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Display Name: 62triplet
About me: I usually winnow my movie choices by using the websites "Rottentomatoes" (RT), "MRQE - Movie Review Query Engine," "Flickfilosopher," "Metacritic," NYT Critics' Picks & David Thomson's book "Have You Seen...a personal introduction to 1000 Films"). Reading reviews often leads me to learn about other titles worth searching for. Criterion does a great job of remastering the classics; the Film Movement series for indies; Docurama Films for docs. Since the HCL catalogue is so extensive, going outside via MN LINK is reserved for something special ("ILL" designation).
Reading Interests: Eclectic viewing (DVDs) of docs, indies, classics, foreign & highly rated big budget. I will post a biweekly list that shows (1) the release year of movie; (2) RT scores (from the "Rottentomatoes movie review website; they explain how the scores are derived from posters (you and me) & movie review critics; (3) when I first post DVD titles to a new list, those RT scores will be followed by "----"; shortly after I have viewed the film, either the dashes will be removed, or "PAID" will substituted: this is my version of "thumbs way up," "really see it," "4 *'s," etc; it represents my highest praise, or, like former NYT reviewer Pauline Kael said: "I go to the movies to be surprised."; (4) NYT Critics' Pick Listing (if appropriate); and (5), the review URL (usually from the NYT - you might be directed to sign up to view the review; this will result in "cookies"; I use "CCleaner" at the end of every computer session for my own "peace of mind"). I just posted a list of my "PAID" choices, which has a more complete explanation of why I have given my highest praise to a DVD, and why this might not be the same as seeing the same film in the theater. Well, there you have it. When I have a question about a new HCL purchase, or a title gleaned from DVD trailers, or a title picked up by reading or viewing some review, I usually run it through the RT filter; check out the NYT review; if not there, the website "MRQE" usually won't let me down. Armed with this information, and perhaps using my postings to save you some legwork, you can search out information on these or other titles, and have your own "surprises." Feedback comments on individual films (for everyone's benefit) or comments on the list in general (so I can make my lists better) are welcomed and encouraged. At the end of the day, are my lists helpful, or not; confusing, or not; stimulating? boring? tedious?). Unless you comment, I'll never know. Thanks in advance.

62triplet's Book Lists
Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (Oct - Dec 2011) (76 titles)
Time for release of the latest quarter of PAID viewing choices (4:45PM Tues., 3 Jan.). Normally, if you've been following along, I have helpful(?) info on my favorite viewings from the past quarter. But I'm going in a different direction. Most of my time now is being spent on the bike (bicycle). I took possession of a new steed on Saturday evening (Sunday - 103/ Monday - 29/ Tuesday A.M. - 35; Tuesday P.M. (Rovers club at my alma mater, Macalester (I figure about 30 round trip; hopefully I can interest others in partaking of a weekly night ride). Long story short: as time permits, I'll try to fill in more information on the list below (76 from 192 possibilities - the last one, New Year's eve, was Meek's Cutoff (another great Michelle Williams' performance). So enjoy (some of you sneakers have been back-dooring a view of the list in progress: for shame! [[:)]. Mike the Bike
Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (Jul - Sep 2011) (44 titles)
12:30P 01Oct11 Time to publish the new quarterly list. More choices (240) to pick from than the previous quarter, and more titles chosen (yay!). Since the weather has been great for bicycling, my Dvd time was dictated by "time" - if I wasn't hooked by 20 minutes, it was a reject. In the past, I've seen bad Dvds all the way through; now I've "freed" myself (or so it feels); I may have quit on films or docs too early, but I've read multiple reviews (the good and the bad) on the films beforehand, and if a critic has made good points against a film, I've probably taken that to heart. As before, don't take my word for any of the selections; cut and paste the "http" of the included review, and if that isn't enough, go to Rotten Tomatoes and read some of the other reviews. Whatever you do, remember that the titles below reflect my sensibilities; I'm proud of the list, but it's only that: a list. Enjoy! 10:30A 19Jul11 Looking at new dvd titles on Bookspace, I 'binged' "Big Jake" to see if Roger Ebert ever reviewed it. But I found something even better (IMHO). As you know, I go to the source (R.E.) for reviews you can view of my favorite film critic...and I found this --- http://www.jason-bailey.com/2011/01/commentary-roger-ebert-then-and-now.html --- Also, the article talks about this --- http://www.esquire.com/features/roger-ebert-0310 --- (P.S.: Click on the 'print' button to make for easier reading). Enjoy! Mike
Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (Apr - Jun 2011) (32 titles)
Monday, 15 August - 10:15 A.M. Even though I'm adding titles to the next (Jul - Sep) list, and it's marked "not shared," some of the titles are being randomly pulled onto the "comments from readers" (recent comments) section. Looks like you can get an advance look. Until the last few days, only one page of comments was being displayed, but checking this morning, 10 pages seem to be coming up (yeah!). Included are "Sacrifice," "36th Precinct," and "Breaking Bad." Friday 1 July - 1:30 P.M. Latest list. 32 titles made the list from 136 choices (24%). The pot from which to pick seemed somewhat thin (IMHO). Last quarter was 30%, and the winter/non-spring kept me indoors more (178 from which to pick). The next quarter (July - September) will be competing with nice bike riding weather, and indoors always loses. Currently, I'm trying to digest "True blood. The complete third season" and the heat index yesterday and today made for an easy decision. Enjoy my choices &/or critics' reviews. MIKE the BIKE
Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (Jan - Mar 2011) (54 titles)
After a year+ of not posting, I'm starting up again. So here is a new, quarterly list, with most of the guidelines from its predecessor --- Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (current as of 31 Dec 09) which covered April thru December of that year (82 titles for a 9 month period). This list has 54 titles for a 3 month span, so you might be thinking my standards have lowered. I prefer to think the pool to select from has increased (insert smiley face). And thanks to the patient souls that have looked the older list to death. For each dvd listing, I'm including the number seen (1st seen; 178th seen); date viewed; year of movie release (wide distribution); Rotten Tomatoes' (1) Audience Score, (2) All Critics' Score, & (3) Top Critics' Score (a couple of TV series use the Metacritic site); web link to Critic's reviews (don't take my word that I find a film worth watching - read what my "go-to" critics had to say); and other short notations that I think you might enjoy.
Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (current as of 31 Dec 09) (82 titles)
Saturday, 1 October '11 - 12:45P.M. Just released the Jul-Sep list. I'm trying to change the title from 'Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (current as of 31 Dec 09)' to just 'Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices' - Some people just don't like old lists. Also, by going to the list of booklist contributors and clicking on "62triplet", you can come up with my (4) lists. I'm trying to have the alphabetization changed. Titles starting with "the" shouldn't be listed under "t". Enjoy! Monday, 15 August '11 - 10:15 A.M. Even though I'm adding titles to the next (Jul - Sep) list, and it's marked "not shared," some of the titles are being randomly pulled onto the "comments from readers" (recent comments) section. Looks like you can get an advance look. Until the last few days, only one page of comments was being displayed, but checking this morning, 10 pages seem to be coming up (yeah!). Included are "Sacrifice," "36th Precinct," and "Breaking Bad." Tuesday, 1 March '11 10:15 A.M. After a year+ of not posting, I'm starting up again. So here is a new, quarterly list, with most of the guidelines from its predecessor --- Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (current as of 31 Dec 09) which covered April thru December of that year (82 titles for a 9 month period). This list has 54 titles for a 3 month span, so you might be thinking my standards have lowered. I prefer to think the pool to select from has increased (insert smiley face). And thanks to the patient souls that have looked the older list to death. For each dvd listing, I'm including the number seen (1st seen; 178th seen); date viewed; year of movie release (wide distribution); Rotten Tomatoes' (1) Audience Score, (2) All Critics' Score, & (3) Top Critics' Score (a couple of TV series use the Metacritic site); web link to Critic's reviews (don't take my word that I find a film worth watching - read what my "go-to" critics had to say); and other short notations that I think you might enjoy. These are my "thumbs way up," "four star," "10 out of 10," etc. favorite DVD choices, current through the (25 Dec 09)"Dark City" listing. My viewing of some 400+ films that resulted in these 81 choices started in early 2009. Films like Truffaut's "400 Blows," which I saw many years ago, would easily make the list, but I had to start somewhere. So these are only 2009 viewings. If a new disc of one of my old favorites comes out, I'll certainly put it on the list (the recent 2-disc set of "Chinatown" is an example). **** Some films seen in a theater just don't come across well on the small screen, and that may be more than a minor influence on my selections. For example, the latest trekkie movie, "Star Trek," as seen on the TV wouldn't get my highest accolade "PAID", but I would pay to see it in the theater, because the effect of the audience, the latest dolby sound system, and giant CG images make for a totally different, and IMHO, better experience. I guess what I'm saying is, if a film can move me when viewed as a DVD, it's worth checking into it further (I'm curious if a small screen, non-3D "Avatar" will end up on this list). **** Also, some titles have multiple choices in the catalogue (e.g. the latest 2-disc set as opposed to the original single disc with no commentaries, etc.). In future days, I'll add those qualifications, add helpful reviews (+ & -), and change the date in the "Title" as well. **** If you're wondering about the review citations, that's the way I generally go about my viewing; the critics often give me leads about things to look for in a film, and this leads to increased enjoyment for me. Reading a + and a - review beforehand allows me to contrast and compare different viewpoints while watching the movie/doc unfold. My time spent reading is usually well rewarded. **** The NYT's Pauline Kael always went to movies hoping to be surprised. These are films that did the same for me. So check out these titles under their respective listings. I think you'll enjoy them.

62triplet's Comments    
Cover ArtThe bride of Frankenstein (DVD)
This was a   posted Oct 21, 2011 at 12:24PM

Cover ArtEverything must go [videorecording] /
#241(Sep.30)(2011)(56)(75)(83) --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110511/REVIEWS/110519992/-1/RSS --- Not for Will Ferrell fans who only want to see him as the comedian; great depth of character.   posted Oct 1, 2011 at 12:31PM

Cover ArtHanna [videorecording] /
#238(Sep.30)(2011)(68)(71)(59) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://www.rogerebert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110406/REVIEWS/110409995/-1/RSS --- with a less enthusiastic article by Colin Covert (Star Tribune) at --- http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/119410464.html --- This fantasy/thriller avoided plot holes, advancing relentlessly to a great score. A grim Grimm tale (with humorous interludes). Oh, those Germans!   posted Sep 30, 2011 at 10:32AM

Cover ArtJoueuse [videorecording] /
#232(Sep27)(2009)(69)(68)(81)("Queen to Play") --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110504/REVIEWS/110509997/-1/RSS --- PASSION --- A very nice, understated "making of" extra(21:15). My suggestion: watch this before viewing the film. 8 page booklet (Q&A with director Caroline Bottaro and actress Sandrine Bonnaire ("Monsieur Hire," "Intimate Strangers").   posted Sep 27, 2011 at 10:54AM

Cover ArtIdiots & angels [videorecording] /
#231(Sep.27)(2008)(77)(100)(100)(animation) --- Stephen Holden (New York Times) writes at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/movies/06idiots.html?ref=movies --- Not at all what most people conceive of animation; also, nobody speaks. "...relentless..." NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 27, 2011 at 10:28AM

Cover ArtSoul kitchen [videorecording] /
#231(Sep.25)(2009)(76)(74)(86) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100908/REVIEWS/100909983 --- An endearing mishmash by director Fatih Akin ("Head-On," "The Edge of Heaven").   posted Sep 26, 2011 at 12:36PM

Cover ArtFly away [videorecording] /
#230(Sep.25)(2011)(58)(82)(86) --- Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times) at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/movies/fly-away-movie-review.html?partner=rss&emc=rss --- A meat grinder with points of joy; a dramatized look at everyday life with autism, rare, in my opinion. 4 page booklet with definitions/resources included.   posted Sep 26, 2011 at 12:26PM

Cover ArtCameraman [videorecording] : the life and work of Jack Cardiff /
#229(Sep.25)(2010)(doc)(92)((96)(100) --- Wonderful review by Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) at --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/cameraman-the-life-and-work-of-jack-cardiff,1176261/critic-review.html --- where she writes: “Cameraman” should be required viewing for anyone interested in becoming more visually literate in an ever-more-media-drenched age." Bonus interview of Director Craig McCall and his 13 year project should be viewed first (IMHO). NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 26, 2011 at 12:17PM

Cover ArtCleopatra [videorecording] /
#227(Sep.25)(1934)(66)(88)(--) --- Mordaunt Hall (New York Times) writes at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A0DE5D8133CE23ABC4F52DFBE66838F629EDE --- Digitally remastered as part of the "Universal Backlot Series" with a wonderful commentary track; also, very informative bonus material.   posted Sep 26, 2011 at 12:07PM

Cover ArtA film unfinished [videorecording] /
#223(Sep.24)(2010)(85)(97)(100)(doc) --- Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times) writes at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/movies/18unfinished.html --- You think you've seen enough of the holocaust, the Warsaw ghetto - e.g. "The Pianist," "Schindler's List," Steven Spielberg's interviews with holocaust survivors - but this doc runs you in a different, fascinating direction. NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 24, 2011 at 3:43PM

Cover ArtWartorn 1861-2010 [videorecording] /
#213(Sep.20)(2010)(82-Metascore)(tbd-User Score) --- Mike Hale (New York Times) reviews the HBO doc at --- http://tv.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/arts/television/11wartorn.html --- This doc is the one that will finally leave the public (and the military) with the knowledge that PTSD is real, and certainly not new.   posted Sep 20, 2011 at 12:16PM

Cover ArtThe big C. The complete first season [videorecording] /
#201(Sep.18)(2010)(66-Metascore)(7.3-User Score)--- Review by Alessandra Stanley (New York Times) at --- http://tv.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/arts/television/16bigc.html?_r=1 --- Laura Linney is a national treasure.   posted Sep 20, 2011 at 12:04PM

Cover ArtHeartbeats [videorecording] = Les amours imaginaires /
#199(Sep.17)(2010)(68)(73)(69) --- Stephen Holden (New York Times) at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/movies/25heart.html?ref=movies --- Did you also enjoy "Jules & Jim"? Savor the extreme slo-mo umbrella scene; Colin Covert (Star Tribune) calls this film "not too deep but oh so pretty." And he notes the youth of the director: 21 years old. Wow! NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 17, 2011 at 11:19AM

Cover ArtMarwencol [videorecording] /
#196(Sep.16)(2010)(89)(98)(100)(doc) --- Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) writes --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/marwencol,1166847/critic-review.html --- NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:48AM

Cover ArtRabbit hole [videorecording] /
#193(Sep.15)(2010)((70)(86)(88) --- Roger Ebert writes at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101222/REVIEWS/101229994 --- A well done (with bits of humor) pic about a senseless, grieving tragedy. Nicole Kidman fans will certainly enjoy.   posted Sep 15, 2011 at 12:17PM

Cover ArtWinter in wartime [videorecording] /
#190(Sep.14)(2008)(75)(74)(75) --- Dutch reviewer Boyd van Hoeij (Variety) at --- http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117939559?refcatid=31 ---   posted Sep 15, 2011 at 12:04PM

Cover ArtLe mystere Picasso [videorecording] = The mystery of Picasso /
#184(Sep.13)(77)(83)(60) --- A long take by Debi Lee Mandel (digitallyobsessed.com) at --- http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/displaylegacy.php?ID=4353 --- A French national treasure.   posted Sep 13, 2011 at 11:40AM

Cover ArtLe mystere Picasso [videorecording] = The mystery of Picasso /
#184(Sep.13)(77)(83)(60)(doc) --- A long take by Debi Lee Mandel (digitallyobsessed.com) at --- http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/displaylegacy.php?ID=4353 --- A French national treasure.   posted Sep 13, 2011 at 11:30AM

Cover ArtBuried [videorecording] /
#179(Sep.9)(63)(86)(68) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100922/REVIEWS/100929996 --- As the viewer, one relates completely to Ryan Reynolds; if you suffer from claustrophobia, you might want to take a pass.   posted Sep 9, 2011 at 10:42AM

Cover ArtDes hommes et des dieux [videorecording] = Of gods and men /
#178(Sep.8)(2010)(76)(92)(96) --- Roger Ebert isn't pulled in as much --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110310/REVIEWS/110319994 --- as Colin Colvert (Star Tribune) is --- http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/118186634.html --- Roger makes a good case for unnecessary egotism, but was it a selfish act? Ah, faith...   posted Sep 8, 2011 at 10:17AM

Cover ArtSmall town murder songs [videorecording] /
#160(Sep.03)(39)(79)(100) --- Stephen Holden (New York Times) writes at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/movies/ed-gass-donnellys-small-town-murder-songs-review.html?partner=rss&emc=rss --- Evidently audiences thought they would be getting a different type of murder mystery, but the top critics were unanimous. NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Sep 3, 2011 at 10:34AM

Cover ArtI'm not scared [videorecording] = Io non ho paura /
#158(Sep.03)(2003)(87)(90)(88) --- A wonderful Ebert essay at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040423/REVIEWS/404230304 --- I'd forgotten I'd seen this before; even better the second time around.   posted Sep 3, 2011 at 10:25AM

Cover ArtCool it [videorecording]
#133(Aug.25)(2010)(74)(50)(50)(doc) --- Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times) writes --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/movies/12cool.html --- but a good counter essay by Nicolas Rapold (Village Voice) is at --- http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-10/film/enemy-of-climate-consensus-gets-a-soapbox-in-cool-it/ --- You've seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" - now take it a step further. NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Aug 25, 2011 at 12:16PM

