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The DVD Shopping Planner (March 2005 - VOL. 1)
by Erik Childress

Welcome to this month's edition of the DVD Shopping Planner. Here we break down the selections for all the discriminating tastes out there. We've even got our Must-Buy picks that should be in every movie & TV lovers' collection. Just to make it easy for you, go ahead and click on any title you want and throw it into your Amazonian shopping cart. So, let's start at the top.

THE 10 ABSOLUTE MUST-BUYS OF MARCH



Bambi (Special Edition) (Buena Vista)
In Disney's spectacularly animated forest fable, a fawn named Bambi is born, destined to become "Prince of the Forest." He soon befriends other woodland creatures such as Flower, a bashful skunk, and Thumper, an outgoing rabbit. As the years pass, they encounter a number of life's lessons in the woods, including the death of Bambi's mother at the hands of hunters. Eventually, Bambi comes of age, completing the cycle of life and taking his father's place. Based on the classic novel by Felix Salten, BAMBI demonstrates the strength of family values and camaraderie. Director David Hand adds a mixture of great songs and life-like backgrounds to make this early Disney film an unforgettable film classic for all ages.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Bringing Up Baby (Special Edition) (Warner Bros.)
A nonstop profusion of hilarious calamities, coincidences, and misunderstandings ensue when an accident-prone heiress turns a sheltered scientist's life upside down. Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a straitlaced paleontologist juggling three important events at once: the arrival of an extremely rare bone needed to complete his brontosaurus skeleton; a meeting to ask for a million dollars for his museum from a wealthy donor; and his impending marriage to the humorless Miss Swallow (Virginia Walker). Into David’s life comes Susan (Katharine Hepburn), a free-spirited young woman who seems to bring trouble wherever she goes. Thanks to Susan, David finds himself involved in one ridiculous situation after another, and soon the two are prowling around a country estate looking for the missing dinosaur bone, hunting for a lost pet leopard named Baby, and somehow falling in love. Grant and Hepburn form a sharp-witted and hysterical comic duo, and Howard Hawks directs BRINGING UP BABY with the control of a master, creating a shining example of brilliant screwball comedy.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Flintstones (The Complete Third Season) (Warner Bros.)
The loveable characters of THE FLINTSTONES have kept on gaining new audiences year after year. Ventures into the live-action world won over yet more fans, but its to the cartoons that we return here, with 28 episodes from the series included. Fred, Wilma, Betty, Barney, and Bamm-Bamm are all present, ensuring that a "Yabba Dabba Do" time is had by all in this third season of animated stoneage tales.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Incredibles (Buena Vista)
READ REVIEW
Combining a family-oriented superhero adventure with the brilliant animation of Disney's Pixar (the creators of MONSTERS INC. and FINDING NEMO), THE INCREDIBLES charts new territory in the technical wizardry of computer-generated cartoons. Using complex angles and a filmic sensibility, the animation feels like live action, and smart techniques such as cuts to "grainy film stock" give this movie instant sophistication. Writer-director Brad Bird, with his creative storytelling and well-paced character development, does the rest. This tale is set in a slightly futuristic society where superheroes are no longer appreciated (Read: But I didn't want to be saved!) and are forced to assume a very low profile. So, for Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and his three fledgling superhero kids, maintaining a lifestyle of mediocrity in order to appear normal causes constant friction. When the opportunity suddenly arises for the Incredibles to use their powers to fight evil, it's trial-by-fire to learn to work as a superteam. Together they must stop the maniacal Syndrome (Jason Lee) from unleashing a murderous robot in a big city. Fast action and violence involving large explosions make this a film that is better suited for older children rather than the very little ones. Yet family themes and comic episodes prevail, with eclectic characters like Edna the fashion designer (voiced by Bird himself) and the iceman Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) adding extra moments of fun.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Jules and Jim (Criterion)
JULES AND JIM is François Truffaut's intense, beautiful, enigmatic film about the lifelong friendship between two writers--French novelist Jim (Henri Serre) and Austrian children's author Jules (Oskar Werner)--and their mutual love for the eccentric Catherine (Jeanne Moreau). With artful black-and-white imagery, the story begins in 1920s Paris when Jules and Jim first meet and become friends. As young single men, they gallavant about Paris, chasing women or studying ancient art, always animated, curious, and charming. When they meet the equally energetic Catherine, whose impulses range from dressing up as a man to taking midnight plunges into the Seine, their circle is complete. But when World War II erupts, with Jules and Jim fighting on opposite sides, everything changes. Jules marries Catherine before going off to battle. After the war, they settle into a quiet existence in the French countryside. But Catherine is restless and unfaithful. Jim reunites with his oldest and closest friends, and Catherine makes room for him in their house, asking him to move in and become her lover. Jim complies, as he wants nothing more than to please his friend Jules, who agrees to the plan. From there, the film's sweeping photography and wonderfully philosophical scripting tightens as the tale becomes even more complicated. Even its darkest moments, JULES AND JIM is movingly alluring as the friendship between the two men paints a meaningful portrait of human understanding and compassion. Like the similarly themed TWO ENGLISH GIRLS, Truffaut's film is based on a novel by Henri-Pierre Roché.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Kagemusha (Criterion)
In this dazzling epic from Akira Kurosawa, a petty thief named Kagemusha (Tatsuya Nakadai) gets saved from a death sentence because he resembles the warlord Shingen Takeda (also Nakadai). The warlord has been fighting two other leaders for control of 16th-century Japan and impersonators often take his place during battles to put him out of harm's way. Because of Kagemusha's strong physical similarities to the warlord, he's a perfect choice for a "shadow warrior." However, the arrangement suddenly changes when Shingen gets fatally wounded while watching a battle. Adhering to Shingen's final wish, the warlord's men keep the death a secret, and Kagemusha struggles to transform himself from a criminal into a leader. KAGEMUSHA marked a welcome return for the legendary director, who had not made a movie since 1974. Nakadai, a supporting player in earlier Kurosawa films, expertly portrays the leading role(s), almost always filled in the past by Toshirô Mifune. KAGEMUSHA also features the final screen appearance of longtime Kurosawa actor, Takashi Shimura. In order to help the film get an international release, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas served as executive producers. DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Philadelphia Story (Special Edition) (Warner Bros.)
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY boasts an incredible cast, but it’s Katharine Hepburn’s picture in more ways than one. It’s 1860, and Tracy Lord (Hepburn), a Philadelphia heiress, is about to marry coal-company executive George Kittridge (John Howard). The wedding, promising to be the season's premier event, attracts the attention of magazine publisher Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell), who sees it as an opportunity to break a story. Spy magazine's Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), Lord’s ex-husband, is enlisted to "gain access" to the party, along with top scandal writer Macauley Connor (James Stewart, in an Oscar-winning role). However, the reporter is quickly smitten by the bride’s charms--and he’s not the only one.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

