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|Downton Abbey Seasons 1 & 2 Limited Edition Set - Original UK Version
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The original and unedited UK version of Seasons 1 and 2 of the hit show Downton Abbey in one limited-edition boxed set. Welcome to Downton Abbey, the splendid ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) and their daughters, who live there under the watchful eye of the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith). The household is a complicated community, with the servants below stairs as fiercely jealous of their ranks as anyone above. From the sinking of the Titanic to the First World War, the secure and ordered world of Downton is rocked as the lives of the inhabitants are shaped by romance, ambition, and heartbreak.
Enjoy this collection of both seasons of the Golden Globe® and multi-Emmy Award®-winning, Guinness World RecordTM-holding (highest critical review rating for a TV show), most talked-about program in recent memory, including the special Christmas episode.
This DVD set features subtitles in English (SDH).
Downton Abbey's first two seasons are packaged in a splendid boxed set that every fan of the series, and any historical drama, will love. Season one sets a lavish stage of beautiful scenery and architecture, and a class structure rigid yet just beginning to give way at the beginning of the 20th century, and of the Great War. Season two picks up two years later, in 1916, as the war rages on over Europe, and grand Downton Abbey has been converted into a convalescent hospital for wounded veterans of the brutal combat. Throughout both seasons, the storylines involving the wealthy Crawley family and their servants are captivating, richly developed, and all too human. Season one focuses, as it must, on quickly giving biographies of the main cast members and their roles in the stately home of Downton Abbey. Standouts include Hugh Bonneville as Lord Crawley, Earl of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern as his American wife, Lady Cora. The Crawleys' three daughters quickly show their distinct personalities and passions--and passion they are determined to have. Downstairs, the servants include Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates and Rob James-Collier as Thomas Barrow the footman, whose rising position in the household is threatened by Bates's return; Thomas immediately begins schemes to undermine Bates. Maggie Smith steals every scene she's in as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham. The bons mots fly out of the countess's mouth and she is wickedly funny as the elder stateswoman who has seen it all and is shocked by absolutely nothing. If Smith tends to chew the scenery, it doesn't really matter--since Downton Abbey has scenery to spare.
This boxed set is rich with extras. Fans will be captivated by the making-of featurette showing the details as originally envisioned by series creator Julian Fellowes (writer of Gosford Park and the TV series Titanic). Another feature examines the incredible attention to period authenticity paid to costumes, dialogue, and décor. Another short feature examines the many love stories unfolding--and given urgency--with World War I as the backdrop. And the transformation of the stately home into a humming wartime hospital is also fascinating. All in all, there are more than 15 hours of immersive entertainment in this five-disc set--best put on another pot of tea before you settle in. --A.T. Hurley
|Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
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Will Ferrel (Old School, Elf) is Ron Burgundy, a top-rated 1970's San Diego anchorman who believes women have a place in the newsroom - as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or late-breaking cooking stories. So when ron is told he'll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who's beautiful, ambitious and smart enough to be more than eye candy, it's not just a clash of two TV people with really great hair - it's war! Filled with wicked wit and slapstick humor, Anchorman is the year's most wildly irreverent, must-see comedy hit!
Will Farrell followed up his star-making vehicle Elf, which matched his fine-tuned comic obliviousness to a sweet sincerity, with a more arrogant variation on the same character: Ron Burgundy, a macho, narcissistic news anchor from the 1970s. Along with his news posse--roving reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd, Clueless), sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner), and dim-bulb weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell, Bruce Almighty)--Burgundy rules the roost in San Diego, fawned upon by groupies and supported by a weary producer (Fred Willard, Best In Show) who tolerates Burgundy's ego because of good ratings. But when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, View from the Top) arrives with ambitions to become an anchor herself, she threatens the male-dominated newsroom. Anchorman has plenty of funny material, but it's as if Farrell couldn't decide what he really wanted to mock, and so took smart-ass cracks at everything in sight. Still, there are moments of inspired delirium. --Bret Fetzer
|Saving Private Ryan (Sapphire Series) [Blu-ray]
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Steven Spielberg directed this powerful, realistic re-creation of WWII's D-day invasion and the immediate aftermath. The story opens with a prologue in which a veteran brings his family to the American cemetery at Normandy, and a flashback then joins Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) and GIs in a landing craft making the June 6, 1944, approach to Omaha Beach to face devastating German artillery fire. This mass slaughter of American soldiers is depicted in a compelling, unforgettable 24-minute sequence. Miller's men slowly move forward to finally take a concrete pillbox. On the beach littered with bodies is one with the name "Ryan" stenciled on his backpack. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell), learning that three Ryan brothers from the same family have all been killed in a single week, requests that the surviving brother, Pvt. James Ryan (Matt Damon), be located and brought back to the United States. Capt. Miller gets the assignment, and he chooses a translator, Cpl. Upham (Jeremy Davis), skilled in language but not in combat, to join his squad of right-hand man Sgt. Horvath (Tom Sizemore), plus privates Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi), cynical Reiben (Edward Burns) from Brooklyn, Italian-American Caparzo (Vin Diesel), and religious Southerner Jackson (Barry Pepper), an ace sharpshooter who calls on the Lord while taking aim. Having previously experienced action in Italy and North Africa, the close-knit squad sets out through areas still thick with Nazis. After they lose one man in a skirmish at a bombed village, some in the group begin to question the logic of losing more lives to save a single soldier. The film's historical consultant is Stephen E. Ambrose, and the incident is based on a true occurrence in Ambrose's 1994 bestseller D-Day: June 6, 1944.
