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1. Closer
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2. The Bourne Identity
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20. Chancer: Volume 2

1. Closer
Director: Mike Nichols
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B0007P0U6M
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 378
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Four extremely beautiful people do extremely horrible things to one another in Closer, Mike Nichols' pungent adaptation of Patrick Marber's play that easily marks the Oscar-winning director's best work in years. Anna (Julia Roberts) is a photographer who specializes in portraits of strangers; Dan (Jude Law) is an obituary writer struggling to become a novelist; Alice (Natalie Portman) is an American stripper freshly arrived in London after a bad relationship; and Larry (Clive Owen) is a dermatologist who finds love under the most unlikely of circumstances. When their paths cross it's a dizzying supernova of emotions, as Nichols and Marber adroitly construct various scenes out of their lives that pair them again and again in various permutations of passion, heartbreak, anger, sadness, vengeance, pleading, deception, and most importantly, brutal honesty. It's only until you're more than halfway through the movie that you'll have to ask yourself exactly why you are watching such a beautifully tragic tale, as Closer is basically the ickiest, grossest, most dysfunctional parts of all your past relationships strung together into one movie. Ultimately, it falls to the four actors to draw you deeper into the story; all succeed relatively, but it's Law and Owen whose characters will cut you to the quick. Law proves that yet again he's most adept at playing charming, amoral bastards with manipulative streaks, and Owen is nothing short of brilliant as the character most turned on by the energy inherent in destructive relationships--whether he's on the giving or receiving end. --Mark Englehart ... Read more

Reviews (260)

3-0 out of 5 stars Shakespearean Onstage, Mediocre Onscreen
Closer is a convoluted-yet-beautiful love story that is crippled by the impossiblity of the actors living up to the script's demands.Immensely popular with both young and old crowds alike, mainly because it's... well, a convuluted-yet-beautiful love story.One could compare it to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with its massive time-bends and jumps, but one would probably do better not to taint a movie with such incredible acting as Eternal Sunshine with the forced rigidity of this film's dialogue.

The writing is, in a word, breathtaking.It is herein that the deficiency lies.While watching scenes with Alice (Natalie Portman) and Dan (Jude Law), one's suspension of disbelief is so broken, it's as if one were watching their children perform in a play.One is almost convinced that Jude Law is gay, as the only person he has perceivable chemistry with in this film is Larry (Clive Owen).The writing is so dramatic and eloquent that it sounds forced coming from people in such situations as the characters, save one notable exception.

The ultimate saving grace of the entire film is the incredible acting range of Clive Owen, and the chemistry he illicits from all the characters, save Jude Law, whose performance, truthfully, left something to be desired in all of his lines that did not involve him yelling for some reason.Owen's Academy Award nomination was certainly warranted.

Natalie Portman delivers an extremely solid performance outside her work with Jude Law(which amounts to about 10 minutes of the movie), while most of her lines delivered at his side sound somewhat coaxed, yet more natural than most actresses her age.I personally thought that while her character is an excellent portrayal of an excentric with a need for stability, the lines were perhaps fed to her a little too much; it's quite obvious she's not reading her own interpretation of what her character should say.Hopefully future directors will give her the freedom to improvise her character's dialogue.

I'm indifferent to Anna (Julia Roberts) in this film.She proves nothing new, and delivers a fairly sturdy performance; her character isn't really a person so much as she is an object throughout the film, but she manages to personify that object very well.

There is a difference between stage acting and film acting.No one really wants to admit it, but the script required a few more adjustments to suit the move from the stage to film.

All in all, I cannot say that I do not adore this movie.With some more realistic adaptations to the script, this film could have been perfect.As it stands, the movie is still beautiful, through all the small imperfections.A beautifully convoluted love story; a convolutedly beautiful love story, a smart, sexy drama; it's all of the above.I have to recommend it to anyone with a heart that's ever been broken.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 great actors, 4 great stars
This is the story of four people: two men and two women. It souds plain simple, but the story is not so. It is not the typical story of a love quadrangle. It's a story of power, pride, self-confidence and, of course, love.

The greatest and the lowest of human condition. All for love, but all for gaining the higher respect and best appearance in front of the rest of the world.

The story is fantastic but, what to say of the actors? It is not only Portmann to take care. I think Julia Roberts makes her best acting ever. Jude Law is plain correct but Clive Owen is the great discovery for me. It is clear that this is "a film for actors", to show the best of them and they really succeed.

The only problem is that these two facts (story and acting) hide a poor direction and some minor aspects. Personally, I think the producer did the budget and realized he has nothing to spend in such details.

But it is a very recommendable movie to spend the afternoon at home. I saw it in the cinema and I had such a great impression that I hired it to see it again (and I haven't done it in more than ten times).

1-0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Disappointing
I don't understand how anyone could enjoy this film.It was by far the worst movie I've seen this year.In fact, it was so bad that I doubt I'll be able to enjoy watching the main 4 actors ever again.

Although some people feel that watching 4 people destroy each other is beautiful, I find it to be depressing.This movie is about 4 "lovers" who use each other uncaringly, cry a lot, use the "f" word multiple times in every sentence, and who are completely unlikeable.It's like the director thought that having 4 beautiful people in a film was enough.I love a good drama, but this wasn't even close.

The plot is as shallow as the characters.The ending is very silly; we find out information that the film makers thought would create a "Usual Suspects" type of ending, but it all falls flat and seems contrived.Amazon has many better DVDs for sale than this garbage.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mike Nichols at his best...
Genre: Dark Romance

Genre Grade: A+

Final Grade: A

This was a great movie - except it's possibly one of the most verbally sexual movies I've ever seen - but I can handle a little sex talk! There were about, I dunno, eight people or so who walked out of the movie because of the offensive language and sex talk. This movie breaks many barriers and talks about problems in relationships and tries to take a closer look at the raw emotions of affairs. The acting was Oscar-worthy from each person, Clive Owen coming out on top in my opinion. Natalie Portman was amazing as well, and Julia Roberts actually gives the audience something new.

This movie is extremely depressing, and is not a date movie unless you want to walk away feeling hopeless. It leaves us with a despairing look at humanity and our own desires, and the film brings to light things that are normally left in the bedroom or simply remain unspoken. Definitely worth seeing just for the performances (especially the amazing encounter between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, and then later the discussion between Jude Law and Clive Owen), the AMAZING dialogue, and just because of the fact that Mike Nichols directed it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Performances save this film!
This movie is hard to follow.No question about that.Most movies that are adapted from Broadway plays don't fair well on screen unless they're made from the classic playwrights (Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Eugene O'Neill, etc.).Many of the negative reviews here on Amazon.com expecting more action are justified.However, I found the movie to be better than expected.Mike Nichols is one of Hollywood's finest directors.And with four of the best actors around, he does very will with the challenging subject matter.Natalie Portman has become the "Harrison Ford" of the Star Wars genre by breaking out into a great Oscar nominated role.British TV star Clive Owen also breaks free of his shell with his excellent performance.Juila Roberts & Jude Law round out this excellent cast.If you can stay with it for the performances, you'll be amused. ... Read more


2. The Bourne Identity
Director: Doug Liman
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Asin: B000077VT7
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 37
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (431)

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid action/espionage movie that does not insult the mind
I did not see this movie when it first came out as I am getting tired of the summer extravaganzas that try to outdo one another with how many more explosions they can generate than what is playing in the next theatre. Notwithstanding, I decided to give it a shot as I loved the energy and pacing of director Doug Liman's "Go," and also liked the comedic edge and freshness that he brought to his debut ("Swingers"). I was still somewhat apprehensive as taut and original action thrillers are very hard to come by as most current movies couple the violence with buddy comedy elements that take away from a genre that has only been successfully executed by Steven Spielberg in his wildly entertaining "Minority Report". But I digress.

Since I hate it when reviewers give too much away, I will only say that Matt Damon stars as Jason Bourne (or is he?), a barely alive amnesiac with a pair of bullet wounds in his back, pulled from the Mediterranean by Italian fishermen. The scene itself is very exciting and draws you into it's web. Bourne's only clue to his own identity is a bank account number etched on a capsule implanted in his body. What follows gets very complicated and keeps you on the edge of your seat as other summer extravaganzas seem to fail to. Like its summer "cousins", the movie has action scenes, guns, explosions, an awesome car chase (that relies more on execution than on how many cars can explode), a potential love interest, and many of the usual suspects, BUT it entertains and I did not feel like checking my watch every 5 minutes. Is it Oscar material? Heck no, but within its own genre its one of the year's best.

Matt Damon, who I never quite appreciate, would seem to be miscast to play this type of character, but he is actually quite perfect is he tones it down and makes Jason Bourne almost seem like an everyman who slowly discovers that he has skills he never knew he had. The casting department should be proud of itself as it cast Franka Potente (from "Run Lola Run") as the main female protagonist. The actress is not your cookie cutter beauty nor has the marquee appeal that I am sure the producers would have liked to have a "name" for the role; but someone realized that her acting chops and international background would give the movie some grounding as her character is supposed to be a European gypsy woman who I could not see being played by say Julia Roberts.

The director does a great job in both action and character driven scenes and manages to bring excitement to a gray winter European exteriors and drab interior settings. With the exception of the first fight sequence (which is makes Damon look like he has superhero powers) and later what would seem to be a physically impossible shoot out, everything feels real and the violence is not stylized. The story is incredibly well paced and even the smaller roles are well cast. The only exception is Julia Stiles, who I hope was only a victim of some scenes winding up on the cutting room floor, as she's a talented actress who brings not a thing to this movie.

In a nutshell, this movie is about international intrigue and one man's refusal to be a pawn in some sinister, global chess game. Many things feel improbable but never less than engrossing. Also, the basic premise is not played for laughs (which I enjoyed as I am sick of tongue in cheek homages that use humor as a cop out) and the plot (once fully exposed) for once does not involve a "brilliant" psychopath with either a desire to take over the world or get even for ______ (fill in the blank with your favorite cliché). This movie solidly earns its 4 stars as a nice version of what I'd like to see in summer extravaganzas.

4-0 out of 5 stars Action plus romance on the run
Greek sailors find a man floating in the Med sea, take him in, and their doc finds a couple bullet holes in his back, as well as a laser capsule in his leg with a Swiss bank account number. The man recovers, but suffers from amnesia. Thus begins his quest to regain his identity. Only, when he opens the security box in Switzerland, he discovers passports from half a dozen countries, wads of cash in various currencies, loads of cool spy gear, and a gun.
Soon the chase is on, from Zurich to Paris, as our man Bourne enlists the help of the German gypsy Marie (charming Franka Potente) and eludes the operatives sent by his CIA superiors until a stunning conclusion when he returns to Paris.
What I liked:
Great setting details of Europe, especially Paris. There were a number of key action sequences, including a car chase involving a Mini taking on French police, and the wildest stairway descent I've ever seen on film. I also thought Matt Damon and Franka Potente had good screen chemistry. There was also a moving scene where Bourne confronts one the assassins on his trail, the professor, played by Clive Owen in a small part.
What needed work:
The hero with amnesia card has been played before, and I would have liked a little more development of Damon's character other than him realizing he had all these drilled in spy skills. We never do get a sense of his likes and dislikes. I liked the film ending over the alternate version, but both could have been better.
This is a movie I would watch again.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bourne Conspiracy
Okay, I'm writing this because I feel that I've been burned. I just purchased the 2004(?) re-release of this DVD and I was very disappointed. The package describes an "explosive extended edition" and "includes an all-new beginning and ending". I've got to admit that I loved the movie when it was in the theatres, and am happy that it is now in my collection, but I never would have bought it had I known the hype was so lame. The 'explosive' new beginning and ending were NOT, and really add nothing to the movie (I won't 'spoil' the 'surprise' for those die-hard fans). Plus they couch the reasons for excluding them from the theatrical release in some 9/11 mumbo-jumbo that was not clearly defined enough to understand. I think it's just a marketing ploy. If you're looking for a major addition to the original in this new release...please say, "I wasn't Bourne yesterday!"