SCTV: Network 90 (Vol. 3) (Shout! Factory)
This volume offers nine 90 minute shows from the fourth season to feed the demand for more SCTV. Broadcast on NBC in 1982, these episodes introduce new cast member Martin Short and Chronicle the height of success for characters Bob & Doug. It is here where the Shmenge Brothers (John Candy and Eugene Levy) make their first appearance and the Great White North gets the special Treatment in the "Great White North Palace" featuring Tony Bennett. Celebrities Bill Murray and Carl Perkins join the fray and musical guest Bennett, Jimmy Buffett and Hall And Oates offer classic performances.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Star Wars: Clone Wars (Volume One) (Fox)
The war which began in the feature film STAR WARS: EPISODE II- ATTACK OF THE CLONES continues in this animated series directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. The separatists and the republic engage in a blowout fight, with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda defending the republic against the likes of Count Dooku, an alien bounty hunter, and many others. The program features a unique format that consists of many short segments ranging from two to three minutes in length. In each micro-episode, new characters join the ongoing battle of good against evil. This Emmy Award winning series has earned critical acclaim for it's highly original visual style, which features characters rendered in an elongated manner that brings attention to the drawing process.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition - Season Two (1959) (Image)
Explore the depths of the unknown in season two of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Funny at times, heartbreaking at others, THE TWILIGHT ZONE was one of the most unique, creative television shows ever made. Rod Serling developed the series around the premise of a fifth dimensioon, where people experience things so bizarre they can only be from a strange, alternate reality. Serling appears at the start and finish of each episode, acting as the viewer's guide through a world of paranormal experience. Consistently compelling, moral, and thought provoking, the series inspired many remakes and contemporary spin-offs. Season two contains 29 episodes, including favorites such as "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?," and "Eye of the Beholder."
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

MARCH MADNESS!


