Cast Away reunites star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in their first collaboration since the heavy-handed sentimentality of Forrest Gump. Thankfully, this time their film's life-affirming message is delivered with more subtlety, attributable both to an extraordinarily committed, physically demanding central performance from Hanks and to Zemeckis' technically masterful but carefully understated direction. It's also a film with three distinct "acts" or, to be old-fashioned about it, a proper beginning, middle and end. The story follows schedule-obsessed but fulfilled FedEx supervisor Chuck Noland (Act 1) on a personal journey into the bleakest, most solitary despair (Act 2), before Helen Hunt, in the thankless role of ex-girlfriend, unwittingly allows him to glimpse an optimistic future full of untapped possibilities (Act 3). Hanks' sojourn on the island is the centrepiece, but this is no tropical island idyll: following a terrifying plane crash (the one sequence in the film where Zemeckis shows off his uncanny ability to choreograph action), life on the island is seen to be a depressing and bitter experience filled with disappointment, danger and suicidal despair. Having lost all hope of rescue, ultimately Noland's greatest test is not to survive, but to find a reason to survive. He has no Man Friday for company, just a volleyball named "Wilson" that is both a narrative device allowing Hanks to deliver dialogue and an intriguingly pagan personification of the island's spirit under whose protection Noland is finally able to summon fire (significantly, and heartbreakingly, Wilson leaves him as he regains contact with the world). In an era of MTV-style film editing, Zemeckis and Hanks fearlessly take their time establishing with total conviction the grim realities of Noland's situation, his devastating loss of hope and the means by which he achieves his escape. Like Contact before it, Cast Away is a refreshingly thoughtful piece of mainstream cinema that explores weighty existential issues but retains a warm human intimacy. On the DVD: The luminous anamorphic print with vivid Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is accompanied on the first disc by a technical commentary from Zemeckis and key crew personnel. It's plenty insightful for budding filmmakers, although for pure listening pleasure one might have preferred a more relaxed piece with just the director and Tom Hanks. The second disc includes a 30-minute making-of documentary in which the director sums up the moral of the movie--"Surviving is easy but living is difficult". This draws on material from the three other mini-documentaries about survival skills, Wilson the volleyball and the Fijian island location of Monu Riki respectively. There's also a section on the sometimes surprising use of CGI effects and a storyboard-to-film comparison sequence. Tom Hanks chats with American TV host Charlie Rose about this movie and his career in the extensive 50-minute interview. Trailers, artwork and stills round out a valuable two-disc set. --Mark Walker
First and foremost a star vehicle for Tom Cruise, this paper-thin Horatio Alger story of a young bartender with dreams of get-rich-quick success is notable only for Cruise's immense likeability in contrast to a creaky plot and thinly drawn characters. Cruise plays Brian Flanagan, a young entrepreneur and ladies' man who with his mentor (Bryan Brown) takes the New York bar scene by storm. Through setbacks and tragedy, Brian eventually realises there's more to life than a quick buck, and fights for the woman he loves (Elisabeth Shue). Despite its shortcomings, a worthwhile viewing for Tom Cruise fans. --Robert Lane, Amazon.com
The Godfather: (1972) Considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made Francis Ford Coppola's epic masterpiece features Oscar winner Marlon Brando as the head of the Corleone family. Coppola paints a chilling portrait of a Sicilian family's rise and near fall from power in America and the passage of rites from a father to a son who was previously uninvolved in the business. Godfather Part II: (1974) The Godfather Part II is one of the rare breed of cinematic seq
Noel Coward's timeless movie of a couple who meet in a railway station and must make a decision that will change their lives forever.
SING STREET takes us back to 1980s Dublin where an economic recession forces Conor out of his comfortable private school and into survival mode at the inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious and Ã¼ber-cool Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band's music videos. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he's promised calling himself Cosmo and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the 80s, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their hearts into writing lyrics and shooting videos. Combining Carney's trademark warmth and humour with a punk rock edge, and featuring a memorable soundtrack with hits from The Cure, Duran Duran, The Police, and Genesis, SING STREET is an electrifying coming-of-age film that will resonate with music fans across the board.
In a world where heroes are often in short supply, the story of Erin Brockovich is an inspirational reminder of the power of the human spirit.
