Sumptuous in every way, visually magnificent, with grandiose sets, panoramic Spanish vistas and intricately detailed costumes, possessor of one of cinema's greatest music scores, boasting vast and astonishingly kinetic battles, and breathing heroic virtue in every scene, El Cid is the very epitome of epic. For this reworking of the medieval legend of the Cid (Arabic for "Lord") who united warring factions and saved 11th-century Spain from invasion, producer Samuel Bronston and director Anthony Mann insisted every set had to be created from scratch, every costume specially made for this movie alone; they also shot entirely on location in La Mancha and along the Mediterranean coast of Spain to enhance the film's authenticity. The cinematography is saturated with the burnished hues of the Spanish landscape, as are the palatial sets and rich costumes; Miklos Rozsa's resplendent score is also the result of painstaking research into medieval Spanish sources. The screenplay is imbued with knightly gravitas and more than a little salvation imagery, from the opening scene of the young Rodrigo rescuing a cross from a burning church, to the movie's indelible finale as The Cid rides "out of the gates of history into legend".Charlton Heston is at his most indomitable as Rodrigo, "The Cid", a natural leader of men and the embodiment of every manly virtue (note that he fathers twins--a sure token of his virility); Sophie Loren is ravishing as Chimene, the woman whose love for Rodrigo conflicts with her filial instincts after he kills her father, the king's champion, over a point of honour. Their scenes together create a humane warmth at the heart of this vast movie: the moment when Chimene finally declares her love (beneath a shrine of three crosses--more symbolism) to the exiled Rodrigo forms a pivotal and very intimate centrepiece. Shortly thereafter he must rise from their rural marriage bed to lead his followers into battle, and the tension between his public and private lives adds a piquancy to the film's stunning battle sequences. The international supporting cast sometimes look like makeweights, especially when chewing on the occasionally stilted dialogue, but any such faults are easily forgiven as the scale and spectacle of El Cid carries the viewer away on a tide of chivalry.On the DVD: This disc is a sadly missed opportunity to present a classic epic in its original form. Although formatted for 16:9 widescreen TVs, which initially gives hope that this might be an anamorphic widescreen presentation, only the opening and closing titles appear in the correct cinematic ratio. Otherwise this is essentially the same picture as the pan & scan VHS version with the same poor print quality. Since a restored 35mm print of El Cid has been shown at cinemas and on TV in recent years there seems to be no excuse for this cut-down presentation. Add some decidedly minimal extras and the result is a disappointing disc. --Mark Walker
In this thrill-packed sequel to Romancing the Stone Joan (Kathleen Turner) and Jack (Michael Douglas) are back in the fast lane on a perilous trek through the North African Desert. Not even treacherous tribes deadly dungeons and dangerous villains can stop them from finding once and for all that mysterious jewel.
Few events have brought home to the world the realities of modern terrorism as dramatically as the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
The Ipcress File - The tense spy thriller by Len Deighton that turned Michael Caine into a superstar. Cynical and rebellious ex-army sergeant Harry Palmer has been blackmailed into working for Britain's security service. Hot on the trail of a kidnapped scientist Palmer finds himself enmeshed in a sinister conspiracy involving horrifying brainwashing techniques murder and treachery that reaches up to the highest levels of the security service itself... Kidnapped - When young David Balfour arrives at his uncle's bleak Scottish house to claim his inheritance his relative first tries to murder him and then has him shipped off to be sold as a slave in the colonies. Fortunately for David he strikes up a friendship with Alan Breck (Michael Caine) and together they manage to escape. On arriving back in England they set out for Edinburgh dodging the ruthless Redcoats to claim David's rightful inheritance. Educating Rita - Rita a hairdresser with a sharp wit is married to Danny and at 26 doesn't want a baby. She wants to discover herself - so she joins the Open University. Dr Frank Bryant is a disillusioned university professor of literature. His marriage has failed his girlfriend is having an affair with his best friend and he can't get through the day without downing a bottle or two of whiskey. He refers to himself as an appalling teacher of appalling students. What Frank needs is a challenge - and along comes Rita. In this hilarious and often moving drama the story tells how two people find a new lease of life through each other. The Fouth Protocol - On July 1 1968 America Britain and Russia signed a treaty to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. The powers then added four extra clauses. The most secret of them was and remains the final. On winter the Chairman of the KGB hatches a plan to breach this Fourth Protocol and destroy NATO. He sends an agent Major Petrofsky (Pierece Brosnan) to assemble the operation. It is now up to MI6 agent John Preston (Michael Caine) who now must race against an unknown deadline to stop him and his devasting mission.
