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"qmlhcb" (Michigan)

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Unfaithful (Widescreen)
Unfaithful (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Richard Gere
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 8.51
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a film about adultry that gets it right, Jan. 19 2003
This review is from: Unfaithful (Widescreen) (DVD)
Unfaithful breaks the genre conventions of love affairs to bring a fresh and, more importantly, realistic approach to the subject. The end result is a fantastic film that explores the passions and consequences of cheating on a loved one.
So many films dealing with the subject usually do one of two things, either create a spouse who is so vile and ruthless you're happy for the other to have an affair with someone who treats them right. Or the spouse who does the cheating is just a nasty person. Either way, only one is really a victim. In Unfaithful though, both spouses are victims. The affair just happens, as there usually is no strong reason. Real life doesn't always have a reason. There is no real bad guy, just bad actions and the downward spiral that is sometimes caused by them.
The film has a great pace to it, as it explores the early passion of an affair, then the pain and disaster that follows. Everything happens when it should, and nothing is ever completely spelled out for the audience, especially the beautifully constructed ending, acknowledging that yes, viewers can think for themselves.
Unfaithful is definitely recommended and well worth viewing. It's about time a film was honest in its portrayal of adultery.

The Mosquito Coast (Widescreen/Full Screen)
The Mosquito Coast (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by boutiquecinemaniac,com
Price: CDN$ 24.95
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A great survival adventure with an underlying meaning, Jan. 19 2003
The Mosquito Coast is a thoroughly enjoyable film by Peter Weir that, while not perfect, manages to be entertaining through its complex characters in the midst of extraordinary situations.
When inventor Allie Fox (Harrison Ford) decides to call America quits, he takes his family down to live off the land in Central America. While surviving in the harsh jungles, Fox's fervent belief in his ideals, reflected in the eyes of a religious fanatic running a nearby missionary, slowly tear his family apart. The story is like a modern Swiss Family Robinson, except the family is stranded by choice, not chance.
It's this adventure quality that helps the film be so enjoyable, but it's also the complexity of Fox, a man you can't help but admire while despising, that keeps you riveted to the screen. Performances here by Ford as well as supporting actors including River Phoenix as his son are right on the money. The film serves as a commentary on how far is too far to follow your beliefs blindly, and the message comes out strong.
If there's any major problem with The Mosquito Coast, it's that it's too short. It feels like we're missing some of the story at times, and that could be due to its adaptation from a longer novel. An additional 20 minutes could easily fill the gaps in the story and help create a better sense of the amount of time the fox's lived in the wild. But on the other hand, the ending seems to go on too long after what seems like the climax, and the film would have benefited from condensed events at that point.
Despite these problems, The Mosquito Coast definitely doesn't fail as either entertaining or enlightening, and is well worth multiple viewings. Highly recommended for anyone who loves realistic outdoor survival films.

Lilo and Stitch
Lilo and Stitch
Offered by Everything 80s
Price: CDN$ 39.75
28 used & new from CDN$ 1.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Disney's best in years, Jan. 16 2003
This review is from: Lilo and Stitch (DVD)
The last great Disney film was The Lion King. That was 10 years ago and since we've had multitudes of mediocre to dismal regurgitations of that formula. Though Disney tried to mix it up a bit with The Emperor's New Groove and Atlantis, they still managed to be only decent. Until now, at least. While Lilo & Stitch does not quite reach the greatness of the Lion King and a few other Disney classics, it is still a really good little film.
What makes it work are two things: Characters we care for, and new, original ideas. Up at the forefront are the title characters: Lilo, an orphaned Hawaiian girl now living in the care of her older sister, and Stitch, a genetically created alien with no family. Lilo's life with her sister is full of tension, and a child services agent may put the young girl into a foster home if things don't improve. No one is perfect in this story, everyone has faults and strengths, and it's this honest portrayal of humans (and, er, aliens) that helps sell this film. This Disney movie really begins to capture much of the heart that's been missing for the past decade in their animated films.
And the music adds the perfect atmosphere to the tropical animation. Using Hawaiian sounds and Elvis Presley tunes, the film uses the right songs at the right moments. And with the laugh out loud comedy in this film (I haven't laughed as much during a Disney cartoon in years), everything comes together beautifully.
With Lilo & Stitch, it seems Disney may be headed in the right direction with their animation franchise. Let's hope it continues in the years to come. And if not, at least we still have Lilo & Stitch.