Blue Chips (Paramount)
In BLUE CHIPS, dedicated coach Pete Bell has come to the realization that no matter what he does, his team of underdogs can't win -- at least not without some new talent. After issuing a national search, Pete makes prospective players promises he knows he can't keep. Though he despises what he has done, the new recruits prove to be worth their weight in gold and the answer to all coach Pete's prayers
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (aka "Stuey") (New Line)
READ REVIEW
Stu Ungar (played here by SOPRANOS star Michael Imperioli) carved out a name for himself by amassing a small fortune in gambling winnings after taking up poker at an early age. Now his story is laid bare in HIGH ROLLER. A three-time winner of the Poker World Series, Stu seemed to have it all. But sadly, his motivation for playing was fuelled by an addiction to gambling that could only lead to a sorry end. Imperioli fulfills his role as Stu with extreme pathos, illustrating how gambling can topple an individual from a lofty peek, and ultimately be as dangerous as heroin, crack, or cocaine.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Hoosiers (Special Edition) (MGM)
Based on the incredible true story of how a small-town high school's basketball team became Indiana State Champs in 1954. This film follows the controversial outsider who came to town to teach high school history and coach basketball and who was not afraid to make big waves in a small pond. DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Hustle (Buena Vista)
Pete Rose was one of baseball's greats. A holder of the all-time record for career hits, he continued his long association with the game by becoming the manager of his former team, the Cincinnati Reds. However, he became more infamous than heroic when, in 1989, Major League Baseball banned him from their organization for gambling on the outcome of league games. Tom Sizemore plays Rose in the ESPN original film HUSTLE, which chronicles the final weeks of Rose's career, as his gambling became increasingly desperate and the league began to suspect his activities. The tenacity with which Rose played the game earned him the nickname "Charlie Hustle," and eventually caused his downfall, as gambling became an addiction that he could not recover from. HUSTLE was directed by Peter Bogdanovich (THE LAST PICTURE SHOW).
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

NFL Super Bowl XXXIX Champions (Warner Bros.)
The 2005 Super Bowl featured a rare sight in the momentous, historic event--a consecutive victory for the winning team. In fact, this was the third time in four years that the New England Patriots were victorious, providing memories that their fans will fervently discuss over future decades. A tense start to the game saw the first quarter ending scoreless. But the game soon picked up, with a touchdown for the Eagles courtesy of L.J. Smith coming early in the second quarter. However, with only 1:10 remaining on the clock, the score was tied by an inspirational throw from Tom Brady to David Givens for the Patriots first touchdown of the game. This pattern of play continued into the third quarter, with a touchdown by Tom Brady cancelled out as Brian Westbrook collected a Donovan McNabb pass and hit the end zone. So at 14-14 it was down to the dramatic fourth quarter to settle the score--and what an action packed finale it proved to be. The Patriots scored an early touchdown and field goal, looking at this stage like they were going to emerge victorious. But the Eagles proved their mettle by clawing the score back to 24-21, providing a nerve-fraying conclusion to Super Bowl XXXIX. The game is included here in its entirety, alongside highlights from the season (including the play offs) and a welter of in-depth analysis, replays, and behind-the-scenes action.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

World Poker Tour - Season 2 (Shout! Factory)
World Poker Tour created a televised sports sensation and fueled the current poker explosion. An estimated 60 million people in the U.S. now play and poker’s popularity continues to skyrocket. Bringing the heat to DVD, World Poker Tour Season Two is an eight-DVD set stacked with cunning poker stars, fierce competition and record-breaking prize pools. Tournaments are set in some of the world’s most glamorous locations. With millions at stake, each of the 14 episodes offers skilled card playing and action on the felt. The box set also features an entire disc filled with bonus material.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

