Keith´s DVDs

Bio



Ann Coulter



Jada Pinkett-Smith



Wicked Wisdom



Phillip Thomas Duck



Alisha Yvonne



Laura Schlessinger



Dr. Frederick K.C. Price



James Patterson



Eric Jerome Dickey



Jackie Collins



L.A. Banks



Brandon Massey



Kendra Norman-Bellamy



September 2004 October 2004

Contemporary

X2 X-Men United Cover

After an attempt on his life by the demonic-looking mutant Nightcrawler, the President is convinced to let Colonel William Stryker take an active investigation of Professor Xavier's school. However, unbeknownst to the Commander in Chief, Stryker's got his own agenda, involving Charles' powerful psychic mind, that could prove to be the end of mutantkind. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and secrets will be unleashed as the war between mutants and humanity reaches a frightening climax.

Classic

3 Days Of The Condor Cover

Taut thriller about a bookish CIA operative (Redford) who, after a triple-cross, is forced to hide out at a stranger's apartment. The stranger, a photographer, does not want the man there, nor does she believe his story about working for the CIA.

Favorite

Cooley High Cover

"Its So Hard...To Say Goodbye...To Yesterday..."

High school buddies engage in parties, pranks and mischievous fun. Friendship is tested, and the value is found when tragedy strikes the group unexpectedly.

Filmed on location in Chicago, Illinois

Contemporary

Gladiator Cover

In the final days of Marcus Aurelius' reign, the aging emperor arouses his son Commodus' anger when he makes known his wish that Maximus be his successor. Power-hungry Commodus kills his father and orders the death of Maximus. But the latter flees and hides his identity by becoming slave and a gladiator. Eventually, Maximus journeys back to Rome to confront his archrival.

Classic

Enter the Dragon Cover

Lee (Bruce Lee) is hired by an international intelligence agency to uncover the illegal activities of Mr. Han (Shih Kien) who happens to sponsor a martial arts competition, which he uses as cover to recruit agents. Lee teams up with Roper (John Saxon) to put an end to the drug and prostitution ring discovered on Mr. Han's island.

Favorite

J.D.´s Revenge Cover

A young law student's life is drastically changed when he agrees to undergo hypnosis and subsequently discovers that he is possessed by the vengeful spirit of a dead gangster.

November 2004 December 2004

Contemporary

Crimson Tide Cover

In the face of the ultimate nuclear showdown, one man has absolute power. And one man will do anything to stop him.

Dynamic Denzel Washington joins Hollywood favorite Gene Hackman in this intense action thriller that's a smash hit with audiences and critics alike! In the midst of a global crisis, the USS Alabama receives an unconfirmed order to launch its nuclear missiles-signaling the start of WWIII. The tension quickly rises as the sub's respected commander (Hackman) and his brilliant executive officer (Washington) clash over the validity of their orders battling each other for control of the sub! As this epic struggle rages under the sea, Crimson Tide brings motion picture excitement to a new level-and you to the edge of your seat!

Classic

An Officer and a Gentleman Cover

Once in a great while a movie comes along that truly grips and uplifts its audiences. Such a movie is An Officer And A Gentleman, a timeless tale of romance, friendship and growth.

Loner Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) enters Officer Candidate School to become a Navy pilot and in thirteen torturous weeks he learns the importance of discipline, love and friendship. Louis Gossett, Jr. won an Academy Award for his brilliant portrayal of the tough drill instructor who teaches Zack that no man can make it alone. And while Gossett tries to warn the young officer about the local girls who will do anything to catch themselves pilot husbands, Zack eventually learns to love one (Debra Winger) while his fellow candidate, a memorable character portrayed by David Keith, struggles with a very different fate.

An Officer And A Gentleman is a rich and satisfying story with moving performances that will stay with you long after the film has ended.

Favorite

A Soldier's Story Cover

"Totally Compelling..."
-Variety

Tensions flare in this gripping film about a murder on a black army base near the end of World War II. Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.), a proud black army attorney, is sent to Fort Neal, Louisiana, to investigate the ruthless shooting death of Sergeant Waters (Adolph Caesar). Through interviews with Sarge's men, Davenport learns that he was a vicious man who served the white officer? Of could he have been a black soldier embittered by Waters' constant race baiting? Directed by Norman Jewison from Charles Fullers Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Soldier's Story is both a spellbinding mystery and a superb drama that transcends race.

Contemporary

Shawshank Redemption Cover

In writer-director Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption", Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover in the late 1940s. However, only Andy knows that he didn't commit the crimes. Sent to Shawshank Prison to do hard time, Andy--a taciturn banker in the outside world--has to learn to get by in the brutal, cutthroat confines of prison life. His quiet strength slowly earns the respect of his fellow inmates--most notably, Red (Morgan Freeman)--and even much of the prison staff. But Andy's seemingly stoic acceptance of his unjust imprisonment hides a fierce determination for freedom. This beautifully crafted movie features touching and sincere performances from the entire cast, with an uplifting message about humanity's indomitable spirit and the redemptive value of hope. Based on the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King, Darabont's intriguing adaptation is easily one of the finest films of the 1990s.

