Hotshot rookie race car Lightning McQueen learns a valuable life lesson in Pixar's latest animated adventure.
Cast Away reunites star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in their first collaboration since the heavy-handed sentimentality of Forrest Gump. Thankfully, this time their film's life-affirming message is delivered with more subtlety, attributable both to an extraordinarily committed, physically demanding central performance from Hanks and to Zemeckis' technically masterful but carefully understated direction. It's also a film with three distinct "acts" or, to be old-fashioned about it, a proper beginning, middle and end. The story follows schedule-obsessed but fulfilled FedEx supervisor Chuck Noland (Act 1) on a personal journey into the bleakest, most solitary despair (Act 2), before Helen Hunt, in the thankless role of ex-girlfriend, unwittingly allows him to glimpse an optimistic future full of untapped possibilities (Act 3). Hanks' sojourn on the island is the centrepiece, but this is no tropical island idyll: following a terrifying plane crash (the one sequence in the film where Zemeckis shows off his uncanny ability to choreograph action), life on the island is seen to be a depressing and bitter experience filled with disappointment, danger and suicidal despair. Having lost all hope of rescue, ultimately Noland's greatest test is not to survive, but to find a reason to survive. He has no Man Friday for company, just a volleyball named "Wilson" that is both a narrative device allowing Hanks to deliver dialogue and an intriguingly pagan personification of the island's spirit under whose protection Noland is finally able to summon fire (significantly, and heartbreakingly, Wilson leaves him as he regains contact with the world). In an era of MTV-style film editing, Zemeckis and Hanks fearlessly take their time establishing with total conviction the grim realities of Noland's situation, his devastating loss of hope and the means by which he achieves his escape. Like Contact before it, Cast Away is a refreshingly thoughtful piece of mainstream cinema that explores weighty existential issues but retains a warm human intimacy. On the DVD: The luminous anamorphic print with vivid Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is accompanied on the first disc by a technical commentary from Zemeckis and key crew personnel. It's plenty insightful for budding filmmakers, although for pure listening pleasure one might have preferred a more relaxed piece with just the director and Tom Hanks. The second disc includes a 30-minute making-of documentary in which the director sums up the moral of the movie--"Surviving is easy but living is difficult". This draws on material from the three other mini-documentaries about survival skills, Wilson the volleyball and the Fijian island location of Monu Riki respectively. There's also a section on the sometimes surprising use of CGI effects and a storyboard-to-film comparison sequence. Tom Hanks chats with American TV host Charlie Rose about this movie and his career in the extensive 50-minute interview. Trailers, artwork and stills round out a valuable two-disc set. --Mark Walker
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment invites you on an enchanting musical adventure through the deepest parts of New Orleans in the Oscar nominated The Princess and the Frog, available on Disney Blu-ray and DVD from 21st June 2010.
This tedious remake of the classic Christmas movie The Bishop's Wife falls on its face by significantly altering the careful design of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert E Sherwood's story for the original film. In Sherwood's version, a rather wooden, inept bishop and his lonely wife unknowingly take into their lives a heaven-sent angel who aids the former and ends up falling in love with the latter. In this unnecessary update, an inner-city preacher (Courtney B. Vance) and his estranged spouse (Whitney Houston) are visited by a celestial goof (Denzel Washington), whose unsolicited offer of help is enough to galvanise Vance's character to fix his own problems. What that means is this: by the second act, there's no reason to have Washington's angel in the story. Even his infatuation with the missus isn't enough to warrant his hanging around this movie; the change is a colossal blunder by director Penny Marshall. Vance ends up stealing the film from Washington, but it's a Pyrrhic victory; for the most part this movie just seems like a series of random scenes between opportunities for Houston to belt out songs. --Tom Keogh
They started with street corner harmonising and became slick stage performers destined to become rhythm and blues royalty. This film tells the true story of the pressure that goes with one of the most successful Motown singing-groups in history The Temptations from their personal battles with drug and alcohol abuse to their bitter break up...
Twin brother codirectors Albert and Alan Hughes planned their first film, the 1991 ghetto crime drama Menace II Society as a response to John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood, which they considered wimpy and moralistic. They set their sights on The Deer Hunter in this ambitious follow-up, and they just about pull it off. Larenz Tate (from Why Do Fools Fall in Love) plays Anthony Curtis, an open-hearted African American teenager who gets shipped out to Vietnam with several of his pals, witnesses unspeakable horrors and then struggles to readjust to civilian life. The evolving textures of life in a declining inner-city neighbourhood over a period of a decade are seamlessly evoked and there's enough nuanced character development and personal interaction for a seven-hour miniseries. Still in their early 20s, the Hughes brothers are already poised and masterful movie makers; they cover an enormous amount of historical and emotional ground and every twist and turn is crystal clear. They betray their inexperience only at the very end, in an elaborately staged heist sequence that, while stunningly executed, feels a bit desperate, as if they were reaching blindly for a big pay off. Chris Tucker (Rush Hour) has a startling supporting role as a kid who becomes a junkie during the war and never quite recovers. --David Chute
When brash bad boy of basketball Jamal Jefferies (Miguel A Nunez Jr) is kicked off the squad for his inappropriate behaviour he is left homeless and penniless. Just like that Jamal's pro-basketball career is finished. Juwanna Bet? With sass hardcourt skills and the right shade of lipstick Jamal transforms himself into a superstar of the women's league instead as Juwanna Mann becoming a better man along the way! And he pulls it off. Well almost! Juwanna Mann is a cool fast paced comedy that will have you.
The true story of The Temptations the Soul vocal group of the 1960s as seen from the viewpoint of the last surviving member Otis Williams. Beginning from their humble origins in the late 50s and continuing through the 90s and the deaths of the other 4 members.
Four African-American men - a banker, a doctor, a lawyer and a playboy - tackle love, sex, and commitment in this comedy drama.
Blue Hill Avenue: Four friends, Tristan (Allen Payne), Simon (Michael Taliferro), E-Bone (William L. Johnson) and Money (Aaron D. Spears), are street smart kids growing up in the tough Mattapan section of Boston in the 1980s. Starting out as small-time dope dealers on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan Square, they eventually go to work for Benny (Clarence Williams III), a major player in the Boston crime scene. As the four friends grow up and become the biggest dealers in the city, things become.
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