Since its release in 1998, Steven Spielberg's D-Day drama Saving Private Ryan has become hugely influential: everything, from the opening sequence of Gladiator ("Saving Marcus Aurelius") to the marvellous 10-hour TV series Band of Brothers, has been made in its shadow. There have been many previous attempts to recreate the D-Day landings on screen (notably, the epic The Longest Day), but thanks to Spielberg's freewheeling hand-held camerawork, Ryan was the first time an audience really felt like they were there, storming up Omaha Beach in the face of withering enemy fire. After the indelible opening sequence, however, the film is not without problems. The story, though based on an American Civil War incident, feels like it was concocted simply to fuel Spielberg's sentimental streak. In standard Hollywood fashion the Germans remain a faceless foe (with the exception of one charmless character who turns out to be both a coward and a turncoat); and the Tom Hanks-led platoon consists of far too many stereotypes: the doughty Sergeant; the thick-necked Private; the Southern man religious sniper; the cowardly Corporal. Matt Damon seems improbably clean-cut as the titular Private in need of rescue (though that may well be the point); and why do they all run straight up that hill towards an enemy machine gun post anyway? Some non-US critics have complained that Ryan portrays only the American D-Day experience, but it is an American film made and financed by Americans after all. Accepting both its relatively narrow remit and its lachrymose inclinations, Saving Private Ryan deserves its place in the pantheon of great war pictures. On the DVD: Saving Private Ryan on disc comes in a good-quality anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer with a suitably dynamic Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix in which bullets fly all around your living room. Extra features are pretty minimal, with a standard 30-minute "making of" piece called "Into the Breach" and two trailers. There are text notes on the cast and crew as well as the production, and a brief message from Mr Spielberg himself about why he decided to make the movie. --Mark Walker
"Avatar" is the story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms.
Tom Hanks's debut as a writer and director is a lively, affectionate account of the shooting-star career of a forgotten (fictional) 1960s pop-rock band called The Wonders--as in "one-hit wonders". Hanks plays the manager of the group, which includes drummer Guy "Sticks" Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) who works the floor at his parents' appliance store in Erie, Pennsylvania; Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech), the talented and temperamental lead singer and songwriter; Lenny (Steve Zahn), the goofy guitarist; and Ethan Embry as a geeky little fellow identified in the cast list only as "The Bass Player". The movie traces their meteoric rise and fall, from cutting their first record, to going on tour with a Phil Spector/Motown-type revue, to the internal tensions that lead to the band's disintegration, which comes when they fail to follow up their smash hit single, "That Thing You Do!" And that song, by the way, is so catchy it would definitely have been a hit in 1964--and deserves to be one today. This delightful movie would make a great double-bill with Allison Anders's wonderful Grace of My Heart. --Jim Emerson
Sofia Coppola's second feature-length film focuses on two guests at a Tokyo hotel--Bob (Bill Murray), a middle-aged actor in town to film whiskey commercials, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), the young wife of a trendy photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) who is always out on a shoot. When Bob isn't on the job taking fragmented direction from the Japanese crew, he's receiving faxes on home decorating from his emotionally distant wife. And while her husband is away, Charlotte spends most of her time trying to motivate herself to do more than look out the window at Tokyo's urban sprawl. So when the two meet in the hotel bar, they strike up an unusual friendship, one that provides a welcome escape from their boredom and loneliness. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and winner of Best Original Screenplay at the 2004 Oscars.
Gone in 60 Seconds opens on Kip Raines (Giovanni Ribisi), a cocky young car thief working with a crew to steal 50 cars for a very bad man whose nickname is "The Carpenter". Being young and cocky, Kip messes up, so its up to his big brother, Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nicolas Cage), to come out of car-thief retirement and save him. With a cast that includes Robert Duvall, Angelina Jolie, Delroy Lindo, Cage and Ribisi, it would be easy to say this story wastes all their talents--which it does, but thats not the point. This is a Jerry Bruckheimer film. A good story and complex characters would only get in the way of the action scenes and slow the movie down. No, Gone in 60 Seconds (based on the cult 1974 film of the same name) is not about the stars as much as its about cars. Fast cars. Rare cars. Wrecked cars. All cars. Too bad director Dominic Sena (Kalifornia) doesnt come across as more of a gearhead; he seems less interested in fast cars than fast cuts. But is this movie fun? Absolutely, and its fun because its so stupid. With pointless car chases and hackneyed dialogue in one of the most predictable plots of the year, Gone in 60 Seconds is a comic film thats not quite a parody of itself, but darn close. --Andy Spletzer, Amazon.com
Return to Pandora and Re-Experience Cameron's History-Making Epic, with more than Eight Minutes of Never Before Seen Footage.