Cover ArtRango [videorecording]
#132(Aug.24)(2011)(70)(88)(86)(Animation) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110302/REVIEWS/110309997 --- Referencing your past history of viewing sphaghetti westerns, this movie shows that it was not time wasted.   posted Aug 24, 2011 at 6:06PM

Cover ArtCon artist [videorecording]
#129(Aug.24)(2009)(100)(100)(3/0)(doc) --- Stephen Holden (New York Times) writes at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/movies/12con.html --- Good follow-up doc on New York artists/photographers after Basquiat, Banksy, and Bill Cunningham treatments.   posted Aug 24, 2011 at 11:37AM

Cover ArtCold weather [videorecording]
#130(Aug.24)(2010)(55)(75)(64) --- Roger Ebert's review at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110310/REVIEWS/110319995 --- Another small movie that fell below the radar; so real, no artifice   posted Aug 24, 2011 at 11:21AM

Cover ArtBeetle queen conquers Tokyo [videorecording]
#124(Aug.19)(2009)(52)(90)(100)(doc) --- Frank Scheck (Hollywood Reporter) notes at --- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/beetle-queen-conquers-tokyo-film-29582 --- A unique cultural obsession depicted in this documentary. 12 page booklet included.   posted Aug 19, 2011 at 10:25AM

Cover Art3 backyards [videorecording]
#123(Aug.18)(2010)(41)(75)(67) --- Stephen Holden (New York Times) writes --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/movies/3-backyards-on-long-island-via-eric-mendelsohn.html?ref=movies --- Slow, langorous pacing, almost like an additional character. NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Aug 19, 2011 at 10:17AM

Cover ArtThe Snapper [videorecording]
#111(Aug.14)(1993)(84)(97)(100) --- Roger Ebert's take at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19931217/REVIEWS/312170303 --- Ever since watching 'The Commitments,' I've been a Colm Meaney fan. Also, once again, we seem to be viewing real people (read Ebert's take on the nature of the Irish).   posted Aug 18, 2011 at 1:57PM

Cover ArtSource code [videorecording]
#99(Aug.13)(2011)(81)(91)(86) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110331/REVIEWS/110339997 --- Listen to the audio commentary, if only when the credits begin, with the director (Duncan Jones), writer (Ben Ripley), and lead actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), as the former two speculate on this non-linear story (do your past viewings include "Groundhog Day," "Rashomon," and "Sliding Doors?") and thoughtfully riff on the many possibilities of what might be next for the main characters. Fascinating stuff.   posted Aug 13, 2011 at 10:37AM

Cover ArtBreaking bad. The complete third season [videorecording]
#122(Aug.17)(2010)(89-Metascore)(9.6-User Score) --- James Poniewozik (TIME) writes at --- http://tunedin.blogs.time.com/2010/03/19/tv-weekend-breaking-bads-white-hot-slow-burn/ --- Three in a row for Bryan Cranston - Emmys, that is. Best season yet (IMHO).   posted Aug 10, 2011 at 11:01AM

Cover Art36th precinct [videorecording]
#84(Aug.4)(78)(100)(--)(2004) --- Lisa Nesselson (Variety) writes --- http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117925665?refcatid=31 --- Director/screenwriter Olivier Marchal puts you through a modern police procedural and wrings you out. Only criticism: the subtitles don't remain on the screen long enough.   posted Aug 4, 2011 at 5:51PM

Cover ArtThe sacrifice [videorecording] ; Directed by Andrei Tarkosvky
#74(Jul.31)(1986)(92)(81)(3/1) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19861121/REVIEWS/611210304 --- Get ready to make your own sacrifice...   posted Jul 31, 2011 at 12:59PM

Cover ArtThe Adjustment Bureau [videorecording]
#68(Jul.23)(2011)(68)(72)(61) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110302/REVIEWS/110309994 --- but Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times) on NPR has a less positive take.   posted Jul 23, 2011 at 11:17AM

Cover ArtKes [videorecording]
#60(Jul.19)(1969)(92)(100)(4/0) --- Roger Ebert provides historical context for director Ken Loach's career and fine, unknown film 'Kes' at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19730116/REVIEWS/301160301/1023 --- Great supplement: 'The Southbank show: "Ken Loach," a 1993 profile' (49') --- CRITERION   posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:23PM

Cover ArtThe duel [DVD]
#59(Jul.19)(2009)(64)(81)(75) --- Roger Ebert gives this only 2 stars --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100818/REVIEWS/100819988 --- but has a wonderful, historical take; Manohla Dargis (New York Times) has a more positive view at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/movies/28anton.html --- NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Jul 19, 2011 at 11:10AM

Cover ArtDiscovering Hamlet [videorecording].
#58(Jul.18)(1999)(100)(--)(--)(doc) --- Nick Hartel (DVDtalk.com) gives a thorough review of the historical roots of this production (and recommends the supplements) at --- http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/46625/discovering-hamlet/ --- Less for Hamlet buffs than for Guthrie regulars for how the greatest play can get a new treatment. Fascinating throughout.   posted Jul 18, 2011 at 11:04AM

Cover ArtLes Diaboliques [videorecording]
#52(Jul.15)(1954)(92)(97)(80) --- Roger Ebert's 1995 review of a new print --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950217/REVIEWS/502170302/1023 --- reminded me of Peter Falk's recent death, and the Columbo film connection. CRITERION includes a nice 20 page booklet on director Henri-Georges Clouzot's career. The "Selected-scene commentary" supplement is recommended viewing (after seeing the film). Ebert's review is helpful before seeing the film. Enjoy this classic!   posted Jul 15, 2011 at 12:22PM

Cover ArtA time for drunken horses [videorecording]
#40(Jul.13)(2000)(91)(84)(100) --- Read the Ebert review --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20001027/REVIEWS/10270309 --- before seeing the film. A searing slice of life.   posted Jul 13, 2011 at 6:17PM

Cover ArtRed white & blue [videorecording]
#36(Jul.12)(2010)(71)(86)(3/0) --- NYT CRITICS' PICK that Jeanette Catsoulis writes about at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/movies/08red.html?ref=movies --- Surely the most unsettling love story I've ever seen; a very tough film to watch. If you have any doubts whether this is a film for you, watch the "original festival trailer" first. Just saying...   posted Jul 12, 2011 at 6:31PM

Cover ArtAraya [videorecording]
#34(Jul.11)(1959)(93)(87)(71)(doc) --- Roger Ebert reviews the new MILESTONE theatrical release (HCL has purchased the DVD that followed) at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100113/REVIEWS/100119988 --- Be sure to view the documentary "Araya: The Film of Her Life" after seeing the film; the Pablo Neruda connection to Venezuelan director Margot Benacerraf is just one of many joys.   posted Jul 12, 2011 at 12:07PM

Cover ArtAmerican graffiti [videorecording]
#30(Jul.10)(1973)(79)(97)(4/0) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19730811/REVIEWS/301010301 --- The new audio commentary (for the FACEBOOK(?) generation) by director George Lucas is echoed by Roger Ebert's 1973 review. This classic film gets a true "Special Edition" treatment. The "making of" documentary (1 1/4 hour), while somewhat repetitive of the audio commentary, is well worth the time to view it. NYT CRITICS' PICK   posted Jul 10, 2011 at 1:17PM

Cover ArtLes gout des autres [videorecording] = The taste of others
#28(Jul.9)(2000)(80)(100)(100) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20010309/REVIEWS/103090304 --- I love French films with "fully rounded characters." Intelligence all around.   posted Jul 9, 2011 at 3:01PM

Cover ArtI clowns [videorecording] = The clowns
#20(Jul.7)(1970)(50)(66)(61) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19710707/REVIEWS/107070301/1023 --- Fellini is always of interest (IMHO); I would suggest viewing the 48 minute "Visual essay" (supplements) before seeing the film.   posted Jul 7, 2011 at 12:35PM

Cover ArtTrue blood. The complete third season [videorecording]
#16(Jul.5)(2010)(79-Metascore)(7.3-User Score) --- Heather Havrilesky (Salon.com) writes at --- http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/heather_havrilesky/2010/06/11/true_blood_season_three_depravity/index.html --- Talk about blood!   posted Jul 7, 2011 at 12:21PM

Cover ArtAngma rul poatta [videorecording] = I saw the devil
#135(Jun.30)(2010)(84)(81)(55) --- Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times) at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/movies/04i-saw-the-devil.html?ref=movies --- Warning! STRONG CONTENT.   posted Jun 30, 2011 at 10:33AM

Cover ArtShakespeare in love [videorecording]
#134(Jun.29)(1998)(76)(93)(92) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19981225/REVIEWS/812250306 --- Great commentary track by director John Madden. This is the "Miramax Award-Winning Collection" (1998) dvd in the catalogue, but it looks the same (with a shorter wait time) as the other (1998) selection (Miramax collector's series).   posted Jun 29, 2011 at 11:56AM

Cover ArtNo one knows about Persian cats [videorecording] =
#133(Jun.29)(2009)(77)(95)(100) --- Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) writes --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/no-one-knows-about-persian-cats-kasi-az-gorbehaye-irani-khabar-nadareh,1160338/critic-review.html --- Watch the trailer first; cuts down on any confusion.   posted Jun 29, 2011 at 11:44AM

Cover ArtHero [videorecording] = Ying xiong
#126(Jun.25)((2004)(85)(95)(100) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040826/REVIEWS/408260304 --- Oh, my! I'm not a martial arts fan, but this is no ordinary martial arts film.   posted Jun 25, 2011 at 12:27PM

Cover ArtGuy and Madeline on a park bench [videorecording]
#125(Jun.24)(2009)(65)(90)(100) --- Ian Buckwalter (NPR) at --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131006976 --- The commentary track is also worthwhile --- included 2-page Amy Taubin essay.   posted Jun 24, 2011 at 2:59PM

Cover ArtAnother year [videorecording]
#121(Jun.23)(2010)(75)(92)(93) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110112/REVIEWS/110119996 --- The actors put the "real" on film; typically great Mike Leigh.   posted Jun 24, 2011 at 2:53PM

Cover ArtWhite material [videorecording]
#111(Jun.18)(2009)(58)((87)(94) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101117/REVIEWS/101119965 --- 24 page booklet with essay - CRITERION COLLECTION   posted Jun 21, 2011 at 4:28PM

Cover ArtSanta sangre [DVD]
#102(Jun.11)(1989)(87)(83)(80) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030831/REVIEWS08/308310301/1023   posted Jun 13, 2011 at 3:58PM

Cover ArtThe last picture show [videorecording]
#25(Apr.23)(1971)(88)(100)(100) --- NYT CRITICS' PICK --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19710101/REVIEWS/101010317 --- Dynamite one hour supplement: "The Last Picture Show: A Look Back" --- Also the supplement "Picture This" has great reminiscences from the original townsfolk, many scenes of which were based on them --- CRITERION COLLECTION   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:15PM

Cover ArtSecretariat [videorecording]
#21(Apr.19)(2010)(77)(64)(73) --- One of my favorite Roger Ebert reviews at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101006/REVIEWS/101009986   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:13PM

Cover ArtThe West Wing. The complete first season, disc 4 [videorecording]
#19(Apr.18)(1999)(No score on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic (has 9.7 - User Score) --- A review by MaryAnn Johanson (Flick Filosopher) at --- http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2004/08/the_west_wing_the_complete_fir.html --- HCL had a 4 disc, 1(?) copy/disc of the 1st season. (Discs #1 & #3 have been lost and not replaced). Check out the fourth disc, which is exclusively supplements. I especially recommend the "special features" section (74'), which should convince you to order the 7 seasons through ILL (Inter Library Loan).   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:12PM

Cover ArtThe walking dead. The complete first season [videorecording]
#14(Apr.14)(2010)(AMC)(82-Metascore)(8.6-User Score) --- Nancy Dewolf Smith (Wall Street Journal) at --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304023804575566360678826220.html?mod=WSJ_ArtsEnt_LifestyleArtEnt_6   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:09PM

Cover ArtMad men. Season four [videorecording]
#13(Apr.13)(2010)(92-Metascore)(8.8-User Score) --- Tim Goodman (San Francisco Chronicle) at --- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/22/DDR51EI41H.DTL   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:08PM

Cover ArtFish tank [videorecording]
#12(Apr.11)(2009)(79)(89)(94) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100203/REVIEWS/100209991 --- Getting tired of my "go-to" critic? Here's Dana Steven's (Slate.com) take at --- http://www.slate.com/id/2241541/   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:06PM

Cover ArtVictim [videorecording]
#9(Apr.9)(1962)(81)(100)(1/0) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040523/REVIEWS08/405230303 --- CRITERION COLLECTION: part of an Eclipse series (Series 25, Basil Dearden's London underground) For a full review of the films in the series, read Glenn Heath Jr. (Slant Magazine) at --- http://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/review/eclipse-series-25-basil-deardens-london-underground/1930   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:05PM

Cover ArtFair game [videorecording]
#7(Apr.7)(2010)(65)(80)(75) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101103/REVIEWS/101109993 --- Less enthused is Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) at --- http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/05/entertainment/la-et-fair-game-20101105   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:03PM

Cover ArtBlack swan [videorecording]
#6(Apr.7)(2010)(86)(88)(87) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101201/REVIEWS/101209994 --- A contrasting view at the New Yorker by David Denby --- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/12/06/101206crci_cinema_denby?currentPage=1   posted Jun 8, 2011 at 7:02PM

Cover ArtL'ennemi public no 1 [videorecording]
1. Here is the current format (pg. 1) 2. Here is what I would like (pg.2). It now reflects my book (dvd) lists also.   posted May 24, 2011 at 4:14PM

Cover ArtJack goes boating [videorecording]
#147(Mar.12)(2010)(50)(66)(86) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100922/REVIEWS/100929992   posted May 24, 2011 at 1:32PM

Cover ArtNever let me go [videorecording]
#111(Feb.22)(2010)(70)(70)(69) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100922/REVIEWS/100929994 --- with the counter review of David Denby (THE NEW YORKER) at --- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/09/27/100927crci_cinema_denby   posted May 24, 2011 at 1:24PM

Cover ArtInception [videorecording]
#72(Feb.6)(2010)(93)(86)(79) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100714/REVIEWS/100719997 --- and, for the counter argument, David Denby (THE NEW YORKER) at --- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/07/26/100726crci_cinema_denby   posted May 24, 2011 at 1:05PM

Cover ArtEasy A [videorecording]
#64(Jan.31)(2010)(75)(85)(94) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100915/REVIEWS/100919992 --- Wonderful film references worked into script.   posted May 24, 2011 at 12:59PM

Cover ArtKings of pastry [videorecording]
#177(Mar.31)(2009)(DOC)(70)(91)(92) --- Mike Hale (NEW YORK TIMES) at --- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/movies/15kings.html   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:26PM

Cover ArtInside job [videorecording]
#175(Mar.30)(2010)(90)(98)(96) --- David Denby (THE NEW YORKER) at --- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/10/18/101018crci_cinema_denby   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:22PM

Cover ArtAmerica America [videorecording]
#172(Mar.28)(1963)(100)(--) --- Bosley Crowther (NEW YORK TIMES) and NYT Critics' Pick at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF173DE462BC4E52DFB4678388679EDE   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:19PM

Cover ArtAruitemo aruitemo [videorecording] = Still walking
#171(Mar.27)(2008)(88)(100)(100) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090826/REVIEWS/908299997   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:12PM

Cover Art127 hours [sound recording] : music from the motion picture
#168(Mar.26)(2010)(85((86)(91) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101110/REVIEWS/101119996 --- Great commentary track.   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:08PM

Cover ArtUnited States of Tara. The second season [videorecording]
#166(Mar.25)(2010)(79 - Metascore)(9.0 - User Score) --- Maureen Ryan (CHICAGO TRIBUNE) at --- http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2010/03/united-states-of-tara-toni-collette.html   posted May 23, 2011 at 8:05PM

Cover ArtLe refuge [videorecording] = Hideaway
#165(Mar.23)(2007)(56)(86)(100) --- Roger Ebert at --- DAVID DENBY (NEW YORKER) at --- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/09/13/100913crci_cinema_denby?currentPage=2   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:56PM

Cover ArtUnstoppable [videorecording]
#161(Mar.21)(2010)(73)(86)(91) - Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101110/REVIEWS/101119995   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:50PM

Cover ArtSkin [videorecording]
#160(Mar.21)(2008)(76)(85)(82) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091111/REVIEWS/911119999   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:48PM

Cover ArtBig love. The complete fourth season [videorecording]
#159(Mar.20)(70 - Metascore)(7.8 - User Score) --- Dorothy Rabinowitz (WALL STREET JOURNAL) at --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704130904574644243466648168.html   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:39PM

Cover ArtBig river man [videorecording]
#158(Mar.18)(2008)(78)(97)(4/0) Manohla Dargis (NEW YORK TIMES) at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/movies/04bigriver.html   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:34PM

Cover ArtLebanon [videorecording] = Levanon
#152(Mar.15)(2009)(72)(89)(100) --- J. Hoberman (VILLAGE VOICE) at --- http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-08-04/film/an-israeli-tank-rolls-north-fumbling-to-war-in-lebanon/2/   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:25PM

Cover ArtDogtooth [videorecording] = Kynodontas
#151(Mar.15)(2009)(73)(92)(93) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100707/REVIEWS/100709986   posted May 23, 2011 at 7:18PM

Cover ArtLast train home [videorecording] = Gui tu lie che
#150(Mar.14)(2009)(DOC)(86)(100)(100) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101013/REVIEWS/101019988 --- 6 page, single sheet included.   posted May 21, 2011 at 11:26AM

