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$7.94 list($41.98)
1. Sideways
$20.99 $10.01 list($24.99)
2. Under the Tuscan Sun
$13.99 $10.49 list($14.99)
3. The Princess Diaries
$20.99 list($24.99)
4. Mulan II
list($19.98)
5. Double Happiness
$14.98 $10.35
6. Further Tales of the City
$17.99 list($59.99)
7. Waking the Dead
$9.98 $3.99
8. Big Fat Liar
$79.98 $14.89
9. Dancing at the Blue Iguana
list($19.98)
10. Last Night
$9.98 $2.72
11. Permanent Midnight
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12. Guinevere
list($14.98)
13. Journey Home: The Animals of Farthing
$79.99 $52.10
14. Rick
$9.98 $5.29
15. Big Fat Liar
$79.98 $45.00
16. Dancing at the Blue Iguana
$24.99
17. Mulan II
$41.93 list($41.98)
18. Sideways
19. Sideways
list($9.99)
20. Guinevere

1. Sideways
Director: Alexander Payne
list price: $41.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007TKOAK
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 468
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorced waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (305)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This movie was sooooo good. All I can say is I loved it I loved it

4-0 out of 5 stars delicious little movie
The risk involved in describing "Sideways" as a road movie about obsessive wine tasting is that people who are not wine buffs/connoisseurs are likely to stay away from it, which would be a pity. So let me discuss it from a different perspective: Sideways is in fact a buddy movie, and not an overly comic one. Granted, there is a fair share of funny scenes but overall the tone of the movie veers clearly toward the dramatic.
Meet Miles and Jack. The former is a small-time english teacher (and aspiring novelist...too bad his aspirations are constantly frustrated), the latter is a washed-up tv actor with a career that after a promising start never really took off. Both are middle-aged guys who are coping with lowered expectations and shattered ambitions.
Jack is about to marry (although he feels uneasy about his marital future) and the two friends embark on a wine-tasting extended bachelor party that eventually feels much like a coming of age story.
There is a lot of wine talking going on throughout the movie but wine isn't the whole point. Wine is more like a metaphor for life and there is a brilliant dialogue between Miles and Maya (the girl he falls in love with) that clearly shows this point.
This is not a happy-ending movie. There's a lot of stark realism in it and although the finale leaves some hope for Miles, it's quite obvious that this is LIFE, not some fairy tale.
This is no educational movie either. There are scenes where "getting sideways", far from being frowned upon, is elevated to something very romantic or, at least, something that lets us understand Miles' deep suffering, forcing us to be sympathetic to his condition.
Anyway, enough with the social commentary, I greatly appreciated this movie and I think that anybody with a passing interest in non-mainstream stuff should see it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Will This Film EVER End!
A slice of life? A road movie?To be a slice of life the lives should be interesting.To be a road movie interesting things should happen en route.Aside from a lengthy plug for the California Wine industry, the whole movie struck me as tedious.There are some amusing moments and dialogue tucked between a lot of mundane, unfunny and often depressing conversation and events.The lead character steals from his mother and despite his affection for wine in the abstract, drinks to deal with depression by getting sloppy drunk.Meanwhile his buddy shows such respect for the woman he's driving north to marry that he's willing to bed anything with a pulse between Los Angeles and the Napa Valley.And we're supposed to care about these people?Why the movie industry is so high on this film beats me.After watching it carefully twice, trying to find some overlooked redeeming quality, I just don't see it.Possibly I'm not sophisticated enough to enjoy it.Possibly it's not that great a movie.

It may have some appeal to the wine connoisseur or wanna'be who's always wanted to impress his friends by saying things like, "It's a sassy little pinot that perfectly complements ze flavour of ze Ritz Crackers and ze Cheeez Whiz." but I found myself wishing it was a much shorter movie.I certainly won't recommend it to anyone I like or remember it 6 months from now ... probably less.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cineaste's Dream
I won't rehash the plot, the characters, etc., as that's all so familiar by now.Why is this film a small wonder?Because it's what happens in the interstices, between the minimal action and the raucous laughs.Like the characters or not, they are painfully real, and we get so few real characters in movies today.We get so few honestly-motivated characters today.And the reason:one has only to peruse the one-star reviews on this site.Has anyone noticed that the one-star reviews are generally very short, as if the attention span of the denouncer couldn't sustain a paragraph, let alone a reasonably lengthy explanation of their disgust?It's usually "boring" -- it's not to any true cineaste, of course -- or the characters are morally bankrupt -- so, that's not a valid reason to loathe a movie; in fact, it's a completely biased and stupid reason to mount a criticism of a work of art on.Face it, "Sideways" was made for people who love film that challenges them, surprises them, moves them, forces them to see life in a different light.Most people don't want to be challenged -- you know who you are, you brain-dead video gamers, you Internet-addled, low-alpha brain-wave unguents -- so why bother to voice your complaints about this brilliant movie unless you really have something profound to say in defense of your criticism.Compared to the one-star reviews, the five-star reviews are very lengthy, usually articulate and thoughtful and understand what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish.An Alexander Payne should be celebrated, a studio that gives him money should be extolled.It's just too bad there aren't more of him.I did have one criticism of the DVD, though -- but it won't change my five-star rating -- and that's the voice-over commentary by Thomas Church and Giamatti.It's so puerile at times, so uninformative; too bad Payne didn't do it with his writing partner.Oh, well, fortunately one doesn't have to listen to their drivel, and even if one decides to suffer it, it in no way detracts from their courageous performances.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie with excellent characters
I guess I could start with a short synopsis.Two college buddies are headed North to the wine country for a week long bachelor party.Miles is in a depressed state because of a divorce and Jack is looking to get some before he gets married.From this spouts some crazy situations in and out of vineyards.

What you do get from this movie is excellent characters.Even though Miles could be incredibly annoying you end up feeling for him.I think a lot of people have friends that are like Jack.They're a bit older but still act immature at times.Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are both awesome too.While Sandra Oh's character could have been developed more I don't think the movie suffers because of it.

The dialogue is witty and sarcastic sometimes to the point of being outright hilarious.Granted it may take a special kind of humor to understand why some things are funny.There are some things that are just sophomoric but they lighten the film at times where you think Miles might drag you down.

There is definitely a reason why this movie was nominated for a bunch of awards.You can't go wrong with sharp/witty writing and excellent acting/direction.I would highly recommend at least going out and renting this movie.I know it will soon become a part of my collection. ... Read more


2. Under the Tuscan Sun
Director: Audrey Wells
list price: $24.99
our price: $20.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000VD02E
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 593
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (260)

3-0 out of 5 stars Weather Report: Tuscan Sun Fun, Diane Lane Shines
Take this for what it is and you might enjoy it -- complete fantasy stuff, wish fulfillment, a brief escape from real world life and complexities into the stuff of make belive, completely lacking in any substance whatsoever.

Why make a book into a movie and COMPLETELY change it? This is Audrey Welles inflicting HERSELF, her agenda, in fact, her completely different story, onto Frances Mayes' story, where the only thing left is the name of the house (Bramasole) and the name of the main characer (Frances/Fran/Francesca Mayes).

In real life Mayes is married to Ed Mayes, they're university professors, writers/poets, and they bought a house in Tuscany over ten years ago and started cranking out books about their new adventure (it's HUGE house, even more imposing than the one in the film).

Apparently not seeing any dramatic potential in Mayes' work, Welles arrogantly GRAFTED a completely different story onto the title ("Maybe no one will notice") wherein HER "Frances Mayes" is married then divorced then goes off to Italy and buys a house on an impulse (and strangely meets a man named "Ed" at the end which is supposed to bring some kind of nod to the real Ed Mayes, like an inside joke or something or a little piece of magic that plays out like a lump of coal on a Christmas morning. Stupid (her last name is already Mayes before she meets this Ed so his had better be Mayes too if you're following the silly logic of the story).

Don't pick this movie apart (pull one thread and it unravels rather easily). Instead see it for the wish fulfillment fantasy of buying a house in Tuscany, the Italian countryside (most of which was actually rainy and overcast all through filming) an attractive cast (Diane Lane is STILL stunning after all these years), and a complete dose of fantasy -- a guilty pleasure, like watching "Dynasty" in the 80s.

Leave the critical thinking elsewhere and pretend the world today is no more complex than an episode of The Brady Bunch (yeah right). Watch the scenery. Watch Lane's comic performance and stunning beauty, and Sandra Oh's great supporting performance. Then forget this crazy thing.

And if you liked the book, may I recommend At Home in France by Ann Barry and Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes, both of which I liked better than the book Under the Tuscan Sun and its followups as did many other reviewers on amazon and elsewhere they report.

The best part of this movie, for me, was seeing it in the theatre and suddenly seeing on screen the love interest's 1980s Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce two-seat convertible driving "picturesquely" through Italian cityscape and Italian coastline, and laughing to myself because it was the same car waiting for me in the parking lot.

Do a theme night. Make some bruschetta and other Italian culinary items and watch this fluff with friends. You won't be able to keep a straight face at how "schmaltzy" it is. You'll be absolutely embarrassed, but you still may take a second look later in privacy for an indulgent pleasure.

Ciao!

1-0 out of 5 stars Such lovely scenery - such an awful film!
This is a really bad film. Okay, so it has nothing to do with the book except that it shares a title - that I could live with. But the story is hopelessly cobbled together and totally unbelievable. Surely this was a first draft of the script that they accidentally filmed?

The main character is played by the pretty Diane Lane, but looks alone cannot salvage this dreadful character. She cries, she pouts, she is unbearably naive and, let's just say it, she is an idiot.

The storyline is full of cliches. And where there are not cliches, there are gaping plot holes: why does her far-too-attractive-to-be-true Italian boyfriend drive a sports car when his family run a modest cafe on the beach that is supposed to support all of them? And just how does she manage to up and move to Italy without even having to fill in an immigration form? And if she was so broke that she had to move out of her mansion in San Francisco into a run-down fleabag hotel, just how the hell can she afford to suddenly buy and renovate a house in Italy, as well as living there for months with no visible means of income?

The worst part of a spectacularly awful script is the love interest suddenly written in at the very last minute to tie everything up neatly - that really is bad writing of such magnitude that it deserves a special Oscar.

Still, if you turn the sound off, you can enjoy genuinely beautiful photography of Italy.

4-0 out of 5 stars hooked on tuscany
I have watched this movie twice so far, and will probably watch it more often. Tuscany is a countryside that got me hooked the first time I saw it appearing in front of my train window, and it is the same with the movie. So, I could empathize, seeing the same happening to "Frances" (Diane Lane) when she sees Tuscany and decides to buy a house and stay. Diane Lane in one of her best roles, her face very expressive, her acting excellent.
The only disappointment came when I read the book the movie was made after: in the original autobiographic story, Frances Mayes is not at all a divorcee struggling with recurring bouts of loneliness, but rather, a woman already happily attached again to a new steady boyfriend, with a fulfilled life, and full of energy for the work on their new house. The movie trailer says, the character were "changed for dramatic effect". Wonder who did not like the idea that a woman could be happy again so soon, and decided it should not be shown in the movie that way ? Anyway, both are definitely worth your while, and in the book you can even find the recipes for all that great Italian cooking too.