4-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, Exciting, Spies Among Us!
Robert Ludlum wrote "The Bourne Identity" in the 1980's and it is the quintessential "spy" story. It is a thriller and the characters are so rich and well drawn.

A man is dragged from the sea. He has two bullet wounds and a "chip" embedded into his body. These are removed; the man recovers from this ordeal. He does not, however, remember anything, His name, where he is from from and his entire identity has been lost. He takes the chip and goes in search of himself. In a bank in Zurich he finds his identity- Jason Bourne and several other passports and lots of money. Enough information for Jason Bourne to change his identity whenever he needs to. But what does this mean? It appears to mean that many people are after Jason Bourne, that he has information that many people want or they want this information to die!! Around every corner is danger and there is no one that he can trust. He meets up with two CIA analysts who appear to be trustworthy, but are they really? He travels all over Europe and changes identities at every turn. He meets very interesting people at every turn. His life is full of risk and danger. Jason Bourne is an important person with so much hidden information that he doesn't remember. But as time goes on, the people he meets share some of what he is missing, and he is beginning to put the pieces together. He begins a love affair, and he thinks this is what he has been looking for. Why can't he be happy as a single man leaving the "spy" profession and finding his true love?

The movie stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, and he does a credible job. The action filming is wonderfully done. The car chases and the flights on foot and in trains are very real and I felt I was amongst them. I was part of the action!! Franke Potente plays Jason Bourne's love interest. Chris Cooper is the enemy and as always is a star- a cruel man who completes his job. The scenery is fantastic and brilliant. What I did miss in this movie that was not transposed from the book, is the storyline of Carlos, The Jackal. This is an important part of the book, and is not in the movie at all. Jason Bourne and Carlos have much admiratiion for each other even though they are sworn enemies. This is a significant loss, and the movie does not have the drama, background and richness of the book. This is, however, a movie to be enjoyed- I understand the sequel, "The Bourne Supremacy" is out this week. A Must See. prisrob

3-0 out of 5 stars It Got Bouring At Times.
First off let me silence the critics, Matt Damon was very good in this movie. I don't always care for the " cat and mouse" routine plotted into movies. This movie is not any acception. The pace is very long and dry, and when there is an action sequence, it is very brief. The plot itself is very good, but very herky-jerky. You could get lost if you miss some of the movie. The ending is fair, and I doubt that I will go and see the next segment to this series "The Bourne Supremacy." A fair time filler, but nothing to write home to mommy about. ... Read more


3. Gosford Park
Director: Robert Altman
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Asin: B000066C87
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1466
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (343)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for 14 year old boys?
While taking all those guided tours through cavernous estate houses in England and Ireland (and even a few on the north shore of Long Island), I always wondered what it was like to live that lifestyle. But of course, walking around those still houses doesn't really tell you about the people who lived there anymore than a stage tells you about its actors. However, Gosford Park was a great way to fill in those blanks. The way it pulls you into the world of 1930's English high society and all its pretense and hypocrisy is great. This movie definitely enlivened my understanding of class in old European societies.

The reason Gosford Park has such great insight is the film's screenwriter, Julian Fellows who himself grew up as part of the English aristocracy. Much of what makes this film fun is the idiosyncrasies of its characters and their world that Fellows has personal experience with. A maid and driver stand in the pouring rain until their mistress gets in the car. Servants only refer to each other by their master's name, and they maintain the same hierarchy as their masters so that a duke's servant is treated better by other servants than a baron's. Only married women are allowed to have breakfast in bed; unmarried women must go to the dining room. What a strange world they lived in, especially to someone like me who grew up in a middle class New York neighborhood.

The spine of Gosford Park is, without question, NOT the murder mystery. In fact, the murder mystery plot is about 5% of the movie-if that. It's what's known in film lingo as a McGuffin, a device that helps propel the plot in a story but is of little importance in itself. If a viewer turns to the murder mystery plot for what this movie is all about, they will most likely be sorely disappointed, seemingly like many of the negative reviewers here were.

The key to enjoying this movie is to think about what it's like to live in a society that is extremely oriented by class. What must it take to keep it going? As I alluded earlier, pretense and hypocrisy grease the gears of high society. From scene to scene, we peep around corners and into bedrooms to see characters trying to hide one secret or another. And in the end, we see the unpleasant consequences of this duplicity.

This is definitely not a film that lays out its purpose before the audience. Since the almost 60 characters (for a chuckle, look under product details above for the colossal cast list) each add something unique to the larger picture, and since the audience is usually only told something once, you definitely have to be your own detective. However, Julian Fellows does a brilliant job interweaving these characters into a solid whole, and he definitely deserves the Oscar he received for the screenplay.

Since this is a complex and subtle film, multiple viewings are helpful, but unlike some other reviewers, this is something I really enjoyed. Like a good album, each time with it reveals another layer and increases your appreciation. Robert Altman, the director, says in his DVD commentary (which was boring except for a few insights, but Julian Fellow's commentary was excellent) that the film is "like looking in through the windows of a house, you only get part of the picture at a time." I think this analogy fits nicely, especially since the film is set in a house. Altman also acknowledges what some of the negative reviewers complain about, saying he meant the audience to be left wondering after the first viewing. He didn't intend this movie for the "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" set. In fact, Altman went out of his way to insert curse words, guaranteeing an R rating so that "14 year old boys couldn't walk off the street and watch it."

And of course, last but not least, the acting was great. Gosford Park has an excellent ensemble cast with not a single weak link. Maggie Smith as the snobbish Aunt makes you smile; Kelly MacDonald as the Aunt's young, innocent maid makes you want to give her a big wet kiss (maybe that's just me); and Clive Owen's cool restraint as a mysterious footman keeps you following him around the screen.

All through, Gosford Park is a movie very well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this DVD and watch it again and again....
because you miss most of the film the first time around!

On the surface this appears to be a very formulistic murder mystery. It has the classic setting, 1930's period, an isolated English manor house filled with guests for a weekend shooting party, and all of the servants both resident and visiting. Everybody has secrets, the tension is so thick it could be cut with a knife and there is conveniently one missing from the kitchen. For more than half the film we see motives offered and wait for the murder and yet after it occurs it becomes evident that this is NOT a murder mystery at all!

The film has been compared to Upstairs Downstairs and it does involve the lives of those both above and below stairs, but it is much more than that. The various stories are added layer by layer some, such as the imposter in the servants' hall are obvious while others like the secret abortion are only alluded in a couple of lines. The various stories are, while interesting, not really the point of the film either. This is a beautifully drawn portrait of a way of life that is long gone and will probably never return. Almost everyone has read about or seen depictions of English Country Life in the '20's and '30's. It is a setting that has been used in drama, comedy, romance and of course mystery genres for years but Gosford Park makes it clear that we have only the faintest ideas of what that life was really like. The genius of this film is that it takes all the information that could have been spread out in a PBS documentary series and used fiction to illustrate the same points in a much more effective and enjoyable way.

The cast is huge and filled with actors, both well known and soon to be well known. No one is given such a large role that it becomes their film and yet each performer manages to turn their scenes into a polished little gem.

The extras included in the DVD are wonderful. They include deleted scenes (with commentary), features on the making of, and authenticity of the movies as well as Q & A with cast and filmakers. The best of the extras by far are the commentaries with the director, Robert Altman and screenwriter, Julian Oscar.

I highly recommend the purchase (as opposed to the renting) of this film. It is so packed with detail that it would be impossible to absorb it all in just one or two viewings.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Nothing's more exhausting than breaking in a lady's maid."
The upperclass friends and relations of Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) arrive at his country house for a weekend of shooting, accompanied by maids, footmen, and valets, all of whom will be staying under one roof. Sir William is a mean-spirited and self-centered old man, married to a much younger, emotionally distant wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), with many family members dependent upon his continuing largesse. The hilariously waspish Countess of Trentham (Maggie Smith), who believes she has a lifetime stipend, arrives with young Mary Maceachran (Kelly MacDonald), who is trying valiantly to become a good lady's maid. Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), a Hollywood star, and Morris Weissman (Bob Balaban), a producer of Charlie Chan movies, are the only guests without aristocratic backgrounds and inherited privilege. The atmosphere of the house, filled with venomous "friends" and relations, soon becomes even more poisonous.

The "below stairs" lives of the servants are also fully revealed, as they share living quarters, eat meals together, tend to the laundry and cooking, and gossip about their employers. The butler Jennings (Alan Bates) and the head housekeeper (Helen Mirren) run the household and try to guarantee that no real-world cares will intrude upon the lives of their employers. Since "upstairs" and "downstairs" occasionally meet very privately at night, secrets abound, many of them secrets of long standing. When Sir William is poisoned and stabbed ("Trust Sir William to be murdered twice"), nearly everyone has a motive for wanting him dead.

For director Robert Altman, the primary focus of the film is on the characters, their way of life, and their values, with the murder mystery secondary. Set in late November, the end of the year 1932, the action takes place when this secure aristocratic lifestyle is also nearing its end, something that the arrival of the newly rich Hollywood characters, Novello and Weissman, illustrates. Dramatic cinematography (by Andrew Dunn) emphasizes the cold and rainy dreariness of the weekend, and suggests parallels with the coldness of the dying aristocracy.

Interior shots reveal the contrasts between the elegant and mannered lives of the "upstairs" characters and the hardworking daily lives of the "downstairs" characters, who adhere to their own rigid social codes. Every detail rings true, and as the characters' lives and interrelationships are revealed obliquely in brief snippets of seemingly unrelated conversations, a broad picture of the upstairs and downstairs lifestyles gradually emerges. Fully developed, many-leveled, wonderfully acted, often funny, and impeccably directed and filmed, this is a film one can watch again and again with delight. Mary Whipple

5-0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of the Tried and True... a la Robert Altman!
GOSFORD PARK is an enchanting movie on every level and should please even the most discerning audience. Quite unexpectedly, Robert Altman has thoroughly researched the Agatha Christie murder mystery-type stories, the archetypical British mystery/drawing room genre, and (more important) the stuffy and unbelievable class disparities of olde England and has produced a stylish, smart, lushly beautiful recreation of England in the 1930s. The settings are elegant - a mansion/castle where the 'haves' and their lowly servants carry on their lives as though 'to the manner born'. Blessed with a dream cast that includes nearly all of the greats of the British acting school, Altman has given plumb roles to Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Emily Watson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Jeremy Northam, James Wilby, Alan Bates, and Derek Jacobi. The story is an interesting murder mystery but it merely serves as the matrix upon which these fine actors, writer, cinematographer and director capably flaunt their skills. This movie is Delicious! It is so fine that it bears repeated viewings just to make sure you catch all the innuendoes and rapid, superb double entendres encased in this bit of magic. Altman devotees will not be disappointed and those who are not fond of the eccentric director's previous films are bound to be won over to the genius of Robert Altman.

