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Oct 30, 2011
The Spy Who Loved Me THX Edition
The best of the James Bond adventures starring Roger Moore as tuxedoed Agent 007, this globe-trotting thriller introduced the steel-toothed Jaws (played by seven-foot-two-inch-tall actor Richard Kiel) as one of the most memorable and indestructible Bond villains. Jaws is so tenacious, in fact, that Moore looks genuinely frightened, and that adds to the abundant fun. This time Bond teams up with yet another lovely Russian agent (Barbara Bach) to track a pair of nuclear submarines that the nefarious Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) plans to use in his plot to start World War III. Featuring lavish sets designed by the great Ken Adam (Dr. Strangelove), The Spy Who Loved Me is a galaxy away from the suave Sean Connery exploits of the 1960s, but the film works perfectly as grandiose entertainment. From cavernous undersea lairs to the vast horizons of Egypt, this Bond thriller keeps its tongue firmly in cheek with a plot tailor-made for daredevil escapism. —Jeff Shannon
The Right Stuff
Starship Troopers
City of Angels
Seth, an angel watching over Los Angeles, begins finding his job difficult as he falls in love with Maggie, a beautiful heart surgeon.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG13
Release Date: 14-SEP-2004
Media Type: DVD
South Park Vol. 1
Four foul-mouthed tykes in parkas and wool caps navigate the treacherous snows of adolescence such as puppy love, sibling jealousy, and alien abduction in the cartoon that celebrates the American art of bad taste with crude, cut-out animation and construction-paper color. The pilot episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe," establishes the tone and style of all episodes to come: gentle homilies and childhood innocence arising from a twisted plot with grotesque and bizarre twists, in this case involving UFOs, flaming flatulence, and a 20-foot antenna array that springs out of Cartman's butt. In "Volcano" the boys learn the masculine art of hunting endangered species and meet the mythic wilderness monster Scuzzlebutt while oozing lava threatens their town. In "Weight Gain 4000," "big boned" Cartman decides he must slam dietary supplements to beef up for a TV appearance with Kathy Lee Gifford, while Mr. Garrison (egged on by insidious hand puppet Mr. Hat) plots his revenge. Finally, Stan learns tolerance in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" while his elementary school struggles to beat the 72-point spread in the big homecoming game—a major event in a town where many citizens never got past the fifth grade. Sweater-garbed creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone introduce each episode in bizarre fireside chats in which they proclaim every episode their "very favorite" as they exchange longing, moon-eyed glances and their dog Old Scratch changes size and breed from shot to shot. —Sean Axmaker
Small Soldiers
15-year-old Alan Abernathy, the son of a toy store owner, tries out some new action figures: The Commando Elite vs. The Gorgonites. But three months ago, a toy company believes it is onto something when it employs the latest government military technology in a series of action figures, enabling them to talk. They underestimate the power of the special micro chips they've employed, however, as the two opposing sides of the toy line start thinking for themselves and engaging in real combat! The Commando Elite vow to wipe out the Gorgonites in a suburban neighborhood. Alan, his neighbor Christy Fimple, (on whom he has a massive crush) with the help of the kind Gorgonites, must protect his home and family from the Commandos.
Wesley Snipes plays a half-mortal, half-immortal charged with ridding the earth of a race of vampires led by Stephen Dorff in this action-packed blockbuster.

DVD Features:
Alternate endings
Audio Commentary
Music Only Track
Production Sketches
Theatrical Trailer
An itinerant warrior in outer space is forced to become a hero when he must defend a band of settlers on a remote planet.