2-0 out of 5 stars YAWN!
I eagerly anticipated watching this movie, as I thoroughly enjoyed the book; however, the movie shares only a passing resemblance to the book. It gets 2 stars because I enjoy Diane Lane and Tuscany is gorgeous, but other than that the movie was dull, Lane's character is nothing short of pathetic, and the ending is trite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get Your Passport Ready
I loved this movie. I don't usually watch too many movies but a friend loaned me this one and am I glad she did.
It is about a woman betrayed and how she goes on with her life. It made me think that I too could do something exciting with the rest of my life.
For the scenery of Italy alone, this movie is worth watching. Just beautiful.
I had never seen Diane Lane in any performances but I will seek her out now. All in all I give this movie a 5 star rating. ... Read more


3. The Princess Diaries
Director: Garry Marshall
list price: $14.99
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00006L97W
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Description

Academy Award(R)-winner Julie Andrews (Best Actress, MARY POPPINS, 1964), enchanting newcomer Anne Hathaway, and Hector Elizondo (PRETTY WOMAN) lead a charmed cast in Disney's THE PRINCESS DIARIES, a hilarious, hip, and heartwarming modern-day Cinderella story. Mia Thermopolis (Hathaway) is a bright but terribly shy and gawky teenager whose goal in life is to survive each school day with a minimum of attention and embarrassment. Unfortunately, her wish to be invisible is thwarted when her estranged grandmother arrives and delivers the shocking news that she's a real-life princess -- heir to the throne of Genovia! Furious and incredulous, the reluctant royal agrees to take "princess lessons" and make the biggest decision of her life -- in three weeks. And so begins a comical transformation toward poise and princess-ness when she finds herself in the middle of a media storm, jealous schoolmates, and a takeover plot of her country! Funny, uplifting, and affirming, your entire family will thoroughly enjoy this crown jewel. ... Read more

Reviews (351)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Predictable, But Delightful and Optimistic Gem
Pretty Anne Hathaway, who, interestingly enough, has the same name as Shakespeare's wife, plays the lead character in a modern fairy tale that the Bard himself might have found amusing.
Hathaway's Mia Thermopolis is a gawky teen living with her artist mother (gently and generously portrayed by Caroline Goodall) in San Francisco (whereas, in Meg Cabot's book, her home was New York). She attends a private school via the financial support of her father, who had passed away shortly before the story begins, has a best friend involved in social activism, (played by a loud and cynical Heather Matarazzo), a crush on a heartthrob who doesn't notice her, and a clique of annoying cheerleaders who constantly taunt her, led by pop singer, Mandy Moore.
One day, a meeting with her grandmother changes her life, and Mia discovers that her father was the Crown Prince of Genovia. While reluctant to accept her heritage at first, Mia gradually warms to the idea. As the very regal Queen Clarice, Julie Andrews combines her two Broadway roles in "Camelot" and "My Fair Lady" as she begins the process of training the gawky Granddaughter she had never met before for the role she may one day have on the world stage. Scenes of Mia's Princess lessons are reminiscent of scenes in the film, "Gigi".
The makeover scene is enjoyable to watch, as we see Mia turn from looking like Sarah Jessica Parker's character in "Square Pegs" to looking more like Queen Rania of Jordan. She is truly beautiful with her big, sparkling doe eyes and softened hair as she sees her outwardly polished self in the mirror.
Her friend, Lilly, taunts her about her metamorphosis, while Lilly's brother, Michael, played by an adorably sweet Robert Schwartzman, admires it. After a few tumultuous and embarassing incidents, Mia must make a final decision about where she belongs, and is ultimately influenced by her best friend's opinion in so doing. Genovia may receive a new heiress, and the prospective Princess might be on her way to finding true love as well.
All the while, it is the cool-headed Hector Elizondo's Joseph, the head of the Queen's security detail, who helps the young girl through her dilemma, providing sage advice, and helping to reconcile both grandmother and granddaughter after Mia generates some bad press.
The books on which this film was based have a bit more of an edge and may be more cynical. The premise is a teenage girl's answer to the 1991 film, "King Ralph". But once again, Disney has provided viewers with light and wholesome entertainment.

4-0 out of 5 stars DELIGHTFUL FAMILY FILM
In the great tradition of such Disney live-action family films as The Parent Trap, Garry Marshall spins a perfectly fine fairy tale with The Princess Diaries. Featuring a sparkling performances from natural comedienne Anne Hathaway and seasoned vet Julie Andrews, this movie is one virtually all members of your family can enjoy together -- it is truly G-rated, and in this case, the G-rating does not mean boring. A nerdy San Francisco highschooler is dumbfounded -- and not terribly happy -- to learn that she is in fact royalty -- and the chaos that ensues is both compelling and highly entertaining. What a welcome sight to see Julie Andrews -- the 60s queen of G-films -- return to form in the role of a Queenly grandmother! The movie has the amiable pacing and gentle humor of a romantic comedy, and unfolds in a way that is predictable without being flat. The score, laden with pop music, adds to the fresh warm-hearted gloss. Watch for a minor car accident, and its subsequent scene, to earn the biggest laugh, though there are giggles and smiles aplenty.

4-0 out of 5 stars PRETTY GOOD!
PRETTY GOOD MOVIE!GREAT ACTORS,GREAT EVERYTHING!JULIE ANDREWS IS REAL GOOD AS THE GRANDMOTHER!ME AND MY MOM LOVED IT!WE LAUGHED THE WHOLE TIME!

4-0 out of 5 stars really cute
this was a really cute movie, really different from the books which i think are better. Something for the whole family to watch.

3-0 out of 5 stars The book is better!
Apparently based on some of the reviews I've seen here, a plethora of people do not seem to know that the movie is based upon (or is supposed to be) the book "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot, I believe.

This movie is cute. However, this is not to say that it barely follows the book. The only things that are in the movie that are like the book, are the fact that Mia acquires princess lessons, goes out with Josh to the dance, finds out she's a princess, Mia's mother dates one of her teachers, Lilly yells at her when she sees her hair, and a few other things.

In the movie, when Lilly sees that her friend is turning to someone similar to Lana, she becomes angry. In the book, she ignores her for quite a large bit of the story. In The movie gives the impression that Mia's grandmother is a loving woman but they have not spoken in fifteen years. In the novel, Mia does speak to her grandmother but never was able to figure out that she was a princess (in the book grandmother is a princess, not a queen) of Genovia herself. In addition, Mia's grandmother is not the nicest of people. Furthermore, the Prince of Genovia, Mia's father is still alive. The only thing is that he can not have any more children.

I think you understand my meaning. Please, read the book instead. ... Read more


4. Mulan II
list price: $24.99
our price: $20.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002YLCHE
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3917
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5. Double Happiness
Director: Mina Shum
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303933661
Catlog: Video
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Description

A Chinese actress agrees to marry a nice lawyer from China to appease her folks.Things get really sticky when she falls for a non-Asian university student. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, revolves around cliche which makes it mediocre.
The first time I saw this movie on tv, I really liked it. Enough to rent it just so I could watch it all over again. It was off-beat, funny, and Sandra Oh played her role very well. But on thinking about it, there is one thing that bothers me. The mode of the movie is contemporary, and tries to be 'alternative'. So I was hoping the plot would be original also. But it's not. Do we really need another story about an Asian-Western woman and her controlling, dominating, 'traditional' Chinese parents? Or her white male love interest? The story is very hackneyed and cliche in this sense. In order to 'grow' an ethnic Asian must break free from the oppressive chains of 'traditional' culture into the arms of an anglophile West. Ironically, the movie also deals with stereotyping and racism (in the film industry, no less!) The movie otherwise is quiet fun to watch and well-done. Sandra Oh is a great actress and you root for her, politics aside. However all the other roles are pretty one-dimensional. Especially her parents' roles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Heartrending
This is the story of a brief period in the life of Jade Li, a Chinese-Canadian woman in her early 20's living at home in a suburban Vancouver neighborhood with her strictly traditional father, sympathetically traditional mother and spunky younger sister Pearl. Jade has been successfully maintaining a dual life -- dutiful and obedient daughter on one hand, who comes home, prepares her father's tea and massages his shoulders; and on the other a hip, modern young adult sneaking home through the bedroom window after a night on the town.

But there are cracks in the facade. Jade dreams of becoming an actress (not exactly 'respectable' to traditional Chinese), and is trying out for small roles, while her parents want her to study something 'sensible', like business, and eventually take over the shop where she works for a family friend. She begins to fall for a young white man, Mark, a part of her 'other life' -- while her parents keep fixing her up with suitable young Chinese men. A few seeming accidents begin to expose her separate, modern, pursuits.

Eventually, the tension between these two worlds becomes unbearable for Jade. When she reaches her snapping point, it would have been easy for the film to end with a saccharine, all-is-well resolution, everything neatly wrapped up. Instead, the ending is tough and realistic, less a resolution than a new step in the continuing evolution of her life. With bright promise, it's the beginning of the real story for her. She's out of her holding pattern and on a vector ... to who knows where. It leaves me wanting to see a sequel exploring what's happened to Jade and the entire cast of characters in the ensuing decade.

Sandra Oh is a standout as Jade Li, and Frances You (in seemingly her only role) makes an engaging Pearl. The other major roles are well cast also, with Callum Rennie a believably sweet and geeky Mark, Donald Fong (?) as Mr. Li's visiting childhood friend, and nicely nuanced performances by Stephen Chang and Alannah Ong as the parents.

Viewers interested in this film might also enjoy the Faye Myenne Ng's novel "Bone" and Claire Chow's study "Leaving Deep Water".
Two asides:
First, this film is often compared to 1993's "Joy Luck Club". This is really like trying to compare a string quartet with a symphony. They can both be equally good, just different. JLC, like a symphony, is grandiose and complex (with a budget to match). "Double Happiness" tells the story of a few weeks in the life of a young woman, her small family and a handful of friends. JLC tries to encompass the history of four families, over five generations and much of a century; it is also the story of China and Chinese immigration to America, not just one family. I find "Double Happiness" more universal in that it is less complex and overtly dramatic.

Second, a lot is said in film and literature about the difficulties of being an Asian-American daughter. It would be nice to see a film or two about the difficulties their gender bestows on Asian/Asian-American sons, in addition to the privileges; being "eldest brother" can be a fearsome and repressive responsibility, and when it comes to the dating game, young Asian males frequently feel left out, stereotyped as undesirable nerds, compared to their sisters who are seen as exotic 'prizes'.

