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1. Iron Jawed Angels
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2. Animal Farm
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1. Iron Jawed Angels
Director: Katja von Garnier
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Asin: B00026L9BG
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1306
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Story of Our Nation's History
This movie was greatly written, produced, and directed. The actors and especially the actresses in the movie did an excellent job portraying the events that took place. It really did a great job to show the courage of these women. Before I saw this movie, I had no idea that these women went through half of the cruela nd unjust things they did in order to gain women's rites. I was truly moved and I strongly suggest seeing this movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Iron Jawed Angels
I happened to be channel surfing one night in a hotel and came across this movie. This is without a doubt one of the most important movies to have ever been made. Hilary Swank is at her very best in this. There are scenes in this move that I still play over and over in my head. Every woman and girl in this country should see this movie. If they did they would never not vote again. Every man should see this movie - if they did they would ensure every woman in their lives saw it and and voted in every election. This is a definite must see!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Saw it on an airplane, can't wait to see it again!
I just saw this film last week on an airplane and was very disappointed that it's not on DVD yet. Although it didn't get much publicity when, and if, it was at the theaters, it is by far one of the best films I've ever seen, and I have a minor in film! See it with your mom, sister, or daughter, and enjoy it and learn something at the same time!

5-0 out of 5 stars Suffrage still strong today
This film came out at just the right time. Not only is it's statement still relevant, it is beautifully scripted, cast and filmed. Hillary Swank is at her very best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yea I know its Early...
I saw this movie and it is awesome. The acting is great, and the plot is strong (hmmm maybe cause its a true story). ... Read more


2. Animal Farm
Director: John Stephenson (II)
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Asin: B0000365DR
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Sales Rank: 15358
Average Customer Review: 2.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely great...until the ending
Animal Farm and 1984...along with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World...are my favorite books. So, naturally, I was ecsatic about TNT bringing this classic to life as a movie (TNT usually does better book-to-movie adaptations than Hollywood anyways)

Well, by the end of the film I had decidedly mixed emotions. As far as Orwell's story goes, the film was precise and to the number. The two warring philosophies of leadership, as embodied by pigs Napoleon and Snowball (Stalin & Trotsky) are voiced perfectly by Kelsey Grammar and Patrick Stewart. I think for megolomania, you can't do better than Stewart.

Jesse, the dog, is as I always imagined, the typical Russian citizen during communism, who realizes the evil of totalitarianism, but is too afraid to go against it. And the supporting cast, like Boxer the Horse, represent the many victims of a dictatorship, whose "uselessness" as judged by the state ends in their ellimination.

The makers of this movie put together a fine parallel to Orwell's novel. But the ending didn't sit right with me. Of course, certain imagery, like the rock wall collapsing, is an obvious metaphor for the Berlin Wall falling, and the end of communism. But I don't see why the filmmakers decided to tack on this happy, optimistic ending, with the "brave and free-minded" Americans coming in to take over the farm and save the animals. Why couldn't they have just left it the way Orwell left it, uncertain and hopeless?

Orwell probably knew when he wrote the book that communism would fall in the future, but he left that out because I imagine it wasn't his intention to be a prophet, or a bringer of hope to the Russians. It was his intention to show the evils of totalitarianism, which this movie does well until that ending. Oh well. In the end, it still remains a very good movie, both on its own and as an adaptation.

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others!"

2-0 out of 5 stars "O.K., 'Babe', time to make you ham again!"
Orwell's bleak fable about revolution betrayed gets the full sunny "family-entertainment" Hallmark treatment and the result, as you can imagine, is abominable! Pity, for it has a great cast and several scenes worth looking at, but, as a whole, this movie -as all TNT "adaptations"- is completely off the mark! 'Animal Farm' ...for kiddies? With a happy ending? So the entire family can "squeal with delight"? Just who the hell thought that out?! No one, it seems, and it shows. The film is too tame for adult viewers who'd like to see the grim little novel on screen, and too violent for children who certainly won't expect to witness a cutesy Babe-like talking piggie executing his brothers-in-arms legs. My guess is they'll both be horrified at the end, its patched-up "happy" conclusion notwithstanding: Kids, because they're not stupid and sure realize it's back to the chopping block for their furry & feathered friends the moment the "new owners" step in, and adults, not only for the outrageous "liberties" taken from the book, but because -come to think of it- the sugarcoated finale holds a new ominous moral in itself: No, don't worry, the future won't be a Communist dictatorship after all; the future will be one big, happy, postcard-looking Americana, owned by cool Ken and Barbie, whose kinder, gentler slaughterhouse still awaits for your neck! "Hey! Whaddaya expectWe're running a FARM here!"

2-0 out of 5 stars It made me sleepy.
I haven't read the book, but I've recently had to watch the film in class. Usually, I like watching movies, but this one made me sleepy.

The animals of Manor Farm, owned by Mr. Jones (who is a lazy, ignorant farmer), are hungry and tired. Mr. Jones doesn't know how to take care of his farm animals and farm itself properly. The animals are tired of waiting for Mr. Jones, and decide to take matters into their own hands.

Old Major, an old pig, speaks words of wisdom to the animals in the beginning of the film. He represents Karl Marx (or so I believe). But Old Major is soon killed after his speaking of a revolution and the animals are shocked. A group of the other pigs see this as a chance to seize the animals, particularly the new leader, Napolean.

The animals drive out the Joneses and Manor Farm is renamed to Animal Farm. At first, life is now dandy for all the animals. They are happy with the changes and believe that Napolean is always right because he is an intelligent pig.

Napolean and his pig croonies, however, slowly change their ways. They become more greedy and self-centered. The animals' number one enemy is man and they do not wish to do anything with man. The group of ruling pigs soon appear to act like man does and this appalls the other animals.

You can basically guess what happens afterwards. I heard that the ending of the film is not like the book at all, and I was disappointed with the ending.

1-0 out of 5 stars BAD!!!
The movie is not the same as the book. They change the ending. that was the worst. They also have the dog Jessie narrate it and she doesn't in the book. TERRIBLE!!!!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Insulting! (Warning: Review Contains Spoilers)
I gave this movie 2 stars, because it is clear that a lot of attention and concern was put in the creation of the talking-animal effects. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same for the script. Orwell's "Animal Farm" was a thinly disguised allegory for the failure of the Russian Revolution. By 1999 the USSR was a thing of the past, so the scriptwriters must have felt they had to rework the story for modern times. Perhaps they assumed that their audience had never reads the book, menaing they could change it any way they wanted without opposition. The result was a badly thought out polemic that makes no sense, literally or allegorically.

For example, the characters of Moses the Raven (who symbolized religion) and Clover the mare (the refusniks) were written out. As a result the remaining animals seem to be little more than a faceless mob, differentiated by their species but remaining the same ideologically. When the mob starts to object to the pigs' rulership, they are pacified with television. Now, forgiving the supreme arrogance of a made-for-TV movie portraying TV as a pacifying force (I am sure the animals were not watching TNT, the producers of this film), this pivotal plot point makes no sense. Taken literally, how do you explain animals being interested in visual fare made by, for and about humans? Taken allegorically, the TV broadcasts were an outside force beyond the pigs' control, filling the viewers' heads with visions of unpartiotic decadence. Would-be dictators who permitted such things would have to be very foolish indeed.

Finally there is the ending, where well-intended humans take over the failing farm and become the benevolent guardians of the animals, with the animals' support. If this was an attempt to paste a happy ending over Orwell's cynical but powerful conclusion, it failed. If taken literally it suggets that the animals' sacrifices and efforts were for nothing, making the movie irrelavent. If it was meant to be taken allegorically, the message is that people should not even try to better their society, they should just submit themselves to benevolent masters an avoid this fuss of self determination (any nominations who said masters should be?).

Failed allegory, cheesy animal flick or greedy attempt to cash in on the success of "Babe," the movie version of "Animal Farm" fails on every level. ... Read more


3. First Knight
Director: Jerry Zucker
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 0800129806
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3715
Average Customer Review: 3.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

1995 had already seen the box-office success of sword-wielding heroes in Rob Roy and Braveheart when along came this glossy revision of the Arthurian legend, in which Lady Guinevere (Julia Ormond) is torn between her love for the noble King Arthur (Sean Connery) and the passionate knight Sir Lancelot (Richard Gere). As the story opens, Guinevere's lands are under attack by the evil knight Malagant (Ben Cross), and she must choose between marriage to Arthur and the security of Camelot, or encouraging the affections of Lancelot, who has heroically rescued her from a potentially lethal attack. Anyone looking for meticulous medieval authenticity won't find it here, but director Jerry Zucker (Ghost) keeps the action moving with exuberant spirit and glorious production values. Even if you don't completely believe Richard Gere as a somewhat too-contemporary Lancelot, the performances of Ormond and especially Connery are effortlessly appealing. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (114)

4-0 out of 5 stars A few complaints...
This is the heart of Camelot, not these stones, not these timbers, these palaces and towers. Burn them all and Camelot lives on, because it lives in us. Camelot is a belief that we hold in our hearts.
-King Arthur

Prince Malagant (Ben Cross), a rebel knight from the Round Table, seeks to expand his empire and take over the lands of Guinevere (Julia Ormond). With her subjects at the mercy of Malagant's evil forces, Guinevere leaves her home to marry King Arthur (Sean Connery) and ask for his help and protection. But en route to Camelot, Guinevere's escort is ambushed and though Guinevere is almost carried away to Malagant, she is rescued by Lancelot (Richard Gere). A loner who lives by his sword, Lancelot is attracted to the soon-to-be queen, and Guinevere too feels herself drawn to him. What follows is the tale of a forbidden love which will bring about terrible consequences which might affect the outcome of the battle between good and evil.

*PLOT* - For those who love anything to do with Arthurian legends, this is a great film. But for those who are finicky about details, this is NOT the film for you! Besides having the legend of Arthur completely altered, none of the other famous characters besides Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinever from the stories of Arthur are present! Where's Merlin, Morgan La Fay, Mordred, Sir Galahad, Lady of the Lake, etc.? And though the Knights of the Round Table are listed in the credits (example Sir Gawaine, Sir Gareth, etc.), after watching the movie you won't be able to put names with the faces of any of the knights! This is in fact one of my biggest complaints with the movie, one of the few movies featuring the Knights of the Round Table and we're not even given a chance to know any of them! And on top of everything, the plot surrounding the romance between Lancelot and Guinevere was a bit too predictable! Lancelot starts lusting after her immediately after their meeting, and throughout the movie there's no real romance! I just felt that it was just a bit too unbelievable. Why in the world would Guinevere 'fall in love' with a man who even admits he has no real honor?

*ACTING* - Sean Connery is the real star of the film. With his Scottish brogue, great acting, and in general possessing the air of a king, casting Sean Connery as King Arthur was simply perfect. (a little trivia, Sean Connery also played a famous king in history when he played the uncredited role of King Richard in Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"). Whenever I finish watching "First Knight", I can't help but think Guinevere a fool to betray Arthur's love. I certainly have no complaints with Julia Ormond's acting. I thought she was marvelous, and she also has a lovely British accent which complemented her role as Guinevere. Unfortunately, as I said before, the romance didn't fall right. And Richard Gere doesn't quite fit the bill as Lancelot. Too American and too modern, and besides that, his acting wasn't top notch. Plus, I couldn't believe he was really in love with Guinevere because love requires respect. Besides not respecting Guinevere's wishes for him to leave her alone, he also doesn't respect that she is engaged to King Arthur. I also thought that the whole thing surrounding his promise that 'Guinevere will someday as him to kiss her' was stupid.

*ACTION* - Ah, the action is what really saves this film from being a total waste of time for movie lovers! Lots of excitement, "First Knight" is full of exuberant energy! The battles are well done, and the swordplay is loads of fun to watch! Though epic battle scenes and swordplay from the "Lord of the Rings" cannot EVER be beaten, "First Knight" is still enjoyable. Best fight is definitely the last part, especially between Lancelot and Malagant.

*PG-13 RATING* - The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and some innuendos. The violence is nothing too gory since the battle scenes are pretty quick. But the fight between Lancelot and Malagant might make some people a bit squeamish. The same can be said about the innuendos, though not bad at all compared to more recent films, the dialogue is obvious and suggestive at times. There is one scene though towards the beginning where parents might want to skip for younger audiences.

*OVERALL & RECOMMENDATIONS* - Overall, what you can expect from "First Knight" are loads of action and some nice swordplay. Unfortunately, don't expect too much to learn more about the Arthurian legends or find a beautiful and believable romance. Other movies I can recommend are:

-LADYHAWKE- (1985) One of the best medieval movies ever made! A wonderful tale with better action and a more beautiful love story. Director Richard Donner and starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. PG-13
-MERLIN- (1998) TV miniseries with a stellar cast follows the life of the famous wizard, Merlin. A much more accurate look of the legend of Arthur. Director Steve Barron and starring Same Neill, Helenna Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, and Martin Short. NR
-LOTR: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING & THE TWO TOWERS- (2001-2002) An epic movie of grand proportions, the best battle scenes ever put on film. And when "The Return of the King" comes out in 2003, that will also be highly recommended I'm sure! Director Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, and Christopher Lee. PG-13

4-0 out of 5 stars A good love story...
First Knight isn't faithful at all to the story of Arthur and the costumes, lighting, and settings were all terribly modern, but the story itself was well done enough that the movie makes up for the rest of it.

It follows the story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and thier journey from the time Quinevere and Lancelot meet by chance as her carraige is ambushed on her way to marry Arthur, through some more kidnappings, a wedding, and a knighthood, to the death of Arthur. Lancelot, who begins as a mercenary, grows a great deal as a character, while Guinevere's struggle to control her feelings for him is painfully clear. Sean Connery's Arthur is the kind of king one would expect of Arthur, kind, understanding, with a rigid set of morals that he cannot break even for his queen. Julia Ormond makes it clear that Guinevere loves both men and Richard Gere's sensitive performance and longing looks tug the heartstrings.

In essense, it is the acting and the love story that make this movie enjoyable. It is a remarkably un-historically accurate movie and there is not much in common, aside from the names, with the traditional Arthur legends, but these old stories are made to be interpreted. The romance of the movie is what makes it worth watching...that a Richard Gere looks really, really good.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Bad
This is one of the most historically inaccurate movies I have ever seen. It is certainly the worst King Arthur movie that I have seen. I can not believe how bad this film is. King Arthur was a fairly young to middle age guy, but Sean Connery is in his 70's and looks like it too. The other Knights of the Round Table were also about the same age as King Arthur, but in this movie they
are of wildly different ages. The acting is generally poor with several of the actors being just plain wooden. The script is pretty bad too.