BREAK A LEG


Being Julia (Columbia/Tri-Star)
READ REVIEW
As she enters her early 40s, London theater actress Julia Lambert (Annette Bening) starts having a nervous breakdown. She still rules the West End, but is growing too old for ingenue parts. When Tom Fennell (Shaun Evans), an adoring lad half her age, comes into her life, a clandestine affair begins. Though she's happy for a while, Julia eventually winds up in a face-off with a Tom's other, much younger lover (Lucy Punch). Luckily, the spirit of Julia's cantankerous old acting coach (London theater legend Michael Gambon) follows Julia around offering some tough-love encouragement. Set in the late 1930s, this is a fine costume comedy-drama about the sorrows and joys of art. The eternal question of "when am I acting and when am I myself?" has seldom been addressed as intelligently as it is here; Bening seems to be not only tangling with her own status as an aging beauty, but also with the limits of her own acting abilities, and it's a pleasure to see her transcend both with such triumphant exuberance. Bravo, Miss Bening, and kudos to director Szabó (MEPHISTO) for rendering his obvious love of theater, cinema, and actors with such contagious warmth. Other fine performances include Jeremy Irons as Julia's manager/husband and Juliet Stevens as her jaded maid.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Finding Neverland (Buena Vista)
READ REVIEW
Most people know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. Director Marc Forster's (MONSTER'S BALL) FINDING NEVERLAND delves deeper, depicting a fictionalized account of the family and events that inspired the classic tale. At the turn of the 20th Century, Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie's (Johnny Depp) latest play in London has flopped almost as badly as his marriage to stature-seeking Mary (Radha Mitchell). During one of his frequent excursions to the park with his dog, Barrie meets four young boys and their recently widowed mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). Soon Barrie becomes a frequent playmate to the children, using the boys' imagination to take them on fanciful adventures. He also becomes a friend and confidante to the overwhelmed Sylvia, much to the dismay of her overbearing mother (Julie Christie). Barrie's active imagination and interaction with the family inspires "Peter Pan," a play that celebrates the child in everyone and the importance of believing in fantasies and miracles. A droll and amusing Dustin Hoffman appears as American Charles Frohman, Barrie's producer. The film also features young Freddie Highmore as Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for Barrie's title character.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Image)
Centering on two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, two off-kilter rogues are summoned to the court of the King of Denmark, where they meet a traveling entertainer and attempt to solve a mystery. Based on Tom Stoppard's play, this film won Best Picture at the 1991 Venice Film Festival.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Stage Beauty (Lions Gate)
READ REVIEW
Billy Crudup and Claire Danes give extraordinary performances in Richard Eyre's STAGE BEAUTY, set in Restoration England in the 1660s. After Oliver Cromwell's 18-year ban on stage productions, King Charles II took the throne and encouraged the return of the theater; however, women were not permitted to act, so men had to play the female roles. In STAGE BEAUTY, Crudup stars as Ned Kynaston, the biggest star of the day, wowing audiences as Desdemona in Shakespeare's OTHELLO. The gorgeous actor's dresser, Maria (whose full name is Margaret Hughes), is not only deeply devoted to Kynaston, she is also in love with him and the theater, so much so that after his performance, she runs to the nearby Cockpit Tavern to play Desdemona herself, even though it is against the law. All the while, diarist Samuel Pepys (Hugh Bonneville) scribbles notes on all that is going on around him, detailing the transition from the last great male actor playing female roles to the first great female actress to take the stage in England. Reminiscent of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (in fact, the excellent Tom Wilkinson plays a theater owner in both films), STAGE BEAUTY features a splendid supporting cast, including Rupert Everett as Charles II, Zoe Tapper as his mistress Nell Gwyn, Ben Chaplin as the bisexual Duke of Buckingham, and Richard Griffiths as Sir Charles Sedley, who takes Hughes under his wing. STAGE BEAUTY is a treat for lovers of Shakespeare and the craft of acting, as the competition--and possible romance--between Kynaston and Hughes leads to a deep examination of character, personality, loyalty, and love.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Stage Door (Warner Bros.)
The Footlights Club, the primary setting for much of STAGE DOOR, is a remarkable creation. The result of a collaboration between director Gregory La Cava, screenwriter Morrie Ryskind (brought in to replace Anthony Veiller), and an outstanding group of tough, smart-talking actresses played by Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Eve Arden, and Gail Patrick, the film's club is always full of noise, as the conversations overlap and wisecracks come spinning out of the melee. Newcomer Terry Randall (Hepburn) is different from the other women. For one thing, she has money and doesn't need a job. And she has confidence, initially rejecting fading actress Catherine Luther's (Constance Collier) offer of help, saying, "I think coaching's a waste of time. After all, acting's only common sense." Because of her attitude, the rooming house's inhabitants give her a rough time, especially her roommate, Jean (Ginger Rogers). Eventually, Terry gets an opportunity to act--at the expense of Kaye Hamilton (Andrea Leeds). Only after Jean and the others see Terry's response to Kaye's tragedy is she grudgingly accepted into the group. STAGE DOOR is an extraordinarily rich movie, graced by wonderful performances by Rogers, Hepburn, and the entire remarkable ensemble cast.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon


SOME GOOD OL’ ACTION

Batman and Robin: The Serial Collection (Columbia/Tri-Star)
A complete collection of fifteen installments of the Caped Crusader's classic cliffhanging theatrical serial. Contains "Batman Takes Over," "Tunnels of Terror," "Robin's Wild Ride," "Robin Rescues Batman," "Target--Robin," "The Fatal Blast," "Robin Meets the Wizard," "The Wizard Strikes Back," "Batman's Last Chance," "Robin's Ruse," "Robin Rides the Wind," "The Wizard's Challenge," "Batman Vs. Wizard," and "Batman Victorious."
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Electra Glide in Blue (MGM)
An Arizona motorcycle cop compensates for his shortness by using his brains to maintain order in a world that's rapidly spinning out of control. Lots of violence but the movie has style and some great action sequences shot in Monument Valley.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Flight of the Phoenix (2004) (Fox)
READ REVIEW
Originally a 1965 Jimmy Stewart vehicle, this FLIGHT gets a rough and ready updating for the new century, with the stalwart Dennis Quaid now inhabiting the title role. He's a pilot on a routine trip out to investigate some remote oil rigs in the Gobi Desert, but things go wrong and he makes a crash landing in the middle of nowhere. For him, and the men along for the ride, a slow, tortured, thirsty death seems certain, unless the plucky mechanic in the crew (Giovanni Ribisi) can design a whole new plane from the wreckage. As with the original, this is a manly adventure of rugged survival and mechanical ingenuity, only this time there's a woman on board, Kelly (Miranda Otto) who generates some romantic sparks. Some of the other survivors are played by: Tyrese Gibson, Sticky Fingaz, Bob Brown and Kirk Jones. The men and one woman have to tangle with murderous desert raiders and numerous sandstorms in addition to the frequent squabbling amongst themselves. Director John Moore gets a lot of mileage out of the desert backdrop and Ribisi is solid as the mechanic with a troubled past. It was produced by William Aldrich, whose dad Robert directed the Stewart original. Edward Burns (THE BROTHERS McMULLEN) co-wrote the new screenplay.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

High Lonesome (VCI)
Set in Texas' Big Bend cattle country and shot in Technicolor, HIGH LONESOME is a visually stunning western from the writer of John Ford's classic THE SEARCHERS. In it, Barrymore plays a sullen young cowboy who is mixed up with a couple of killers. Because of this, he is taken prisoner by a family on their ranch until they can establish his guilt.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Incident at Blood Pass (AnimEigo)
Starring the legendary Toshiro Mifune (RASHOMON), INCIDENT AT BLOODPASS is a fast-paced thriller, which sees The Yojimbo (Mifune) taking on the task of ransacking a haul of gold on a mountain pass. Drama unfolds, and sees The Yojimbo having to face some tough questions and decisions about the task he has undertaken.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Ladder 49 (Buena Vista)
READ REVIEW
Joaquin Phoenix is great in this saga of Baltimore firefighter Jack Morrison, whose life starts flashing before his eyes when he becomes trapped in a blazing high rise. Flashbacks chronicle his memories of being a rookie at his Baltimore fire company. He remembers fighting his first fire, bonding with fellow firefighters, falling in love with a beautiful local girl (Jacinda Barrett), getting married, and having children. He also looks back on forming a close relationship with the fire chief (John Travolta) and learning to face the danger and heroics of life on the job. This film manages to wring plenty of well-earned tears from its subject matter--as well as spine-tingling thrills--which are the result of solid performances, characterization, and good naturalistic dialogue from screenwriter Lewis Colick. Barrett is great as Jack's worried wife; she and Phoenix exhibit strong, earthy chemistry in their scenes together. Travolta makes a fine fire captain who is graceful, sure of himself, and always ready to give up the spotlight to the younger actors. Other firemen include Morris Chestnut, Balthazar Getty, and Robert Patrick. The addition of a soundtrack of contemporary Irish and Irish-American folk and rock keeps the melancholia just a whisper away. The heroics of 9/11 are subtly honored here, but never directly mentioned, which is to the film's credit.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Sundowners (VCI)
Robert Preston and Robert Sterling star in the tale of two brothers pitted against one another while on opposite sides of the law. In the middle of it all is the innocent son of Preston's character who is being harassed by Sterling.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Sword of Doom (Criterion)
From the mind of screenwriter -- and Kurosawa-collaborator ("Seven Samurai," "Ikiru") -- Shinobu Hashimoto comes this epic that examines a bloody rivalry. A crazed samurai hacks anything and anyone in his path to feed his personal sense of glory. Village by village, this unstable warrior kills with abandon and, more importantly, has no sense of honor or spirituality. He then meets an equally gifted swordsman, a principled fencing instructor, who just might end the wanton slaughter.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Treasure of the Amazon (VCI)
Action-adventure about a group of daring fortune seekers on a quest for gold and jewels. Set in the lush jungles of South America.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