By now, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have amassed such a fund of goodwill with moviegoers that any new onscreen pairing brings nearly reflexive smiles. In You've Got Mail, the quintessential boy and girl next door repeat the tentative romantic crescendo that made Sleepless in Seattle, writer-director Nora Ephron's previous excursion with the duo, a massive hit. The prospective couple do actually meet face to face early on but Mail otherwise repeats the earlier feature's gentle, extended tease of saving its romantic resolution until the final, gauzy shot. The underlying narrative is an even more old-fashioned romantic pas de deux that is casually hooked to a newfangled device. The script, cowritten by the director and her sister, Delia Ephron, updates and relocates the Ernst Lubitsch classic, The Shop Around the Corner, to contemporary Manhattan, where Joe Fox (Hanks) is a cheerfully rapacious merchant whose chain of book superstores is gobbling up smaller, more specialized shops such as the children's bookstore owned by Kathleen Kelly (Ryan). Their lives run in close parallel in the same idealized neighbourhood yet they first meet anonymously, online, where they gradually nurture a warm, even intimate correspondence. As they begin to wonder whether this e-mail flirtation might lead them to be soul mates, however, they meet and clash over their colliding business fortunes. It's no small testament to the two stars that we wind up liking and caring about them despite the inevitable (and highly manipulative) arc of the plot. Although their chemistry transcended the consciously improbable romantic premise of Sleepless, enabling director Ephron to attain a kind of amorous soufflé, this time around there's a slow leak that considerably deflates the affair. Less credulous viewers will challenge Joe's logic in prolonging the concealment of his online identity from Kathleen, and may shake their heads at Ephron's reinvention of Manhattan as a spotless, sun-dappled wonderland where everybody lives in million-dollar apartments and colour co-ordinates their wardrobes for cocktail parties. --Sam Sutherland
A senatorial candidate falls for a hotel maid, thinking she is a socialite when he sees her trying on a wealthy woman's dress.
Russell Crowe stars as a highly successful investment expert who discovers a part of himself that he'd lost in this romantic drama.
BROOKLYN is the story of a young woman, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan; Atonement) who moves from a small town in Ireland to Brooklyn, where, unlike home, she has the opportunity for work, a future - and love, in the form of Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen; The Place Beyond The Pines). However, when Eilis returns temporarily to Ireland she finds herself absorbed into her old community, but now with eligible Jim (Domhnall Gleeson; About Time) courting her. As she repeatedly postpones her departure back to America, Eilis finds herself confronting a terrible dilemma - a heart-breaking choice between two countries and two futures.
When a retired criminal prosecutor decides to try his hand at writing a novel he finds himself inextricably drawn into the harrowing events of an unsolved crime. Re-investigating the brutal rape and murder of a beautiful woman he discovers devastated lives, corrupt government officials and a lost love. But as he delves deeper he finds himself at the dark heart of society, where mysteries lurk in the shadows and danger waits around every corner.Strewn with ingenious twists and turns, this stunning, edge-of-your-seat thriller is a cinematic tour de force of nail-biting suspense and white-knuckle excitement. Hailed by critics and the public alike, this critically-acclaimed box office smash has also been graced with film's greatest accolade: an Academy Award.
