Although Hollywood has been mixing genres and tinkering with styles since film began, few movies as adeptly combine action, romance, and comedy as 1984’s Romancing the Stone. And, while its 1985 sequel fails to re-create the same magic, both films have a carefree approach that holds up 20 years later on DVD—albeit one that seems almost quaint in such an age of political correctness.
A sad but strangely triumphant story, The Sea Inside follows the life of a quadriplegic who spent nearly three decades fighting for his right to assisted suicide. Javier Bardem plays the resolute man, poet Ramon Sampedro, who was paralyzed in a diving accident in his late teens and struggled with the Spanish government until 1998. Although writer/ director Alejandro Amenabar never attempts to justify Sampedro's decision, he draws a multifaceted character whose reasons for choosing to end his life make sense, no matter which side of the debate you might fall on.
Following a difficult breakup with his girlfriend, Peter (Marcus Thomas) decides to audition for a community-theater production of Cyrano de Bergerac, even though he lacks any acting experience. Despite a less-than-stellar reading with the theater's star actor, Michael (John Corbett), the show's producer sees a spark in Peter and gives him the part. With a lot of advice from the rest of the cast, Marcus eventually finds his inner actor—and learns a little bit about himself along the way.
Earning the cinephile treatment in a new three-disc collection, the Bill & Ted oeuvre is a sweet-natured reminder that movies don't have to be art to entertain. For anyone who grew up in the neon-colored '80s, this proto-Wayne's World duo of bumbling wisdom represented the heart of teenage angst without all of the rough edges. Their concerns were simple: impending homework, elusive girls, and ill-gotten beer.