Twice Upon a Yesterday
Violent Cop
Japanese superstar "Beat" Takeshi Kitano was best known as a comedian and talk-show host when he was cast as brutal police detective Azuma in "Violent Cop", but the career-changing twist occurred when the original director dropped out and Kitano took the helm. Half a dozen pictures later, Kitano has carved out one of the most idiosyncratic careers in Japanese cinema, and it all springs from this edgy, explosive crime classic. Azuma is a cop who plays by his own rules: He batters suspects, beats confessions from criminals, and plants evidence. He's a vigilante force the department quietly supports as long as he gets results, but when a volatile drug case results in the death of a colleague, the hair-trigger cop goes rogue as he matches wits with an equally impulsive assassin. Kitano's big teddy bear eyes and soft features maintain a calm, almost bemused expression even in his most violent moments: a Zen "Dirty" Harry with a deadpan sense of humor. For a first-time director, Kitano displays astonishing cinematic control, creating a style of long takes and serene tranquility shattered by startling explosions of gunfire and abrupt blows. It's a violent world in which adolescents attack beggars and grade-school kids pelt bystanders with garbage and insults, but Kitano also shows a tender, caring side ultimately swallowed by the unleashed anger. Ironic, grim, and focused to a mesmerizing intensity, "Violent Cop" is one of the great Japanese crime films and a brilliant debut. "—Sean Axmaker"
Cowboy Bebop - Session 1
Meet Spike and Jet, a drifter and a retired cyborg cop who have started a bounty hunting operation. In the converted ship the Bebop, Spike and Jet search the galaxy for criminals with bounties on their heads. They meet a lot of unusual characters, including the unusually intelligent dog, Ein, and the voluptuous and vexing femme fatale, Faye Valentine. See why Cowboy Bebop was Japan's best-selling anime title in 1998.
Cowboy Bebop - Session 2
The popular anime series Cowboy Bebop is one of the few Blade Runner spin-offs that pays off big dividends. The Cowboy Beboppers are free-spirited bounty hunters who roam the solar system looking for criminals. Told in 25-minute episodes, this very different anime series has the stuff many shows lack: a strong vision, intriguing plots, and tantalizing back-stories. In this second session (episodes 6-10), we begin to learn some of the history of our hero, Spike, his right-hand man, Jet, and even the gloomy story behind the fate of the charred Earth. Episodes include a run-in with a deadly child prodigy, a trucker tale, a curious trip to the terraformed Venus, where a loner seeks to learn from Spike. There's also a tale of Jet's old flame, and the introduction of the crew's latest member—a computer hacker named Ed. Gorgeously drawn and fueled by cool music—often counterpointing the action—Cowboy Bebop is too good (and accessible) for just anime fans. (Ages 12 and older) —Doug Thomas
Event Horizon
Paul W.S. Anderson Drawing from Andrei Tarkovsky's heady science fiction meditation "Solaris" by way of "Alien" and "Hellraiser", this visually splendid but pulpy piece of science fiction schlock concerns a mission in the year 2047 to investigate the experimental American spaceship "Event Horizon", which disappeared seven years previously and suddenly, out of nowhere, reappeared in the orbit of Neptune. Laurence Fishburne stars as mission commander Captain Miller and Sam Neill is Dr. Weir, the scientist who designed the mystery ship. Miller's T-shirt- and army-green-clad crew of smart-talking pros finds a ship dead and deserted, but further investigations turn up blood, corpses, dismembered body parts, and a decidedly unearthly presence. It turns out that the ship is really a space-age haunted house where spooky (and obviously impossible) visions lure each of the crew members into situations they should know better than to enter. The ship is gorgeously designed, borrowing from the dark, organic look of "Alien" and adding the menacing touch of teeth sprouting from bulwark doors and clawlike spikes inexplicably shooting out of the engine room floor. Unfortunately the film is not nearly as inventive as the production design—it turns into a woefully inconsistent psychic monster movie that sacrifices mood for tepid shocks—but the special effects are topnotch, and ultimately the movie has a trashy B movie charm about it. "—Sean Axmaker"
Terminator 2 - Judgment Day
James Cameron Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as The Terminator in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he's one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, John's mother, a quintessential survivor who has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy - the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created. Co- written, produced and directed by James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic), this visual tour de force is also a touching human story of survival.
John Carpenter's Vampires
David Cronenberg Exciting stars Jennifer Jason Leigh (DOLORES CLAIBORNE), Jude Law (GATTACA), and Willem Dafoe (SPEED 2, AFFLICTION) challenge the boundaries of reality in this futuristic, critically acclaimed adventure thriller! During the first closed-door demonstration of an amazing new virtual reality game called eXistenZ, the system's brilliant designer, Allegra Geller (Leigh), is violently attacked by a crazed assassin intent on killing her and destroying her creation! Forced to flee into hiding, Allegra enlists a young assistant (Law) to help her in testing the damaged system ... by convincing him to join her inside eXistenZ! The action then explodes as their world's real-life dangers begin to merge with the fantasy of the game! If you're ready to play, it's now your turn to plug into this powerfully entertaining hit!
