Goodfellas [HD DVD] Martin Scorsese  
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Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece GoodFellas immortalises the hilarious, horrifying life of actual gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his teen years on the streets of New York to his anonymous exile under the Witness Protection Program. The director's kinetic style is perfect for recounting Hill's ruthless rise to power in the 1950s as well as his drugged-out fall in the late 1970s; in fact, no one has ever rendered the mental dislocation of cocaine better than Scorsese. Scorsese uses period music perfectly, not just to summon a particular time but to set a precise mood. GoodFellas is at least as good as The Godfather without being in the least derivative of it. Joe Pesci's psycho improvisation of Mobster Tommy DeVito ignited Pesci as a star, Lorraine Bracco scores the performance of her life as the love of Hill's life, and every supporting role, from Paul Sorvino to Robert De Niro, is a miracle.

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Black Rain [HD DVD] Ridley Scott  
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Cultures clash (and so, occasionally, do clichés) in this 1989 stylefest from director Ridley Scott. Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia are New York cops who grab a Japanese mobster and take him back to Osaka—only to lose him there. When they're forced to track him down, Douglas's knuckles-and-know-how approach to crime-fighting puts him at odds with his Japanese handlers. Beside eschewing police brutality, their code of honor also induces guilt because Douglas has succumbed to the occasional shifty tendency in the past. Despite some strong action sequences and Scott's trademark look of neon reflected on wet streets, it begins to drag and ends up exactly where you expect it to—with Douglas chin-to-chin with chief bad guy Yusaku Matsuda. No one plays a flawed hero better than Douglas but this one tends to be by the numbers. —Marshall Fine

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The Matador [HD DVD] Richard Shepard  
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Pierce Brosnan gives one of his finest performances in The Matador, a low-key buddy comedy with an agreeably sinister twist. Light-years from his former James Bond image, Brosnan is unshaven, unnerved and unpredictable as freelance assassin Julian Noble, who encounters desperate businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in the bar of a modern Mexico City hotel. Danny is intrigued when Julian reveals that he's a "facilitator of fatalities," and his wife "Bean" (Hope Davis) is equally fascinated when Julian shows up unexpectedly, six months later, at Danny's home in Denver. Having lost his touch as a reliable hit-man, Julian needs Danny's help with "one last job," but the logistics of Julian's lethal profession (involving an employer played by Philip Baker Hall) are secondary to writer-director Richard Shepard's offbeat, slightly uneven character study, which gives Kinnear and Brosnan a memorable opportunity to riff on their established screen personas. In making Julian a likable yet tormented drifter who's made a habit of "running from any emotion," Brosnan creates an edgy yet sympathetic character as mysterious as he is fun to be around; if you're going to befriend a hired killer, you could do far worse than a guy like Julian. As Brosnan plays him, he's worthy of a sequel, but The Matador is the kind of entertainingly quirky movie that's a hard act to follow. —Jeff Shannon

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This hip and hilarious dark comedy finds boorish, on-the-job hit man Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) in a Mexico City cantina where he meets mild-mannered Denver businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), both of whom are at a crossroads in their lives and careers. Over too many margaritas, they form a strange friendship built on the dark and drunken honesty shared among strangers who believe they will never see each other in the light of day. However, months later, back in Denver, the doorbell rings at the Wright residence, and Danny and his wife Bean (Hope Davis) find Julian on their doorstep, a desperate, broken man. What else can they do, but to take him in?

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Nine Inch Nails Live - Beside You in Time [HD DVD] Rob Sheridan (II)  
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LIVE: BESIDE YOU IN TIME

122 minutes total running time, 24 songs from the LIVE: With Teeth 2006 Tour, including: "The Hand That Feeds" "Only" "Closer" "Head Like A Hole" "Hurt" "Wish" "Terrible Lie" "March Of Pigs"

Additional features include 3 tracks live from rehearsals, music videos for "The Hand That Feeds" and "Only."

Plus still gallery and body of work.

Presented in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound

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Four Brothers [HD DVD] John Singleton  
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Bound by love for their slain adoptive mother, the brothers in Four Brothers form a unique quartet that gives John Singleton's film a razor's edge of redemption. It's a thin edge, to be sure, because while Singleton's urban Western pays homage to the Blaxpoitation films of the '70s (as he did with his remake of Shaft), it walks a fine line of credibility with a mythic vengeance plot (recalling John Wayne's 1965 hit The Sons of Katie Elder) that endorses violence as the last resort of a family under siege. When a saintly foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is gunned down in a convenience store, her only adopted sons (two white, two black, played respectively by Mark Wahlberg, Garrett Hedlund, Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin) go after the killers, only to discover that their mother's death was not a random event. As they uncover a sticky web of criminal activity involving a local kingpin (Chiwitel Ejiofor), the character-driven plot races toward an inevitable showdown, with ex-con Wahlberg leading the way. Making excellent use of blue collar locations in Detroit, Singleton keeps the action moving fast enough that the film's lack of realism is easily ignored, and the well-drawn characters (including Terrence Howard as a tenacious detective) lend emotional dimension to an otherwise familiar revenge scenario. Four Brothers is manipulative, but it's filled with grace notes of rugged working-class humanity, and it definitely holds your attention. —Jeff Shannon —This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

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Mallrats [HD DVD] Kevin Smith  
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Sophomore jinx hit hard in this second film by Kevin Smith, whose debut Clerks transcended the limits of its setting and budget to become something memorably funny. (Smith followed Mallrats with the wonderful Chasing Amy, so Mallrats definitely had the old curse.) A ramshackle comedy set in a mall, the film follows several story lines involving lovers, enemies, friends, goofballs, and Smith's own "silent" character, who also appeared in Clerks and Chasing Amy. A heavy self-consciousness weighs on everything, as if Smith forgot how to make obscenity funny instead of tedious. Still, it's nice to see some of the director's film family on screen, among them Jason Lee and Joey Lauren Adams. —Tom Keogh

