bob Anderson, Chuck Sheetz, Dominic Polcino, Jim Reardon, Mark Kirkland Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Harry ShearerGames
Studio: 20th Century Fox Unrated
Language (Country): Albanian, Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish
Most TV shows never make it eight seasons, but then "The Simpsons" is not most TV shows. At a point where other shows would generally become stale and repetitive, Matt Groening & Co. pull out the stops to come up with one of the most creative and hilarious seasons in the whole series. Cases in point for season eight (1996-1997) include "Treehouse of Horror VII," in which aliens Kang and Kodos make a bizarre run for President having taken on the appearances of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole; "Bart After Dark," in which Bart gets a job at The Maison Derriere (featuring one of their most popular songs, "The Spring in Springfield"); and one of the great all-time episodes, "The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase," a trilogy of Simpsons spin-offs that never made it to prime-time (the final segment--"The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour"--is about the best six minutes of parody in the entire "Simpsons" canon). Season eight also features some of the most notable guest appearances: Rodney Dangerfield as Mr. Burns’s long lost son; Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as Scully and Mulder from "X-Files" in "The Springfield Files;" "The Brother from Another Series" which brilliantly pairs up Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob with his brother Cecil (David Hyde Pierce) in a parallel of their "Frasier" characters; and in a major casting coup, Johnny Cash shows up in the form of a red fox as Homer’s spirit guide in "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer" (also known as "The Chili Pepper episode"). Other notable episodes include "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show," a fun wink to the audience from the writers about keeping the show fresh without ruining it, and the send up of "Mary Poppins" "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(annoyed grunt)cious," which has one of their most memorable endings when Shary Bobbins floats off under her umbrella ("So long Superman," Barney cries)... only to get sucked into a jet engine from a passing airplane. That’s the thanks she gets for offering her help. Good to see that, eight seasons in, "The Simpsons" still don’t need it. "--Daniel Vancini"


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Sin City - Unrated

Director: Frank Miller (II), Robert Rodriguez Jessica Alba, Devon Aoki, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Jude Ciccolella
Studio: Dimension Unrated
Language (Country): English
The two-disc edition of "Sin City" easily makes the earlier single-disc theatrical-cut release obsolete by including the regular theatrical cut on the first disc, recutting the movie into four extended segments on the second disc (separated by story line), then piling on an impressive load of bonus features. But there's a catch. Billed as "Recut, Extended, Unrated," with "over 20 minutes" of new footage, the new set's four separate stories are extended by only about 6.5 total minutes of movie action (see details below in "What's New"); the rest of the added running time is the splashy new title shots (named by the title of the story or book) and the four minutes of credits that run at the end of each segment. Each addition makes the movie even closer to the comic books, and these extended segments are generally preferable to the theatrical equivalents (unfortunately, there's no Play All option), but don't expect the same impact as Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" extended editions. And although this version is unrated, the only risqué addition is a bit of violence from Miho that's no worse than the rest of the crazy violence in the film.
How Are the Bonus Features?
Robert Rodriguez has always loved DVDs, so the bonus features are extensive. On the first disc, there is somehow room for the theatrical cut of the film with its DTS track (the extended versions have only Dolby 5.1), two commentary tracks, an alternate audio track with a live audience in Austin, Texas, an interactive map of characters and locations, and 47 minutes of featurettes covering Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, cars, costumes, props, and special effects. The first commentary is Rodriguez and Miller discussing the concepts and the cast. The second commentary is mostly by Rodriguez, but Tarantino drops in briefly for the scene he directed (with Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro in the car), as does an enthusiastic Bruce Willis for his segment.
The Tarantino scene gets a lot of attention on the second disc as well, in a 14-minute take in which he can be heard coaching the actors. Also on the disc are Rodriguez's usual "flic school" (among the topics is how scenes were created by merging footage of actors who never actually met), footage of Bruce Willis's band performing in Austin at the time of the shooting, and another Rodriguez cooking school (this time it's breakfast tacos). But the most interesting feature is the "green screen version" of the film: the entire film as it was shot in front of the green screen, sped up to play in only 12 minutes. You can see the actors (in color!) interacting only with the props and each other. Last, there's a DVD-sized complete comic book of "The Hard Goodbye."
What's New in the Extended Version?
"The Customer Is Always Right" (the opening sequence with Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton) has no new footage, but now goes straight into the one-minute epilogue with Hartnett and Alexis Bledel that closed the theatrical cut. "The Hard Goodbye" (with Mickey Rourke as "Marv" ) has two new sequences totaling about two minutes: Marv encounters his mother and finds his gun, and talks to Weevil in the club. In "The Big Fat Kill" (with Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro), some short dialogue is restored, along with another wicked slice by Miho (Devon Aoki)--about a minute total. "That Yellow Bastard" (with Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba) has about 3.5 new minutes: there are more visitors to Hartigan's hospital bed, including his wife and a nurse; Carla Gugino's Lucille character comes to assist Hartigan when he wants to get out of jail (probably the best addition); and Mr. Shlubb and Mr. Klump have some more lines." --David Horiuchi"
More "Sin City" at Amazon.com
The Graphic Novels and Books
Films by Robert Rodriguez
Our interview with Frank Miller
The Soundtrack
From Graphic Novel to Big Screen
Films by guest director Quentin Tarantino


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Six Centuries of Verse

Director: Sports
Studio: Athena NR
Language (Country): English
Poetry’s highlights through the years, as read by distinguished actors
Rediscover the music of the spoken word as John Gielgud ("Arthur") conducts a grand tour of English-language poetry through the centuries. Compiled by poet and literary critic Anthony Thwaite, these works show the power of verse to stir the emotions and fire the imagination. They include not only classics by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Whitman, and Yeats, but also surprising, often-overlooked gems. Gielgud provides the literary and historical context for each, while readings by outstanding British and American actors reveal the rich textures and seductive rhythms in every line.
The performers include Peggy Ashcroft ("A Passage to India"), Lee Remick ("Days of Wine and Roses"), Stacy Keach ("Mike Hammer, Private Eye"), Ralph Richardson ("Doctor Zhivago"), Ian Richardson ("Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"), Julian Glover ("By the Sword Divided"), and Anthony Hopkins ("The Silence of the Lambs"), among others.
One of the finest Shakespearean actors of his generation, John Gielgud won an Oscar&reg, Emmy&reg, Grammy, and Tonys® during his long career. An accomplished poet and writer, Anthony Thwaite received the Order of the British Empire for his services to poetry in 1992.


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Six Short Films by Les Blank 1960-1985

Director: Les Blank



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Smiles of a Summer Night (in Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks)



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Solaris - Criterion Collection

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai GrinkoArt House & International
Studio: Criterion PG
Language (Country): Russian
The Russian answer to "2001", and very nearly as memorable a movie. The legendary Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky made this extremely deliberate science-fiction epic, an adaptation of a novel by Stanislaw Lem. The story follows a cosmonaut (Donatas Banionis) on an eerie trip to a planet where haunting memories can take physical form. Its bare outline makes it sound like a routine space-flight picture, an elongated "Twilight Zone" episode; but the further into its mysteries we travel, the less familiar anything seems. Even though Tarkovsky's meanings and methods are sometimes mystifying, "Solaris" has a way of crawling inside your head, especially given the slow pace and general lack of forward momentum. By the time the final images cross the screen, Tarkovsky has gone way beyond SF conventions into a moving, unsettling vision of memory and home. Well worthy of cult status, "Solaris" is both challenging art-house fare and a whacked-out head trip. "--Robert Horton"


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Some Like It Hot (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Sound of My Voice (Blu-Ray)

Director: Zal Batmanglij Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Brit Marling, Davenia McFadden, Kandice Stroh
Studio: 20th Century Fox R
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Brit Marling is "intoxicating" (The Huffington Post) and "stirring" (PEOPLE) in the year's most talked-about psychological thriller. A filmmaker (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend (Nicole Vicius) set out to expose the beautiful leader of a cult (Marling), who claims to be from the future. But the more they explore, the more danger they face in this ""an intricate and taut thriller" (Claudia Puig, USA Today) from writer-actress Marling and writer-director Zal Batmanglij.


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Special Thanks to Roy London

Director: Christopher Monger Rhonda Aldrich, Louie Anderson, Patricia Arquette, Richmond Arquette, Hank AzariaDocumentary
Language (Country): (USA)



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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring

Director: Min Choi, Yeo-jin Ha, Dae-han Ji, Jong-ho Kim (II), Jung-young Kim (II)Art House & International
Studio: Sony Pictures R
Language (Country): Korean
Working miracles with only a single set and a handful of characters, Korean director Kim Ki-Duk creates a wise little gem of a movie. As the title suggests, the action takes place in five distinct episodes, but sometimes many years separate the seasons. The setting is a floating monastery in a pristine mountain lake, where an elderly monk teaches a boy the lessons of life--although when the boy grows to manhood, he inevitably must learn a few hard lessons for himself. By the time the story reaches its final sections, you realize you have witnessed the arc of existence--not one person's life, but everyone's. It's as enchanting as a Buddhist fable, but it's not precious; Kim (maker of the notorious "The Isle") consistently surprises you with a sex scene or an explosion of black comedy; he also vividly acts in the Winter segment, when the lake around the monastery eerily freezes. "--Robert Horton"


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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Director: Martin Ritt Richard Burton, Claire Bloom
Studio: Criterion Collection Unrated
Language (Country): English
John le Carre's classic spy yarn gets a suitably brisk, unromanticized telling in this quintessential Cold War movie. A British agent (Richard Burton) sets up an elaborate cover story for being lured into defecting to the Communists, but he hardly needs to manufacture his disgust and cynicism over spying. The grim business of point-counterpoint espionage has rarely been depicted with less glamour; Burton's great climactic speech on the subject is the definitive take on sinking to the level of the enemy. Claire Bloom is an offbeat love interest, and a bearded Oskar Werner is an East German investigator on Burton's case (the pecking order in the Communist spy hierarchy is a source of black humor). Director Martin Ritt extends his unvarnished approach to the movie's stripped-down look, which means that Richard Burton is constantly in a harsh, unflattering light. He looks terrible, but it's in the service of a fine performance. "--Robert Horton"


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The Spy Who Loved Me (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Stardust Memories

Director: Marie-Christine Barrault, J.E. Beaucaire, Ken Chapin, Leonardo Cimino, Anne De SalvoComedy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) PG
Language (Country): English, Spanish
"Doesn't he know he's got the greatest gift anyone can have, the gift of laughter?" Woody Allen stars as filmmaker Sandy Bates, who, like John Sullivan in Preston Sturges's "Sullivan's Travels", no longer wants to make comedies. As studio executives threaten to wrest control of his latest film, he reluctantly attends a weekend film-culture festival in his honor, where he is besieged by journalists ("I'm doing a piece on the shallow indifference of celebrities"), groupies ("I drove all the way from Bridgeport to make it with you"), and persistent oddballs ("Can I talk to you about my idea I have for a movie? It's a comedy based on the whole Guyana mass suicide").
After the exhilarating "Manhattan", "Stardust Memories" was a dramatic departure that threw critics and fans for an outraged loop. But out of all of Allen's films, it is perhaps the one most ripe for rediscovery. It poses the same dilemma Stephen King would later tackle in "Misery": What happens when a popular artist is held captive by an adoring audience that doesn't want him to change? The answer may come from an extraterrestrial, who in one of the many fantasy sequences advises the comedian, "You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes."
The film is impeccably cast with Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, and Marie-Christine Barrault (of "Cousine/Cousine") as the three women in Sandy's life. There are also choice bits by Sharon Stone as a fantasy woman on a train, Daniel Stern as an aspiring actor, Louise Lasser as Sandy's overwhelmed secretary, Laraine Newman as an unimpressed studio executive, and Tony Roberts as Tony Roberts. My own aunt, Victoria Zussin, utters the film's most famous line as the patron who tells Sandy she loves his movies, especially "your early funny ones." "--Donald Liebenson"