Paul Dixon, Kevin Smith From Kevin Smith, the acclaimed director of Clerks, comes this outrageous story of two loafers, Jeremy London (The Babysitter) and Jason Lee (Kissing a Fool), who spend way too much time hanging out at the mall. When Brodie (Lee) is dumped by his girlfriend, Shannen Doherty (Heathers, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun), he retreats to the mall with his best friend T.S. (London), whose girlfriend has also left him. Between brooding and visits to the food court, the unmotivated twosome decide to win their girlfriends back with the help of the ultimate delinquents, Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), whose continuing adventures take the word "nuisance" to a whole new level. Starring: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Renee Humphrey, Claire Forlani, Ethan Suplee, Michael Rooker Directed by: Kevin Smith
The Patriot
Roland Emmerich In 1776 South Carolina, widower and legendary war hero Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) finds himself thrust into the midst of the American Revolutionary War as he helplessly watches his family torn apart by the savage forces of the British Redcoats. Unable to remain silent, he recruits a band of reluctant volunteers, including his idealistic patriot son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), to take up arms against the British. Fighting to protect his family's freedom and his country's independence, Martin discovers the pain of betrayal, the redemption of revenge and the passion of love.
Antony Gibbs, John Frankenheimer In a world where loyalties are easily abandoned and allegiances can be bought, a new and deadlier terrorist threat has emergedfree agent killers! Featuring "high-octane action" (Gene Shalit, "Today"), a "first-rate cast" (L.A. Daily News) and exhilarating car chases that "are nothing short of sensational" (The New York Times), Ronin is "the real deal in action fireworks" (Rolling Stone) directed by "a master of intelligent thrillers" (Roger Ebert). The Cold War may be over, but a new world order keeps a group of covert mercenaries employed by the highest bidder. These operatives, known as "Ronin," are assembled in France by a mysterious client for a seemingly routine mission: steal a top-secret briefcase. But the simple task soon proves explosive asother underworld organizations vie for the same prize...and to get the job done, the members of Ronin must do something they've never done beforetrust each other!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Terry Gilliam No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: DVD
Street Release Date: 01/09/2007
American Psycho
Mary Harron The Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho, a dark, violent satire of the "me" culture of Ronald Reagan's 1980s, is certainly one of the most controversial books of the '90s, and that notoriety fueled its bestseller status. This smart, savvy adaptation by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) may be able to ride the crest of the notoriety; prior to the film's release, Harron fought a ratings battle (ironically, for depictions of sex rather than violence), but at the time the director stated, "We're rescuing [the book] from its own bad reputation." Harron and co-screenwriter Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) overcome many of the objections of Ellis's novel by keeping the most extreme violence offscreen (sometimes just barely), suggesting the reign of terror of yuppie killer Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) with splashes of blood and personal souvenirs. Bale is razor sharp as the blank corporate drone, a preening tiger in designer suits whose speaking voice is part salesman, part self-help guru, and completely artificial. Carrying himself with the poised confidence of a male model, he spends his days in a numbing world of status-symbol one-upmanship and soul-sapping small talk, but breaks out at night with smirking explosions of homicide, accomplished with the fastidious care of a hopeless obsessive. The film's approach to this mayhem is simultaneously shocking and discreet; even Bateman's outrageous naked charge with a chainsaw is most notable for the impossibly polished and gleaming instrument of death. Harron's film is a hilarious, cheerfully insidious hall of mirrors all pointed inward, slowly cracking as the portrait becomes increasingly grotesque and insane. —Sean Axmaker
Brother [DVD] [2001]
Takeshi Kitano, Claude Maki
Blues Brothers 2000
John Landis Eighteen years after the Brothers' original "mission from God", Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is getting out of prison and discovering that much has changed in the time he's been away. His partner, Jake, is gone, his band is no longer together and the orphanage where he grew up has been demolished. Elwood soon realizes that he must embark on a whole new mission - to reassemble the old band, this time with the help of a soulful bartender (John Goodman), compete at Queen Moussette's (Erykah Badu) Battle of the Bands and set a wayward orphan named Buster on the path to redemption. In the midst of the mayhem, he's got to prove to the police that there's magic in the music...and a mysterious method behind the Blues Brothers' madness. Special appearances by B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Johnny Lang, Blues Traveler, Eric Claption and many more. It's an action-packed comedy with lots of Rhythm and Blues. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, B.B. King, Nia Peeples, Frank Oz, Erykah Badu, Darrell Hammond, Paul Shaffer, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes Directed by: John Landis
The Thin Red Line
Terrence Malick A powerful frontline cast - including Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson and George Clooney - explodes into action in this hauntingly realistic view of military and moral chaos in the Pacific during World War II.