One of the worst aspects of this movie is the costumes and acting. All of the clothes look brand new and there are a number of instances where clothes that get dirty in a battle suddenly and mysteriously get clean again even though the characters are still on the battlefield. Evidently the actors could not stand wearing dirty clothing. Back in the days of King Arthur, knights wore chain mail instead of plated armor.

The final word: avoid this flick at all costs.

3-0 out of 5 stars Accentuate The Negatives
The legendary story of Camelot and King Arthur has been told, and retold in various incarnations, over the years. Some of them, like Excalibur, and the television mini-series Merlin, were excellent in the way they handled aspects of the the tale. These examples are among the very best and have stayed with me. While I would like to put First Knight in the same league, I cannot, thanks to an annoying bit of casting.

Lancelot (Richard Gere) is a rogue with no ties, no enemies, and no fear-until he meets Lady Guinevere of Leonesse (Julia Ormond). She has promised to marry King Arthur (Sean Connery), not only because his armies can protect her country from evils like Knight Malagant (Ben Cross), but because she truly loves him. But her chance encounter with Lancelot as she prepared to enter Camelot stirs conflicting and powerful emotions within her. Arthur welcomes both into his city with an open heart, little foreseeing how his great capacity for love and trust opens the doors for his own betrayal.

First Knight marks the second time that director Jerry Zucker has traded in the laughs of Airplane! and The Naked Gun films for something a bit more dramatic. His first, was a little "mega hit" called Ghost, therefore his limited track record in the genre was off to a fine start. To be honest though, the main draw for me in the film, was the prescence of Connery, whom I have always liked and Julia Ormand. She made quite a name for herself in Legends Of The Fall. I knew both of these actors could make the most with the material. It's too bad that Gere had to be in the film. He must have went to the same school on how to use a bad surfer dude accent, as Kevin Costner did. This is not something that's easy to forget. It is so bad that it brought everything else down in the process. He makes it difficult to get into the film, without thiking that maybe Zucker is making a comedy after all. As usual Connery saves the day--commanding every scene he's in. Connery, Ormond, and Cross, who makes a good bad guy, are reasons to watch.

The DVD lacks extras. But you have the option of watching the film, in either the fullscreen or widescreen formats.

1-0 out of 5 stars utter contempt for source material...
This film is an insult to the viewers intelligence and the Arthurian tradtion. I can not believe how awful this film is. Wooden acting, contempt for the source material, some of the worst period costumes and armour ever seen in a film and a scrip to bad they could use it for torture sessions... ... Read more


4. Sabrina
Director: Sydney Pollack
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6304044836
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3720
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Julia Ormond faced one of the great challenges of her career when she tried to re-create Audrey Hepburn's title role in the 1995 remake of 1954'sSabrina. Happily, Ormond performed admirably, and while she may not have the same gamine charm of Hepburn, she makes the role her own. In fact, her transformation from mousy girl to sophisticated young woman is actually more dramatic in this updated version. The basic plot is the same--chauffeur's daughter falls in love with the son of the rich household, only to be wooed away by the older brother for business purposes--but it has been entertainingly modernized: The head of the Larrabee household is the strong matriarch (Nancy Marchand); Sabrina goes to Paris to work with a photographer instead of going to cooking school (although that means the wonderful "new egg" scene of the original had to be ditched); David's (Greg Kinnear) character has been toned down and made more sympathetic; and Humphrey Bogart's revolutionary plastic has become the flattest TV screen ever made. Lauren Holly does a fine job playing Elizabeth Tyson, David's fiancée. If you watch this for its own worth--instead of comparing it to the original--this will prove to be a terrific lighthearted romantic comedy.--Jenny Brown ... Read more

Reviews (93)

5-0 out of 5 stars Julia Ormond shines in role played by Hepburn!
Being a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, I NEVER thought I would find the remake as entertaining as the original. But was I ever wrong!

Julia Ormond's transformation to the luminously beautiful "woman of the world" Sabrina, is every bit as believable as Hepburn's earlier transformation. Ormond's chemistry with Harrison Ford is far more believable and charming, as Linus tries to distract Sabrina from her obsessive fascination with his younger brother, David, now engaged to the daughter of a business associate.

Harrison Ford gives his portrayal of Linus the needed humanity that Bogart's portrayal lacked. Linus, in Ford's capable hands, revealed the weight of being the older, more responsible brother, in whom the family fortune rested. Yet, Linus yearned to fall in love, and until Sabrina's return from Paris, and their mock courtship, he didn't believe it could ever happen. I really believed he was falling in love with Ormond's Sabrina.

Ford's Linus seemed genuinely heartbroken when he admitted the truth about the Paris trip to Sabrina. He watched with dismay, as her heart broke, to realize he'd been playing her for a fool during their romance. That's why their reunion in Paris, at the end, was so satisfying!

Greg Kinear's David was also more humane and less calculating, than William Holden's in the original version. I felt David's anger at his brother's deceptive romance of Sabrina. And so his punching Linus was a more realistic response.

I highly recommend this movie to all romantics! It also makes a great date film. A great update of an earlier classic, this film may well become a classic in its own right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, more meaningful/romantic version than original
If you look through the reviews for this version and those for the old B&W, you'll see that there is a little debate going on about which is better. Really, both films have their merits. The original was cute and unpretentious, presenting a fragile Audrey Hepburn in some fashionable clothing (including that absurd gown she dragged through the tennis court scene). But this recent version has the benefit of having a much more appealing hero. Harrison Ford, though he is awkward in romantic roles, is still a far better choice than the clumsy and unattractive Humphrey Bogart. Ford plays the lead, Linus Larrabee, the oldest of two brothers and the responsible (even greedy) one. Greg Kinnear gives a brilliant performance as the younger brother, David, a playboy with only women on his mind. Caught between the two is Sabrina, even more brilliantly played by Julia Ormond. Unlike Hepburn, who presented a shy and awkward Sabrina, Ormond plays the role with not just shyness or insecurity, but an underlying gentleness that fleshes out the character, making her very real and very appealing. Each scene, she delivers just the right amount of insecurity combined with the right amount of emotion, and each line is delivered perfectly. Yet you are never aware that she is acting. The interactions between Kinnear and Ormond have tremendous "chemistry", more so than those she has with Ford. But between Julia and Greg, or rather their characters, there is so much honesty and quite frankly such superb acting that what you are witnessing is not some celebrity actors playing themselves playing a role, but two true actors who make it all look natural. (I know, something Hollywood typically doesn't appreciate.) Their scenes bring a passion and a reality to the film that is rather inspiring -- I'd like to see these two paired again, this time as the lovers and not those who end up "just friends". The storyline is played gently, more for comedy than drama. This film owes a lot to its predecessor, but I have to vote that this is the better, more charming, more emotional and more natural version. The cast of supporting characters is marvelous and expert, including Nancy Marchand as the Larrabee matriarch, John Wood as Sabrina's sensible father, Angie Dickinson and Richard Crenna as the Tysons of Tyson Electronics and a billion dollar merger if David marries their daughter, a physician played by Lauren Holly. Dana Ivey is Mack, Linus' secretary, who has all the funny lines ("We were up to our arms in your underwear drawer. It was like touching the Shroud of Turin.")All the supporting cast do a wonderful job of, well, supporting the stars. The pace never lags, the fun and the drama don't stop. The DVD version has excellent sound and color picture. This is a good investment if you want to see a film that is adult, gently dramatic, clever, and pure pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Movie, Bar None
This movie is wonderful. It takes an already-good plot and updates it -- an Ever After for our classic Cinderella story. The new Sabrina is more self-sufficient, worldly, and her relationship with Linus is much more mature than the variety of relationships portrayed in any movies from Hollywood's Golden Era. It's not that the first Sabrina isn't a wonderful classic, but while that one was classic for its fairy-tale quality, and cute scenes that could never be truly be duplicated, this one meets the demands of an audience who today, wants proof that these are actually two people in love. With Ormond's character, we, the audience, understand and participate in her transition from teenage infatuation to mature love. There are no petty emotional mind-games here, as are so common in Bogart-era romantic comedies.

In addition, the actors themselves add considerably to the movie's success. Kinnear's David matures as well, from playboy to partner, and it is easy to see that his relationship with his brother has played no small part in the formation of his playboy image. Additionally, many of his lines are priceless. Ormond delivers a few ringers as well, including my favorite, when she refers to Linus as "the only living heart donor."

And all this is without speaking of the music. The soundtrack is excellent. The score is classy for its infusion of jazz, yet made passionate by John Williams' unmistakable orchestration. Sting also contributes a haunting ballad. It all fits beautifully into the movie.

Everytime I watch the new Sabrina, it makes me cry. And I'm not the crying type. I highly recommend it -- not as a remake, but on its own merit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy it without comparing it to the original
In addition to this movie I've also seen the older one starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and I found that both can be enjoyed almost as two different kinds of films. Though not without its moments of drama, the Bogart/Hepburn film was lighter, more sparkling and witty, but also a little more shallow. In that movie, I couldn't understand the attraction between Bogart and Hepburn; they never seem to connect across their age gap.

In this remake of Sabrina, Julia Ormond gives a performance that's more mature and has more depth. Once she goes to Paris and grows up, she truly grows up (unlike Hepburn, who is loveable but too childlike). The love that develops between her character and Harrison Ford's is more believable; the movie takes more time and trouble to develop a plausible relationship between the grown up chaffeur's daughter and the billionaire without a social life. In addition to that, it also has witty dialogue and funny moments, just like the original.

1-0 out of 5 stars Genuinely terrible remake of movie classic
This is a simply awful remake of the 1950s original with Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Their roles are reprised by Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear.

Of the three leads, Greg Kinnear (David Larrabee) does the best job. I think he is a very underrated actor, especially after his excellent work in "As Good As It Gets". He even slightly resembles a young William Holden.

Harrison Ford does an adequate but uninspired job as Linus. Actually both Ford and Bogart were both too at least 20 years old to play Linus, who is supposed to be the older brother, not the father. This detracts a little from the romance, which is supposed to be May-September, not May-Decenber in character, but in the original film, Bogarts sheer charisma carried the day. Harrison Ford has many talents, but romance isn't one of them. He's a good performer in action flicks like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but he just has no chemistry here.

The worst of the pack is Julia Ormond, an otherwise fine British actress ("Smilla's Sense of Snow"). She is everything wrong for Sabrina -- I can only think they picked her for her smooth voice and accent, which do superficially resemble Ms. Hepburn's. But Julia Ormond is too old to play Sabrina (she was in her thirties when it was filmed and Sabrina is supposed to be about 20!) and doesn't come across as an ingenue. She is just plain painful in the early scenes, where the costume/makeup people went into overtime making her a frump with mounds of frizzy hair. Later, she is "transformed" with a short haircut but unlike Audrey Hepburn -- one woman who was utterly enchanting and beautiful with very very short hair, a hard look to carry off -- Julia looks just awful. It's an unflattering cut and served only to make her look even more mature, rather than sophisticated and charming.

Much of the delightful, sparkling dialogue has been chopped out, towards what end I can't imagine. Also, instead of going to Paris and training as a chef (a very acceptable modern profession for a woman!), they have decided to make Sabrina a Vogue fashion photographer (despite no previous interest or background in photography OR fashion). Frankly, I think the writers were getting "Sabrina" mixed up with Audrey Hepburn's other great classic "Funny Face", where she plays a frump-become-fashion-model. There is no other believable explanation! This also ruins her Paris experience, which was handled so delightfully in the original. If that isn't bad enough, they have innocent little Sabrina having a love affair, a point which terribly muddles the whole idea that she is a naive virgin pining for David. OK, frankly, not many girls stay virgins that long these days, but Sabrina had a reason for doing so and the additional lover (who is quite attractive) really skews the storyline off course.

As a fashion buff, one of the great charms of the original film is the utterly exquisite, iconic fashions wore by Audrey Hepburn, who was not only one of the most beautiful actresses of her day but one of the most stylish women ever, period. (Both Edith Head and Herbert Givenchy designed her costumes.) Every outfit she wore in the original film is an absolute style classic. Some, like the dress she wears to the Larrabee's party after returning from Paris -- a white, strapless gown with black embroidery and a long swishy train -- are so absolutely breathtaking that the hairs on the back of your neck go up when you see her.

In contrast, the remake "Sabrina" has some of the lamest, plainest costumes I have ever seen. In the identical scene (the party), Sabrina wears a drab, dark green evening dress. Not that Julia Ormond isn't attractive, but there is nothing dramatic or stunning about her appearance that would make every head turn when she enters...it's even more lame when other characters, like Mrs. Larrabee (the late Nancy Marchand, in her last role) make comments about how ravishing she is.

Actually, while the filmmakers were "updating" Sabrina to be politically correct, I wonder why they didn't consider making Sabrina and her chaffeur father African American or Hispanic? Certainly that would reflect the reality in the 90s of what ethnic background servants to the very rich are likely to come from. (How often do you see a British chaffeur, really? Almost never! and why would Sabrina, who was raised in the US have a British accent anyways?) I think an interraccial romance would emphasize the cultural/economic differences between the Larrabees and the Fairchilds in a way that modern audiences could truly understand. BTW: I think Hallie Berry or Jennifer Lopez might have done very well in that kind of remake, and they each have a "star" quality that Ms.Ormond utterly lacks. Well, just my two cents.

At any rate, this is a lifeless, tired and completely unnecessary remake. Do yourself a BIG favor and rent the original with Hepburn and Bogart and try to forget that this bloated remake was ever made. ... Read more


5. Stalin
Director: Ivan Passer
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 6302681634
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17702
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Characterization of Stalin, Bad History
In the past, apologists for Stalin (including many of his victims) said that Stalin was good, but he was surrounded by bad people. This film turns this on its head saying that Stalin was bad, but he was surrounded by good people. Both of these are wrong--the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution and the leaders of the USSR in the period following the revolution were all up to their necks in blood. Robert Duvall gives an excellent portrayal of Stalin, emphasizing that he, unlike his ranting partner in mass murder Hitler, was soft-spoken and basically uncharismatic. Duvall correctly does not use a "Russian" accented English because Stalin spoke Russian with a heavy Georgian accent. Having said this, the historical aspects of the film are very poor. First of all, Maximilian Schell's portrayal of Lenin is way off base. The Old Bolsheviks like Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Ordzhonikidze and Kirov are shown to be basically well-meaning people who got trapped in Stalin's web. This is untrue, they were all involved in mass terror, justifying it in the name of a "higher good". In Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago", he points out what a pathetic man Bukharin really was and how he so freely shed tears for the injustice committed to his person, and yet he had no pity on the millions of others who suffered. At the end of the film, Khruschev says that Stalin's crimes ("the millions" he liquidated) had to be accounted for, whereas,in reality, he himself took an active role in the Great Terror.
The film shows very little of what the effect of "Stalinism" was on the average Soviet citizen, with the exception of a scene where Stalin's wife confronts the effects of the mass famine in the Ukraine. The film does not really show the "cult of the personality". It would have been effective if the film had shown how, when Stalin would enter a hall full of people, the crowd would applaud for a very long time because everyone was afraid to be the first to stop clapping. Similarly, towards the end of the film, we see a physician nervously examining Stalin without any mention of the infamous "Doctors Plot" frame-up in which Jewish doctors were falsely accused of trying to murder top Soviet officials which would explain the physicians hesitancy in examing his famous patient.