Classic

The Godfather Cover

Containing The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II (on two discs) and The Godfather: Part III, along with an extra disc of special features and documentaries, The Godfather DVD Collection finally brings Francis Ford Coppola's award-winning trilogy to DVD. The trilogy chronicles three generations of the Corleone crime family, their rise to power, and the attempts to legitimize the family business. Praised by critics and movie-lovers alike, The Godfather DVD Collection brings cinema's epic crime saga home.

Favorite

Uptown Saturday Night Cover

Blue-collar buddies Steve and Wardell decide to hang out at an illicit gambling joint one Saturday night. But they lose their shirts (literally) when robbers force them and everyone else to strip and give up their valuables. As if that weren't bad enough, Steve makes a frightening discovery after the crime: inside his stolen wallet was a winning lottery ticket worth $50,000! The horrified duo hire a bumbling detective and set out to find the crooks. During their wild adventure they encounter a number of odd characters, including two rival ganglords--one of whom is responsible for the gambling house robbery...

January 2005 February 2005

Contemporary

Enemy of the State Cover

Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a lawyer with a wife and family whose happily normal life is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a college buddy (Jason Lee) at a lingerie shop. Unbeknownst to the lawyer, he's just been burdened with a videotape of a congressman's assassination. Hot on the tail of this tape is a ruthless group of National Security Agents commanded by a belligerently ambitious fed named Reynolds (Jon Voight). Using surveillance from satellites, bugs, and other sophisticated snooping devices, the NSA infiltrates every facet of Dean's existence, tracing each physical and digital footprint he leaves. Driven by acute paranoia, Dean enlists the help of a clandestine former NSA operative named Brill (Gene Hackman), and Enemy of the State kicks into high-intensity hyperdrive.

Teaming up once again with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun director Tony Scott demonstrates his glossy style with clever cinematography and breakneck pacing. Will Smith proves that there's more to his success than a brash sense of humor, giving a versatile performance that plausibly illustrates a man cracking under the strain of paranoid turmoil. Hackman steals the show by essentially reprising his role from The Conversation--just imagine his memorable character Harry Caul some 20 years later. Most of all, the film's depiction of high-tech surveillance is highly convincing and dramatically compelling, making this a cautionary tale with more substance than you'd normally expect from a Scott-Bruckheimer action extravaganza.

Classic

Who´s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Cover

A word of advice: If George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) ever ask you over for late-night cocktails--pass. On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to see Mike Nichols's scorching film version of Edward Albee's sensational play, don't miss it! Elegantly photographed in crisp black and white by the great Haskell Wexler, the play has been "opened up" for the screen by director Nichols (The Graduate, Primary Colors) and producer-writer Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest) without diluting its concentrated, claustrophobic power. Taylor has never been better or brasher as Martha, letting loose with all the fury of a drunken, frustrated academic's wife on one crazy Walpurgisnacht bender. Burton plays her husband, George, the ineffectual history prof married to the college president's daughter. And George Segal and Sandy Dennis are young, callow Nick and Honey, who have no idea what sort of mind-warping psychological games they're being drawn into. Among the most successful theatrical adaptations (artistically and popularly) ever brought to the screen. The entire principal cast was nominated for Oscars--and Taylor, Dennis, and cinematographer Wexler won.

Favorite

Pretty Woman (15th Anniversary Edition) Cover

Like a pumpkin that transforms into a carriage, some very shrewd casting (and the charisma of Julia Roberts, in particular) morphed this story of a Hollywood whore into a Disneyfied Cinderella story--and a mainstream megahit. This is the movie that made Roberts a star; the charm of her personality helping tremendously to carry viewers over the rough spots in the script (which was originally a cynical tale about prostitution called 3000--after the amount of money Richard Gere's character pays the prostitute to stay with him for the week). Gere is the silver-haired Wall Street knight who sweeps streetwalker Roberts into a fantasy world of room service at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and fashion boutique shopping on Rodeo Drive. The supporting cast is also appealing, including Laura San Giacomo as Roberts's hooker pal, Hector Elizondo as the hotel manager, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy, and Hank Azaria. Now, is this something you want your sons and daughters to see? That's entirely up to you.

Contemporary

Malcolm X - 2 Disc Collector´s Edition Cover

Just as Do the Right Thing was the capstone of Spike Lee's earlier career, Malcolm X marked the next milestone in the filmmaker's artistic maturity. It seemed everything Lee had done up to that point was to prepare him for this epic biography of America's fiery civil-rights leader, who is superbly played by Oscar-nominated Denzel Washington, from his early days as a zoot-suited hustler known as "Detroit Red" to his spiritual maturity after his pilgrimage to Mecca, as a Black Muslim by the name of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. Do the Right Thing climaxed with the photographic images of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King engulfed by flames of rage; Malcolm X explores the genesis and evolution of that rage over Malcolm's lifetime, and how these two great figures--held up to the public as polar-opposites within the African American human rights movement (King for nonviolent civil disobedience, Malcolm for achieving equality "by any means necessary")--were each essential to the agenda of the other. Lee careens from the hedonistic ebullience of Malcolm's early days to the stark despair of prison, from his life-changing conversion to Islam to his emergence as a dynamic political leader--all with an epic sweep and vitality that illuminates personal details as well as political ideology. Angela Bassett is also terrific as Malcolm's wife, Betty Shabazz.