Michael Mann An L.A. cop (Al Pacino) becomes fixated on a deadly thief (Robert Dinero) and his crew ( Val Kilmer & Jon Voight) who are taking Los Angeles to the cleaners. This movie includes one of the most spectacular shoot outs in film history as Dinero and Kilmer rip through downtown Los Angeles with both guns blazing.
Beyond The Mat - Director's Cut
Beyond the Mat Barry Blaustein's critically acclaimed documentary about wrestling takes viewers beyond the ring and into the lives of the men and women who inhabit this colorful, competitive, and surprisingly complex world. During the five years he spent working on the film, Blaustein discovered that the control wrestlers exert in the ring is often contrasted by the lack of control they have in their own lives. Some pursue dreams—others are pursued by personal demons. Always relaying his love and respect for his subject matter, Blaustein travels on the open road with the wrestlers, shares their most intimate moments with their families, and witnesses their victories and defeats in the ring. 108 minutes.
The Blair Witch Project
Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - DVD Movie
Ultimate DVD Platinum
Ultimate DVD Platinum Designed as more of a system show-off than system set-up set, The Ultimate DVD Platinum is best viewed for the sheer pleasure of its aural and visual vignettes. You'll use it to configure your home theater, too, of course—disc 2 (not included on the Gold or Silver editions) is a reasonably thorough set-up and evaluation tool. But the heart of this set is the wealth of video and music included on the first disc.

Each part of disc 1 showcases different features and capabilities of DVD-video, from screen formats and multi-angle viewing to multiple languages and surround-sound formats such as DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic. For demo material, the disc draws from a deep and exciting reserve of quality filmmaking and animation, including excerpts from classics (Chronos, Beyond the Mind's Eye) and lesser-known gems ("Liquefied," "Jackpot"), as well as documentaries ("Boeing 777 PTQ," "Great Barrier Reef") and music (Mickey Hart's "Indoscrub," Alan Parsons's "The Time Machine").

Highly useful is the ability to compare the quality and characteristics of the different surround formats in use today (provided your DVD player or surround receiver can decode them). If your DVD remote has an Audio button, you can even switch between Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1-channel soundtracks while you watch. Audiophiles will delight in both the prominence of surround-mixed music and the presence of several music-only tracks recorded by Mapleshade and WILDCHILD! Records at 96-kHz/24-bit resolution. (Listen through your DVD player's analog outputs here; again, you must have compatible hardware—in this case, 96-kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converters—to appreciate this feature.)

The audio tests on the set-up and diagnostic disc confuse more often than they enlighten, though some are quite useful. The video tests, however—which consist of Brightness, Contrast, Purity, Geometry, Convergence, Chroma, Hue, Clamp, and Sharpness—are indeed eye-openers, and a strip of blue cellophane is included to assist you in this area. —Michael Mikesell
Robert Rodriguez It's Sergio Leone meets Sam Peckinpah meets Quentin Tarantino in this ultraviolent, mythological shoot-'em-up by auteur Robert Rodriguez. In Desperado, Rodriguez creates larger-than-life, genre-tweaking stock characters and puts them through their paces. As they stride bravely through an Old West lightly dusted with camp humor, they're periodically called upon to nimbly dodge bullets and fireballs through outrageously choreographed displays of Hollywood pyrotechnics. In this bigger-budget semi-remake/semi-sequel to Rodriguez's indie sensation, El Mariachi (made, famously, for $7,000), Antonio Banderas is the darkly charismatic El Mariachi, the Mysterious Stranger in town; Steve Buscemi is perfectly cast as his weasely, motor-mouth Comic Sidekick, laying the groundwork for El Mariachi's entrance by spinning saloon stories to build up his legend; Cheech Marin is a standout as the Bartender, who really knows how to handle a toothpick; and gorgeous Salma Hayek is, well, the Girl—treated to the kind of full-blown, slow-mo introduction the movies traditionally lavish on beautiful new stars. It doesn't add up to much, but it's a kick. Be careful not to blow out your speakers with the DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. —Jim Emerson
Ridley Scott Autographed Excellent Condition!