In spite of the many faults of this film, I have still given it three stars rating because it is important for people to become aware of what this monster did to so many millions of innocent people and who was supported by millions of otherwise good people, both inside and outside the USSR.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robert Duvall's Masterpiece as Stalin
To tell the truth I would not have recognized Duvall in the role he played as Stalin. Nevertheless he did a masterful job even had the Russian/Georgian accent down to a certain degree. Ive seen this film several times which enabled me to know who all the major and minor characters were. Now I feel I have a better grasp of Russian history during this turbulent period of the revolution and Stalin's reign.
Of course as most films go its not 100 percent accurate but comes close and the viewer will get a lesson of Russian history during the first half of the 20th century. Like the other reviews it hurriedly moves over "The Great Patriotic War" in just a few scenes.
The film will also help reveal that Stalin was worst mass murderer in the 20th century or even of all time which most people assume that honor goes to Adolf Hitler. This is known as the other "holocaust" which is lot less known then the Jewish one of Nazi Germany.
I would highly reccomend the film to any enthusiast of Russian history and see how the Russian people suffered during Stalins reign.

4-0 out of 5 stars History or Hollywood? STALIN delivers an excellent balance
I agree with Leaming. Any time Hollywood depicts history, there are going to be issues of inaccuracy, artistic license, etc. In the case of the film STALIN, this is mostly due to the need to compress about thirty years into less than three hours. The portrayals of the primary characters are sometimes simplistic and inaccurate, but Bukharin and Kirov's characters (for example) are portrayed so as to accentuate the perception of Stalin as a monster (which is accurate). In other words, the truth is adapted somewhat to generate a dramatic foil. Films are never a substitute for reading the real history, but I find that they often whet an appetite when one did not previously exist. The mini-series PETER THE GREAT with Maximilian Schell in the title role is another great example of a film that generated popular interest in Tsarist Russia. SHOGUN, ROUGH RIDERS, LAST SAMURAI, GLADIATOR, GODS AND GENERALS, SHARPE'S RIFLES -- all are examples of films that prompted people to actually read history. So, take the films for what they are -- all in all, everyone who loves history should encourage this terrific trend in film-making!

4-0 out of 5 stars nevermind the "purist" reviews - this is an excellent film
This film is historically excellent. What most reviewers seem hung up on are accents, make-up and costumes. Most comment that it is historically inaccurate but give nothing very specific. The film is a broad overview of the life of Stalin and could never include every element of his life. All the important stuff is there: the Revolution, the power struggle between Trotsky and Stalin, Stalin's rise to power, The great famines, The Great Purges, WWII, etc. The film gives great insight into Stalin and the paranoia that he experienced and how that paranoia influenced the way he ruled over the Soviet Union. Sure, many of the other characters were somewhat glossed over, but the film is essentially about Stalin and what made him tick - not about the intricate backgrounds of other revolutionaries and supporters. If you don't come away from the film thinking what a bastard Stalin was, then you simply missed the point. The way that he treated his family, friends and so called counterrevolutionaries is illustrated correctly in this film.

The end of the film brings up a very important question that I think many previous reviewers had difficulty with. Fact: under Stalin the Soviet Union industrialized to levels never seen before. With industrialization, this could enable the USSR to compete in the world on par with the US. It would also lead to the development of a nuclear and hydrogen bomb, on par with the US. The film brings up the critical question of whether or not Stalin was necessary for the USSR. That is a powerful and thought provoking question that one carries away from this film. Any film that lingers and makes you think has merit.

The history channel put out a video on the parallels of Hitler and Stalin. As I was watching it I kept thinking, "Gee, everything in this documentary is in the film Stalin."

Is it a perfect film? No. Is it historically innaccurate to merit throwing it away? Absolutely not... Robert Duvall does an excellent and convincing job of portraying a monster.

3-0 out of 5 stars Problems abound
To all the reviewers who think Duvall captured the "real" Joseph Stalin, please run to a bookshelf and consult a non-fictional history of the man. The real Stalin does not appear in this sometimes facile, oftentimes inaccurate biography of the Russian dictator. Originally airing as an HBO TV movie, there are an abundance of errors in the script, as well as a host of other problems.

First, the make-up is amateurish and truly detracts from the viewing experience. Duvall's mustache is a clear paste-on job and in several scenes, the left side of the whiskers almost falls off his face. It's comical at times but ultimately becomes ludicrous in the extreme. His wig is also absurd and fake looking. While this might seem a minor criticism, the make up on the other chief characters is equally ridiculous and cheap. The costumes are also inaccurate in many instances. The color of Stalin's uniform at Yalta in 1944 was not yellow, the color of his uniform at Postsdam in 1945 was not blue!

The historical inaccuracies in the movie are continuous. The characteizations are facile, transparent and weak. Of course Stalin was evil incarnate and a paranoid schizophrenic, but the script doesn't bother to delve into the question of why this was so. There is little material about either of his two wives, or his children. All of that is glossed over. Another silly aspect are the abysmal accents that all of the actors

The only reason I give this a generous rating of 3 is because Duvall is a brilliant actor. Though horribly miscast (and made up to resemble more of a circus clown that Stalin), his acting abilities do shine through. But as far as accurate history goes, this movie is a complete joke. ... Read more


6. Legends of the Fall
Director: Edward Zwick
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 0800135954
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3109
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A box-office hit when released in 1994, this sprawling, frequently overwrought familial melodrama may get sillier as its plot progresses, but it's the kind of lusty, character-based epic that Hollywood should attempt more often. It's also an unabashedly flattering star vehicle for Brad Pitt as Tristan--the rebellious middle son of a fiercely independent Montana rancher and military veteran (Anthony Hopkins)--who is routinely at odds with his more responsible older brother, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and younger brother, Samuel (Henry Thomas). From the battlefields of World War I to his adventures as an oceangoing sailor, Tristan's life is full of personal torment, especially when he returns to Montana and finds himself competing with Alfred over Samuel's beautiful widow (Julia Ormond), whose passion for Tristan disrupts the already turbulent Ludlow clan. Under the wide-open canopy of Big Sky country, this operatic tale unfolds with all the bloodlust, tragedy, and scenery-chewing performances you'd expect to find in a hokey bestselling novel (in fact, it's based on the acclaimed novella by Jim Harrison), but it's a potent mix that's highly entertaining. Not surprisingly, John Toll won an Academy Award for his breathtaking outdoor cinematography. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (122)

4-0 out of 5 stars Legend of the Fall
Family values, brotherly love, Legend of the Fall is an epic which depicts every side of both.
Watching this film, it is easy to believe that Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas are brothers and the sons of Anthony Hopkins. The love-hate relationship between Tristan, Alfred and Samuel is almost too realistic. The iron hand of a domineering father who only knows the army way leads to desparate struggles for independence and identity.
Tristin (Brad Pitt) is the middle son, favored by the father (Anthony Hopkins) because of, as well as inspite of, his wild nature. Alfred(Aidan Quinn) is the eldest son. He feels he should be most privilaged, and since he can't get honor and respect from his father, he struggles his entire life to acheive success and out do his brother. Samuel is the youngest son who is looked after by all the family. It is Samuel who brings the woman into the picture.
The struggles of life and death, love and hate weave their way in and out of the story.
Edward Zwick did an excellent job of blending the story with the talents of the actors.
Legend of the Fall is an emotional dramatic ride. The scenery of the remote wildernes is the perfect back drop to support the legend as it unfolds.
I would recommend this film to anyone who wants a good emotional drama with all the twists and turns of real life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Almost Lives Up to Its Grand Title
This is one of the most moving films I have seen in a long time. Believe me, unless you have a heart of stone, you will cry long and loud over the anguish of the two main characters, played beautifully by Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn. Family values are at the root of this anguish, and there are many powerful and engaging scenes. I wanted to give this movie five stars, but it didn't quite live up to the implications of its grand title. The ending was a bit of a letdown as well, although it's an appropriate one for Pitt's character.

5-0 out of 5 stars Legendary
This movie seriously kicks ass. It's been my favorite movie for years and it makes me cry everytime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love It
I love this movie its a wonderful love story, you can watch with your boyfriend, and he'll actually like it!It has just enough action in it and plenty of romance. If you can get it in the Target store its a few dollars cheaper BUY IT ITS GREAT

5-0 out of 5 stars Melodrama at its finest
When people ask me about my favorite movies I give them a quick run down of my top ten: 1. The Godfather and The Godfather part II (tie), 3. The Shawshank Redemption, 4. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, 5. Schindler's List, 6. The Silence of the Lambs, 7. Amadeus, 8. The Princess Bride, 9. Legends of the Fall, 10. Goodfellas. I am always surprised when they laugh at the 9th movie on my list. I can't understand why people think this movie is a joke. Yes, it's melodramatic but it works beautifully. Let me also say that I am not the biggest fan of Brad Pitt. His acting pales in comparison to some of the other fine actors of his generation (ie. Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn). That said, he is perfectly cast in this movie. His ruggedness and wildman image were established in 1992's A River Runs Through It and his role as Tristan in LOTF seems almost like an extension of his role in River. I've heard that Johnny Depp, an actor whose talents I find superior to Pitt's, was originally offered the role of Tristan. I'm glad he turned it down for no one other than Brad Pitt could have BEEN Tristan.

I've always appreciated great acting. To me, there is nothing more entertaining than watching a De Niro, Pacino or Nicholson work his magic. There is only one truly great actor in Legends of the Fall - Sir Anthony Hopkins. In my opinion, he should have won an Oscar for this supporting role. A lot of reviewers criticized the second half of his performance (after the stroke) as being a bit excessive. I thought it was necessary in this type of film.

It was because of Legends of the Fall that I took an interest in acting. Not because of Anthony Hopkins...i know I could never be half as good as he. LOTF taught me that it doesn't take great actors to make a great movie. I thought Aidan Quinn, a talented but by no means gifted actor, was brilliant in the film as the tortured victim of unrequited love. It's my opnion that Quinn delivered a top-notch performance in the film, second only to Hopkins. The scene in which Alfred (Quinn) redeems himself in his father's eyes is particularly endearing. Also, the casting of Julia Ormond as Susannah was a stroke of genius. She has such classic beauty and is wonderful at conveying emotions without speaking a word. I often wonder where the hell she disappeared to.

Finally, I cannot say enough about James Horner's breathtaking score. I first became a fan of Horner's when I saw this movie and I believe him to be the top composer in the film-scoring business (yes, even better than the great John Williams).

Don't listen to the critics. This movie is amazing. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. ... Read more


7. Young Catherine/ TNT Version
Director: Michael Anderson
list price: $89.98
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Asin: 6302025079
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18326
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Description

The story of Catherine the Great, starting with her teenaged marriage into Russian royalty. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Every woman must see this movie!!!
This movie is an all time classic! My best friend and I had first viewed this movie back in 1991 when it aired on TNT. We were glued to the television set for 2 nights in silent awe for this masterpiece! You can't begin to know my excitement when I learned that the movie had now been made available on video. To my great dismay, this version is not the original cut. Although I still consider it one of my all time favorite movies, this version has edited some of my favorite scenes. One involves the hunky Captain Gregory sneaking into Catharine's room when he suspects she is gravely ill. Another scene involves Catharine and her Lady in Waiting- Princess Dashkava. The dialogue involes them discussing Catharine'e recent "meeting" with our favorite Captain. One of my favorite lines is then said," He's the face of a God and the body of an athlete!". The cast is truely noteworthy- Julia Ormond as Catharine-wonderful!Vanessa Redgrave is her usual magnificent self! Christopher Plummer portrays a witty but shrewd English Embassador whose performance is memorable. How could anyone forget lines such as," The Grand Duke Peter could not rule a straight line." Such lines have me still laughing out loud to myself. Brilliant supporting roles from others-and I am ashamed that I don't remember their names-but their characters- The Grand Duke Peter;the Chanchellor- Michael Veronsovf; Catharine's mother Joanna; the King of Prussia and so on.... One of the best assembly of actors in one performance!! Hopefully when this movie is made available on DVD it will return to its original spendor.Until then I will be content with this version as it is truly a treasure!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars An awsome tale of Russia and Catherine the Great
I originally saw this movie the very first time that it ran on TV. I was entranced by it's beauty and history from the first veiwing. Naturally, there is artistic license taken in the film, but that's not the point. The story of how Young Princess Sophie wins the throne of Russia is full of intrigue and backstabbing. It's a wonderful film that I think everyone who can should watch.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but edited version
This is one of my favorite TNT movies, but I was disappointed to find, as was stated by another reviewer, that some of my favorite scenes were cut. I have yet to find an unedited version of the movie. However, the performances are wonderful, the actors are captivating, and the story flows beautifully, keeps you interested and never bored. If you are a Mark Frankel fan, you should watch this movie. We lost a great actor when he passed away. All in all, this is a really good one until an uncut version can be found.

5-0 out of 5 stars There's No Drama Like the Truth
Frederick the Great sums it up beautifully at the end of this magnificent movie when he comments that this "frail, young slip of a girl has won herself an empire, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Against all the odds, that is what she has done." I have always been fascinated by the bold outlines of the Catherine saga -- how she was shipped across a continent as a teenager to audition for marriage into a family renowned for its violence, how she was wed as a pawn of international politics to a strange youth who would emerge a mad sadist with autocratic power, how she survived and, although a woman and not of Russian stock, wrested a throne from the blood descendants of Peter the Great to become the dominant monarch of her age.

But how? And why? Until time travel is conquered, we'll probably never know all the answers. Meanwhile, though, this movie stands as the best "it could have happened this way" presentation of what might have lain behind the momentous historical facts. Even when there is a descent into bald speculation, such as with the non-Romanov paternity of Catherine's son, the speculation is based on a credible interpretation of known events and tracks what many court gossips suspected at the time and some historians have surmised since.