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State and Main

Director: David Mamet Michael Higgins, Michael Bradshaw, Morris Lamore, Allen Soule, Clark GreggComedy
Studio: New Line Home Video R
Language (Country): English
Pity the poor film director (William H. Macy). He's arrived with cast and crew in the perfectly Rockwellian town of Waterford, Vermont, only to discover that the local mill--a crucial location for his movie, since it's titled "The Old Mill"--burned down in 1960. The idealistic screenwriter (Philip Seymour Hoffman) would rather pursue a pure-hearted local (Rebecca Pidgeon) than do a last-minute rewrite; the town's aspiring politico (Clark Gregg) wants to milk the production for every dime it's worth; the oft-exposed bimbo starlet (Sarah Jessica Parker) is now balking at her contractual nude scene; and a local teenager (Julia Stiles) is only too willing to exploit the indiscretions of the film's skirt-chasing star (Alec Baldwin). And of course, the power-wielding producer (David Paymer) is panicking about everything.
Welcome to David Mamet's "State and Main", the acclaimed writer-director's funniest and most accessible film to date, propelled by the rocket fuel of Mamet's show-biz experience and driven by an ensemble cast that simply couldn't be better. Naturally, the writer's dilemma is the meatiest one--will he be noble or sell out?--and Mamet arrives at a solution that's as hilarious as it is morally justified. Along the way, the rigors of filmmaking are explored with farcical abandon, such as how to provide a high-tech product placement... in a 19th-century story. Mamet's razor-sharp dialogue is gourmet popcorn here--each kernel yields a tasty surprise--and the whole scenario (intentionally modeled in the style of Preston Sturges) plays out with the breezy assurance of vintage screwball comedy. It's pure gold from start to finish, and even the closing credits offer another reason to laugh. "--Jeff Shannon"


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State Of Play: Complete BBC Series

Director: David Yates John Simm, Kelly MacDonald, James McAvoyTelevision
Studio: 2 Entertain Video Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English



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The Station Agent

Director: Thomas McCarthy Peter Dinklage, Paul Benjamin, Jase Blankfort, Paula Garcés, Josh PaisComedy
Studio: Miramax R
Language (Country): English
A strong ensemble and director Tom McCarthy's sweetly low-key observations make Sundance fave "The Station Agent" a treat. The film revolves around a reserved, somber dwarf (Peter Dinklage, immortalized by his brilliant ticked-off tirade in "Living in Oblivion"), a train enthusiast who inherits a small depot in rural New Jersey. He makes friends, somewhat reluctantly, with a group of eccentric locals: the guy at the coffee stand (buoyant Bobby Cannavale), an artist (Patricia Clarkson, impeccable as usual), a librarian (Michelle Williams). A few of the plot strands feel forced, but whenever the actors are simply playing off each other with McCarthy's nicely understated dialogue--which is most of the time--it ambles along winningly. You'll also learn more than you ever thought you'd want to know about trains. The key is Dinklage's smoldering performance, one of those reminders that a single scowl is worth pages of conversation. "--Robert Horton"


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Steambath

Director: Burt Brinckerhoff Stephen Elliott, Bill Bixby, Herb Edelman, Neil J. Schwartz, Patrick Spohn
Studio: Kultur Video NR
Language (Country): English
This unique play presents the afterlife as a steam bath, in which dead souls continue to obsess about the same petty concerns that obsessed them in their lives, until they are cast into a dark void by God, the Puerto Rican attendant (José Pérez). But new arrival Tandy (Bill Bixby) at first refuses to accept what's happened, and when he finally does, he pleads to be allowed to return to his life. "Steambath" was controversial in its day for its obscene language (which was softened for this filmed version, originally presented on PBS), its satirical take on religion, and some brief nudity by bombshell Valerie Perrine. Today it's still very entertaining, but mostly as a core sampling of the surprisingly uncensored male attitudes from the dawn of the 1970s. Everyone gives a solid performance and Bixby's easy charm makes his self-centered character sympathetic. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party

Director: Robert Brinkmann Stephen Tobolowsky, Ann Hearn, Mena Suvari, Gregory Wagrowski, Amy Adams
Studio: Passion River NR
Language (Country): English



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The Steve McQueen Collection

Director: Steve McqueenAction & Adventure
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): English
A stirring example of courage and the indomitable human spirit, for many John Sturges's "The Great Escape" (1963) is both the definitive World War II drama and the nonpareil prison escape movie. Featuring an unequalled ensemble cast in a rivetingly authentic true-life scenario set to Elmer Bernstein's admirable music, this picture is both a template for subsequent action-adventure movies and one of the last glories of Golden Age Hollywood. Reunited with the director who made him a star in "The Magnificent Seven", Steve McQueen gives a career-defining performance as the laconic Hilts, the baseball-loving, motorbike-riding "Cooler King." The rest of the all-male Anglo-American cast--Dickie Attenborough, Donald Pleasance, James Garner, Charles Bronson, David McCallum, James Coburn, and Gordon Jackson--make the most of their meaty roles (though you have to forgive Coburn his Australian accent). Closely based on Paul Brickhill's book, the various escape attempts, scrounging, forging, and ferreting activities are authentically realized thanks also to technical advisor Wally Flood, one of the original tunnel-digging POWs. Sturges orchestrates the climax with total conviction, giving us both high action and very poignant human drama. Without trivializing the grim reality, "The Great Escape" thrillingly celebrates the heroism of men who never gave up the fight.

Akira Kurosawa's rousing "Seven Samurai" was a natural for an American remake--after all, the codes and conventions of ancient Japan and the Wild West (at least the mythical movie West) are not so very far apart. Thus "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) effortlessly turns samurai into cowboys. The beleaguered denizens of a Mexican village, weary of attacks by banditos, hire seven gunslingers to repel the invaders once and for all. The gunmen are cool and capable, with most of the actors playing them just on the cusp of '60s stardom: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn. The man who brings these warriors together is Yul Brynner, the baddest bald man in the West. There's nothing especially stylish about the approach of veteran director John Sturges ("The Great Escape"), but the storytelling is clear and strong, and the charisma of the young guns fairly flies off the screen. If that isn't enough to awaken the 12-year-old kid inside anyone, the unforgettable Elmer Bernstein music will do it: bum-bum-ba-bum, bum-ba-bum-ba-bum....

Millionaire businessman Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is also a high-stakes thief; his latest caper is an elaborate heist at a Boston bank. Why does he do it? For the same reason he flies gliders, bets on golf strokes, and races dune buggies: he needs the thrill to feel alive. Insurance investigator Vicky Anderson (Faye Dunaway) gets her own thrills by busting crooks, and she's got Crown in her cross hairs. Naturally, these two will get it on, because they have a lot in common: they're not people, they're walking clothes racks. "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968) is a catalog of '60s conventions, from its clipped editing style to its photographic trickery (the inventive Haskell Wexler behind the camera) to its mod design. You can almost sense director Norman Jewison deciding to "tell his story visually," like those newfangled European films; this would explain the long passages of Michel Legrand's lounge jazz ladled over endless montages of the pretty Dunaway and McQueen at play. (The opening-credits song, "Windmills of Your Mind," won an Oscar.) It's like a "What Kind of Man Reads "Playboy"?" ad come to life, and much more interesting as a cultural snapshot than a piece of storytelling.
"Junior Bonner" (1972) is director Sam Peckinpah's lovely, elegiac look at the world of the rodeo--and his only film with nary a bullet wound. Steve McQueen, engagingly easygoing but determined, is the title character, a rodeo rider out to win a big bull-riding contest in his hometown. Even as he confronts his dwindling days on the circuit, he also must deal with his feuding parents, marvelously played by Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. Preston is particularly good as the randy old con artist; he and Lupino strike real sparks. Peckinpah's slow-motion camera is put to particularly good use filming the balletic violence of the rodeo, at once more terrifying and awe-inspiring than any gun battle. A lovely country-western valentine to a dying breed.


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Stilt Dancers Of Longbow Village

Director: Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon
During the Cultural Revolution in China, stilt-dancing was forbidden. Now, Folk festivals can be held again, and the film captures the atmosphere in a village, when the dancers prepare for a performance and when they perform.


"They're just humble workers from China. But come festival time, they paint their faces, strap on wooden stilts as tall as stop signs, and put on an act that's a combination political rally, commedia dell'arte, and steeplechase. It's a weird and astonishing spectacle, and filmmakers Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon show it off beautifully in this whimsical short."

The Boston Phoenix, April 6, 1982


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Stories of Floating Weeds

Director: Yasujirô Ozu Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Kyô, Haruko Sugimura, Takeshi Sakamoto, Chôko IidaArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Providing a unique opportunity for the appreciation of Yasujiro Ozu's signature style, Criterion's definitive double-feature of "A Story of Floating Weeds" (1934) and "Floating Weeds" (1959) demonstrates the evolution of a master. Drawing inspiration from the now-obscure 1928 American carnival-troupe drama "The Barker", Ozu first made "A Story of Floating Weeds" as a silent film (despite the advent of sound by that time), and Criterion's DVD features a sublime, newly recorded original score that sounds and feels like it's been part of the film all along. The film itself concerns a traveling Kabuki troupe faced with dramatic revelations as they perform in a rural village: Their master has had a son from a former lover whom he is visiting for the first time in a dozen years. Unaware of his parentage, the now-grown son thinks the visitor is his rarely seen uncle, and the master's mistress, upon discovering her lover's secret family, plots to undermine their relationship by urging a young actress to seduce the son, knowing that this would enrage the master's discreet familial pride. By story's end, all of these central relationships will undergo deep and resonant change.
Ozu was justifiably proud of this meticulous character study, in which his celebrated low-angle style began to assert itself. A quarter-century later, he remade the film as "Floating Weeds", retaining the same story and characters, switching the setting to a seaside town, and demonstrating a more casual acceptance of human foibles that makes the 1959 version (Ozu's first film in color) relatively calm and compassionate when contrasted with the more turbulent tone of the '34 silent. Having grown as an artist, Ozu was at his stylistic peak here, having refined his style to the point where all camera movement had given way to flawless refinement of static compositions. These and other comparisons abound in the study of original and remake; to that end, commentaries by preeminent Japanese film expert and dialogue translator Donald Richie (on the '34 film) and film critic Roger Ebert (on "Floating Weeds") provide astutely thorough appreciations of the parallel structures, stylistic evolution, and cultural specifics of films that, until the early 1970's, were considered "too Japanese" for an international audience. Never dry or pretentious, their scholarly analyses lend solid, sensitive context to the enjoyment of two of Ozu's most critically and commercially successful films. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Storm Over Everest

Director: Nova NovaDocumentary
Studio: WGBH Boston NR
Language (Country): English
As darkness fell on May 10, 1996, a fast moving storm of unimaginable ferocity trapped three climbing teams high on the slopes of Mount Everest. The climbers, exhausted from their summit climb, were soon lost in darkness, in a fierce blizzard, far from the safety of High Camp at 26,000 feet. World-renowned climber and filmmaker David Breashears, who aided the rescue efforts back in 1996, now returns to Everest to tell the fuller story of what really happened on that legendary climb. Through remarkably intimate interviews with the climbers and Sherpas many who have never spoken before on American television Breashears sheds new light on the worst climbing tragedy in Mount Everest s history.


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Story of India

Director: Jeremy Jeff Michael Wood (Writer & Presenter)
Studio: PBS NR
Language (Country): English
Sixty years after Indian independence, British historian Michael Wood presents the tale of the oldest and most diverse civilization, and largest democracy. A nuclear power and a rising giant, India's population will overtake China's within 10 years and its economy is predicted to overtake that of the U.S. in the 2030s. This journey of sights and sounds, and achievements takes him from the deserts of Turkmenistan to the Khyber Pass.