The Sixth Sense
M. Night Shyamalan Hollywood superstar Bruce Willis (ARMAGEDDON, THE SIEGE) brings a powerful presence to an edge-of-your-seat thriller from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (Oscar(R)-nominee for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director) that critics are calling one of the greatest ghost stories ever filmed. When Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Willis), a distinguished child psychologist, meets Cole Sear (Oscar(R)-nominee Haley Joel Osment, Best Supporting Actor), a frightened, confused, eight-year-old, Dr. Crowe is completely unprepared to face the truth of what haunts Cole. With a riveting intensity you'll find thoroughly chilling, the discovery of Cole's incredible sixth sense leads them to mysterious places with unforgettable consequences!
Bryan Singer In a time when race and religion don't separate people, but extra powers and mutated characteristics do, two longtime friends, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) part ways, only to become rivals over the issue of how much patience they should have with "normal" people. Living lives that scare most humans lacking the "X-factor" (a special power such as telekinesis), they fight over changing the general population into mutants. Xavier decides to help mutants in a special school while waiting for humanity to be more accepting, while Magneto opts to change all "normal" people into mutants in order to create a mutant-only world. Leading a group of four powerful X-Men (and women) to rescue one lost girl (the mutant Rogue, played by Anna Paquin)—and the entire population of New York—Xavier recruits a new member to their group: Logan (Hugh Jackman), better known as Wolverine, joins the team with much reluctance, only to prove very valuable to the rescue effort.

Each member of the X-Men has mastered their special gift—the ability to create a storm (Storm, played by Halle Berry), telekinesis (Dr. Jean Grey, played by Famke Janssen), eyesight carrying laserlike destructive power (Cyclops, played by James Marsden), the ability to heal nearly any wound he sustains (Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman). The chemistry among these four sets the stage for some expert teamwork—and some hidden romance. The mutants' ensemble work drives the action sequences, such as in a train station battle with Magneto's crew—including Sabertooth (Tyler Mane), Toad (Ray Park), and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)—that unleashes a lot of destruction, thanks to the striking special effects.

You don't have to be a fan of the hugely popular X-Men comic books to enjoy Bryan Singer's film, which is loaded with creativity, cool effects, and characters complex enough to lift it above run-of-the-mill action films. And Singer sets the stage admirably for the sequels that could turn X-Men into the strongest comic-book franchise since Batman. —Sandra Levin
The Cell
Tarsem Singh A therapist (Jennifer Lopez, Out Of Sight) uses an experimental treatment to enter the mind of a serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio, Men In Black) to learn his secrets. An FBI agent (Vince Vaughn, Swingers) must rescue her from the killer's nightmare mind
John Singleton An African American detective tries to stop a racist killer, by tracking down the only eyewitness to his crimes.
Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure
Rating: R
Release Date: 13-MAY-2003
Media Type: DVD
Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier When two banished angels find a loophole that will allow them back into heaven at the cost of humankind an unsuspecting mortal woman two prophets and the thirteenth apostle are the only ones who can stop them. Special features: subtitles in english spanish and french talent files and murch more. Studio: Ingram Entertainment Release Date: 07/26/2005 Starring: Ben Affleck Matt Damon Run time: 130 minutes Rating: R Director: Kevin Smith
Steven Soderbergh Featuring a huge cast of characters, the ambitious and breathtakingTraffic is a tapestry of three separate stories woven together by a common theme: the war on drugs. In Ohio, there's the newly appointed government drug czar (Michael Douglas) who realizes after he's accepted the job that he may have gotten into a no-win situation. Not only that, his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) is herself quietly developing a nasty addiction problem. In San Diego, a drug kingpin (Steven Bauer) is arrested on information provided by an informant (Miguel Ferrer) who was nabbed by two undercover detectives (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzmán). The kingpin's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), heretofore ignorant of where her husband's wealth comes from, gets a crash course in the drug business and its nasty side effects. And south of the border, a Mexican cop (Benicio Del Toro) finds himself caught between both his home country and the U.S., as corrupt government officials duke it out with the drug cartel for control of trafficking various drugs back and forth across the border.

