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Mike the Bike's PAID Viewing Choices (current as of 31 Dec 09)
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.   Print this list Print this list
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12 [videorecording]
19 Nov 09 - Updating of the Henry Fonda "12 Angry Men" classic
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2 days in Paris [videorecording]
22 Nov 09 - for Julie Delpy fans (also has great commentary from the actress, who also wrote the screenplay, directed, produced, and wrote the music!; also check out "Before Sunrise" & "Before Sunset," two earlier Delpy classics from Dir. Richard Linklater (both with Ethan Hawke).
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21 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.
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A clockwork orange [videorecording]
21 Apr09 - (2007 2-disc special edition from catalogue) - Stanley Kubrick's classic. Orwellian fantasy? - maybe, maybe not. NYT Vincent Canby at **** http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/010972kubrick-orange.html **** with a counter from Roger Ebert **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19720211/REVIEWS/202110301/1023 ****
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A 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 ****
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Adoration [videorecording]
09 Nov 09 - Almost as good as Dir. Atom Egoyan's previous "The Sweet Hereafter" (no current copies; go ILL - Inter Library Loan). Check out Roger Ebert's review at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090520/REVIEWS/905209985/1023 ****
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Adventureland [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.
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Amores 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.
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Anvil! [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.
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Avant que j'oublie [videorecording]
11 Apr 09 - "Before I Forget" is a film I would have passed on except for NYT critic Stephen Holden's review **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/movies/18forg.html? **** Dir. Jacques Nolot's portrayal of an aging gay is heart breaking. For those of us middle-aged or slightly past, this is a timeless reflection on aging, not just gay aging.
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Ballast [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 ****
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Barton 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 ****
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Beauty 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 ****
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Before 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 ****
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Blood 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 ****
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Born 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 ****
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Brazil [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 ****
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Breaking the waves [videorecording]
10 Nov 09 - Sad news; no more copies, AND it was permanently delisted from the catalogue (IMHO, it should have remained in perpetuity with a blacked out "no copies" listing). Everybody has different levels of tolerance, but I think the person after me couldn't stand the two minor (IMHO) frame freezes in an otherwise heartbreaking film). Get it via ILL. Roger Ebert reviews at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19961129/REVIEWS/611290302/1023 ****
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Brotherhood. 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/ ****
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Brotherhood. 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/ ****
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Carmen & 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? ****
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Che. 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 ****
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Che. 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 ****
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Chinatown [videorecording]
11 Nov 09 - (2009 2-disc version in catalogue) - If you've seen it before, just get it for the bonus materials. Roger Ebert also gives a good historical overview **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000206/REVIEWS08/2060301/1023 ****
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Cidade de Deus [videorecording] = City of god
17 Jun 09 - Topic: slums - but not necessarily for fans of "Slumdog Millionaire" & "Born into Brothels". Stephan Hunter of the Washington Post gives a detailed commentary **** http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2003/01/24/AR2005033116342.html ****
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Cyclo [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 ****
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Dark city [videorecording]
17 Dec 09 - This would be a film to see on the large screen. Roger Ebert at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051106/REVIEWS08/511060302/1023 ****
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Dersu Uzala [videorecording]
30 Apr 09 - Akira Kurosawa film, but Soviet collaborators make for uneven second half. NYT review at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=940CE2D9143EE334BC4D53DFB667838D669EDE ****
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Elegy [videorecording]
04 Apr 09 - Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley. New Yorker review at **** http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2008/08/11/080811crci_cinema_denby?currentPage=2 ****
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Every little step [videorecording]
13 Nov 09 - Never having seen "A Chorus Line," this doc was a great introduction to Broadway. NYT review at *** http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/movies/17step.html?partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes&ei=5083 ****
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Extras [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 ****
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Homicide [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 ****
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Humpday [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 ****
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Hunger [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 ****
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I.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 ****
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Il 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 ****
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In 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/ ****
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In 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."
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Ital'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 ****
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Knife 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 ****
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Le deuxieme souffle [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - The best B/W film of French Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, using his favorite muse, Lino Ventura. Great prison breakout, crime heist, and jazz score. Review by Chris Cabin at **** http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/reviews/La-Deuxieme-Souffle ****
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Le fils d'epicier [videorecording] = The grocer's son
21 Apr 09 - Surprise French box-office hit - a prodigal son, coming of age story. NYT Critic's Pick. Review by Stephen Holden at **** http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/movies/06groc.html ****
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Lock, 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 ****
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Madame 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 ****
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Man 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 ****
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Maria 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 ****
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Nothing 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 ****
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Quai 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 ****
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Repulsion [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 ****
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Slumdog 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 ****
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Starting out in the evening [videorecording]
31 Dec 09 - A literate "Elegy" for booklovers. Roger Ebert's take at **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071213/REVIEWS/712130306/1023 **** SO IF YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING ALONG, IT'S NOW THE END OF 2009. I'LL BE STARTING MY 2010 "PAID" LIST TOMORROW. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Stuck [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 ****
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Tell 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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The exiles [videorecording]
10 Dec 09 - A film that just seems so real, documenting a culture at a certain time and place. One of the few films all Top Critics at Rottentomatoes rated "Fresh." Roger Ebert says **** http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080717/REVIEWS/900668598/1023 ****
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The kid stays in the picture [videorecording]
21 Apr 09 - Hollywood producer ("Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown," "The Godfather," among others) Robert Evans was always larger than life. Review by Stephanie Zacharek at **** http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2002/07/26/kid_stays_in/index.html ****
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The 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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The 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 ****
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Trouble 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 ****
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Valentino [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 ****
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What 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 ****
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