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The Straight Story

Director: David Lynch Sissy Spacek, Jane Galloway Heitz, Joseph A. Carpenter, Donald Wiegert, Richard FarnsworthDrama
Studio: Walt Disney Video G
Language (Country): English
Based on the true story that captured the hearts of America, THE STRAIGHT STORY is one of those rare films offering powerful, uplifting entertainment for audiences of all ages. Directed by acclaimed director David Lynch (WILD AT HEART, MULHOLLAND DRIVE), this gentle, inspiring film celebrates the human spirit. Richard Farnsworth (MISERY, THE NATURAL) stars as Alvin Straight -- a no-nonsense man who has never been one to lean on others. Now at an age when his eyesight denies him the ability to drive and walking is accomplished only with the help of two canes, Alvin lives a quiet life with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek). But when the call comes that Alvin's estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton, THE GREEN MILE) has suffered a debilitating stroke, Alvin embarks on a dangerous and emotional journey to make amends. With little money, but plenty of patience and tenacity, he climbs aboard his 1966 John Deere lawnmower and plots the 260-mile course from his small Iowa town to Lyle's home in Wisconsin. Filmed along the actual route that the real Alvin Straight traveled in 1994, THE STRAIGHT STORY is a heartwarming and poignant drama chronicling Alvin's six-week odyssey and the many lives he touches along the way.


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Studio Classics - Best Picture Collection

Director: Elia Kazan, F.W. Murnau, John Ford, Joseph L. Mankiewicz Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'HaraDrama
Studio: 20th Century Fox Unrated
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
"Sunrise" (1927)
There are those who rate "Sunrise" the greatest of all silent films. Then again, some consider it the finest film from any era. Such claims invite a backlash, but do yourself a favor and give it a look. At the very least, you'll know you've seen a movie of extraordinary visual beauty and emotional purity. This universal tale of a farm couple's journey from country to city and back again was the first American film for F.W. Murnau, the German director of "Nosferatu" and "The Last Laugh" whose everyday scenes seemed haunted by phantoms and whose most extravagant visions never lost touch with reality. Hollywood afforded him the technical resources to unleash his imagination, and in turn he opened up the power of camera movement and composition for a generation of American filmmakers. You'll never forget the walk in the swamp, the ripples on the lake, the trolley ride from forest to metropolis. This movie defines the cinema. "--Richard T. Jameson"
"How Green Was My Valley" (1941)
John Ford's beautiful, heartfelt drama about a close-knit family of Welsh coal miners is one of the greatest films of Hollywood's golden age--a gentle masterpiece that beat "Citizen Kane" in the Best Picture race for the 1941 Academy Awards. The picture also won Oscars for Best Director (Ford), Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography; all of those awards were richly deserved, even if they came at the expense of "Kane" and Orson Welles. Based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn, the film focuses its eventful story on 10-year-old Huw (Roddy McDowall), youngest of seven children to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp, Sarah Allgood), a hardy couple who've seen the best and worst of times in their South Wales mining town. They're facing one of the worst times as Mr. Morgan refuses to join a miners union whose members have begun a long-term strike. Family tensions grow and Huw must learn many of life's harsher lessons under the tutelage of the local preacher (Walter Pidgeon), who has fallen in love with Huw's sister (Maureen O'Hara). As various crises are confronted and devastating losses endured, "How Green Was My Valley" unfolds as a rich, moving portrait of family strength and integrity. It's also a nod to a simpler, more innocent time--and to the preciousness of memory and the inevitable passage from youth to adulthood. An all-time classic, not to be missed. "--Jeff Shannon"
"Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)
Elia Kazan directed this sometimes powerful study of anti-Semitism in nicer circles, based on Laura Z. Hobson's post-World War II novel. Gregory Peck is a hotshot magazine writer who has been blind to the problem; to ferret it out, he passes himself off as Jewish and watches the WASPs squirm. Seen a half-century later, the attitudes seem quaint and dated: Could it really have been like this? Yet the truth of the story comes through, in the wounded dignity of John Garfield, the upright indignation of Peck, and the hidden ways bigotry and hatred can poison relationships. That's particularly true in the Oscar-winning performance of Celeste Holm, who finds more layers than you'd expect in what seems like a stock character. "--Marshall Fine"
"All About Eve" (1950)
Showered with Oscars, this wonderfully bitchy (and witty) comedy written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz concerns an aging theater star (Bette Davis) whose life is being supplanted by a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing ingenue (Anne Baxter) whom she helped. This is a film for a viewer to take in like a box of chocolates, packed with scene-for-scene delights that make the entire story even better than it really is. The film also gives deviously talented actors such as George Sanders and Thelma Ritter a chance to speak dazzling lines; Davis bites into her role and never lets go. A classic from Mankiewicz, a legendary screenwriter and the brilliant director of "A Letter to Three Wives", "The Barefoot Contessa", and "Sleuth". "--Tom Keogh"


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Submarino

Director: Thomas Vinterberg Jakob Cedergren, Peter Plaugborg
Studio: Entertainment One Unrated
Language (Country): Danish
After surviving a childhood plagued by violence, two estranged brothers live haunted lives. Nick, a hardened criminal recently released from prison, spends his days in a shelter and his nights drinking excessively, while Ivan, a single father, cares for his young son while harboring his own dark secrets. Both must find a way to reconnect and fight for their future - before it's too late. Based on the popular novel by Jonas T. Bengstson.


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Sunrise (in Studio Classics Collection)



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Synecdoche New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Sadie GoldsteinComedy
Studio: Sony Pictures R
Language (Country): English
An insanely ambitious, dazzling, maddening movie, Synecdoche, NY is the directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman, the inspired screenwriter of twisty, mind-bending movies like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Broadly summarized, it's about a director named Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who, after his wife leaves him, sets out to create a theater production that will mirror all of life in New York City by literally recreating the city inside of a gigantic warehouse--including versions of his lover, his new wife, and himself, who become so entrenched in his life that eventually there must also be doubles of these doubles... which only describes a fragment of the intertwining storylines. At points even the most attentive viewers may feel confused by the sheer abundance and density of ideas and narrative threads, as the movie veers from mundanity to an exaggerated but not impossible reality to sheer surrealism. But by the end, though the movie folds in on itself multiple times and tries to encompass more of life than any movie can coherently contain, Synecdoche, NY comes to a remarkably full and resonant conclusion. Think of it as Kaufman's version of 8 1/2, another movie about creativity and a conflicted psyche. Hoffman's performance, solid but difficult to empathize with, is balanced by dozens of vivid characters played by an astonishing cast, including Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Michelle Williams, Dianne Wiest, Emily Watson, and more. Sprawling, flawed, both intimate and epic, Synecdoche, NY is a unique and impressive achievement that will reward (and perhaps even demands) multiple viewings. --Bret Fetzer


Stills from Synecdoche, New York (click for larger image)


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Syriana

Director: Stephen Gaghan Kayvan Novak, George Clooney, Amr Waked, Christopher Plummer, Jeffrey WrightAction & Adventure
Studio: Warner Home Video R
Language (Country): Arabic, English, French, Persian, Urdu
"Syriana" is an oil-based soap opera set against the world of global oil cartels. It is to the oil industry as "Traffic" was to the drug trade (no surprise, since writer/director Stephen Gaghan wrote the screenplay to "Traffic"): a sprawling attempt to portray the vast political, business, social, and personal implications of a societal addiction, in this case, oil. A major merger between two of the world’s largest oil companies reveals ethical dilemmas for the lawyer charged with making the deal (Jeffrey Wright), and major global implications beyond the obvious; a CIA operative (George Clooney) discovers the truth about his work, and the people he works for; a young oil broker (Matt Damon) encounters personal tragedy, then partners with an idealistic Gulf prince (Alexander Siddig) attempting to build a new economy for his people, only to find he’s opposed by powers far beyond his control. Meanwhile, disenfranchised Pakistani youths are lured into terrorism by a radical Islamic cleric. And that’s just the start. As in "Traffic", in one way or another all of the characters’ fates are tied to each other, whether they realize it or not, though the connections are sometimes tenuous. While "Syriana" is basically a good film with timely resonance, it can’t quite seem to measure up to Gaghan’s ambitious vision and it very nearly collapses under the weight of its many storylines. Fortunately they are resolved skillfully enough to keep the film from going under in the end. To some viewers, "Syriana" will seem like an unfocused and over-loaded film that goes, all at once, everywhere and nowhere. Others will find it to be an important work earnestly exploring major issues. In either case, it’s a film that deserves to be taken seriously, and it’s likely to be one that will be talked about for a long time to come. "--Dan Vancini"


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Tanner '88 - Criterion Collection

Director: Robert Altman Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Daniel Jenkins, Cynthia Nixon, Kevin J. O'ConnorComedy
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): English
It still looks like one of the most adventurous projects ever undertaken for television: to concoct a fictional presidential candidate and follow him as he mingles (often improvising) amongst the real-life candidates on the campaign trail. "Tanner '88" was the brainchild of director Robert Altman and "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who executed this on-the-fly series for HBO during the 1988 primary season. Thus we get "former Michigan congressman" Jack Tanner (Altman regular Michael Murphy) sorting out his messy professional and personal life as he hobnobs with the likes of Bob Dole, Pat Robertson, Kitty Dukakis, and real-life journalists. Some of these meta-fictional encounters are cameos, but some are remarkable full-blown sequences, such as Tanner's heart-to-heart with Bruce Babbitt as they stroll beneath Washington's cherry trees. (But then you always knew politicians were basically actors.) The deft supporting cast includes Pamela Reed and Cynthia Nixon. For fans of satire, "Tanner" is smart and sometimes mind-bending; for fans of Altman, it's the director at the top of his characteristic game: a multi-layered, many-sided ensemble picture that happens to be all about America. "--Robert Horton"


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Taxi To the Dark Side

Director: Alex Gibney Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring, Willie Brand
Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm R
Language (Country): English
Among the slew of documentaries inspired by the post-9/11 war, arguably none is more important than Alex Gibney's "Taxi to the Dark Side". The story it has to tell, with compelling thoroughness and no recourse to rhetoric, should be as disturbing to Americans supporting the war as it is to opponents. In December 2002, Dilawar, a young rural Afghan cabdriver, was accused of helping to plan a rocket attack on a U.S. base, clamped into prison at Bagram, and subjected to physical torture so relentless that he died after two days of it. But Dilawar was innocent--and he'd been denounced by the real culprit, who thereby took the heat off himself and won points with U.S. forces by giving them "a bad guy." Dilawar was the first fatal victim of Vice President Dick Cheney's devotion to "working the dark side"--torturing, humiliating, and otherwise abusing prisoners in the "Global War on Terror." His story, developed in horrific detail with testimony from the soldiers who tortured him, and also from two New York Times investigative reporters, becomes a prism for slanting light onto the "dark side" policy and the mindset behind it. The program at Bagram was deemed such a success that it served as the model for Abu Graibh the following year in Iraq, and both prisons became pipelines to the detainee facility at Guantánamo, Cuba.
The film's impact is powerful and complex. We come to see the very soldiers who broke Dilawar's body and spirit as victims, too--and patsies of a policy that, from Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on down, ignored the Geneva Convention and shrouded itself (and commanding officers) in "a fog of ambiguity" while the grunts took the fall. A lot of these grunts testify here, and the accumulation of their individual perspectives on a shared tragedy is devastating. The latter half of the film features penetrating commentary from critics of torture as a policy (Senator John McCain was still one at the time), all of whom agree that it doesn't work and it only damages us. And for Theatre of the Absurd, there's a PR tour of (a discrete portion of) the Guantánamo facility, which turns out to be kinda like summer camp: "They get ice cream on Sundays." Finally, "Taxi to the Dark Side" isn't about torture or politics or the justness or unjustness of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gibney is entirely correct when he says, "It's really about the American character and whether we have become something rather different from what we imagine ourselves to be." He's asking; he doesn't want it to be true. "--Richard T. Jameson"


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The Thick Of It - Complete Box Set