Classic

Rosewood Cover

A shameful chapter in American history is powerfully dramatized in Rosewood, but moviegoers in 1997 may not have been ready for the African American equivalent of Schindler's List. And while the massacre that occurred in the nearly all-black town of Rosewood, Florida, in 1922 cannot compare in scale to the Nazi holocaust, it potently illustrates the same issues of racism and inherited intolerance that percolate at every level of human existence. An estimated 40 to 150 blacks were killed in Rosewood by an all-white lynch mob from the neighboring town of Sumner, where a white woman falsely claimed she'd been assaulted by a black man. The resulting mayhem ignited a tinderbox of resentment toward the flourishing citizens of Rosewood, and those few who survived were so traumatized that they remained silent until the truth was revealed by an investigative journalist in 1982.

The film is blessed with richly authentic production design, lush cinematography, and a subtly effective John Williams score, and director John Singleton and screenwriter Gregory Poirier embellish the truth of Rosewood with a fictional hero named Mann (Ving Rhames), who arrives to buy a five-acre plot coveted by Rosewood's white grocer (John Voight). The emerging trust between these two characters--and the fate of an extended family led by a defiant father (Don Cheadle)--gives shape to the movie's devastating depiction of racism and the courage of those who opposed the lynch mob's brutality. Singleton and Poirier fall prey to some bad dialogue and a broadly unbalanced depiction of bloodthirsty hayseeds, but the film's passion is maintained by its superb cast and the timeless echoes of history.

Favorite

Do the Right Thing - Criterion Collection Cover

Spike Lee's incendiary look at race relations in America, circa 1989, is so colorful and exuberant for its first three-quarters that you can almost forget the terrible confrontation that the movie inexorably builds toward. Do the Right Thing is a joyful, tumultuous masterpiece--maybe the best film ever made about race in America, revealing racial prejudices and stereotypes in all their guises and demonstrating how a deadly riot can erupt out of a series of small misunderstandings. Set on one block in Bedford-Stuyvesant on the hottest day of the summer, the movie shows the whole spectrum of life in this neighborhood and then leaves it up to us to decide if, in the end, anybody actually does the "right thing." Featuring Danny Aiello as Sal, the pizza parlor owner; Lee himself as Mookie, the lazy pizza-delivery guy; John Turturro and Richard Edson as Sal's sons; Lee's sister Joie as Mookie's sister Jade; Rosie Perez as Mookie's girlfriend Tina; Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee as the block elders, Da Mayor and Mother Sister; Giancarlo Esposito as Mookie's hot-headed friend Buggin' Out; Bill Nunn as the boom-box toting Radio Raheem; and Samuel L. Jackson as deejay Mister Señor Love Daddy. A rich and nuanced film to watch, treasure, and learn from--over and over again.

March 2005 April 2005

Contemporary

The Negotiator Cover

Although it eventually runs out of smart ideas and resorts to a typically explosive finale, this above-average thriller rises above its formulaic limitations on the strength of powerful performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Both play Chicago police negotiators with hotshot reputations, but when Jackson's character finds himself falsely accused of embezzling funds from a police pension fund, he's so thoroughly framed that he must take extreme measures to prove his innocence. He takes hostages in police headquarters to buy time and plan his strategy, demanding that Spacey be brought in to mediate with him as an army of cops threatens to attack, and a media circus ensues. Both negotiators know how to get into the other man's thoughts, and this intellectual showdown allows both Spacey and Jackson to ignite the screen with a burst of volatile intensity. Director F. Gary Gray is disadvantaged by an otherwise predictable screenplay, but he has a knack for building suspense and is generous to a fine supporting cast, including Paul Giamatti as one of Jackson's high-strung hostages, and the late J.T. Walsh in what would sadly be his final big-screen role. The movie should have trusted its compelling characters a little more, probing their psyches more intensely to give the suspense a deeper dramatic foundation, but it's good enough to give two great actors a chance to strut their stuff.