4-0 out of 5 stars Low budget, can-con Joy Luck Club
Sandra Oh (as Jade Li) is quite marvelous in this little 1994 Canadian movie. There's nothing overly original in it that we haven't seen in 1993's Joy Luck Club but then that's the movie biz, eh? Sit back and enjoy the performances and wonderful interactions between characters. The interaction between Jade Li and her younger sister Pearl Li (played by Frances You) are some of the better moments in this film. Frances You, as the young spunky kid sister, nearly steals every scenes from Oh, who has gone on to bigger and better things in Hollywood.

Unlike the Joy Luck Club, this movie doesn't tie up the ending with a smarmy ending. There is no ending, really, as life has no ending, except in death.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great cast overcomes predictable plot
Double Happiness is another movie about second-generation children seeking their own lives. This is a theme we have seen before, but this cast creates a thoughtful and enjoyable movie. This family has the predictable stern father and unquestioningly obedient mother, on the surface, but the film maker is able to get through the outside shell and show them as people with thier own fears and concerns.

Sandra Oh, as Jade Li, gives her character real personality as she struggles to break into the world of acting. Not only is she a Chinese woman breaking into a western film but there are problems with her even making it into a Chinese film. Her family are desperate for her to settle down and get married and become a responsible child, but Jade isn't ready yet. There are a few plot twists as arranged matches go off the rails in her parents quest for her. Jade makes her own decisions as to romance and this leads to problems.

This is not a story of love triumphing over adversity. It is a story of love and adversity living side by side. It does not have a romantic conclusion but ends on a thoughtful and wondering note. This is not The Brady Bunch with subtitles.

The casting for this film was excellent. The cast works well together and is quite believeable. The setting is also excellent. I was able to get more invovled with the film as I recognized some of the sites in the film from previous stays in Vancouver, BC. So for me, this was an advantage in appreciating the film.

Over all, this is a well made film that works well. It is a pleasure to watch. I recommend it to all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mary
I thought this movie was great! It was a wonderful movie on a young Chinease woman trying to become an actress. this appeled to me very much. It is funny, romantic, and sad all in one. Buy this movie right away. ... Read more


6. Further Tales of the City
Director: Pierre Gang
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006CXJH
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 14599
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Description

ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S FURTHER TALES OF THE CITY is the third installment of Maupin’s classic saga of San Francisco life.Set in 1981, the four-hour miniseries involves the residents of 28 Barbary Lane in a racy and rollicking adventure/mystery that leaps from Golden Gate Park to the home of a Hollywood icon to a remote island in the Alaskan wilderness.As usual in Maupin’s world, romantic entanglements abound. Landlady Anna Madrigal (OLYMPIA DUKAKIS) is stunned by her mother’s sudden arrival.Mother Mucca (JACKIE BURROUGHS) who runs a bordello in Nevada is in town to take care of personal business and meets a man from her past, Royal Reichenbach (JOHN MCMARTIN).When Mother Mucca introduces Anna to Royal, they find themselves in a rivalry over him. Madrigal’s tenants have their own stories from the past to unravel.Michael Tolliver (PAUL HOPKINS) is working at a nursery called "Best Laid Plants."He tries to get over being dumped by his former lover Dr. Jon Fielding (BILLY CAMPBELL) who went off to work on a cruise ship.

Exploring his sexuality full tilt, Michael embarks on a series of sexual escapades involving cowboys, cops and Cage Tyler (JOHN ROBINSON) a closeted movie star. Michael's friend and neighbor Mary Ann Singleton (LAURA LINNEY) is challenged with a relationship problem of a different kind.Her boyfriend and upstairs neighbor, Brian Hawkins (WHIP HUBLEY) who has spent most of his adult life as a womanizer, comes to the realization that he wants to marry her.She, however, is hesitant to take the next step as she is focused on her career.Longing to become a serious reporter, but not given a chance by her station manager, she is forced to work as a daytime host of the "Bargain Matinee" show. Mary Ann’s late boss’ widow, socialite Frannie Halcyon (DIANA LEBLANC) is tormented by her daughter DeDe’s (BARBARA GARRICK) apparent demise in the Jonestown Massacre.Living on Mai Tais and sleeping pills, she refuses to accept that DeDe and her children, Little Anna and Edgar were killed.She seeks advice from psychics to help her find her missing daughter.When a fortune-teller convinces her that DeDe is indeed alive, she asks for the support of society columnist Prue Giroux (MARY KAY PLACE) to make her story public. When Prue refuses to get involved, Frannie calls Mary Ann to share her secret. Since Mary Ann is always searching for a good story, she is eager to meet in hopes of finally getting a break on the evening news.

Meanwhile, Prue meets a mysterious homeless man, Luke (HENRY CZERNY) in Golden Gate Park.Immediately drawn to his intense charm, she falls madly in love with him.Little does she know that she’s opening Pandora’s Box when she attempts to bring him back to society with the help of flamboyant celebrity priest Father Paddy Star (BRUCE MCCULLOCH).Luke’s past is far more sinister than Prue could ever imagine. Then it’s revealed that DeDe Halcyon Day has spent three years in Cuba with her lover Dorothea (FRANÇOISE ROBERTSON) after escaping the massacre in Guyana.She ends up in a camp for gay Cuban refugees in Fort Chafee, Arkansas and finally calls her mother Frannie in San Francisco to tell her that she wants to come home. Through DeDe’s unexpected reappearance and a twist of fate, the storylines begin to intertwine and all of the characters in Maupin’s tales find themselves in the midst of an unpredictable adventure. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful miniseries in an excellent DVD set!
Further Tales Of The City continues on with the tradition of the 2 previous mini-series - wonderful characters and amazing storylines. To be truthful though the whole Jim Jones storyline didn't quite gel with me - I thought it could have been handled a little better. But what makes this series stand out is the way the subtle changes between the 70's and 80's are illustrated. Further Tales is set in that transition period from loving and caring attitudes towards each other to the greed and emotional corruption of the 80's. Great to see the character of Mother Mucca back as well - one of the best characters TV has ever seen!
This series has been lovingly created and it shows. The characters are all magically relatable in their way, though I did miss Mona.

A special mention needs to be made of the DVD - a whole disc packed with an outstanding set of extras. From interviews, to behind the scenes footage, and much more besides - you really get a indepth look at the making of the miniseries - all TV shows should be released on DVD like this!

Hopefully there will be 'Even Further Tales' for us to enjoy in the future....

5-0 out of 5 stars "Magical" Ms Madrigal Invites You to 28 Barbary Lane, SF
Olympia Dukakis leads a cast of otherwise little-known actors in this very entertaining serial about life, lust and liasons surrounding the tennants at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco of the mid-1970s.

This set keeps going where the "2nd" set left off. A few casting changes were made (some for the better, other...oh, well!). A few facts worth knowing for those who are "jumping in" with this 3rd installment in the series:

The main character, Maryann Singleton, an innocent 20-something Ohio girl escapes the smothering arms of her over-protective parents and becomes the latest arrival at mysterious Ms Madrigal's house of sweet, odd and gorgeous young people. Not only is she (like everyone else) welcomed and accepted, but soon finds herself in a web of weird situations, corporate greed, sexual experimentation, suicide, and other shocking things.

The recurring central focus on homosexuality eventually becomes so nonchallante, that the viewer soon no longer sees this as anything worth talking about. It's almost like watching episodes of "Ellen", "Roseanne" or "Will & Grace", only that any "viewer advisories" seem redundant now (it's about time!).

Tales of the City is a look back at the 1970s decadence we saw in "Studio 54", but otherwise only 'heard rumors about'. This is an honest, unashamed view of the "San Francisco Scene" as experienced by the author/screen writer Amistad Mopin. Along with historically authentic facts and references (The "Jonestown Tragedy" of 1979 is briefly referenced at the end - if you blinked you missed it!) this otherwise mostly ficticious plot makes for fun viewing. The 6 part series nicely fits on this DVD. Have it piece meal or all at once. I think you're gonna like this picture!*****

4-0 out of 5 stars So-so conclusion
I did enjoy seeing my favourite movie characters again, but the whole Jonestown story seemed to be a bit unconvincing. Still, the cast are brilliant and it was a good way to finish!

1-0 out of 5 stars Badly mastered DVD
Four starts for the content. Zero stars for the DVD mastering.

Perhaps it's because they tried to stuff more than three hours worth of material onto 1 DVD, but like others, I too was unable to play this all the way through on my DVD player. The problems start right about at the start of episode 4, and just keep getting worse. But perhaps it's just bad mastering, because I had the same problem with the second, extras, DVD, which isn't nearly so full. It's a shame such a wonderful series is marred by a badly mastered disc.

3-0 out of 5 stars technical difficulties as well
I also went through two copies of the DVD and returned both due to the tale end skipping and not reading on my player. One was purchased through Amazon, another through Borders, both had trouble in the same spot! I love the books, and enjoyed what I saw to the point it fritzed out. I had seen it on Showtime initially and went out and bought the books and the first two series...what a gem. Hopefully I will get lucky on the next purchase. ... Read more


7. Waking the Dead
Director: Keith Gordon
list price: $59.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6306010939
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 16457
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (72)

5-0 out of 5 stars A tragic love story you'll never forget
Writer-director Keith Gordon's "Waking the Dead" caught me off guard and - dare I say it? - moved me to tears. But what's almost as sad as the movie itself is that this 1999 release - which works beautifully as both a tragic love story and a psychological thriller - slipped in and out of theaters virtually unnoticed.

Based on the novel by Scott Spencer, the film opens in 1972, where we meet Fielding Pierce (Billy Crudup), a young U.S. Coast Guard officer with big political ambitions. He meets Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly), a secretary and political activist who works at his hippie brother's New York publishing house, and the two are smitten right away. But tragedy strikes ...

Without giving too much away, I will say that "Waking the Dead" cuts back and forth between the early '70s and the early '80s, producing a subjective, stream-of-consciousness narrative that manages to be compelling instead of confusing. Also, I liked the use of color and lighting to visually differentiate between the '70s scenes (warm earth tones) and the '80s scenes (cold, dark colors).

But unlike "The Matrix" and "Memento," which used subjective narrative to play head games with the audience as its central gimmick, "Waking the Dead" is after bigger game. The ambiguity surrounding Sarah underscores how deeply her memory haunts Fielding, the toll it has taken on his mental state, and how deeply they love each other, despite the cruel blow fate has dealt them.

The soundtrack also features lovely songs by Joni Mitchell ("A Case of You"), Lori Carson ("Snow Come Down") and Peter Gabriel ("Mercy Street"); alas, no soundtrack CD was ever made. The DVD also includes 45 minutes of deleted scenes, including a brief but engaging performance by Ed Harris, whose character only appeared onscreen (in TV footage, no less) for about 10 seconds in the final cut.