Director: Armando Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray Chris Addison, Rebecca Front, Joanna Scanlan, James SmithTelevision
Studio: 2entertain Suitable for 18 years and over
Language (Country): English
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Box Set, Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Featuring every series, special episode and bonus extra of the BAFTA and British Comedy award winning series. Welcome to the Ministry for Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC), a government department barely registering on the Today Programme radar, but high-profile enough to receive the attentions of Malcolm Tucker, the government's director of communications, whose ferocity is only matched by his skill in delivering incredible, foul-mouthed tirades. Successive ministers (Hugh Abbott and Nicola Murray) and their backroom team lie, backstab and hopelessly bluff their way through gaffes, crises, Prime Ministerial resignations and possible election dates - only thankful that Shadow minister, Peter Mannion also has little idea what is going on... Irreverent, brilliantly sweary and painfully funny, this series smashes its way through the corridors of power in a bulldozer of hilarious farce and sharp satire. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...The Thick of It - Complete Series 1-3 - 6-DVD Box Set ( The Thick of It - The Complete Boxed Set )


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This Is Spinal Tap - Criterion Collection

Director: Ed Begley Jr., Dana Carvey, Jean Cromie, Chazz Dominguez, Fran DrescherComedy
Studio: Criterion R
Language (Country): English
Director Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) solemnly alerts us to the glory that was Spinal Tap in his introduction to this "rockumentary" about the legendary British heavy-metal group, featuring lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), lead singer David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), and a succession of drummers whose careers were cut short by spontaneously combusting on their stool, drowning in somebody else's vomit, or otherwise perishing in untimely fashion. Under DiBergi's studious interrogation, the band and their familiars retrace the band's evolution from head-bopping Mersey Beat poseurs to head-banging metal poseurs, each change in musical direction or tonsorial chic having little effect on the surviving trio's sublime idiocy. For, as St. Hubbins (he's the "deep" one, relatively speaking) sagely observes, "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."
Happily for us, director Reiner, who developed the underlying story line with Guest and former Credibility Gap pranksters McKean and Shearer, stays squarely on the right side of the line, even as his writer-actors remain hilariously trapped on the other side. In lieu of a formal shooting script, the quartet created an extensive and detailed band history ripe with the sort of dead-pan detail that hard-core rock historians and screwball aficionados will savor on countless replays; with the three Tap members also musicians themselves, the "band" developed its stage act under the unsuspecting noses of L.A. club denizens, who accepted them as just as loud, flashy, sexist, and obvious as any other mullet-tressed, leather-garbed brigade of guitar slingers, circa 1984. The resulting footage thus manages to lob its punch lines and build its characters (including some thinly veiled character assassinations of various industry folks) with a loose, tossed-away verve rooted in the improvisational approach. "This Is Spinal Tap" remains the funniest, and most truthful, look at rock culture ever filmed and a personal best for all involved. "--Sam Sutherland"


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Thomas Crown Affair (1968) (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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The Thomas Crown Affair (in The Steve McQueen Collection)



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Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Krzysztof)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Zbigniew Zamachowski
Studio: Criterion Collection R
Language (Country): French, Polish
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss from Krzysztof Kieślowski ("The Double Life of Véronique") was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s. The films were named for the colors of the French flag and stand for the tenets of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, and fraternity—but this hardly begins to explain their enigmatic beauty and rich humanity. Set in Paris, Warsaw, and Geneva, and ranging from tragedy to comedy, "Blue", "White", and "Red" (Kieślowski’s final film) examine with artistic clarity a group of ambiguously interconnected people experiencing profound personal disruptions. Marked by intoxicating cinematography and stirring performances by such actors as Juliette Binoche ("Summer Hours"), Julie Delpy ("Before Sunset"), Irène Jacob ("The Double Life of Véronique"), and Jean-Louis Trintignant ("Z"), Kieślowski’s "Three Colors" is a benchmark of contemporary cinema.
"Blue" In the devastating first film of the "Three Colors" trilogy, Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic deaths of her husband and young daughter. But "Blue" is more than just a blistering study of grief; it’s also a tale of liberation, as Julie learns truths about her late composer husband’s life and attempts to free herself of the past. Shot in icily gorgeous tones by Sławomir Idziak ("The Double Life of Véronique") and set to an extraordinary operatic score by Zbigniew Preisner ("The Secret Garden"), "Blue" is an overwhelming sensory experience.
1993
98 minutes
Color
2.0 surround
In French with English subtitles
1.85:1 aspect ratio
"White" The most playful but also the grittiest of Kieślowski’s "Three Colors" films follows the adventures of Karol Karol ("The Pianist’s" Zbigniew Zamachowski), a Polish immigrant living in France. The hapless hairdresser opts to leave Paris for his native Warsaw after his wife (Julie Delpy) sues him for divorce (her reason: he was never able to perform in bed) and then frames him for arson after setting her own salon ablaze. "White", which goes on to chronicle Karol Karol’s elaborate revenge plot, manages to be both a ticklish dark comedy about the economic inequalities of Eastern and Western Europe and a sublime reverie about twisted love. 1993
91 minutes
Color
2.0 surround
In French and Polish with English subtitles
1.85:1 aspect ratio
"Red" Krzysztof Kieślowski closes his "Three Colors" trilogy in grand fashion with an incandescent meditation on fate and chance, starring Irène Jacob as a sweet-souled yet somber runway model in Geneva whose life intersects with that of a bitter retired judge, played by Jean Louis Trintignant. Their blossoming friendship forces each to open up in surprising emotional ways. Meanwhile, just down the street, a seemingly unrelated story of jealousy and betrayal unfolds. "Red" is an intimate look at forged connections and a splendid final statement from a remarkable filmmaker at the height of his powers.
1994
99 minutes
Color
2.0 surround
In French with English subtitles
1.85:1 aspect ratio


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Throne of Blood - Criterion Collection

Director: Akira Kurosawa Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Akira Kubo, Hiroshi TachikawaArt House & International
Studio: Criterion Unrated
Language (Country): Japanese
One of the most celebrated screen adaptations of Shakespeare into film, Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" re-imagines "Macbeth" in feudal Japan. Starring Kurosawa's longtime collaborator Toshiro Mifune and the legendary Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife, the film tells of a valiant warrior's savage rise to power and his ignominious fall. With "Throne of Blood", Kurosawa fuses one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies with the formal elements of Japanese Noh theater to make a "Macbeth" that is all his own—a classic tale of ambition and duplicity set against a ghostly landscape of fog and inescapable doom.


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Through a Glass Darkly (in A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman - Criterion Collection)



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TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball

Director: DocumentaryNR
In 1998 pinball was dying, thanks to a saturated market and shrinking player base. Williams, the world's largest pinball manufacturer, prepared to abandon the game that had made it a legend in favor of the more lucrative video slot machine business.

"TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball" is an hour-long documentary that tells the story of Pinball 2000, a mind-blowing attempt at resuscitating pinball that failed just at the moment many people thought it might succeed. A "Soul of a New Machine" for the pinball world, "TILT" is a compendium of interviews with legends of the pinball industry, photos, and film of the best games the industry has produced. Though nominally about pinball, the film is many things: a story of innovation, a business case study, a nostalgia trip, a story about personality and passion, of unlikely teamwork and cooperation in a workplace traditionally driven by ego. It's a story of bold success dizzyingly followed by stunning failure.

From its nostalgic opening jaunt through pinball history to its heartbreaking ending, enploying remarkable animation throughout, "TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball" is a fascinating case study for anyone interested not just in pniball, but in the march of technology and the intersection of art and commerce.


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Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! - Season 1

Director: Tim Heidecker, Eric WareheimComedy
Studio: Warner Home Video NR
Language (Country): English
Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job starring the comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim premieres on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim block in February 2007. Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job is an 11-minute new and exciting sketch variety show which offers viewers a look into the uniquely funny minds of the creators of the cult hit Tom Goes To The Mayor. Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job is a fast paced absurd collection of short films parodies animations pranks and musical numbers featuring the talents of Bob Odenkirk John C Reilly Weird Al Yankovic Zach Galifianakis Brian Posehn Todd Barry and a host of comedians celebrities bad actors and pets. Great Job!Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: TELEVISION/SERIES & SEQUELS UPC: 883929010936 Manufacturer No: 1000037250


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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Director: John Irvin Alec Guinness, Anthony Bate, Bernard Hepton, George Sewell, Hywel BennettTelevision
Studio: BBC
Language (Country): English
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Documentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: George Smiley has been retired for about a year when he finds a friend from the circus, his old outfit in British Intelligence sitting in his living room. He is taken to the home of an advisor to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters where he finds evidence that one of the men in the senior ranks of his old agency is a Russian spy. Smiley is asked to find him, without official access to any of the files in the Circus or letting on that anyone is under suspicion. With only a few old friends, his own powers of deduction, and secrecy as weapons, Smiley must unearth the spy who turned him out of the Circus. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Emmy Awards,


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Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster (in Discovery Channel Collection)



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Today's Man

Director: Lizzie Gottlieb
Language (Country): English



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Together

Director: Lukas Moodysson Lisa Lindgren (II), Michael Nyqvist, Emma Samuelsson, Sam Kessel, Gustav HammarstenArt House & International
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) R
Language (Country): Swedish
Heartfelt and scrupulously funny (Rolling Stone), this comedy about a Swedish commune is 'the most sheerly entertaining foreign film to reach these shores in years (Movieline)! Starring Lisa Lindgren and Michael Nyqvist, Together is a hilarious (Vogue) and enchanting (Entertainment Weekly) romp through both the familiar and unexpected, where the slightlyridiculous merges with the almost sublime (Los Angeles Times)! Marxists and nudists and vegans oh my! Life goes from hippie heaven to hellish anarchy when a suburban housewife and her two precocious kids move into a 1970s communeonly to unleash a maelstrom of suburban values. But as the belligerent beatniks and commitment-phobic communists start questioning their beliefs, theyall begin to realize that sometimes living in harmony can be an all-out war.


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Tom Horn (in The Essential Steve McQueen Collection)



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Topsy-Turvy

Director: Mike Leigh Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher, Sukie Smith, Roger Heathcott, Wendy NottinghamComedy
Studio: Polygram USA Video R
Language (Country): English
At first glance, a musical period comedy-drama about Gilbert and Sullivan seems an odd fit for British filmmaker Mike Leigh, who made his name with searing, intense contemporary dramas such as "Secrets and Lies" and "Career Girls". What could the Victorian world of two composers (of "light opera," no less) have to offer a filmmaker who specializes in the world of modern-day middle class England? Plenty, as it turns out. A wonderful meditation on the creation of art, "Topsy-Turvy" catches Gilbert and Sullivan at a crossroads in their illustrious careers. Having scored numerous hits (like "The Pirates of Penzance" and "HMS Pinafore"), they've reached a creative dry spot with their latest, "Princess Ida". Composer Sullivan (Allan Corduner) despairs of ever being taken seriously, and vows to write a "serious" piece, much to the consternation of librettist Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), who's flummoxed and unyielding when asked to change another of his whimsical, "topsy-turvy" scenarios. All seems lost when, thanks to his wife's insistence, Gilbert attends a Japanese exposition in London, and faster than you can say "Three little maids from school are we," inspiration strikes.
The rest, as they say, is history, but Leigh re-creates the creative process with meticulous and loving care, from the writing of "The Mikado" to its staging (wherein Gilbert acts as director), costuming, orchestration, rehearsal, and ultimate premiere. Some may balk at the running time of the film (almost three hours), but it's a journey well worth taking, down to the precise details of late-19th-century London. Still, you'll know you're in Mike Leigh territory, with his precise characterizations and a heartfelt, melancholy ending. And no one has a way with actors like Leigh. This peerless ensemble, headed up by Broadbent in an Oscar-worthy performance, inhabits their characters like a second skin, and it's wonderful to see an authentic-feeling period drama in which the actors resemble real people and you don't expect someone glamorous like Helena Bonham Carter or Rupert Everett to pop up. Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados will revel in the reenactments of "The Mikado" (newcomers will likely be won over, too). All in all, a breathtaking film. "--Mark Englehart"


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Torchwood: Children of Earth

Director: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-LloydArt House & International
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
If you are a fan of Torchwood, Children of Earth may come as a shock. It's strength is that it is an interesting, action packed political/science fiction thriller. The ending is visually powerful .... and extraordinarily depressing. Unfortunately, the contrivances and leaps in logic that move the plot to the finish just do not hold up in repeating viewing.