The legendary story that hovers over Orson Welles' The Stranger is that he wanted Agnes Moorehead to star as the dogged Nazi hunter who trails a war criminal to a sleepy New England town. The part went to Edward G. Robinson, who is marvellous, but it points out how many compromises Welles made on the film in an attempt to show Hollywood he could make a film on time, on budget and on their own terms. He accomplished all three, turning out a stylish if unambitious film noir thriller, his only Hollywood film to turn a profit on its original release. Welles stars as unreformed fascist Franz Kindler, hiding as a schoolteacher in a New England prep school for boys and newly married to the headmaster's lovely if naive daughter (Loretta Young). Welles, the director, is in fine form for the opening sequences, casting a moody tension as agents shadow a twitchy low-level Nazi official skulking through South American ports and building up to dramatic crescendo as Kindler murders this little man, the lovely woods becoming a maelstrom of swirling leaves that expose the body he furiously tries to bury. The rest of the film is a well designed but conventional cat-and-mouse game featuring an eye-rolling performance by Welles and a thrilling conclusion played out in the dark clock tower that looms over the little village. --Sean Axmaker
Digitally Re-mastered for the very first time! Based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel Jeremy Irons stars as Charles Ryder a disillusioned army captain who is moved to reflect on his languid days in the enchanted castle that was Brideshead home of the aristocratic Marchmain family whose acquaintance Charles made in the company of Oxford classmate the charming wild-child Sebastian. Anthony Andrews co-stars as the doomed Sebastian. Sebastian takes Charles under his wing but vows early on that he is not going to let Charles get mixed up with his family. But mixed up Charles gets! He becomes a friend and confidante not to mention a lover to Sebastian's sister Julia (Diana Quick). Meanwhile the self-destructive Sebastian's life spirals out of control. Brideshead Revisited boasts a distinguished ensemble cast including Laurence Olivier in his Emmy Award-winning role as the exiled Lord Merchmain Claire Bloom as Lady Merchmain and the magnificent John Gielgud as Charle's estranged father. Grand locations and a haunting musical score make this a memorable revisit of an irretrievable bygone era. Episodes comprise: 1. Et In Arcadia Ego 2. Home And Abroad 3. The Bleak Light Of Day 4. Sebastian Against The World 5. A Blow Upon A Bruise 6. Julia 7. The Unseen Hook 8. Brideshead Deserted 9. Orphans Of The Storm 10. A Twitch Upon A Thread 11. Brideshead Revisited
Some called it a snooze-fest, while others tearfully clutched their Kleenex. In any case, Clint Eastwood was an unusual and (as it turned out) perceptive choice to direct and costar in this lush adaptation of Robert James Waller's phenomenally bestselling novel. Meryl Streep costars as Francesca, the lonely Iowa farmer's wife who is instantly attracted to Robert (Eastwood), the photographer from National Geographic who is in the area to photograph the bridges along Iowa's rural roadways. The two fall in love while Francesca's husband and children are away at a county fair, but the story's passion and lasting appeal derive from their decision to part forever after just a few brief days of intimate connection. Superbly acted with an emphasis on quiet, graceful moments of tender revelation, the film builds to a crescendo of powerful and conflicting emotions. Like David Lean's Brief Encounter (to which it bears marked similarities), The Bridges of Madison County is destined to become one of the classic film love stories. --Jeff Shannon
A gritty crime series with strong female lead characters and the career breakthrough which started Lynda La Plante on her path as one of television's highest profile writers - Widows was a smash hit for ITV and has now been adapted into a major motion picture by acclaimed director Steve McQueen. Both series of Widows are presented here as brand-new restorations from their original film materials. Also included is the sequel series made ten years later: She's Out. When their villain husbands are killed during the attempted robbery of a security van, three widows have a chance to start afresh. Then one of them finds the robbery plans and they decide to finish what their husbands started...
Michael Collins tells the powerful, turbulent story of one of Ireland's most controversial patriots and revolutionary heroes, known as The Lion Of Ireland', who leads his countrymen in their fight for independence. Set in the early 20th century, when a monumental history of oppression and bloodshed had divided Ireland and its people, the film covers the bloody 1916 Easter Uprising, when Irish revolutionaries surrendered to the overwhelming military power of the British forces and Collins was arrested. Upon his release, he takes leadership of the Irish independence movement and strives to create a free and peaceful country.
David Hayman plays the lead role in this true prison story of Jimmy Boyle, Glasgow's toughest racketeer in the sixties. When Boyle was sentenced to life imprisonment his was known as Scotland's Most Violent Man'. With nothing to lose Boyle sets about becoming the warders worst nightmare. A shocking true story about his fight against the system. Not for the faint-hearted. Written by Jimmy Boyle From his best-selling book Known great seller 2 disc set with original and clean' versions
From acclaimed director Steve McQueen comes the incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. It is 1841 and Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Before Sunrise: Yesterday strangers today inseparable soulmates. But separate they must in just a few hours. Jesse and Celine are making every moment count pouring as much living as they can into the time before sunrise... From Richard Linklater comes a smartly observed tale of young people at a crossroads. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play twentysomethings who meet on a train in Europe sense a connection and explore after-hours Vienna together. The people places and allure
The true story of several remarkable contrarian investors who, recognizing just how insane the housing bubble and subprime mortgage market had become, figured out how to short the market and make a killing during the financial collapse of 2008.
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