The icing on the cake of an intelligent script in the hands of talented actors is that these guessed-at events are filmed in the actual settings against which the real events played out. Sure, the palace was rebuilt after WWII more in its 19th-century garb than its 18th, and there are a few shots from Peterhof that are presented as being on the grounds of the Catherine Palace. But who cares? The sense of the grandeur of the age and the overwhelming luxury that still cannot squelch shabbiness of spirit remains intact. You'll find few, if any, historical dramas better done than this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Young Catherine
I had ordered this movie used, it was in excellent condition & fast dilivery. ... Read more


8. Searching for Debra Winger
Director: Rosanna Arquette
list price: $44.98
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Asin: B00019GHT8
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27194
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Wine and Whine - Interesting Perspectives
Rosanna Arquette directs this documentary (originally on Showtime) about the problem actresses over the age of forty have getting quality roles. There's a lot of truth told here, but the routine becomes exhausting after twenty minutes. In nearly every scene, groups of actresses (Diane Lane, Teri Garr, Holly Hunter, Meg Ryan Sharon Stone and more) are shown partying with wine in hand and complaining about the big male Hollywood thugs who only look at their tits. To be fair, there is truth to this, but the general atmosphere is a non-ending complaint fest. Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave (both solo interviews) add some needed class with their own interpretations of what happens when an actress reaches a certain age, but they are few and far between. It was also hard to believe that Redgrave cannot afford to retire. Whoopi Goldberg is refreshing with her funny, no-nonsense, laissez-faire observation about the realities of life.

However, the actresses interviewed forget that there really are some women with talent over forty that are working. How about Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchette, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Jessica Lange, Naomi Watts, Gena Rowlands, Anjelica Huston, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster, Emily Watson, Patricia Clarkson, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Bates, Diane Keaton, Annette Bening, Helen Mirren and Sissy Spacek? I like all of the actresses in this documentary, but they are not the best of Hollywood. When Debra Winger does appear near the end of the film, we find yet another interesting take on an 'older'actresses life. It seems to put the entire film in perspective and a surprising one at that. It would be interesting to see a follow-up documentary to hear the responses from the aforementioned actresses after hearing Winger's point of view.

5-0 out of 5 stars Celebrities' Humanity
Rosanna Arquette heads up this exploration of the pressures, choices and sacrifices that female actors face working in the entertainment industry, particularly as they hit 40 and begin being overlooked for certain roles. Debra Winger is the example of a pioneer in this battle because of her decision to bow out of the industry while still in her prime.


Director:Rosanna Arquette
Starring:


Credited cast:
Patricia Arquette .... Herself
Rosanna Arquette .... Herself
Emmanuelle BĂ©art .... Herself
Katrin Cartlidge .... Herself
Laura Dern .... Herself
Roger Ebert .... Himself
Jane Fonda .... Herself
Teri Garr .... Herself
Whoopi Goldberg .... Herself
Melanie Griffith .... Herself
Daryl Hannah .... Herself
Salma Hayek .... Herself
Holly Hunter .... Herself
Anjelica Huston .... Herself
Diane Lane .... Herself
Kelly Lynch .... Herself
Julianna Margulies .... Herself
Chiara Mastroianni .... Herself
Samantha Mathis .... Herself
Frances McDormand .... Herself
Catherine O'Hara .... Herself
Julia Ormond .... Herself
Gwyneth Paltrow .... Herself
Martha Plimpton .... Herself
Charlotte Rampling .... Herself
Vanessa Redgrave .... Herself
Theresa Russell .... Herself
Meg Ryan .... Herself
Ally Sheedy .... Herself
Adrienne Shelly .... Herself
Hilary Shepard .... Herself
Sharon Stone .... Herself
Tracey Ullman .... Herself
JoBeth Williams .... Herself
Debra Winger .... Herself
Alfre Woodard .... Herself
Robin Wright Penn .... Herself
(more)

3-0 out of 5 stars Five stars for content -- whole lotta collective wisdom
I salute Ms. Arquette for doing something original: piercing the facade of the successful actress stereotype and inducing a plethora of fascinating and accomplished women to speak openly about their life experiences. The film works well at a number of levels -- personally I am not AS interested in acting per se as I am in creativity in general, and there was ample interesting material on what it means to be creative, and on the tension between pursuing one's creativity and achieving balance in one's life. Beyond the creativity issue, there is the equally interesting question of how one should approach aging and what growing older means; it was an inspiration and a pleasure seeing so many women who are past their Hollywood "primes" talking about the pressures, but also the rewards, of aging. I suspect there are not many men who would enjoy this film, which is a shame because men face these issues too. But this film is a gold mine of material for women, and particularly female artists working in any medium. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. I only gave three stars because, notwithstanding the good concept and the excellent quality of some of the interviews, the film shifted focus a lot: one second we're hearing about how Hollywood only cares about sex appeal, the next we're hearing how hard it is for an actress to raise kids, the next we're hearing about the challenges of nurturing both an intimate relationship and a career, the next we're hearing about what it means to be an aging actress. And, actually, the nominal subject of the film, Debra Winger, raises a whole separate issue, which is why we even need the outward trappings of success to be "successful" in our lives and creative pursuits. Also, the camera work was pretty basic, and the editing of the piece as a "documentary" could have been much more imaginative. Other than using the scenes from "The Red Shoes," which was inspired, the film was almost nothing but talking heads. A few family photos would have been refreshing, for instance, when Ms. Arquette talked about her mother raising five creative kids and stifling her own creativity. Or some scenes from films in which some of the interviewees had starred. Or any little detail to enrich the film's texture. Although the comparison may be unfair, Michael Moore understands how to make a documentary visually riveting; just because a film is a "documentary" doesn't mean it should ignore the pursuit of "movie magic."

3-0 out of 5 stars Unfocused Documentary Has Still Some Inspired Interviewees
THE FILM starts with Rosanna Arquette questioning herself: "Cannot actresses balance between work and family? Especially after reaching 40?" Well, she says not exactly, but to the effect, and makes her intention very clear with a footage from Michael Powell film "The Red Shoes" (1948). The point is clear, and interesting if you watch the heroine's fate.

SO ROSANNA STARTs her journey, holding a hand-held camera, interviewing as many actresses as possible. Some of the interviewees are her good friends while some are probably encountered at the film festival in Cannes, and agreed to say a thing or two. The film comprises these footages until Rosanna goes to Debra Winger, who Rosanna says, retired from the profession. (But I am afraid that not all people share Rosanna's view that she actually 'retired.')

Now, let's face it. AS A DOCUMENTARY, "Searching for Debra Winger" is a big failure, being too disjointed and having no focus. After all, there are so many actresses out there now, and many opinions too, especially those about their professions, this case acting. It's diversity, which should be treated more carefully.

THE INTERVIEWEES include Patricia Arquette, Emmanuelle Beart, Katrin Cartlidge, Laura Dern, Jane Fonda, Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Holly Hunter, Dinae Lane, Kelly Lynch, Julianna Margulles, Chiara Mastroianni, Samantha Mathis, Frances McDormand, Catherine O'Hara, Julia Ormond, Gwyneth Paltrow, Martha Plimpton, Charlotte Rampling, Vanessa Redgrave, Theressa Russell, Meg Ryan, Ally Sheedy, Hilary Shephard-Turner, Sharon Stone, Tracy Ullman, JoBeth Williams, Debra Winger, Alfre Woodard, and Robin Wright Penn. I don't know why, but Roger Ebert pops up, saying very unique things about one Angelina Jolie film. (Come on, Roger, you must be kidding, right?)

SOME OF THE INTERVIEWEES are very inspired, giving us insights into the business with humor and charms. You see Frances McDormand, and you understand her good-natured personality instantly. Or look at Charlotte Rampling (who appears with Katrin Cartlidge), and how she dresses herself. She is gorgeous, as seen in "Under the Sand" and her fashion sense! And we miss late Katrin Cartlidge, who shows her amiable down-to-earth personality. What is regrettable is that the time alloted to them (or some others) are too short. Why did they decide to include Roger Ebert?

And if you say that actress's job gets harder after 40 (and I do not disagree), OK, where are those people? I mean, Streep, Weaver, Keaton, Close, Sarandon, and so on and on? On the UK side, how about Denti or Mirren? Or another Redgrave? On French side, how about Moreau or Deneuve? Rosanna must have approached to them, and if they declined interview, why did they? Because they think differently? Or just too busy? But if busy, Rossana's argument (about the profession) is no longer valid. I kept on thinking about it, and the idea certainly weakens the impact of the film's contents.

You might, moreover, still hate some of the interviewees, who give too strong opinions. SOme of them are not convincing, and some are downright irritating. At least Rosanna Arquette should be prasied for inducing them to be honest, and whether you like it or not, what they say before the camera is never boring.

The film is interesting to see regardless of the director's intentions, which gets blurred as the film goes on. Too many talks are gathered to support one coherent idea, but the interviews themselves are always fascinating.

1-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Jamie Cantwell
Until I saw this movie, I never knew just how tough things are for these incredibly beautiful, internationally famous multi-millionaires. ... Read more


9. Young Catherine
Director: Michael Anderson
list price: $79.98
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Asin: 6302025192
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 39789
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Every woman must see this movie!!!
This movie is an all time classic! My best friend and I had first viewed this movie back in 1991 when it aired on TNT. We were glued to the television set for 2 nights in silent awe for this masterpiece! You can't begin to know my excitement when I learned that the movie had now been made available on video. To my great dismay, this version is not the original cut. Although I still consider it one of my all time favorite movies, this version has edited some of my favorite scenes. One involves the hunky Captain Gregory sneaking into Catharine's room when he suspects she is gravely ill. Another scene involves Catharine and her Lady in Waiting- Princess Dashkava. The dialogue involes them discussing Catharine'e recent "meeting" with our favorite Captain. One of my favorite lines is then said," He's the face of a God and the body of an athlete!". The cast is truely noteworthy- Julia Ormond as Catharine-wonderful!Vanessa Redgrave is her usual magnificent self! Christopher Plummer portrays a witty but shrewd English Embassador whose performance is memorable. How could anyone forget lines such as," The Grand Duke Peter could not rule a straight line." Such lines have me still laughing out loud to myself. Brilliant supporting roles from others-and I am ashamed that I don't remember their names-but their characters- The Grand Duke Peter;the Chanchellor- Michael Veronsovf; Catharine's mother Joanna; the King of Prussia and so on.... One of the best assembly of actors in one performance!! Hopefully when this movie is made available on DVD it will return to its original spendor.Until then I will be content with this version as it is truly a treasure!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars An awsome tale of Russia and Catherine the Great
I originally saw this movie the very first time that it ran on TV. I was entranced by it's beauty and history from the first veiwing. Naturally, there is artistic license taken in the film, but that's not the point. The story of how Young Princess Sophie wins the throne of Russia is full of intrigue and backstabbing. It's a wonderful film that I think everyone who can should watch.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but edited version
This is one of my favorite TNT movies, but I was disappointed to find, as was stated by another reviewer, that some of my favorite scenes were cut. I have yet to find an unedited version of the movie. However, the performances are wonderful, the actors are captivating, and the story flows beautifully, keeps you interested and never bored. If you are a Mark Frankel fan, you should watch this movie. We lost a great actor when he passed away. All in all, this is a really good one until an uncut version can be found.

5-0 out of 5 stars There's No Drama Like the Truth
Frederick the Great sums it up beautifully at the end of this magnificent movie when he comments that this "frail, young slip of a girl has won herself an empire, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Against all the odds, that is what she has done." I have always been fascinated by the bold outlines of the Catherine saga -- how she was shipped across a continent as a teenager to audition for marriage into a family renowned for its violence, how she was wed as a pawn of international politics to a strange youth who would emerge a mad sadist with autocratic power, how she survived and, although a woman and not of Russian stock, wrested a throne from the blood descendants of Peter the Great to become the dominant monarch of her age.

But how? And why? Until time travel is conquered, we'll probably never know all the answers. Meanwhile, though, this movie stands as the best "it could have happened this way" presentation of what might have lain behind the momentous historical facts. Even when there is a descent into bald speculation, such as with the non-Romanov paternity of Catherine's son, the speculation is based on a credible interpretation of known events and tracks what many court gossips suspected at the time and some historians have surmised since.

The icing on the cake of an intelligent script in the hands of talented actors is that these guessed-at events are filmed in the actual settings against which the real events played out. Sure, the palace was rebuilt after WWII more in its 19th-century garb than its 18th, and there are a few shots from Peterhof that are presented as being on the grounds of the Catherine Palace. But who cares? The sense of the grandeur of the age and the overwhelming luxury that still cannot squelch shabbiness of spirit remains intact. You'll find few, if any, historical dramas better done than this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Young Catherine
I had ordered this movie used, it was in excellent condition & fast dilivery. ... Read more


10. Sabrina
Director: Sydney Pollack
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
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Asin: B00003GPHH
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 33176
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (93)

5-0 out of 5 stars Julia Ormond shines in role played by Hepburn!
Being a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, I NEVER thought I would find the remake as entertaining as the original. But was I ever wrong!

Julia Ormond's transformation to the luminously beautiful "woman of the world" Sabrina, is every bit as believable as Hepburn's earlier transformation. Ormond's chemistry with Harrison Ford is far more believable and charming, as Linus tries to distract Sabrina from her obsessive fascination with his younger brother, David, now engaged to the daughter of a business associate.

Harrison Ford gives his portrayal of Linus the needed humanity that Bogart's portrayal lacked. Linus, in Ford's capable hands, revealed the weight of being the older, more responsible brother, in whom the family fortune rested. Yet, Linus yearned to fall in love, and until Sabrina's return from Paris, and their mock courtship, he didn't believe it could ever happen. I really believed he was falling in love with Ormond's Sabrina.

Ford's Linus seemed genuinely heartbroken when he admitted the truth about the Paris trip to Sabrina. He watched with dismay, as her heart broke, to realize he'd been playing her for a fool during their romance. That's why their reunion in Paris, at the end, was so satisfying!

Greg Kinear's David was also more humane and less calculating, than William Holden's in the original version. I felt David's anger at his brother's deceptive romance of Sabrina. And so his punching Linus was a more realistic response.