With more than a decade of cinema in Basic Instinct's wake it's fascinating to look back at just how influential Paul Verhoeven's "erotic thriller" has been. The director's endless fight with censorship and unwillingness to kowtow to social mores meant his movies became notorious for graphically depicting sex and violence while pushing contemporary boundaries of taste. This whodunit about a bisexual femme fatale (Sharon Stone in a career-best performance) caused an enormous furore on its release; but after years of generally inferior imitations there's not much in it that seems quite so shocking now. It's perhaps best appreciated in retrospect more for its Hitchcockian style than the steamy sex. On the DVD: one of the most welcome elements of the disc is an acknowledgement of the film's own influences--from Hitchcock's Vertigo to Verhoeven's own The Fourth Man. The print is far superior to the previous release, looking magnificent in 1:78.1. Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score sounds terrific in either 5.1 or DTS, as does Verhoeven's thick accent on the first commentary track alongside then Director of Photography Jan De Bont (Speed), who together reminisce on locations and manipulating their actors' performances. A second commentary from feminist critic Camille Paglia is a brave way of putting paid to the gay/feminist community uproar. There are some standard inclusions (trailer, production notes, photo gallery etc) but far more interesting are two mini-documentaries; "Cleaning Up Basic Instinct" shows how and why the TV version was so dull, while "Blonde Poison" focuses on the film's making and marketing. Finally, there are three storyboard comparisons and nine minutes of screen tests for Stone and Tripplehorn. This is the definitive release of an oft-cited modern classic. --Paul Tonks
In 1940 a deserted airfield somewhere in the heart of England becomes a bustling bomber command station. In 1942 advance units of the American Air Force arrive to join The Royal Air Force and help turn the tide of World War II. So unfolds the story of a group of flyers and their 'missions'. Peter Penrose (John Mills) a young RAF pilot is sent to Halfpenny Field close to the small town of Shepley. His Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant David Archdale (Michael Redgrave) gives him inspiration and encouragement and they fast become friends. They are joined by a young American pilot Johnny (Douglas Montgomery) which complicates the friendship. This is the story of the group's private lives - particularly their loves during war-time.
Hollywood blacklisted him... But he had the last word... Trumbo focuses on the writer's own indelible words the film features performances of some of his extraordinary letters clips from his films and archival and contemporary interviews with those who knew him best. Forced to write underground letter writing became the chief repository of Trumbo's extraordinary talents and they serve as a wonderfully entertaining testament to his boundless intellect acerbic humor and staggering resilience.
At the age of sixteen Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood) has already had to live with her share of disappointments. Abandoned by her mother she's dropped out of school and has been supporting herself as an employee at McDonald's while her father Charlie (Michael Douglas) resides in a mental institution. When Charlie is released and sent back to their home Miranda finds the relatively peaceful existence she's built for herself completely disrupted. Charlie has become obsessed with the notion that the long-lost treasure of Spanish explorer Father Juan Florismarte Garces is buried somewhere near their suburban California housing unit. Armed with a metal detector and a stack of treasure-hunting books Charlie soon finds reason to believe that the gold resides underneath the local Costco and encourages Miranda to get a job there so that they can plan a way to excavate after hours. Initially skeptical Miranda soon finds herself joining in Charlie's questionable antics in an effort to give him one last shot at accomplishing his dreams in this darkly funny exciting and surprisingly hopeful take on the modern family and the American dream.
Matthew McConaughey plays the ultimate bachelor about town, a serial heartbreaker until one day the ghosts of his former girlfriends visit him and take him on a journey through his failed relationships
Where there's a will... there's a relative. Meet the McTeagues. They've come to stake a claim in their wealthy uncle's will... only he's not dead yet! Michael J. Fox Kirk Douglas and Nancy Travis star in this wickedly funny comedy of heirs. As his family tries to get rich the old-fashioned way - groveling - Uncle Joe watches them elevate back-stabbing and brown-nosing to a whole new level.
Shia LaBeouf stars as a budding Wall Street broker taken under the wing of the financial district's prodigal son, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas).
An adaptation by Harold Pinter of Franz Kafka's classic novel about one man's paranoia and persecution. Josef K. for no reason he can imagine is suddenly arrested. As he wanders through a maze of bureaucracy declaring his innocence he becomes more and more entangled in the system -- and he puts himself in ever greater danger. And no matter what he does he can't make the nightmare end.
