Dances with Wolves is the film that sent director-producer-actor Kevin Costner on his hubristic way; yet it is such a resonant and powerful film that we can almost forgive him for inflicting upon us his later "epic" The Postman. Here Costner plays a Union solder stationed at the far edges of the West, and left there to rot at his post. He finally sees the wisdom of the Lakota Sioux and finds peace within their community. But his decision to "go native" is greatly frowned upon by his military commanders, and the subsequent culture clash forms the backbone of the narrative. The story is told simply, and wastes not one word of dialogue, while the South Dakota locations provide a magnificent backdrop. Costner is sympathetic and accessible as an American Everyman who awakens to himself and the world around him... --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com
What might have been a one-note family comedy becomes something more thanks to the comic brilliance of co-stars Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, as well as the distinctive, dark-fable look given the film by a little-known director named Gore Verbinksi (could he be the next Tim Burton?). Lane and Evans play idiotic brothers who inherit a house and all but destroy it in pursuit of one small, pesky mouse. The guys are always the butt of the sight gags--most of which are very funny--but their considerable powers as slapstick artists are also at play. The climactic scene at an auction was the funniest scene in any American movie in 1997, the year of Mouse Hunt's release. --Tom Keogh
1992's My Cousin Vinny is a delightful comedy-cum-courtroom drama set in Alabama. Joe Pesci stars as Vinny, the garage mechanic recently turned lawyer, who finds himself straight in at the deep end when his young cousin is unjustly arrested, along with his buddy, for the murder of a store clerk. From the opening scenes in which the hapless arrestees labour under the impression they've been booked for stealing a can of tuna, My Cousin Vinny's comedic pace never slackens, even as the drama builds. Much of the fun derives from raw, Brooklyn native Vinny's coping with the cultural backwaters of the Deep South, from its lardy grits to the 5.30 am "alarm call" of the factory horn. There's a good running gag involving retrieving $200 from a recalcitrant local redneck, while his clashes with the court judge, played by the late Fred Gwynne are priceless. Pesci goads this stickler for procedures by mumbling expletives in court, turning up in a leather jacket, then a mauve frock coat and arousing the judge's suspicions as to his bona fides. However, it's Marisa Tomei who surprisingly, but justly, took an Academy Award for her performance as tomboyish Lisa, Vinny's girlfriend. Tart rather than tarty, she more than matches Pesci for Noo Yoik sass and mechanical knowledge, delivering a court lecture on limited slip differential and independent rear suspension that oozes improbable sexiness. On the DVD: a decent presentation in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, though it's only Tomei's bizarrely eye-catching costumes which especially merit DVD enhancement. There's also a commentary by director (and co-creator of Yes Minister) Jonathan Lynn, in which--though at times seeming to struggle for interesting things to say--he reminisces on the fear in shooting the film's prison scenes adjacent to Death Row in a maximum security prison. --David Stubbs
Kevin Costner's 1990 epic won a bundle of Oscars for a moving, engrossing story of a white soldier (Costner) who singlehandedly mans a post in the 1870 Dakotas, and becomes a part of the Lakota Sioux community who live nearby. The film may not be a masterpiece, but it is far more than the sum of good intentions. The characters are strong, the development of relationships is both ambitious and careful, the love story between Costner and Mary McDonnell's character is captivating. Only the third-act portrait of white intruders as morons feels overbearing, but even that leads to a terribly moving conclusion. Costner's direction is assured, the balance of action and intimacy is perfect--what more could anyone want outside of an unqualified masterpiece? --Tom Keogh
DeVito and Schwarzenegger as fraternal twin brothers? Hey, why not? This delightful 1988 comedy by Ivan Reitman--about genetically designed twin siblings who discover each other at the age of 35--works out just fine, thanks largely to great chemistry between the two stars. Despite a certain amount of rough action and tension, Twins really gets a lift from the palpable innocence Reitman develops, and the female costars (Chloe Webb and Kelly Preston) bring some interesting texture of their own. This is a film that walked the tightrope of a high concept and completely succeeded. To see how easy it is to stumble in a similar situation, check out DeVito and Schwarzenegger in Reitman's Junior. --Tom Keogh
The last defence. The last hope. The battle for the future of the world has begun. In the 1980s, faced with the demise of the drive-in and the rise of the multiplex, New World Pictures the independent studio established by Roger Corman increasingly relied on smaller-scale productions, made with an eye to the cable TV and home video markets. Among these was Def-Con 4, an example of so-called Canuxploitation or Canadian exploitation cinema, riding on the coat-tails of the boom in post-apocalyptic disaster movies that began in the previous decade. Two months after the planet is ravaged by nuclear war, astronauts Howe (Tim Choate), Jordan (Kate Lynch, The Twilight Zone) and Walker (John Walsch, Blow Out) are forced to return to earth now an apocalyptic wasteland consumed by radiation and roamed by cannibal gangs. Forced into desperate pacts with unlikely allies, among them eccentric survivalist Vinny (Maury Chaykin, WarGames), the astronauts must draw on all their resourcefulness to survive this brave new world. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to George Miller's Ozploitation classic Max Mad, Def-Con 4 is an inventive and action-packed low budget sci-fi romp, elevated by a pounding score by New World stalwart Christopher Young (Hellraiser) and making its UK High Definition debut with this brand new restoration from Arrow Video. Special Edition Contents: Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm interpositive High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation Original lossless mono soundtrack Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing Brave New World, a new video interview with New World Pictures editor Michael Spence Nemesis Descending, a new video interview with composer Christopher Young New video interview with author Chris Poggiali on the history and legacy of New World Pictures Theatrical trailer Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell
Robert (Mac) MacDougal (Sean Connery) has an untarnished reputation as the world's greatest art thief.