Bold in scope, Traffic showcases Steven Soderbergh at the top of his game, directing a peerless ensemble cast in a gritty, multifaceted tale that will captivate you from beginning to end. Utilizing the no-frills techniques of the Dogme 95 school, Soderbergh enhances his hand-held filming with imaginative editing and film-stock manipulation that eerily captures the atmosphere of each location: a washed-out, grainy Mexico; a blue and chilly Ohio; and a sleek, sun-dappled San Diego. But Traffic is more than a film-school exercise. Soderbergh and screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (adapting the British TV miniseries Traffik to the U.S.) seamlessly weave the threads of each separate plotline into one solid tale, with the actions of one plot having quiet repercussions on the other two. And if you needed more proof that Soderbergh takes unparalleled care with his actors, practically all the members of this cast turn in their best work ever, the standout being an Oscar-worthy Del Toro as the conflicted moral conscience of the film. While no story is fully resolved in the film, you'll be haunted by these characters days after you've seen the film. By far one of the best movies of 2000. —Mark Englehart
The Mummy
Stephen Sommers Deep in the egyptian desert, a handful of people searching for a long-lost treasure have just unearthed a 3,000 year old legacy of terror. Special features: feature-length audio commentary with director and editor: egyptology 101: deleted scenes: theatrical trailers and more.
Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg A small band of u.S. Soldiers are sent on a mission during the tumultuous battle at normandy to find the lone survivor of four brothers in steven spielbergs brutally honest world war ii epic. Special features: cast and filmmakers bios: production notes: interactive menus: two theatrical trailers and more. Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 02/14/2006 Starring: Tom Hanks Tom Sizemore Run time: 169 minutes Rating: R Director: Stephen Spielberg
Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino With the knockout one-two punch of 1992's Reservoir Dogs and 1994's Pulp Fiction writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender. But Pulp Fiction was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that reestablished John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million) independent showcase for an ultrahip mixture of established marquee names and rising stars from the indie scene (among them Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, and Phil Lamar). It was more, even, than an unprecedented $100-million-plus hit for indie distributor Miramax. Pulp Fiction was a sensation. No, it was not the Second Coming (I actually think Reservoir Dogs is a more substantial film; and P.T. Anderson outdid Tarantino in 1997 by making his directorial debut with two even more mature and accomplished pictures, Hard Eight and Boogie Nights). But Pulp Fiction packs so much energy and invention into telling its nonchronologically interwoven short stories (all about temptation, corruption, and redemption amongst modern criminals, large and small) it leaves viewers both exhilarated and exhausted—hearts racing and knuckles white from the ride. (Oh, and the infectious, surf-guitar-based soundtrack is tastier than a Royale with Cheese.) —Jim Emerson
The Mexican
Gore Verbinski
A Better Tomorrow II
David Wu, John Woo "I won't give you nothing, man; I give you shit," sneers charismatic superstar Chow Yun Fat, speaking English (with a De Niro accent) in his role as a New York restaurateur who won't knuckle under to the (Italian) mob. Chow plays the twin brother of the character he played in the original Tomorrow, the ultraviolent, ultraromantic ultrapopular Hong Kong gangster melodrama. And the blatancy of that device is a fair indication of the sequel's shortcomings—and of its screwy charm: this is a film that knows no shame. The bond between the natural siblings played by Ti Lung (as a reformed mobster) and Leslie Cheung (as a hot shot cop) still resonate tellingly. As a good-guy ex-thug driven batty by the slaying of his only daughter, real-life Cinema City studio chief Dean Shek gets to play a garishly extended "mad scene," foaming at the mouth, chewing on soup bones. A later episode in which a dying man crawls to a phone booth to call his wife (and newborn daughter) in the hospital must also be some kind of lurid first in the soap sweepstakes. The final 15 minutes could be the bloodiest single shoot-out sequence ever committed to celluloid. The story line hasn't been shaped to any particular purpose here, but the images have a golden Godfather-like glow, and this faintly anachronistic, all-stops-out wish-fulfillment approach to moviemaking still has a lot of power. —David Chute