I highly recommend this movie to all romantics! It also makes a great date film. A great update of an earlier classic, this film may well become a classic in its own right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, more meaningful/romantic version than original
If you look through the reviews for this version and those for the old B&W, you'll see that there is a little debate going on about which is better. Really, both films have their merits. The original was cute and unpretentious, presenting a fragile Audrey Hepburn in some fashionable clothing (including that absurd gown she dragged through the tennis court scene). But this recent version has the benefit of having a much more appealing hero. Harrison Ford, though he is awkward in romantic roles, is still a far better choice than the clumsy and unattractive Humphrey Bogart. Ford plays the lead, Linus Larrabee, the oldest of two brothers and the responsible (even greedy) one. Greg Kinnear gives a brilliant performance as the younger brother, David, a playboy with only women on his mind. Caught between the two is Sabrina, even more brilliantly played by Julia Ormond. Unlike Hepburn, who presented a shy and awkward Sabrina, Ormond plays the role with not just shyness or insecurity, but an underlying gentleness that fleshes out the character, making her very real and very appealing. Each scene, she delivers just the right amount of insecurity combined with the right amount of emotion, and each line is delivered perfectly. Yet you are never aware that she is acting. The interactions between Kinnear and Ormond have tremendous "chemistry", more so than those she has with Ford. But between Julia and Greg, or rather their characters, there is so much honesty and quite frankly such superb acting that what you are witnessing is not some celebrity actors playing themselves playing a role, but two true actors who make it all look natural. (I know, something Hollywood typically doesn't appreciate.) Their scenes bring a passion and a reality to the film that is rather inspiring -- I'd like to see these two paired again, this time as the lovers and not those who end up "just friends". The storyline is played gently, more for comedy than drama. This film owes a lot to its predecessor, but I have to vote that this is the better, more charming, more emotional and more natural version. The cast of supporting characters is marvelous and expert, including Nancy Marchand as the Larrabee matriarch, John Wood as Sabrina's sensible father, Angie Dickinson and Richard Crenna as the Tysons of Tyson Electronics and a billion dollar merger if David marries their daughter, a physician played by Lauren Holly. Dana Ivey is Mack, Linus' secretary, who has all the funny lines ("We were up to our arms in your underwear drawer. It was like touching the Shroud of Turin.")All the supporting cast do a wonderful job of, well, supporting the stars. The pace never lags, the fun and the drama don't stop. The DVD version has excellent sound and color picture. This is a good investment if you want to see a film that is adult, gently dramatic, clever, and pure pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Movie, Bar None
This movie is wonderful. It takes an already-good plot and updates it -- an Ever After for our classic Cinderella story. The new Sabrina is more self-sufficient, worldly, and her relationship with Linus is much more mature than the variety of relationships portrayed in any movies from Hollywood's Golden Era. It's not that the first Sabrina isn't a wonderful classic, but while that one was classic for its fairy-tale quality, and cute scenes that could never be truly be duplicated, this one meets the demands of an audience who today, wants proof that these are actually two people in love. With Ormond's character, we, the audience, understand and participate in her transition from teenage infatuation to mature love. There are no petty emotional mind-games here, as are so common in Bogart-era romantic comedies.

In addition, the actors themselves add considerably to the movie's success. Kinnear's David matures as well, from playboy to partner, and it is easy to see that his relationship with his brother has played no small part in the formation of his playboy image. Additionally, many of his lines are priceless. Ormond delivers a few ringers as well, including my favorite, when she refers to Linus as "the only living heart donor."

And all this is without speaking of the music. The soundtrack is excellent. The score is classy for its infusion of jazz, yet made passionate by John Williams' unmistakable orchestration. Sting also contributes a haunting ballad. It all fits beautifully into the movie.

Everytime I watch the new Sabrina, it makes me cry. And I'm not the crying type. I highly recommend it -- not as a remake, but on its own merit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy it without comparing it to the original
In addition to this movie I've also seen the older one starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and I found that both can be enjoyed almost as two different kinds of films. Though not without its moments of drama, the Bogart/Hepburn film was lighter, more sparkling and witty, but also a little more shallow. In that movie, I couldn't understand the attraction between Bogart and Hepburn; they never seem to connect across their age gap.

In this remake of Sabrina, Julia Ormond gives a performance that's more mature and has more depth. Once she goes to Paris and grows up, she truly grows up (unlike Hepburn, who is loveable but too childlike). The love that develops between her character and Harrison Ford's is more believable; the movie takes more time and trouble to develop a plausible relationship between the grown up chaffeur's daughter and the billionaire without a social life. In addition to that, it also has witty dialogue and funny moments, just like the original.

1-0 out of 5 stars Genuinely terrible remake of movie classic
This is a simply awful remake of the 1950s original with Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Their roles are reprised by Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear.

Of the three leads, Greg Kinnear (David Larrabee) does the best job. I think he is a very underrated actor, especially after his excellent work in "As Good As It Gets". He even slightly resembles a young William Holden.

Harrison Ford does an adequate but uninspired job as Linus. Actually both Ford and Bogart were both too at least 20 years old to play Linus, who is supposed to be the older brother, not the father. This detracts a little from the romance, which is supposed to be May-September, not May-Decenber in character, but in the original film, Bogarts sheer charisma carried the day. Harrison Ford has many talents, but romance isn't one of them. He's a good performer in action flicks like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but he just has no chemistry here.

The worst of the pack is Julia Ormond, an otherwise fine British actress ("Smilla's Sense of Snow"). She is everything wrong for Sabrina -- I can only think they picked her for her smooth voice and accent, which do superficially resemble Ms. Hepburn's. But Julia Ormond is too old to play Sabrina (she was in her thirties when it was filmed and Sabrina is supposed to be about 20!) and doesn't come across as an ingenue. She is just plain painful in the early scenes, where the costume/makeup people went into overtime making her a frump with mounds of frizzy hair. Later, she is "transformed" with a short haircut but unlike Audrey Hepburn -- one woman who was utterly enchanting and beautiful with very very short hair, a hard look to carry off -- Julia looks just awful. It's an unflattering cut and served only to make her look even more mature, rather than sophisticated and charming.

Much of the delightful, sparkling dialogue has been chopped out, towards what end I can't imagine. Also, instead of going to Paris and training as a chef (a very acceptable modern profession for a woman!), they have decided to make Sabrina a Vogue fashion photographer (despite no previous interest or background in photography OR fashion). Frankly, I think the writers were getting "Sabrina" mixed up with Audrey Hepburn's other great classic "Funny Face", where she plays a frump-become-fashion-model. There is no other believable explanation! This also ruins her Paris experience, which was handled so delightfully in the original. If that isn't bad enough, they have innocent little Sabrina having a love affair, a point which terribly muddles the whole idea that she is a naive virgin pining for David. OK, frankly, not many girls stay virgins that long these days, but Sabrina had a reason for doing so and the additional lover (who is quite attractive) really skews the storyline off course.

As a fashion buff, one of the great charms of the original film is the utterly exquisite, iconic fashions wore by Audrey Hepburn, who was not only one of the most beautiful actresses of her day but one of the most stylish women ever, period. (Both Edith Head and Herbert Givenchy designed her costumes.) Every outfit she wore in the original film is an absolute style classic. Some, like the dress she wears to the Larrabee's party after returning from Paris -- a white, strapless gown with black embroidery and a long swishy train -- are so absolutely breathtaking that the hairs on the back of your neck go up when you see her.

In contrast, the remake "Sabrina" has some of the lamest, plainest costumes I have ever seen. In the identical scene (the party), Sabrina wears a drab, dark green evening dress. Not that Julia Ormond isn't attractive, but there is nothing dramatic or stunning about her appearance that would make every head turn when she enters...it's even more lame when other characters, like Mrs. Larrabee (the late Nancy Marchand, in her last role) make comments about how ravishing she is.

Actually, while the filmmakers were "updating" Sabrina to be politically correct, I wonder why they didn't consider making Sabrina and her chaffeur father African American or Hispanic? Certainly that would reflect the reality in the 90s of what ethnic background servants to the very rich are likely to come from. (How often do you see a British chaffeur, really? Almost never! and why would Sabrina, who was raised in the US have a British accent anyways?) I think an interraccial romance would emphasize the cultural/economic differences between the Larrabees and the Fairchilds in a way that modern audiences could truly understand. BTW: I think Hallie Berry or Jennifer Lopez might have done very well in that kind of remake, and they each have a "star" quality that Ms.Ormond utterly lacks. Well, just my two cents.

At any rate, this is a lifeless, tired and completely unnecessary remake. Do yourself a BIG favor and rent the original with Hepburn and Bogart and try to forget that this bloated remake was ever made. ... Read more


11. Nostradamus
Director: Roger Christian
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B00004WIBB
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 32449
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Michel de Nostradame, "ladies man"..........
Gee, it seems all reviews up to this date I write have COMPLETELY MISSED the "obvious", and that being~

Tcheky Karyo's "Michel" is not only a "hipster-saint" mystic of those dreadful Dark Ages( but are not we are currently in a NEW DARK AGES ,"imo"...), but the ladies just can not seem to get their hands OFF our bearded stalwart "Nosti", no he is ONE HOT ITEM !
(And WHAT a cast of ladies, Julie Armond, Assumpta Serna, Maja Morgenstern,gee , even Amanda Plummer as "the Queenie" is as interesting as the other 3 mentioned are lovely).They all "dig" our boy , they were the original "groupies".

My mind was continually distracted from a quite enjoyable "historical fiction" account of the life of this legendary and enigmatic "prognosticator"~~he was NOT a "procrastinator" when it came to a bit of "back to the castle bedroom for some bouncy-bouncy". Would this "Movie Nosti" turn down a trip to the sack??(is there an alligator that would refuse the corpse???) Grrrr,"have at it", Michel !!

Our beloved (and overly medicated)"Don Juan" de Nostradame even had second thoughts when he gets a proposal from one of his aging female patients *whilst*(isnt that how they said that word then, hehe!)his hand was checking in vicinity of her mammalian apparatus for swollen lymph nodes from PLAGUE!

Excellent performances by all, great "period-piece " costumes, "medieval" soundtrack and empassioned performances, even if a bit OVER THE TOP.

A thouroughly delightful movie not meant to reveal any "truths", but should spur interest to discover the "historical" Nostradamus and just sit back and enjoy this emminently watchable film....

5-0 out of 5 stars Shows a very human man with great prophetic powers
This is one of the best movies I have seen on him. It was highly enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone wanting to add to their Nostradamus collection. This is one not to pass up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth watching,slightly sensational.
Not a bad movie , especially for those who find the history channel too dry. It weaves the base truth of his life and loves into a palatable mix of history and dramatization.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nostradamus: Honest Attempt at Interest Falls Flat
The prophecies of the 16th century seer Nostradamus have tantalized his supporters for centuries. Those who believe in him tout his accurate predictions. Those who doubt him point to the vagueness of those predictions that can be interpreted in more than one way. Director Roger Christian is unclear whether he wanted to present a documentary of the life of Nostradamus or a traditional film with plot, theme, and characterization. What the viewer gets in NOSTRADAMUS is some unsatisfactory hybrid that bounces from scene to scene with little to tie them together. Tcheky Karyo plays the lead as one who is only too well aware of the mystical nature of a prophet who sees visions of far flung events. Every five minutes or so, Nostradamus looks into a small pot of water that mysteriously bubbles and forms visions that look suspiciously like film clips of nuclear blasts, the Kennedy assassination, Nazis marching, and a wickedly smiling Saddam Hussein. Now I have no problem with the film's premise that one man could have preternatural powers of divination, but if I see a vision that I know is historical fact, then I expect the director to do more with that vision than merely use it to drum up charges by the Holy Inquisition about heresy. Unfortunately, with each passing vision, there is no accompanying reverberation and the film stops dead in its tracks. After three or four visions, I wanted to grab Nostradamus and shout: 'Do something with this vision!' F. Murray Abraham at least adds some emotional pop with his warnings to Nostradamus not to publicize his visions. The other supporting characters have little to do but react predictably to these visions. By the end, all I could take away was the limited knowledge that some guy in history saw weird things but did not use this weirdness in any meaningful way. A movie is supposed to do more than that.

1-0 out of 5 stars Egregious
Who produced this movie, a Wiccan? The ugliest anti-Christian (particularly anti-Catholic) diatribe ever brought to the screen, "Nostradamus" succeeds in being equally offensive in every other aspect, as well. The physician Nostradamus is portrayed as a trendy earth-friendly herbalist; the mystic Nostradamus is depicted as a Timothy Leary of yesterday, whose visions are "enhanced" by the taking of the 16th century's equivalent of LSD. The completely gratuitous sex scenes are to laugh, as they are always accompanied by a golden glow and Gregorian chants, or some unreasonable facsimile thereof. And the pretentious, obscure ending -- one either sits there jaw agape or one bursts into loud guffaws.

Oh, avoid at all costs. ... Read more


12. Smilla's Sense of Snow
Director: Bille August
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: 0793941806
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15655
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted mystery when taken on its own merit . . .
When a young Inuit boy mysteriously falls to his death from the roof of an apartment building in Copenhagen, his neighbor (Julia Ormond) sets out to solve the puzzle armed only with the suspicion that his demise was not accidental -- a suspicion arisen from her singular impression of his footprints in the snow. With the help of another neighbor, known only as "the Mechanic" (Gabriel Byrne), Smilla takes on the head of a major mining corporation (Richard Harris) as well as the local authorities in order to put the boy's soul at peace.

If the vehement disdain that its critics have heaped upon it is any indication, then this movie may be a severe disappointment to those who have read the novel -- not too surprising since most movies so based are never as good as the book and vice versa. But whereas films of this nature will usually give viewers far too much information initially, leaving only a story line already surmised to plod resolutely to its conclusion, Smilla metes out the details sparingly. We discover new information only when the characters do and are blissfully kept in the dark about exactly what has happened and why until the very end. Due primarily to a superb story line as well as some noteworthy performances from its principal cast members, the movie grabs our attention from the outset and commands it throughout.

Smilla herself comes across as a complex, intelligent, and resourceful woman (a comparative oddity in films today) although she is a self-confessed loner and perhaps not the most pleasant of people. But by far the most compelling character turns out to be that of the Mechanic. Just as we begin to believe that he is trustworthy, one action after another sends us (and Smilla) back to our initial assumption that this is one ambiguous guy with plenty of secrets to hide himself. Yet we fall for his stuttering innocence over and over again.

Despite a few cheesy lines and some minor inconsistencies, when taken on its own merit "Smilla's Sense of Snow" is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted mystery -- one well-worth watching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Dramatic Thriller
Based on Peter Hoeg's book (which I haven't read, so I can't compare the two), "Smilla's Sense of Snow" follows Smilla Jaspersen (played by Julia Ormond, one of my favorite actresses), an almost soulless, hard-as-nails half-Inuit, living in Copenhagen, Denmark. One day she returns to her apartment complex to find her 6-year-old neighbor dead due to a tragic "accident," which she spends the entire movie trying to uncover. Her other neighbor (played by Gabriel Byrne) tags along after her like a sad puppy, later becoming her sidekick and lover when her life is almost snuffed out by the men she's trailing. But, even then, she doesn't completely trust him.