I've seen this plotline before in the last series of Quatermass, and while the premise was reworked, it also seemed throughout as though the characters and Torchwood itself had been hammered to fit the plotline, resulting in a miniseries that would have been better as a stand-alone, without Torchwood. Unfortunately, the quirkiness and fun that was Torchwood has been sacrificed to make it more of a generic 'Spooks' type thriller, leaving it far, far darker and grimmer than the first two series.

And, it's time RTD moved beyond the same old one-trick pony shock where the team is concerned. There are things that series writers can pull off once. After that these plot devices become not only redundant, but downright tiresome. I was engrossed in the story right up to the surprising cliffhanger of Day Three. After that, the inconsistencies and plot devices that were needed for the big finish became too strained for credibility, particularly for a longtime viewer who was familiar with the characters pre-CoE.

I gave it two stars, and I wish I could have given it more for the acting which was excellent, particularly John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd, Nicholas Farrell and Peter Capaldi. In truth, it was Frobisher's (Capaldi) story and the story of the government's response to an alien threat, more than it was Torchwood's, except for the last hour which anguishing and bleak.


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Torchwood: The Complete First Season (Blu-Ray)

Director: Alice Troughton, Andy Goddard, Ashley Way, Brian Kelly, Colin Teague John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori, Gareth David-LloydDrama
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
More than a spin-off of the Russell T. Davies incarnation of "Doctor Who", the BBC series "Torchwood" is a wholly enjoyable blend of drama, science-fiction thrills, and mature subject matter that never fails to deliver its main purpose: to entertain on a weekly basis. John Barrowman, who captured the imagination of "Who" fans during the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant eras as 51st-century adventurer Capt. Jack Harkness, returns as the dashing, immortal time traveler; here, he's the head of Torchwood, a covert organization that investigates extraterrestrial and supernatural events on Earth without the help of the British government or United Nations. Eve Myles is a police constable who joins the team after discovering them in the middle of bringing a stabbing victim back to life (in the debut episode, "Everything Changes"), and she brings a decidedly human touch to the Torchwood team's tech-driven investigations. Among the mysteries encountered over the course of the 13-episode series: an alien gas that absorbs humans during sex ("Day One"); a half-human, half-Cyberman female with a connection to Torchwood support man Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in "Cyberwoman"; a rash of cannibalistic murders ("Countrycide"); a very different kind of fairies than the ones of legend ("Small Worlds"); and most impressively of all, a skyscraper-sized demon that threatens to plunge the Torchwood team--and the world itself--into chaos ("End of Days," which features an off-screen cameo by a certain Time Lord). What separates "Torchwood" from the most modern television science fiction (save, say,
"Heroes" and "Battlestar Galactica") is the frankly adult tone of the series: The violence is plentiful and occasionally graphic, and there are frequent bedroom couplings between the team members and supporting players. There's also a maturity to the relationships that exceeds the usual scope of sci-fi, most notably in the affecting "Captain Jack Harkness," which sends him back to the London Blitz, where he meets and falls in love with a handsome American pilot who happens to share his name. Their love affair, like the majority of "Torchwood"'s "grown-up" storylines, is handled with taste and real emotion. Extras on the "First Series" Blu-ray are remarkably plentiful; entirely new behind-the-scenes featurettes explore the main characters and their major story arcs, location shooting, the impressive SUV that the team drives, and the show's extensive special effects and alien creations. Barrowman also contributes a very funny "Captain's Log," which invites viewers to join him on one of the final shooting days of the series. "Torchwood Declassified" is a 13-part program that explored each episode on BBC Three and the BBC's "Torchwood" website. Commentaries are offered for all 13 episodes, with Davies, Barrowman, Myles, Burn Gorman (who plays Torchwood's medical officer, Owen Harper), David-Lloyd, producers Richard Stokes and Julie Gardner, and various episode writers, directors, and producers all lending their voices. A small battery of deleted scenes and outtakes round out this impressive set. "--Paul Gaita"
Stills from "Torchwood"


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The Transparent Lama From Bhutan

Director: Anna Novikova



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Treasure of the Lisu

Director: Yan Chun Su



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Tribe : Complete BBC Series 1-3 Box Set

Director: Bruce ParryTelevision
Studio: 2 Entertain Video Suitable for 15 years and over
Language (Country): English
One of the more interesting and diverting shows of recent times has seen former Royal Marine Bruce Parry head off to the far reaches of the planet to live among the various tribes of the world. And with all three series of the intriguing "Tribe" now collected together in this one sit, it's an invitation to catch up on his adventures that you'd be unwise to decline.
The central idea finds Parry adopting the workings, methods and practices of the tribes that he spends time with. And the reason this works so well is Parry himself, providing a respectful, clear and calm core to a programme that could so easily have fallen foul of many assorted trappings of the genre. His findings throughout "Tribe" are frequently fascinating, and the programme itself is diligently paced to give you ample opportunity to take it all in. It's immersive and genuinely involving television.
The episodes collected together in this "Tribe" boxset find Parry travelling through the likes of Ethiopia, Mongolia and the Himalayas, and there's a real sense of not knowing what you're going to discover when each episode begins. Marry that into episodes with strong rewatch value--for both educational and entertainment purposes--and "Tribe" emerges as little short of a modern television treat. --"Jon Foster"


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Trilogue: Live in Berlin 1976

Director: No Director Available No Actors Available
Studio: JAZZ SHOTS SPAIN NR
Language (Country): English
Import-only DVD from the Jazz bassist that provides an unusual treat for all Jaco Pastorius, Albert Mangelsdorff and Alphonse Mouzon fans. In fact, you won t find Pastorius s trademark funky playing here, nor Mangelsdorff s wild free trombone improvisations, nor Alphonse Mouzon's skittering drum work that stops and starts on a sliver of light. Conducted by Mangelsdorff and with a repertoire based mostly on the trombonist s compositions, this concert was a carefully planned project in which all three players were deeply involved.


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True Romance (Blu-Ray)

Director: Tony Scott Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary OldmanMystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video Unrated
Language (Country): English, French
It was directed with energetic skill by "Top Gun" Tony Scott, but this breathtaking 1993 thriller (think of it as an adolescent crime fantasy on steroids) has Quentin Tarantino written all over it. "True Romance" is really part of a loose trilogy that includes "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", with a crackling Tarantino screenplay that rides a fine line between raucous comedy and violent excess. Christian Slater plays Clarence, the comic-book lover who meets a beguiling prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette), confronts her vicious pimp (Gary Oldman), and embarks on a cross-country odyssey with $5 million worth of Mafia cocaine. Mayhem ensues, culminating in a favorite Tarantino climax--the "Mexican standoff"--in which a roomful of guys are pointing guns at each other, waiting to see who shoots first. Brutal, profane, and totally outrageous, "True Romance" is not for everyone, but with a supporting cast that includes Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, and Val Kilmer (as the ghost of Elvis!), you can be sure this movie will never be boring. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Trying To Get Good - the Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon

Director: Doug McIntyre & Penny Peyser Clint Eastwood, Billy Crystal, Merv Griffin, Chris Botti, Dave FrishbergNR
Language (Country): English
Who is Jack Sheldon? You may remember him as Merv Griffin' trumpet-wielding sidekick! Or as the indelible voice on SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK! Musicians know him as a jazz giant. Features historic footage with Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and many others. "COMPELLING AND HIGHLY ENTERTAINING" - Leonard Maltin, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT


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Twelve Angry Men (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul Thanapat Saisaymar, Janjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Natthakarn Aphaiwonk
Studio: Strand Releasing Unrated
"Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" was the winner of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. This fantasy story finds a dying man who is visited by his deceased wife in the form of a ghost and his lost son in the form of a hairy creature with glowing eyes, who help guide him on a journey to his first birthplace on earth. Melding ideas of reincarnation, karma and fairy tale elements, this critically acclaimed film is a unique, one-of-a-kind experience that director Tim Burton described as a strange, beautiful dream.

In Thai with English Subtitles

Bonus Features: 5.1 Sound - Deleted Scenes - Interview with Director - Other Trailers from Apichatpong Weerasethakul


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Unflinching Triumph: The Philip Rockhammer Story

Director: Mark Decena Jon Carlo, Denise Amrikhas, Greg Ayers, Bob Brindley, Brandon ConnerComedy
Studio: Kontent Films
Language (Country): (USA)
Philip Rockhammer is an ordinary guy from Sacramento, California. He doesn't look or talk like an athlete but make no mistake, Rockhammer is a professional athlete. "Unflinching Triumph" immerses the audience into the life of Philip and the underground world of Professional Staredown. From Phlip's breakout success, to his tense showdowns with Staredown legend Tony Patterson, and his confrontations with his personal demons, we're with him all the way. Philip's voyage is at times joyous, often nerve-racking and occasionally heart-breaking. "Unflinching Triumph" provides an illuminating look at a man we never knew and a sport we never knew existed.


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United Artists 30-Film Deluxe Giftset

Director: UA Deluxe Gift SetDrama
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) NR
Language (Country): English
Disc 1: Marty P&S
Disc 2: Twelve Angry Men WS
Disc 3: Some Like It Hot WS Disc 1
Disc 4: Some Like It Hot WS Disc 2
Disc 5: The Alamo WS
Disc 6: The Apartment WS
Disc 7: The Magnificent Seven WS Disc 1
Disc 8: The Magnificent Seven WS Disc 2
Disc 9: Judgment at Nuremberg WS
Disc 10: Westside Story WS Disc 1
Disc 11: Westside Story WS Disc 2
Disc 12: Birdman of Alcatraz WS
Disc 13: Dr. No WS Disc 1
Disc 14: Dr. No WS Disc 2
Disc 15: Manchurian Candidate WS
Disc 16: The Great Escape WS Disc 1
Disc 17: The Great Escape WS Disc 2
Disc 18: The Pink Panther WS
Disc 19: The Greatest Story Ever Told WS Disc 1
Disc 20: The Greatest Story Ever Told WS Disc 2
Disc 21: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly WS Disc 1
Disc 22: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly WS Disc 2
Disc 23: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WS Disc 1
Disc 24: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WS Disc 2
Disc 25: Thomas Crown Affair (1968) WS
Disc 26: The Battle of Britain WS Disc 1
Disc 27: The Battle of Britain WS Disc 2
Disc 28: Midnight Cowboy WS Disc 1
Disc 29: Midnight Cowboy WS Disc 2
Disc 30: Fiddler on the Roof WS Disc 1
Disc 31: Fiddler on the Roof WS Disc 2
Disc 32: Rocky WS Disc 1
Disc 33: Rocky WS Disc 2
Disc 34: Annie Hall P&S
Disc 35: A Bridge Too Far WS Disc 1
Disc 36: A Bridge Too Far WS Disc 2
Disc 37: The Spy Who Loved Me WS Disc 1
Disc 38: The Spy Who Loved Me WS Disc 2
Disc 39: Raging Bull WS Disc 1
Disc 40: Raging Bull WS Disc 2
Disc 41: Rain Man WS
Disc 42: Manchurian Candidate WS
Disc 43: Goldeneye WS
Disc 44: The Birdcage WS
Disc 45: Bowling for Columbine WS
Disc 46: Hotel Rwanda WS


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The Universe - The Complete Season One

Director: The UniverseDocumentary
Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO PG
Language (Country): English
From the mysteries of our own solar system those that surround unexplored galaxies, history and science collide in this ambitious investigation of the Universe.

Questions about the Universe have consumed man since the dawn of time. In the 50 years since humans made their first tentative explorations of space, we have increased our knowledge of the cosmos dramatically, using powerful telescopes, robotic probes, and manned missions. But only recently has computer technology allowed scientists to illustrate in stunning detail their awe-inspiring conclusions. THE UNIVERSE, a groundbreaking series from THE HISTORY CHANNEL®, employs cutting-edge computer-generated imagery to bring distant planets and faraway stars up close, allowing viewers to gaze at black holes and comets, and witness the births and deaths of galaxies and solar systems.