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Tremors [HD DVD] Ron Underwood  
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Who would have guessed that this clever, fast-paced creature feature from 1990 would become a beloved miniclassic worthy of its own Collector's Edition DVD? Tremors didn't actually break any new ground (even though its tunneling worm monsters certainly did), but it revved up the classic monster-movie formulas of the 1950s with such energetic enthusiasm and humor that it made everything old seem new again. It's also got a cast full of enjoyable actors who clearly had a lot of fun making the film, and director Ron Underwood strikes just the right balance of comedy and terror as a band of small-town rednecks battles a lot of really nasty-looking giant worms. The special effects are great, the one-liners fly fast and furious between heroes Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward (and yes, that's country star Reba McEntire packin' awesome firepower), and it's all done with the kind of flair one rarely associates with goofy monster flicks like this. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel (Tremors: Aftershocks), this horror thriller was given the deluxe treatment for its DVD release. Bonus features include an original "making-of" documentary, previously unseen video showing the creation of the worm-creatures, outtakes from the film, the original ending not shown in theaters, theatrical trailers, and a gallery of production photographs. If you're a fan, consider this a must-have disc! —Jeff Shannon

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Renaissance [HD DVD] Christian Volckman  
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RENAISSANCE-PARIS 2054/ V?: bereits erschienen/ Genre: Animation/ Ausgabeformat: 1080p/ Aufnahmeformat: 1.78:1/ Länge: 01:41:00/ FSK: 12

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Serenity [HD DVD] Joss Whedon  
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Serenity offers perfect proof that Firefly deserved a better fate than premature TV cancellation. Joss Whedon's acclaimed sci-fi Western hybrid series was ideally suited (in Browncoats, of course) for a big-screen conversion, and this action-packed adventure allows Whedon to fill in the Firefly backstory, especially the history and mystery of the spaceship Serenity's volatile and traumatized stowaway, River Tam (Summer Glau). Her lethal skills as a programmed "weapon" makes her a coveted prize for the power-hungry planetary Alliance, represented here by an Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who'll stop at nothing to retrieve River from Serenity's protective crew. We still get all the quip-filled dialogue and ass-kicking action that we've come to expect from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Whedon goes a talented step further here, blessing his established ensemble cast with a more fully-developed dynamic of endearing relationships (including the heartbreaking deaths of two major characters). Serenity's cast is led with well-balanced depth and humor by Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds, whose maverick spirit is matched by his devotion to crewmates Wash (Alan Tudyk), Zoe (Gina Torres), fun-loving fighter Jayne (Adam Baldwin), engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite), doctor Simon (Sean Maher), and Mal's former flame Inara (Morena Baccarin), who plays a pivotal role in Whedon's briskly-paced plot. As many critics agreed, Serenity offered all the fun and breezy excitement that was missing from George Lucas's latter-day Star Wars epics, and Whedon leaves an opening for a continuing franchise that never feels cheap or commercially opportunistic. With the mega-corporate mysteries of Blue Sun yet to be explored, it's a safe bet we haven't seen the last of the good ship Serenity. —Jeff Shannon

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Forbidden Planet [HD DVD] Fred Wilcox  
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This 1956 pop adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest is one of the best, most influential science fiction movies ever made. Its space explorers are the models for the crew of Star Trek's Enterprise, and the film's robot is clearly the prototype for Robby in Lost in Space. Walter Pidgeon is the Prospero figure, presiding over a paradisiacal world with his lovely young daughter and their servile droid. When the crew of a spaceship lands on the planet, they become aware of a sinister invisible force that threatens to destroy them. Great special effects and a bizarre electronic score help make this movie as fresh, imaginative, and fun as it was when first released.

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Underworld [HD DVD] Len Wiseman  
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Blade trifft The Crow und die Matrix in Underworld, ein Mischling von einem Thriller, der das Regelwerk über Werwölfe und Vampire neu zu schreiben versucht. Es ist ein Film wie kreatives Kochen (man schmeiße eine Menge bekannter Ideen zusammen und hoffe, dass etwas Interessantes dabei herauskommt), in dem die unsterblichen Vampire einen uralten Krieg gegen die nicht weniger unsterblichen Werwölfe führen - auf deren Tagesordnung nicht nur Rache für Jahrhunderte voll Leid, sondern auch recht gewagte genetische Experimente stehen. Angesichts seiner Vorliebe für düster-stimmungsvolle Architektur (hauptsächlich in Ungarns Hauptstadt Budapest gefilmt), hektisches Chaos und Kostüme mit eindeutigem Gothic-Charme überrascht es nicht, dass Regie-Debütant Len Wiseman seine bisherigen Erfahrungen bei Werbespots und in den Design-Teams von Godzilla, Men in Black und Independence Day sammelte. Seine Arbeit ist 100% Oberfläche, null Substanz, angefüllt mit groß angelegten Actionsequenzen, während die junge Vampirin Selene (Kate Beckinsale, die sich später mit Wiseman verlobte) einen unschuldigen Menschen (Scott Speedman) vor der Verwandlung in einen Werwolf zu retten versucht.

Visuell durch die Bank sehr stark, wird Underworld vor allem für Horror-Fans ein besonderer Leckerbissen sein, die mit Wonne seine zahlreichen Stärken und Schwächen sezieren werden. —Jeff Shannon

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