I have to admit: when I first saw "Smilla's Sense of Snow" several years ago, I didn't like it as much as I do now, mainly because I wasn't paying too much attention to it, and was confused and irritated by the X-files-like ending. But after watching it again from beginning to end, it's become one of my favorite movies. I loved the cold Danish/Greenlandic setting (just in time for Christmas) and was impressed by the performances and characters in this movie, Julia/Smilla especially. This is certainly one I'd recommend if you're looking for a good dramatic thriller to watch. Rated "R" for language, some violence, and a sex scene.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ormond is the best thing in uneven, but satisfying drama
The title has to do with how Smilla Jasperson has a knowing sense about snow the same way some people have a sense about God, as she tells former Greenland Mining accountant Elsa Lubing when investigating the death of Isaiah, a six-year Greenlander boy Smilla played with and cared about. According to Copenhagen police report, Isaiah fell to his death from the roof of the apartment building she lives in. Smilla, examining the boy's footprints, is convinced that it was murder, not an accident, and investigates.

She's not very sociable otherwise. In flashbacks, she initially refuses to let Isaiah in to read to him, and even bluntly tells him he stinks. The next scene has her giving him a bath. Isaiah's mother Juliane is very neglecting of her offspring, often drunk and having parties. Smilla spent time reading stories to Isaiah, and the latter feels a connection because Smilla is part-Greenlander on her late mother's side.

She is automatically suspicious and hostile to a neighbour of hers, a man billed as the Mechanic, who is attracted to her. At one time, he asks her why her tongue is so rough. She shoots back with "I try to be rough all over" before leaving. The Mechanic also claims to have cared for Isaiah, and wants to help her, but she is reluctant. It doesn't help matters that she has a checkered past, and the police try to use that, and exploiting her claustrophobia to get her to mind her own business. As she spent her childhood in Greenland, being used to the wide open spaces, her personal hell is being locked up in tiny spaces.

Her moment of philosophy comes when she tells the Mechanic why mathematics is like human life. The positive integers are the numbers of a child, but longing comes when his/her consciousness expands and fills with longing. Negative numbers thus become the equation for longing-"the formalization of the feeling that you're missing something." And fractions represent the spaces in between stones, people, etc. Math is thus a large landscape, much like Greenland, where the horizons never end and always recede.

Even her father, a doctor, is difficult to connect with, because he is now married to Benja, an annoying blonde who goes out of her way to irritate her. At lunch, when Smilla asks her father of a suspicious result on Isaiah's autopsy, Benja loudly says she's put off her food. However, her father is patient enough with her and firm enough with Benja to provide a balance, precarious as it is.

Clues lead Smilla to Greenland Mining, where Isaiah's father worked and died in an accident a few years ago, and Andreas Tork, the head of GM. She also puts a Dr. Loyen, the doctor responsible for the autopsy as another suspect. There is clearly a conspiracy or coverup going on. Things go into espionage mode towards the end, and that's where things lose credibility.

As the mostly unsmiling anti-hero Smilla, Julia Ormond gives a full portrayal of someone unapproachable, headstrong, rough with people, regardless of feelings, but someone who wants justice and the soul of her young friend to be at peace. So different from her title character portrayal of the remake of Sabrina. Robert Loggia is the only other laudable character as her father, Moritz. Gabriel Byrne turns in a so-so performance as the mysterious Mechanic. The cold grayness of Copenhagen and the vast snowscape of Greenland add to the forbidding atmosphere of the film, but the unevenness between the slow-drawn investigation to James Bond-like espionage leaves much to be desired.

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated
I mean the movie AND the lead actress. The film is as good as the book and Julia Ormond is sensational.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Silent, This Secret Snow
Though Peter Hoeg's novel is excellent, reading it was more like seeing the film of the
book. With the movie, I felt I was reading the novel it was based on. Hoeg's novel is of
much worth, and without it there would have been no film; many of the finest moments of
the film come from it, yet, the movie was so additionally contemplative, expansive of the
human qualities of the novel, so filled with characters, emotions and events, dark and
lovely, so utterly otherworldly, that it pulled me totally in as the book didn't. The film's
prologue starts over one hundred years ago, with a cauldron of nightmare screaming down
from frosty skies to crash into frozen ice Greenland. It is a perfect opening, for it says
listen and watch; you have never been here before. The rest of the film constantly proves it
right.

Julia Ormond is so superb as Smilla, she made me tremble. How could one not love her,
who does not trust love, this woman of dignity and intelligence, who champions a hurt
lonely child, and all losers and misfits, because she is as they? The film is a celebration of
logic and endless winter. Smilla's mathematical definition of longing is inspiring. I see
magnificence in math now, when never before. The movie could not work anywhere else
but in ice and snow. It is a major character. There are passages in the book that take place
in hot summer. They seem wrong.

It is a delving into something that is so gigantic that one feels the sky is going to be pulled
back and we shall see what is behind existence itself. But it never forgets the little six year
old boy who dies, and the people who surrounded him, hurt him, helped him. To Smilla,
regardless of how far from home, that is not her home, she travels, to her former home,
that is no longer hers, this is the flame in her mind, finding the murderer, because when
someone is killed, their soul is offended, and she wants the child to rest in peace. If there
is one overriding trait in Smilla, it is an intense loyalty. When the mystery is revealed, her
heart still holds the memory of this child above all else, for he remains the essence. How
could he not?

It is a dark world exploration of snow and secrets and a totally unblinking view of real
reality, and how such an injustice to a boy who never got to really live towers above the
unveiling of what nightmare fell from the sky so long ago, and killed a child in the 1990's.
It is of perfect, mathematical symmetry. Snow, ice, expansive wilderness, icebergs and
tundra blend with the warmth of humans beginning to heal, the humans needing all of the
seeming contradictions. It also is about a daughter (Ormond) and father (superbly played
by Robert Loggia) finally beginning to make peace with each other. The film is a tapestry
of the compact some humans make with other humans, so small against such vast lonely
breathtaking vistas, in order to survive . At the top of the world, there is freedom that is

dizzying and ultimately liberating. ... Read more


13. Varian's War
Director: Lionel Chetwynd
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000065B24
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6259
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Description

This is the untold story of Varian Fry (William Hurt), a forgotten hero of World War II. He built an elaborate underground rescue network that managed to save some of the most influential cultural figures of our age. He saved artists (such as Marc Chagall), writers, and scientists. The safe arrival of these treasured individuals in the United States permanently changed the face of American culture and enriched all of our lives forever. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Simplifies the Complexities of History
This movie is loosely based on the life and work of Varian Fry, an American intellectual who went to Vichy France to save European cultural luminaries from fascist persecution and death. The movie simplifies a complex person and situation, and, as such, falls short of the true history. I do think William Hurt does a good job portraying Fry. I have shown this movie to history classes, but found the pacing is a little slow for most high school students (although a minority appreciated the fact that an American also played a role in saving Jews). To people interested in learning more about Varian Fry, I highly recommend Andy Marino's fascinating character study, A QUIET AMERICAN: THE SECRET WAR OF VARIAN FRY. To history teachers looking for good (and appropriate) films to show students on rescuers during the Holocaust, you might consider the RESCUERS: STORIES OF COURAGE series.

1-0 out of 5 stars I was an extra in this film (:>)
I rented this flick n' only watched the part
I'm in.If U blink U will miss me but I'm the skinny
chef in the background of that diner.This flick
might be good but tryin' 2 watch the rest of it made me
sleepy.

5-0 out of 5 stars varians war
WILLIAM HURT PLAYS THE LEAD CHARACTER IN THIS INSPIRING TRUE
STORY.VARIAN IS AT A LOSS AT THE LACK OF COMPASSION SHOWN SHOWN FOR THE JEWS IN EUROPE AND MAKES IT HIS AIM AGAINST
GREAT ADVERSITY,TO HELP A GROUP OF JEWS ESCAPE OCCUPIED EUROPE.
WITH THE HELP FROM MRS ROOSEVELT HE LEAVES AMERICA ON THIS MISSION AND IS HELPED BY A BRAVE WOMEN (PLAYED BY JULIA ORMOND)
TO GET SOME OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS TO
SAFETY IN AMERICA.WILLIAM HURT'S PERFORMANCE AS VARIAN FRY IS NOT ONLY ENGROSSING BUT HE ADDS HUMOUR TO HIS PORTRAYAL,MAKING
THIS A VERY WORTHWHILE MOVIE. ... Read more


14. First Knight
Director: Jerry Zucker
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005ALNQ
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15235
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars criminal
This film is an insult to the viewers intelligence and the Arthurian tradtion. I can not believe how awful this film is. Wooden acting, contempt for the source material, some of the worst period costumes and armour ever seen in a film and a scrip to bad they could use it for torture sessions...

4-0 out of 5 stars Medieval Gere-ooh la la!
I think this is one of Gere's overlooked films. He is very athletic and agile in this movie. The only thing he could've improved was his English accent, which tended to wax and wane throughout the movie. He was far better in this than Kevin Costner was playing Robin Hood with a midwest accent. Another good Gere historical movie was Somersby with Jodie Foster.

4-0 out of 5 stars A visual and romantic extravaganza with an ironic twist
While the film "Excalibur" faithfully portrays the classic Arthurian legend, "First Knight" is a visual showcase that highlights Richard Gere's boyish charm. The 1995 film has impressively elaborate sets and costumes, and Richard Gere's roguish Lancelot portrayal develops that character far beyond legend. Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire") gives a great villainous performance, Julia Ormond plays a warm and dutiful Guinevere, and Sean Connery ("Medicine Man") plays a fatherly King Arthur.

The film's title is ironic. 'First Night' refer's to a medieval ruler's 'first night' rights -- the right to first bed a bride on her wedding night. A medieval ruler (King, local nobleman or landholder) had complete power (military and/or economic) over his subjects' lives, including the right to specify who could marry (whom). 'First night' rights were a recurring reminder of that power, a reminder that medieval rulers' subjects accepted with hatred, scorn and fear. Yet the plot of "First Knight" revolves around the relationship between warm dutiful Guinevere and roguish Lancelot, with a disappointed fatherly King Arthur watching.

Society has changed. The father literally should be 'first knight' to his wife and children, but easy separation and divorce breaks family relationships. The film "First Knight" reinterprets medieval rulers' historical []rights as Sean Connery's noble fatherly ruling style, a style that itself is becoming increasingly rare. In the Twenty-First Century a separated/divorced father's role often is limited to paying bills, a role carrying nobility but little authority.

5-0 out of 5 stars great movie
from action to adventure, to fighting in medeval times! You can't get better! ... Read more


15. Legends of the Fall
Director: Edward Zwick
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004VVNC
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 33939
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A box-office hit when released in 1994, this sprawling, frequently overwrought familial melodrama may get sillier as its plot progresses, but it's the kind of lusty, character-based epic that Hollywood should attempt more often. It's also an unabashedly flattering star vehicle for Brad Pitt as Tristan--the rebellious middle son of a fiercely independent Montana rancher and military veteran (Anthony Hopkins)--who is routinely at odds with his more responsible older brother, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and younger brother, Samuel (Henry Thomas). From the battlefields of World War I to his adventures as an oceangoing sailor, Tristan's life is full of personal torment, especially when he returns to Montana and finds himself competing with Alfred over Samuel's beautiful widow (Julia Ormond), whose passion for Tristan disrupts the already turbulent Ludlow clan. Under the wide-open canopy of Big Sky country, this operatic tale unfolds with all the bloodlust, tragedy, and scenery-chewing performances you'd expect to find in a hokey bestselling novel (in fact, it's based on the acclaimed novella by Jim Harrison), but it's a potent mix that's highly entertaining. Not surprisingly, John Toll won an Academy Award for his breathtaking outdoor cinematography. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (122)

4-0 out of 5 stars Legend of the Fall
Family values, brotherly love, Legend of the Fall is an epic which depicts every side of both.
Watching this film, it is easy to believe that Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas are brothers and the sons of Anthony Hopkins. The love-hate relationship between Tristan, Alfred and Samuel is almost too realistic. The iron hand of a domineering father who only knows the army way leads to desparate struggles for independence and identity.
Tristin (Brad Pitt) is the middle son, favored by the father (Anthony Hopkins) because of, as well as inspite of, his wild nature. Alfred(Aidan Quinn) is the eldest son. He feels he should be most privilaged, and since he can't get honor and respect from his father, he struggles his entire life to acheive success and out do his brother. Samuel is the youngest son who is looked after by all the family. It is Samuel who brings the woman into the picture.
The struggles of life and death, love and hate weave their way in and out of the story.
Edward Zwick did an excellent job of blending the story with the talents of the actors.
Legend of the Fall is an emotional dramatic ride. The scenery of the remote wildernes is the perfect back drop to support the legend as it unfolds.
I would recommend this film to anyone who wants a good emotional drama with all the twists and turns of real life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Almost Lives Up to Its Grand Title
This is one of the most moving films I have seen in a long time. Believe me, unless you have a heart of stone, you will cry long and loud over the anguish of the two main characters, played beautifully by Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn. Family values are at the root of this anguish, and there are many powerful and engaging scenes. I wanted to give this movie five stars, but it didn't quite live up to the implications of its grand title. The ending was a bit of a letdown as well, although it's an appropriate one for Pitt's character.

5-0 out of 5 stars Legendary
This movie seriously kicks ass. It's been my favorite movie for years and it makes me cry everytime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love It
I love this movie its a wonderful love story, you can watch with your boyfriend, and he'll actually like it!It has just enough action in it and plenty of romance. If you can get it in the Target store its a few dollars cheaper BUY IT ITS GREAT

5-0 out of 5 stars Melodrama at its finest
When people ask me about my favorite movies I give them a quick run down of my top ten: 1. The Godfather and The Godfather part II (tie), 3. The Shawshank Redemption, 4. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, 5. Schindler's List, 6. The Silence of the Lambs, 7. Amadeus, 8. The Princess Bride, 9. Legends of the Fall, 10. Goodfellas. I am always surprised when they laugh at the 9th movie on my list. I can't understand why people think this movie is a joke. Yes, it's melodramatic but it works beautifully. Let me also say that I am not the biggest fan of Brad Pitt. His acting pales in comparison to some of the other fine actors of his generation (ie. Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn). That said, he is perfectly cast in this movie. His ruggedness and wildman image were established in 1992's A River Runs Through It and his role as Tristan in LOTF seems almost like an extension of his role in River. I've heard that Johnny Depp, an actor whose talents I find superior to Pitt's, was originally offered the role of Tristan. I'm glad he turned it down for no one other than Brad Pitt could have BEEN Tristan.

I've always appreciated great acting. To me, there is nothing more entertaining than watching a De Niro, Pacino or Nicholson work his magic. There is only one truly great actor in Legends of the Fall - Sir Anthony Hopkins. In my opinion, he should have won an Oscar for this supporting role. A lot of reviewers criticized the second half of his performance (after the stroke) as being a bit excessive. I thought it was necessary in this type of film.