XXX (Widescreen Special Edition) [Import]
XXX (Widescreen Special Edition) [Import]
DVD ~ Vin Diesel
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 5.65
69 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Lame attempt at action, Jan. 13 2003
...I don´¿t even know where to begin. With the terrible CGI effects? How about the cheesy, unbelievable plot that makes any Bond film seem like reality? No, lets start with how all the mindless action scenes somehow succeed in not being interesting. Since this is supposed to be an action film, these scenes are supposed to be the main thrust behind it. But they´¿re not. On the surface they look like they should be fun, but somehow they´¿re not. ... Vin Diesel´¿s crook-turned-secret agent just isn´¿t interesting to me. And it´¿s not because he´¿s a criminal, rooting for a bad guy can be fun. He just doesn´¿t carry that cool aura around him, such as James Bond or Blade. To make an action film work, you need a central character who is fascinating to watch, and personally, Vin Diesel here is about as fascinating as c-span.
The absurd plot of having a criminal do a secret agent´¿s job on behalf of the United States doesn´¿t help, either. I can hold disbelief off during a movie if it is handled right, but from the start I could see XXX was derailing from this department. I just didn´¿t buy it as the movie presented it. The bad CGI effects were also very distracting. Scenes such as one concerning an avalanche look like it was rendered five years ago. CGI keeps reaching new standards, and if you don´¿t keep up with it, you shouldn´¿t use it. Surprisingly enough, however, the acting, while nothing special, isn´¿t to bad. Sure Vin Diesel is no acting god, but he doesn´¿t give a cringe-worthy performance here. And while Samuel L. Jackson´¿s talent is pretty much wasted here in his role as Diesel´¿s boss, no one delivers poorly.
XXX is best not seen at all, unless you´¿re a big Vin Diesel fan. There wasn´¿t much here to admire, and what is, truly isn´¿t worth the time to view. Stick to Bond.

K-19: The Widowmaker (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
K-19: The Widowmaker (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 9.56
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but decent submarine drama, Jan. 11 2003
In the sub-genre of submarine dramas, K-19, The Widowmaker doesn't compare with great films such as Das Boot or The Hunt for Red October. Based on a true story that isn't as gripping as those other films, it has limited potential to begin with. So, of course, the couple of serious flaws that K-19 possesses quickly undermines that potential.
K-19 follows the maiden voyage of the Soviet Union's flagship nuclear submarine, whose initial captain (Liam Neeson) is replaced by a new captain (Harrison Ford). During a series of drills, Neeson and the rest of the crew are leery of their new leader, but after a dangerous but successful test of their limits, the new captain earns the crews, (but not Neeson's) trust. However, when a radioactive leak is discovered and the fate of the ship is up in the air, no one knows whose lead to follow.
One of my biggest problems with this film is the first third of it, illustrating drill after drill with a loud, suspenseful soundtrack that tries to make the mostly harmless drills seem more dangerous. The film here seems to be preparing the audience for an inevitable attack from an enemy. All it serves to do in the end is to be misleading so that when that inevitable attack never happens, it proves to be a let down. Also, and perhaps even more annoying, are the poor Russian accents. Everyone, including Ford and Neeson, have wavering accents that are sometimes Russian, sometimes American, and sometimes something else entirely. In fact, without even a single word ever spoken in Russian, the film's authenticity suffers. You never forget that these are all Americans playing Russians. Perhaps if the casting director found more Russian actors for the supporting roles, and the director maybe placed some Russian dialogue in the beginning (such as The Hunt for Red October did), It would have been more convincing.
Still, the film is not without merit. Once the radiation leak is discovered the film becomes more interesting and well worth your time. It truly was a harrowing event and the tension finally begins to build here. It's just too bad it took an hour of false tension to get there. If emphasis on the drills had not been pushed as it was, and the atmosphere more authentically Russian, this could have been a solid four star film doing justice to the true events.
It's worth a rental as it is, but stick to Das Boot or other submarine thrillers to fill your DVD rack.