Classic

In the Heat of the Night Cover

Both riveting murder mystery and classic fish-out-of-water yarn, Norman Jewison's Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night represents Hollywood at its wiliest, cloaking exposé in the most entertaining trappings. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger prove the decade's most formidable antagonists. Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, an arrogant homicide detective waylaid in Sparta, Mississippi; Steiger, in his bravura Oscar-winning turn, is Bill Gillespie, the town's hardheaded, bigoted sheriff who first arrests Tibbs for murder and then begs for his expertise. As the clues and suspects mount, Gillespie and his deputies develop begrudging respect for the black officer. The first-rate supporting cast includes Lee Grant as the victim's angry widow, Warren Oates as a voyeuristic deputy, William Schallert as the pragmatic mayor, and, in his screen debut, Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood) as an unlucky fugitive. The brilliant widescreen cinematography is by Haskell Wexler, and the scat-music score is by Quincy Jones. Ray Charles wails the blues theme song.

Favorite

The Last Picture Show Cover

Like Easy Rider, Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, and The Graduate, The Last Picture Show is one of the signature films of the "New Hollywood" that emerged in the late 1960s and early '70s. Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry and lovingly directed by Peter Bogdanovich (who cowrote the script with McMurtry), this 1971 drama has been interpreted as an affectionate tribute to classic Hollywood filmmaking and the great directors (such as John Ford) that Bogdanovich so deeply admired. It's also a eulogy for lost innocence and small-town life, so accurately rendered that critic Roger Ebert called it "the best film of 1951," referring to the movie's one-year time frame, its black-and-white cinematography (by Robert Surtees), and its sparse but evocative visual style. The story is set in the tiny, dying town of Anarene, Texas, where the main-street movie house is about to close for good, and where a pair of high-school football players are coming of age and struggling to define their uncertain futures. There's little to do in Anarene, and while Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) engages in a passionless fling with his football coach's wife (Cloris Leachman), his best friend Duane (Jeff Bridges) enlists for service in the Korean War. Both boys fall for a manipulative high-school beauty (Cybill Shepherd) who's well aware of her sexual allure. But it's not so much what happens in The Last Picture show as how it happens--and how Bogdanovich and his excellent cast so effectively capture the melancholy mood of a ghost town in the making. As Hank Williams sings on the film's evocative soundtrack, The Last Picture Show looks, feels, and sounds like a sad but unforgettably precious moment out of time.

Contemporary

The Passion of the Christ Cover

After all the controversy and rigorous debate has subsided, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will remain a force to be reckoned with. In the final analysis, "Gibson's Folly" is an act of personal bravery and commitment on the part of its director, who self-financed this $25-30 million production to preserve his artistic goal of creating the Passion of Christ ("Passion" in this context meaning "suffering") as a quite literal, in-your-face interpretation of the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of torture and crucifixion. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this film does not "entertain," and it's not a film that one can "like" or "dislike" in any conventional sense. (It is also emphatically not a film for children or the weak of heart.) Rather, The Passion is a cinematic experience that serves an almost singular purpose: to show the scourging and death of Jesus Christ in such horrifically graphic detail (with Gibson's own hand pounding the nails in the cross) that even non-believers may feel a twinge of sorrow and culpability in witnessing the final moments of the Son of God, played by Jim Caviezel in a performance that's not so much acting as a willful act of submission, so intense that some will weep not only for Christ, but for Caviezel's unparalleled test of endurance.

Leave it to the intelligentsia to debate the film's alleged anti-Semitic slant; if one judges what is on the screen (so gloriously served by John Debney's score and Caleb Deschanel's cinematography), there is fuel for debate but no obvious malice aforethought; the Jews under Caiaphas are just as guilty as the barbaric Romans who carry out the execution, especially after Gibson excised (from the subtitles, if not the soundtrack) the film's most controversial line of dialogue. If one accepts that Gibson's intentions are sincere, The Passion can be accepted for what it is: a grueling, straightforward (some might say unimaginative) and extremely violent depiction of the Passion, guaranteed to render devout Christians speechless while it intensifies their faith. Non-believers are likely to take a more dispassionate view, and some may resort to ridicule. But one thing remains undebatable: with The Passion of the Christ, Gibson put his money where his mouth is. You can praise or damn him all you want, but you've got to admire his chutzpah.






Classic

The Ten Commandments Cover

Legendary silent film director Cecil B. DeMille didn't much alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that. While graced with such 1950s niceties as VistaVision and Technicolor, The Ten Commandments (DeMille had already filmed an earlier version in 1923) has an anachronistic, impassioned style that finds lead actors Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner expressively posing while hundreds of extras writhe either in the presence of God's power or from orgiastic heat. DeMille, as always, plays both sides of the fence as far as sin goes, surrounding Heston's Moses with worshipful music and heavenly special effects while also making the sexy action around the cult of the Golden Calf look like fun. You have to see The Ten Commandments to understand its peculiar resonance as an old-new movie, complete with several still-impressive effects such as the parting of the Red Sea.