When Steven Spielberg was an adolescent, his first home movie was a backyard war film. When he toured Europe with Duel in his 20s, he saw old men crumble in front of headstones at Omaha Beach. That image became the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, his film of a mission following the D-day invasion that many have called the most realistic--and maybe the best--war film ever. With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet overcome the almost insurmountable odds. A stalwart Tom Hanks plays Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier, who takes a small band of troops behind enemy lines to retrieve a private whose three brothers have recently been killed in action. It's a public relations move for the Army, but it has historical precedent dating back to the Civil War. Some critics of the film have labeled the central characters stereotypes. If that is so, this movie gives stereotypes a good name: Tom Sizemore as the deft sergeant, Edward Burns as the hotheaded Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as the religious sniper, Adam Goldberg as the lone Jew, Vin Diesel as the oversize Private Caparzo, Giovanni Ribisi as the soulful medic, and Jeremy Davies, who as a meek corporal gives the film its most memorable performance. The movie is as heavy and realistic as Spielberg's Oscar-winning Schindler's List, but it's more kinetic. Spielberg and his ace technicians (the film won five Oscars: editing (Michael Kahn), cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), sound, sound effects, and directing) deliver battle sequences that wash over the eyes and hit the gut. The violence is extreme but never gratuitous. The final battle, a dizzying display of gusto, empathy, and chaos, leads to a profound repose. Saving Private Ryan touches us deeper than Schindler because it succinctly links the past with how we should feel today. It's the film Spielberg was destined to make. --Doug Thomas
- Condition: New
- Format: Blu-ray
- AC-3; Color; Dolby; DTS Surround Sound; Dubbed; Subtitled; Widescreen
|Bambi (Two-Disc Edition)
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For the first time ever, the wonder, music and majesty of one of Walt Disney's greatest triumphs comes alive in glorious detail through the magic of Blu-rayTM high definition! Now Bambi, Walt Disney's beloved coming-of-age story, will thrill a new generation of fans with its breathtakingly beautiful animation, soaring music and characters who will touch your heart-Bambi, the wide-eyed fawn, his playful pal Thumper, the loveable skunk Flower and wise Friend Owl. Plus, all-new immersive game and special features that reveal the extraordinary creative process behind the making of this timeless classic take you deeper into Bambi's world than ever before!
It always comes up when people are comparing their most traumatic movie experiences: "the death of Bambi's mother," a recollection that can bring a shudder to even the most jaded filmgoer. That primal separation (which is no less stunning for happening off-screen) is the centerpiece of Bambi, Walt Disney's 1942 animated classic, but it is by no means the only bold stroke in the film. In its swift but somehow leisurely 69 minutes, Bambi covers a year in the life of a young deer. But in a bigger way, it measures the life cycle itself, from birth to adulthood, from childhood's freedom to grown-up responsibility. All of this is rendered in cheeky, fleet-footed style--the movie doesn't lecture, or make you feel you're being fed something that's good for you. The animation is miraculous, a lush forest in which nature is a constantly unfolding miracle (even in a spectacular fire, or those dark moments when "man was in the forest"). There are probably easier animals to draw than a young deer, and the Disney animators set themselves a challenge with Bambi's wobbly glide across an ice-covered lake, his spindly legs akimbo; but the sequence is effortless and charming. If Bambi himself is just a bit dull--such is the fate of an Everydeer--his rabbit sidekick Thumper and a skunk named Flower more than make up for it. Many of the early Disney features have their share of lyrical moments and universal truths, but Bambi is so simple, so pure, it's almost transparent. You might borrow a phrase from Thumper and say it's downright twitterpated. --Robert Horton
- Bambi Two-Disc DVD
- Walt Disney Home Entertainment
|Gi Joe: The Rise of Cobra [Blu-ray]
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Based on Hasbro's immensely popular action figures, G.I. Joe is the ultimate elite fighting force, engaged in an extraordinary action-adventure matchup of good versus evil! In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the G.I. Joe team, armed with the coolest hi-tech gadgets and weapons, travels the world from the Egyptian desert to the polar ice caps in a high stakes pursuit of Cobra, an evil international organization threatening to use a technology that could bring the world to its knees.