The extraordinary story tells of a quest that took as illiterate French peasant girl and transformed her into one of the most revered leaders of all time.
Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) is the daughter of pirate captain Black Harry. On his death bed Black Harry bequeaths his ship and his crew of bandits to her also revealing that he has one third of a treasure map tattooed on his skull. Morgan sets sail on the high seas in Jamaica with her well educated slave William Shaw (Matthew Modine) in search of the two remaining pieces of the map which lie in the hands of Morgan's evil uncle Captain Dawg (Frank Langella)...
An unemployed dock worker discovers over a million dollars and a whole load of trouble...
Whilst investigating a plane crash a government official meets a strange woman but the next day the woman vanishes. Her identity is entwined with the strange object found at the crash site for which she returns only to then vanish once more...
Annette Bening stars as a West End diva in this tale of amorous folly and revenge set in the world of the London stage in the late 1930's.
Three astronauts return to Earth two months after a nuclear holocaust and confront a new and terrifying reality. Civilisation has given way to barbarism. One of their number is eaten alive by the disease crazy mutants. The battle for freedom and the world's future has begun...
Beethoven's 2nd, the 1993 sequel to the St Bernard hit, finds big, fluffy Beethoven now at home with gruff-but-lovable dad Charles Grodin, supermum Bonnie Hunt, and their three children. The story continues with Beethoven falling for a female St Bernard and having a litter, unbeknown to Grodin, while the new dog's owner (Debi Mazar) starts angling for benefits from this union. The larger dog pool certainly adds more cuteness and laughs to this follow-up, and Grodin and Hunt--consummate professionals--don't let sequel-itis lower their energy or their wonderfully idiosyncratic way with dialogue. Mazar brings her own edge to the proceedings but in the end, the film's accent is still very much on a feel-good experience for everyone. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com DVD special features: Production notes Cast and Filmmakers' Biographies Theatrical Trailer Running time: 85 minutes approximately
Mystery, Alaska -- In this little town on the outskirts of greatness, completely isolated by glaciers and vast, snowy mountains, there are only two things to do when the temperature drops below zero
Robert (Mac) MacDougal (Sean Connery) has an untarnished reputation as the world's greatest art thief.
It's 1948 and Los Angeles is booming but Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) has seen better days. He has just been fired and his house payments are due so when DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore) offers him a seemingly harmless job he jumps at the chance. All he has to do is track down the elusive Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals) a mysterious beauty known to keep company on the wrong side of town. Soon he finds himself implicated in two murders and is forced to call upon an old friend Mouse (Don Cheadle) who is all too familiar with the violent world Easy has landed himself in. Slowly drawn deeper and deeper into a web of blackmail dirty cops and even dirtier politicians the ways out for Easy become harder and harder to find.
To some it's a game. To others it's a habit. But to Dan Mahowny beating the odds is everything! Based on a true Canadian story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a mesmerising portrayal of a compulsive gambler who embezzled ten million dollars to pay for his gambling debts.
Dustin Hoffman plays a lowlife who happens upon a plane crash and rescues the passengers, but doesn't really care about the value of his deed or the attendant publicity when the media starts searching for the hero. Another fellow (Andy Garcia) steps into the gap and claims credit, and as his life changes for the better he takes on a Messianic glow. Geena Davis is the cynical television reporter who pushes the latter's fame in order to keep her story alive, and this film, directed by Stephen Frears (Prick Up Your Ears), takes a few familiar jabs at a manipulative and voyeuristic press. This is essentially an unofficial remake of Meet John Doe, though it is less dramatic and forceful in the end than Frank Capra's classic. Chevy Chase has an oddly anachronistic part as Davis' editor (maybe he thought he really was in Meet John Doe), but the film belongs to Hoffman, who makes his character a slightly cleaned-up version of the actor's own Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy. --Tom Keogh
Stuffy British author Giles De'Ath (John Hurt) has been completely untouched by the modern world. One day after an interviewer asks if he's ever considered adapting his best-sellers for the screen he decides to investigate cinema costume drama. By accident he views the teen movie 'Hotpants College 2' and becomes instantly enchanted by Hollywood hunk Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestly). Soon after the eccentric De'Ath drives to Ronnie's Long Island home where he ingratiates himself i
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