Favorite

Jesus of Nazareth Cover

Originally made for TV in 1977, this in-depth (six hours plus) version of Jesus' life is so thorough that the first hour is devoted solely to the story of his birth. The film doesn't skimp on some of the other landmark events of this famous story either. Director Franco Zeffirelli gives more than 12 minutes screen time each to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Passages of the Bible are quoted verbatim, the locations have a Palestine-like authenticity, and, aside from some of the principals (Robert Powell as Jesus, Olivia Hussey as Mary, and Stacy Keach as Barabbas), many of the non-Roman characters are actually played by Semitic-looking actors. Zeffirelli diligently provides the sociopolitical background that gave rise to Jesus' following and the crisis in belief it caused for the people of Israel (and one or two Romans). While not graphic by today's standards, some of the scenes--baby boys being ripped from their mothers' arms and slaughtered, nails being driven into Jesus' hands--may disturb young and/or sensitive children.

May 2005 June 2005

Contemporary

We Were Soldiers Cover

Based on the book by Lt. Col. Harold Moore (ret.) and journalist Joseph Galloway, We Were Soldiers offers a dignified reminder that the Vietnam War yielded its own crop of American heroes. Departing from Hollywood's typically cynical treatment of the war, writer-director Randall Wallace focuses on the first engagement of American soldiers with the North Vietnamese enemy in November 1965. Moore (played with colorful nuance by Mel Gibson) and nearly 400 inexperienced troopers from the U.S. Air Cavalry were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese Army soldiers, and the film re-creates this brutal firefight with graphic authenticity, while telling the parallel story of grieving army wives back home. While UPI reporter Galloway (Barry Pepper) risks his life to chronicle the battle, Wallace offers a balanced (though somewhat fictionalized) perspective while eliciting laudable performances from an excellent cast. Like the best World War II dramas of the 1940s, We Were Soldiers pays tribute to brave men while avoiding the pitfalls of propaganda.

Classic

Patton Cover

One of the greatest screen biographies ever produced, this monumental film runs nearly three hours, won seven Academy Awards, and gave George C. Scott the greatest role of his career. It was released in 1970 when protest against the Vietnam War still raged at home and abroad, and many critics and moviegoers struggled to reconcile current events with the movie's glorification of Gen. George S. Patton as a crazy-brave genius of World War II.

How could a movie so huge in scope and so fascinated by its subject be considered an anti-war film? The simple truth is that it's not--Patton is less about World War II than about the rise and fall of a man whose life was literally defined by war, and who felt lost and lonely without the grand-scale pursuit of an enemy. George C. Scott embodies his role so fully, so convincingly, that we can't help but be drawn to and fascinated by Patton as a man who is simultaneously bound for hell and glory. The film's opening monologue alone is a masterful display of acting and character analysis, and everything that follows is sheer brilliance on the part of Scott and director Franklin J. Schaffner.

Filmed on an epic scale at literally dozens of European locations, Patton does not embrace war as a noble pursuit, nor does it deny the reality of war as a breeding ground for heroes. Through the awesome achievement of Scott's performance and the film's grand ambition, Patton shows all the complexities of a man who accepted his role in life and (like Scott) played it to the hilt.

Favorite

Glory - Special Edition Cover

One of the very best films about the Civil War, this instant classic from 1989 is also one of the few films to depict the participation of African American soldiers in Civil War combat. Based in part on the books

and by Peter Burchard, the film also draws from the letters of Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), the 25-year-old son of Boston abolitionists who volunteered to command the all-black 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Their training and battle experience leads them to their final assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina, where their heroic bravery turned bitter defeat into a symbolic victory that brought recognition to black soldiers and turned the tide of the war. With painstaking attention to historical detail and richness of character, the film boasts superior performances by Denzel Washington (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher. Directed by Edward Zwick this unforgettable drama is as important as in its treatment of a noble yet little-known episode of history.

Contemporary

Mo´ Better Blues Cover

With Mo' Better Blues, the story of a young trumpeter's rise to jazz-world stardom, Spike Lee set out to counter Clint Eastwood's cliché-ridden biopic of Charlie Parker in Bird. But the final product, a slick, glossy drama (with hip-hop jazz provided by Gangstarr no less), is just as superficial as the numerous Alger-esque stories of music stardom to which movie audiences are accustomed.

Denzel Washington gives a typically charismatic performance as the trumpeter in question, as does Wesley Snipes as his sax-playing rival. And as with most Spike Lee films, there are numerous solid performers in small roles such as Bill Nunn, Latin-music star Rubén Blades, and comedian Robin Harris. One character, however, attracted unwanted attention: John Turturro's role as an unscrupulous music-industry exec. Critics called the Turturro character, who is at once money hungry, swarthy, and perpetually shrouded in darkness, a classic anti-Semitic caricature. But the charge seems almost irrelevant in Spike Lee's cartoonish, overstylized world of impossibly hunky jazzmen, curvaceous hangers-on, and incessant bebop.