3-0 out of 5 stars Upstairs, downstairs, cold stares
No matter how many actors, including bankable stars, appear in a Robert Altman movie, it seems to be about Altman. He has an individual, if by now familiar, style of filmmaking that is always calling attention to itself. That style includes very fluid camera movement, quick-cut editing, and a good deal of dialogue that is covered by other dialogue or sounds distant. We are meant to be awed by the spontaneity and naturalism of it all.

Apparently many people are impressed by this mannerism and consider it a sign of artistry. On the whole, I find it pretentious and irritating. In one of the supplementary features on the DVD, Altman, his screenwriter and a handful of the actors from Gosford Park are interviewed in front of a studio audience. Altman and the writer rattle on about how every scene is shot by two cameras that are always in motion, so that the actors are never sure whether they are going to be foreground or atmosphere, or what angle they'll be seen from. Does Altman really think he invented the idea of shooting a scene from multiple angles, and choosing one during editing? And why is a camera that's gliding and panning constantly somehow more "truthful" than one that's framing the character or group that the director believes is most essential to telling the story at that moment?

It can be said in Altman's favor, though, that he never makes a merely conventional or routine film; they are all a bit eccentric (a compliment in my book) and, despite my reservations about the camera and sound-recording style, usually offer a fresh view of the theme or its environment. Gosford Park is your standard Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set among a dinner-jacketed, evening-gowned crowd in an English manor house in 1932 -- except, in this case, the doings of the upper crust are set against the army of servants below stairs who work their tails off to make everything straight, gleaming and smooth for their social betters.

Altman and his screenwriter Julian Fellows do a very creditable and humane job of conveying the personalities and individuality of the servants; they aren't just symbols of The Oppressed. The characters of the gentry, though, while ably portrayed (the acting talent makes sure of that), are almost universally so sour, rude and calculating that it's hard not to feel that there's a touch of old-fashioned, left-wing agit-prop involved. (The one exception is Jeremy Northam, who plays Ivor Novello -- a real singer and film star of the period -- with considerable charm.) I can believe that an assembly of English bluebloods in that era might have carried within themselves much wickedness, but they would have been far too polished to display it as openly and crudely as they do in Gosford Park.

Altman recruited a clutch of A-list British stage and film actors, and they don't fail him. Altman's casual attitude toward the basics of craftsmanship (as opposed to displaying his self-assumed creative genius) ensures that you will be lucky to figure out who half the characters are and their relationships with one another by the time of the denouement, but their cultivated swinishness holds the attention anyway. I think actors love playing obnoxious and unlikeable characters; these seem to be enjoying their roles, and you will, too.

The English have a term, "curate's egg." The meaning is, "parts of it are very good." ... Read more


4. King Arthur
Director: Antoine Fuqua
list price: $24.99
our price: $20.99
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Asin: B0002YLCGA
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5868
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars This legend just didn't live up to itself
This movie was yet another retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It had an unusual angle to the familiar story, and a lot of potential that I believe it just didn't live up to. But wait, isn't this a kind of foolproof, proven winner? Well...

What I liked:
it was a grittier, more historically plausible interpretation of the King Arthur legend than anything filmed before. The chaos of the battle scenes was nicely done. There was nothing mystical or magical mixed up in there. The main characters were very flawed humans with their own stories: Merlin was a prominent leader, perhaps a Druid, but not a wizard; Arthur was a conflicted half-British, half-Roman noble who learned egalitarian values and cared deeply for his pagan comrades; and all the knights of the Round Table were foreign men eager to leave the service of the Roman Empire once their 15 year tour of duty was up. I was able to appreciate the care that went into researching the likely historical setup for the tale of these renowned "heroes".

What I disliked:
First, there were logistical flaws like wimpy people pulling bows that had 120 lb draw weights, weapons from inconsistent historical periods and countries, the overly done "tough Amazon warrior princess" typing done with Guinevere (it was laughably implausible). That's enough to bother some people, but I can get over that sort of thing if the rest of a movie is pulled off well.

Sadly, King Arthur wasn't pulled off that well overall, and I think it was a problem with the basic story being a bit underwhelming. The biggest (meaning, what took up most of the screenplay) task that these men faced involved not the fate of the nation nor the defeat of great evil, but protecting a small village from a band of marauding Saxons. I just had a hard time caring. You know a film is in trouble when the director has to rely so heavily on the music to convince the audience that there's deep emotion to a scene. Yes, that score was swelling heavily and often, but somehow, I just didn't connect on the visceral level with the dilemmas of Arthur and his knights, or the plight of the oppressed common folk that they were shepherding to Hadrian's Wall. The Arthur/Guinivere/Lancelot romance was halfhearted. Even the "sad" parts involving deaths of good guys didn't grab me, and I normally choke up. I kept wondering, what's missing -- why can't I lose myself in this story?

So this is a valuable lesson to all future filmmakers that may wish to tackle this subject. Perhaps the Arthurian legend does need magic and mystery to carry it successfully on the big screen - after all, if you're going to take on a larger-than-life tradition, your scope had better be larger than life. Otherwise, why bother? You could any number of other documented military campaigns instead. Too much petty realism combined with a too-small plot focus may have been the death of this King Arthur movie.

-Andrea, aka Merribelle

4-0 out of 5 stars Quite decent upon re-review
As I said I would do, due to negative feedback from a past review, I watched the film again, listened to the soundtrack, and am reading the novelization (I also happened to catch an MSN Video interview from Jerry Bruckheimer in regard to the film).

I have to say, now that I fully understand the context of the film and researching behind the actual Arthurian legend used (the 5th Century, first-account of the legend my a monk whose name I cannot think of now). This was the first account of King Arthur...a King Arthur who at that time had no (full) alliegence to Christianity, since 15th Century re-writing of the legend incorporated Christianity, despite Arthur's alliegence to Rome in the 5th Century

With that all said and done, I can see where the film is coming from. The film does not have anything to do with the very culturally familiar fiction of "Sword And The Stone" or "Merlin" feating Sam Niell, which would cause most of us to scold the film...when we were probably told in our childhood something fictitous and he hold that as the fact. King Arthur has no fiction, no magic, no nothing...it's all the raw legend of the 5th Century...the ORIGINAL story (stilghtly adapted to 21st Century in terms of dialogue et al), since each century had their own version of the story.

This film centers on a period of time when King Arthur, being born in Britian yet showing allegience to Rome, paves the path for his future, and what is now the legend; standing up for what he beleives despite ridicule. The events in the film just happen to be about this one point specifically, and not a whole epic life story as would be expected by the vague title King Arthur.

The music, performed by the brilliant Hans Zimmer, saves some points of the movie I still have issues with. The vivid use of color, lighting, and scene staging helps as well. I still enjoy Keira Kinghtley's acting, and am growing onto Clive Owen a little more, however he still seemed a bit stale for my liking, however it could be all in the part if one considers Arthur is somewhat in dismay and doesn't have true confidence throughout most of the film.

All in all, weighing everything again, I was able to get more out of the film and appreciate it much more and like it much better now that I know the context of the story. However, I suggest that all people in my situation at first watch the MSN Video interview with Jerry Bruckheimer since it helps sort things out and actually brings more to the film which ended up being quite good, however it has a bumpy path toward getting great reviews from people unless they do some research into the film's origins.

3-0 out of 5 stars King Arthur
Coming off of last year's "Pirates of the Caribbean", Disney's hopes had to be high for Jerry Bruckheimer's supposed factual retelling of the Arthur legend in "King Arthur". Instead, they get something that is hit and miss, no doubt in part to a studio mandated editing that turned a n R-rated violent and bloody movie into a PG-13 family affair.

Arthur (Owen), is presented as Arturius, a commander for the Roman empire. On the brink of gaining freedom for himself and his knights, he rescues Guenivere (Knightley), turns on Rome, and alighns with the Guenivere's people, the Woads. Eventually, this turn will lead to him becoming the ruler of all the Britons.

This movie is filled with action and fighting, but as I mentioned earlier, it has been toned down and sometimes feels choppy. Clive Owen does not have enough screen presence or noteriety to carry the role of Arthur. Kiera Knightley is most likely the only recognizable name in the cast to Americans, and she does not show up until almost halfway through the film. She also seems to be a little too small to be wielding the swords that she does, especially against some very large men. I like the idea of Guenivere being a warrior, but perhaps they should have chosen someone that fits the part.

Perhaps I nitpick too much, but this movie for the most part did little for me. That fault does not lie on any one person's head, and perhaps I will have a different opinion when the R-rated version comes out on DVD, probably this fall.

4-0 out of 5 stars Imaging a new story for the "real" King Arthur
I am open to reinterpreting classic myths and legends in different settings. For example, it their "Elseworld" stories DC comics has retold the familiar origins of Superman and Batman in different time periods: e.g., Superman arrives in the England of the Dark Ages or Batman in the London of Victorian England. For that matter, "Camelot 3000" has Arthur and the knights of his roundtable reincarnated in the year 3000 in time to save England from an alien invasion. So when "King Arthur" wants to locate the "true story" of Arthur in the last days of the Roman occupation of Brittania I find that to be an intriguing idea.

The Romans had always found this last outpost of the Empire a problematic area: Hadrian's Wall essentially separates the north (Scotland) from the south (England), trying to keep the Woads (Huh? We would get the wrong idea if you called these people the Celts?) on the other side of the barrier. Adding to the incentive to abandon the land is the arrival of the Saxons on the scene who are set on killing everyone and pillaging everything. In such a land, a man who could become a rallying point against the onslaught of barbarism would be worth remembering.

In David Franzoni's script Arthur (Clive Owen) is the son of a Roman officer and a Briton woman. Sent to Rome to be educated he returned as Arturius, commander of a garrison on Hadrian's well. His knights, in a subplot that does come across as a bit forced, are from the land of Sarmatia, far to the west. When their land was defeated the Romans spared their lives, but bound the knights and their male descendants to 15 years of military service. Now that period is up and awaiting their honorable discharges (and safe passage throughout the empire) are the last six of the Sarmatia knights who ride with Arthur: Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen), Gawain (Joel Edgerton), Galahad (Hugh Dancy), Bors (Ray Winstone) and Dagonet (Ray Stevenson). They just want to go home, but a bishop (Ivano Marescotti) shows up from Rome with one last mission.

The knights go, but it is not for the bishop, because they are all pagans, or for Rome, because they care little for an empire that is abandoning the land their friends died defending, but for Arthur. The only one who does not seem to know that he is a living legend is Arthur himself; or, if he knows, he neither cares nor believes in the stories. But Merlin (Stephen Dillane), the holy man of the Woads respects Arthur as the warrior who can lead men in battle, Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) the leader of the Saxons hears Arthur's name everywhere he goes and finds him the rare man worth killing, and young Guinevere (Keira Knightley) has been raised on fairy tales about Arthur and his knights. This film is not about King Arthur as much as it is about how Arthur became king in this reimagining of the tale.

Given the context of this telling of the Arthur story it makes sense that the epic love triangle between Arthur, Guenivere and Lancelot is jettisoned. In many ways that story, which remains the greatest love triangle since it is the husband's wife and best friend, has taken over the Arthurian legend. Director Antoine Fuqua is really going back to the basics, although in a way that will make most Arthurian scholars cringe. In this context I like not only turning Guenivere into a Celtic warrior but also that she advocates Arthur's destiny and is not merely a landed lady worthy of marriage. Besides, there is the nice contrast between Knightley's stately beauty as she fires her arrows and her ferocity as she gets to race across a battle field and win a bunch of sword fights. You get the feeling she was having the most fun of anyone in this film (I waited patiently for Ioan Gruffudd to do something really impressive with his two swords but they never really came up with anything).