A solid enough thriller held together by some somewhat implausible plot devices, Deception stars Ben Affleck as Rudy, whose cellmate Nick is lucky enough to be pen-pal to the beautiful Ashley (Charlize Theron) who in turn has pledged herself, body and soul to the man inside whom she has never set eyes upon. Upon his release, Rudy decides to pose as Nick in order to take up with this luscious and adoring female. Unfortunately, the scheme backfires on Rudy when he discovers that Ashley was apparently a pawn in her ruthless brother Monster's game to coerce him into helping him and his gang of gun-runners rob a casino that Nick used to work in. Deception rumbles along at a pretty seedy, violent pace for a long time, with Rudy's efforts to escape resulting in Monster (a menacing Gary Sinise) using him as a dartboard in one memorably brutal scene. Following their raid on the casino, however (clad in Santa outfits), the plot takes a couple of devilish twists and turns which reward the viewer prepared to come this far down the road with these people. The lack of empathy may be redeemed by some viewers with a scene featuring Charlize Theron naked in a pool. --David Stubbs
This enormously successful sequel to The Robe continues the story of Demetrius (Victor Mature) the Greek slave who after the death of his master is sentenced to train as a gladiator in the Roman arena. There his newfound Christian faith is put to the test when he has to contend not only with the swordsmen and wild beasts of the arena but also the evil and sensuous Messalina (Susan Hayward) and the mad emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson). Crammed with astonishing action and fight sequences this heroic epic is not to be missed!
This period drama is set during the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland. A young man David Balfour arrives to claim his inheritance but his wicked uncle attempts to kill him and then unduly ships him off to be sold as a slave. Michael Caine stars as Alan Breck in a spirited performance who befriends David and acts as gallant mentor and protector.
Titles Comprise: The Sentinel: Special Agent Pete Garrison is convinced that a Neo-Nazi Aryan Disciple has managed to infiltrate the White House. When a White House Agent is murdered Garrison is framed and blackmailed over an affair with the First Lady Sarah Ballentine. He is relieved of his duties but Garrison won't stop in trying to prove his innocence and save the life of the President. While attempting to uncover the person behind it all he comes into confrontation with his protege Agent Breckinridge. Man On Fire:Denzel Washington stars as a government operative/soldier of fortune who has pretty much given up on life. In Mexico City he reluctantly agrees to take a job to protect a child whose parents are threatened by a wave of kidnappings. He eventually becomes close to the child and their relationship reawakens and rekindles his spirit. When she is abducted his fiery rage is unleashed on those he feels responsible and he stops at nothing to save her. The Siege: When a crowded city bus blows up in Brooklyn and a campaign of terror begins to make its bloody mark on the streets of New York it's up to FBI special agent Anthony Hub Hubbard (Washington) and U.S. Army General William Devereaux (Willis) to find out who's responsible and put an end to the destruction. Together they face explosive danger at every turn when they team up to a wage an all-out war against a ruthless band of terrorists.
An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules. Black Rain is centered around two New York City police officers Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia who arrest a member of the Japanese Yakuza and must escort him back to Japan. Once there he escapes and the two police officers find themselves dragged deeper and deeper into the Japanese underworld.
A man and his brother on a mission of revenge become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to the Third Reich.
The Game (Dir. David Fincher 1997): Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a shrewdly successful businessman who is accustomed to being in control of each facet of his investments and relationships. His well-ordered life undergoes a profound change however when his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) gives him an unexpected birthday gift that soon has devastating consequences. There are no rules in The Game. The Gingerbread Man (Dir. Robert Altman 1997): Successful Savannah lawyer Rick Magruder (Kenneth Branagh) becomes obsessed with a mysterious seductive waitress Mallory Doss (Embeth Davidtz) who is being stalked by her fundamentalist father Dixon Doss (Robert Duvall). When Magruder tries to protect Mallory he is drawn into a web of deceit and danger his life falling apart as he peels away the layers of intrigue and mystery that surround her.
Cotton Club: Welcome to the Cotton Club where crime lords rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Director Francis Ford Coppola and co-writers William Kennedy and Mario Puzo create a panorama of love crime and entertainment centered on the legendary Harlem Nightclub owned by Owney Madden (Bob Hoskins). Cornet player Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) gets a job in Harlem's famous Cotton Club while his brother gets a job as Dutch Schultz's (James Remar) bodyguard. Dwyer falls for Schultz's mistress Vera Cicero (Diane Lane) and finds himself caught in the middle of mobster rivalry in this stylish gangster film. Chaplin: Directed by Sir Richard Attenborough and starring Robert Downey Jr and an extraordinary cast 'Chaplin' is a loving grand-scale portrait of the Little Tramp's amazing life and times. His poverty-stricken childhood in England comes to life along with his friendships with Mack Sennett (Dan Aykroyd) and Douglas Fairbanks (Kevin Kline) his many wives and scandalous affairs and his relentless pursuit by J. Edgar Hoover. Chaplin is the larger-than-life story of the actor behind the icon and a stunning depiction of a bygone era when Hollywood was at its most glamorous. Chorus Line: An adaptation of one of the most successful and unusual musicals of all time. A group of Broadway hopefuls auditioning for a place in the chorus line of a new show relate the stories of their lives -- their disappointments their dreams and the professional rejections and successes. Among the dancers trying to make the grade is the director's former lover a woman who once made it big and now would be grateful just to dance in the chorus.
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