Just make sure you have a box of tissues and a wastebasket handy before you push "play." You have been warned.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Words support like bone"
Both Jennifer Connely and Billy Crudup shine in this heart-wrenching film about lost love. I was particularly moved by Billy Crudup's amazing performance. It was filled with anger and confusion, longing and despair, but ultimately hope. His acting here is as good as any actor could possibly attempt; some of his scenes are so intense that they seem out of place with the rest of the movie, and only Jennifer Connelly ever keeps up with him. The remaining scenes show him numb with the loss of his true love. His performance is truly remarkable. There is also a "sex" scene between Jennifer and Billy that was pulled off so convincingly that it looked as though they actually were making love. The intensity they both bring to that scene is genuinely amazing. There is also another montage of scenes that takes place late in the film with the Peter Gabriel song "Mercy Street" played in full that is so perfectly placed it seemed as thought the song were written specifically for this film. Another remarkable moment. The pace is deliberately slow, the plot jumps back and forth in time, and some of the scenes seem staged for the benefit of Billy Crudup, but overall this is a moving experience. The writing is also excellent but sounds more like a play than a screenplay. However, this is a landmark event for Billy Crudup, and a completely different character than Russell Hammond in the film "Almost Famous." If you love great acting, look no further than this movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb, but as usual, less than the book it was based upon
I read "Waking the Dead" a few months before watching the movie. I was thus certainly biased in a certain direction in favor of the book.

Keith Gordon, who also directed the outstanding and under-appreciated films "A Midnight Clear" and "Mother Night", stays pretty much faithful to the original material by Scott Spencer. It's obvious that films are different than books and directors need a certain amount lattitude to change the story as needed. Gordon certainly left a lot of the story on the cutting room floor and that is, for the most part, not a problem.

What is the problem is that Gordon didn't flesh out Sarah's story and, as a result, offers a skewed ending that the book doesn't share.

Sarah and Fielding are not "opposites" as many suggest. They happen to agree politically. They're both "liberals." Where they disagree is on tactics. The problem with the film is that we don't really see enough of Sarah to understand just how different her tactics are compared to Fielding and why, ultimately, she chose to go away. The movie's ending is ambiguious about the fate of Sarah. Did she die or didn't she? The book shares some of this approach, but it strongly leans in the direction of Sarah having faked her death. In the book Fielding meets with a priest who states that Sarah is alive. And when Sarah and Fielding finally meet at the end Sarah explains how she is living underground and continuing her work. We're given, at least in the text, a reason why Sarah chose the path that she did. Gordon, however, mostly gives us Fielding's side of things. In the process he detracts from the central conflict and ends up with a rather wishy-washy ending.

I strongly recommend this film. The DVD has many interesting extras, including many deleted scenes and a commentary by Gordon. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything on the DVD from the original author, Scott Spencer. That's too bad because I think he could have added some really interesting insights about the story overall. And of course, read the book which is, as usual, even better than the movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking . . .
One of the few movies that caused me to burst into tears and weep like a baby. Losing someone you dearly love is rough and if you have experienced that this might be a tough movie to get through.

5-0 out of 5 stars exquisitely heartbreaking
i find resonance with this movie. let's put politics aside. i find this movie beautifully and powerfully acted by both jennifer connelly and billy crudup. their pain and their happiness is a wave of emotion seldom seen on the screen anymore. i was truly taken and i cannot say that about many movies i have seen in my life. i rented it on a whim because i never had heard of it before. i am so lucky that i did. i find it a solid and sultry breath of thick air- life invigorating- an idealists and realists movie balancing on a fulcrum of believability. its two hours of antidote in a world sick with cynicism. ... Read more


8. Big Fat Liar
Director: Shawn Levy
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000069BJH
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5825
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (74)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Film For All....
Big Fat Liar is a movie that is highly recommended. Universal has done an excellent job of bringing an amazing cast together to tell a really good story. The movie is about Jason Shepherd (played by Frankie Muniz), who is a compulsive liar and happens to have his short story stolen by Hollywood producer Mary Wolf (played by Paul Giamatti). As a result of the stolen story, Jason must attend summer school. Jason soon sees that Marty is going to be making the story into a movie. In a well conceived plan, Jason and his best friend Kaylee (played by Amanda Bynes) head out to Hollywood to confront Marty. Jason only wanted a simple phone call to his father to show that he was telling the truth. Marty doesn't agree to it and in turn has Jason escorted out by security. A bit upset, Jason decides that payback is a must. Over the course of a weekend Jason and Kaylee have it out with Marty by conducting various retaliations, including making him look like a Smurf. (The other retaliations are also quite hilarious.) Eventually Marty and Jason square off on the rooftop of a movie set and this is where everybody gets to see the kind of person Marty truly is. The film ends on a high note where Jason gets his revenge...and a little bit more. The film is one that anyone can enjoy, and with cameos by Lee Majors, Dustin Diamond and even Jaleel White, laughs are guaranteed. Even the bonus features make this disc a treat. There is a trivia challenge featuring other Universal films, deleted scenes which are pretty good, a behind the scenes feature, an "Are You A Big Fat Liar" quiz, and Amanda Bynes even gets to help you navigate through the menus! Lastly, the two commentaries are a nice add-on. One features the director Shawn Levy with the other one by Frankie Muniz. Overall, I highly recommend this film. Frankie and Amanda make an excellent team, and in picking up this film you are guaranteed to have some big fat fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly very good!
At first, my impression on "Big Fat Liar" was that is was nothing more than dumb, Nickelodeon kid-flick; but then I saw it. I was very surprised by how it was very funny and very entertaining. I'm a big Universal Studios fan, and this movie had A LOT of Universal stuff in it, including the imfamous backlot tour and the prop shop.

The story is very famlish, never the less, clever. Jason Shepard (TV's Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz) is a liar, straight off the bat. He lies constainly about everything, espeacialy with the whole homework excuse "My dog ate it" or "My dad is in the hospital (sniff)". But this time, his assignment was stolen...for real. While trying to get to class, he is acidentally run over (don't worry, parents. The scene is put on a cartoonish note) by a big-shot movie producer, Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti), who has been known to be a huge jerk to people. Marty offers Jason a ride to school. While the trip, Jason tell Marty about his paper homework due, title "Big Fat Liar", a story about a compulsive liar, who gets bigger each time he lies. While being dropped off, Jason forgets his paper and Marty takes it. A few months later, Jason and his best friend, Kaylee (Nickelodeon's Amanda Byrnes) go to the movies and see a trailer for a movie called "Big Fat Liar", which immediately makes Jason furious. While Jason's parents are gone on vacation fo the summer, Jason and Kaylee take a trip to Los Angeles to find Wolf and get down to business. Along the way, they befriend a actor-turned-limo driver, named Frank (Donald Adeosun Faison) and Marty's partner at the studio, Monty Kirkham (Amanda Detmer). While Jason and Kaylee find shelter at Universal Studio's Prop shop, Jason Persues in finding Marty and getting either revenge or an appology. During a rude encounter with Marty, Jason decides Vengence...all the way. He and Kaylee form together all the people Wolf has been mean to and plot a payback to ge Marty out of Business,for good.

One thing I liked about this movie was how it took place at Universal Studios Hollywood 75% of the time, aside from the obious (Monty, in one scene, is walking and talking on her cell phone in front of the Bates Motel House) there is the scene in the prop shop, were the kids shack up, where pieces of recent Universal films, such as "The Grinch", are left laying around, along with the DeLorean from "Back to the Future" shown everywhere and the constant showing of the Universal Backlot Tour trams driving by (I love how in one scene, Jason and Kaylee leap off a tram to see something: keep in mind that you could never do that in real life!). BIG FAT LIAR is a great family film, but better for kids. And it's the thing Universal fans, like me, been waiting for.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Underestimate this Movie!
Okay, I'll admit that before I watched this movie, I thought it was going to be completely stupid and idiotic. Then I watched it and I thought hey this is pretty okay! Most people (especially adults) see a preview for a movie like this and they just say 'ugh, more stupid movies.' But despite the reputations of the main characters, this is pretty good. It's hilarious, don't get me wrong, but this movie really shows the determination of a teenage boy trying to follow his dreams.

5-0 out of 5 stars This movie isn't a big fat liar, its halarious
This movie is my I-am-not-feeling-well-get-me-out-of-school-movie when I am feeling bad I pop out my VCR and watch it almost everytime because it makes me feel good and get me back on my feet. Good movie! Paul(Wolf)has the face of a bad guy so he fit in this movie perfectly. Nice job by the actors and a nice story

Good Job Universal!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Clean Fun
Frankie Muniz does an excellent job making himself look like a kid who has told "one too many" lies, and now suffers "cry wolf" syndrome.

After Jason Shepherd notices a Hollywood director (he had an accident with) has stolen his English paper and turned it into a successful movie script, he (played by Muniz) sets out on a hilarious adventure to get credit for his work. The best part about the movie is I truly believe something like this has probably happened before...only the person with the stolen screenplay probably did not have the brain power of Muniz and Bynes!

The movie is good clean fun for the whole family. Amanda Bynes knows how to play to the camera, as does just about everyone involved with this movie. Paul Giamatti's "Hungry Like The Wolf Dance" as a blue-colored moron was one of the funniest scenes in a PG movie in a while.

Buy it, watch it, laugh...

GB
www.therunninggirl.com

P.S. If you go to the video store and it is a choice between Big Fat Liar or Lost In Translation, trust me - go with Big Fat Liar. ... Read more


9. Dancing at the Blue Iguana
Director: Michael Radford
list price: $79.98
our price: $79.98
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Asin: B00005QWA4
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27631
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Description

At the Blue Iguana, in the heart of LA's San Fernando Valley, the lives of five strip club dancers converge over the course of one week. Angel (Daryl Hannah), attempts to qualify as a foster mother; Jasmine (Sandra Oh), is a clandestine poet who finds love at a coffee house reading; Jo (Jennifer Tilly), faces an unplanned pregnancy; Stormy (Sheila Kelley), confronts her bewildering past and Jesse (Charlotte Ayanna) gets a tough introduction to life in LA. This glimpse into the oft-misunderstood world of the strip club bares each girl inside and out both onstage and off, providing an insight to the story behind the dance. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Daring Chance for All Involved..and It Works!
How refreshing to see a film that is made as a group effort, that gives as much credibility to the Director (Michael Radford) as it does to the actors (Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Sheila Kelly, Charlotte Ayanna, Elias Kosteas, and Sandra Oh) and to the camera men, costumers, etc. This is a tough slice of life to examine - the sordid existence of the women who work the strip joints in the San Fernando Valley - and the technique of using the improvisational style greatly enhances the feeling of reality.

Each of the characters in this dark film were given enough information about their character to have an outline which they then fleshed out into the richly three dimensional characters we see on the screen. This takes great courage on the part of a director, but given the quality of talent involved, the payoff is well worth it. Sandra Oh gives a thrilling performance of a poet-by-day/stripper-by-night and finally has a venue for showing how richly talented she is. Daryl Hannah turns in a wholly believeable bravura performance as a less than bright yet tender and near delusional young woman in search of a life that makes sense. Jennifer Tilly gives an over the edge portrayal of a leather-type who perhaps holds more aching tenderness beneath her tough shell that she herself knows. Sheila Kelly's character just smolders. All of the actresses have the courage to 'bear it all' in the dance sequences and we can only applaud their commitment to Michael Radford's sense of style.