CRIME


Blind Horizon (Lions Gate)
READ REVIEW
A thriller that resurrects the Hollywood trope of a protagonist with amnesia, BLIND HORIZON injects the cliche with new life by asking pertinent questions about the nature of personal responsibilty. Frank (Val Kilmer, THE MISSING) awakens in the desert with a severe head wound, and no memory of how it--or he--got there. He does, however, experience visions of an assassination attempt on the president, and is convinced they contain clues to the truth. He is also pretty sure that the woman claiming to be his girlfriend, Chloe (Neve Campbell, THE COMPANY, SCREAM), is not who she says she is. When Frank hears that the president is actually coming to the small New Mexico town, he warns Sheriff Kolb (Sam Shepard, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES) of the impending violence, but Kolb is otherwise occupied with an upcoming election campaign. Struggling to put together the pieces of his past, Frank enters a race against time to convince those around him of the veracity of his claims, before it's too late.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Bright Future (Palm Pictures)
Tadanobu Asano and Joe Odagiri star as two friends who work part-time in a laundry factory in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's highly original BRIGHT FUTURE. Odagiri is Yuji Nimura, a messy, lazy slacker who has odd dreams at night of a future of hope and peace. His best friend, Mamoru Arita (Asano), meanwhile, is obsessed with his pet red jellyfish, a poisonous creature he is training to be able to survive in fresh water. After mysteriously presenting the marine invertebrate to Yuji, he even more mysteriously viciously murders his boss and willingly accepts his fate. While Mamoru is in prison, Yuji grows attached to the jellyfish and to his friend's estranged father, who repairs old televisions, radios, and lamps in his own cluttered shop. The very busy Asano (ICHI THE KILLER, THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI, LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE) and Odagiri are excellent in the lead roles, filled with a quiet ennui and disassociation from the rest of the world. Longtime actor Tatsuya Fuji provides outstanding support as Mr. Arita, who becomes a kind of surrogate father to Yuji. Kurosawa, the director of such successful thrillers as DOPPELGANGER, PULSE, and CURE, here alternates between beautifully shot scenes and grainy set pieces, steady camerawork and handheld moments, keeping the audience perpetually off balance yet mesmerized. BRIGHT FUTURE, which was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, is a slow-paced, introspective, intelligent film that has a dark underbelly lurking just beneath it, like the potential lethal bite of a jellyfish.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (MGM)
A family scandal causes a wealthy and powerful Mexican rancher to make the pronouncement--'Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!' Two of the bounty-hunters thus dispatched encounter a local piano-player in their hunt for information. The piano-player does a little investigating on his own and finds out that his girlfriend knows of Garcia's death and last resting place. Thinking that he can make some easy money and gain financial security for he and his (now) fiancée, they set off on this goal. Of course, this quest only brings him untold misery, in the form of trademark Peckinpah violence.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Call Northside 777 (Fox)
In this documentary-style drama based on a true story, a reporter tries to prove that a man in prison for murder has been wrongly convicted. A great performance by Stewart as the persistent journalist.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Crimson Rivers: Angels of the Apocalypse (Columbia/Tri-Star)
French filmmaker Olivier Dahan directs this sequel to international hit CRIMSON RIVERS; the script, based on a novel by Jean-Christophe Grange, was adapted by Luc Besson (THE FIFTH ELEMENT). The creepy, fast-paced narrative follows police detective Pierre Niemans (Jean Reno), who this time undertakes an investigation of a monastery in the Lorraine. His team uncovers a corpse hidden in the wall, and this raises suspicions of ritual murders. Meanwhile, police captain Reda (Benoît Magimel) has picked up a mysterious and confused man who has the same DNA as Jesus Christ. Niemans and Reda team up, and soon their path leads them to the dark organization known as the "Angels of the Apokalypse," where the evidence is mounting that the end of the world is nigh.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Deep Crimson (Home Vision)
In 1940s Mexico, an unhappy, overweight nurse abandons her children to take up with a womanizing drifter who resembles her idol, Charles Boyer. After she blackmails him, they begin a messy crime spree in which they murder a series of wealthy widows. Disturbing and compelling, this acclaimed film is based on the "Lonely Hearts Killers" case, the same real-life case which inspired the 1969 film THE HONEYMOON KILLERS.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Laura (Fox)
A classic noirish mystery with a consummate ensemble of actors. Dana Andrews adroitly plays the detective who delves into the murder of the stunningly beautiful Laura, with whom it seems everyone, including the detective himself, is in love. But Webb steals the show as the titular ingenue's creepily elegant social mentor, Waldo Lydecker. Based on the novel by Vera Caspary.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Panic in the Streets (Fox)
A medical examiner discovers that an innocent shooting victim in a robbery died of bubonic plague. With only 48 hours to find the killer, who is now a ticking time bomb threatening the entire city, a grisly manhunt through the seamy underworld of the New Orleans Waterfront is underway.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