Donnie Darko (Widescreen)
Donnie Darko (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 52.06
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wildly strange and entertaining, and gets your mind spinning, Jan. 6 2003
This review is from: Donnie Darko (Widescreen) (DVD)
Flying in and out of theaters before anyone really even heard of it, Donnie Darko is one of those little gems that most people will never see. It's a strange, genre bending film with a knock-out ending that will lead to hours of discussion long after the final credits roll.
Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a troubled teenager who in-between zoning out at school and regular trips to his shrink, starts being visited by a demonic rabbit named Frank. Darko is told the world is going to end, and is given orders as this story becomes more and more absurd. Is everything what it seems? What does everything mean? And when the climax is reached, just when you think you're going to get some answers, plot twists the size of Jupiter knock you down for the count and confuse you even more. After two viewings I'm still trying to figure it out. But that is what makes this film so much fun. There are many puzzle pieces throughout the film, some obvious and some you never notice until repeat viewings. And the movie is so much fun to watch that each viewing is an intense, exciting experience.
A number of pieces come together to make this movie work. The cinematography is excellent. From the opening [picture] of Darko lying on the hill top road to the final image, each [scene] is disturbing, eerie and above all, beautiful. And the accompanying soundtrack fits these scenes perfectly. Most impressive is a hard hitting montage at the end to a haunting cover of a Tears for Fears song. The editing in a number of scenes is equally impressive. For example, in the first scene at Darko's school, the camera flies around switching from slow motion to fast forward, introducing all the supporting characters as they cross each other's paths. The results will have you rewinding the scene and many others over and over out of their sheer beauty. Helping the film in its disturbed nature is Gyllenhaal's characterization of Darko, sending down-right scary smirks and haunting glares all throughout the film.
Despite all these successes, though, Donnie Dark does have some significant problems. Much of the A-list supporting cast, such as Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and Noah Wylie, while superb in their roles, aren't given enough to do. Barrymore and Wylie especially needed more time to establish their relationship and characterizations. Also, while the film is supposed to be abstract and mind bending, it sometimes goes a little too far without offering just a little bit of explanation. Mostly just some added character motivation here and there would make a little more sense out of it.
While some absurdity works and some doesn't, in the end the good in this film far outweigh its problems, and Donnie Darko shows great promise for newcomer Richard Kelly, who wrote and directed it. After all, any film that inspires hours of thought and discussion long after it ends succeeds on all accounts. You'll want to own this one for repeat viewings.

Analyze This (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Analyze This (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 15.38
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant comedy with a great DeNiro performance, Jan. 2 2003
In Analyze This, Billy Crystal once again proves his comedic wit, but it's another actor formally known for his dramatic roles that makes the bigger splash: Robert DeNiro!
Before this, the mere idea of DeNiro playing comedy could have been laughable. His strikingly dramatic screen presence as mob bosses, criminals and other dangerous men had been pounded into America culture. But it only took Analyze This to start a whole new career for DeNiro, and since then it's something both studios and the actor have taken advantage of. And that's simply because DeNiro is perfect for comedy. Sure he's still a mob boss in this film, but he's a mob boss with emotional problems. The mere sight of DeNiro sobbing like a five-year-old girl is hysterical. He manages to upstage the fantastic Crystal in every scene they're in together. And it's this role reversal that is truly makes this film work. Crystal is actually playing the straight man for once, letting the normally rigid DeNiro be the goofball.
While Analyze This may not be Crystal's greatest comedy, it does stand out in the crowd, if not only for establishing DeNiro's comedic qualities. Some of its weaknesses though include similarities between it and another patient/psychiatrist film, What About Bob (Which is, in my opinion, the funnier of the two), most notably the plot point of the patient following his doctor on vacation. Also we don't find out that DeNiro's character has a family until too late in the film. When we see him in bed with a girlfriend, it's not until halfway through we hear that he has a wife, and we're not told he has a son (an important plot element later in the film) until more than halfway into it. These faults are minor though, and don't detract much from the overall film.
Analyze This is simply an enjoyable comedy that first explored a fantastic actor's comedic side, and provides yet another Crystal success.