It was because of Legends of the Fall that I took an interest in acting. Not because of Anthony Hopkins...i know I could never be half as good as he. LOTF taught me that it doesn't take great actors to make a great movie. I thought Aidan Quinn, a talented but by no means gifted actor, was brilliant in the film as the tortured victim of unrequited love. It's my opnion that Quinn delivered a top-notch performance in the film, second only to Hopkins. The scene in which Alfred (Quinn) redeems himself in his father's eyes is particularly endearing. Also, the casting of Julia Ormond as Susannah was a stroke of genius. She has such classic beauty and is wonderful at conveying emotions without speaking a word. I often wonder where the hell she disappeared to.

Finally, I cannot say enough about James Horner's breathtaking score. I first became a fan of Horner's when I saw this movie and I believe him to be the top composer in the film-scoring business (yes, even better than the great John Williams).

Don't listen to the critics. This movie is amazing. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. ... Read more


16. Captives
Director: Angela Pope
list price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304252137
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 25149
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant acting by Roth and Ormond
I stumbled upon this video very late one night about two weeks ago, quite by accident. I was drawn in immediately and held absolutely spellbound by the performances of both Tim Roth and Julia Ormond. Since then, I have purchased the video and rewatched it more times than I can count, each time loving the movie more. This is a love story against all odds, a tender, heart-wrenching, passionate love story, of two people drawn together by lonliness, need, and desire. I agree with one reviewer who said this was one of the most erotically charged films ever seen. I have never seen Roth portray this kind of character and, I must say, I have become an avid fan and only hope he will take on more roles of this nature. His performance was riveting, i.e., tender, sensitive, poignant, and very human. I certainly don't mean to downplay Ormond's performance, it was superb as well. The chemistry between the actors was incredibly real, both of whom conveyed so much feeling through their eyes, facial expressions and body language. Since discovering this gem, I have read a lot of the reviews, and I totally disagree with one movie critic who said Roth was miscast in the part. The fact that he does not look like Brad Pitt makes it even more believeable for me. Roth may not be handsome in the classic sense, but he has a unique look, very sexy, intense, charismatic and sensual. This movie touches me deeply, I only wish that the ending had not been so rushed. I would love to see this movie make it to DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Strong Stuff
Wow, I just saw this movie and knew beforehand I'd love it. Why? Tim Roth. I would watch Tim Roth reading "Barney's Christmas Adventure". I don't care what he does, he's an excellent and riveting actor -watching him is like being drawn towards a graviational field . There are few actors with this much soul.
I've always puzzled over the so-called "Beautiful men" who are supposed to have all this sex appeal -they leave me cold. They're all too pretty for my tastes. They look like mannequins.
Roth is so uniquely "Roth" -there's no one else like him- and this gives him a powerful charisma. He's perfect in roles which require him to show off his natural raw energy and earthiness and this role as the tender yet passionate convict is perfect for him. Julia Ormand is also great and convincing as the woman rather stunned by her attraction to someone so unlikely. So much is conveyed between these two by facial expression. A beautifully nuanced performance by both actors, which makes the physicality of their later embrace so much more erotic than anything I've seen in film for a long, long time.
Very sexy in a gorgeous, sensuous way with delicious subtleties -right down to the tattoos on Roth's arm.

4-0 out of 5 stars Captivating Even If Disturbing
I never saw Tim Roth come off so sexy as this -- just loved it (especially the parts nearer the beginning when he is first talking to her across the tables in prison visitors room and then in diners). J.O. is beautiful and captivating on her own --very believable and much too vulnerable. I'm amazed to read other reviews here that saw Roth's character as being so sincere and in love. I did not see him that way. I saw him as short of being truly in love with her -- that he cared for her, probably, but deeply in love? I never got that. He was all too willing to put her in too much danger for one thing. Call me old-fashioned, but in my opinion a man that really cares for a woman wants to protect her. If that component is missing, give him three bright red flags!

It's a good watch though. I found it frightening to see how J.O.'s character kept falling for everything about him, hook line and sinker, ignoring *huge* red flags. Example: She told her best friend early in her romance with Roth's character that she didn't want to ask Roth what he was doing time for, feeling it was invasive. My gosh, whatever happened to the idea of expecting that a man should honor the need for a woman to feel *safe* with him? If he is worth his salt, he won't mind you checking him out and will be glad you did -- because, if he really cares about you, he is going to respect a woman's need to learn important things about him -- especially convicts and people met through personal ads. I mean really! When she finally breaks her resolve and looks it up, she learns he is in for murder -- of his wife.

She is quick to notice that court documents say it was a crime of passion because his wife had been cheating on him. Oh good, she seems to think to herself, "Jusitifiable homicide." HELLO-OOO-OO? Is anybody out there? I don't care what his wife did, violence and murdering her was NOT okay, and NEVER the answer and does NOT make him out to be a "deep, soulful, sensitive and passionate" lover of most women's dreams. It makes him *dangerous*. I'm not saying he can't reform and I'm not saying she can't forgive that about him when he does, but this movie did not touch that. It was as if it was just like OKAY that he murdered his wife. Pleeeeeez.

Now, this does not make it a bad movie. In fact it makes it a very realistic movie, sadly, because a lot of us women keep falling for men who hurt us, and big-time. One shudders to think of how many women in America were beaten by their husbands or lovers this very hour today. To me this is not so much a movie about a tragic love affair as it is about some of the all-too-common vulnerabilities of a lot of women. Women with these vulnerabilities are women-at-risk.

Roth was charismatic, sexy and captivating but I did not see him as a truly loving lover. I don't care how sensual and "deep" he is, when it's not true love it just ain't a love story. Too many things about the character he played showed that he did not (and was no doubt incapable of) truly loving her. It did not torment him what he was putting her through. I never saw him try to resist his desire for her so that she would not be put at risk. Simple caring was missing.

Anyhow, I do think this movie is a fascinating character study -- both watching the film and reading the reviews of it. I suggest getting "True Romance" with Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, who play it like genuine and romantic love in addition to this film so that you can watch a 5-star movie ("True Romance") even while you are in the mood for this genre of film. And besides, TR is one of my favorite movies of all time and never got the marketing that would have clearly taken it to the top of the heap. It's star-studded with so many "favorite" scenes in it that I like to mention it whenever I can and it's on-topic. If you can only get one movie? Get "True Romance" instead!

2-0 out of 5 stars Captives
I have seen Julia Ormond in some good movies and she is a great actress. This is not one of them. Senseless subject. The audio is bad, or the language is not what I am used with, so I understood only half of what they said in the movie. Stay away from this one!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbound
I, like other reviewers happened to stumble across this film. I could not believe how sexual Tim Roth was. I was a little confused by the ending, I'm assuming they continued their relationship. I'm purchasing the DVD today. ... Read more


17. First Knight
Director: Jerry Zucker
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767804503
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 71495
Average Customer Review: 3.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (114)

4-0 out of 5 stars A few complaints...
This is the heart of Camelot, not these stones, not these timbers, these palaces and towers. Burn them all and Camelot lives on, because it lives in us. Camelot is a belief that we hold in our hearts.
-King Arthur

Prince Malagant (Ben Cross), a rebel knight from the Round Table, seeks to expand his empire and take over the lands of Guinevere (Julia Ormond). With her subjects at the mercy of Malagant's evil forces, Guinevere leaves her home to marry King Arthur (Sean Connery) and ask for his help and protection. But en route to Camelot, Guinevere's escort is ambushed and though Guinevere is almost carried away to Malagant, she is rescued by Lancelot (Richard Gere). A loner who lives by his sword, Lancelot is attracted to the soon-to-be queen, and Guinevere too feels herself drawn to him. What follows is the tale of a forbidden love which will bring about terrible consequences which might affect the outcome of the battle between good and evil.

*PLOT* - For those who love anything to do with Arthurian legends, this is a great film. But for those who are finicky about details, this is NOT the film for you! Besides having the legend of Arthur completely altered, none of the other famous characters besides Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinever from the stories of Arthur are present! Where's Merlin, Morgan La Fay, Mordred, Sir Galahad, Lady of the Lake, etc.? And though the Knights of the Round Table are listed in the credits (example Sir Gawaine, Sir Gareth, etc.), after watching the movie you won't be able to put names with the faces of any of the knights! This is in fact one of my biggest complaints with the movie, one of the few movies featuring the Knights of the Round Table and we're not even given a chance to know any of them! And on top of everything, the plot surrounding the romance between Lancelot and Guinevere was a bit too predictable! Lancelot starts lusting after her immediately after their meeting, and throughout the movie there's no real romance! I just felt that it was just a bit too unbelievable. Why in the world would Guinevere 'fall in love' with a man who even admits he has no real honor?

*ACTING* - Sean Connery is the real star of the film. With his Scottish brogue, great acting, and in general possessing the air of a king, casting Sean Connery as King Arthur was simply perfect. (a little trivia, Sean Connery also played a famous king in history when he played the uncredited role of King Richard in Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"). Whenever I finish watching "First Knight", I can't help but think Guinevere a fool to betray Arthur's love. I certainly have no complaints with Julia Ormond's acting. I thought she was marvelous, and she also has a lovely British accent which complemented her role as Guinevere. Unfortunately, as I said before, the romance didn't fall right. And Richard Gere doesn't quite fit the bill as Lancelot. Too American and too modern, and besides that, his acting wasn't top notch. Plus, I couldn't believe he was really in love with Guinevere because love requires respect. Besides not respecting Guinevere's wishes for him to leave her alone, he also doesn't respect that she is engaged to King Arthur. I also thought that the whole thing surrounding his promise that 'Guinevere will someday as him to kiss her' was stupid.

*ACTION* - Ah, the action is what really saves this film from being a total waste of time for movie lovers! Lots of excitement, "First Knight" is full of exuberant energy! The battles are well done, and the swordplay is loads of fun to watch! Though epic battle scenes and swordplay from the "Lord of the Rings" cannot EVER be beaten, "First Knight" is still enjoyable. Best fight is definitely the last part, especially between Lancelot and Malagant.

*PG-13 RATING* - The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and some innuendos. The violence is nothing too gory since the battle scenes are pretty quick. But the fight between Lancelot and Malagant might make some people a bit squeamish. The same can be said about the innuendos, though not bad at all compared to more recent films, the dialogue is obvious and suggestive at times. There is one scene though towards the beginning where parents might want to skip for younger audiences.

*OVERALL & RECOMMENDATIONS* - Overall, what you can expect from "First Knight" are loads of action and some nice swordplay. Unfortunately, don't expect too much to learn more about the Arthurian legends or find a beautiful and believable romance. Other movies I can recommend are:

-LADYHAWKE- (1985) One of the best medieval movies ever made! A wonderful tale with better action and a more beautiful love story. Director Richard Donner and starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. PG-13
-MERLIN- (1998) TV miniseries with a stellar cast follows the life of the famous wizard, Merlin. A much more accurate look of the legend of Arthur. Director Steve Barron and starring Same Neill, Helenna Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, and Martin Short. NR
-LOTR: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING & THE TWO TOWERS- (2001-2002) An epic movie of grand proportions, the best battle scenes ever put on film. And when "The Return of the King" comes out in 2003, that will also be highly recommended I'm sure! Director Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, and Christopher Lee. PG-13

4-0 out of 5 stars A good love story...
First Knight isn't faithful at all to the story of Arthur and the costumes, lighting, and settings were all terribly modern, but the story itself was well done enough that the movie makes up for the rest of it.

It follows the story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and thier journey from the time Quinevere and Lancelot meet by chance as her carraige is ambushed on her way to marry Arthur, through some more kidnappings, a wedding, and a knighthood, to the death of Arthur. Lancelot, who begins as a mercenary, grows a great deal as a character, while Guinevere's struggle to control her feelings for him is painfully clear. Sean Connery's Arthur is the kind of king one would expect of Arthur, kind, understanding, with a rigid set of morals that he cannot break even for his queen. Julia Ormond makes it clear that Guinevere loves both men and Richard Gere's sensitive performance and longing looks tug the heartstrings.

In essense, it is the acting and the love story that make this movie enjoyable. It is a remarkably un-historically accurate movie and there is not much in common, aside from the names, with the traditional Arthur legends, but these old stories are made to be interpreted. The romance of the movie is what makes it worth watching...that a Richard Gere looks really, really good.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Bad
This is one of the most historically inaccurate movies I have ever seen. It is certainly the worst King Arthur movie that I have seen. I can not believe how bad this film is. King Arthur was a fairly young to middle age guy, but Sean Connery is in his 70's and looks like it too. The other Knights of the Round Table were also about the same age as King Arthur, but in this movie they
are of wildly different ages. The acting is generally poor with several of the actors being just plain wooden. The script is pretty bad too.

One of the worst aspects of this movie is the costumes and acting. All of the clothes look brand new and there are a number of instances where clothes that get dirty in a battle suddenly and mysteriously get clean again even though the characters are still on the battlefield. Evidently the actors could not stand wearing dirty clothing. Back in the days of King Arthur, knights wore chain mail instead of plated armor.

The final word: avoid this flick at all costs.

3-0 out of 5 stars Accentuate The Negatives
The legendary story of Camelot and King Arthur has been told, and retold in various incarnations, over the years. Some of them, like Excalibur, and the television mini-series Merlin, were excellent in the way they handled aspects of the the tale. These examples are among the very best and have stayed with me. While I would like to put First Knight in the same league, I cannot, thanks to an annoying bit of casting.

Lancelot (Richard Gere) is a rogue with no ties, no enemies, and no fear-until he meets Lady Guinevere of Leonesse (Julia Ormond). She has promised to marry King Arthur (Sean Connery), not only because his armies can protect her country from evils like Knight Malagant (Ben Cross), but because she truly loves him. But her chance encounter with Lancelot as she prepared to enter Camelot stirs conflicting and powerful emotions within her. Arthur welcomes both into his city with an open heart, little foreseeing how his great capacity for love and trust opens the doors for his own betrayal.

First Knight marks the second time that director Jerry Zucker has traded in the laughs of Airplane! and The Naked Gun films for something a bit more dramatic. His first, was a little "mega hit" called Ghost, therefore his limited track record in the genre was off to a fine start. To be honest though, the main draw for me in the film, was the prescence of Connery, whom I have always liked and Julia Ormand. She made quite a name for herself in Legends Of The Fall. I knew both of these actors could make the most with the material. It's too bad that Gere had to be in the film. He must have went to the same school on how to use a bad surfer dude accent, as Kevin Costner did. This is not something that's easy to forget. It is so bad that it brought everything else down in the process. He makes it difficult to get into the film, without thiking that maybe Zucker is making a comedy after all. As usual Connery saves the day--commanding every scene he's in. Connery, Ormond, and Cross, who makes a good bad guy, are reasons to watch.