What is interesting given the idea that the Knights of the Round Table were the personification of Christian warriors is how the Church is blamed in the film for the downfall of Rome. Arthur is a true believer who has taken the teachings of Christianity to the level of the equality of all human beings, while the only other Christians we see in the film are engaging in torture and slavery. Arthur embodies the best of both Roman and Christian virtues, which makes him a most unique individual, but this film really does some serious retroactive Church bashing.

Yes, there are some problematic elements in this film. No Roman family, let along one with the Pope's favorite godson, is going to be living beyond Hadrian's Wall in Caledonia (Scotland), and I the ending of the sword fight between Arthur and Cerdic is so trite by this point in movie history it is rather insulting to the audience. But on balance this is ambitious effort to tell the "real" story and there the situation is reasonably well thought out (plus working in bits from classic films like "The Seven Samurai" and "Alexander Nevsky"). Most importantly, the actors make it believable, even when they have to proclaim rather pretentious dialogue. The climactic battle scene offers a nice blend of Roman technology and Celtic bravery (I thought the charge of the Woads was a nice representation of the speed of the Celtic attack since they do not bother with armor), and the result, while not a great film, is certainly interesting enough to warrant a look.

5-0 out of 5 stars LONG LIVE "KING ARTHUR!"
Taken from elements of the Arthurian legend and archeological fact, "King Arthur" is a rousing, action-packed film of gigantic proportions. While some of the revisionistic elements are debatable, director Antoine Fuqua has crafted an entertaining and emotional epic. The characters are perfectly cast, with Clive Owen doing a remarkable job as Artorious Casstus, a man forced to choose between returning to Rome and defending the home of his mother: Britain. Ioan Gruffud is great as Lancelot, and Keira Knightley is beautiful and charming as the revisionist Guinevere, who can love Arthur while still kicking butt as a Woad warrior. Supplemented by a great supporting cast, an amazing score by Hans Zimmer, and an excellent recreation of the battle of Baden Hill, "King Arthur" is one heck of an adventure story. Any fan of historical epics, and students of the Arthurian legend, will not want to miss "King Arthur!" Grade: A+ ... Read more


5. The Return of the Native
Director: Jack Gold
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: 1574922807
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 14768
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Love & Tragedy & All That Jazz. . .
This early vehicle for a young Catherine Zeta-Jones does justice to the complex Hardy novel despite the constraints of the television movie format. 'La Zeta' is perfectly cast as Eustacia Vye, a mysterious beauty with 'black hair and pagan eyes' who captivates the young men of the vicinity while the older country people regard her with suspicion as a witch who is not to be trusted. Eustacia has a reputation as a loose woman in the neighborhood--she dallies with another woman's fiance out of sheer boredom, even though she is tired of him. When dashing Clym Yeobright returns home after many years abroad in Paris, Eustacia sets her cap for him, with tragic results.

Fans who have followed Zeta-Jones' high-profile career in movies such as 'Entrapment', 'Traffic' & 'Chicago' will be interested to see her here, long before Michael Douglas and Oscar came calling, in her debut role outside of her native UK. She displays all the beauty and cool self-possession of the star she would later become. She's had her teeth capped since, and been otherwise glammed up, Hollywood-style, but all the fundamentals are there. The setting is breathtaking (shot on location in Northern England), and the simple yet vivid costumes Eustacia wears add to her characterization. Eustacia/Catherine is dressed simply but vividly in tones of scarlet, yellow and turquoise blue, setting her in sharp relief to the browns and grays of the landscape, and the dull clothes worn by the other characters.

The entire cast does a superb job, but this is really Zeta-Jones' show. Whether you're a Zeta fan, or a student of Thomas Hardy, this production should be on your shelf.

4-0 out of 5 stars Attempt at Thomas Hardy almost reaches it.
Anyone who has read the novel will see that this movie is far truer to the storyline than average. Where the movie "almost" reaches success is in its portrayal of the characters. The egocentric nature of Eustachia is portrayed well until the death scene, when, from that point, she comes off as too much of the unforgiven, tragic, heroine. Wildeve's passion never quite attains to the pinnacle reached in the Hardy novel, Venn's homespun nobility isn't as evident, nor does Clym's "martyr complex" ever really emerge. The flick has much to recommend it however, especially in the first 2/3 of it. The setting is magnificent and appropriately stark, the subordinate characters (Grandfer Cantle, Susan Nunsuch, Mrs. Yeobright, etc.) are accurately displayed. This is one film in which I would recommend for the viewer to see the movie first before reading the novel. This would eliminate some of the sense of loss in the character displays and help one appreciate the "love-never-dies, beyond-the grave" finale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
Ok i dont get the 007 thing but whatever. this movie was awesome!!! it was so sad!!!!! Catherine alone on that bridge will break your heart! i really felt bad 4 her throughout this movie, just because they "THOUGHT" she was a witch didnt mean they need to go and stab her in church! how mean! lol sry i love catherine zeta jones! lol well the movie was great, it was sad, and in the first minute a lil confusing but then you catch on after like 2 seconds.

3-0 out of 5 stars Clive Owen could become the next "James Bond 007".
I saw this Hallmark television movie when it originally aired. I lost interest in the story because a character was said to be a witch. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to watch this film. But Hallmark is a name the presents the best, quality films. Now, there is a reason to give this film a second look. Clive Owen who plays "Damon Wildeve" just might have a chance to be selected as the next James Bond 007 when Pierce Brosnan passes it on. Clive Owen might have to wait until the year 2008. The other reason is the female lead is Catherine Zeta-Jones is now a celebrity (she was unknown at the time) and became an Academy Award winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2003. Joan Plowright as "Mrs. Yeobright" is also in this film. I like the opening line in the film: "Deliver my heart from this fearful, lonely place. Send me a great love from somewhere or else I shall die, truly I shall die".

4-0 out of 5 stars great for catherine fans
i only liked this movie because of zeta-she is great in it and young-24 yrs old ... Read more


6. Close My Eyes
Director: Stephen Poliakoff
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6302280893
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 25556
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Open Your Eyes To a Fiery and Passionate Film
One can view the brilliant and overlooked "Close My Eyes" on a number of levels. One could look at it as the story of an incestuous affair, the pain and despair of unquenched passion, the shattering of taboos, or the story of an unfulfilled woman searching for something about which to be passionate. Each level enriches and deepens the message of the other and creates a thought-provoking film of fiery intensity.

The film is a study in contrasts and opposing forces: Alan Rickman's controlled, restrained performance is in total contrast to the fiery passion of the two lovers and the film's direct confrontation with taboos (incest, AIDS, open passion itself)slams against polite society's prevailing opinions. The film dares us to face what is difficult and deal with it in an open and honest way no matter what the consequences, no matter what anyone thinks.

The film's solemn conclusion makes clear, however, that this shattering of taboos (what we are not supposed to openly discuss) is no easy accomplishment and involves the possibility of a breakdown in society or "the end of the world." But, the risk is worth it so that nothing is left hidden, so that all is out in the open, on the table, for discussion and acceptance. "Close My Eyes" is a powerhouse of passionate, riveting acting, Merchant and Ivory like cinematography, and incisive, perceptive writing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dozing Off on the Job
A curiously detached film about a discontented woman (Saskia Reeves) who derails her brother's (Clive Owen) life by seducing him, and how their roles gradually reverse as the affair proceeds. Overly reliant on close-ups and flattened out by amateurish lighting, the film hints at much but delivers very little. There is scant chemistry between the three main characters, and even less plausible dynamic. Rickman, the nominal lead, does not appear until a third of the way along and gives a performance as extraneous as the role itself. It is as if he, and his character, wandered in from somewhere else. Reeves, on whose character the plot hinges, fairs little better. Alternating between sullen and enigmatic, she struggles to make Natalie believable but in the end is defeated by the simple fact that the role is as unsympathetic as it is impenetrable. Aside from taking off her clothes, or staring ambiguously into space, she is given nothing by which to make the character comprehensible. Until far too late, dialogue in this film confines itself to the elliptical and/or banal. The only sympathy is generated by Clive Owen, who manages to transcend the shortcomings of the script and make Richard the only operative, credible character. Ironically, for a film concerned with passion and its compulsive, destructive aspects, where it does succeed is in its secondary storyline: that involving Richard's job as a civil planner, and the people with whom he works. However subsidiary these scenes, they are as plausible and deft as the rest are laborious and annoying. What a pity there weren't more of them. See it if you're a Clive Owen fan, or want glimpses of London's construction-boom skyline. Otherwise, keep dialling.

4-0 out of 5 stars sibling passion/rivalry/obsession...
As some closeted persons in the gay world might do, use marriage to convince yourself that you are what everyone expects you to be. A women marries who could be an american man in Europe, and the realtionship is progresing on then bam, the brother shows up. He semed out of sorts in the head and the sister innocently palys the mother to him. Well things in the past began to grow up in both of them.. yeah that too. The scenery is nice the intensity is pretty good. It isn't all about them, but it's hard not to become fixated on such a taboo acted so well. I'm glad I own it, the intrigue is one for the ages. Will get DVD also. A list of taboo movies on incest is short but , the house of yes, spanking the monkey.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing Fin-de-siecle Romance
A deeply disturbing film about an obsessive, destructive affair between a brother & sister at the end of the twentieth century. Saskia Reeves gives a powerful, deeply moving performance as the sister who is unable to resist the desire she feels for her brother. Rickman is, as always, brilliant. The film is especially interesting for its use of colour--lurid & grotesque one moment; lyrical & pastoral the next. The final shot of the film is quietly apocalyptic & elevates the story beyond the specificities of the affair. An important, often-overlooked film from fin-de-siecle Britain. ... Read more


7. Century
Director: Stephen Poliakoff
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6303559026
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 34310
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8. Class of '61
Director: Gregory Hoblit
list price: $92.99
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Asin: 6303453961
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15935
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars An undiscovered gem for history buffs!
I remember when this first came out more than 10 years ago. I remember wondering why it wasn't a big hit, & I still feel that way now. I'm happy to say that I finally ordered a copy (used, of course) from Amazon.com in January. Not only did it arrive before I expected, but the picture quality was perfect! The plot follows three West Point cadets from the class of '61 who go seperate ways once the Civil War begins. One of the three is young George Armstrong Custer, who we all know from history books. I thought the three male leads (Dan Futterman, Joshua Lucas, & Clive Owen) were all terrific, as well as Sophie Ward, who provides the mandatory romance sub-plot! This is no masterpiece, but as you know good Civil War films are few & far between. Although I thought the slavery scenes took up way too much screen time & the battles seem low-budget quality, the dramatic power of the battle scenes is high quality. There's one scene I'm curious about, though: A company-size group of Confederates charges wildly towards a Union position & every single Rebel is killed. Now, I'm no expert on the battle of Manassas but I don't remember ever reading about a large unit being 100% wiped out in one charge! Oh well, it's still very dramatic. The main problem is how they mix scenes of a black slave woman giving birth with the battle scenes, which gets very annoying after a while. I love how the Union battery is obliterated at the end! Now, that scene I know isn't Hollywood, it really happened! Overall, I strongly recommend this for history buffs who want to see a great Civil War movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars EMOTIONALLY EXILIRATING! A WINNER!
"Class of '61" tells the story of the graduating West Point class of 1861 as the Civil War breaks out. It has fine performances and an exciting and almost 100% accurate recreation of the battle of First Manassas. A fine film! I hope it comes out on DVD soon! Grade: A+

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Well worth a look!
Emotional and realistic portralial of the American Civil War and how it effected both north, south and those caught in the middle. Unlike some war movies which ignore the human cost this movie shows in detail the cost to the main characters. Class of 61' is one of the best movies that I have seen. The movie starts at West Point and shows us the last class before the war starts. The friendships between those of southern back ground and the northerns and how their friendships are torn apart by the war. ... Read more


9. The Rich Man's Wife
Director: Amy Holden Jones
list price: $9.99
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Asin: 6304383843
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6577
Average Customer Review: 2.89 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One of Halle Berry's first star vehicles, The Rich Man's Wife has a quirky, unearned twist for an ending, but everything else is pretty obvious. So obvious, it's possible to review it like this:

See Halle.
Halle is a wife.
See Halle's husband.
The husband is mean.
See the barfly.
Halle tells the barfly how she feels.
The barfly is not well.
The barfly kills Halle's husband.
The barfly tricks Halle.
Extort. Extort. Extort.
Halle has to run.
Halle has to fight.
Halle has to carry this movie.
Act, Halle! Act!
Halle has no help.
Plot, people! Plot!
And, no, even though it's rated R, she keeps her clothes on. -- Keith Simanton ... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Split in two
"The Rich Man's Wife" has potential, it really does, but it turns out to be too much like the plot of something you'd watch on LIFETIME (a network that claims to be good for women, but continually features tortured females running from bad men.) How many times can you tell the same cliched story before it bores you to tears? The pluses in this film are Halle Berry, Clea Lewis and the cinematography. There are too many cons to list here.