This epic miniseries takes viewers on an exhilarating voyage through the cosmos. From the farthest reaches of distant galaxies back to the familiar face of our moon, THE UNIVERSE brings the mysteries of the heavens down to earth.


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Utopia

Director: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Paul Higgins, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Adeel Akhtar Alexandra Roach
Studio: Channel 4 DVD NR
Utopia is a cult graphic novel rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the late twentieth century. Dismissed as the fevered imaginings of a madman by most, and idolised by a handful, only one thing seems certain about Utopia: come into contact with it and you won't be safe for long.
When a small group of normal people (including an IT consultant, student and child) find themselves in possession of the manuscript of Utopia, they realise they are at the centre of a nightmarish conspiracy turned real. Targeted by a shadowy organisation known only as The Network, they are left with one option if they want to stay alive: they have to run, avoiding even being caught even on CCTV. The Network is everywhere: in government, in business, in charge. A secret organisation constrained neither by borders nor common morality. Nobody knows what their plan is, just that they will stop at nothing to find the original manuscript of Utopia.

Utopia asks what if the conspiracy nuts are right? What if people are trying to control our lives, doctor our food, experiment upon us, kill us? Fast, terrifying, funny and brutal, it is a massive new drama/conspiracy thriller.


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Veronica Mars - The Complete First Season

Director: David Barrett, Guy Norman Bee, Harry Winer, John T. Kretchmer, Marcos Siega Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Jason Dohring, Francis Capra, Enrico ColantoniDrama
Studio: Warner Home Video Unrated
Language (Country): English
The smartest high school drama since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Veronica Mars" is "The O.C." as penned by Raymond Chandler. Veronica (Kristen Bell, "Deadwood") is Nancy Drew by way of Lauren Bacall, while Neptune makes Peyton Place look like Mayberry. The first season begins in the aftermath of a dizzying array of cataclysmic events: Her best friend, Lilly (Amanda Seyfried), was murdered, her sheriff father was fired over his handling of the case, she was sexually assaulted, and her mother left. Since then, Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni, "Just Shoot Me") has become a private eye and drafted Veronica as his assistant. She may lack Buffy's physical prowess, but the "tiny blonde one" turns out to have a special talent for sleuthing. In the wake of her sophomore year, the popular crowd abandoned Veronica--even boyfriend Duncan (Teddy Dunn), Lilly's brother. (Hence the theme song: "We Used to Be Friends.") Veronica is on her own until she meets Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the only student unfamiliar with her past, unlike Duncan's sarcastic pal, Logan (Jason Dohring), one of her more ardent foes. He was Lilly's boyfriend and his father is movie star Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin). By the end of her junior year, Veronica and Logan will make their peace, but it won't be so easy to win over the school--let alone the town. Throughout the season, Veronica will solve several mysteries both big and small--including the murder of Lilly Kane. But a few questions remain. For instance, at the end of the season finale, Veronica opens the door to greet an unseen visitor with "I was hoping it would be you." So who was it? Fortunately, UPN renewed the critically acclaimed (if ratings challenged) teen noir and that tantalizing question will be answered in the second season premiere. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"


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Videodrome - Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)

Director: David Cronenberg James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie CarlsonArt House & International
Studio: Criterion R
Language (Country): English
Love it or loathe it, David Cronenberg's 1983 horror film "Videodrome" is a movie to be reckoned with. Inviting extremes of response from disdain (critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the least entertaining films ever made") to academic euphoria, it's the kind of film that is simultaneously sickening and seemingly devoid of humanity, but also blessed with provocative ideas and a compelling subtext of social commentary. Giving yet another powerful and disturbing performance, James Woods stars as the operator of a low-budget cable-TV station who accidentally intercepts a mysterious cable transmission that features the apparent torture and death of women in its programming. He traces the show to its source and discovers a mysterious plot to broadcast a subliminally influential signal into the homes of millions, masterminded by a quasi-religious character named Brian O'Blivion and his overly reverent daughter. Meanwhile Woods is falling under the spell, becoming a victim of video, and losing his grip--both physically and psychologically--on the distinction between reality and television. A potent treatise on the effects of total immersion into our mass-media culture, "Videodrome" is also (to the delight of Cronenberg's loyal fans) a showcase for obsessions manifested in the tangible world of the flesh. It's a hallucinogenic world in which a television set seems to breathe with a life of its own, and where the body itself can become a VCR repository for disturbing imagery. Featuring bizarre makeup effects by Rick Baker and a daring performance by Deborah Harry (of Blondie fame) as Wood's sadomasochistic girlfriend, "Videodrome" is pure Cronenberg--unsettling, intelligent, and decidedly not for every taste. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Virgin Spring (in Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks)



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A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory

Director: Esther Robinson Gerard Malanga, John Cale, Albert Maysles, Paul Morrissey, Brigid BerlinDrama
Studio: Arts Alliance America NR
Language (Country): English
This is director Esther Robinson's riveting personal inquiry into the mysterious 1966 disappearance of Danny Williams a promising young filmmaker Warhol's lover and Robinson's uncle. The film features intimate interviews with surviving Factory members and astonishing footage from Williams' recently discovered films. Winner of the prestigious" Teddy Award" at the Berlin Film Festival and " Best NY Documentary" at the Tribeca Film Festival.System Requirements:Running Time: 78 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: INDEPENDENT/SHORT FILMS Rating: NR UPC: 829567051122 Manufacturer No: 670511


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Wall-E

Director: Andrew Stanton Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalkAnimation
Studio: WALT DISNEY VIDEO G
Language (Country): English
Pixar genius reigns in this funny romantic comedy, which stars a robot who says absolutely nothing for a full 25 minutes yet somehow completely transfixes and endears himself to the audience within the first few minutes of the film. As the last robot left on earth, Wall-E (voiced by Ben Burtt) is one small robot--with a big, big heart--who holds the future of earth and mankind squarely in the palm of his metal hand. He's outlasted all the "Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class" robots that were assigned some 700 years ago to clean up the environmental mess that man made of earth while man vacationed aboard the luxury spaceship Axiom. Wall-E has dutifully gone about his job compacting trash, the extreme solitude broken only by his pet cockroach, but he's developed some oddly human habits and ideas. When the Axiom sends its regularly scheduled robotic EVE probe (Elissa Knight) to earth, Wall-E is instantly smitten and proceeds to try to impress EVE with his collection of human memorabilia. EVE's directive compels her to bring Wall-E's newly collected plant sprout to the captain of the Axiom and Wall-E follows in hot pursuit. Suddenly, the human world is turned upside down and the Captain (Jeff Garlin) joins forces with Wall-E and a cast of other misfit robots to lead the now lethargic people back home to earth. "Wall-E" is a great family film with the most impressive aspect being the depth of emotion conveyed by a simple robot--a machine typically considered devoid of emotion, but made so absolutely touching by the magic of Pixar animation. Also well-worth admiring are the sweeping views from space, the creative yet disturbing vision of what strange luxuries a future space vacation might offer, and the innovative use of trash in a future cityscape. Underneath the slapstick comedy and touching love story is a poignant message about the folly of human greed and its potential effects on earth and the entire human race. "Wall-E" is preceded in theaters by the comical short "Presto" in which a magician's rabbit, unfed one too many times takes his revenge against the egotistical magician. (Ages 3 and older) --"Tami Horiuchi"


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Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures

Director: Nick Park Peter Sallis, Anne ReidKids & Family
Studio: Dreamworks Animated Unrated
Language (Country): English
The perfect gift set for the Wallace and Gromit fan. All three of animator Nick Park's first adventures featuring the dotty inventor and his loyal but laconic dog--"The Wrong Trousers", "A Close Shave", and "A Grand Day Out"--come wrapped together and ready for multiple viewings. This is truly one of the rare gift sets that will entertain the entire family. "--Doug Thomas"


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Wallander: Sidetracked / Firewall / One Step Behind

Director: Kenneth BranaghDocumentary
Studio: BBC Warner NR
Language (Country): English
Giving a rare and welcome television leading role to Kenneth Branagh, "Wallander" is about a Swedish detective who is brought to the screen in three 90-minute adventures based on the hugely popular novels by Henning Mankell. Branagh takes the title role, and he's "Wallander"'s leading asset. His performance is grumpy and downbeat, and he skillfully underplays his role. It's a terrific performance from a very strong actor. Around him, mysterious and shocking crimes are taking place, and it's his job to get to the bottom of them. He's aided by a good, if unspectacular, supporting cast, although nods must go to Sarah Smart and Tom Hiddleston. Filmed on location in Sweden, yet still more British in feel than you'd perhaps expect, "Wallander" nonetheless is intelligent and at times gripping drama. It's well made, too, with some stylish directional choices that may isolate some viewers, but do enhance the production. There's clearly been a lot of thought and planning involved here, and it pays dividends. That said, "Wallander" is likely to be a divisive show. It eschews quite a few of the conventions of the genre, instead playing things more downbeat than we've become accustomed to. Naturally, this is also what strengthens it. And, combined with Branagh in excellent form, "Wallander" at its best is both brilliant, and a little bit different, and it's very much worth checking out. "--Jon Foster"


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Waste Land

Director: Lucy Walker Vik MunizDocumentary
Studio: NEW VIDEO GROUP NR
Language (Country): English
Brazilian artist Vik Muniz combines visual beauty with social awareness. "Waste Land"--a documentary about Muniz collaborating with the trash pickers in a staggeringly huge landfill--achieves the same fusion. Muniz, a remarkably upbeat and earnest fellow, is almost just an excuse for the movie to investigate the lives of the trash pickers, who are amazing people living on the fringes of a highly polarized society. The documentarians capture startlingly open and complex interviews with a handful of men and women striving to maintain some hope and personal dignity in some of the worst circumstances imaginable. Their vibrance and vitality will make you want to live your own life more fully. The tricky ethical issues around the entire project get a substantial discussion; Muniz is aware of the potential for exploitation and capsizing these delicately balanced lives, but proceeds with fervor. The glimpses into his artistic process (and his ability to genuinely collaborate with his subjects) provide a striking mirror to the collective effort of the trash pickers as they fight to form a political association to better their existence. "Waste Land" will truly make you examine your own life and may well inspire you to live better. "--Bret Fetzer"


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Water

Director: Deepa Mehta Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas, Sarala Kariyawasam, Buddhi Wickrama
Studio: Fox Searchlight PG-13
Language (Country): Hindi
Extremist groups waged a campaign of death threats, arson and riots to stop the production of this controversial film, but director Deepa Mehta would not be silenced. Set against Gandhi's rise to power, Water tells the profoundly moving story of Chuyia, an Indian girl married and widowed at eight years old, who is sent away to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyia's feisty presence deeply affects the other residents, forcing each to confront their faith and society's prejudices.


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Werner Herzog Box Set 2

Director: Werner Herzog Art House & InternationalPG
Five features. In 'Stroszek' a Berlin street musician is released from prison and moves to America with his girlfriend to live the American dream. Things don't go to plan and the dream soon becomes a nightmare in this tragic comedy. Also features: 'Even Dwarves Started Small', 'Fata Morgana', 'Heart Of Glass' and 'The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser'.