This is a much overlooked little movie that will probably surface in the art houses on a routine basis as a film ahead of its time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't pass it by
Too many people (including myself) passed this by upon its release, and thankfully with the advent of Video and DVD, it may get a second shot at life.

Cast off any aspersions that this is another T&A movie. There is nudity, but it's (for the most part) tastefully done, and not always gratuitous. Unlike such moronic fare as "Striptease" or "Coyote Ugly", this film aspires to much higher ground, more along the lines of Atom Egoyan's brilliant "Exotica".

*side note* like that film, it includes a lot of Leonard Cohen and features noted Canadian character actor Elias Koteas! Coincidence?

Daryl Hannah acquits herself admirably, and Jennifer Tilly does a great job of combining pathos and comedy (the S&M scene is hysterical), but the standout here is Canadian actress Sandra Oh ("Last Night"), who plays outside of type and has you alternatively seduced and saddened along with her character.

Not to be ignored; rent it, then tell a friend. Films like this are few and far between.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too lousy to be campy
This movie is so poorly directed and acted (Hats off to Darryl Hannah for a horse faced perfromance) that it can't even be enjoyed as a midnight movie. All the characters are underdeveloped and the story so muddled, you actually get bored when the girls are stripping. The movie is really long and horribly improvised. Sandra Oh is the only credible actress and does her best to carry all the scenes. The documentary about real strippers (on the dvd edition) and where the story was inspired, is what should have been released as a movie. It's more interesting and gritty.

1-0 out of 5 stars just purely terrible
...in which a group of moderately talented big name movie actresses get somebody to film their improv class. Said class apparently exists to allow them to fulfill their fantasies of being strippers, a lifestyle they interpret with all the eloquence and passion you'd expect from poorly educated, not very bright in the first place young women who've skated through life on their looks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what one would expect...
When I first looked at the cover and saw that the movie had Jennifer Tilly in it, I figured it was just another soft-core quasi-porn film and put it back on the shelf. Months later, out of boredom, I finally rented it. The movie turned out to be quite interesting and not at all like what the cover would lead one to believe. Jennifer Tilly is still Jennifer Tilly of course but, fortunately, she has a minor role.

I highly recommend this intelligent film. ... Read more


10. Last Night
Director: Don McKellar
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078323693X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17680
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Grim
Most films dealing with apocalyptic themes, especially nowadays, likes to use a ton of flashy special effects and thundering soundtracks to convey the imminent demise of our planet. Fortunately for viewers who want something a little more thought provoking, other films about the end of the world occasionally slip through the cracks. One of these films is "Last Night," a chilling, low budget piece of cinema from Canada. "Last Night" doesn't have huge asteroids slamming into the planet, or killer plagues turning the human population into dust, but it does have heavy atmosphere and compelling performances from several actors and actresses you have probably never heard about. The movie even casts famous horror film director David Cronenberg in a major role. If you tire easily of the big Hollywood action/apocalypse films, turn to something like "Last Night" to get your Armageddon fix. About the only problem I had with "Last Night" concerned the play list on the radio station as it counted down the top 500 songs of all time. Personally, I didn't recognize very many of these tunes; I would have picked a few numbers that are more upbeat myself.

"Last Night" distressingly describes the last six hours of the last night the human race will ever see. Set in Toronto, Canada, the movie closely follows the final hours of several individuals, including a reclusive loner and his family, his best friend, an Asian woman desperately trying to reach her husband before the catastrophe arrives, an energy executive and his secretary, and a former high school French teacher. Perhaps surprisingly, most of these people sedately go about the last moments of their lives as though it isn't a big deal. The reason for this maddening calmness rests with the fact that the entire planet has known for some months that the end is coming, so most of the hysterical behavior you would expect to see has already worked itself out of most people's systems (Not everyone accepts their destiny. The streets are dangerous in places, with gangs going around tipping over buses or shooting and robbing people, but many people are staying at home quietly planning their final activities). What remains is a slightly sad resignation of the inescapable as each individual in the film goes about his or her personal business.

Duncan, the energy executive played by Canadian director David Cronenberg, spends his last few hours calling all of his customers to promise them that the power will remain on until the bitter end. Patrick Wheeler, the main character of the film and the loner who wishes to spend his last moments of life alone, makes an appearance at a family Christmas party where some of his pent up bitterness about a life cut short seep out in vitriolic comments to his parents and sister. His friend resorts to playing sexual games, trying to sleep with as many women of different races and physical attributes as possible. One of the women he conquers is his former French teacher, played effectively by a still sexy Genevieve Bujold. Bujold's appearance marks one of the most absurdly comic moments of the film when she quizzes a confused Patrick on his French speaking skills. The best performance in "Last Night" comes from the remarkable and beautiful Sandra Oh, who plays the Asian woman looking for her husband. She soon comes into Patrick's orbit, and seeks his help so she can carry out a grisly pact she made with her spouse. Oh, perhaps better than anyone else in the film, truly conveys the utter helplessness of the unfolding situation.

There seems to be some difficulty among viewers concerning what exactly will destroy the human race in this movie. I find this a bit odd because the ending gives a clear hint, and if that isn't enough, the fact that the sun still shines at midnight should provide a further clue. But what destroys the earth isn't as important as what the characters do regarding their impending fate, and that fate hangs over every action in the film like a black pall. Occasionally, the time flashes on the screen as the characters move another hour closer to doom, giving the whole film an incredible sense of claustrophobic tension. Arguably, the best line in the film comes from Patrick and his oversexed buddy, when Patrick says "See you later" and his friend replies without missing a beat, "No, you won't." Moments like these continually pull the viewer back into the unbearable agony of the film's central premise: There is no hope here, no magical hiding place in the mountains or under the sea where someone can avoid their fate. The ending is never in doubt in "Last Night."

If I had to compare "Last Night" with another film or book, I would say that Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" closely resembles this film in its psychological exploration of an unavoidable apocalyptic disaster. I noticed I was quiet and reflective for some time after watching this film, always a good indication that a movie or a book touched me in some way. Regrettably, the DVD of "Last Night" is a bare bones edition. All you get on the disc is a theatrical trailer and the film. I think a commentary would have been nice, at the very least, but ultimately the movie succeeds without any further elaborations by the director or writers. Hopefully, this great movie will see a reissue on DVD soon.

4-0 out of 5 stars i liked last night
how many times has the hypothetical question been asked about "what would u do if it was the end of the world?". almost never is the answer, "well i would be a hero and save the world." this movie is not like "armagedden", or other apocalyptic films. instead it shows various popular more practical answers to the hypothetical question. whether it be spending time with family, spend time alone, fufill a fantasy (sexual or non), rioting, committing crimes, its all in here. wonderful performances by don mckellar (who also wrote and produced it), sandro oh, and my personal favourite sarah polley. i must admit i watched this movie because i am a huge fan of polleys, but it turns out i stumbled on a wonderful realistic film. highly recommended

4-0 out of 5 stars What a gem of a movie!
The first time I watched this was on terrestrial TV, at about 2am (why I was up so late I have no idea!) tucked away in the late night schedules with no fanfares, but found myself still awake at the end, (now 4am! What WAS I doing up that late!?) totally dumbstruck by this amazing film - ...in a way it reflects the way the movie is - it quietly goes about it's business not causing any trouble, then you suddenly realise how amazingly profound and important it is, by which time it's 4am and you need to catch up on some Z's! My wife totally disinterested fell asleep, and I made her watch it when I bought on DVD and of course she loved it!

I am not going to go into plot, because it's well covered by other reviews here, but anyone who thinks this little unassuming movie is not worth seeing seriously needs their head testing - buy this DVD - you will not be disappointed!

It would have got 5 stars but for the fact that the DVD contains worthless extras - a very very great shame!

5-0 out of 5 stars About Last Night...
Last Night [my favourite movie] works so well at evoking many emotions (pity, suspense, sadness, gladness, etc.) but I am not surprised because it is written and directed by one of Canada's finest, Don McKellar.

It is set in Toronto on the very last hours before the world ends, and follows different people (all connected in some way) and how they choose to spend it. It is very dark, yet funny at times to watch as these people deal with the last 6 hours of their lives....what would you be doing?

Although this is a Canadian flick, you may recognize some of the people in it'.Don McKellar (co-wrote 'The Red Violin', was in eXistenZ, Waydowntown, and 'Twitch City' a hilarious and innovative television show directed by another Canadian gem, Bruce McDonald)'Sarah Polley (Road to Avonlea, eXistenZ , and Go)'David Cronenberg (yes, the ingenious director!)'Callum Keith Rennie (Memento, eXistenZ, and Hard Core Logo)'

The DVD itself doesn't offer many extras (well at least the one I own), but I am still happy to have it in my collection. So should you.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is THE END. What do you do ?
There is no more night, the world is plunged in eternal light. Toronto, 8PM, four hours before the end of the world. The government has closed down two months ago, there is no more police, and the city is under anarchy rule. The masses have claimed the streets : car travel is hazardous at best. Some people work to report or entertain people in the last hours (such as the radio announcer who proudly announces "here at CKRT... with you... until the end"), but most services are down. This is it. This is THE END. What do you do ?

Patrick Wheeler already knows the answer. He is invited to his parents' home, where his mother is preparing a Christmas dinner, even though it is not Christmas. A cynic at heart and seemingly disgusted at the "fake" of a family he never liked, he can't help disparaging his mother's efforts to give peace to her family. After he leaves, he is planning to wait until the last minutes, when he will install his radio system outside, play some good music, sit in a chair, and wait for the end. As good a way to go, I suppose.

Including Patrick, we follow a group of loosely-knit people as they prepare for the end, including Sandra Oh, whose desperation to get to her husband intertwines her life with Patrick, Craig Zwiller, best friend of Patrick who decides to spend his last days in constant sex, a French teacher (played by Geneviève Bujold), a pianist, and others.

In this frenzy of violence in the streets on the one hand, and the desire for a final accomplishment played out by his friends on the other hand, Patrick wants no part of all this and wants to die alone, but events conspire to derail his simple plans. He is interesting to follow, as an egoist character who spurns the superficiality and frenzy of those around him, while deeply aware of the gravity of the situation. Sort of tying the movie together is the president of the gas company (played by known sci-fi director David Cronenberg, an added plus), who has made it his job to call every customer to thank them and wish them good final hours.

The masses go crazy in fear and revolt, as masses are wont to do, but that's not what concerns the movie (a Hollywood take on this plot would have concentrated on the violence, or saving the Earth, or otherwise some meaningless romance, and that's why I don't bother to watch Hollywood movies). There is only as much violence as necessary, but this is not a slow movie - in fact, if there is one thing I have against Last Night, it's that it doesn't stop. Moments of contemplation would have helped.