The "big" plot twist (and this was right after THE USUAL SUSPECTS and a few years before plot twists became all the rage) is ludicrous after it follows ninety minutes of a flashback that is nothing more than mixed-up foreshadowing. No matter what context you place the "this is what happened" in, it still does not connect well with the ending. The ending appears to have been slapped on at the last minute. "Hey," the writers must have thought, "let's throw in a completely misplaced plot twist." Unlike MULHOLLAND DRIVE (a wonderfully complex film), the fact that this film does not make sense is due to poor writing, NOT a great abstract mind as in the case of David Lynch.

In reference to a previous reviewer who seemed disturbed that a black man (who was unjustly accused of the murder) rightfully sought justice: this aspect of the film was one of the few times it broke tradition and tried to become a meaningful film. Racial profiling, unfortunately, is something that still happens in a police department and Detective Lewis was more than justified in pointing out his colleague's racist tendencies.

Every time the film started to go somewhere that could have made it a strong film (exploring the volatie relationship of marriage, the horrible impact of racism on someone's life, infidelity) it suddenly turned back into a cheesy Lifetime movie.

1-0 out of 5 stars Holy Halle Crap!!
It's one of Halle Berry's(The X-Men movies, Gothika) first movies for jebus' sake. The only good thing about this movie is seeing Clive Owen(Gosford Park, the upcoming King Arthur) in it but he doesnt even make this movie gold, the only said thing is I knew who would kill him and the way he died,damn this director for casting his behind. Peter Greene(Under Siege2, Pulp Fiction)plays another badguy, like we havent seen that over and over again, he really needs to get better roles. Christopher McDonald(Terminal Velocity, Quiz Show)plays Halle Berry's wife and who dies. Things happen and it gets all crappy and once you know it the movie is done with. Wasted of a good cast.

1-0 out of 5 stars Rich man's wife is a poor excuse for a movie.
The Rich Man's wife is a poor excuse for a thriller. Dull, predictable and bland. The only thing good about this film was the cinematography and the way Halle Berry looked in those designer clothes. I guess the writer/director was too busy with the visuals to work on those more important pieces the film like the story and the acting. I hope by reading this review you'll avoid wasting the 90 or so minutes of your life this movie will steal from you.
In the movie Halle Berry plays Josie, the Barbie doll wife of a powerful TV executive being accused of the murder of her husband. The story starts out in a police station where Josie a rich trophy wife is eager to tell her story without a lawyer present. Their marriage is on the rocks. He's turned to drinking and she's turned to someone else. (Clive Owen) She wants a divorce but will lose everything because she signed a pre nuptial agreement. In a desperate attempt to save their marriage, guess what-they go on a vacation in the mountains. When he decides to leave early to do some business, Josie is left to fend for herself and guess what-She heads to a bar where guess what- there's a grimy looking weirdo named Cole to greet her there. She tells the weirdo all about her problems and his proposal IN A BAR FULL OF PEOPLE is-guess what-Let's kill your husband. Soon afterward Cole then takes her on a terrifying drive and menaces her in her house. She picks up a gun and her scurries away. End of act one. Act II opens with the two of them having a birthday party. Richman decides to go to an ATM to pick up some cash guess what in his car the mysterious weirdo is there to "carjack him" There's a big struggle in the rain but he eventually kills him-WITH THE SAME GUN FROM THE CABIN WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Next he breaks into Josie's house WEARING GLOVES to tell her what he's done. Shouldn't he have been WEARING the GLOVES when he was doing the killing? It would help with that pesky GUNPOWDER RESIDUE left on his hands from FIRING the gun. They say Josie was a high school dropout; but I think this character dropped out of elementary school; she actually believes his silly argument about being an accomplice. I guess they had another 60 or so more minutes of time to waste. The police show up and we get some idiotic lines about racial profiling and black people being brought in for questioning. From there we learn that the weirdo was actually a hired hitman who was hired by Josie's lover to kill her so she could get the money and they could be together. I know you're shaking your head reading this because I was too. Weirdo now has upped the ante and is blackmailing the lover and Josie. In another ridiculous plot twist Josie learns that the rich man left no will and the money will be tied up for a year in probate court, so she will have no money. THIS IS THE SAME MAN WHO WAS SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE A LAWYER MAKE UP A PRE NUP CONTRACT, BUT NOT SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE A WILL. But the story moves on in spite of this plot hole. At the funeral we see the ex-wife of the lover and the police taking pictures. They get a shot of the lover and Cole who is conveniently there to threaten Josie and the lover once more. She's so scared of him in public, but all of a sudden gets courageous during a late night meeting to give him the money she got from hocking her jewelry. She takes a revolver with her and threatens to kill him. He takes the SIX SHOT REVOLVER from her and fires off SEVEN shots as she escapes back to her car. Josie learns that Cole and her lover were part of the plot to kill her husband. End of Act II.Act III opens up with the lover telling her that Cole has broken into the house. Josie calls the police but the call is convienetly disconnected when the lights go out. Cole then shoots lover in the head and he falls through the window setting off the alarm Josie scurries about the house to escape but when confronted by the weirdo she fights him and kills him. She's arrested and since the men had all the evidence she's let go In the final plot twist we find out the ex wife and Josie planned to kill all the men all along and have pulled the wool over the cops eyes as they drive off into the sunset. What are they happy about? These two dummies are BROKE NOW. The 30 grand fell in a plothole. As golddiggers they'd actually be better off if they both stayed married to their husbands. At least they could have a STEADY INCOME and a LOT OF STUFF.
Halle Berry struggles in the role of Josie, due to the weak direction. Her uninspired performance is lethargic and she has no chemistry with the Owen or any of the other actors. Instead of feeling scared with her or disappointed with her character's bad marriage I found myself laughing at these scenes because the director did not prepare the actors with the right motivation for each shot. And the actors who play the cops are so lethargic they just phone it in. Her script is awful too; the plot is predictable and the dialogue is cartoonish. If you're a Halle fan in need of a Halle fix rent it. If not pick Up Bryan Singer's Usual Suspects or Charade With Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Wife:)
Well, this is actually in my opinion one of the better movies Halle has been in. Sure, it is rather predictable but nevertheless it has it's moments and Halle is gorgeous as always. She really kicks booty in this movie too. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie...there is plenty of violence and predictability to the plot but I thought it was an overall worthwhile watch.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Movie.....
I actually enjoyed this movie, thought that I wouldn't like it after the negative rewiews that was given at the box office. But I also feel this movie is not for everyone. After the ending I sat in front of the T.V wondering what the hell had happened, but after watching it for the second time. Great movie, makes u think, but for most people it'll just go right over their heads, they wouldn't understand it. ... Read more


10. Beyond Borders
Director: Martin Campbell
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002HDT9K
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27802
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Beyond' Logic
I admired the political messages of "Beyond Borders," but I can't say the same for the love story. It seemed out-of-place and forced. Sara (Angelina Jolie) was a troubled housewife who was deeply moved by a doctor's efforts to feed starving children in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya. She journeyed to those countries over a decade and eventually fell in love with the doctor (Clive Owen). The movie tried very hard to be a politically motivated film and I respect that. They should've left out the love story but kept the level of passion for their cause to rise throughout the movie. You don't know whether to feel for the characters in the end or the whole charade they went through to make a difference, to help. But, it's worth your time and it's a lot different than most movies.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 & 1/2 Stars - Beautiful & Ugly all the while Unforgiving
I watched "Beyond Borders" last night, and while the other people I watched it with were beyond bored, I was infatuated. The film, while being a bit "preachy," (nothing anyone would be overly annoyed with) is visually intoxicating. Sometimes in a surreal way other times in a horrific way, but intoxicating no less. Angelina Jolie shines in her role as Sarah, an American whose life changes drastically throughout the years of her adult life with her experiences with refugee camps she visits. Clive Owens plays Nick, a struggling refugee doctor with the best of inentions, but has become cynical and often bitter towards others, but not without good reason. Together they reach an understanding of one another, and eventually find love. But as much as the studio promotes this as a "Love Story" it is NOT that in the least. (I repeat this is NOT a love story.) It is bulked up by some hollywood explosions and such. However in whole this is a film about HEROISM in it's many forms. This film will grab hold of your heart, it will tug, warm, tear, comfort and break it. I think everyone should watch it becuase it gives an honest and unforgiving look at worlds outside our own little box. I give it * * * 1/2 for being a great film, but dragging on a little at times.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot better than I expected
I was expecting the worst when it came to this movie. I am a fan of Angelina Jolie, but it didn't do very well at the box office and I didn't really hear anything about it.

Well, none of that matters because this is a very good movie. Angelina does a good job here, as does Clive Owen, her love interest. The story was interesting and eye-opening. It kept my attention even though this isn't a lightning-paced movie. I wanted to know what would happen to Angelina's character. I was also surprised by a few twists that happen unexpectedly. There's a key scene midway through the movie that doesn't mean a lot at the time, but perfectly foreshadows something that happens later on.

I highly recommend this movie. It was very entertaining and it really did make you think. I'm not a big fan of movies like this, but this is an exception. It should have been a bigger hit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Schock film!
This movie is deeply bitter. It's touchimg and it deals with a premise that we forget too many times , inmersed as we are in our daily activities.
In a beautiful wedding a doctor will suddenly appear and will denounces the injustice for having denied them an important amount of money for the homeless and poor people from Africa.
This breakthrough will twist the life of Sarah Jordan (Angelina Jolie) and she will become the most exhaustive fighter for this noble cause.
Campbell makes a good and haunting movie , even there are some irrelevant scenes , but you never miss the interest in the story . Obviously this world of injustice will generate the unavoidable atraction between them .
Jolie gives a very realistic portrait.
The rest of the story runs for you .
Interesting story , above the average .