Seth MacFarlane returns as writer, director and voice star of 'Ted 2', Universal and Media Rights Capital's follow-up to the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time.
IN THE LAST GREAT INVASION, OF THE LAST GREAT WAR, THE GREATEST DANGER FOR EIGHT MEN WAS SAVING ONE. Internationally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg, is an unforgettable film achievement that has had a profound and lasting impact throughout the world. Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Director (Spielberg) Saving Private Ryan also garnered two Golden Globeâ¢ Awards for Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director. Seen through the eyes of a squad of American soldiers, the story begins with World War II's historic D-Day invasion, then moves beyond the beach as the men embark on a dangerous special mission. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) must take his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Faced with impossible odds, the men question their orders. Why are eight men risking their lives to save just one? Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, each man searches for his own answer and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honour, decency, and respect. SPECIAL FEATURES: An Introduction Looking into the Past Miller and his Platoon Boot Camp Making Saving Private Ryan Re-Creating Omaha Beach Music and Sound Parting Thoughts Into the Breach: Saving Private Ryan Theatrical Trailer Re-Release Trailer Shooting War
Produced by Oprah Winfrey Brad Pitt’s company plan b (12 years a slave ) and Christian Colson ( Slumdog Millionaire ) the acclaimed film Selma tells the gripping and moving true story of the pivotal moment in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s epic civil rights struggle - the 1965 protest march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to secure voting rights for African Americans. Starring British actor David Oyelowo (The Butler A Most Violent Year) as Martin Luther King Jr. Alongside Tom Wilkinson Carmen Ejogo Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey the 2015 release of Selma celebrates the 50th anniversary of the passing of the voting rights act and this triumphant story of the power of the people.
On the verge of starting fresh, Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) is dragged back into the role of Pete Murphy when two thugs believing he's Pete, threaten to kill the Bernhardts if he doesn't take them to Pete's estranged mother and the millions she stole from their employer. Now Marius must tread a dangerous line to find her and protect the family, all while keeping up the Pete con.
In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.
Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-writes and plays the role of the cowardly sheep farmer Albert in A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Welcome to the infamous "boiler room" - where twentysomething millionaires are made overnight. Here, in the inner sanctum of a fly-by-night brokerage firm, hyper-aggressive young stockjocks peddle to unsuspecting buyers over the phone.
Academy Award winners Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie ride an unstoppable wave of speed and adrenaline in this hot edgy action hit from high-octane producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Legendary car booster Randall ""Memphis"" Raines (Cage) thought he'd left the fast lane behind - until he's forced out of retirement in a do-or-die effort to save his kid brother (Giovanni Ribisi) from the wrath of an evil mobster! But with speed to burn and attitude to spare Memphis hastily re-assembles his old
The film is centered on Martin Luther King's historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people regardless of their colour. 2015 is the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King's historic voting rights campaign and march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alaba
Two Americans meet in Tokyo and spark off a surprising friendship which will lead both to discover a new belief in life's possibilities.
Halle Berry and Bruce Willis star in this thriller about a reporter investigating the unsolved murder of one of her childhood friends.