Dr. Strangelove: Special Edition (Bilingual)
Dr. Strangelove: Special Edition (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Price: CDN$ 6.99
42 used & new from CDN$ 3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick's fantastic take on black comedy, Dec 31 2002
There is one apparent similarity between all of Stanley Kubrick´¿s films, and that is everyone of them is very different then the rest. Dr. Strangelove is no exception as his only comedy, and it works on nearly every level.
Dr. Strangelove is considered by many as one of his best works. While I don´¿t necessarily place it as high on that list, it is still an excellent dark comedic look at nuclear threat. The story jumps back and forth between a number of characters as an insane general gives his planes orders to drop nukes on the Soviet Union in an unprovoked attack while the rest of the nation scrambles to put a stop to it.
Probably the most apparent success in this film is the excellent acting by Peter Sellers in three different roles (the president, a British officer, and the eccentric Dr. Strangelove), as well as wonderful performances by George C. Scott, Slim Pickens and the rest of the cast. Sellers nails each of his characters, adding much of their comedic wit. Many of his funniest lines were improved, such as a hilarious phone call to the drunken Russian president. Kubrick managed to bring out top-notch acting all around here. Also, the fantastic sets are amazing, especially the gigantic War Room set comprised of a gigantic round table and three huge panels depicting the world looming over it. Kubrick shows his photographic roots as well in the stunning cinematography of many of his scenes. Characters and objects are juxtaposed in visually pleasing and symbolic ways, and often reveal visual gags.
Much of the humor, as is often the case with black comedy, is easily missed if your not paying attention. In fact, this film definitely favors repeat viewings. Each time I watch it, I notice a few more jokes hidden throughout the film. But the suspense also builds along with the humor as the world´¿s situation becomes more and more desperate.
The only flaws in Dr. Strangelove seem to be its slow beginning which doesn´¿t offer much humor, and a few minor production value problems such as jump cuts and poor audio transitions, most of which can be contributed to filmmaking conditions of the time.
This is definitly worth checking out if you like black comedies, or love the visual and symbolic style of Kubrick.

A Bronx Tale (Widescreen)
A Bronx Tale (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
13 used & new from CDN$ 4.32

4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully engaging mix of gangster and family drama, Dec 30 2002
This review is from: A Bronx Tale (Widescreen) (DVD)
In his directorial debut, Robert DeNiro wisely took the kind of film he is known for as an actor: The gangster film. But A Bronx Tale is much more then just another gangster piece, and it succeeds mostly in its veering away from the usual fare.
DeNiro plays a father trying to make an honest living in the Bronx during the 1960's. But when his son "C" finds himself allured by the Mafia "godfather," Sonny (Chez Pallimetri), doing business out of a neighboring bar, DeNiro tries to steer his son clear of danger. Soon, however, "C" is looking up to Sonny as a second father, and DeNiro feels threatened.
Rather then focusing on the crime, it emphasizes the family drama, drawing comparisons between the crime family and blood ties. And fortunately, for the most part, A Bronx Tale avoids common clichés and hokey outcomes that dramas concerning family often hit. Instead, it creates an involving situation where no one is portrayed as pure evil.
The film is not without its problems, however. At times the film suffers from over explanation, mostly through the use of narration by an older "C." He repeatedly states the moral of the tale at the end of the film, when one doesn't need to be stated at all. It's something viewers should decide for themselves, with at most, a hint by the narrator. Also, the film could have used more scenes with just "C" and his father, as well as with Sonny, to better crystallize their relationships. While what's in the film is enough to get a good idea, it doesn't fully explore the tension and characterization. The film could benefit from an additional twenty minutes or so to fully flesh out everything.
But overall, A Bronx Tale provides a satisfying, and often times nostalgic look into family ties in 1960's New York. It's well worth the price to own.

Apocalypse Now: Redux (Widescreen)
Apocalypse Now: Redux (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Martin Sheen
Offered by Round3CA
Price: CDN$ 0.01
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the greatest war film ever, Dec 29 2002
In putting together his director's cut of Apocalypse Now, director Francis Ford Coppola has created a masterpiece. It may even be the best war film of all time.
Though it has been a number of years since I last saw the theatrical version, I could tell immediately that this version is the definitive one. The characters and their relationships are further explored and flushed out, and the journey down the river by a soldier (Martin Sheen) on his way to assassinate a renegade general (Marlon Brando) really feels epical. Full of beautifully photographed scenes matched with precision by a great soundtrack (the opening scene alone is worth seeing the film), it's hard not to get caught up in the movie. This is just as much a quest film as a war film, and the additional scenes help this incredibly.
The only drawback is the addition of the French Plantation sequence, which occurs near the end and grinds the momentum to a halt. A long dinner scene with Frenchmen has little to do with the plot line of the film. Just when the film should be building up to the end confrontation, it takes this leisurely detour.
But despite this, the film still manages to be incredibly powerful. It tops my list of favorite war films I've seen, and could very well be the best in history. This expanded version should not be missed by any film connoisseur.

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