WAR IS HELL


The Ealing War Collection (Anchor Bay)
Contains: The Cruel Sea, The Ship That Died of Shame, Went the Day Well?, The Dam Busters & The Colditz Story
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Choosing Sides: I Remember Vietnam (Wellspring)
Choosing Sides: I Remember Vietnam retraces the divergent roads Americans took during the Vietnam war and where those roads led them, both during the war and once they returned home.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Combat! Season #3 (Operation #1) (Image)
Vic Morrow and Rick Jason return to the trenches as Sgt. Chip Sanders and Lt. Gil Hanley in season three of television's acclaimed World War II series. Told against the savage backdrop of European battlegrounds, COMBAT! follows a group of American soldiers as they face tough challenges and extremely daunting odds, with the men displaying bravery and loyalty to one another among the most trying situations. Helping to launch the careers of directors Robert Altman and Richard Donner, the 1960s series looks frankly at the moral struggles of American soldiers in a world ravaged by war. Season three features special guest stars: Theodore Bikel, Seymour Cassell, Mickey Rooney, Sal Mineo, Neville Brand, Anthony Eisley, Robert Duvall, Telly Savalas, Gary Lockwood, Roddy McDowell, and Rip Torn. OPERATION ONE features 16 episodes, making up the first half of the third season: "The Silver Service," "The Long Walk," "Mountain Man," "The Duel," "Vendetta," "Dateline," "Operation Fly Trap," "The Imposter," "Losers Cry Deal," "Point of View," "Brother, Brother," "The Hard Way Home," "A Rare Vintage," and "The Enemy."
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Combat! Season #3 (Operation #2) (Image)
OPERATION TWO features 16 episodes, making up the second half of the third season: "A Gift of Hope," "A Walk With An Eagle," "Birthday Cake," "The Cassock," "The Town That Went Away," "The Convict," "The Steeple," "More Than A Solder," "The Long Wait," "The Tree of Moray," "A Cry in the Ruins," "Heritage," "The Hell Machine," "Billy the Kid," "Beneath the Ashes," and "Odyssey."
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