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West Side Story (50th Anniversary Edition) Blu-Ray

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD) NR
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
The winner of 10 Academy Awards, this 1961 musical by choreographer Jerome Robbins and director Robert Wise ("The Sound of Music") remains irresistible. Based on a smash Broadway play updating Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" to the 1950s era of juvenile delinquency, the film stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers from different neighborhoods--and ethnicities. The film's real selling points, however, are the highly charged and inventive song-and-dance numbers, the passionate ballads, the moody sets, colorful support from Rita Moreno, and the sheer accomplishment of Hollywood talent and technology producing a film so stirring. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim wrote the score. "--Tom Keogh"


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Westside Story (in UA Deluxe Gift Set)



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What's New, Pussycat? (in The Peter Sellers Giftset)



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Wheel of Time

Director: Werner Herzog Thupten Tsering, The Dalai Lama (XIV), Mattieu Ricard, Takna Jigme SangpoDocumentary
Studio: Fox Lorber NR
Language (Country): English
As filmmaker and cultural anthropologist, Werner Herzog brings his unique powers of observation to Buddhist rituals in "Wheel of Time". The documentary's title refers to the central symbol that forms the physical and spiritual hub of an intricately detailed sand mandala that is the centerpiece of the Kalachakra initiation, a Buddhist ceremony that attracts several hundred thousand monks and pilgrims to Bodh Gaya, India (the original site of the Buddha's enlightenment) in 2002. Through well-chosen images and his own sparse but effective narration, Herzog chronicles this spiritual conclave, incorporating brief interview clips with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, a lively debate between high-level monks at the gathering, an interview with a Tibetan political prisoner who'd spent 37 years in jail, and a visit to the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet, where the faithful endure a high-altitude 52-kilometer trek to worship on holy ground. Having recovered from illness that prevented his full participation in the Bodh Gaya ceremony, the Dalai Lama appears at another Buddhist ceremony in Graz, Austria, where another sand mandala symbolizes the deep significance of Buddhist inner peace. Herzog's fascination with these rituals is infectious, and with a powerful soundtrack of Tibetan music and Buddhist monks' chanting, "Wheel of Time" achieves its own quiet quality of grace. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Whores' Glory

Director: Michael Glawogger Michael Glawogger
Studio: Kino Lorber NR
Language (Country): English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish
WHORES' GLORY, the third film in Michael Glawogger's globalization trilogy (following MEGACITIES and WORKINGMAN'S DEATH), is an explicit and unflinching expose of global prostitution. In Bangkok, Thailand, women punch a clock and wait for clients in a brightly lit glass box; in the red-light district of Faridpur, Bangladesh, a madam haggles over the price of a teenage girl; and in the border town of Reynosa, Mexico, crack-addicted women pray to a deity named Lady Death. Winner of the Orizzonti Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, Glawogger's latest larger-than-life documentary is an audacious, non-judgmental study of sexuality, politics, human behavior and the effects of capital and religion on both women and men from starkly different cultures.


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The Wild Bunch (Blu-Ray)

Director: Sam Peckinpah William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates
Studio: Warner Home Video R
Language (Country): English, French, Spanish
Director Sam Peckinpah's film The Wild Bunch is a powerful tale of hang-dog desperados bound by a code of honor. It is said that The Wild Bunch rates as one of the all-time greatest Westerns, perhaps one of the greatest of all films


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Wild Strawberries (in Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks)



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Wings of Desire

Director: Wim Wenders Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk$1
Studio: Criterion Collection PG-13
Language (Country): English, French, German
Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, and dreams—of all the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality to come back to earth to be with her. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, is movie poetry. And it forever made the name Wim Wenders synonymous with film art.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Wim Wenders with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack • Audio commentary featuring Wenders and actor Peter Falk • The Angels Among Us (2003), a documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, writer Peter Handke, and composer Jürgen Knieper • Excerpt from: Wim Wenders Berlin Jan. 87, an episode of the French television program Cinéma cinémas, including on-set footage • Interview with director of photography Henri Alekan • Deleted scenes and outtakes • Excerpts from the films Alekan la lumière (1985) and Remembrance: Film for Curt Bois (about the actor who plays Homer in Wings of Desire) • Notes and photos by production designer Heidi Lüdi and art director Toni Lüdi • Trailers • New and improved English subtitle translation • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Atkinson and writings by Wenders and Handke


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Winter Light (in A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman - Criterion Collection)



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The Wire - The Complete First Season

Director: Clark Johnson Dominic West, Sonja Sohn, Jr. Larry Gilliard, Wendell Pierce, Idris ElbaDrama
Studio: HBO Home Video NR
Language (Country): English, Spanish, French
After one episode of "The Wire" you'll be hooked. After three, you'll be astonished by the precision of its storytelling. After viewing all 13 episodes of the HBO series' remarkable first season, you'll be cheering a bona-fide American masterpiece. Series creator David Simon was a veteran crime reporter from "The Baltimore Sun" who cowrote the book that inspired TV's "Homicide", and cowriter Ed Burns was a Baltimore cop, lending impeccable street-cred to an inner-city Baltimore saga (and companion piece to "The Corner") that Simon aptly describes as "a visual novel" and "a treatise on institutions and individuals" as opposed to a conventional good-vs.-evil police procedural. Owing a creative debt to the novels of Richard Price (especially "Clockers"), the series opens as maverick Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West, in a star-making role) is tapping into a vast network of drugs and death around southwest Baltimore's deteriorating housing projects. With a mandate to get results ASAP, a haphazard team is assembled to join McNulty's increasingly complex investigation, built upon countless hours of electronic surveillance.
The show's split-perspective plotting is so richly layered, so breathtakingly authentic and based on finely drawn characters brought to life by a perfect ensemble cast, that it defies concise description. Simon, Burns, and their cowriters control every intricate aspect of the unfolding epic; directors are top-drawer (including Clark Johnson, helmer of "The Shield"'s finest episodes), but they are servants to the story, resulting in a TV series like no other: unpredictable, complicated, and demanding the viewer's rapt attention, "The Wire" is "an angry show" (in Simon's words) that refuses to comfort with easy answers to deep-rooted societal problems. Moral gray zones proliferate in a universe where ruthless killers have a logical code, and where the cops are just as ambiguous as their targets. That ambiguity extends to the ending as well; season 1 leaves several issues unresolved, leaving you begging for the even more impressive developments that await in season 2. "--Jeff Shannon"


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The Wire: The Complete Fifth Season

Director: Dominic West, Clark Johnson, Aidan Gillen, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce
Studio: HBO Studios Unrated
Language (Country): English
A barroom toast to Det. Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), a one-man good cop/bad cop, offered in "The Wire"'s final episode could very well serve as this series' epitaph: "When you were good, you were the best we had." Season five bears witness to this. The 10 riveting, wrenching episodes focus on yet another beleaguered Baltimore institution, "The Baltimore Sun" daily newspaper, whose staff, much like the police, is forced to do more with less. One editor (Clark Johnson) struggles to maintain the paper's journalistic standards in the face of declining ad revenues, employee buyouts and bureau closures. An ambitious reporter (Tom McCarthy) undermines him by taking a page out of the Stephen Glass/Jayson Blair playbook, manufacturing sensational quotes, and eventually, whole stories, while bean-counter management encourages its rising star and keeps its eye on the (Pulitzer) prize. Meanwhile, on the streets, the year-long investigation of rising drug lord Marlo Sansfield (Jamie Hector) and the 22 bodies found in "the vacants" has been discontinued and police morale is at an all-time low (the money promised to the department has been diverted to the schools). McNulty manufactures a serial killer case that will have far-reaching repercussions in the mayor's office, where Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is mounting a run for governor a mere two years into his term. "I wonder what it would be like to work at a real police station," McNulty rages at one point. "The Wire", as ever, is all about real. It's a gritty and unflinching look at life in one of roughest districts of a "broke-ass city." There is street justice for some characters, and street injustice for others. Some meet sad, sudden, or shocking ends that defy TV convention. Referring to Marlo, McNulty declares early on, "He does not get to win; we get to win." The hard-earned victories are mostly small, or come with a price. Not that "The Wire" does not offer glimmers of hope. Bubbles (Andre Royo) struggles to maintain his sobriety (Steve Earle portrays the leader of his 12-step program and also does the theme song honors this season), and the final episode features a cameo by Jim True-Frost as the once overwhelmed teacher, "Prez," who now seems to have the hang of the job. The ratings-strapped and criminally Emmy-snubbed "The Wire" has always been a critic's darling with a passionate fan base. To the show's credit, it did not make itself more accessible in its final season (consequently, its send-off did not receive near the fanfare of "The Sopranos" or "Sex and the City"). That should not dissuade newcomers to the show. It is heavy lifting, and if you're just joining "The Wire", a visit to the show's official website for orientation is recommended. But buy it, watch it, and be patient. It's so worth it. From the masterful storytelling to the peerless ensemble, it just doesn't get any better than "The Wire". But that's not exactly news. "--Donald Liebenson"


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The Wire: The Complete Fourth Season

Director: Daniel Attias Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn, Lance Reddick, Aidan Gillen
Studio: HBO Studios Unrated
Language (Country): English, Greek
Even if you missed the first three seasons (the character guides and thorough episode recaps on HBO's website are recommended), and with only one season left, it's not too late to get in under "The Wire". In fact, season 4 is an accessible introduction for those who know "The Wire" only by its street cred as arguably the very best show on television. For them especially, this season will be, as befitting its theme, a real education. Without resorting to melodramatics that other ratings-challenged series employ to gain that frustratingly elusive audience, "The Wire" shakes things up this season in a way that is true to the series and its characters. A major character, Dominic West's McNulty, plays a minor role as a contented street cop and family man, while a former supporting player, Jim True-Frost's Roland Pryzbylewski, goes to the head of the class as a new eighth grade teacher at beleaguered Edward Tilghman Middle School. It may take a couple of episodes to orient yourself to the Baltimore backrooms, squad rooms, classrooms, and street corners where "The Wire"'s intense dramas play out, and new viewers may miss something in character nuance, but they will easily grasp the big picture. A politically motivated shake-up sends Major Crimes detectives Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Greggs (Sonja Sohn) to Homicide. The gloves come off in the mayoral race between black incumbent Clarence Royce (Glynn Turman) and idealistic white challenger Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen). Gang leader Marlo (Jamie Hector) quietly and deliberately becomes the city's new drug kingpin, managing to subvert all surveillance efforts. Meanwhile, while "Prez" tries to reach his students, four highly at-risk kids will be drawn into the drug trade.
Mere synopsis does not do "The Wire" justice. The series deftly juggles its myriad storylines and characters, all of whom make an impression, from Marlo's cold-blooded enforcers, Snoop (Felicia Pearson) and Chris (Gbenga Akinnagbe), to boxing instructor "Cutty" (Chad L. Coleman), determined to keep his young charges off the corners. There is not a false note in the performances or the writing. Richard Price ("Clockers") and Dennis Lehane ("Mystic River") again contributed episodes. That this series has only been nominated for only one Emmy (for writing) is a travesty. As engrossing as the finest novels and in a class by itself, this isn't television; it's "The Wire". "--Donald Liebenson"


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The Wire: The Complete Second Season

Director: Ernest Dickerson Dominic West, Chris Bauer, Paul Ben-Victor, Idris Elba, Amy Ryan
Studio: HBO Home Video NR
Language (Country): English, Greek, French, Spanish
It hardly seems possible, but "The Wire"'s second season is even better than the first. The "visual novel" concept of this masterful HBO series is taken even further in a rich, labyrinthine plot revolving around the longshoremen of Baltimore's struggling cargo docks, where corruption, smuggling, and murder draw the attention of detective McNulty (Dominic West). What follows is a series of events which at first seem unrelated (including 13 bodies found in a cargo container), and then the ongoing effort to topple the drug empire of "Stringer" Bell (Idris Elba) and the imprisoned Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris), whose business is suffering from short supply, high demand, and disruption of distribution. The dutiful diligence of a Marine Police Patrol Officer and the moral outrage of the longshoremen's union leader are also factored into the suspicious goings-on at the loading docks, and what unfolds in these 12 episodes is an American crime epic easily on par with the "Godfather" saga. Yes, it's "that" good.
Detailed synopsis is pointless; "The Wire" must be seen, heard, and absorbed to fully appreciate the way in which over 40 characters are flawlessly incorporated into a sprawling but tightly disciplined plot that deals, in the larger sense, with the deindustrialization of America and the struggle of longshoremen in a changing economical climate. Offering a privileged and occasionally frightening glimpse of the inner workings of shipping ports and cargo transports, "The Wire" is also a detailed exposé of organized crime and blue-collar corruption, and an authentic, well-informed study of political maneuvering among police and city officials. There's not a single false note to be found in the cast, direction, or writing of this phenomenal series, hailed by many critics as "the best show on television." With all due respect to HBO's other excellent series, "The Wire" tops them all. "--Jeff Shannon"