The DVD lacks extras. But you have the option of watching the film, in either the fullscreen or widescreen formats.

1-0 out of 5 stars utter contempt for source material...
This film is an insult to the viewers intelligence and the Arthurian tradtion. I can not believe how awful this film is. Wooden acting, contempt for the source material, some of the worst period costumes and armour ever seen in a film and a scrip to bad they could use it for torture sessions... ... Read more


18. The Nazi Officer's Wife
Director: Liz Garbus
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009RXJ2
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17423
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars "hiding in plain sight"
An excellent documentary, with fascinating and at times devastating film footage, this is the story of Edith Hahn, a courageous woman who was also blessed with a degree of good fortune, meeting people who helped her, even among those in the Nazi Party. She took the identity of another brave young woman, Cristl Denner, who went to the authorities claiming to have lost her identification papers, enabling Edith to take the original "lost" papers, and move to Germany with them...and thus starts this incredible story of survival among the enemy. In 1985, Ms. Denner was honored at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, for her bold and humane act.

Produced and directed by Liz Garbus, written by Jack Youngelson, and with a lovely score of original music by Sheldon Mirowitz, it alternates between interviews with Edith (who is currently living in Israel, in her late eighties and looking as beautiful as she was in her youth), the story itself, which is narrated by Susan Sarandon, and portions of Edith's wonderfully written journals, read with much feeling by Julia Ormond. Ms. Ormond's considerable talent has been scarcely seen lately, and it is nice to hear her lovely voice used so well in this film.

This is a powerful account of a very unique life, with rare film clips, and still photographs of images that will stay with you; the one I will never forget is of the early days of the Nazi takeover of Austria, when the Jews were made to kneel in the streets and scrub the pavements, while bystanders watched. Edith has come through the horrors of her life with amazing fortitude, saying that "human nature is not fixed" and that she has "seen good everywhere". ... Read more


19. Legends of the Fall (Widescreen Edition)
Director: Edward Zwick
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0800109090
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 56877
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (122)

4-0 out of 5 stars Legend of the Fall
Family values, brotherly love, Legend of the Fall is an epic which depicts every side of both.
Watching this film, it is easy to believe that Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas are brothers and the sons of Anthony Hopkins. The love-hate relationship between Tristan, Alfred and Samuel is almost too realistic. The iron hand of a domineering father who only knows the army way leads to desparate struggles for independence and identity.
Tristin (Brad Pitt) is the middle son, favored by the father (Anthony Hopkins) because of, as well as inspite of, his wild nature. Alfred(Aidan Quinn) is the eldest son. He feels he should be most privilaged, and since he can't get honor and respect from his father, he struggles his entire life to acheive success and out do his brother. Samuel is the youngest son who is looked after by all the family. It is Samuel who brings the woman into the picture.
The struggles of life and death, love and hate weave their way in and out of the story.
Edward Zwick did an excellent job of blending the story with the talents of the actors.
Legend of the Fall is an emotional dramatic ride. The scenery of the remote wildernes is the perfect back drop to support the legend as it unfolds.
I would recommend this film to anyone who wants a good emotional drama with all the twists and turns of real life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Almost Lives Up to Its Grand Title
This is one of the most moving films I have seen in a long time. Believe me, unless you have a heart of stone, you will cry long and loud over the anguish of the two main characters, played beautifully by Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn. Family values are at the root of this anguish, and there are many powerful and engaging scenes. I wanted to give this movie five stars, but it didn't quite live up to the implications of its grand title. The ending was a bit of a letdown as well, although it's an appropriate one for Pitt's character.

5-0 out of 5 stars Legendary
This movie seriously kicks ass. It's been my favorite movie for years and it makes me cry everytime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love It
I love this movie its a wonderful love story, you can watch with your boyfriend, and he'll actually like it!It has just enough action in it and plenty of romance. If you can get it in the Target store its a few dollars cheaper BUY IT ITS GREAT

5-0 out of 5 stars Melodrama at its finest
When people ask me about my favorite movies I give them a quick run down of my top ten: 1. The Godfather and The Godfather part II (tie), 3. The Shawshank Redemption, 4. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, 5. Schindler's List, 6. The Silence of the Lambs, 7. Amadeus, 8. The Princess Bride, 9. Legends of the Fall, 10. Goodfellas. I am always surprised when they laugh at the 9th movie on my list. I can't understand why people think this movie is a joke. Yes, it's melodramatic but it works beautifully. Let me also say that I am not the biggest fan of Brad Pitt. His acting pales in comparison to some of the other fine actors of his generation (ie. Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn). That said, he is perfectly cast in this movie. His ruggedness and wildman image were established in 1992's A River Runs Through It and his role as Tristan in LOTF seems almost like an extension of his role in River. I've heard that Johnny Depp, an actor whose talents I find superior to Pitt's, was originally offered the role of Tristan. I'm glad he turned it down for no one other than Brad Pitt could have BEEN Tristan.

I've always appreciated great acting. To me, there is nothing more entertaining than watching a De Niro, Pacino or Nicholson work his magic. There is only one truly great actor in Legends of the Fall - Sir Anthony Hopkins. In my opinion, he should have won an Oscar for this supporting role. A lot of reviewers criticized the second half of his performance (after the stroke) as being a bit excessive. I thought it was necessary in this type of film.

It was because of Legends of the Fall that I took an interest in acting. Not because of Anthony Hopkins...i know I could never be half as good as he. LOTF taught me that it doesn't take great actors to make a great movie. I thought Aidan Quinn, a talented but by no means gifted actor, was brilliant in the film as the tortured victim of unrequited love. It's my opnion that Quinn delivered a top-notch performance in the film, second only to Hopkins. The scene in which Alfred (Quinn) redeems himself in his father's eyes is particularly endearing. Also, the casting of Julia Ormond as Susannah was a stroke of genius. She has such classic beauty and is wonderful at conveying emotions without speaking a word. I often wonder where the hell she disappeared to.

Finally, I cannot say enough about James Horner's breathtaking score. I first became a fan of Horner's when I saw this movie and I believe him to be the top composer in the film-scoring business (yes, even better than the great John Williams).

Don't listen to the critics. This movie is amazing. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. ... Read more


20. Smilla's Sense of Snow
Director: Bille August
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056PP1
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 44478
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted mystery when taken on its own merit . . .
When a young Inuit boy mysteriously falls to his death from the roof of an apartment building in Copenhagen, his neighbor (Julia Ormond) sets out to solve the puzzle armed only with the suspicion that his demise was not accidental -- a suspicion arisen from her singular impression of his footprints in the snow. With the help of another neighbor, known only as "the Mechanic" (Gabriel Byrne), Smilla takes on the head of a major mining corporation (Richard Harris) as well as the local authorities in order to put the boy's soul at peace.

If the vehement disdain that its critics have heaped upon it is any indication, then this movie may be a severe disappointment to those who have read the novel -- not too surprising since most movies so based are never as good as the book and vice versa. But whereas films of this nature will usually give viewers far too much information initially, leaving only a story line already surmised to plod resolutely to its conclusion, Smilla metes out the details sparingly. We discover new information only when the characters do and are blissfully kept in the dark about exactly what has happened and why until the very end. Due primarily to a superb story line as well as some noteworthy performances from its principal cast members, the movie grabs our attention from the outset and commands it throughout.

Smilla herself comes across as a complex, intelligent, and resourceful woman (a comparative oddity in films today) although she is a self-confessed loner and perhaps not the most pleasant of people. But by far the most compelling character turns out to be that of the Mechanic. Just as we begin to believe that he is trustworthy, one action after another sends us (and Smilla) back to our initial assumption that this is one ambiguous guy with plenty of secrets to hide himself. Yet we fall for his stuttering innocence over and over again.

Despite a few cheesy lines and some minor inconsistencies, when taken on its own merit "Smilla's Sense of Snow" is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted mystery -- one well-worth watching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Dramatic Thriller
Based on Peter Hoeg's book (which I haven't read, so I can't compare the two), "Smilla's Sense of Snow" follows Smilla Jaspersen (played by Julia Ormond, one of my favorite actresses), an almost soulless, hard-as-nails half-Inuit, living in Copenhagen, Denmark. One day she returns to her apartment complex to find her 6-year-old neighbor dead due to a tragic "accident," which she spends the entire movie trying to uncover. Her other neighbor (played by Gabriel Byrne) tags along after her like a sad puppy, later becoming her sidekick and lover when her life is almost snuffed out by the men she's trailing. But, even then, she doesn't completely trust him.

I have to admit: when I first saw "Smilla's Sense of Snow" several years ago, I didn't like it as much as I do now, mainly because I wasn't paying too much attention to it, and was confused and irritated by the X-files-like ending. But after watching it again from beginning to end, it's become one of my favorite movies. I loved the cold Danish/Greenlandic setting (just in time for Christmas) and was impressed by the performances and characters in this movie, Julia/Smilla especially. This is certainly one I'd recommend if you're looking for a good dramatic thriller to watch. Rated "R" for language, some violence, and a sex scene.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ormond is the best thing in uneven, but satisfying drama
The title has to do with how Smilla Jasperson has a knowing sense about snow the same way some people have a sense about God, as she tells former Greenland Mining accountant Elsa Lubing when investigating the death of Isaiah, a six-year Greenlander boy Smilla played with and cared about. According to Copenhagen police report, Isaiah fell to his death from the roof of the apartment building she lives in. Smilla, examining the boy's footprints, is convinced that it was murder, not an accident, and investigates.

She's not very sociable otherwise. In flashbacks, she initially refuses to let Isaiah in to read to him, and even bluntly tells him he stinks. The next scene has her giving him a bath. Isaiah's mother Juliane is very neglecting of her offspring, often drunk and having parties. Smilla spent time reading stories to Isaiah, and the latter feels a connection because Smilla is part-Greenlander on her late mother's side.

She is automatically suspicious and hostile to a neighbour of hers, a man billed as the Mechanic, who is attracted to her. At one time, he asks her why her tongue is so rough. She shoots back with "I try to be rough all over" before leaving. The Mechanic also claims to have cared for Isaiah, and wants to help her, but she is reluctant. It doesn't help matters that she has a checkered past, and the police try to use that, and exploiting her claustrophobia to get her to mind her own business. As she spent her childhood in Greenland, being used to the wide open spaces, her personal hell is being locked up in tiny spaces.

Her moment of philosophy comes when she tells the Mechanic why mathematics is like human life. The positive integers are the numbers of a child, but longing comes when his/her consciousness expands and fills with longing. Negative numbers thus become the equation for longing-"the formalization of the feeling that you're missing something." And fractions represent the spaces in between stones, people, etc. Math is thus a large landscape, much like Greenland, where the horizons never end and always recede.

Even her father, a doctor, is difficult to connect with, because he is now married to Benja, an annoying blonde who goes out of her way to irritate her. At lunch, when Smilla asks her father of a suspicious result on Isaiah's autopsy, Benja loudly says she's put off her food. However, her father is patient enough with her and firm enough with Benja to provide a balance, precarious as it is.

Clues lead Smilla to Greenland Mining, where Isaiah's father worked and died in an accident a few years ago, and Andreas Tork, the head of GM. She also puts a Dr. Loyen, the doctor responsible for the autopsy as another suspect. There is clearly a conspiracy or coverup going on. Things go into espionage mode towards the end, and that's where things lose credibility.

As the mostly unsmiling anti-hero Smilla, Julia Ormond gives a full portrayal of someone unapproachable, headstrong, rough with people, regardless of feelings, but someone who wants justice and the soul of her young friend to be at peace. So different from her title character portrayal of the remake of Sabrina. Robert Loggia is the only other laudable character as her father, Moritz. Gabriel Byrne turns in a so-so performance as the mysterious Mechanic. The cold grayness of Copenhagen and the vast snowscape of Greenland add to the forbidding atmosphere of the film, but the unevenness between the slow-drawn investigation to James Bond-like espionage leaves much to be desired.

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated
I mean the movie AND the lead actress. The film is as good as the book and Julia Ormond is sensational.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Silent, This Secret Snow
Though Peter Hoeg's novel is excellent, reading it was more like seeing the film of the
book. With the movie, I felt I was reading the novel it was based on. Hoeg's novel is of
much worth, and without it there would have been no film; many of the finest moments of
the film come from it, yet, the movie was so additionally contemplative, expansive of the
human qualities of the novel, so filled with characters, emotions and events, dark and
lovely, so utterly otherworldly, that it pulled me totally in as the book didn't. The film's
prologue starts over one hundred years ago, with a cauldron of nightmare screaming down
from frosty skies to crash into frozen ice Greenland. It is a perfect opening, for it says
listen and watch; you have never been here before. The rest of the film constantly proves it
right.

Julia Ormond is so superb as Smilla, she made me tremble. How could one not love her,
who does not trust love, this woman of dignity and intelligence, who champions a hurt
lonely child, and all losers and misfits, because she is as they? The film is a celebration of
logic and endless winter. Smilla's mathematical definition of longing is inspiring. I see
magnificence in math now, when never before. The movie could not work anywhere else
but in ice and snow. It is a major character. There are passages in the book that take place
in hot summer. They seem wrong.

It is a delving into something that is so gigantic that one feels the sky is going to be pulled
back and we shall see what is behind existence itself. But it never forgets the little six year
old boy who dies, and the people who surrounded him, hurt him, helped him. To Smilla,
regardless of how far from home, that is not her home, she travels, to her former home,
that is no longer hers, this is the flame in her mind, finding the murderer, because when
someone is killed, their soul is offended, and she wants the child to rest in peace. If there
is one overriding trait in Smilla, it is an intense loyalty. When the mystery is revealed, her
heart still holds the memory of this child above all else, for he remains the essence. How
could he not?

It is a dark world exploration of snow and secrets and a totally unblinking view of real
reality, and how such an injustice to a boy who never got to really live towers above the
unveiling of what nightmare fell from the sky so long ago, and killed a child in the 1990's.
It is of perfect, mathematical symmetry. Snow, ice, expansive wilderness, icebergs and
tundra blend with the warmth of humans beginning to heal, the humans needing all of the
seeming contradictions. It also is about a daughter (Ormond) and father (superbly played
by Robert Loggia) finally beginning to make peace with each other. The film is a tapestry
of the compact some humans make with other humans, so small against such vast lonely
breathtaking vistas, in order to survive . At the top of the world, there is freedom that is

dizzying and ultimately liberating. ... Read more


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