As for how to define it, you could say it's a mix of black comedy and drama, although I'm not sure that really captures it. It all looks perfectly "natural", if you understand me - the humour and drama seem completely incidental. This is what impressed me most.

Like Cube, it got moderate critical approval but few people seem to think it's a masterpiece. I guess my love for science-fiction shines through again. This is the kind of movie I love - hard science-fiction, no special effects, no more violence than necessary, paced like clockwork (in this case, I guess there was not much choice, huh ?), lots of dialogue, as natural as possible, and very moving despite - or rather, because of - the lack of Hollywood-like action and histrionics. If you have the same tastes as I do, it is highly likely that you will love Last Night. The acting is delicious, especially Don McKellar as Patrick (he really enhances the movie as its main actor), and David Cronenberg.

In his review, Roger Ebert recounts the following anecdote. On a talk show in Toronto, Wayne Clarkson, the former director of the Toronto Film Festival, explained the difference between Canadian and American movies by using Last Night as example : "Sandra Oh goes into a grocery story to find a bottle of wine for dinner. The store has been looted, but she finds two bottles still on the shelf. She takes them down, evaluates them, chooses one, and puts the other one politely back on the shelf. That's how you know it's a Canadian film."

Patrick Wheeler: I think maybe I should mention before you make any faux pas here, that we have a tradition in this family, that we don't kill other people. ... Read more


11. Permanent Midnight
Director: David Veloz
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: 6305248907
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18240
Average Customer Review: 3.44 out of 5 stars
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Like the book it isnamed after and based on, Permanent Midnight is a chronicle of downfall. Jerry Stahl, the story goes, showed promise when doing shifts as a porn writer for Hustler and Penthouse, and his promise landed him in the exact center of television's hottest shows of the 1980s. Alas, Stahl also brought with him a gargantuan appetite for drugs, most damagingly heroin. The film begins with Stahl, played by Ben Stiller, working in a fast-food chain on his way back to society from the drug-addled skids and recovery. He's lured away from work, where in a hotel room with Maria Bello (as Kitty) he begins detailing his fall from TV's top (where he wrote for shows like Alf and Moonlighting, among others). Director David Veloz does great work in leading viewers through the episodes in addiction and excess, making the action seem naturally odd. There are priceless shots of Stahl and his coke-smoking buddy on an upper floor of a high-rise smoking and leaping into the windows--which don't break, of course. Stiller does a classy job of staying monochromatically zoomed in on scoring and shooting dope. He's sweaty and freaked out at the right times and grimy and desperate, too. The movie's a sad one, with Stahl's journey taking him through an arranged marriage (which benefited him enormously) to the couple's having a baby to getting busted on a rare occasion alone with the infant. It's a visceral script, replete with lots of intravenous drug use and Stahl/Stiller creating a recurring motif out of shooting the bloody drawback from the syringe onto the ceiling, making a mad little scribble. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (25)

3-0 out of 5 stars ...not as good as the book...
Well, are any movies EVER as good as the book? (Fear and Loathing in LV, maybe....) I had one really, really big problem with the movie: Mr. Chompers. Mr. Chompers is OBVIOUSLY Alf, if you didn't know. And Alf's alter ego has a HORRENDOUS name. Mr. Chompers. Jesus H. Christ. I could think of a million better names. Even the name Larry is better than Mr. Chompers. Or Ralph. I think it would've been really clever to use the name Ralph.

Another thing that really bothered me was the relationship between Kitty and Jerry. In the book, it was just so much better. It was like they were both big loser junkies trying to be big loser non-junkies together. I really hoped that everything would work out between them. But in the movie, I just really couldn't stand their relationship. I just kept thinking, "Jerry/Ben, get rid of her. She's stupid, and she just doesn't unerstand you and your pain. Forget her." Those two things take away 2 stars. So, ha.

I just thought the world of Ben Stiller's acting job. I've always liked Ben Stiller, even though he's been in some really stupid stuff (Envy). I don't really know why, but I want to see every movie he's in because he's just so great. And this movie made me like him even more! He was just SO GOOD. He was so believeable. Oh, if only I could rate his performance alone. He would surely get a perfect rating.

So, in conclusion, see the movie, THEN read the book. Unless you don't like reading, loser. Otherwise, if you read the book first, you'll be disappointed. And if you've already read the book, see the movie because Ben Stiller is terrific.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Sad True Story of a Literate Junkie
Heroin. Opiates. Addiction. Recovery. For those who have faced such challenges, PM is a movie that rings true in almost every aspect. For those whose lives have not been affcted by the ravages of drug addiction, the movie offers a dramatic portrayel of Jerry Stahl, a writer known for his work on the TV show "ALF." Stahl was a writer with, a term often overused, an edge. His words drip with bite, secrete venom in their descriptive prowess, and ultimately combine to bring about the writer's crash into addiction. Stahl moves to LA, where he gets a writing job, makes alot of money, in fact way too much money for a writer with a habit, and falls very rapidly downt he black hole of drug addiction. In the darkness, however, we also see the light of recovery, which is handled in a true to life manner, displaying the sheer difficulty in dealing with the insanity of addiciton. Ben Stiller is excellent, adding dry comic wit to even the most disturbing of scenes. And there is a show stealing performance by Peter Greene, who has been in many movies, including The Mask, Pulp Fiction, and most reently Blue Streak, with Martin Lawrence. Permanent Midnight stands on par with Drugstore Cowboy and The Basketball Diaries in allowing the public an inside view into the harrowing, humerous, and heart wrenching world of heroin. The movie is a loaded syringe, ready to strike into the most virgin of veins: Mainstream Movie America. It is so good, you will come back for it again and again.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Horrible Movie
People that compare movies to the original books are always going to be disappointed. That's no big mystery to anyone who's both read a single book or seen a single movie. Nuff said on that.

The movie is definitly a good one because it is very dark, and very real. Reviewers that bashed this movie are obviously clueless regarding drug use, drug users, and addiction. This movie is definitely disgusting and depressing because of its plausibility, and that's what makes it good. To have the perfect wife (Elizabeth Hurly), the perfect job, and still do anything and everything to get high demonstrates how the need overpowers someone's life. Permanent Midnight is "A Good Horrible Movie".

1-0 out of 5 stars READ THE BOOK! Don't see this trash
The book is excellent. Mostly from the "tone" and the way that Jerry Stahl tells his harrowing and sardonic account of drug addiction.

This movie doesn't have the tone right and nothing really works. It's not funny or sad just there.

Ben Stiller looks a little like Jerry but can't really pull off this story.

READ THE BOOK - it is a great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars ben Stiller Serious
It was wierd seeing Ben Stiller serious but he pulled it off well. i thiught this move was different and truthful to the lives of some in Hollywood. I really enjoyed and i think anyone who wants to see something different should give it a try. ... Read more


12. Guinevere
Director: Audrey Wells
list price: $9.99
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Asin: 6305732361
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 31752
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars May-December in an artist's loft
If you have seen the anthology film "New York Stories", you may recall the memorable Martin Scorcese segment about the older painter (Nick Nolte) and his young female "protege" (Rosanna Arquette). "Guinevere" is basically an extended feature-length meditation on the same story; it just swaps a photographer for a painter and a San Francisco locale for NYC. Stephen Rea portrays the manipulative Svengali with his usual glazed, expressionless mask (one of those actors who directs all his energy into the character's "rich inner life", or just a consistently wooden performer? Discuss). Sarah Polley gives an understated performance as Rea's young "student".Some of Woody Allen's "Manhattan" territory is also retread, but the performances are compelling enough to keep your interest. There is a near Oscar-worthy supporting performance from Jean Smart, as Polley's outspoken mother, who really eats up her limited screen time; she is quite memorable in a key confrontation with Rea's character where she verbally takes him apart, but in a sly and subtle fashion. The movie is marred by slight over-length and a final scene that seems out-of-place and a bit too theatrically "stagey"; but definitely is worth a look on a slow night.

2-0 out of 5 stars Like Harper's mother, Mrs Sloane, I too, am without awe.
This movie is the male-fantasy of every photographer who has ever picked up a camera in hopes of bedding a bevy of pretty girls.

5-0 out of 5 stars a real treasure
Many have either misunderstood or overlooked this gem. If only Hollywood had the brains and/or balls to put out such gems. I loved this movie and could easily watch it many times over. The dialog was intelligent, piercingly truthful. Bravo to the screenwriter! All of the actors: Stephen Rea, Sarah Polly, Jean Smart, Gina Gerson gave compelling, strong performances.

"Guinevere" is the nickname given by Stephen Rea's character (Connie), an alcoholic bohemian type way past his prime, to his significantly younger female companions. See the King Arthur and Guinevere analogy? You see the relationship fraught with the parasitic and symbiotic moments. Jean Smart, who played Guinevere's mom, gave an amazing monolog dissecting the nature of such a relationship.

For those reviewers who said that this film was unrealistic; I disagree. Anyone who has ever found oneself fascinated by inappropriate, older lovers at some point in one's life will understand this film. Some of my friends and I have been "Guinevere" for our own reasons, and we saw the emotional truth in this film.

3-0 out of 5 stars No secrets here.
I haven't seen Rea since his role in "don't reveal the secret!" Crying Game, although I've heard that he did well in Still Crazy. Guenevere, though, explores an odd mentor-lover relationship between starving artist Rea and blue-blood, WASPy Polley. The age difference here wasn't the only issue, oddly enough--rather it was the strange turns that inevitably develop between people who knowingly enter a relationship where tutoring is an intended part of the romance. Rea's artist has a long history of shacking up with young women and turning them into "true" artists, be they painters, sculptors, dancers, or in Polley's case, photographers. And although I normally would balk at the willingness with which these women handed themselves over to Rea's well-worn lines and drunken philosophies, Guenevere managed to avoid the squeamishness that I feel, for example, whenever I see Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones together. Be sure to pay attention to Jean Smart's dead-on analysis of daughter Polley and Rea's relationship; it's eloquent and brutal.

4-0 out of 5 stars sweet and certainly sarah
sarah polley is one of the most talented and perhaps over looked young actresses in the biz today next to kate winslet. this has to be easily one of my favorite films and i've seen it quite a few times. ms.polley comes to us again in another great role and perhaps her best since the unforgettable the sweet hereafter. here we find her playing the insecure, confused and somewhat angry harper who desperately needs love and a bit of direction in her life. guinevere is touching film which stays with you even after the last scene has roled off the screen. the film does remind me at time of something woody allen might've directed although not nearly as lighthearted as the vast majority of his work tends to be. i also am vaguely reminded of the classic sandy dennis vehicle sweet november. check this film out and recommend to others. happy viewings !!! ... Read more


13. Journey Home: The Animals of Farthing Wood
Director: Marc F. Voizard
list price: $14.98
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Asin: 6304814437
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 29767
Average Customer Review: 2.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Farthing Wood....great book/video
Well now, where should I begin? At the age of seven, I started to collect the magazine for Farthing Wood, then got highly involved into the books, and finally, the T.V. show. For a children's series, it was quite moving and had a lot of dramatic scenes. However, this was a good thing! I found this show to be the best I have ever seen. Not only did I learn from it, but I also enjoyed it, and anticipated seeing a new episode each day.