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Love Story
This movie is very good! I will have to say, to the individuals who are watching it for the first time, pay attention to every detail because it makes the ending pack more punch! Even though the ending is sad...I think the movie is well done and Angelina Jolie's performance is OUTSTANDING!!! Enjoy... ... Read more


11. Doomsday Gun
Director: Robert Young (III)
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6303315380
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 28352
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Description

Based on the explosive true story of a scientist with one dream: to build the world?s most powerful weapon - and he doesn?t care who the customer is. But when the Iraqis make the buy, a top secret elite team swings into action. ' 'Compelling - full of real-life mystery.' ' (L.A. Times) ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film
This wonderful film tells the story of Dr. Gerald Bull, a genius engineer who modeled his 'superguns' after the German Hengersutzer from WWI. His theory was that large guns could deliver payloads into space at more economical levels then rockets. Unfortunately his contracts were cancelled with the Canadian government and he became a freelance defense artillery expert, helping the S. Africans and Israelis and finally being hired by the Iraqi's in the 1980s to build a giant gun capable of hitting Tel Aviv or Tehran from Baghdad. This wonderful film portrays Saddam Hussiens regime in its heyday, when it was not a pariah and the Americans supported it. Wonderful acting by Alan Arkin, who plays an intelligence officer assigned to tracking Bulls movements in the West compliments the film. Simply a gem, a diamond in the rough, you will not be dismayed by this great subtle historical film.

Seth J. Frantzman

5-0 out of 5 stars Artillery, Saddam Hussein and the Mossad = Gulf War
This is the true story of Dr. Gerald Bull played by Frank Langella in a simply excellent performance. Kevin Spacey is fantastic as a CIA agent with heart. Tony Goldwyn, son of Samuel Goldwyn (i.e. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - MGM) is perfect as the "true company man" for THE Company (CIA). Alan Arkin, a long-time favorite of mine, plays an Israeli general turned into a Mossad agent. And the characters playing the Iraqis are really, really good. Get the movie. It's pretty factual and quite amazing indeed.

Here's a few additional facts about the story to intrigue you:

Dr. Gerald Bull was the founder of Space Research Corporation ... a Canadian ballistics expert, Bull modified artillery weapons, worked on the USA's HAARP gun program and upgraded SCUD missiles for various customers. He did work for every country, except Russia, which he hated (but the SCUD's he modified were Russian-made). He also did work, through the CIA, for the USA and some of its allies.

Dr. Bull had to run things through the customs services of many countries of course to move his weapons. He ran afoul of U.S. Customs and got a year in a federal penitentiary for which he did not forgive the CIA, instead expecting immunity.

Bull was contracted by Saddam Hussein, who at that time was a pro-U.S. interest (against Iran and supported by then-Vice-President Bush) to build a "Supergun" that would fire a 2,000 lb shell over 100 miles (and further). Saddam's hope was to be able to shell Israel with bio/chem weapons from an artillery gun (which is not uncommon) but from great range. Israel had destroyed Iraq's nuclear weapons reactor (designed to produce weapons-grade plutonium) for which Saddam vowed revenge. The Mossad gave a lot of warnings to Bull about helping Iraq arm, which Bull repeatedly ignored.

the CIA and British MI6 turned a blind eye to Bull's operations in Iraq, for which Bull, expecting protection, gave them info on the German bunkers and C&C centers Saddam had constructed underground. Ah, but in the spy business there are no sweethearts, and the Mossad assassinated Bull in Brussels before he could finish the "Supergun" (the Babylon Gun) ... a smaller version, the "Baby Babylon" gun had been completed and tested at that time ...

This was all financed through a "bank" in America where funds were diverted from American taxpayers to Saddam, ostensibly for agricultural enterprises ... Saddam reportedly paid Bull $20-25 million for his work ... the mysoginistic viewpoint at the time was that any enemy of Iran (i.e. Iraq) is a friend of the USA ... didn't quite work out that way ...

After Bull was dead, MI6 feigned surprise at the discovery of "Supergun" barrel pieces being constructed in a foundry in England and they were impounded before they could all be shipped out (on Iraqi IL-76 transports I believe). Some pieces did make it out to Iraq.

Thus the silly and complicted politics of the Middle East ... where the USA once propped up the Shah of Iran and sold him 79 F-14A Tomcats, he was deposed and Iran became a U.S. enemy ... and still is to this day ... Saddam, a former protected entity, invaded Kuwait less than 6 months after Bull was assassinated ... and the rest was seen on CNN 24 hours per day.

4-0 out of 5 stars Here's to the engineers
As an engineer's son, I have never seen a better portrayal of an engineer's enthusiasm for new problems and new challenges. In one unforgettable scene, Frank Langella brought to the screen for the first time in my opinion what can only be called, "the-joy-of-development."

Too often films that deal with invention focus on that moment when the problem comes together and is solved. What they fail to recognize is the first step, when the men and women are looking at the challenge ahead, has even more emotional potential.

Thankfully the writers and actors in this film did not forget this human truth.

The cast is excellent. The script is uneven, but the only reason this is obvious is because instead of staying mildly good throughout, like most made for cable films, this movie is mildly good with occasional scenes of brilliance; such as almost any moment what Langella or Spacey grace the screen.

If you are an engineer or just have one as a friend or member of the family, see this film. It's a wonder.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Portrayl of Events Little of Us Know of...
"Doomsday Gun" shouldve been a theatrical release because of its topics. Frank Langella plays the part of scientist/arms specialist Dr. Gerald Bull, who spent most of his career building massive guns of ultimate destruction. After spending a year in prison for breaking international embargo laws by shipping his weapons to Africa, he makes building the largest and most powerful gun in the world his passion...and obsession. Befriended American CIA Agent Jim Price (Kevin Spacey), desperately tries to convince Bull while in prison that he must stop his weapon production for his own safety. Bull thinks however that everyone, even Price is out to shut down his dream. He makes a deal with Iraq at the height of the Gulf War, to build the ultimate super-gun that can be theirs for money. Money never appears to be the issue though, for Dr. Bull is willing to risk everything to see his gun and his name go down in history...regardless of the prices he might have to pay. The movie is brilliantly done with a cast of true and convincing characters, who expose the details of one of the biggest government cover-ups in many years. Many movies based upon true events we could surely have done without, but this film is one that I believe had to be done...leaving the question in everyone's mind: "Would we have known all about this by just relating stories of news reports?"...

5-0 out of 5 stars Doomsday Gun Reviewed: Flight of Fancy, At All Cost
History students looking for a research projest will like this subject. A real Greek tragedy in modern times of a man who's life-long desire to fulfill a dream, tarnished by political corruption, eventually leads to his death. But as the researcher will note, the corruption spans not only through the intelligence community of the super powers, but well within the USDA, leading to the BNL loan scandal and the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal. A true account of how Saddam Hussein liquidated millions of dollars worth of material goods funded and forwarded to him in the form of loan guarantees made by the National Banc de Lavore in Italy, underwritten by the Atlanta's branch of the BNL, and secured by the US Department of Agriculture using the Famers Subsidies account in the form of "Humantitarian Goods", though under "Black Operations" from the CIA. About 90% accurate, it is a must see for all history and conspiracy-theory buffs.

As far as the acting goes, Kevin Spacey did a nice job playing a concerned CIA agent, while Alan Arkin played his Isreali nemisis. Tony Goldwin gives a nice performance of a CIA typical "office man" out to get the "points." But the main praise must go to Frank Langella who plays the part of the "famed-turned-dangerous" gunmaker Dr. Gerald Vincent Bull, to the tenth degree.

I highly recommend this movie and wish its availability to the public even more so.

(This subject got me an "A" on my history project entitled "The Rape of the American Farmer, and the Arming of Iraq.") Audience count: thumbs up! ... Read more


12. Bent
Director: Sean Mathias
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792845226
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27379
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Bent debuted onstage in 1979 with Ian McKellen starring in the London production and Richard Gere in its later Broadway version. The filmversion is adapted by the playwright, Martin Sherman, and closely follows hisplay's story of two gay concentration camp victims who are sent to Dachau andwho fall in love, using their relationship as an emotional crutch in theirefforts to rebuff the horror of the Holocaust. Max (Clive Owen), would ratherwear a yellow star and proclaim himself a Jew than be lanced with the pinktriangle that designates homosexuality. Horst, (Lothaire Bluteau) chastises himfor his homophobia. Later the tables turn on Max, who finds--through Horst--thestrength both to keep alive indefinitely and to ultimately embrace his sexualidentity.

Initially set in a war-ravaged Berlin, Bent is directed by Sean Mathias, who first directed Jude Law in Indiscretions, and he has crafteda film that reminds one of Ian McKellen's Richard III with its spare,stylized, and stark world bombed into rubble and chic theatrical disarray. Thereare many poignant as well as harrowing scenes, and the result is a somber workthat stands as a reminder that intolerance cannot overtake individualism andlove. While Bent received an NC-17 rating for depicting Berlin'sdecadent, anything-goes-for-a-price nightlife, MGM opted not to edit out thetone-setting prelude and pushed to preserve the film's integritydespite a rating that is itself a kind of death for any film that bears it. --Paula Nechak ... Read more

Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Strange Sort of Peace
In today's world of multi-million-dollar-budget films it's easy to develop high expectations. We're accustomed now to realities whose sights and sounds have been tweaked by talent and technology to perfection--we now see exactly what the director hoped we would, rather than settling for less-impressive, but more-thoughtful, innuendos and visual metaphors.

So in some ways it's refreshing to partake of a lower-budget production like Bent. The world of staged theatre is a simpler, more intellectual one than that of cinema, and too often an exquisitely crafted stage play is "technologized" beyond recognition when it is shot for the screen. But, no doubt because playwright Martin Sherman himself adapted the screenplay, Bent still feels as nakedly thoughtful as the best small-cast stage dramas.

The story centers on the relationship between Max, a gay jew in Hitler's Germany, and Horst, whose character is introduced in such a way that we're half-surprised to realize later in the film that he's the same person we met on the train. But that is the beauty of the playwright's craft: in art, as in life, people we meet as "passing strangers" can come to touch us profoundly.

The sets Mathias chooses as backdrops for the story are far from accurate historically, but they are perfectly chosen to support the mood of the film--Max and Horst, like the star-crossed lovers in a Shakespeare tragedy, are lonely pawns to forces much larger than they. Indeed, Bent offers the most tragically romantic scenes of any film I've seen. Two lovers, brought together by the same forces that keep them forever apart, survive on fantasy and suggestion in a world where life, in so many ways, has no meaning.

Bent is not a "feel-good" movie. But again, the art of Bent allows us to find peace in the lives and love of two strangers who met on a train.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative of a stage play, important material
The movie has been set to feel a bit more like a stage play than a film, but it works nonetheless. It covers the story of two gay men who meet in a Nazi death camp and a very inspiring if ultimately tragic love story. Gays and lesbians are the often-forgotten victims of the Holocaust, and this movie and the play it is based on are important, also, because of its contribution to Holocaust studies in general. Mick Jager's unusual appearance as a drag queen is also interesting. As a source of education, there is some sexual content that makes the film inappropriate for use in high school classrooms without a bit of editing, but I think unedited material is very well suited to a college classroom--and is essential viewing for anyone interested in the Holocaust. An important piece of GLBT heritage.

1-0 out of 5 stars For dedicated homophiles with strong stomachs only
This is the story of the concentration camp inmates forced to wear the pink triangle, symbol of their homosexuality.