Classic

Dangerous Liaisons Cover

A sumptuously mounted and photographed celebration of artful wickedness, betrayal, and sexual intrigue among depraved 18th-century French aristocrats, Dangerous Liaisons (based on Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses) is seductively decadent fun. The villainous heroes are the Marquise De Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte De Valmont (John Malkovich), who have cultivated their mutual cynicism into a highly developed and exquisitely mannered form of (in-)human expression. Former lovers, they now fancy themselves rather like demigods whose mutual desires have evolved beyond the crudeness of sex or emotion. They ritualistically act out their twisted affections by engaging in elaborate conspiracies to destroy the lives of their less calculating acquaintances, daring each other to ever-more-dastardly acts of manipulation and betrayal. Why? Just because they can; it's their perverted way of getting get their kicks in a dead-end, pre-Revolutionary culture. Among their voluptuous and virtuous prey are fair-haired angels played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, who have never looked more ripe for ravishing. When the Vicomte finds himself beset by bewilderingly genuine emotions for one of his victims, the Marquise considers it the ultimate betrayal and plots her heartless revenge. Dangerous Liaisons is a high-mannered revel for the actors, who also include Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, and Keanu Reeves.

Favorite

American History X Cover

Perhaps the highest compliment you can pay to Edward Norton is that his Oscar-nominated performance in American History X nearly convinces you that there is a shred of logic in the tenets of white supremacy. If that statement doesn't horrify you, it should; Norton is so fully immersed in his role as a neo-Nazi skinhead that his character's eloquent defense of racism is disturbingly persuasive--at least on the surface. Looking lean and mean with a swastika tattoo and a mind full of hate, Derek Vinyard (Norton) has inherited racism from his father, and that learning has been intensified through his service to Cameron (Stacy Keach), a grown-up thug playing tyrant and teacher to a growing band of disenfranchised teens from Venice Beach, California, all hungry for an ideology that fuels their brooding alienation.

The film's basic message--that hate is learned and can be unlearned--is expressed through Derek's kid brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), whose sibling hero-worship increases after Derek is imprisoned (or, in Danny's mind, martyred) for the killing of two black men. Lacking Derek's gift of rebel rhetoric, Danny is easily swayed into the violent, hateful lifestyle that Derek disowns during his thoughtful time in prison. Once released, Derek struggles to save his brother from a violent fate, and American History X partially suffers from a mix of intense emotions, awkward sentiment, and predictably inevitable plotting. And yet British director Tony Kaye (who would later protest against Norton's creative intervention during post-production) manages to juggle these qualities--and a compelling clash of visual styles--to considerable effect. No matter how strained their collaboration may have been, both Kaye and Norton can be proud to have created a film that addresses the issue of racism with dramatically forceful impact.

July 2005 August 2005

Contemporary

The Matrix Cover

By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers--Andy and Larry--annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is--a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend.

Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it's a thinking man's journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne--who both turn in fine performances--much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film's box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise.

Classic

Giant Cover

They call it Giant because everything in this picture is big, from the generous running time (more than 200 minutes) to the sprawling ranch location (a horizon-to-horizon plain with a lonely, modest mansion dropped in the middle) to the high-powered stars. Stocky Rock Hudson stars as the confident, stubborn young ranch baron Bick Benedict, who woos and wins the hand of Southern belle Elizabeth Taylor, a seemingly demure young beauty who proves to be Hudson's match after she settles into the family homestead. For many the film is chiefly remembered for James Dean's final performance, as poor former ranch hand Jett Rink, who strikes oil and transforms himself into a flamboyant millionaire playboy. Director George Stevens won his second Oscar for this ambitious, grandly realized (if sometimes slow moving) epic of the changing socioeconomic (and physical) landscape of modern Texas, based on

The talented supporting cast includes Mercedes McCambridge as Bick's frustrated sister, put out by the new "woman of the house"; Chill Wills as the Benedicts' garrulous rancher neighbor; Carroll Baker and Dennis Hopper as the Benedicts' rebellious children; and Earl Holliman and Sal Mineo as dedicated ranch hands.

Favorite

Chris Rock - Bring the Pain Cover

Chris Rock's first HBO comedy special proved to be a breakthrough for the stand-up comic, who at the time was best known for his stint on Saturday Night Live. Filmed in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C., Bring the Pain revived Rock's then-stagnant career and made him the face of black comedy in America seemingly overnight. Opening with a montage of comedy albums by Rock's influences -- Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, and Richard Pryor are among those name-checked -- the show finds Rock in top form as he moves nimbly from topical cracks (a bit on O.J. is a highlight) to relationship jokes to biting commentary on the state of black America. The fearless set drew some controversy at the time, but despite (or perhaps because of) the furor, Rock was able to ride Bring the Pain to a more successful career, eventually landing his own series on HBO.

Contemporary

The Matrix Reloaded Cover

Considering the lofty expectations that preceded it, The Matrix Reloaded triumphs where most sequels fail. It would be impossible to match the fresh audacity that made

a global phenomenon in 1999, but in continuing the exploits of rebellious Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they struggle to save the human sanctuary of Zion from invading machines, the codirecting Wachowski brothers have their priorities well in order. They offer the obligatory bigger and better highlights (including the impressive "Burly Brawl" and freeway chase sequences) while remaining focused on cleverly plotting the middle of a brain-teasing trilogy that ends with The Matrix Revolutions. The metaphysical underpinnings can be dismissed or scrutinized, and choosing the latter course (this is, after all, an epic about choice and free will) leads to astonishing repercussions that made Reloaded an explosive hit with critics and hardcore fans alike. As the centerpiece of a multimedia franchise, this dynamic sequel ends with a cliffhanger that virtually guarantees a mind-blowing conclusion.