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The Wire: The Complete Third Season

Director: Tim Van Patten, Ernest Dickerson, Agnieszka Holland Dominic West, John Doman, Idris Elba, Aidan Gillen, Wood Harris
Studio: HBO Studios Unrated
Language (Country): English, Greek, French, Spanish
With volatile issues of Baltimore city political reform as its narrative focus, the third season of "The Wire" superbly maintains the series' astonishingly consistent status as the greatest "novel for television" ever created. While the Baltimore police department's wire-tapping investigations continue to monitor the intricate and now legitimately fronted drug ring of Russell "Stringer" Bell (Idris Elba, smooth as ever), detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) continues his loutish ways, navigating through a series of shallow sexual conquests while doing some of the best cop-work of his career. Stringer's ex-convict partner Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) is back in the picture and bent on eliminating a drug-dealing competitor named Marlo (Jamie Hector), and Baltimore P.D. Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin (Robert Wisdom) tries his own defiantly independent brand of street justice by essentially legalizing drugs in "Hamsterdam," where isolated sections of the city are established as open drug-dealing zones, utterly without the knowledge or approval of Colvin's superiors. As city councilman Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillen) plots his own ruthlessly ambitious strategy for the mayor's seat, Baltimore officials, McNulty's wire unit, and the entire Baltimore P.D. stand poised for the inevitable fallout from street-level and executive-level manipulations of power.
Of course, this is just the tip of a very large iceberg, as "The Wire" continues its labyrinthine yet tightly controlled chronicle of over 50 characters, major and minor, who are all flawlessly woven into the fabric of these 12 remarkable episodes. For season 3, series creator David Simon continued to recruit a top-drawer lineup of reputable writers (including novelists Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, and George Pelecanos) and directors (including Ernest Dickerson, Tim Van Patten, and Agnieszka Holland), and by the time a major character is killed in the season's penultimate episode (arguably the series' finest yet), it's clear that "The Wire" has earned its crown as the most ambitious and intelligent crime drama in the history of American television. DVD extras are excellent, as usual, including five illuminating episode commentaries (an absolute must for devoted fans of the series), a Q&A session with cast & crew moderated by renowned TV critic and author Ken Tucker, and a classroom conversation with Simon that delves deeper into the creative process of the series. Having deservedly earned its renewal for a fourth season (out of a projected five, according to Simon), "The Wire" delivers surprises aplenty (keep a close watch for startling revelations) while proving, yet again, that cable-TV is the place to be for anyone seeking respite from the relative mediocrity of mainstream network programming. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Wolves at Our Door (in Discovery Channel Collection)



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Woodstock - 3 Days of Peace & Music

Director: Michael Wadleigh Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Roger DaltreyMusic Video & Concerts
Studio: Warner Home Video R
Language (Country): English
3 days. 3-million people. And memories to last a lifetime.Year: 1970Director: Michael WadleighStarring: Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, The Who, Crosby, Stills & Nash, much more


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Works of Art by Theo Jansen



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The World at War

Director: Laurence Olivier, Anthony Eden, Averell Harriman, Albert Speer, Siegfried Westphal
Studio: Lionsgate NR
Language (Country): English
More than 30 years after its initial broadcast, THE WORLD AT WAR remains the definitive visual history of World War II. Narrated by Academy Award winner Laurence Olivier and digitally re-mastered for DVD, this is epic history at its absolute best.
Unsurpassed in depth and scope, its 26 hour-long programs feature an extraordinary collection of newsreel, propaganda, and home-movie footage drawn from the archives of 18 nations, including color close-ups of Adolf Hitler taken by his mistress, that present an unvarnished perspective of the war's pivotal events. Penetrating interviews with eyewitness participants--from Hitler's secretary to Alger Hiss to ordinary citizens who stood outside the battle lines--add spine-tingling, first-hand accounts to an already unforgettable viewing experience.
Informative and unbiased, THE WORLD AT WAR is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an International Emmy Award, The National Television Critic's Award for Best Documentary, and knighthood for its creator, Sir Jeremy Isaacs.


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The World's Best Prom

Director: Chris Talbott, Ari Vena Dori Sorensen, Ben Adrian, Tonya WitherspoonSports
Studio: Rumur Releasing NR
Language (Country): English
Once a year for over five decades, prom mania grips the entire population of Racine, Wisconsin. Prom-goers from seven city high schools converge on one citywide prom to make red carpet entrances bombarded by the flash of cameras and screams from bleachers filled to capacity. Across the city, residents keep their eyes glued to the live television coverage of the spectacular event. If the Academy Awards were moved to the heartland, this is what it would resemble. THE WORLD’S BEST PROM presents an all-access pass to this extraordinary event, documenting its history and the social significance it has to the community. The candid and remarkable stories of three teenagers from completely different backgrounds chronicle the emotionally charged days and nights leading up to their unbelievable prom night, while providing insight to a pivotal time in a teenager’s life as they inch closer to adulthood and face making decisions that will effect the rest of their lives. This celebratory film is for anyone who has ever wished they could relive prom night.


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Woyzeck (in the Herzog Kinski Collection)



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Wuthering Heights

Director: William Wyler Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp
Studio: MGM Unrated
Language (Country): English
One of the most compelling tragic romances ever captured on film, "Wuthering Heights" is an exquisite tale of doomed love and miscalculated intentions. Though only half of Emily Bronte's classic tale of Heathcliff and Catherine was filmed by director William Wyler, it lacks for nothing.
The story begins when a Yorkshire gentleman farmer brings home a raggedy gypsy boy, Heathcliff, and raises him as his son. The boy grows to love his stepsister Catherine, with catastrophic results. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon were perfectly cast as the mismatched lovers, with Olivier brooding and despairing, Oberon ethereal and enchanting. This won cinematographer Gregg Toland a much-deserved Oscar for his haunting and evocative depiction of mid-19th century English moors. (Quite a trick, as this was shot in California!) Though nominated for seven other Oscars, it won none of them, as it was released in 1939, one of the best years in Hollywood history and the same year as "Gone with the Wind". Interestingly, the script was written by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, best known for their witty 1931 flick, "The Front Page". "--Rochelle O'Gorman"


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Yi Yi - Criterion Collection

Director: Edward Yang Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issei Ogata, Kelly Lee (II), Jonathan ChangArt House & International
Studio: Criterion NR
Language (Country): Taiwanese Chinese
A wedding and a grandmother's illness reveal fault lines in the lives of one Taipei family in Edward Yang's extraordinary film. "Yi Yi" is built from deceptively simple elements that together create a complex, warm, and utterly convincing portrait of family life. NJ Jian is a businessman facing bankruptcy, but he has to juggle his financial problems with family strife when his mother-in-law falls into a coma. NJ's wife, Min-Min, brings her mother home, and each family member--including daughter Ting-Ting and her delightful little brother Yang-Yang--spends hours talking to the old lady. These conversations become confessionals and the characters gradually re-evaluate their relationships. There are no catastrophic conflicts, only the ordinary, sometimes troubled, unfolding of lives. Yang enhances the film's sense of reality by frequently holding the camera back from the action. The use of long shots and unexpected angles makes it seem like the audience is eavesdropping, catching glimpses of lives passing by. "Yi Yi" is almost three hours long, but it flies by. Yang is both a consummate, restrained technician and a subtle director of actors. The combination is a magical one. "--Simon Leake"
On the DVD
The Criterion Collection's newly restored high-definition digital transfer of Edward Yang's "Yi Yi" is a revelation. The improvement over Fox Lorber's previous DVD release (deeply flawed and rushed into distribution in 2001, and now utterly obsolete) is so dramatic that an entire article was devoted to the subject in the "New York Times", explaining the meticulous processes that went into perfecting the new DVD master for Criterion's definitive release. And while the feature-length commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns may be a bit too low-key for some listeners (because both Yang and Rayns are soft-spoken and not particularly dynamic speakers), attentive listeners will benefit greatly from their back-and-forth conversation. Yang provides in-depth insights into many aspects of Taiwanese cinema in general and "Yi Yi" in particular, from the hardships of distribution, competition from American films, his casting choices, explanations of specific shots, challenges and "happy accidents" during production, and various details regarding Taiwanese culture, its relation to Chinese and Japanese culture, and the familial traditions that are so affectionately explored in "Yi Yi". Rayns is basically on hand to prompt Yang into making directorial observations, or to provide critical insights and observations for Yang to respond to. Both men are genial, intelligent, and articulate, so their commentary is well worth listening to for anyone interested in Asian cinema in a cultural context.
Rayns is featured individually in an informative video interview in which the noted Asian cinema expert explains the historical context which brought about the "New Taiwan Cinema" movement in the early 1980s. He goes into deeper detail about Edward Yang's significance to the movement, along with other important Taiwanese directors such as Hou Hsiao-hsien and Tsai Ming-liang, and examines how Yang's films (especially "Yi Yi") are particularly distinctive, notably in their use of urban settings, reflections, and distant, immobile camera angles to emphasize character and behavior. "Film Comment" editor Kent Jones further elaborates on the qualities of "Yi Yi" in his enclosed booklet essay (particularly Yang's exquisite use of Taipei locations and his subtle sensitivity to the rhythms of urban living in "a film about grace"). In "Notes from Edward Yang," the director provides additional printed comments about the film's title (which literally translates as "one-one" and means "individually" in Chinese), the challenges of casting, and specific details and milestones in "Yi Yi"'s production schedule. Overall, these details should prove highly useful to western viewers seeking to gain a greater appreciation for Yang's highly regarded masterpiece. "--Jeff Shannon"


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Yoga of the Heart

Director: Jayne Stevenson Swami Satyananda SarawatiSpecial Interests
Studio: Big Shakti



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Yogis Of Tibet: A Film For Posterity

Director: Phil Borack, Jo Borack Various
Studio: New Leaf Distributing Company
Yogis of Tibet A Film For Posterity review Yogis are by their nature reclusive and introspective, so these Tibetan yogis who spoke to the cameras about their lives took a bit of a risk. Yogis of Tibet A Film For Posterity DVD The lives of these people have untold spiritual wealth that can be revealed to Western civilization regarding the true meanings of richness and life.


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You the Living

Director: Roy Andersson Jessica Lundberg, Elisabet Helander, Bjorn Englund, Leif Larsson, Ollie OlsonArt House & International
Studio: Tartan Video Unrated
Language (Country): Swedish
Studio: Uni Dist Corp (music) Release Date: 01/12/2010 Run time: 95 minutes


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Young Arabs

Director: Michael Graziano, E. Joong-Eun Park Short
Studio: Uji Films
Language (Country): English (USA)



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Zen Noir

Director: Marc Rosenbush Art House & International
Studio: Magic Lamp Releasing/Zenmovie LLC Unrated
Language (Country): English
An unique and original blend of Buddhist philosophy, vaudevillian comedy and surrealist art film from filmmaker Marc Rosenbush, the award-winning ZEN NOIR follows a nameless detective as he investigates a mysterious death in a Buddhist temple. But his logical, left-brained crime-solving skills are useless in the intuitive, non-linear world of Zen, and he finds himself drawn into a deeper, stranger, more personal mystery... the mystery of death itself.

AWARDS:
--Audience Award for Best Feature - Rhode Island International Film Festival
--Grand Jury Award for Best Feature - D.C. Independent Film Festival
--Best Feature - Moondance Film Festival
--Best Actress - Indiefest Chicago
--Best Cinematography - Ashland Independent Film Festival

DVD FEATURES:
--Widescreen version of film
--Commentary track with filmmaker Marc Rosenbush, editor Camden Toy and composer Steven Chesne
--Commentary track with filmmaker Marc Rosenbush and Buddhist author/teacher Brad Warner



 

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