FOR THE CULTISTS


The Girl Who Shagged Me (E.I. Independent)
Softcore girl-next-door Misty Mundae stars in this sexy parody of AUSTIN POWERS, as Super-Secret Agent Johnson, otherwise known as .0069. The evil Dr. Unsound has gotten his hands on the frozen body of the legendary "Goddess of Lust," only recently uncovered by archaeologists. The goddess, when awakened, pursues her singleminded takeover of the world the only way she knows how--and does she ever know how! Her supernatural powers of seduction wreak havoc and delight upon anyone in her path. But there's only one woman who's up to the task of stopping her, and Agent Johnson is called in to stop the evil temptress. With her sharp powers of perception and her very able body, she sets out to service her country, and the charms of these two vixens are very well-matched indeed.
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Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape! (Tempe)
Chris Seaver, the director of low budget parodies and horror films, returns with MULVA 2: KILL TEEN APE. The sequel to MULVA: ZOMBIE ASS KICKER, MULVA 2 stars B-picture veteran Debbie Rochon as the titular heroine. Five years ago, Mulva was tricked by the Teen Ape, who stole her Halloween candy as she fell into a sugar-induced coma. Awakened, Mulva vows revenge, and will carve up anyone who stands between her and the monkey-man. MULVA 2 is a spoof of the KILL BILL films, among others, and combines humor, action, and gleeful violence in the tradition of Troma Films.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Orgazmo (Special Edition) (Universal)
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SOUTH PARK creator Parker stars as Joe Young, a Mormon missionary in Los Angeles who stumbles into the porn industry, where he's offered the part of sexual superhero Orgazmo. Joe stays so that he can raise enough money to marry his sweetheart, Lisa, but complications ensue when Orgazmo turns out to be a hit and Lisa discovers the hidden truth. A wacky farce for juvenile adults.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch (Warner Bros.)
When Eric Idle constructed a wacky spoof of The Beatles, dubbed them "The Rutles," and made a hilarious mockumentary in 1978 named ALL YOU NEED IS CASH, he spawned a huge cult of eager worshipers who longed to hear more from Dirk (Idle), Nasty (Neil Innes), Stig (Ricky Fataar), and Barry (John Halsey). In 2002 The Pre-Fab Four reunited, toured America, and invited trusted interviewer Dirk McQuickly (Idle again) on the road with them. Of course we meet many of the artists whom The Rutles influenced along the way, including David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Garry Shandling, and even Salman Rushdie, as well as further capers with the band themselves.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Swedish Wildcats (E.I. Independent)
Is it possible for a prostitute to find true love? This is the question that sisters Susanna and Karin ask while working for their aunt Margareta (Diana Dors) at her Copenhagen brothel. By far the most requested of Margareta's offerings, Susanna and Karin have their act honed to a fine art. Made up to look like feline seductresses, the sisters bring in big business on a nightly basis by appealing to the customers' most shameful desires. But the sleazy clientele take its toll, making both girls eager to break out of the business and pursue real relationships. Susanna and Karen have no trouble finding men who take an interest in them. But will this interest remain if and when their suitors discover their true professions?
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

THE GUILTIEST OF PLEASURES


D.C. Cab (Universal)
An aging hippie heads a rundown cab company and supervises its eclectic crew of oddball drivers including: a would-be pimp, a Cleveland-born Rastafarian, a man concerned about the effect of drug pushers on city streets and a young upstart working towards his license. Struggling to keep their little operation afloat, this motley crew of cabbies is working overtime and putting in 100%, but in the nation's capital, they'll have to do more than that if they want to keep their jobs.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Pirate Movie (Anchor Bay)
A delightful, updated version of the timeless classic "The Pirates of Penzance" by Gilbert & Sullivan. The fantasy world of a shy and awkward young girl comes to life after she meets a handsome lad dressed as a pirate at an amusement park.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Rhinestone (Anchor Bay)
As part of a bet, a vivacious country music singer must teach the first person she meets when walking outside how to sing well enough to survive one night at the club where she works. Unfortunately, she gets stuck with an obnoxious cab driver.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE DIPPIN’


Apollo 13 (Anniversary Edition) (Universal)
A vividly rendered dramatization of Apollo 13's true-life brush with disaster on the way to the Moon in 1971. This mesmerizing film combines computer graphics, archive footage and seamless special effects to recreate the adrenalized odyssey of Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert who battled astronomical odds to make it back to Earth.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Carnival of Souls (Hart Sharp)
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DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Miss Congeniality (Deluxe Edition) (Warner Bros.)
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DVD FeaturesComing Soon

The Ring (Collector's Set) (Dreamworks)
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The horror hit THE RING is packaged with a short film made exclusively for this release, as well as new behind-the-scenes documentaries about the making of the film, on THE RING COLLECTOR'S SET.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon

Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) (Paramount)
The Borg have once again targeted the Federation; this time, their devious plot threatens not only the present, but Earth's past as well. While Commander Riker, Deanna Troi, and Geordi La Forge work hard on the surface of 21st-century Earth to keep history on schedule, the rest of the crew plays a desperate game with the genetically-networked attackers above the planet, matching former Locutus Jean-Luc and cybernetically-naive Data against the erotic, mechanized cunning of the Borg queen. Resistance is futile.
DVD FeaturesComing Soon


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1395
originally posted: 03/05/05 09:05:00
last updated: 03/25/05 09:11:27
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