The Rise of Cobra is not your grandfather's G.I. Joe. It's more like C.G.I. Joe with explosive special-effects action sequences that provide the film with a surplus of "Boom Boom Pow" (to quote the Black Eyed Peas song that drives the end credits). This blast from the summer past is very much like the metal-munching nano-mite missiles a (literally) mad Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt cashing in some of his indie cred) and McCullen, a Scottish weapons dealer (Christopher Eccleston), threaten to unleash upon the world. It never stops. Ever. The original G.I. Joe action figure was an all-American hero. These Joes are--all together now--"the best of the best," an elite multi-national squad. Two soldiers, Duke (a buff Channing Tatum), an "on the ground, in the fight" kind of guy, and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), his wisecracking best friend, are rescued by the Joes after they are ambushed while transporting the missiles. These are no ordinary Joes. Snake-Eyes (Ray Park) is a silent ninja, Stella (Rachel Nichols) a bodacious brainiac, Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) the imposing weapons specialist, and Breaker (Said Taghamaoui) the techie. They are led by gruff Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid), who barks out lines like, "When all else fails, we don't," with polish. Duke and Ripcord are recruited to join the classified unit after Duke discovers that Ana (Sienna Miller), his former fiancée, is in cahoots with McCullen and now sports the sinister moniker the Baroness, not to mention killer cleavage-enhancing latex outfits. This being the first in a budding franchise, there is much backstory to cover. Flashbacks date back to 1641! But the order of the day is underground military command centers, underwater evil lairs, gleaming high-tech weaponry, breakneck chases, and cool gadgets, such as a speed-accelerating hydraulic suit. It's enough to make you want to dust off your original Hasbro action figures or, the studio no doubt hopes, buy the new ones. --Donald Liebenson
Stills from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Click for larger image)
|The Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection
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Includes 25 years of the Three Stooges unique brand of humor with Moe as boss, Larry the middleman and Curly as their foil. Witness the rise of these comedy icons in this high-spirited collection, which has been re-mastered for the best quality picture and sound. You'll experience the eye-pokes, face slaps, hollow head knocks and knuckle cracks like you've never heard or seen them before.
|Swamp People: Season 1
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Season one of SWAMP PEOPLE takes you on a journey to the bayous and swamplands of America's southern heartland to witness a group of people that live on the fringes of society. They are the swamp people, and their distinct culture has its roots in the early days of America's expansion westward. The descendants of moonshiners, immigrant railroad workers and early settlers, the swamp people have inherited a legacy of self-reliance and anti-establishment values that make them true American originals, hidden from the view of the mainstream. HISTORY follows these swampers through a time of year that is crucial to their survival: alligator hunting season. At its core, this is a uniquely American story of a proud and skillful people fighting to maintain an ancient way of life in a rapidly modernizing world, despite the many perils and trials that stand in their way.
BONUS FEATURES: Additional Footage
DISC 1: Big Head Bites It / Houdini's Last Escape / Troy's Gamble / Cannibal Gator
DISC 2: Forces of Nature / Family Feuds / Swamp Wars / Gator Voodoo
DISC 3: Final Countdown / The Last Battle / Bonus
|Brazil (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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In the dystopic masterpiece Brazil, Jonathan Pryce (Glengarry Glen Ross) plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), one of the great films of the 1980s, now ranks alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And in terms of set design, cinematography, music, and effects, Brazil, a nonstop dazzler, stands alone.