1-0 out of 5 stars the other person is right!
I come from England where I watched the original version of this program on TV it was exelent I live in America now and I wa very pleased to find the video I was dissapointed to see howdifferent it was! please sell the original version it is much better!

1-0 out of 5 stars Totally ruined!
When I first saw that this movie was on video I thought, "Cool!" because I had been a fan of the books for a long time. This was made in Britian as a popular t.v series that was very closely based on the books. When I began watching it, there seemed to be scenes cut out, some goofy songs were in there, it didn't follow the books at all, and most of the animals didn't even have British accents! After talking to a U. K. friend of mine, I discovered that this version sold in America is NOT the true British version. Not only did the American merchandisers add several goofy songs and change the voices, but they cut about 50% of the movie out. All of this ruined the whole thing! British animals with American accents, several songs when only ONE is supposed to be there, and all the cuts that were done make many of the scenes not make any sense. What doesn't make any sense, is why American merchandisers would do this. The Animals of Farthing Wood is very popular in Britian, so why American merchandisers would do this to something so popular is beyond me. ... Read more


14. Rick
Director: Curtiss Clayton
list price: $79.99
our price: $79.99
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Asin: B00062J02G
Catlog: Video
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Description

Rick is the sort of guy you probably once really liked: a devoted husband and a loving father, he lives in a lavish Park Avenue apartment paid for by a high powered corporate job. He has a sharp sense of humor and enjoys a cold, well-prepared martini but the world's gone wrong for Rick. His wife is dead. His teenage daughter Eve is distant as she approaches womanhood. His job gets more and more degrading with each passing day. His young boss Duke is an aggressive punk who forces Rick literally to his knees and spends his time talking dirty in Internet chat rooms, while Rick has to do the dirty work. And it seems you can't even have a martini in this town without getting a curse from an enemy or sinister proposal from an old friend. No wonder his sense of humor is getting a little nasty. ... Read more


15. Big Fat Liar
Director: Shawn Levy
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: B000069BJI
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 24070
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (74)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Film For All....
Big Fat Liar is a movie that is highly recommended. Universal has done an excellent job of bringing an amazing cast together to tell a really good story. The movie is about Jason Shepherd (played by Frankie Muniz), who is a compulsive liar and happens to have his short story stolen by Hollywood producer Mary Wolf (played by Paul Giamatti). As a result of the stolen story, Jason must attend summer school. Jason soon sees that Marty is going to be making the story into a movie. In a well conceived plan, Jason and his best friend Kaylee (played by Amanda Bynes) head out to Hollywood to confront Marty. Jason only wanted a simple phone call to his father to show that he was telling the truth. Marty doesn't agree to it and in turn has Jason escorted out by security. A bit upset, Jason decides that payback is a must. Over the course of a weekend Jason and Kaylee have it out with Marty by conducting various retaliations, including making him look like a Smurf. (The other retaliations are also quite hilarious.) Eventually Marty and Jason square off on the rooftop of a movie set and this is where everybody gets to see the kind of person Marty truly is. The film ends on a high note where Jason gets his revenge...and a little bit more. The film is one that anyone can enjoy, and with cameos by Lee Majors, Dustin Diamond and even Jaleel White, laughs are guaranteed. Even the bonus features make this disc a treat. There is a trivia challenge featuring other Universal films, deleted scenes which are pretty good, a behind the scenes feature, an "Are You A Big Fat Liar" quiz, and Amanda Bynes even gets to help you navigate through the menus! Lastly, the two commentaries are a nice add-on. One features the director Shawn Levy with the other one by Frankie Muniz. Overall, I highly recommend this film. Frankie and Amanda make an excellent team, and in picking up this film you are guaranteed to have some big fat fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly very good!
At first, my impression on "Big Fat Liar" was that is was nothing more than dumb, Nickelodeon kid-flick; but then I saw it. I was very surprised by how it was very funny and very entertaining. I'm a big Universal Studios fan, and this movie had A LOT of Universal stuff in it, including the imfamous backlot tour and the prop shop.

The story is very famlish, never the less, clever. Jason Shepard (TV's Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz) is a liar, straight off the bat. He lies constainly about everything, espeacialy with the whole homework excuse "My dog ate it" or "My dad is in the hospital (sniff)". But this time, his assignment was stolen...for real. While trying to get to class, he is acidentally run over (don't worry, parents. The scene is put on a cartoonish note) by a big-shot movie producer, Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti), who has been known to be a huge jerk to people. Marty offers Jason a ride to school. While the trip, Jason tell Marty about his paper homework due, title "Big Fat Liar", a story about a compulsive liar, who gets bigger each time he lies. While being dropped off, Jason forgets his paper and Marty takes it. A few months later, Jason and his best friend, Kaylee (Nickelodeon's Amanda Byrnes) go to the movies and see a trailer for a movie called "Big Fat Liar", which immediately makes Jason furious. While Jason's parents are gone on vacation fo the summer, Jason and Kaylee take a trip to Los Angeles to find Wolf and get down to business. Along the way, they befriend a actor-turned-limo driver, named Frank (Donald Adeosun Faison) and Marty's partner at the studio, Monty Kirkham (Amanda Detmer). While Jason and Kaylee find shelter at Universal Studio's Prop shop, Jason Persues in finding Marty and getting either revenge or an appology. During a rude encounter with Marty, Jason decides Vengence...all the way. He and Kaylee form together all the people Wolf has been mean to and plot a payback to ge Marty out of Business,for good.

One thing I liked about this movie was how it took place at Universal Studios Hollywood 75% of the time, aside from the obious (Monty, in one scene, is walking and talking on her cell phone in front of the Bates Motel House) there is the scene in the prop shop, were the kids shack up, where pieces of recent Universal films, such as "The Grinch", are left laying around, along with the DeLorean from "Back to the Future" shown everywhere and the constant showing of the Universal Backlot Tour trams driving by (I love how in one scene, Jason and Kaylee leap off a tram to see something: keep in mind that you could never do that in real life!). BIG FAT LIAR is a great family film, but better for kids. And it's the thing Universal fans, like me, been waiting for.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Underestimate this Movie!
Okay, I'll admit that before I watched this movie, I thought it was going to be completely stupid and idiotic. Then I watched it and I thought hey this is pretty okay! Most people (especially adults) see a preview for a movie like this and they just say 'ugh, more stupid movies.' But despite the reputations of the main characters, this is pretty good. It's hilarious, don't get me wrong, but this movie really shows the determination of a teenage boy trying to follow his dreams.

5-0 out of 5 stars This movie isn't a big fat liar, its halarious
This movie is my I-am-not-feeling-well-get-me-out-of-school-movie when I am feeling bad I pop out my VCR and watch it almost everytime because it makes me feel good and get me back on my feet. Good movie! Paul(Wolf)has the face of a bad guy so he fit in this movie perfectly. Nice job by the actors and a nice story

Good Job Universal!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Clean Fun
Frankie Muniz does an excellent job making himself look like a kid who has told "one too many" lies, and now suffers "cry wolf" syndrome.

After Jason Shepherd notices a Hollywood director (he had an accident with) has stolen his English paper and turned it into a successful movie script, he (played by Muniz) sets out on a hilarious adventure to get credit for his work. The best part about the movie is I truly believe something like this has probably happened before...only the person with the stolen screenplay probably did not have the brain power of Muniz and Bynes!

The movie is good clean fun for the whole family. Amanda Bynes knows how to play to the camera, as does just about everyone involved with this movie. Paul Giamatti's "Hungry Like The Wolf Dance" as a blue-colored moron was one of the funniest scenes in a PG movie in a while.

Buy it, watch it, laugh...

GB
www.therunninggirl.com

P.S. If you go to the video store and it is a choice between Big Fat Liar or Lost In Translation, trust me - go with Big Fat Liar. ... Read more


16. Dancing at the Blue Iguana
Director: Michael Radford
list price: $79.98
our price: $79.98
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Asin: B00005QWAB
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 110990
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Description

At the Blue Iguana, in the heart of LA's San Fernando Valley, the lives of five strip club dancers converge over the course of one week. Angel (Daryl Hannah), attempts to qualify as a foster mother; Jasmine (Sandra Oh), is a clandestine poet who finds love at a coffee house reading; Jo (Jennifer Tilly), faces an unplanned pregnancy; Stormy (Sheila Kelley), confronts her bewildering past and Jesse (Charlotte Ayanna) gets a tough introduction to life in LA. This glimpse into the oft-misunderstood world of the strip club bares each girl inside and out both onstage and off, providing an insight to the story behind the dance. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Daring Chance for All Involved..and It Works!
How refreshing to see a film that is made as a group effort, that gives as much credibility to the Director (Michael Radford) as it does to the actors (Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Sheila Kelly, Charlotte Ayanna, Elias Kosteas, and Sandra Oh) and to the camera men, costumers, etc. This is a tough slice of life to examine - the sordid existence of the women who work the strip joints in the San Fernando Valley - and the technique of using the improvisational style greatly enhances the feeling of reality.

Each of the characters in this dark film were given enough information about their character to have an outline which they then fleshed out into the richly three dimensional characters we see on the screen. This takes great courage on the part of a director, but given the quality of talent involved, the payoff is well worth it. Sandra Oh gives a thrilling performance of a poet-by-day/stripper-by-night and finally has a venue for showing how richly talented she is. Daryl Hannah turns in a wholly believeable bravura performance as a less than bright yet tender and near delusional young woman in search of a life that makes sense. Jennifer Tilly gives an over the edge portrayal of a leather-type who perhaps holds more aching tenderness beneath her tough shell that she herself knows. Sheila Kelly's character just smolders. All of the actresses have the courage to 'bear it all' in the dance sequences and we can only applaud their commitment to Michael Radford's sense of style.

This is a much overlooked little movie that will probably surface in the art houses on a routine basis as a film ahead of its time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't pass it by
Too many people (including myself) passed this by upon its release, and thankfully with the advent of Video and DVD, it may get a second shot at life.

Cast off any aspersions that this is another T&A movie. There is nudity, but it's (for the most part) tastefully done, and not always gratuitous. Unlike such moronic fare as "Striptease" or "Coyote Ugly", this film aspires to much higher ground, more along the lines of Atom Egoyan's brilliant "Exotica".

*side note* like that film, it includes a lot of Leonard Cohen and features noted Canadian character actor Elias Koteas! Coincidence?

Daryl Hannah acquits herself admirably, and Jennifer Tilly does a great job of combining pathos and comedy (the S&M scene is hysterical), but the standout here is Canadian actress Sandra Oh ("Last Night"), who plays outside of type and has you alternatively seduced and saddened along with her character.