Cover ArtWhich way home [videorecording]
#145(Mar.12)(2009)(DOC)(88)(100)(4/0) --- Ronnie Scheib (VARIETY) at --- http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940237?refcatid=31   posted May 21, 2011 at 11:21AM

Cover ArtHell on wheels [videorecording]
#142(Mar.9)(2007)(DOC)(58)(3/0)(2/0) --- Mike Hale (NEW YORK TIMES) at --- http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/movies/19haleroundup.html?partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes&ei=5083   posted May 21, 2011 at 11:15AM

Cover ArtIn treatment. Season two, disc 1, week 1 [videorecording]
#137(Mar.6)(2009)(HBO series)(85 - Metascore)(8.9 - User score) --- Dorothy Rabinowitz (WALL STREET JOURNAL) at --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123870613377483923.html   posted May 21, 2011 at 11:08AM

Cover ArtThe town [DVD]
#135(Mar.4)(2010)(83)(94)(92) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100915/REVIEWS/100919991   posted May 21, 2011 at 10:49AM

Cover ArtCasino Jack and the United States of money [videorecording]
#133(Mar.3)(2010)(DOC)(80)(84)(75) --- Kenneth Turan (LOS ANGELES TIMES) at --- http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/07/entertainment/la-et-casinojack-20100507   posted May 21, 2011 at 10:41AM

Cover ArtLet me in [videorecording]
#126(Feb.28)(2010)(74)(90)(81) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100929/REVIEWS/100929983 --- Great director's commentary track and "deleted scenes." Included is 32 pg. booklet, a graphic prelude to the film, part 1 of 4.   posted May 21, 2011 at 10:33AM

Cover ArtNowhere boy [DVD]
#122(Feb.25)(2009)(72)(79)(79) --- Roger Ebert at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101013/REVIEWS/101019987 --- and a counterview by Colin Covert (STAR TRIBUNE) at --- http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/104958934.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue   posted May 19, 2011 at 4:07PM

Cover ArtCatfish [videorecording]
#75(Feb.7)(2010)(70)(81)(88) --- Tom Horgen (STAR TRIBUNE) at http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/104092418.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue   posted May 18, 2011 at 2:35PM

Cover ArtMetropolis [videorecording]
#71(1927)(94)(2/0)(--) --- Tom Stockman (Wearefilmgeeks.com) review at http://wearemoviegeeks.com/2010/07/review-the-complete-metropolis/   posted May 18, 2011 at 2:30PM

Cover ArtRed Riding [videorecording]
#68(Feb.3)(2009)(Red Riding:1974 - (76)(100)(2/0) --- Red Riding:1980 - (72)(90)(1/0) --- Red Riding:1983 - (76)(89)(1/0) --- Tom Long (DETROIT NEWS) reviews all three at http://www.detnews.com/article/20100318/OPINION03/3180309/1034/ent02/Review--Britain-s--Red-Riding--trilogy-seethes-with-murder--callous-corruption   posted May 18, 2011 at 2:21PM

Cover ArtMademoiselle Chambon [videorecording]
#67(Feb.1)(2009)(60)(78)(90) --- LOS ANGELES TIMES (Kenneth Turan) review at http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/23/entertainment/la-et-0723-mademoiselle-20100723   posted May 18, 2011 at 2:05PM

Cover ArtHandsome Harry [videorecording]
#58(Jan.29)(2009)(50)(81)(71) --- NEW YORK MAGAZINE (David Edelstein) has the positive review at http://nymag.com/daily/movies/2010/04/the_good_and_the_ugly_handsome.html --- The GLOBE and MAIL (Kate Taylor) is less positive at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/movies/handsome-harry-in-the-end-there-is-salvation/article1776536/   posted May 18, 2011 at 1:59PM

Cover ArtGasland [videorecording]
#57(Jan.29)(2010)(DOC)(86)(100)(3/0) --- VARIETY (Rob Nelson) review at http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-09-15/film/the-case-against-fracking-in-gasland/ --- Alternative energy - natural gas - "fracking" --- this doc makes a good case for the public to be worried.   posted May 18, 2011 at 1:52PM

Cover ArtPrayers for Bobby [videorecording]
#54(Jan.27)(2009)(87)(--)(--) --- IMDB user reviews at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1073510/usercomments --- A LIFETIME movie on this list? Watch it; you'll be suprised - and moved.   posted May 17, 2011 at 6:32PM

Cover ArtFantasia 2000 [DVD]
#45(Jan.23)(1940)(77)(98)(100) & (1999)(67)(83)(64) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19991231/REVIEWS/912310301/1023 --- Needless to say, Fantasia 2000 in IMAX is the way to go. It suffers from anything less. But the original Fantasia (both are included) - magnifique!   posted May 17, 2011 at 6:22PM

Cover ArtHearts of darkness [videorecording] : a filmmaker's apocalypse
#43(Jan.22)(1991)(90)(100)(100) --- Janet Maslin (NYT) with a Critics' Pick at http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D0CE0D91530F934A15752C1A967958260 --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19920117/REVIEWS/201170301 --- Has a Bonus extra "CODA : thirty years later" (62 min. documentary film) ; audio commentary by Francis and Eleanor Coppola.   posted May 17, 2011 at 6:10PM

Cover ArtThe secret in their eyes [videorecording]
#38(Jan.20)(2009)(92)(91)(93) --- David Denby (NEW YORKER) at http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2010/04/19/100419crci_cinema_denby --- Won 2009 Foreign Language Oscar.   posted May 17, 2011 at 5:53PM

Cover ArtMicmacs [videorecording]
#37(Jan.20)(2009)(74)(74)(72) --- Colin Covert (STAR TRIBUNE) takes the positive position at --- http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/96083264.html?page=all&prepage=2&c=y#continue --- and Roger Ebert takes a less positive position at --- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100602/REVIEWS/100609988   posted May 17, 2011 at 5:43PM

Cover ArtTwist of faith [videorecording]
#33(Jan.18)(DOC)(63)(100)(100) --- VARIETY review (Dennis Harvey) at http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117926129?refcatid=31   posted May 17, 2011 at 5:34PM

Cover ArtA prophet [videorecording]
#32(Jan.17)(2009)(87)(97)((97) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100303/REVIEWS/100309993   posted May 17, 2011 at 5:19PM

Cover ArtThe age of innocence [videorecording]
#26(Jan.14)(1993)(73)(81)(89) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19930917/REVIEWS/309170301   posted May 17, 2011 at 5:15PM

Cover ArtRestrepo [videorecording] : one platoon, one valley, one year
#25((Jan.13)(DOC)(2010)(87)(96)(92) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100630/REVIEWS/100639997 --- It was very sad and a shock to hear of his recent death (20April) while he was covering the front lines in Misrata, Libya. Film was up for last year's Oscar's.   posted May 16, 2011 at 6:11PM

Cover ArtMother and child [videorecording]
#22(Jan.11)(2009)(77)(79)(85) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100519/REVIEWS/100519964 --- Good supplements - "Universally Connected" and the final summing up by director Rodrigo Garcia, who also helmed "Nine Lives."   posted May 16, 2011 at 6:01PM

Cover ArtAmor, dolor y vice versa [videorecording] = Love, pain and vice versa
#21(Jan.11)(2008)(73)(--)(--) --- NYT comment plus a reader's review at http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453155/Love-Pain-Vice-Versa/overview --- I also found this film intensely involving (and I'm willing to overlook a big plot hole).   posted May 16, 2011 at 5:54PM

Cover ArtIo sono l'amore [videorecording] = I am love
#13(Jan6)(2010)(65)(80)(83) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100623/REVIEWS/100629992 --- Excellent commentary track.   posted May 16, 2011 at 5:38PM

Cover ArtToy story 3 [videorecording]
#5 (Jan2)(2010)(91)(99)(100) --- Roger Ebert at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100616/REVIEWS/100619990 --- Excellent commentary track. All 3 were top notch; local director connection a bonus.   posted May 16, 2011 at 5:26PM

Cover ArtKnife in the water [videorecording] = Noz w wodzie.
30 Jun 09 - Dir. Roman Polanski started his career with this knockout (47 years later, his current "Ghost Writer" continues a string of well-reviewed films). Bosley Crowther review (a NYT Critics' Pick) is at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9C01E5D8113DE63BBC4151DFB6678388679EDE ****   posted Feb 24, 2010 at 12:28PM

Cover ArtMan push cart [videorecording]
01 Jun 09 - Dir. Ramin Bahrami is now 3 for 3 in critically reviewed movies (followed this with 2007's "Chop Shop" and 2009's "Goodbye Solo). Find out why this was a NYT Critics' Pick in Stephen Holden's review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/movies/08cart.html?scp=2&sq=Man%20Push%20Cart&st=cse ****   posted Feb 24, 2010 at 12:18PM

Cover ArtLock, stock and two smoking barrels [videorecording]
01 Jun 09 - Much like his previous "Snatch" (2003), another fast-paced, no-redeeming-feature British gangster film from Dir. Guy Ritchie (most recent film: "Sherlock Holmes). Positive review from Roger Ebert at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19990312/REVIEWS/903120305/1023 **** Less so by the NYT's Janet Maslin (even though it is a NYT Critics' Pick) at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9407E3D8163FF936A35750C0A96F958260 ****   posted Feb 24, 2010 at 12:11PM

Cover ArtI.O.U.S.A. [videorecording] : one nation. Under stress. In debt
01 Jun 09 - Well, even with all of PBS' "Frontline" documentaries and Bill Moyer's weekly Friday night offerings, I can't get enough on the subject (an irreverent look at the national debt). NYT Critics' Pick and review by Jeannette Catsoulis at **** http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/movies/22ious.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=I.O.U.S.A.%20(2008)&st=cse ****   posted Feb 23, 2010 at 11:52AM

Cover ArtA life less ordinary [DVD]
01 Jun 09 - "Startling, unexpected violence" from Dir. Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting", "28 Days Later") with his muse Ewan McGregor (in the current Roman Polanski political thriller "Ghost Writer") and Cameron Diaz ("There's Something About Mary"). Review by NYT critic Janet Maslin at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=9D07E0DC103EF937A15753C1A961958260&scp=3&sq=A%20Life%20Less%20Ordinary%20(1997)&st=cse ****   posted Feb 23, 2010 at 11:39AM

Cover ArtStuck [videorecording]
20 May 09 - Strong performances from Stephen Rea ("The Crying Game") and Mena Suvari ("American Beauty"). On my "3 to See" list for months (before I took down all but this site), a "small, nasty triumph." Be warned! NYT critic Stephen Holden review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/movies/30stuc.html?scp=5&sq=Stuck%20(2007)&st=cse ****   posted Feb 23, 2010 at 11:08AM

Cover ArtQuai des orfevres [videorecording]
20 May 09 - A 60 year old French film noir movie with the bite of "Diabolique" and "Wages of Fear." Not familiar? Start here with French Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot. The L.A. Time's Kenneth Turan reviews at **** http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-kenny17jan17,0,2562848.story ****   posted Feb 23, 2010 at 10:56AM

Cover ArtThe lovers [videorecording] = Les amants
20 May 09 - This 1958 French film from Dir. Louis Malle, and which catapulted actress Jeanne Moreau to instant fame, was banned in several states before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on "obscenity." How times have changed! Review at **** http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/the-lovers/3561 ****   posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:54AM

Cover ArtTrouble in paradise [videorecording]
20 May 09 - Some old films, AND old reviews, are priceless. Read NYT critic Mordaunt Hall's 1932 depression-era review and see if you don't agree. **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990DE5DB1E31E333A2575AC0A9679D946394D6CF ****   posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:38AM

Cover ArtMadame de-- [videorecording]
20 May 09 - Andrew Sarris of the "New York Observer" calls it the greatest film of all-time. Haven't heard of it? Read his review at **** http://www.observer.com/node/36869 ****   posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:28AM

Cover ArtLe cercle rouge [videorecording] = Red circle
RT critics - 100% **** It took 30 years for this 1970 popular Jean-Pierre Melville French crime drama to make it to U.S. shores. Enjoy. A.O. Scott review at **** http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/10/movies/10CERC.html ****   posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:46AM

Cover ArtDirty money [videorecording] = Un flic
(1972) Director J-P Nelville. NYT review (2/5) by Janet Maslin at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9A07EFDD1438E732A25753C3A9679D946890D6CF **** B+ review by Dennis Schwartz at **** http://homepages.sover.net/~ozus/dirtymoney.htm ****   posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:37PM

Cover ArtWhat doesn't kill you [videorecording]
09 May 09 - Another great role for character actor Mark Ruffalo. Don't know him? Start here, in this South Boston crime drama. Don't care for the genre? Then try "You Can Count on Me" (2000). A NYT Critics' Pick and Manohla Dargis review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/movies/12kill.html?ref=movies ****   posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:06PM

Cover ArtThe wrestler [videorecording]
30 Apr 09 - Mickey Rourke has come a long way from Boogie in "Diner" (and IMHO is squandering his second chance like John Travolta has been doing since "Pulp Fiction.") Watch him lay everything on the line. NYT Critics' Pick and A.O. Smith review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/movies/17wres.html?ref=movies ****   posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:45PM

Cover ArtMaria full of grace [videorecording]
30 Apr 09 - A migration story with bite! David Denby of the New Yorker writes **** http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/07/26/040726crci_cinema ****   posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:23PM

Cover ArtThe last metro [videorecording] = Le dernier metro
11 Apr 09 - Some people routinely skip a dvd's commentary; I skipped it here the first time around, but am now going back because of film professor Annette Insdorf, who makes a second viewing seem as if I'm seeing a movie (one of Truffaut's best) for the first time. NYT's Critic's Pick List and strong Vincent Canby review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=EE05E7DF1730BA2CA1494CC0B7799C836896 ****   posted Feb 19, 2010 at 11:20AM

Cover ArtSlumdog millionaire [videorecording]
11 Apr 09 - Made before the Mumbai (Bombay) terrorism attack, it's a film that stays with you. The 'Star Tribune's Colin Colvert has a rave review at **** http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/34814629.html ****   posted Feb 19, 2010 at 10:59AM

Cover ArtTell no one [videorecording]
04 Apr 09 - An intense French thriller, reviewed by WSJ's Joel Morgenstern (rarely this praiseworthy) at **** http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121494896670420825.html?mod=2_1168_1 ****   posted Feb 19, 2010 at 10:46AM

Cover ArtThe state within [videorecording]
11 Oct 09 - A 6-hour BBC miniseries where "the 'British' focus on acting and dialogue make "The State Within" a tonic from loud, American-style thrillers." Reviewed at DVD Verdict **** http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/statewithin.php ****   posted Feb 18, 2010 at 12:12PM

Cover ArtValentino [videorecording] : the last emperor
03Oct09 - A "glitzy, dishy, and insightful documentary" of a fashion icon. Reviewed by Kenneth Turan of the L.A.Times at **** http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-valentino3-2009apr03,0,132398.story ****   posted Feb 18, 2010 at 11:26AM

Cover ArtNothing but the truth [videorecording]
30 Dec 09 - Vera Famiga ("Up in the Air")/Kate Beckinsale thriller about the First Amendment. Roger Ebert's take **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090429/REVIEWS/905019997/1001 ****   posted Dec 31, 2009 at 12:40AM

Cover ArtThe last days of disco [videorecording]
30 Dec 09 - New Criterion reissue with Chloe Sevigny. Roger Ebert at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19980529/REVIEWS/805290302/1023 ****   posted Dec 30, 2009 at 7:31PM

Cover ArtBeauty in trouble [videorecording] = Kraska v nesnazich
25 Dec 09 - Glad you spent two hours with "real people facing real problems." Review at **** http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/reviews/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003816492 ****   posted Dec 26, 2009 at 12:14AM

Cover ArtHumpday [videorecording]
22 Dec 09 - With Judd Apatow bromance and mating films all the rage, try this for an authentic take. Jan Stuart (Washington Post) **** http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/humpday,1156500.html ****   posted Dec 25, 2009 at 12:16PM

Cover ArtRepulsion [videorecording]
23 Dec 09 - Dir. Roman Polanski's English-language followup to "Knife in the Water." NYT's Critic's Pick review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=EE05E7DF1739E471BC4C53DFB667838E679EDE ****   posted Dec 25, 2009 at 10:54AM

Cover ArtItal'ianets [videorecording] = The Italian
25 Nov 09 - A sad, but ultimately uplifting story from the "new" Russia. NYT review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/movies/19ital.html ****   posted Dec 19, 2009 at 12:44AM

Cover ArtIn treatment. [Discs 4-6, The complete first season, weeks 4-6] [videorecording]
15 Aug 09 - It tends to place the viewer as a fly on the wall, watching fascinating "therapy."   posted Dec 19, 2009 at 12:20AM

Cover ArtIn treatment. [Discs 1-3, The complete first season, weeks 1-3]
16 Jul 09 - Gabriel Byrne in fine form in another addictive (for viewer) HBO series. Review at **** http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/37502/in-treatment/ ****   posted Dec 19, 2009 at 12:12AM

Cover ArtIl generale della rovere [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - Another great pic from Italian Dir. Robert Rossellini. NYT Crtic's Pick at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D02E7DA1431EF3ABC4A51DFB767838B679EDE ****   posted Dec 18, 2009 at 12:31PM

Cover ArtHunger [videorecording]
28 Nov 09 - 1981, the Maze, Bobby Sands, IRA: a searing indictment on Britain. Roger Ebert at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090415/REVIEWS/904159995 ****   posted Dec 18, 2009 at 12:26PM