Classic

Shogun Cover

What better way to escape from the onslaught of so-called reality television than to sail away with Richard Chamberlain to "the Japans" for a little samurai action and some discreet "pillowing"? From the golden age of the miniseries comes this television benchmark, the 10-hour, Golden Globe-winning saga based on

In his award-winning performance, Chamberlain stars as John Blackthorne, the 17th-century English navigator on a Dutch trading ship. A storm runs the ship aground off the coast of Japan, a "torn and cruelly divided country" locked in a power struggle between Toranaga (the venerable Toshiro Mifune) and Ishido, two warlords who would be Shogun. Blackthorne gets over his initial culture shock ("I piss on you and your country," he defiantly proclaims to his samurai captors, which to his humiliation turns out to be an unfortunate choice of words) to become a trusted ally of Toranaga and the lover of the beautiful interpreter Lady Mariko (Yoko Shimada). Their forbidden, ill-fated romance--and Blackthorne's total assimilation into Japanese culture--is set against political intrigue as Toranaga prepares for the inevitable showdown with Ishido, and Blackthorne's growing influence threatens the local Jesuits who had built up a lucrative trade monopoly. Shogun was a production blessed with good karma, and it remains an awesome achievement from a bygone era when the miniseries was king.

Favorite

Blade Cover

The recipe for Blade is quite simple; you take one part

one part horror flick, and two parts kung fu and frost it all over with some truly campy acting. Blade is the story of a ruthless and supreme vampire slayer (Wesley Snipes) who makes other contemporary slayers look like amateurs. Armed with a samurai sword made of silver and guns that shoot silver bullets, he lives to hunt and kill "Sucker Heads." Pitted against our hero is a cast of villains led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a crafty and charismatic vampire who believes that his people should be ruling the world, and that the human race is merely the food source they prey on. Born half-human and half-vampire after his mother had been attacked by a blood-sucker, Blade is brought to life by a very buff-looking Snipes in his best action performance to date. Apparent throughout the film is the fluid grace and admirable skill that Snipes brings to the many breathtaking action sequences that lift this movie into a league of its own. The influence of Hong Kong action cinema is clear, and you may even notice vague impressions of Japanese anime sprinkled innovatively throughout. Dorff holds his own against Snipes as the menacing nemesis Frost, and the grizzly Kris Kristofferson brings a tough, cynical edge to his role as Whistler, Blade's mentor and friend. Ample credit should also go to director Stephen Norrington and screenwriter David S. Goyer, who prove it is possible to adapt comic book characters to the big screen without making them look absurd. Indeed, quite the reverse happens here: Blade comes vividly to life from the moment you first see him, in an outstanding opening sequence that sets the tone for the action-packed film that follows. From that moment onward you are pulled into the world of Blade and his perpetual battle against the vampire race.

September 2005 October 2005

Contemporary

The Green Mile Cover

"The book was better" has been the complaint of many a reader since the invention of movies. Frank Darabont's second adaptation of a Stephen King prison drama (The Shawshank Redemption was the first) is a very faithful adaptation of King's serial novel. In the middle of the Depression, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) runs death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Into this dreary world walks a mammoth prisoner, John Coffey (Michael Duncan) who, very slowly, reveals a special gift that will change the men working and dying (in the electric chair, masterfully and grippingly staged) on the mile . As with King's book, Darabont takes plenty of time to show us Edgecomb's world before delving into John Coffey's mystery. With Darabont's superior storytelling abilities, his touch for perfect casting, and a leisurely 188-minute running time, his movie brings to life nearly every character and scene from the novel. Darabont even improves the novel's two endings, creating a more emotionally satisfying experience. The running time may try patience, but those who want a story, as opposed to quick-fix entertainment, will be rewarded by this finely tailored tale.
--Doug Thomas

Classic

The Bedford Incident Cover

Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one's grim tension to the end.