Not to be ignored; rent it, then tell a friend. Films like this are few and far between.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too lousy to be campy
This movie is so poorly directed and acted (Hats off to Darryl Hannah for a horse faced perfromance) that it can't even be enjoyed as a midnight movie. All the characters are underdeveloped and the story so muddled, you actually get bored when the girls are stripping. The movie is really long and horribly improvised. Sandra Oh is the only credible actress and does her best to carry all the scenes. The documentary about real strippers (on the dvd edition) and where the story was inspired, is what should have been released as a movie. It's more interesting and gritty.

1-0 out of 5 stars just purely terrible
...in which a group of moderately talented big name movie actresses get somebody to film their improv class. Said class apparently exists to allow them to fulfill their fantasies of being strippers, a lifestyle they interpret with all the eloquence and passion you'd expect from poorly educated, not very bright in the first place young women who've skated through life on their looks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what one would expect...
When I first looked at the cover and saw that the movie had Jennifer Tilly in it, I figured it was just another soft-core quasi-porn film and put it back on the shelf. Months later, out of boredom, I finally rented it. The movie turned out to be quite interesting and not at all like what the cover would lead one to believe. Jennifer Tilly is still Jennifer Tilly of course but, fortunately, she has a minor role.

I highly recommend this intelligent film. ... Read more


17. Mulan II
list price: $24.99
our price: $24.99
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Asin: B00062J0JO
Catlog: Video
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18. Sideways
Director: Alexander Payne
list price: $41.98
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Asin: B0007TKOAU
Catlog: Video
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorced waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (305)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This movie was sooooo good. All I can say is I loved it I loved it

4-0 out of 5 stars delicious little movie
The risk involved in describing "Sideways" as a road movie about obsessive wine tasting is that people who are not wine buffs/connoisseurs are likely to stay away from it, which would be a pity. So let me discuss it from a different perspective: Sideways is in fact a buddy movie, and not an overly comic one. Granted, there is a fair share of funny scenes but overall the tone of the movie veers clearly toward the dramatic.
Meet Miles and Jack. The former is a small-time english teacher (and aspiring novelist...too bad his aspirations are constantly frustrated), the latter is a washed-up tv actor with a career that after a promising start never really took off. Both are middle-aged guys who are coping with lowered expectations and shattered ambitions.
Jack is about to marry (although he feels uneasy about his marital future) and the two friends embark on a wine-tasting extended bachelor party that eventually feels much like a coming of age story.
There is a lot of wine talking going on throughout the movie but wine isn't the whole point. Wine is more like a metaphor for life and there is a brilliant dialogue between Miles and Maya (the girl he falls in love with) that clearly shows this point.
This is not a happy-ending movie. There's a lot of stark realism in it and although the finale leaves some hope for Miles, it's quite obvious that this is LIFE, not some fairy tale.
This is no educational movie either. There are scenes where "getting sideways", far from being frowned upon, is elevated to something very romantic or, at least, something that lets us understand Miles' deep suffering, forcing us to be sympathetic to his condition.
Anyway, enough with the social commentary, I greatly appreciated this movie and I think that anybody with a passing interest in non-mainstream stuff should see it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Will This Film EVER End!
A slice of life? A road movie?To be a slice of life the lives should be interesting.To be a road movie interesting things should happen en route.Aside from a lengthy plug for the California Wine industry, the whole movie struck me as tedious.There are some amusing moments and dialogue tucked between a lot of mundane, unfunny and often depressing conversation and events.The lead character steals from his mother and despite his affection for wine in the abstract, drinks to deal with depression by getting sloppy drunk.Meanwhile his buddy shows such respect for the woman he's driving north to marry that he's willing to bed anything with a pulse between Los Angeles and the Napa Valley.And we're supposed to care about these people?Why the movie industry is so high on this film beats me.After watching it carefully twice, trying to find some overlooked redeeming quality, I just don't see it.Possibly I'm not sophisticated enough to enjoy it.Possibly it's not that great a movie.

It may have some appeal to the wine connoisseur or wanna'be who's always wanted to impress his friends by saying things like, "It's a sassy little pinot that perfectly complements ze flavour of ze Ritz Crackers and ze Cheeez Whiz." but I found myself wishing it was a much shorter movie.I certainly won't recommend it to anyone I like or remember it 6 months from now ... probably less.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cineaste's Dream
I won't rehash the plot, the characters, etc., as that's all so familiar by now.Why is this film a small wonder?Because it's what happens in the interstices, between the minimal action and the raucous laughs.Like the characters or not, they are painfully real, and we get so few real characters in movies today.We get so few honestly-motivated characters today.And the reason:one has only to peruse the one-star reviews on this site.Has anyone noticed that the one-star reviews are generally very short, as if the attention span of the denouncer couldn't sustain a paragraph, let alone a reasonably lengthy explanation of their disgust?It's usually "boring" -- it's not to any true cineaste, of course -- or the characters are morally bankrupt -- so, that's not a valid reason to loathe a movie; in fact, it's a completely biased and stupid reason to mount a criticism of a work of art on.Face it, "Sideways" was made for people who love film that challenges them, surprises them, moves them, forces them to see life in a different light.Most people don't want to be challenged -- you know who you are, you brain-dead video gamers, you Internet-addled, low-alpha brain-wave unguents -- so why bother to voice your complaints about this brilliant movie unless you really have something profound to say in defense of your criticism.Compared to the one-star reviews, the five-star reviews are very lengthy, usually articulate and thoughtful and understand what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish.An Alexander Payne should be celebrated, a studio that gives him money should be extolled.It's just too bad there aren't more of him.I did have one criticism of the DVD, though -- but it won't change my five-star rating -- and that's the voice-over commentary by Thomas Church and Giamatti.It's so puerile at times, so uninformative; too bad Payne didn't do it with his writing partner.Oh, well, fortunately one doesn't have to listen to their drivel, and even if one decides to suffer it, it in no way detracts from their courageous performances.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie with excellent characters
I guess I could start with a short synopsis.Two college buddies are headed North to the wine country for a week long bachelor party.Miles is in a depressed state because of a divorce and Jack is looking to get some before he gets married.From this spouts some crazy situations in and out of vineyards.

What you do get from this movie is excellent characters.Even though Miles could be incredibly annoying you end up feeling for him.I think a lot of people have friends that are like Jack.They're a bit older but still act immature at times.Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are both awesome too.While Sandra Oh's character could have been developed more I don't think the movie suffers because of it.

The dialogue is witty and sarcastic sometimes to the point of being outright hilarious.Granted it may take a special kind of humor to understand why some things are funny.There are some things that are just sophomoric but they lighten the film at times where you think Miles might drag you down.

There is definitely a reason why this movie was nominated for a bunch of awards.You can't go wrong with sharp/witty writing and excellent acting/direction.I would highly recommend at least going out and renting this movie.I know it will soon become a part of my collection. ... Read more


19. Sideways
Director: Alexander Payne

Asin: B00005JNLA
Catlog: Theatrical Release
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Amazon.com

With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them in into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorced waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more


20. Guinevere
Director: Audrey Wells
list price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000897D3
Catlog: Video
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars May-December in an artist's loft
If you have seen the anthology film "New York Stories", you may recall the memorable Martin Scorcese segment about the older painter (Nick Nolte) and his young female "protege" (Rosanna Arquette). "Guinevere" is basically an extended feature-length meditation on the same story; it just swaps a photographer for a painter and a San Francisco locale for NYC. Stephen Rea portrays the manipulative Svengali with his usual glazed, expressionless mask (one of those actors who directs all his energy into the character's "rich inner life", or just a consistently wooden performer? Discuss). Sarah Polley gives an understated performance as Rea's young "student".Some of Woody Allen's "Manhattan" territory is also retread, but the performances are compelling enough to keep your interest. There is a near Oscar-worthy supporting performance from Jean Smart, as Polley's outspoken mother, who really eats up her limited screen time; she is quite memorable in a key confrontation with Rea's character where she verbally takes him apart, but in a sly and subtle fashion. The movie is marred by slight over-length and a final scene that seems out-of-place and a bit too theatrically "stagey"; but definitely is worth a look on a slow night.

2-0 out of 5 stars Like Harper's mother, Mrs Sloane, I too, am without awe.
This movie is the male-fantasy of every photographer who has ever picked up a camera in hopes of bedding a bevy of pretty girls.

5-0 out of 5 stars a real treasure
Many have either misunderstood or overlooked this gem. If only Hollywood had the brains and/or balls to put out such gems. I loved this movie and could easily watch it many times over. The dialog was intelligent, piercingly truthful. Bravo to the screenwriter! All of the actors: Stephen Rea, Sarah Polly, Jean Smart, Gina Gerson gave compelling, strong performances.

"Guinevere" is the nickname given by Stephen Rea's character (Connie), an alcoholic bohemian type way past his prime, to his significantly younger female companions. See the King Arthur and Guinevere analogy? You see the relationship fraught with the parasitic and symbiotic moments. Jean Smart, who played Guinevere's mom, gave an amazing monolog dissecting the nature of such a relationship.

For those reviewers who said that this film was unrealistic; I disagree. Anyone who has ever found oneself fascinated by inappropriate, older lovers at some point in one's life will understand this film. Some of my friends and I have been "Guinevere" for our own reasons, and we saw the emotional truth in this film.

3-0 out of 5 stars No secrets here.
I haven't seen Rea since his role in "don't reveal the secret!" Crying Game, although I've heard that he did well in Still Crazy. Guenevere, though, explores an odd mentor-lover relationship between starving artist Rea and blue-blood, WASPy Polley. The age difference here wasn't the only issue, oddly enough--rather it was the strange turns that inevitably develop between people who knowingly enter a relationship where tutoring is an intended part of the romance. Rea's artist has a long history of shacking up with young women and turning them into "true" artists, be they painters, sculptors, dancers, or in Polley's case, photographers. And although I normally would balk at the willingness with which these women handed themselves over to Rea's well-worn lines and drunken philosophies, Guenevere managed to avoid the squeamishness that I feel, for example, whenever I see Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones together. Be sure to pay attention to Jean Smart's dead-on analysis of daughter Polley and Rea's relationship; it's eloquent and brutal.

4-0 out of 5 stars sweet and certainly sarah
sarah polley is one of the most talented and perhaps over looked young actresses in the biz today next to kate winslet. this has to be easily one of my favorite films and i've seen it quite a few times. ms.polley comes to us again in another great role and perhaps her best since the unforgettable the sweet hereafter. here we find her playing the insecure, confused and somewhat angry harper who desperately needs love and a bit of direction in her life. guinevere is touching film which stays with you even after the last scene has roled off the screen. the film does remind me at time of something woody allen might've directed although not nearly as lighthearted as the vast majority of his work tends to be. i also am vaguely reminded of the classic sandy dennis vehicle sweet november. check this film out and recommend to others. happy viewings !!! ... Read more


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