Cover ArtHomicide [videorecording]
05 Oct 09 - David Mamet all the way. I fall somewhere inbetween Roger Ebert **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19911018/REVIEWS/110180301/1023 **** and NYT's Vincent Canby (who still considers it a NYT Critic's Pick) **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D0CEEDC1330F935A35753C1A967958260 ****   posted Dec 18, 2009 at 12:19PM

Cover ArtExtras [videorecording] : the complete first season
28 Nov 09 - Thank goodness for Ricky Gervais. Review at **** http://www.slantmagazine.com/tv/tv_review.asp?ID=21 ****   posted Dec 18, 2009 at 11:50AM

Cover ArtThe dead girl [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - For some time, on my "Best 3" list for movies recently seen. NYT review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/12/29/movies/29dead.html ****   posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:05AM

Cover ArtCyclo [videorecording]
16 Jul 09 - Came to this after watching Dir. Le Van Loc's first film "The Scent of Green Papayas." Review at **** http://homepages.sover.net/~ozus/cyclo.htm ****   posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:50AM

Cover ArtChe. Part two, guerrilla [videorecording] = Partie deux, guerilla
12 Sep 06 - A.O. Scott of the NYT has an interesting take **** http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/movies/12che.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Che.%20Part%20two,%20guerrilla&st=cse ****   posted Dec 11, 2009 at 7:35AM

Cover ArtChe. Part one, the Argentine [videorecording] = Partie un, l'Argentin
11 Sep 09 - Having seen some docs on Cuba, Fidel and Che, and "Motorcycle Diaries" and bicycled to Bolivia and beyond to Argentina, I may be more interested in this than the average viewer. Review **** http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17866 ****   posted Dec 11, 2009 at 7:28AM

Cover ArtCarmen & Geoffrey [videorecording] : the extraordinary lives of dancers Carmen d
15 Aug 09 - Great doc on ballet force Holden, whose marriage is as great as their ballet partnership. Stephen Holden of the NYT **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/movies/13carm.html? ****   posted Dec 9, 2009 at 11:39PM

Cover ArtThe cake eaters [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - Another great performance from "Twilight's" Kristen Stewart, totally different from "Adventureland." Roger Ebert's review **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090311/REVIEWS/903119990/1023 ****   posted Dec 9, 2009 at 11:33PM

Cover ArtBrotherhood. The final season [videorecording]
28 Oct 09 - If you liked "The Wire"'s city hall corruption episodes, you'll realize you got 3 great seasons of the same with this series. Review **** http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/38921/brotherhood-the-final-season/ ****   posted Dec 9, 2009 at 11:19PM

Cover ArtBrotherhood. The complete second season [videorecording]
30 Apr 09 - Showtime's answer to "The Sopranos" (start with Season one first. Review **** http://upcomingdiscs.com/2008/10/17/brotherhood-the-complete-second-season/ ****   posted Dec 9, 2009 at 11:09PM

Cover ArtBrazil [videorecording]
17 Oct 09 - It's been one of my favorites, but the 3 disc set fully reveals all the controversy in getting it made, and what could be shown - amazing! Dir. Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python fame, shows us Orwell in technicolor. An early review by NYT critic Janet Maslin **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990CE5DC153BF93BA25751C1A963948260 ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 7:17PM

Cover ArtBorn into brothels [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - I came at this, having seen Dir. Mira Nair's "Salaam Bombay!"(1984), hoping it would have an impact - and it does, though not what I thought it would be. A.O Rhillips of the NYT **** http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/08/movies/08born.html?ex=1134190800&en=096c5f5f377ee029&ei=5083 ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 7:00PM

Cover ArtBefore the rain [videorecording]
1 Jun 09 - On my "Last 3 Favorites" list until I took all the sites down in August. Roger Ebert's review makes us all more observant **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950310/REVIEWS/503100301/1023 ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 6:37PM

Cover ArtBarton Fink [videorecording]
30 Oct 09 - John Tuturro, Judy Davis, John Goodman...you can't go wrong. Another NYT Critic's pick of Vincent Canby **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D0CE1DA1F3EF932A1575BC0A967958260 ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 6:32PM

Cover ArtBlood simple [videorecording]
18 Oct 09 - With the Coens' recent release of "A Serious Man" and the Walker retrospective, plus Charlie Rose's interview, I'm seeing them all again. Luckily, I got in early, because many have only a single copy. Just saw "The Big Lebowski" the other night, mainly for the commentaries on the new, 2 disc set. But my introduction to them was in 1984 with "Blood Simple" and I think it's still my favorite. See Roger Ebert's take **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19850301/REVIEWS/503010302/1023 ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 6:24PM

Cover ArtBallast [videorecording]
30 Nov 09 - Just saw this last week; a small film made on a micro budget with a big impact. Michael Phillips, half of the current "At the Movies" TV commentary and a former Twin Cities resident, has a fine review at **** http://chicago.metromix.com/movies/movie_review/movie-review-ballast/727477/content ****   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 1:15PM

Cover ArtAnvil! [videorecording] : the story of Anvil.
16 Nov 09 - a doc about a Canadian heavy metal band. I'm more a Judy Collins, Peter, Paul and Mary, Gordon Lightfoot concert goer (that certainly dates me!), but as an intro to another world, this film never wavers. Read NYT's A.O. Scott's review **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/movies/10anvi.html?ref=movies **** if you're certain this could never appeal to you.   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 12:46PM

Cover ArtAmores perros [videorecording] = Love's a bitch
09 May 09 - When I was posting my reviews earlier this, this film was on my top 3 list for a long time. It was NYT's Elvis Mitchell's review **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B03E1DA1E3DF936A35753C1A9669C8B63 **** that convinced to see it.   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 12:37PM

Cover ArtAdventureland [videorecording]
19 Sep 09 - Dir. Greg Mottola's coming-of-age comedy with "Twilight's" Kristen Stewart in her best role to date (IMHO). Check out LA Times Kenneth Turand's review **** http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/03/entertainment/et-adventureland3 **** if you think this type of comedy is just not for you.   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 12:28PM

Cover Art21 grams [videorecording]
30 Apr 09 - Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu ("Amores Perros") gets great performances out of Naomui Watts, Sean Penn & Benicio Del Toro. Check out NYT's Elvis Mitchell's review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9B02EEDB153EF93BA25753C1A9659C8B63 **** if you're on the fence.   posted Dec 8, 2009 at 12:08PM

Cover ArtCyclo [videorecording]
(1995) 72% (N/A) (14) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990CE3DA1330F931A25753C1A963958260 PAID * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A haunting tale set in a turbulent, decaying Ho Chi Minh City, chronicling the exploits of a teenage "cyclo" (rickshaw driver) and his vulnerable sister. Trying to eke out a meager living in order to support his family (two sisters and an elderly grandfather), the cyclo immerses himself in a violent gang, and begins committing petty crimes. After entering this seedy underworld the young man discovers that his sister already belongs to it, selling her body to sexual deviants. As a result, each sibling's innocence is shattered, representing the moral and physical collapse of the city they reside in." CONSENSUS: "This powerful film offers westerners a dosage of what life is like in a Third World country, a country most Americans only envision in a depersonalized way." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: This film came up in reviews comparing it to Vittorio DeSica's classic "The Bicycle Thief" while the director Tran Anh Hung, born in Vietnam but raised in France, compared it to Martin Scorcese's "Taxi Driver." If that weren't enough to give it a look, it contains my favorite mode of transportation: the bicycle. MY THOUGHTS: A visual feast, with heaping measures of symbolism, poetry, sudden violence (accompanied by little dialogue) and countless details in each frame. Even when I didn't understand a character's motivations, it was great fun going on the journey. Unforgettable images of poverty and scraping by (more powerful, IMHO, than "Slumdog Millionaire" [11 Apr 09], "City of God" [17 Jun 09], and "Born into Brothels" [21 Apr 09]), this film, with such a strong, visual style, will stay with me for some time. His Oscar-nominated "The Scent of Green Papaya" (1993) is now on my to-see-soon list.   posted Jul 30, 2009 at 7:22AM

Cover ArtCaramel [videorecording] = Sukkar banat
(2007) 92% (92%) (74) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/movies/01cara.html* * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "'Caramel' is a romantic, ensemble comedy set in and around a Beirut beauty salon and the daily lives of five Lebanese women who meet there, all with their own quirks and comedic problems they must deal with, centering more on the relationships and bonds between the women than on romance." CONSENSUS: "'Caramel' is both an astute cultural study, and a charming comedic drama from a talented newcomer. You are likely to remember this charming film, directed by Nadine Labaki, less for its gently comic, mildly melodramatic plot than for its friendly and inviting atmosphere." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Colin Colvert of the Startribune had given this a good review, and as I had enjoyed other recent Middle Eastern movies he had reviewed ("The Band's Visit" (2007) and "Waltz with Bashir" [30 Jun 09]), this looked to be an easy selection. MY THOUGHTS: Women from different cultures have many of the same aspirations, however they go about it. Western images are all over the Middle East, and the title shows one technique, using warm caramel as a dipilatory, to achieve beauty - but not without pain. The Lebanese actors (almost all are amateurs) do a fine job of showing common traits of women world-wide, but at the same time weighed down by family, culture, and religion. Much better than the "Barbershop-type" Hollywood chick-flicks, as each character gets her story told in depth. Recommended for a view into a culture in the news.   posted Jul 29, 2009 at 6:52AM

Cover ArtBlast of silence [videorecording]
(1961) 89% (N/A) (9) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9404E7DE1F3DE733A25753C3A9649D946091D6CF&partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Allen Baron's chilly 1961 noir "Blast of Silence" follows hitman Frank Bruno (played by Baron, who also wrote and directed) as he returns to New York City during Christmastime. Ostensibly in the city to perform a hit, the coldhearted Bruno finds himself unable to focus, instead choosing to lose himself in the winter festivities. He has to work himself up to the deed, and the film follows him as he meets his former sweetheart, who tosses him aside, strangles the man who supplies him with the murder weapon, kills the racketeer, and eventually gets double-crossed by the hoodlums who hired him." CONSENSUS: "There's lots to recommend this shoestring picture, which remains one of the better New York low-budget films." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: This film was on my long list to see, and I finally got to it. MY THOUGHTS: The film is fine, but it's New York City of the early '60's that makes an indelible character, especially (in the supplements) as director Baron roams around 1990 N.Y.C., revisiting film locations in a great German doc, which is itself updated to 2006. Great anecdotes - falling into Jamaica Bay leads to steak and picture financing; ironically pointing out the N.Y.C. skyline from the Staten Island Ferry, saying how it has changed so much from the 1961 film, little realizing that the Twin Towers in the background would suffer much greater change eleven years later; being rousted by the N.Y.C. police, who thought he was doing covert surveillance of them!; and on and on. The N.Y.C. night street scenes reminded me of French New-Wave Paris; Baron clears up any confusion about copying Louis Malle or Jean-Luc Godard, because they all had a similar problem: lack of money. But the biggest jolt was the swaztica scene, something a German schoolgirl, not critics, caught 30 years later at a showing in the Munich film festival. So what I'm saying is: nice film, but great commentary and information from the supplements. (Criterion Collection)   posted Jul 27, 2009 at 10:57PM

Cover ArtResolved [videorecording]
(2007) N/A (N/A) (0) PAID http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117933980.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=resolved * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The opening minutes of "Resolved" aim to erase any preconceptions the audience may hold about the nature of high school debate, and the kids who participate in it. More cerebral than docs it superficially resembles, like "Spellbound," director Greg Whiteley is searching for bigger game and greater meaning than one usually finds in American docs about oddball subcultures. Pic cleverly explains (aided by some ingenious stop-motion animation) the odd stylistic changes that overtook debating in the 1970s, shifting from normal vocal delivery to a high-speed chatter, a la auctioneers, dubbed "the Flow," intended to pack as much information as possible within a time allotment. While "the Flow" has long been an accepted norm, Louis and Richard (Long Beach inner city kids) intend to propose that this form is inherently exclusionary and racist, since it is predicated on a team's ability to spend huge chunks of time (meaning money) on research and prioritizes formal delivery over meaningful content. What's most impressive about this tactic is that it's based, under the guidance of their heroic coach Dave Wiltz, on the literature of Brazilian educator and writer Paolo Friere ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed"), which argues for teaching methods that stress real-world problems over rote memorization. "Resolved" reaches a peak of intellectual excitement when these two kids from the inner city blow away their more privileged competition with their Friere-inspired approach." CONSENSUS: "Full of details that will both shock and induce nostalgia among former debaters, and refreshing in its presentation of American teens as intelligent young adults, pic reveals a fascinating rift inside the debate world that could portend a coming revolution." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I was never on a debate team, so I thought I would see what goes on. MY THOUGHTS: And I thought this might be dull and boring. How wrong I was! 60 years ago, a clock was introduced to high school debate. 30 years ago this led to "the Flow," or how many arguments can one side voice within a time limit. Normal people (you and me) find this incomprehensible. And yet, here is a totally memorable film about that. Who would have thought? [New purchase by HCL] Supplements: interview with director, coaches and debater Louis Blackwell; two behind-the-scenes featurettes; trailer.   posted Jul 27, 2009 at 10:54PM

Cover ArtMan walking on snow [videorecording] = Aruku-hito
(2001) N/A (N/A) (1) http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/reviews/Man-Walking-on-Snow * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "An old, former sake producer, Nobuo, lives in a frosty backwater of northern Japan. Since his wife died, his relationship with both of his sons(Ryoichi, who has struggled unsuccessfully in the city to make a career as a musician, and the younger Yasu, who watches over his ailing father, much to the consternation of his girlfriend Keiko who wants to move to a city with better prospects) has become so needy that their women are getting annoyed. Everybody needs to grow and move on, but they won't budge from their entrenched behaviors. Meanwhile, the father takes long walks along the town's windswept, snowy streets (one of Nobuo's few pleasures in life is visiting a salmon breeding pond, where he likes to talk with Michiko, an attractive young woman whom Nobuo likes to imagine is infatuated with him), worrying his sons, who don't know where he goes. Nobuo tries to bring his two sons together for a family reunion, but both siblings have more than their share of bitterness over the hard life has dealt them, and before the evening is over everyone reveals their secrets." CONSENSUS: "Masahiro Kobayashi's film, set in Hokkaido, Japan, shows that people are the same all over. Ken Ogata is excellent as the old man, who has more life in him than the youngsters want to believe. It's a simple story that's easy to relate to, with a life-affirming subtext and haikus between the scenes." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I've enjoyed most of the Asian films picked by HCL for their new Dvds, and this was no exception. Many Japanese directors first exposure to film after WWII was French (why would they enjoy films by their conquerors?), and the sensibilties of Truffaut and Godard, among others, often show through. MY THOUGHTS: As a native Minnesotan, I can relate to the incessant snow. Every outdoor scene emphasizes isolation. But even though the viewer is placed in a foreign environment, the problems encountered are, if not familiar, at least understandable - dependent son and needy father, stuck with each other, hurling insults back and forth; one brother stuck with a parent and providing for his needs, while resenting an older brother who has made the break from home and found "freedom"; father mourning the death of his wife. A nice little film that takes one to a foreign land for one hundred minutes. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 25, 2009 at 2:29PM

Cover ArtAli, fear eats the soul [DVD] = Angst essen Seele auf
(1974) 100% (N/A) (14) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E00E5D81E3AEF34BC4F53DFB667838F669EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "60-year-old German charwoman Emmi (Brigitte Mira) goes into a Munich bar frequented by Arab immigrants and dances with a 40-year-old Moroccan named Ali (El Hedi Ben Salem). Ali walks her home and spends the night at her apartment, then moves in with her, much to the chagrin of her neighbors and grown children. Emmi is shunned by her fellow cleaning-women and quarrels with her grocer (Walter Sedlmayr) after he refuses to serve Ali. Ali and Emmi decide to take a vacation, and when they return, suddenly everyone is nice to them. The problem: the lovers themselves begin to have their own reservations about the relationship." CONSENSUS: "'Ali, fear eats the soul' is one of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's finest films, a mordant satire that's also a touching romance and a powerful indictment of prejudice. Like all of his best films, it possesses a kind of cosmic balance. No one character or belief rises above another without the other shoe dropping." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I kept seeing Fassbinder's name in reviews, so I'm going to try one of his most critically acclaimed works (it won the International Critics' Prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival). Supposedly his career was influenced by Hollywood, ironic because German new-wave directors were contemptuous of Hollywood, which they felt provided manipulative and corrupt films. MY THOUGHTS: On the supplements, director Todd Haynes narrates how Fassbinder had a revelation by watching Hollywood director Douglas Sirk's classic social prejudice film "All That Heaven Allows" (1955), where Jane Wyman starred as an older woman who falls in love with her young gardener (Rock Hudson). Fassbinder expanded on it to include race as well (postwar West Germany needed cheap labor for the low wage economy while German industry rose from the ashes of WWII, but the native populace resented (and still does) the dark-skinned Middle Eastern and North African foreign worker solution). But the film is more than anti-racism - Emmi and Ali's suffering is what all people go through. See this groundbreaking film, with its bittersweet ending (now I'm on to Hayne's "Far From Heaven" (2002), which was directly influenced by Fassbinder - I love the straight-line connection). (Criterion Collection)   posted Jul 25, 2009 at 1:38PM

