Unashamedly, this is my favorite movie of all time. From the dialogue, to the acting, to the story, everything about this movie is awesome. If you never have, you owe it to yourself to see it. The story centers around hardened bar owner Rick, a lost love, and sticking it to some Nazis, which always make for good entertainment. As usual with a superior movie like this one, it’s about all that and more.
I've been experiencing an unusual run of good films on standard definition DVD lately, though most are not of any special demonstration quality, nothing gets blowed-up real good in most of them, few were big hits, and several are set in the past. But I'm a sucker for almost any historical film or TV miniseries (HBO's two part Elizabeth I resides on the HD PVR in my cable box even now waiting for me to find the 4 hours I need to invest in watching it!)
Extras: 2/5 Spacey stars as Jack Abramoff, the real-life Washington power player who resorted to jaw-dropping levels of fraud and corruption. High-rolling excess and outrageous escapades are all in a day's work for Abramoff, as he goes to outrageous lengths to promote the Indian gambling industry, earning him the nickname "Casino Jack." But when Jack and his womanizing protégé Michael Scanlon enlist a dimwitted business partner for an illegal scheme, they find themselves ensnared in a web of greed and murder that explodes into a worldwide scandal.
Extras: 3.5/5 "Casino Royale" introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinations in quick succession, he is elevated to "00" status. "M", head of the British Secret Service, sends the newly-promoted 007 on his first mission that takes him to Madagascar, the Bahamas and eventually leads him to Montenegro to face Le Chiffre, a ruthless financier under threat from his terrorist clientele, who is attempting to restore his funds in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale. "M" places Bond under the watchful eye of the Treasury official Vesper Lynd. At first skeptical of what value Vesper can provide, Bond's interest in her deepens as they brave danger together. Le Chiffre's cunning and cruelty come to bear on them both in a way Bond could never imagine, and he learns his most important lesson: Trust no one.
Extras: 3/5 Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci star in director Martin Scorsese's riveting look at how blind ambition, white-hot passion and 24-karat greed toppled an empire. Las Vegas 1973 is the setting for this fact-based story about the Mob's multi-million dollar casino operation where fortunes and lives were made and lost with a roll of the dice.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Nathalie Baye, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic widescreen). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French), Dolby Digital 2.0, DTS. Two discs. 141 minutes. 2002. DreamWorks 39570. PG-13. $29.99.
In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, "Catfish" is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.
This film was shot as a documentary with lower budget HD cameras. So compared to most full cinema productions, this one looks pretty low rent. Detail is still quite good though with brighter scenes looking like they should. There is a mix of camera types being used so as the film progresses the video quality bounces back and forth, but given the nature of the film there is nothing to really complain about.
To call insurance agent Tim Lippe, "naive" is a gross understatement. He's never left his small hometown. He's never stayed at a hotel. And he's never experienced anything like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sent to represent his company at the annual insurance convention, Tim is soon distracted by three convention veterans who will show him the ropes and push his boundaries. For a guy who plays everything by the book, this convention will be anything but conventional.
Extras: 3.5/5 AD 117: The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts led by revenge-hungry Pict Warrior Etain. When the Roman legion is ambushed, the seven surviving Romans pledge to rescue their leader and return to Rome to re-group.
Extras: 3.5/5 Los Angeles, 1928: On a Saturday morning in a working class suburb, Christine said goodbye to her son Walter, and left for work. When she came home, she discovered he had vanished. A fruitless search ensues, and months later, a boy claiming to be the nine year old is returned. Dazed by the swirl of cops, reporters and her conflicted emotions, Christine allows him to stay overnight. But in her heart, she knows he is not Walter. As she pushes authorities to keep looking, she learns that in Prohibition-era L.A., women don't challenge the system and live to tell their story. Slandered as delusional and unfit, Christine finds an ally in activist Reverend Briegleb, who helps her fight the city to look for her missing boy.
Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige. Directed by Hugh Hudson. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1(anamorphic). 124 minutes. 1981. Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital mono (French). Warner Brothers 31908. PG. $26.99.
Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly. Directed by Rob Marshall. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French). 113 minutes. 2002. Buena Vista Home Video. 45510. PG-13. $24.99
Extras: 3.5/5 Something unspeakable is alive in the cornfields of rural Gatlin, Nebraska, where a boy preacher has led the village's children in a slaughter of all the adults. But when a traveling couple stumble across this deserted town, they become prisoners of child madman Isaac, his henchman Malachai and their kid cult of unholy believers. Judgment Day has arrived: Will the blood of the "outlanders" flow in sacrifice to their god or is the final fury of "He Who Walks Behind The Rows" coming for them all?
Extras: 1.5/5 A young autistic girl learns to fight from watching TV and the fighters from the boxing school next door. When she finds a list of debtors in her ailing mother's diary, she sets upon a violent quest to collect payment for medical expenses. Her quest is a dangerous one that ultimately leads her to her father, a mafia member of the Yakuza.