If Franz Kafka had been an animator and film director--oh, and a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus--this is the sort of outrageously dystopian satire one could easily imagine him making. However, Brazil was made by Terry Gilliam, who is all of the above except, of course, Franz Kafka. Be that as it may, Gilliam sure captures the paranoid-subversive spirit of Kafka's The Trial (along with his own Python animation) in this bureaucratic nightmare-comedy about a meek governmental clerk named Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) whose life is destroyed by a simple bug. Not a software bug, a real bug (no doubt related to Kafka's famous Metamorphosis insect) that gets smooshed in a printer and causes a typographical error unjustly identifying an innocent citizen, one Mr. Buttle, as suspected terrorist Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro). When Sam becomes enmeshed in unraveling this bureaucratic glitch, he himself winds up labeled as a miscreant.
The movie presents such an unrelentingly imaginative and savage vision of 20th-century bureaucracy that it almost became a victim of small-minded studio management itself--until Gilliam surreptitiously screened his cut for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, who named it the best movie of 1985 and virtually embarrassed Universal into releasing it. This DVD version of Brazil is the special director's cut that first appeared in Criterion's comprehensive (and expensive) six-disc laser package in 1996. --Jim Emerson
|Rushmore (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Brand: Image Entertainment
The dazzling sophomore film from Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) is equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage, and screwball comedy. Tenth grader Max Fischer (The Darjeeling Limited’s Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy’s most extracurricular student—and its least scholarly. He faces expulsion, and enters into unlikely friendships with both a lovely first-grade teacher (The Ghost Writer’s Olivia Williams) and a melancholy self-made millionaire (Groundhog Day’s Bill Murray, in an award-winning performance). Set to a soundtrack of classic British Invasion tunes, Rushmore defies categorization; it captures the pain and exuberance of adolescence with wit, emotional depth, and cinematic panache.
Wes Anderson's follow-up to the quirky Bottle Rocket is a wonderfully unorthodox coming-of-age story that ranks with Harold and Maude and The Graduate in the pantheon of timeless cult classics. Jason Schwartzman (son of Talia Shire and nephew of Francis Coppola) stars as Max Fischer, a 15-year-old attending the prestigious Rushmore Academy on scholarship, where he's failing all of his classes but is the superstar of the school's extracurricular activities (head of the drama club, the beekeeper club, the fencing club...). Possessing boundless confidence and chutzpah, as well as an aura of authority he seems to have been born with, Max finds two unlikely soulmates in his permutations at Rushmore: industrial magnate and Rushmore alumnus Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). His alliance with Blume and crush on Miss Cross, however, are thrown out of kilter by his expulsion from Rushmore, and a budding romance between the two adults that threatens Max's own designs on the lovely schoolteacher.
Never stooping to sentimentality or schmaltz, Anderson and cowriter Owen Wilson have fashioned a wickedly intelligent and wildly funny tale of young adulthood that hits all the right notes in its mix of melancholy and optimism. As played by Schwartzman, Max is both immediately endearing and ferociously irritating: smarter than all the adults around him, with little sense of his shortcomings, he's an unstoppable dynamo who commands grudging respect despite his outlandish projects (including a school play about Vietnam). Murray, as the tycoon who determinedly wages war with Max for the affections of Miss Cross, is a revelation of middle-aged resignation. Disgusted with his family, his life, and himself, he's turned around by both Max's antagonism and Miss Cross's love. Williams is equally affecting as the teacher who still carries a torch for her dead husband, and the superb supporting cast also includes Seymour Cassel as Max's barber father, Brian Cox as the frustrated headmaster of Rushmore, and a hilarious Mason Gamble as Max's young charge. Put this one on your shelf of modern masterpieces. --Mark Englehart
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Brand: Twentieth Century Fox
The terror begins when the crew of a spaceship investigates a transmission from a desolate planet, and discovers a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate mankind. One by one, each crew member is slain until only Ripley is left, leading to an explosive conclusion that sets the stage for its stunning sequel, "Aliens."
A landmark of science fiction and horror, Alien arrived in 1979 between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as a stylishly malevolent alternative to George Lucas's space fantasy. Partially inspired by 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space, this instant classic set a tone of its own, offering richly detailed sets, ominous atmosphere, relentless suspense, and a flawless ensemble cast as the crew of the space freighter Nostromo, who fall prey to a vicious creature (designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger) that had gestated inside one of the ill-fated crew members. In a star-making role, Sigourney Weaver excels as sole survivor Ripley, becoming the screen's most popular heroine in a lucrative movie franchise. To measure the film's success, one need only recall the many images that have been burned into our collective psyche, including the "facehugger," the "chestburster," and Ripley's climactic encounter with the full-grown monster. Impeccably directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is one of the cinema's most unforgettable nightmares. --Jeff Shannon
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