Cover ArtFidel! [videorecording]
(1969) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s2809fide.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A personal portrait of a political phenomenon and a view of the developments since the revolution a mere ten years before, "Fidel!" gives a rare glimpse into the everyday life of the Cuban people and their leader. Rather than simply focusing on the landmark moments in the political life of an indelible historical figure, "Fidel!" takes a sprawling look at the everyday life of the Cuban people and their president." CONSENSUS: "Filmed ten years after the Cuban Revolution, Landau’s landmark documentary is still as interesting, powerful, and relevant in our contemporary world as it was then. Following Fidel Castro, exploring his politics, person and philosophies, this film is for those with an interest in getting a glimpse at what made and perhaps makes the larger than life historical figure tick." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: My view of the world is unavoidably filtered by the U.S. media. I know that my eyes were opened to the American (governmental and military) influence in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Colombia and other Central and South American countries as I made my way pole to pole via bicycle from 1979-81. I met many fellow travelers who had been to Cuba, and thought this might fill in a few holes in my knowledge base. MY THOUGHTS: Make certain you watch the supplements for the director's motivations. It helps to know how he came to film this documentary, and judge what is presented (and more important, what isn't). I liked the travelogue nature of this doc, quite unusual in my experience. Also, the director, speaking in 2007 prior to Castro's illness and relinquishing power to his brother Raul, makes the point that we need to normalize our relations with Castro himself, because after he departs the scene, dealing with committees (Castro, the micromanager, could answer for everything himself) will present unnecessary roadblocks to normalization. It might be too late for the Obama administration; timing is everything. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 22, 2009 at 1:55PM

Cover ArtAdaptation [DVD]
(2002) 91% (85%) (193) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9903EEDC123BF935A35751C1A9649C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Blends fictional characters and situations with the lives of real people: obsessive orchid hunter John Laroche (Chris Cooper), "New Yorker" journalist Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), Hollywood screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) and his twin brother Donald. As Charlie struggles to adapt a best-selling book, he writes himself into the movie plot" CONSENSUS: "Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered "Adaptation", a movie about creative insecurity, misbegotten love and the traps of identity, is both funny and thought-provoking...without a doubt the edgiest movie of the year, and the less you know about it the better." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I had seen this film on the boob tube some time ago, and wanted to revisit it again. I had found the film fascinating, but confusing. MY THOUGHTS: When I started looking for a director's commentary on the disc, I realized I hadn't done my homework; there WAS no director's commentary, and while I knew that the complete MARC display wouldn't appear in the HCL catalogue until weeks after reserving this film - trying to fully understand this complex, fanciful, hilarious film about writer's block, obsession, the real and the dreamlike and their convergence without more explanation was what had led to my initial confusion - I should have checked other sources. Almost all reissues have new supplements. Except this wasn't a reissue. It was the original, a film IMHO almost demanding explanation. What a let down. Wait for that Dvd version if you've seen this film before, and always wanted less confusion; or watch and enjoy this film if you've not seen it yet. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 22, 2009 at 1:26PM

Cover ArtPhoebe in wonderland [videorecording]
56% (54%) (46) http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/movies/06phoe.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This is at once a tale of Phoebe (Elle Fanning), an imaginative but troubled girl with a desperate longing to be in her school's production of Alice in Wonderland. When she is cast in the lead role, her parents believe her unusual behavior is due to her creativity, but soon realize that she is on the brink of falling through the looking glass herself. It is also a portrait of her mother (Felicity Huffman), a woman caught between trying to raise a child and striving for success in an academic career, while feeling a failure in both. It also includes an unusually gifted, but peculiar, educator—a drama teacher (Patricia Clarkson), who is directing the school production of Alice in Wonderland, which Phoebe longs to be part of. As talented and exceptional as Phoebe appears to be, she is also increasingly far away, retreating into fantasy, and frustrating her parents and teachers." CONSENSUS: "Blessed with a good cast, "Phoebe"'s heart is in the right place, but its execution is dicey." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Patricia Clarkson is starring (last seen in "Married Life" - 30 Jun 09), as well as Felicity ("Desperate Housewives") Huffman, who I first enjoyed in TV's underrated "Sportsnight" (1998). MY THOUGHTS: The strongest performance by far is Huffman's. Most of the plot is telegraphed and slow paced, with dialogue that seems obvious, clunky. Watchable, but seems more like a "movie of the week." [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 22, 2009 at 7:09AM

Cover ArtBergman Island [videorecording] : Ingmar Bergman on Faro Island,cinema and life
(2006) 88% (83%) (8) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/movies/06isla.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This documentary visits Ingmar Bergman, one of the 20th century's greatest film directors, in his home on Sweden's Fårö Island, where he ruminates on his own masterpieces, as well as the influences that have had such lasting importance for him. A candid interview with the reclusive director, as he discusses his fears, regrets, films, and passion for his work." CONSENSUS: "Compelling viewing for any fan of Swedish master Ingmar Bergman. An extraordinarily revealing documentary portrait of the Swedish director at his home on the desolate Baltic Island of Faro." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Previously I'd seen the Dick Cavett interview of Bergman on TCM, which recently got a repeat airing along with a showing of five of his films (two of which, "Hour of the Wolf" (1968) and "The Passion of Anna" (1969), I'd not seen previously), and this doc should make my understanding of Bergman more complete. MY THOUGHTS: You don't have to be a Bergman fan to enjoy this doc. I think it would make a great introduction to those who haven't seen any of his films. He didn't sign things with a cartoon devil without having a good reason. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 21, 2009 at 11:59AM

Cover ArtPopiol i diament [videorecording] = Ashes and diamonds
(1958) 89% (N/A) (9) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D02E0D6153CEE3ABC4850DFB366838A679EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Andrzej Wajda's adaptation of Jerzy Andrzejewski classic novel comprises the third part of the director's World War II trilogy. Set in the immediate postwar era of 1945, the film stars Zbigniew Cybulski as Maciek Chelmicki, a gunman for the Polish underground. When he and another operative, Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski), ambush a jeep in which the new Communist party secretary, Szczuka (Waclaw Zastrzezynski), is supposed to be arriving, they find that he was never in the jeep. Maciek's superiors in the underground order him to make another attempt on Szczuka's life, and both Maciek and his target end up checking into the same hotel. While waiting to take down his quarry, Maciek has a fling with a barmaid, Krystyna (Ewa Krzyzanowska), that makes him question his commitment to the cloak-and-dagger life of the underground. A party celebrating the liberation goes on in the ground floor convention room, ironic for Maciek, who knows that a new war is just beginning. At daybreak, he leaves the barmaid and goes to execute his orders. Widely regarded as the best of Wajda's early films, the powerful antiwar statement features extraordinary work by the short-lived Cybulski, often described as the Polish James Dean." CONSENSUS: "This taut political thriller is a fine example of one of the first Polish New Wave films. Beautifully filmed and percolating with the futility of violence, "Ashes and Diamonds" is a treasure of Polish cinema from a master filmmaker." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Before watching Roman Polanski's "Knife in the Water" (30 Jun 09), reviews of that film had mentioned the other great Polish director, Andrzej Wajda. When this appeared on the new Dvd list, I knew it would be a good one. MY THOUGHTS: A memorable last day of the war (Germany has just surrendered to the Allied forces) is filled with stark b&w images, some symbolic and haunting. Poland is liberated, only to fall into the Soviet camp. This is foreshadowed discretely, because the film was being made under these same Communist oppressors. I recommend this early, and now classic, film. [New purchase by HCL] (Criterion Collection) (Essential Art House series)   posted Jul 21, 2009 at 11:45AM

Cover ArtIn treatment. [Discs 1-3, The complete first season, weeks 1-3]
(2008) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/37502/in-treatment/ PAID * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This unconventional TV series follows a therapist, Paul (Gabriel Byrne), whose patients are steadily becoming more than he can handle. Each have their dark secrets, hidden traumas, and violent battles raging within. Among them are Laura (Melissa George), who has fallen in love with Paul; Alex (Blair Underwood), an Iraq veteran reexamining his life; Sophie (Mia Wasikowska), a suicidal teenager; and Jake and Amy (Josh Charles and Embeth Davidtz), a picture-perfect couple whose relationship is in jeopardy. This first season finds Paul returning to therapy himself, with an old colleague, Gina (Dianne Wiest), helping him come to terms with his mounting professional dilemmas. Like a series of one-act plays, most of the show's dialogue-heavy episodes take place within the confines of Paul's office. During its original broadcast schedule, each patient "was seen" on a different night, five nights a week, offering viewer's a unique experience for following their development. This collection presents the drama's complete first season." (Actually, the 3 discs here contain the first 15 episodes; the next 28 episodes require 2 more requests - for Discs 4-6, and finally, for Discs 7-9) CONSENSUS: "Another in a long line of brilliant HBO productions." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Neal Justin of the Startribune had given it, like many of the HBO series, a glowing review. My only hesitation was the time commitment (43 half hour episodes). MY THOUGHTS: I'm hooked (gulp), so it looks like more time commitment for the future. The sturdy anchor, therapist Gabriel Byrne - with a fractured marriage, a malpractice suit, questions of an ethical breach involving a patient - engages the viewer completely. Each case makes one want to follow it to its conclusion. A must see if you have the time. (I hear that season two is even better). [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 20, 2009 at 7:38AM

Cover ArtBefore the rain [videorecording] : (a tale in three parts)
#3 (1994) 85% (N/A) (13) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990CEFDF173BF937A15751C0A963958260&scp=4&sq=Before%20the%20Rain&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The lives of an orthodox Christian monk, a British photo agent, and a native Macedonian war photographer cross to paint a portrait of ethnic and religious hatred. "Before the Rain" is a tale set between modern London and the timeless hills of Macedonia, in former Yugoslavia. Through a parable of intertwined lives, it attempts to answer the tragic riddle of why the Balkan states are perpetually at war. Divided into three sections, the connection between seemingly disparate events and people only becomes clear at the film's end. In "Words," a pure and innocent Macedonian monk breaks his vows in order to hide an Albanian girl accused of murder. "Faces" dramatizes an Englishwoman's struggle to choose between her husband and her lover, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer who is about to return to his native Macedonia. And "Pictures," the final segment, follows the photographer as he tries to comprehend the violence and bloodshed that have so transformed his nation's landscape and turned one-time friends into bitter enemies." CONSENSUS: "Dealing with the Balkan wars, this is an ambitious and compassionate art film that contrasts the calm beauty of the Macedonian landscape with the harrowing violence that erupts within its borders." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: When everything changed forever after Yugoslavia's Tito died and the Sarajevo Olympics became a distant memory, I became fascinated with that part of the world (sort of like how one can't stop from looking as they pass the scene of an accident or fire). This film should provide interesting context.   posted Jul 16, 2009 at 11:16AM

Cover ArtWaltz with Bashir [videorecording]
#2 (2008) 97% (96%) (118) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/movies/26bash.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This is an antiwar meditation that is equal parts personal memoir, history lesson, and animated fever dream. Director Ari Folman was a soldier during Israel's first invasion of Lebanon in 1982. This was a painful moment in history, when the newly elected president of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in an explosion. Furious, his party, the Christian Phalangists, retaliated by storming into the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and slaughtering thousands of innocent victims. Over 20 years later, Folman is disturbed to realize that he has no memory of this incident even though he was there at the time. In order to remember, he tracks down several of his friends and soldiers who were there with him to find out what really happened. "Waltz with Bashir" is difficult to categorize: it is a combination of animation and documentary and history and fiction. It is all of those things at once, and it is also much more than that. As "Waltz with Bashir" unfolds in dreamlike waves, Folman understands that guilt is a dangerous thing, and war is even worse." CONSENSUS: "“Waltz With Bashir” is a memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film. A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, "Waltz with Bashir" delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Why do we keep getting the Middle East wrong? What really happens over there? This is one incident I had heard about, and the NYT review clinches it as a film to see. MY THOUGHTS: What a film achievement! It's a graphic novel come alive, a cogent, first-person analysis of the impact of war, PTSD, the amorphous nature of memory. My memory of this film, however, is concrete: how animation has taken on a difficult subject better than live action could. See it. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 16, 2009 at 11:15AM

Cover ArtThe hidden fortress [videorecording]
(1958) 100% (N/A) (22) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D02EFDE1531EF3BBC4C51DFB7668389679EDE&partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The story of an exiled princess, a masterful warrior, and two bungling misfits in search of gold. During a civil war in 16th-century feudal Japan, two cowardly farmers stumble upon Makabe (Toshirô Mifune), a fierce army general. Escaping from hostile territory, General Makabe has embarked on a mission to rescue both the willfull princess of his ruling house, and the royal fortune. In the selfish hopes of finding the gold, the two misfits accompany the hardened soldier through dangerous mountain passes. CONSENSUS: "No Star Wars fan should miss this suspiciously familiar samurai epic." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Ever since being introduced to director Akiro Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (1954) and "Rashomon" (1950) on TCM, and tracking down "Dersu Usula" (1975) as an ILL (30 Apr 09), more often than not I'm astonished by his mastery. Also, Mifune is necessary for any samurai epic. MY THOUGHTS: Definitely a surprise - Kurosawa meets Hollywood, with doses of the epic (large battle scenes) combined with slapstick humor (a seven minute duel with spears, shortly followed by gunfire (machine gun?). Rarely a dull moment. Also, many reviews were along the lines of "...by introducing comedy into the mixture and telling the tale from an atypical perspective, Kurosawa has differentiated "The Hidden Fortress" from nearly every similar feudal era Japanese epic ever commited to the screen..." and "...George Lucas gives this Kurosawa classic its props as one of his inspirations for "Star Wars." [New Purchase by HCL] (Essential Art House Series) (Criterion Collection)   posted Jul 16, 2009 at 6:08AM

Cover ArtKirschbluten, Hanami [videorecording] = Cherry blossoms, Hanami
(2008) 84% (85%) (50) http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/movies/16cher.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Doris Dörrie ("How to Cook Your Life") directs this drama about an older married couple in love. Only Trudi knows that her husband Rudi is suffering from a terminal illness. She decides not to tell him and convinces him to visit their family in Berlin. Then, suddenly, Trudi dies. Rudi is devastated but vows to make up for her lost life. And so he embarks on his last journey -- to Tokyo -- in the midst of the cherry blossom festival, a celebration of beauty, impermanence, and new beginnings." CONSENSUS: "This mature and eloquent meditation on grief and loss sports measured performances and moments of humor." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Currently I'm enjoying an introduction to modern Japanese film that isn't "samurai" (e.g., "Flight of the Red Balloon" (11 Apr 09), viewing films that have a very different sensibility from homegrown product. This came up as a new Dvd, so I'm requesting it. MY THOUGHTS: A German director is trying to make a film with Japanese sensibilities, but it doesn't feel Japanese. Too many things are shown and then stated to be shown, rather than just shown. However, the "cabbage roll" scene knocked me over. This is a meditation on how to grow old - and how to go to foreign lands and see things with new eyes. Some scenes seemed forced, and 123 minutes was too long to spend, I thought.[New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 15, 2009 at 6:24AM

Cover ArtHigh hopes [videorecording]
(1989) 100% (N/A) (6) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=940DE4D91331F937A1575AC0A96E948260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Cyril and Shirley are a young, working-class couple who, in their struggle to make ends meet, have become absorbed in socialism. Cyril's sister Valerie and her husband aspire to a more privileged class. The only glue holding the siblings together is their withdrawn and wistful old mother. Director Mike Leigh uses improvisation to weave social left-wing commentary into wistful comedy." CONSENSUS: "Director Mike Leigh sees his characters and their lifestyles so vividly, so mercilessly and with such a sharp satirical edge, that the movie achieves a neat trick: We start by laughing at the others, and end by feeling uncomfortable about ourselves...comes across as a social satire and as a rumpled portrait of some endearing oddballs." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: When new Dvds first appear on Bookspace, and a title could apply to more than one film, one might be putting in a reserve for something he/she normally would never order. I guessed this was the 1989 title, not the 2005 one, because Mike Leigh ("Happy-Go-Lucky" - 2008; "Vera Drake" - 2004; "Secrets and Lies" - 1996) is one of my favorite directors. And my guess, after the MARC display was filled in a few weeks later, proved correct. Yeah! MY THOUGHTS: No subtitling! Thick London accents of many of the characters (and they ARE characters) and rapid sentences meant I got only 50% of the wording. I still liked the movie, but it could have been so much richer. When I saw (or rather, heard) what I was getting into, I reread the NYT review; if I hadn't, I would have surely missed the name of one of Cyril and Shirley's cacti, just one of many sharp 1989 observations of this social satire. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 12, 2009 at 11:36PM

Cover ArtMarried life [videorecording]
(2007) 57% (54%) (111) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/movies/07marr.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "In a late 1940's suburban world, middle-class wives, like Pat (Patricia Clarkson), build their lives around their husbands. Pat and Harry (Chris Cooper) seem happy, but Harry confesses to his pal, Richard (Pierce Brosnan), that the spark is gone. He plans to leave Pat for vibrant young war widow Kay (Rachel McAdams). Once Richard, a notorious ladies man, gets a look at the platinum blonde, he secretly sets out to win her affections and Harry continues to plot to take Pat out of the picture. While he debates on when to make his move, we learn that Pat actually has a few secrets of her own." CONSENSUS: "Married Life" daintily dances between black comedy and noir thriller, but it suffers from tonal shifts and uneven pacing." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: In 2005, I saw that James Bond, er, Pierce Brosnan had won a Golden Globe for "The Matador" and my view of his talent was forever changed. Patricia Clarkson ("The Station Agent" - 2003; "Pieces of April" - 2003; "Lars and the Real Girl" - 2007; "Vicki Christina Barcelona" - 2008; and on my next list, "Phoebe in Wonderland" - 2009) is gold, as is Chris Cooper. MY THOUGHTS: Cooper and Clarkson are so good; a mannerism here, a glance there. Brosnan keeps things light, but McAdams is miscast in a one-note performance. The production values are excellent; one feels that one is inhabiting 1949. Lots of Hitchcockian similarities without the payoff.   posted Jul 12, 2009 at 11:05PM