Favorite

Claudine Cover

It's easy to get hooked by Claudine, a lean, funny, Nixon-era movie about a romance nearly undone by a patronizing welfare system. Diahann Carroll stars as Claudine, single mother of six children in Harlem and a maid working for under-the-table wages. Forever worried that her white caseworker will discover her meager, outside income (thus eliminating meager government benefits), Claudine further complicates her domestic situation by falling in love with Roop (James Earl Jones). An affable Romeo and absent but financially supportive father of several kids, Roop by his presence jeopardizes Claudine's official status as a mom without means. The couple's decision to go forward results in welfare backlash, personal humiliation, family strain, and corrosive behavior. A sharp script layers the personal story within a socially conscious treatment, while Jones and Carroll's special chemistry turns the characters into fully rounded people. John Berry (From This Day Forward), an interesting if forgotten director, brings a clipped vitality to this urban affair.
--Tom Keogh

Contemporary

In the Heat of the Night Cover

Both riveting murder mystery and classic fish-out-of-water yarn, Norman Jewison's Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night represents Hollywood at its wiliest, cloaking exposé in the most entertaining trappings. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger prove the decade's most formidable antagonists. Poitier plays Virgil Tibbs, an arrogant homicide detective waylaid in Sparta, Mississippi; Steiger, in his bravura Oscar-winning turn, is Bill Gillespie, the town's hardheaded, bigoted sheriff who first arrests Tibbs for murder and then begs for his expertise. As the clues and suspects mount, Gillespie and his deputies develop begrudging respect for the black officer. The first-rate supporting cast includes Lee Grant as the victim's angry widow, Warren Oates as a voyeuristic deputy, William Schallert as the pragmatic mayor, and, in his screen debut, Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood) as an unlucky fugitive. The brilliant widescreen cinematography is by Haskell Wexler, and the scat-music score is by Quincy Jones. Ray Charles wails the blues theme song.
--Glenn Lovell

Classic

Dual at Diablo Cover

"An exciting, absorbing drama" (The Hollywood Reporter) that "never lets up in action" (The Film Daily), Duel at Diablo stars James Garner, Sidney Poitier, Bill Travers, Bibi Andersson and Dennis Weaver in a tale that "will grip you" (The New York Times) from beginning to end! Frontier scout Jess Remsberg (Garner) bravely leads a wagon train through hostile territory to Fort Conchos. But underneath his valor, he has an ulterior motive: to settle a score with a man whom he believes killed his wife. When he arrives at the fort, Jess not only learns the shocking truth about the killer, but also that the wagon train has come under Apache attack... leaving Jess their only hope for survival.

Favorite

Claudine Cover

It's easy to get hooked by Claudine, a lean, funny, Nixon-era movie about a romance nearly undone by a patronizing welfare system. Diahann Carroll stars as Claudine, single mother of six children in Harlem and a maid working for under-the-table wages. Forever worried that her white caseworker will discover her meager, outside income (thus eliminating meager government benefits), Claudine further complicates her domestic situation by falling in love with Roop (James Earl Jones). An affable Romeo and absent but financially supportive father of several kids, Roop by his presence jeopardizes Claudine's official status as a mom without means. The couple's decision to go forward results in welfare backlash, personal humiliation, family strain, and corrosive behavior. A sharp script layers the personal story within a socially conscious treatment, while Jones and Carroll's special chemistry turns the characters into fully rounded people. John Berry (From This Day Forward), an interesting if forgotten director, brings a clipped vitality to this urban affair.
--Tom Keogh

November 2005

Contemporary

Collateral Cover

Max (Jamie Fox) has lived the mundane life of a cab driver for 12 years . Faces have come and gone in his rearview mirror, people and places he has long since forgotten…until tonight. Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a contract killer for a offshore narcotic trafficking cartel. Tonight 5 bodies are supposed to fall, and circumstances cause Vincent to hijack Max's cab. Max is now collateral (an expendable person in the wrong place at the wrong time) through the night Max drives Vincent to each of his destinations, but as the FBI and LAPD race to intercept them their survival becomes dependant on each other like they never expected.

Classic

Mission Impossible 2 Cover

How do you prevent terrorists from unleashing mayhem on the entire world? You don't. This is a job for IMF agent Ethan Hunt.The world's greatest spy returns in the movie event of the year M:I-2. Top action director John Woo brings his own brand of excitement to the mission that finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) partnering up with the beautiful Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton) to stop renegade agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) from releasing a new kind of terror on an unsuspecting world. But before the mission is complete, they'll traverse the globe and have to choose between everything they love and everything they believe in.

Put your mind on cruise control and fasten your seat belts!

Favorite

The Last Samurai Cover

A Civil War Veteran, turned Winchester guns spokesman, the Captain Woodrow Algren arrives in Japan in the late 1870s to train the troops of the Emperor Meiji, as a part of a break away from the long-held tradition of relying on employed Samurai warriors to protect territories, as Meiji's army prepares to wipe out the remaining Samurais. When Algren is injured and captured by the Samurai, learns about their warrior honor code from Katsumoto the Samurai's leader, and decides which side of the conflict he wants to be on...


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Little Black Girl Lost 3 Cover

#9 Sizzling Black Expressions Fiction!

The Honeymoon Is Over Cover

Little Black Girl Lost 2 Ranked #2 on Black Expressions for May 2006!

Little Black Girl Lost 2 Cover

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Fate´s Redemption Hard Bound Cover

Little Black Girl Lost has been on Black Expressions' best seller list for 8 months! Thanks one and all!

Little Black Girl Lost Hard Bound Cover



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