This film was formerly a successful play and perhaps it succeeded because of its shocking topic, but this director is no Steven Spielberg. Never did I feel one bit of realism or sympathy for the characters although the brutality was unceasing and the story intense. For example, a boxcar scene which might have worked in a play was just too stagy, and the camera lingered much too lovingly over attractive semi-nude male bodies. We've found out by then, of course, that the title, Bent, refers to the shape of the lead character's male organ although there were no camera shots of this. The dialog seemed contrived, the prisoners all looked too healthy and fit, and, while this film might be applauded for handling, at last, a forbidden topic, it just didn't work as a film. Even Mick Jagger, miscast in the role of a drag queen who runs a nightclub in Berlin, just couldn't save it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this movie
I was really happy with the positive reviews that Bent has been getting here, I love the film and am always disapointed when a reviewer blows it off. This movie literally made me sob (my emotions are easily manipulated)both times I watched it. I've heard a lot of pissing and moaning about the "sex" scene but I thought it was really beautiful, wonderfully acted and very moving. I completely love this movie and can honestly say I wouldn't change one thing about it. Oh, and the reviewer who reviewed right before me is a very scary neo nazi. Someone should let him know that homophobia is never attractive and I would not be shocked to learn that he was a slightly impared and amply pimpled teenager. With no friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most impacting GLBT film I have ever seen...
I have seldom seen a film which stuck me on such an emotional level. It is rare for a film to have a lasting impact on me, but I left the theatre changed after watching "Bent". It is right up there with "Requiem for a Dream" as movies that can be labled psychological brutality, albiet very worthwhile psychological brutality. A truely superb film. ... Read more


13. Lorna Doone
Director: Andrew Grieve
list price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 630301478X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 26980
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Dull but entertaining
When I first went to rent this movie, I was expecting a wonderfully portayed old-english love story with one of my favorite actors, Sean Bean. However, after watching it, I feel it falls short of a romance movie and instead makes its way toward a low-budget comedy movie. This movie was entertaining in that it had comical value in one of the main characters, John Ridd and it had some rather funny action scenes. It lost its potential as a romance when the production crew spent all its money on mediocre actors and gave little attention to sound effects and the screenplay itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lorna Doone, the story of an unrequited love!
Lorna Doone is the story of the banished"Doone" clan, and it is a period film that Sean Bean does very well. Sean plays Carver Doone a man who must live by his wits after he and his clan are banished. Its the story of the love also between John Ridd and Lorna Doone, who was married to Carver. Sean's character is masterfully played, he is a man who is a product of his environment, who must hunt, hurt and yes steal in order to have his family survive! Its Sean Bean at his best, and it also stars his castmates from "Patriot Games" Polly Walker and Hugh Fraser, its a period film that should be seen! Its Sean Bean with the walk and the language of a man who is forced to become an outlaw so that he can survive, its a man who does what he hates to do in order to live, and its the story of Carver's love for Lorna as well as John Ridd's love for her. Enjoy the film! Sean Bean does wonderful work for the BBC and English TV.

4-0 out of 5 stars A little bit of old England
To appreciate this video you must have an intrest in old England and the period around the 'Monmouth Rebellion' It is a tale of Love overcoming barriers in the West of England in the Counties of Devon and Somerset. Realistic shooting captures the era well and avoids Holywood 'glitz'. Worth watching.

2-0 out of 5 stars Lorna Doone
This movie is centered around a doomed love between two young people from bickering families. The movie is extremely slow with the first five minutes showing two people on horseback. There doesn't seem to be anything pulling the movie together to make you want to watch the ending. The basic theme and plot is an excellent storyline, but there is something lacking. Overall, I was expecting a romantic love story and instead found a dull way to spend 2 hours. ... Read more


14. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
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Asin: B0002X7G0C
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 30223
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15. Beyond Borders
Director: Martin Campbell
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001BPRNS
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18233
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Beyond' Logic
I admired the political messages of "Beyond Borders," but I can't say the same for the love story. It seemed out-of-place and forced. Sara (Angelina Jolie) was a troubled housewife who was deeply moved by a doctor's efforts to feed starving children in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya. She journeyed to those countries over a decade and eventually fell in love with the doctor (Clive Owen). The movie tried very hard to be a politically motivated film and I respect that. They should've left out the love story but kept the level of passion for their cause to rise throughout the movie. You don't know whether to feel for the characters in the end or the whole charade they went through to make a difference, to help. But, it's worth your time and it's a lot different than most movies.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 & 1/2 Stars - Beautiful & Ugly all the while Unforgiving
I watched "Beyond Borders" last night, and while the other people I watched it with were beyond bored, I was infatuated. The film, while being a bit "preachy," (nothing anyone would be overly annoyed with) is visually intoxicating. Sometimes in a surreal way other times in a horrific way, but intoxicating no less. Angelina Jolie shines in her role as Sarah, an American whose life changes drastically throughout the years of her adult life with her experiences with refugee camps she visits. Clive Owens plays Nick, a struggling refugee doctor with the best of inentions, but has become cynical and often bitter towards others, but not without good reason. Together they reach an understanding of one another, and eventually find love. But as much as the studio promotes this as a "Love Story" it is NOT that in the least. (I repeat this is NOT a love story.) It is bulked up by some hollywood explosions and such. However in whole this is a film about HEROISM in it's many forms. This film will grab hold of your heart, it will tug, warm, tear, comfort and break it. I think everyone should watch it becuase it gives an honest and unforgiving look at worlds outside our own little box. I give it * * * 1/2 for being a great film, but dragging on a little at times.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot better than I expected
I was expecting the worst when it came to this movie. I am a fan of Angelina Jolie, but it didn't do very well at the box office and I didn't really hear anything about it.

Well, none of that matters because this is a very good movie. Angelina does a good job here, as does Clive Owen, her love interest. The story was interesting and eye-opening. It kept my attention even though this isn't a lightning-paced movie. I wanted to know what would happen to Angelina's character. I was also surprised by a few twists that happen unexpectedly. There's a key scene midway through the movie that doesn't mean a lot at the time, but perfectly foreshadows something that happens later on.

I highly recommend this movie. It was very entertaining and it really did make you think. I'm not a big fan of movies like this, but this is an exception. It should have been a bigger hit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Schock film!
This movie is deeply bitter. It's touchimg and it deals with a premise that we forget too many times , inmersed as we are in our daily activities.
In a beautiful wedding a doctor will suddenly appear and will denounces the injustice for having denied them an important amount of money for the homeless and poor people from Africa.
This breakthrough will twist the life of Sarah Jordan (Angelina Jolie) and she will become the most exhaustive fighter for this noble cause.
Campbell makes a good and haunting movie , even there are some irrelevant scenes , but you never miss the interest in the story . Obviously this world of injustice will generate the unavoidable atraction between them .
Jolie gives a very realistic portrait.
The rest of the story runs for you .
Interesting story , above the average .

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Love Story
This movie is very good! I will have to say, to the individuals who are watching it for the first time, pay attention to every detail because it makes the ending pack more punch! Even though the ending is sad...I think the movie is well done and Angelina Jolie's performance is OUTSTANDING!!! Enjoy... ... Read more


16. Greenfingers
Director: Joel Hershman
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005RYPB
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 21125
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greenfingers - Excellent!
I have seen this film twice at the cinema, and have hired the video so many times, I think the video store is going to give me visitation rights!

I thouroughly enjoyed this movie, and seeing so many talented actors in one film makes the viewing so much more enjoyable! David Kelly, (Waking Ned Devine, Robin's Nest: 1970's british sit-com) is an absolute delight! Clive Owen and Helen Mirren,(Gosford Park)were absolutely wonderful! I know people as flamboyant as 'Georgina Woodhouse,' and I can say that Helen Mirren plays them all in the one character!

You laugh, you cry. Every emotion is there! This is a must see!

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely...
The first word that comes to mind when I think of this British film is "lovely." It's a wonderful comedy with a touch of drama and romance -- a perfectly lovely combination, if you ask me...

The story, which is based on true events, revolves around Colin (Clive Owen), a prison inmate who's transferred to an experimental prison called Edgefield. There, inmates live with more freedom. There aren't any high fences or armed guards. And each inmate gets to do a job that will give him the experience he needs to get hired once he's released.

Colin is a somewhat anti-social prisoner who won't talk to anyone -- not even his friendly old roommate, Fergus (David Kelly). But when Fergus gives Colin a package of violet seeds for Christmas, everything starts to change. The violets bloom in the spring, and they give Colin his own personal calling. After the warden finds out about the violets, he appoints Colin and Fergus (along with three other inmates) to create a garden for the prison.

Greenfingers is a light-hearted feel-good movie that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It's got the same light-but-potent humor as Waking Ned Divine (in which David Kelly played Michael O'Sullivan) -- and it's absolutely perfect for winding down from a long week on a casual Friday night.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
I love British romantic comedy, and of all the movies in the genre, this one is my absolute favorite. Not only is the plotline funny, it's smart; that is, there's plot besides boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. The movie also succeeds at being touching without dipping into sappiness--the Colin/Fergus friendship brings me to tears.

The quirky off-plot tidbits make me laugh aloud. Look for the great big guy playing in the dirt.

The cinematography is beautiful, as is the sexual chemistry between Colin and Primrose. Clive Owen is a fantastically sexy man, and one of my favorite things about British romantic comedy is that the women are enticing without looking like they belong in a magazine.

There are few movies I'd watch over and over again, but this is one of them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Greenfingers
Yet another brilliant British film. Inspired by a true story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Slight but sweet, sentiment without sentimentality
Rottentomatoes.com, netflix, and Amazon reviews have taught me something astonishing: literate users of the latter services usually have better and more reliable taste than the professional critics collected on Rotten Tomatoes. Case in point: GREENFINGERS. Less than half the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a favorable rating, but Amazon & netflix reviewers give it 4 ½ stars. Apparently we appreciate its typically British understatement, mild humor, and a story which may be slight of plot but which doesn't slight its characters. (Hmmm...these are qualities which fans of LOST IN TRANSLATION claim to find in that movie. Perhaps if GREENFINGERS' director were named Coppola instead of Hershman, then he would be up for an Oscar, along with Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, and the rest of the cast and crew.)

If you liked WAKING NED DEVINE or LOCAL HERO or any of a number of small, well-crafted British films about the character of ordinary people, you will probably enjoy this movie. It lacks gratuitous nudity, violence and profanity, graphic sex, special effects wizardry, and cheap shots at other cultures, but these omissions just make it better. The film is technically as self-effacing as the performances - - all in the service of story, rather than for calling attention to the makers' cleverness, or hipness, or at least what masquerades as such among the unenlightened.

This is a movie about growth and transformation, not about stasis. It is about people with the character to make the most of their situation in life, no matter how apparently bleak. It is about the heroism of daily struggle to find meaning and value in the small things of everyday life, about simple faith, about making a difference, about love, forgiveness, and redemption, and ultimately about what it is to be human. Four stars. ... Read more


17. The Return of the Native
Director: Jack Gold
list price: $14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303402151
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 41733
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Love & Tragedy & All That Jazz. . .
This early vehicle for a young Catherine Zeta-Jones does justice to the complex Hardy novel despite the constraints of the television movie format. 'La Zeta' is perfectly cast as Eustacia Vye, a mysterious beauty with 'black hair and pagan eyes' who captivates the young men of the vicinity while the older country people regard her with suspicion as a witch who is not to be trusted. Eustacia has a reputation as a loose woman in the neighborhood--she dallies with another woman's fiance out of sheer boredom, even though she is tired of him. When dashing Clym Yeobright returns home after many years abroad in Paris, Eustacia sets her cap for him, with tragic results.