Cover ArtGran Torino [videorecording]
(2008) 80% (71%) (200) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/movies/12tori.html?scp=2&sq=gran%20torino&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Detroit, Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Walt is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors. He is a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor, Thao, a young Hmong teenager, becomes pressured by his gang member cousin to steal Walt's car, Kowalski reluctantly sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's immigrant family, Walt is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood." CONSENSUS: "The kind of movie Don Siegel and Sam Fuller used to make, a blunt but perceptive slice of American discontent filtered through the prism of B-movie conventions.....starts as one thing, then becomes something else entirely." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: An article in the StarTrib about a local Hmong actor playing a central role in the film, plus the always interesting Clint in the last years of a great career, made this a must-see. MY THOUGHTS: Many areas of the Twin Cities have undergone similar demographic change as featured here, and I'm sure parts of the story resonate with many. Late in the movie, you catch a glimpse of Harry Callahan, but Walt's final solution is nothing that Dirty Harry would have thought up. A drawback for me were the many times Clint was talking, under his breath, to let the audience know what he was thinking - a few times would be o.k., but not this many. Lots of foreshadowing, and few surprises, but, for me, Clint is always watchable. As the NYT review states, Clint is "remaking the classic hero, here in the beginning of the 21st century, perhaps for the last time." [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 12, 2009 at 11:00AM

Cover ArtKnife in the water [videorecording] = Noz w wodzie.
(1962) 100% (N/A) (25) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9C01E5D8113DE63BBC4151DFB6678388679EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Roman Polanski's first feature-length film is a suspenseful three-person chamber drama reminiscent of the work of Ingmar Bergman. "Knife in the Water" was filmed in the director's native Poland and financed through government subsidies. Although denounced by local authorities as devoid of any significant social or political content, the film caused a minor sensation in the West, was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film, and even made the cover of Time magazine. The action takes place almost entirely within the confined setting of a sailboat owned by a wealthy journalist (Leon Niemczyk) and his much younger wife (Jolanta Umecka). On their way to the lake for a weekend of sailing, they are accosted by a young hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz) who jumps in front of their car, forcing them to stop. Annoyed by the youth's daredevil posturing, the journalist nevertheless decides to invite him to join the couple on their boat, initiating a series of playfully competitive games between the two men. Playfulness soon gives way to hostility, however, as each tries to outshine and humiliate the other in front of the woman, who appears to be taking a more than casual interest in her husband's young rival." CONSENSUS: "One of the greatest of all feature debuts. A masterpiece of style and economy--a complex and delicately balanced tale with only three characters and one small set." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: This title was included in too many reviews for me to pass it up. Also, Polanski has a separate, tabloid fascination. MY THOUGHTS: This B&W film is totally different from anything else; I keep expecting something to happen, but my guesses were invariably wrong. The final scene almost mandates discussion. See it. If in doubt, read the NYT review. (Criterion Collection) (Essential Art House)   posted Jul 12, 2009 at 10:37AM

Cover ArtBunny chow [videorecording] : know thyself
(2006) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117932146.html?categoryid=31&cs=1 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Three up and coming young Johannesburg comedians go on a raucous road trip to Oppi Koppi, South Africa's largest music festival." CONSENSUS: ""Bunny Chow" presents an unguarded look at contemporary South Africa as a growing cultural melting pot simmering with youthful energy and renaissance." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Having finished a bicycle expedition in 1994 in South Africa, I need little impetus to return (in this case, via film). MY THOUGHTS: The Joburg accents without subtitles left me hanging, and not in a good way; for me, the interactions and fast-paced dialogue were one big question mark. I had to shut it down after 20 minutes - a first. Sorry. [New purchase by HCL] (Global Films Collection)   posted Jul 7, 2009 at 8:10PM

Cover ArtRebel without a cause [DVD]
(1955) 95% (100%) (43) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9F02E0DB1F3AEF34BC4F51DFB667838E649EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The classic film about alienated and rebellious middle class youth that made James Dean an indelible icon. "Rebel without a Cause" focuses on a teenage social outcast searching for his identity. His dysfunctional parents (a milquetoast father and a cantankerous mom) can't help him and he shuns any form of authority. The young man only finds solace in the company of two fellow teenage misfits (Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood), but even they aren't able to prevent tragedy from befalling this reckless and uncontrollable anti-hero." CONSENSUS: "Like its hero, "Rebel Without a Cause" desperately wants to say something and doesn't know what it is. If it did know, it would lose its fascination. A movie for anyone who's ever been a teenager." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: This came up on the new DVDs listing, and since it is such a seminal work, I decided to revisit it. MY THOUGHTS: Once again, the supplements add to the enjoyment - getting a true gang tough to collaborate, and then casting him; how the first two screenwriters failed, but the third was the charm; how director Nicholas Ray's relationship with his father greatly colored the film; running the film with the commentary playing, and picking up all kinds of interesting tidbits - all made seeing the film again much more interesting. As was emphasized over and over, this film seems as relevant today as 50 plus years ago, because it is a film about teenagers told from the point of view of teenagers. See it, or see it again. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 7, 2009 at 6:48PM

Cover ArtJCVD [videorecording]
(2008) 85% (81%) (94) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/movies/07jcvd.html?scp=3&sq=jcvd&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "JCVD is an out of luck actor, the international action hero struggling to maintain relevancy on levels both professional and personal. He's out of money, his agent can't find him a decent production, and a judge is inclined to give his ex-wife custody of his daughter. He returns to his childhood home of Brussels. But when Jean-Claude walks into a bank to withdraw his attorney fees and is suddenly in the thick of a heist, is the haggard superstar orchestrating the stickup? Or is he simply a hostage, as trapped by fame as he is by criminals, who happen to know a couple of take-down moves? Due to an unfortunate mistake, the police believe JCVD is responsible for the crime. As the events are played from different perspectives, JCVD finds himself protecting the hostages, as well as serving as their negotiator. JCVD is forced to accept responsibility for crimes he didn't commit, as well as the life mistakes that he did make. JCVD dresses its dankness in glaringly blown-out lighting effects that acknowledge a topsy-turvy world in which artifice sits just upon reality." CONSENSUS: "JCVD" is a touching, fascinating piece, with Jean-Claude Van Damme confounding all with his heartfelt performance....a bold attempt to humanize him, not by trying to ignore his personal and professional pitfalls, but by reminding us that behind ever movie star, loved or loathed, is a complex human being. Van Damme's delivery of a Fellini-esque soliloquy about the angst of fame could've resulted in the action star coming across as a crybaby. Instead, the speech, in which he breaks the fourth wall and expresses his ironic frustrations, is revelatory and heartbreaking." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I have avoided Jean-Claude studiously, except for ten second clips as I channel surf (same for Steven Seagal and Jackie Chan). But this new title caught my interest, as did the NYT review. And if Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" (30 Apr 09) can be brought back to life, why not Jean-Claude Van Damme? MY THOUGHTS: Fascinating film, but certainly not up to "The Wrestler" comparison. Sincere, but still odd. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 7, 2009 at 1:41AM

Cover ArtIris [DVD]
(2001) 79% (85%) (108) http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/14/movies/film-review-iris-murdoch-conquering-all-but-the-alzheimer-s.html?scp=2&sq=iris%20kate%20winslet&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Adapted from the memoirs of literary critic John Bayley, the film recounts his courtship of and long marriage to British novelist Dame Iris Murdoch. The film cuts back and forth between the young Iris and John (played by Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville), at the height of their romantic adventures as students at Oxford in the 1950s, and the elderly couple (played by Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent), struggling with Iris' decline, as her brilliant mind is ravaged by the effects of Alzheimer's." CONSENSUS: "A solidly constructed drama, "Iris" is greatly elevated by the strength of its four lead performances. There is not a slouch in this film, in front of or behind the camera." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Three of my favorite actors are in it: Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent. Also, I'm trying to see Kate Winslet's career in film ("The Reader" 21 Apr 09, "Heavenly Creatures" 01 Jun 09, and "Revolutionary Road 17 Jun 09 being the most recent). MY THOUGHTS: A heartbreaking love story, definitely. Dench and Winslet beautifully complement each other, and Broadbent is perfect. However, I also read the Roger Ebert review **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20020215/REVIEWS/202150303/1023 **** and he makes a strong case for disliking the movie and "instructing" me to read her books. It is duly noted.   posted Jul 7, 2009 at 1:09AM

Cover ArtWaltz with Bashir [videorecording]
(2008) 97% (96%) (118) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/movies/26bash.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This is an antiwar meditation that is equal parts personal memoir, history lesson, and animated fever dream. Director Ari Folman was a soldier during Israel's first invasion of Lebanon in 1982. This was a painful moment in history, when the newly elected president of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in an explosion. Furious, his party, the Christian Phalangists, retaliated by storming into the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and slaughtering thousands of innocent victims. Over 20 years later, Folman is disturbed to realize that he has no memory of this incident even though he was there at the time. In order to remember, he tracks down several of his friends and soldiers who were there with him to find out what really happened. "Waltz with Bashir" is difficult to categorize: it is a combination of animation and documentary and history and fiction. It is all of those things at once, and it is also much more than that. As "Waltz with Bashir" unfolds in dreamlike waves, Folman understands that guilt is a dangerous thing, and war is even worse." CONSENSUS: "“Waltz With Bashir” is a memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film. A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, "Waltz with Bashir" delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Why do we keep getting the Middle East wrong? What really happens over there? This is one incident I had heard about, and the NYT review clinches it as a film to see. MY THOUGHTS: What a film achievement! It's a graphic novel come alive, a cogent , first-person analysis of the impact of war, PTSD, the amorphous nature of memory. My memory of this film, however, is concrete: how animation has taken on a difficult subject better than live action could. See it. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jul 7, 2009 at 12:33AM

Cover ArtPickup on South Street [DVD]
(1953) 88% (N/A) (24) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F00EEDA143EE53BBC4052DFB0668388649EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This film noir classic plays on America's paranoia about a Communist takeover in the 1950s. Petty crook Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) has his eye set on the big score. When the three-time convict picks the pocketbook of unsuspecting Candy (Jean Peters), he finds a haul bigger than he ever could have imagined: a strip of microfilm bearing confidential U.S. secrets. Tailed by the Feds and the unwitting courier's Communist puppeteers, Skip and Candy find themselves in a precarious gambit that pits greed against redemption." CONSENSUS: "80 minutes of breathless genre fun infused with pure, uninhibited passion" MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Richard Widmark died recently. I've always enjoyed his acting. Teaming him up with director Sam Fuller makes this a must see. MY THOUGHTS: Great supplements! The film itself is great, but the interview with Fuller (who reminds me of Studs Terkel) makes this selection: "write with your camera, and make a symphony of it" - Fuller's recounting of the meeting of producer Darryl F. Zanuck, Fuller, and J. Edgar Hoover - "I go by hunch...if a thing smells right, I go with it..." - "you must be able to pinpoint visual emotion...and not bore anybody..." (Criterion Collection)   posted Jul 3, 2009 at 7:25PM

Cover ArtA tale of two sisters [DVD]
(2003) 87% (81%) (52) http://movies.nytimes.com/2004/12/17/movies/17tale.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=A%20Tale%20of%20Two%20Sisters&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Something strange is happening when Su-mi and her younger sister Su-yeon come home to their father's large, but dark and somewhat foreboding house after a stay in the hospital. Their dad is taciturn and burdened and their step-mother, Eun-joo greets them with forced enthusiasm and more than a little sense of irritation. But that's nothing compared to what happens when bedtime rolls around." CONSENSUS: "There's a reason why Hollywood has been so busy in recent years remaking Asian horror movies. Scare for scare, they're generally better. Restrained but disturbing, "A Tale of Two Sisters" is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I had seen a review by Lyons-Bailes (Ch. 45, Saturdays, 6:30PM, unfortunately just cancelled) that said "The Uninvited" (09 May 09) was a pale remake of this Korean original. While I like Elizabeth Banks, she couldn't pull off her role; I'll guess I'll leave her to light comedy for now. HCL had no copies (they did at one time), so I used the ILL (InterLibrary Loan) system to track this down, and see for myself if it was a good as advertised. MY THOUGHTS: Talk about confusing! I needed to watch the movie again, using the commentary supplements to fully understand what was going on. Yes, everything was there, and if you knew what to look for, everything made sense. But I guess I need my horror fix less cool and clinical. The director's focus is on bad memories (which in everyone come around again and again, people reflecting on the fact that they hurt someone with their words or actions, didn't handle a situation wisely, were selfish and self-centered, etc.), coupled with multiple personalities, making for a very complex film. I'm glad I saw it, but usually I understand more after the first viewing! [No copies in HCL]   posted Jun 29, 2009 at 11:19AM

Cover ArtThe whole shootin' match [videorecording]
(1979) N/A (N/A) (1) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=9404EFDD1F39E732A25752C2A9629C946890D6CF * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "It is a largely unsung song of the South--Texas, that is--and was one of the first bricks in Robert Redford's independent film empire. Directed by Eagle Pennell, "The Whole Shootin' Match" follows two bumbling schemers, Lloyd (Lou Perryman) and Frank (Sonny Davis), as they warm barstools and make big plans for small businesses and crazy inventions that will help get them out of their rut. Naturally, the hole proves too deep and the bottle too unbeatable, but there's dignity, warmth, and humor in their refusal to stop dreaming. Made on a shoestring by a film school dropout in 1979, "The Whole Shootin' Match" offers the sort of anti-hero narratives and local textures that would soon become standard for American independent filmmaking." CONSENSUS: "...a loving, indulgent, funny, very casual movie about the ups and downs of a couple of innocent, self-defeating American clowns." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: When I read the NYT review that ended with ""The Whole Shootin' Match" reportedly cost $30,000. It sometimes looks it, yet the movie has something 9 out of 10 far more expensive features don't have — a way of getting in touch with life." - I was hooked on seeing it. The fact that seeing this movie was the impetus for Robert Redford to establish the Sundance Institute to promote similar, independent (called "regional" then) films sealed the deal. MY THOUGHTS: Many similarities to "The Last Picture Show" (1971), a mainstream film by Peter Bogdonovich. You feel you're looking at real characters in natural settings, and time is moving forward at normal pace. Long takes are never boring; everything is well thought out, and allows the viewer to reflect of his/her own circumstances. The $15,000 (Director Eagle Pennel's quote in the written supplements) in funding shows up, but almost adds to the truthfulness of the characters, scenery, lighting, etc. They say this was done on weekends, and amazingly led to an avalanche of indies in the years ahead. [New purchase by HCL] (Criterion Collection)   posted Jun 29, 2009 at 11:04AM

Cover ArtCity of god [DVD] = Cidade de Deus
(2002) 92% (91%) (143) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9507E0D71E31F934A25752C0A9659C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Youth gangs took over the slums of Rio de Janiero during the 1960s and didn't relinquish their stronghold until the mid-1980s. The world's most notorious slum, Rio de Janeiro's City of God, was a place where combat photographers and police rarely went. This is the true story of a young man who grew up on these streets and whose ambition as a photographer is our window in and his only way out." Director Fernando Meirelles combines visual flashiness with dark history in telling the story of three decades of unrest in underground Rio de Janiero." CONSENSUS: "A shocking and disturbing, but always compelling look at life in the slums of Rio de Janiero." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: After seeing the abandoned children of "Ali Zaoua" (1 Jun 09) and neglected children of "Born Into Brothels" (21 Apr 09), as well as "Salaam Bombay!", as well as memories of bicycling through slums throughout the world, the subject matter is irresistable. MY THOUGHTS: I thank my lucky stars that I was born in the United States to middleclass parents with all the privileges attendant, and I had the good fortune to use a liberal, questioning education to reconfirm this view in visiting many challenged cities of the globe. This is strong film about a time not too distant, a community I would have steered clear of regardless. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 29, 2009 at 6:30AM

Cover ArtBefore the rain [videorecording] : (a tale in three parts)
(1994) 85% (N/A) (13) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990CEFDF173BF937A15751C0A963958260&scp=4&sq=Before%20the%20Rain&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The lives of an orthodox Christian monk, a British photo agent, and a native Macedonian war photographer cross to paint a portrait of ethnic and religious hatred. "Before the Rain" is a tale set between modern London and the timeless hills of Macedonia, in former Yugoslavia. Through a parable of intertwined lives, it attempts to answer the tragic riddle of why the Balkan states are perpetually at war. Divided into three sections, the connection between seemingly disparate events and people only becomes clear at the film's end. In "Words," a pure and innocent Macedonian monk breaks his vows in order to hide an Albanian girl accused of murder. "Faces" dramatizes an Englishwoman's struggle to choose between her husband and her lover, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer who is about to return to his native Macedonia. And "Pictures," the final segment, follows the photographer as he tries to comprehend the violence and bloodshed that have so transformed his nation's landscape and turned one-time friends into bitter enemies." CONSENSUS: "Dealing with the Balkan wars, this is an ambitious and compassionate art film that contrasts the calm beauty of the Macedonian landscape with the harrowing violence that erupts within its borders." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: When everything changed forever after Yugoslavia's Tito died and the Sarajevo Olympics became a distant memory, I became fascinated with that part of the world (sort of like how one can't stop from looking as they pass the scene of an accident or fire). This film should provide interesting context.   posted Jun 26, 2009 at 5:41PM