Anyone who's watched Family Guy knows that its creator Seth MacFarlane has a lot of hang-ups. As outrageous as many of them are in their animated TV show forum, they get a real rundown in Ted, MacFarlane's multi-hyphenate debut in feature films. As the director, producer, cowriter, and voice artist behind the title character, MacFarlane riffs on pop culture, drug culture, religion, sex, bodily functions, and all things '80s with the kind of abandon that borders on offensive to pretty much anyone--if only it all weren't so spot-on funny. Ted is an utterly believable CGI teddy bear who comes to life in the arms of a friendless 8-year-old boy named John, who quickly grows up to be Mark Wahlberg. John has made a wish that the pudgy plush be a friend for forever, a deal that they both hold on to with genuine poignancy as the years roll by. Ted grows right along with John in voice, manner, attitude, and bad habits until they're both unmotivated layabouts who would rather do nothing more than swill beer, smoke dope, and watch the absurdly iconic '80s movie Flash Gordon over and over again to the exclusion of most everything else in life. John has managed to pick up a girlfriend named Lori (Mila Kunis), who somehow tolerates the pair of them--at least for a little while. Eventually she's annoyed enough with John for not putting away his childish things, thoughts, and behaviours that she demands Ted move out and let them move on as adults. Among all the conceits that Ted embraces is the fact that this fully anthropomorphized stuffed bear started life as a global celebrity sensation before everyone forgot about him. Now he's just a blue-collar Boston nobody who sucks on a bong, chases women, and makes dirty jokes at every opportunity while nobody pays attention. This could have been a generic lowbrow buddy movie in the Judd Apatow mold, which might have been a little funny with a human slob in the Ted role. But MacFarlane brings to the remarkably expressive CGI creation an astonishing and often shocking dynamic with his voice characterization and the consistently clever situations, which whiz by in a structure that's pretty similar to an episode of Family Guy. There are frequent non sequitur digressions and offhanded one-liners that MacFarlane could never get away with on TV. But in the raunchy, anything-goes world of Ted it's all fair game. In addition to farts, drugs, bodily functions, and all manner of sexual vulgarity, it's the slams or homages to the 1980s that are the butt of many of the best zingers or recurring jokes. There are several cameo appearances that may make for delighted double takes. And Sam Jones, the star of the ill-fated Flash Gordon, plays a version of himself that makes a running gag all the more ingenious and demonstrates how far MacFarlane will go to bring comedy down to his level of hilarity. Mark Wahlberg should be commended for being game enough to participate and absolutely shows the comedy chops to make his scenes with Ted come alive. Technically the movie is a wonder as the two-foot Ted blends into the real world with complete believability even as he spouts some of the most outrageous dialogue this side of The Hangover. Ted may be an acquired taste for those who have a dislike for MacFarlane's comic sensibility--and there are a lot of people who do. But as a laughable lowbrow adventure that delivers virtually nonstop unexpected laughs with a little heart to back it up, Ted is a surprising comic novelty that may even win over some of the most vituperative MacFarlane haters. --Ted Fry
From cult film maker Sam Raimi comes the tale of Annie, a woman with rare psychic powers, is willing to use them to investigate a murder, but what she uncovers could well make her the killer's next victim.
After 12 years of thinking about it (and waiting for movie technology to catch up with his visions), James Cameron followed up his unsinkable Titanic with Avatar, a sci-fi epic meant to trump all previous sci-fi epics. Set in the future on a distant planet, Avatar spins a simple little parable about greedy colonizers (that would be mankind) messing up the lush tribal world of Pandora. A paraplegic Marine named Jake (Sam Worthington) acts through a 9-foot-tall avatar that allows him to roam the planet and pass as one of the Na'vi, the blue-skinned, large-eyed native people who would very much like to live their peaceful lives without the interference of the visitors. Although he's supposed to be gathering intel for the badass general (Stephen Lang) who'd like to lay waste to the planet and its inhabitants, Jake naturally begins to take a liking to the Na'vi, especially the feisty Neytiri (Zoë Saldana, whose entire performance, recorded by Cameron's complicated motion-capture system, exists as a digitally rendered Na'vi). The movie uses state-of-the-art 3D technology to plunge the viewer deep into Cameron's crazy toy box of planetary ecosystems and high-tech machinery. Maybe it's the fact that Cameron seems torn between his two loves--awesome destructive gizmos and flower-power message mongering--that makes Avatar's pursuit of its point ultimately uncertain. That, and the fact that Cameron's dialogue continues to clunk badly. If you're won over by the movie's trippy new world, the characters will be forgivable as broad, useful archetypes rather than standard-issue stereotypes, and you might be able to overlook the unsurprising central plot. (The overextended "take that, Michael Bay" final battle sequences could tax even Cameron enthusiasts, however.) It doesn't measure up to the hype (what could?) yet Avatar frequently hits a giddy delirium all its own. The film itself is our Pandora, a sensation-saturated universe only the movies could create. --Robert Horton
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