Fans who have followed Zeta-Jones' high-profile career in movies such as 'Entrapment', 'Traffic' & 'Chicago' will be interested to see her here, long before Michael Douglas and Oscar came calling, in her debut role outside of her native UK. She displays all the beauty and cool self-possession of the star she would later become. She's had her teeth capped since, and been otherwise glammed up, Hollywood-style, but all the fundamentals are there. The setting is breathtaking (shot on location in Northern England), and the simple yet vivid costumes Eustacia wears add to her characterization. Eustacia/Catherine is dressed simply but vividly in tones of scarlet, yellow and turquoise blue, setting her in sharp relief to the browns and grays of the landscape, and the dull clothes worn by the other characters.

The entire cast does a superb job, but this is really Zeta-Jones' show. Whether you're a Zeta fan, or a student of Thomas Hardy, this production should be on your shelf.

4-0 out of 5 stars Attempt at Thomas Hardy almost reaches it.
Anyone who has read the novel will see that this movie is far truer to the storyline than average. Where the movie "almost" reaches success is in its portrayal of the characters. The egocentric nature of Eustachia is portrayed well until the death scene, when, from that point, she comes off as too much of the unforgiven, tragic, heroine. Wildeve's passion never quite attains to the pinnacle reached in the Hardy novel, Venn's homespun nobility isn't as evident, nor does Clym's "martyr complex" ever really emerge. The flick has much to recommend it however, especially in the first 2/3 of it. The setting is magnificent and appropriately stark, the subordinate characters (Grandfer Cantle, Susan Nunsuch, Mrs. Yeobright, etc.) are accurately displayed. This is one film in which I would recommend for the viewer to see the movie first before reading the novel. This would eliminate some of the sense of loss in the character displays and help one appreciate the "love-never-dies, beyond-the grave" finale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
Ok i dont get the 007 thing but whatever. this movie was awesome!!! it was so sad!!!!! Catherine alone on that bridge will break your heart! i really felt bad 4 her throughout this movie, just because they "THOUGHT" she was a witch didnt mean they need to go and stab her in church! how mean! lol sry i love catherine zeta jones! lol well the movie was great, it was sad, and in the first minute a lil confusing but then you catch on after like 2 seconds.

3-0 out of 5 stars Clive Owen could become the next "James Bond 007".
I saw this Hallmark television movie when it originally aired. I lost interest in the story because a character was said to be a witch. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to watch this film. But Hallmark is a name the presents the best, quality films. Now, there is a reason to give this film a second look. Clive Owen who plays "Damon Wildeve" just might have a chance to be selected as the next James Bond 007 when Pierce Brosnan passes it on. Clive Owen might have to wait until the year 2008. The other reason is the female lead is Catherine Zeta-Jones is now a celebrity (she was unknown at the time) and became an Academy Award winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2003. Joan Plowright as "Mrs. Yeobright" is also in this film. I like the opening line in the film: "Deliver my heart from this fearful, lonely place. Send me a great love from somewhere or else I shall die, truly I shall die".

4-0 out of 5 stars great for catherine fans
i only liked this movie because of zeta-she is great in it and young-24 yrs old ... Read more


18. Bent
Director: Sean Mathias
list price: $99.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792898842
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5500
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Strange Sort of Peace
In today's world of multi-million-dollar-budget films it's easy to develop high expectations. We're accustomed now to realities whose sights and sounds have been tweaked by talent and technology to perfection--we now see exactly what the director hoped we would, rather than settling for less-impressive, but more-thoughtful, innuendos and visual metaphors.

So in some ways it's refreshing to partake of a lower-budget production like Bent. The world of staged theatre is a simpler, more intellectual one than that of cinema, and too often an exquisitely crafted stage play is "technologized" beyond recognition when it is shot for the screen. But, no doubt because playwright Martin Sherman himself adapted the screenplay, Bent still feels as nakedly thoughtful as the best small-cast stage dramas.

The story centers on the relationship between Max, a gay jew in Hitler's Germany, and Horst, whose character is introduced in such a way that we're half-surprised to realize later in the film that he's the same person we met on the train. But that is the beauty of the playwright's craft: in art, as in life, people we meet as "passing strangers" can come to touch us profoundly.

The sets Mathias chooses as backdrops for the story are far from accurate historically, but they are perfectly chosen to support the mood of the film--Max and Horst, like the star-crossed lovers in a Shakespeare tragedy, are lonely pawns to forces much larger than they. Indeed, Bent offers the most tragically romantic scenes of any film I've seen. Two lovers, brought together by the same forces that keep them forever apart, survive on fantasy and suggestion in a world where life, in so many ways, has no meaning.

Bent is not a "feel-good" movie. But again, the art of Bent allows us to find peace in the lives and love of two strangers who met on a train.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative of a stage play, important material
The movie has been set to feel a bit more like a stage play than a film, but it works nonetheless. It covers the story of two gay men who meet in a Nazi death camp and a very inspiring if ultimately tragic love story. Gays and lesbians are the often-forgotten victims of the Holocaust, and this movie and the play it is based on are important, also, because of its contribution to Holocaust studies in general. Mick Jager's unusual appearance as a drag queen is also interesting. As a source of education, there is some sexual content that makes the film inappropriate for use in high school classrooms without a bit of editing, but I think unedited material is very well suited to a college classroom--and is essential viewing for anyone interested in the Holocaust. An important piece of GLBT heritage.

1-0 out of 5 stars For dedicated homophiles with strong stomachs only
This is the story of the concentration camp inmates forced to wear the pink triangle, symbol of their homosexuality.

This film was formerly a successful play and perhaps it succeeded because of its shocking topic, but this director is no Steven Spielberg. Never did I feel one bit of realism or sympathy for the characters although the brutality was unceasing and the story intense. For example, a boxcar scene which might have worked in a play was just too stagy, and the camera lingered much too lovingly over attractive semi-nude male bodies. We've found out by then, of course, that the title, Bent, refers to the shape of the lead character's male organ although there were no camera shots of this. The dialog seemed contrived, the prisoners all looked too healthy and fit, and, while this film might be applauded for handling, at last, a forbidden topic, it just didn't work as a film. Even Mick Jagger, miscast in the role of a drag queen who runs a nightclub in Berlin, just couldn't save it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this movie
I was really happy with the positive reviews that Bent has been getting here, I love the film and am always disapointed when a reviewer blows it off. This movie literally made me sob (my emotions are easily manipulated)both times I watched it. I've heard a lot of pissing and moaning about the "sex" scene but I thought it was really beautiful, wonderfully acted and very moving. I completely love this movie and can honestly say I wouldn't change one thing about it. Oh, and the reviewer who reviewed right before me is a very scary neo nazi. Someone should let him know that homophobia is never attractive and I would not be shocked to learn that he was a slightly impared and amply pimpled teenager. With no friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most impacting GLBT film I have ever seen...
I have seldom seen a film which stuck me on such an emotional level. It is rare for a film to have a lasting impact on me, but I left the theatre changed after watching "Bent". It is right up there with "Requiem for a Dream" as movies that can be labled psychological brutality, albiet very worthwhile psychological brutality. A truely superb film. ... Read more


19. Second Sight (Box Set)
Director: Charles Beeson
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005JHCG
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 22976
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Description

From Paula Milne, the multi-award winning writer of The Politician's Wife, comes this taut psychological thriller starring Clive Owen (Croupier, Closer) and Claire Skinner (Inspector Morse).Ross Tanner (Owen) is a hotshot police detective who lives for the thrill of the chase—while desperate to conceal a terrifying secret: he's losing his vision. Competitive graduate officer D.I. Catherine Tully (Skinner) is drafted into Tanner's crime unit to help investigate an apparently motiveless murder of a nineteen-year-old college student. Soon enough Catherine realized the nature of Tanner's dreadful secret and an uneasy alliance is formed between them. She will be his eyes, on certain conditions—terms which will enhance her career prospects.As Tanner's relationship with the world becomes increasingly fragile he learns that there is more to murder than meets the eye. Insight prevails over eyesight as he discovers that success and survival will depend on the use of all his senses. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars SPELLBINDING HERO MAKES SERIES CRACKLE.
Fans of the art house cult hit CROUPIER will delight in this first entry in yet another first-rate British mystery series. Clive Owen, who made Jack Manfred a classic antihero in CROUPIER, fleshes out a fascinating character in DCI Ross Tanner as the SECOND SIGHT series begins with this two-tape set. Tanner is a divorced (aren't they always?) workaholic with an ambitious ex-wife and an adoring young son who seems to double as Tanner's only real friend. In this go-round, Tanner is beginning to lose his eyesight to a rare disease for which there stands no present cure. Hiding his condition and his terror is not going to be easy, however. The fadeouts are unpredictable and often frightening and his new partner, Catherine Tully, is on to him. Equally ambitious, and out to correct an old wrong, Tully offers to be Tanner's eyes if he will give her a crack at their new case--the death of a young university student in his own backyard while no one in the family seemed to notice.

Claire Skinner is, as always, expert and enjoyable to watch but its Clive Owen's show all the way. His unconventional good looks and rugged exterior share space with a tender, devoted father and a fair-minded, ingenious detective but Owen also gives Ross Tanner something else, that rarest of things in movie characters--the suggestion of an inner life which is every bit as fascinating as his day-to-day crime solving. Great production values and fine supporting performances (especially from Stuart Wilson and Phoebe Nicholls) make SECOND SIGHT a must for any British mystery video library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank God for the BBC!
This two-part episode is the first of four engrossing mysteries with stoic, sexy DCI Ross Tanner (Clive Owen) leading a detective unit investigating really gruesome murders. Brilliant but star-crossed Tanner is strickened with a rare virus that is destroying his eyesight so he must conceal his ailment to keep on working, which leaves him vunerable for the first time in his life. Forced to use his other senses to compensate, he methodically sets out to solve the cases anyhow. The visuals are just great as the viewer experiences things from his perspective: hallucinations, blurred images, great flashes of light and vertigo. In his personal life, he goes from rollerblading, bar-hopping and neglecting his parential duties to having his bitter ex-wife eat crow, having his young son pity him and having an affair with a co-worker who is willing to assist him to further her own career. Try to watch the 4 well-written episodes in order so you can observe his subtle character arc which seems very genuine as he heroically struggles against a major disability and works through deep denial. The supporting cast is very good and their characters seem very genuine. His apartment is very cool. Yeah, BBC! This refers to VHS, I don't think the first part is available in DVD. Just one more reason to not ditch the VHS player just yet.

4-0 out of 5 stars Clive Owen is Hot
It's a predictable mystery but it's well packaged and, as I said, Clive Owen is hot! There's some intensely erotic moments in this series that make it worth watching even though the average mystery fan will have the plot all figured out way before the climax.

Yes, I've admitted elsewhere that I am incredibly shallow at times, and this is one of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching and Creative - not your typical detective show!
I found this show on at 1 am one night, and was caught. I didn't know what day it played, or at first what channel it was on, so I found myself staying up, flipping channels to find it. After that I realized it might be better to use the TV Guide. This is a wonderful show. It's star is arresting, both vulnerable and strong at the same time. I try to avoid watching anything that doesn't catch my creative eye, and this did, completely. Such a show you would normally assume to be firmly within the usual "detective show" genre. It wasn't. It was wonderful. Creative, imaginative, touching and appealing. Beginning to end it was awesome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing! I loved it.
I highly recommend Second Sight and its sequel.
I think I have a new favorite actor... Clive. I hope I can find him in other features. He was just superb. A very compelling actor. I hope to see him in some big feature films in the US. He is an actor to watch. There's a lot of meat there in his acting ability. ... Read more


20. Chancer: Volume 2
Director: Alan Grint, Laurence Moody
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303194818
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 91527
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