Cover ArtTell no one [videorecording] = Ne le dis a personne
#2 (2006) 93% (96%) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/movies/02tell.html?scp=3&sq=tell%20no%20one&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 26, 2009 at 5:40PM

Cover ArtStuck [videorecording]
#1 (2007) 73% (76%) (84) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/movies/30stuc.html?scp=5&sq=Stuck%20(2007)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 26, 2009 at 5:39PM

Cover ArtHome [videorecording]
(2009) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940476.html?categoryid=31&cs=1 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Spanning 54 countries and 120 locations, "Home" captures the Earth's most amazing landscapes in a new and astonishing light, showcasing its incomparable beauty and acknowledging its vulnerability to change. Narrated by Glenn Close and featuring the provocative and uniquely jaw-dropping aerial photography of famed photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, this soaring trip across planet Earth allows viewers to experience their home as never before." CONSENSUS: "A magnificently macro portrait of our planet’s alarming state of health, photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s “Home” puts the aerial imagery of his bestselling book, “Earth From Above,” superbly into motion." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: It seems like a good companion piece to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." (2006). I've enjoyed the Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" series, and it's my understanding that parts of this film were used. MY THOUGHTS: Here's a film that suffers on the small screen - big time. Oh, to have seen it in the theater (or IMAX). But the entire film just flows as it makes connections to what we are doing to our island. Great effort. Well worth viewing. [New Purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 24, 2009 at 9:39PM

Cover ArtThe man who shot Liberty Valance [videorecording]
(1962) 97% (N/A) (33) http://www.movie-views.com/films/M/man_who_shot_liberty_valance.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart), attorney at law, is a man of peace, but when he arrives in the town of Shinbone, he runs up against people with a shoot-first mentality. Somebody has to stop Valance (Lee Marvin), who is pretty much a big bully with a gun. The marshal (Andy Devine) isn't going to; as he admits, the jail has only one cell 'and the lock's broke.' But maybe Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), a local man who greets Stoddard with 'Easy there, pilgrim,' can help. The great John Ford directed this stark, melancholy swan song for the conventional frontier Western." CONSENSUS: "Dismissed as just another cowboy opus at the time of its release, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" has since taken its proper place as one of the great Western classics. It questions the role of myth in forging the legends of the West, while setting this theme in the elegiac atmosphere of the West itself, set off by the aging Stewart and Wayne." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: John Ford westerns gave us the myth of the west, a type of film rarely made anymore. "Print the legend" was never more true than here. A recent biographical retrospective on TCM of John Ford increased my interest in seeing this film again. MY THOUGHTS: Great supplements! Great explanation why Ford loved black and white, why this movie would fail in its climactic scene if done in color. Wayne made it possible for Ford, somewhat forgotten by the '60's, a director of an earlier generation, to go out on a high, making the last great western (though not realized at the time). [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 24, 2009 at 9:31PM

Cover ArtDefiance [videorecording]
(2008) 56% (50%) (161) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/31/movies/31defi.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The deep forests of Poland and Belorussia are the domain of the occupying Germans during World War II. The three Bielski brothers--Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), and Asael (Jamie Bell)--go into the forests and find the impossible task of foraging for food, weapons and survival, not just for themselves but for a large mass of fleeing Polish Jews from the German war machine. The brothers, living with the fear of discovery, must contend with neighboring Soviet partisans and deciding whom to trust. They take on the responsibility of guardians and motivate hundreds of women, men, children and the elderly to join their fight against the Nazi regime while hiding in makeshift homes in the dark, cold and unforgiving forest. At the same time, the brothers turn a band of war defectors into commanding freedom fighters. Based on true events." CONSENSUS: "It is most interesting, and most persuasive, not as a chronicle of heroic action but rather as a series of arguments — mainly between the patient Tuvia and the hot-headed Zus — about justice, righteousness and how a decent society should function." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I've read a lot about WWII, but I'd never heard about this story. My only reference is that Jews were victims, not partisans, fighters. This is one film where the supplements will be helpful. MY THOUGHTS: People often find their truest character in the worst of circumstances. Big questions are raised: do we need to become monsters to destroy monsters, sacrifice our humanity to save humanity? The strongest scene for me is when Lilka confronts Tuvia and reminds him "that we have to hold onto our humanity." Watching the supplements before the film gave me things to look for, but knowledge of how they made snow made the winter scenes almost warm (avoid this knowledge). The special effects heightened the battle scenes, because they weren't over produced. A strong film about a little known part of history. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 24, 2009 at 9:19PM

Cover ArtRevolutionary road [videorecording]
(2008) 69% (71%) (187) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/movies/26road.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Frank and April Wheeler live a life that appears to be perfect. They live in the Connecticut suburbs with two young children. Frank commutes to New York City where he works in an office job that he hates. One he places little effort at, but he has yet to figure out what his passion in life is. April is a housewife who forgoes her dream of being an actress. They are not happy. One day, April suggests that they move to Paris as a means to rejuvenate their life. Initially skeptical, Frank ultimately agrees to April's plan. When circumstances change around the Wheelers, April decides she will do whatever she has to to get herself out of her unhappy existence." CONSENSUS: "While the theme of 'what are you doing with your life?' resonates, it's not much fun to watch, in spite of splendid performances from all concerned. Chilly and academic, thoroughly admirable but one step removed from the very real angst of a movie like "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" (1956)." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: To see Kate Winslet, one of my favorite actors, reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio. Also, I'm enjoying the "Mad Men" series, and director Sam Mendes made the great "American Beauty" (1999), both with a similar time and place. MY THOUGHTS: Up until the end, I was wondering what all the fuss in various reviews was about, that the book of the same name by Richard Yates was much more brutal in how April and Frank verbally savage each other; that the screenplay, had taken many liberties - but Kate powerfully shows how her character April takes control in the only way she knows how. The book, and film, reflect on how often couples, and we as individuals, just have to endure. Many have come at this film after reading the book, and were disappointed. I'm doing it backwards, as I'm now putting the book on my request list. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 23, 2009 at 7:06AM

Cover ArtKept and dreamless [videorecording] = [Las mantenidas sin suenos]
(2005) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117926120.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=kept+and+dreamless * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A young Argentinian girl, 9-year-old Eugenia, must carry the burdens of the adults in her life--including her pregnant, drug-addicted mother, Florencia--in this earthy, emotional drama set against the nation’s economic collapse. Living a seemingly colorful life surrounded by eclectic neighbors and an offbeat collection of family, Eugenia has to grow up fast as she takes care of her mother, now pregnant (again) by an unknown father." CONSENSUS: "Co-directors Vera Fogwill and Martin Desalvo make a noteworthy feature film bow, laced with humor and high drama. Although there are occasional lapses into convention with some supporting characters, the main storyline remains honestly down-to-earth." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: A bicycle expedition to South America included Argentina in 1979, a time of hyper-inflation (nothing new) and the Falkland war crisis, and had just followed a military crackdown on leftists (the "disappeared"). I am hoping to relive some of those experiences when I view the film. MY THOUGHTS: Outdoor scenes were minimal, so the film didn't work to remind me of northern Argentina. The film makes comments on the economic crisis and the impact on the middle class of 1999, with some parallels to our current economic crisis. Economic crises can change people's lifestyles bigtime, but this crack-addicted mother would have been the same, economic upheaval or not. The complex ending is well done, but overall, except for nine year old Eugenia, the other characters left me flat. Also, it's supposed to be partly a comedy, but I didn't find myself laughing. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 23, 2009 at 12:42AM

Cover ArtLive and become [videorecording]
(2008) 84% (91%) (32) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/movies/01beco.html?scp=2&sq=Live%20and%20Become&st=Search * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Based on the exodus of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, "Live and Become" is a harrowing and poignant look at the struggles of cultural and personal identity. In 1985, Operation Moses was launched to airlift thousands of persecuted Ethiopian Jews (known as Falashas) from Sudan to Israel. When a Falasha widow's son dies, she smuggles a Christian boy with her to ensure his survival. Guilt-ridden at leaving his real mother behind, the boy--renamed Schlomo--is soon orphaned when his Jewish guardian dies. A smart but rebellious student, Schlomo finds a stable home with an adoptive French-Israeli couple. The secular couple encourages his Jewish faith while defending him against the prejudices of their neighbors and the Israeli state. But Schlomo's deception only deepens when he falls for Sarah, a white Jew, and must contend with her racist father. When he and Sarah marry years later, Schlomo must come clean about his identity if he is to find his place in the world and fulfill his mother's wish: "Go. Live and become."" CONSENSUS: "Mihaileanu's story of an Ethiopian orphan's struggles overcomes an inflated length and script problems to explore universal issues of racial and religious identity." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: It sounds like another story of a world I know so little about. The RT scores clinched it for me. MY THOUGHTS: Schlomo's adolescence is all about how he stands out from his "racist" classmates; the country may have legislated that black Jews were going to find a new, better home in Israel, but people's prejudices can't be legislated. The same with their acceptance of others from the Jewish Diaspora (Russian Jews, etc). Striking parallels with the U.S.'s coming to terms with immigrants since the late 1800's (Irish, Italians, Asians, Latinos, etc.), that Operation Moses was no more successful in many people's minds than our own Declaration of Independence ("All men are created equal..."). [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 22, 2009 at 6:19PM

Cover ArtWeeds. Season 4 [videorecording]
(2008) N/A (N/A) (1) http://tv.nytimes.com/2005/08/05/arts/television/05tvwk.html * * http://au.rottentomatoes.com/m/1210529/ * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "In the fourth season of this hilariously subversive series, Mary-Louise Parker is back as pot-dealing widow and single mother Nancy Botwin. Last time we saw her, Nancy's business and house were going up in smoke. So the Botwin bunch has relocated near the border for a fresh start with some new buds. " CONSENSUS: "The show remains very funny and entertaining but for the first time since the first season, we are able to see the lonely, distraught woman in Nancy rather than the crafty mother wolf." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Ever since "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991), I've had a crush for Mary-Louise Parker. With the strong female characters now inhabiting HBO, Showtime, FX, and USA dramas, it's a fine time to admire great acting (and Elizabeth Perkins gets a juicy role as well). MY THOUGHTS: Plotlines are still well-crafted, and Nancy becomes introspective, wondering about everything she does - is something she sets in motion good or bad, is someone being hurt or helped as a result, are her motivations selfish or about others? Definitely a focus change, and Parker's expressions and line readings give you a direct line to her thoughts.[New purchase by HCL](4 hrs. 46 min)   posted Jun 22, 2009 at 3:57PM

Cover ArtWe shall remain [videorecording] : America through native eyes
(2009)N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/arts/television/13rema.html?scp=2&sq=we%20shall%20remain&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "This multi-part series on Native American history seeks to end stereotypical portrayals of American Indians as either ruthless fighters or sage, stoic stewards of the Earth. Narrated by Benjamin... This multi-part series on Native American history seeks to end stereotypical portrayals of American Indians as either ruthless fighters or sage, stoic stewards of the Earth. Narrated by Benjamin Bratt ("Law and Order"), "We Shall Remain" brings new light to five traditional stories from the past 300 years: "After the Mayflower," "Tecumseh’s Vision," "Trail of Tears," "Geronimo," and "Wounded Knee."" MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I just don't know a lot about the Native American Indians' past. "Almanac" on TPT2 television had a segment during Minnesota's 150th birthday celebration that reflected on the sad way Minnesota treated the Dakota, exiling many to South Dakota in the 1860's following battles in and around Mankato, after hanging 30 (President Lincoln's involvement was also discussed), and with this new DVD offering, I hope to learn more about the events that led up to that and the rest of their history ( This series was presented on PBS recently). MY THOUGHTS: I could fill a large hole with what I didn't know and now do about Native American History -- from first contact to Geronimo, a cult figure in many American's eyes but for many Chiricahua, not so much, to the sources of conflict at Pine Ridge, etc., etc. While hours long, this series is rarely dry - well worth the time spent. [New purchase by HCL] (doc) (7 hrs. 30 min.)   posted Jun 20, 2009 at 8:01AM

Cover ArtAmores perros [DVD]
#3 (2000) 92% (96%) (110) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9B03E1DA1E3DF936A35753C1A9669C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 4, 2009 at 12:43PM

Cover ArtTell no one [videorecording] = Ne le dis a personne
#2 (2006) 93% (96%) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/movies/02tell.html?scp=3&sq=tell%20no%20one&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 4, 2009 at 12:43PM

Cover ArtStuck [videorecording]
#1 (2007) 73% (76%) (84) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/movies/30stuc.html?scp=5&sq=Stuck%20(2007)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 4, 2009 at 12:42PM

Cover ArtMillions [videorecording]
(2005) 88% (90%) (149) http://movies.nytimes.com/2005/03/11/movies/11mill.html?scp=3&sq=Millions%20Danny%20Boyle%20(2005)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted Jun 3, 2009 at 1:37AM

Cover ArtMan push cart [videorecording]
(2006) 89% (93%) (45) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/movies/08cart.html?scp=2&sq=Man%20Push%20Cart&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Every night while the city sleeps, Ahmad, a former rock star in his native Pakistan, drags his heavy cart along the streets of New York. Every morning, he sells coffee and donuts to a city he cannot call his own. One day the pattern of this harsh existence is broken by a glimmer of hope for a better life." CONSENSUS: "This compassionate portrait of a New York City street vendor is as beautiful as it is melancholy. "Man Push Cart" is a subtle, insightful portrait of a man struggling with issues of identity, self-worth, and the harsh realities of finding a place to belong in a vast, often-unfriendly American metropolis." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: All of director Ramin Bahrami's films have garnered well-deserved praise. His debut film "Chop Shop" (2007) was well done, so I thought I would try this second effort of his. And here's hoping his current "Goodbye Solo" becomes a future HCL purchase. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 2, 2009 at 2:06PM

Cover ArtLast chance Harvey [videorecording]
(2008) 71% (74%) (119) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/movies/25harv.html? * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Harvey (Dustin Hoffman), a divorced, down-on-his-luck music jingle composer, and Kate (Emma Thompson), a lonely British airline employee, are brought together by chance. Harvey comes to London for his daughter's wedding, planning only to attend the wedding ceremony. However, he ends up being let go from his job before going back to America and decides to stay for the reception, asking Kate to accompany him. Thus begins a growing connection between these two guarded strangers." CONSENSUS: ""Last Chance Harvey" is an above-average story that graduates to potent romantic drama based on the chemistry and charm of its top-notch performers, who make an otherwise familiar story feel fresh." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Dustin Hoffman has had a dry spell since 2005's "Finding Neverland," and voiceovers in animations (last year's "Kung Fu Panda" and "The Tale of Despereaux") just don't do it for me. But Colin Colvert of the Star Tribune thought the old Dustin was back, so I'm giving it a try. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 11:07PM

Cover ArtEnchanted April [videorecording]
(1992) 94% (N/A) (14) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9E0CE7D7103AF932A05754C0A964958260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "London, the 1920s. Lottie and Rose are two married women who share the misery of empty marriages and decide to rent an Italian castle for the spring to get away. In order to save money, they advertise for two other women to join them. Mrs. Fisher is an elderly widow who is struggling with a lonely and regimented existence. She jumps at the chance to join the vacation. Lady Caroline Dester is a gorgeous flapper who has been grabbed one too many times and believes that she is sick of men. They arrive in San Salvatore. The seaside Italian castle is drenched in wisteria and sunshine. The women find themselves in a transformative beauty so enchanting that they experience changes in themselves they never thought possible." CONSENSUS: "A charming tale of four women who find romance, hope and, ultimately, liberation during a month's holiday in an Italian villa overlooking the sea." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Having seen this on TCM more than once, I am now interested in seeing the supplements and listening to the director's commentary. I came by my appreciation for actor Michael Kitchen in the PBS mystery series "Foyle's War," so it's nice to go back to 1992 to compare/contrast styles. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 11:05PM

Cover ArtWhen the levees broke [DVD] : a requiem in four acts
(doc) (2006) 96% (100%) (26) ---- http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/08/21/arts/television/21leve.html?scp=3&sq=When%20the%20Levees%20broke&st=cse * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Four acts document distinct perspectives on the pivotal events that preceeded and followed Katrina's passage through New Orleans, a catastrophe during which the divide between race and class lines has never been more pronounced. With a runtime of over four hours, this HBO-produced Spike Lee documentary is the definitive word on Hurricane Katrina." CONSENSUS: "A powerful and important piece of filmmaking, "When the Levees Broke" is an eye-opening account of a catastrophe that could so easily have been avoided." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Since I enjoyed the style of Spike Lee's doc "4 Little Girls" (20 May 09 listing), a heartfelt look at that awful day in Birmingham, an event that kickstarted the civil rights movement, I thought I would like to see his take on Katrina. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:16PM

Cover ArtValkyrie [videorecording]
(2008) 60% (59%) (176) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/movies/25valk.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "One of history’s more enigmatic players was Claus von Stauffenberg, a count and a colonel who, though he lost one eye, an entire hand and several fingers while fighting on behalf of the Reich, made several attempts to assassinate Hitler and seize control of the government. At the core of Stauffenberg's spectacularly ambitious plot was Valkyrie, Hitler’s plan for the mobilization of the home army that Stauffenberg hoped to hijack in order to quash the SS and its leaders. CONSENSUS: "Given the subject matter, "Valkyrie" could have been an outstanding historical thriller, but settles for being a mildly entertaining, but disposable yarn." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I guess I want to compare Tom's performance to the History Channel's take on the subject, and the doc "Operation Valkyrie: the Stauffenberg plot to kill Hitler" (2008) that I saw a few months ago. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:13PM

Cover ArtTaken [videorecording]
(2008) 57% (40%) (145) http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/movies/30take.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "When his estranged teenage daughter is kidnapped in Paris, a former spy (Liam Neeson) sets out to find her at any cost. Relying on his special skills, he tracks down the ruthless gang that abducted her and launches a one-man war to bring them to justice and rescue his daughter." CONSENSUS: ""Taken" is undeniably fun with slick action, but is largely a brainless exercise." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Liam Neeson, even when I know going in that the plot may be lame and/or overblown. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:10PM

Cover ArtThe shiralee [videorecording]
(1988) N/A (N/A) (1) http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/36657/shiralee-the/ * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The 1988 Australian miniseries "The Shiralee" was, like the 1957 film of the same name, based on a bestselling novel by D'Arcy Niland. A shiralee is Australian slang for the bundle carried about by a swagman (a tramp or thief). In this instance, the "bundle" is the 10-year-old daughter of an Australian migrant laborer whose wife has left him. The laborer then takes his daughter on a long, "bonding" trek through the Outback. For its American public TV debut in 1991, "The Shiralee" was shown in its two-hour version, which was released theatrically in some areas as "Macauley's Daughter." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Since first watching Bryan Brown in PBS' "A Town Like Alice" (1980), I have found him an interesting actor to watch. This film, even though not highly rated or reviewed (and criticized for technical faults in most reviews), hopefully will put me into the great Australian outback, maybe even providing a reminder of "Rabbit Proof Fence" (2002), one of a number of great films from down under. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:08PM

Cover ArtTaking Chance [videorecording]
(2009) 40% (N/A) (5) http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117939355.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=Taking+Chance+%282009%29 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: After hearing of the heroic death of a young Marine in Iraq, veteran officer Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) volunteers to escort the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps back to his home in Dubois, Wyoming in the spring of 2004. As Strobl crosses America's heartland, he will find himself on an unexpectedly emotional journey into the soul of a country mourning not only Chance, but all of our country's fallen heroes." CONSENSUS: "A tedious 85 minutes of Kevin Bacon saluting." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I saw this film on PBS's "Independent Lens" recently. It was also a part of CBS' "60 Minutes". I think Colin Colvert's review in the Star Tribune made mention that even though the film presented most events as they actually happened, the director used dramatic license on the Minneapolis segment (Lt. Colonel Strobl did not spend the night in the hanger keeping vigil next to the coffin). The special featurette "From script to screen" on how the film was made is the main reason I am checking out this DVD, but the added backstory of Chance's and Lt. Colonel Strobl's lives, also covered on the disc, will give me a more complete picture of this rarely covered aspect of war. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:03PM

Cover ArtPower trip [videorecording]
(doc) (2003) 97% (100%) (34) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9903E4DA1E3DF933A25751C1A9659C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A comic clash of cultures that combusts when AES, an American energy company, tries to transform the dysfunctional electric system in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, "Power Trip" provides unique insights into the role played by a major American company in an impoverished, corrupt, almost Third World country, Georgia." CONSENSUS: "What makes "Power Trip" unusually interesting is the fact that Devlin refuses to take sides. He clearly sympathizes both with the people of Georgia and the horrendous problems they face when their power supply is shut down, and also with the generally good-natured, hard-working and amiable AES-Telasi employees. There isn't a hint of "ugly American" bashing in the film." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: In browsing the catalogue a while ago, I came across the documentary series Docurama. This title from that series looked interesting, and when I ran it through the NYT website, I saw that it was a Critics' Pick. Since my bicycling expeditions throughout the world have resulted in broadening my cultural interests, I guess I have taken a keen interest in situations where countries have been impacted by U.S. corporations, for good or ill.   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 3:00PM

Cover ArtMy own private Idaho [DVD]
(1991) 85% (100%) (33) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D0CEFDE153CF934A1575AC0A967958260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A homosexual road movie that espouses the family values of a Disney feature and the pop art sensibilities of a Warhol piece — with a dose of Shakespeare added for good measure." CONSENSUS: "A tantalizing glimpse of a talented director and his stars all at the top of their respective games, Gus Van Sant's loose reworking of "Henry IV" is smart, sad and audacious. "My Own Private Idaho" is a cult-American classic that – like anything cleverly multi-layered – should be surveyed and examined several times in order to fully appreciate how and why this film works as a brilliant piece of art, and entertainment." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I have liked the director ever since seeing "To Die For" (1995), and after I recently saw his latest, "Milk", I decided to see what else he's done that I've missed.   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:55PM

Cover ArtMomma's man [videorecording]
(2008) 90% (92%) (40) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/movies/22momm.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Bumped from a flight back to Los Angeles and his life, Mikey returns to his childhood home, a cluttered Manhattan loft presided over by his bohemian parents. His mother tells him he may stay as long as he wants. What begins as a respite from adult responsibility becomes a premature mid-life crisis. Re-installed in a house saturated with two generations of bric-a-brac evoking days gone by, Mikey starts to regress and drift back to an awkward youth he never outgrew." CONSENSUS: "Moody yet touching, "Momma's Man" successfully illustrates with elegant simplicity the struggles of a man consumed with his adolescence." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: A high RT score (90%) and a NYT Critics' Pick make it easy to take a chance. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:51PM

Cover ArtLock, stock and two smoking barrels [DVD]
(1998) 71% (57%) (49) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9407E3D8163FF936A35750C0A96F958260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "British writer Guy Ritchie made his feature directorial debut with this crime-caper comedy-drama set in London's East End. A streetwise charmer who loses his friends' money in a rigged game comes up with a plan to make everything come out right, but ends up in a comedy of errors." CONSENSUS: "With a big debt to "The Usual Suspects" and "Reservoir Dogs", like the approach to population control, Mr. Ritchie revels in the sheer knottiness of scheming. He makes it lively while it lasts and empty when it's over." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I like well-made British gangster movies (like "Mona Lisa" (1986) with Bob Hoskins and Robbie Coltrane), and since this title kept coming up in reviews of other similar films I've since seen ("Sexy Beast" (2000), "Eastern Promises" (2007), I decided to request it.   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:46PM

Cover ArtA life less ordinary [DVD]
(1997) 47% (17%) (34) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=9D07E0DC103EF937A15753C1A961958260&scp=3&sq=A%20Life%20Less%20Ordinary%20(1997)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A rich, spoiled young woman and a hapless janitor are star-crossed lovers in this twisted romantic comedy. The third film from the director (Danny Boyle) behind "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting," "A Life Less Ordinary" melds the director's usual buoyant energy with a plot that is pure, vintage fluff. And if that sounds too good to be true, it is: Mr. Boyle's brand of heaven-sent love story comes with a strange and whimsical mean streak." CONSENSUS: "As in "Trainspotting", Mr. Boyle makes lively use of unexpectedly surreal touches. These diversions add fizz that the love story itself often lacks. "A Life Less Ordinary" shows off the obvious talents of all concerned without seeming entirely at ease in its lighthearted milieu. There are dark edges to Mr. Boyle's work even when he shoots scenes in a pure white heaven." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: It's all about searching out films by director Danny Boyle; whether they succeed or not, his films never fail to surprise (NYT's Pauline Kael's highest praise for a film). Since the very popular single copy of "Trainspotting" is taking a full five months to arrive for my viewing pleasure, my next Danny Boyle film (I'm thinking either "Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise" (2001), the highly rated "darkly comic glimpse of Britain", or his Hichcockian "Shallow Grave" (1994) may have to come via ILL (interlibrary loan).   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:44PM

Cover ArtI.O.U.S.A. [videorecording] : one nation, under stress, in debt
(doc) (2008) 91% (100%0 (55) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/movies/22ious.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=I.O.U.S.A.%20(2008)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: ""I.O.U.S.A." tells the story of America in debt. Faced with key deficits in budget, savings, trade and leadership, increased foreign competition and ballooning financial obligations, the federal government is critically overextended. With the economy already in shambles, 78 million baby boomers are now expecting retirement benefits from their indebted federal government. Weaving together archival footage, economic data and candid interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O'Neill, Robert Rubin, Alice Rivlin and Paul Volcker, along with David Walker of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, the film offers a vivid and alarming profile of America's financial status." CONSENSUS: "A potent and lithely constructed documentary about America's financial crisis, "I.O.U.S.A." grabs you with figures but holds you with irreverent wit." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Well, even with all of PBS' "Frontline" documentaries and Bill Moyer's weekly Friday night offerings, I can't get enough on the subject. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:39PM

Cover ArtHeavenly creatures [DVD]
(1994) 95% (100%) (45) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9804E5DD1231F935A25752C1A962958260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Heavenly Creatures" represented a departure of sorts for horror director Peter Jackson and was the first film to earn him widespread critical acclaim. Jackson both co-wrote and co-produced the picture, which is based on an actual 1954 murder case.The two protagonists, New Zealand schoolgirls Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet), first meet when Juliet is introduced to Pauline's class as a new student. Pauline, an introvert who feels misunderstood by her family and peers, is instantly smitten with the sophisticated and self-confident newcomer, and the girls become best friends. Eventually, Pauline and Juliet begin spending more and more time together, withdrawing into a magical land of their own invention--Borovnia, a fairy-tale kingdom populated by lifesize clay figures. The girls' distraught families fear that the friendship is becoming unhealthy, and Juliet's parents decide to end things by sending their daughter away. Faced with their impending separation, the girls decide nothing will tear them apart, leading to an unexpectedly grisly denouement made even more unnerving by the ignorance of their own delusion." CONSENSUS: "Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" is chillingly unforgettable." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Since Kate Winslet finally won her first Oscar this year (for the wrong movie, I think), I'm searching out her earlier works that I am less familiar with, starting with this, her screen debut. I think I saw this some time ago on TCM. BTW, as I picked up this ILL (interlibrary loan) DVD the other day, my friendly librarian told me that the real-life Juliet Hulme has written best-selling murder mysteries for years under the pseudonym Anne Perry.   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:36PM

Cover ArtCountry matters [videorecording]
(1972) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/countrymatters.php * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "10 randomly selected episodes of PBS' "Masterpiece Theater" series that are adaptations of short stories by A.E. Coppard and H.E. Bates, set against the English countryside during the post-World War I period. Recognizable faces like Ian McKellan ("Gods and Monsters"), Peter Firth ("MI-5"), and Pauline Collins (Harriet Jones of "Doctor Who", "Shaun of the Dead") get to play in meticulously designed sets and real country locations." CONSENSUS: "While the episodes reveal the timeless and constant qualities of the British landscape and its people, once you realize that every tale is going to finish with an unhappy twist makes watching an exercise in masochism." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I thought it would be interesting to see some of my favorite British actors (Ian McKellan, Peter Firth, Prunella Scales, and others who have since become familiar to me) performing 37 years ago. [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:33PM

Cover ArtBrides of Christ [videorecording]
(1991) N/A (N/A) (0) http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117900926.html?categoryid=31&cs=1 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "A thoughtful, concerned account of fictional Roman Catholic nuns and their boarding school during the 1960s, "Brides of Christ" explores the issues of church restrictions and reverential joy in its six-hour, three-episode journey. Behind convent walls, six remarkable women are caught between centuries old tradition and the radical changes reshaping society in the 1960's. In their care are spirited teenagers eager to experience newfound freedoms of their generation." CONSENSUS: "If the 1991 "Brides" is not the whizbang exploitation series suggested by a warning about "adult themes," it's at least a serious attempt, if not a riveting one, to explore a special world. For alternative programming during the dog days of network TV, it's a winner." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Since seeing Meryl Streep in "Doubt" (2008) (11 Apr 09 listing), I must have been subconsciously wanting to find out more about nuns, and lo and behold, here it is! [New purchase by HCL]   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:30PM

Cover ArtBefore the rain [videorecording] : (a tale in three parts)
#3 (1994) 85% (N/A) (13) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990CEFDF173BF937A15751C0A963958260&scp=4&sq=Before%20the%20Rain&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "The lives of an orthodox Christian monk, a British photo agent, and a native Macedonian war photographer cross to paint a portrait of ethnic and religious hatred. "Before the Rain" is a tale set between modern London and the timeless hills of Macedonia, in former Yugoslavia. Through a parable of intertwined lives, it attempts to answer the tragic riddle of why the Balkan states are perpetually at war. Divided into three sections, the connection between seemingly disparate events and people only becomes clear at the film's end. In "Words," a pure and innocent Macedonian monk breaks his vows in order to hide an Albanian girl accused of murder. "Faces" dramatizes an Englishwoman's struggle to choose between her husband and her lover, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer who is about to return to his native Macedonia. And "Pictures," the final segment, follows the photographer as he tries to comprehend the violence and bloodshed that have so transformed his nation's landscape and turned one-time friends into bitter enemies." CONSENSUS: "Dealing with the Balkan wars, this is an ambitious and compassionate art film that contrasts the calm beauty of the Macedonian landscape with the harrowing violence that erupts within its borders." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: When everything changed forever after Yugoslavia's Tito died and the Sarajevo Olympics became a distant memory, I became fascinated with that part of the world (sort of like how one can't stop from looking as they pass the scene of an accident or fire). This film should provide interesting context.   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:28PM

Cover ArtAli Zaoua [videorecording]
(2000) 73% (N/A) (11) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9905EEDA113BF935A25757C0A9659C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Abandoned by their parents, Ali, Kwita, Omar and Boubker are a group of street urchins living in the hard streets of Casablanca. Their everyday lives are filled with violence, roaming the streets begging for money, and indifference. In order to survive, they create a bond of friendship and become each other's surrogate family. "Ali Zaoua" depicts its subjects as children--who despite having been forced to grow up too soon--manage to retain their youthful imaginations. This creativity and naive hopefulness is seen most clearly through several (animated) hallucination sequences." CONSENSUS: ""Ali Zaoua" occasionally crosses the line into heavy-handedness. But it's the eyes of the children that stay with you after "Ali Zaoua" is over — as well as the compassion that's evident in every frame. "Ali Zaoua" captures the power of dreams and presence of hope in the harshest of circumstances." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: After I enjoyed "The Grocer's Son" (21 Apr 09 listing), I noticed that it is part of the Film Movement Series (10 films currently). So now I'm going to try this second selection from the series.)   posted Jun 1, 2009 at 2:23PM

Cover ArtTrouble in paradise [DVD]
(1932) 91% (88%) (22) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=990DE5DB1E31E333A2575AC0A9679D946394D6CF * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 27, 2009 at 11:26PM

Cover ArtLacombe Lucien [DVD]
(1974) N/A (N/A) (3) NYT Critics Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=EE05E7DF173BBA2CA34B4CC9B679988C6896 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 26, 2009 at 11:52AM

Cover Art4 little girls [DVD]
(1997) 100% (100%) (25) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9500EED71439F93AA35754C0A961958260 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 26, 2009 at 12:17AM

Cover ArtStuck [videorecording]
(2007) 73% (76%) (84) PAID http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/movies/30stuc.html?scp=5&sq=Stuck%20(2007)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 23, 2009 at 8:16PM

Cover ArtShine a light [videorecording]
(2008) 86% (88%) (116) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/movies/04shin.html# * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 22, 2009 at 10:55AM

Cover ArtA man named Pearl [videorecording]
(2008) 74% (88%) (27) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/movies/18pear.html?scp=1&sq=A%20Man%20Named%20Pearl%20(2008)&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 21, 2009 at 1:21PM

Cover ArtEl Bola [videorecording]
(2000) 91% (N/A) (11) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9400E0DD1F3AF936A35757C0A9649C8B63 * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 21, 2009 at 1:21PM

Cover ArtChris & Don [videorecording] : a love story
(2007) 94% (100%) (34) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/06/13/movies/13chri.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 8:38PM

Cover ArtBottle shock [videorecording]
(2008) 48% (52%) (113) http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/movies/06bott.html * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 8:38PM

Cover ArtWhen the levees broke [DVD] : a requiem in four acts
(doc) (2006) 96% (100%) (26) http://movies.nytimes.com/2006/08/21/arts/television/21leve.html?scp=3&sq=When%20the%20Levees%20broke&st=cse * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Four acts document distinct perspectives on the pivotal events that preceeded and followed Katrina's passage through New Orleans, a catastrophe during which the divide between race and class lines has never been more pronounced. With a runtime of over four hours, this HBO-produced Spike Lee documentary is the definitive word on Hurricane Katrina." CONSENSUS: "A powerful and important piece of filmmaking, "When the Levees Broke" is an eye-opening account of a catastrophe that could so easily have been avoided." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Since I enjoyed the style of Spike Lee's doc "4 Little Girls" (20 May 09 listing), a heartfelt look at that awful day in Birmingham, an event that kickstarted the civil rights movement, I thought I would like to see his take on Katrina. [New purchase by HCL]   posted May 20, 2009 at 1:33AM

Cover ArtQuai des orfevres [DVD]
(1947) 100% (100%) (29) PAID http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-kenny17jan17,0,2562848.story * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 1:30AM

Cover ArtThe lovers [videorecording] = Les amants
(1958) 100% (N/A) (7) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A03EEDD123DE53BBC4F51DFB6678382649EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 1:29AM

Cover ArtThe earrings of Madame de-- [videorecording]
(1953) 100% (100%) (24) PAID NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review? res=9D05E7D81438E23BBC4851DFB166838F649EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 1:27AM

Cover ArtBand of outsiders [DVD] = Bande a part
(1964) 95% (100%) (39) http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9807EEDB113BE13ABC4152DFBF66838F679EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * *   posted May 20, 2009 at 1:25AM


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