When she hears a strange song from a crystal radio, Asuna tunes into more than just a magical stream of music. Soon, she is transported to a mysterious world where mythical beasts roam and brave warriors fight for their lives. Agartha is a land of breathtaking beauty and unimaginable danger-a place where, it is believed, even the dead can be brought back to life. But at what cost? Children Who Chase Lost Voices is a spellbinding new work from Japanese visionary Makoto Shinkai, who amazed audiences the world over with Voices of A Distant Star and 5 Centimeters per Second. Now, with Children, Shinkai affirms his place as one of animation's most original voices. Writer-director Makoto Shinkai's handsome adventure-fantasy Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011) has won several awards on the international festival circuit. Asuna is a model middle school girl: she's not only the top student in her class, she cheerfully does all of the household chores while her widowed mother is at work. She deals with her loneliness by experimenting with a crystal radio set she's stashed in a nearby mountain hideaway. After she hears a mysterious song, Asuna is thrust into a supernatural adventure that involves weird, hybrid monsters; the dashing, heroic Shun; her substitute teacher Mr. Morisaki; and the legendary underground realm of Agartha. Devastated by his wife's death 10 years earlier, Morisaki is on a quest to restore her to life using the powers of Agartha. Children Who Chase Lost Voices boasts beautifully painted backgrounds, but the film borrows heavily and obviously from the work of Hayao Miyazaki. Asuna recalls Chihiro in Spirited Away and other young Miyazaki heroines; Shun looks like the Wizard from Howl's Moving Castle, while his younger brother Shin bears more than a passing resemblance to Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke. The storyline, which uses elements from both the Western legend of Orpheus and Eurydice and the Japanese Kojiki chronicles, rambles along for almost two hours before reaching a hasty and unsatisfying conclusion. Otaku know Shinkai from 5 Centimeters per Second (2007) and The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), which also rambled and borrowed from Miyazaki. He's clearly a talented director with a powerful visual sense, but his films would be stronger if he collaborated with an equally gifted writer. (Rated TV PG: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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Tatsuya Nakadai (Harakiri) and Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman plying his craft during the turbulent final days of shogunate rule in Japan, Ryunosuke (Nakadai) kills without remorse or mercy. It is a way of life that ultimately leads to madness. Kihachi Okamotoâ€™s swordplay classic is the thrilling tale of a man who chooses to devote his life to evil.
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people's lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together. Satoshi Kon's third feature (following Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress) confirms his status as one of the most interesting directors working in anime. Tokyo Godfathers centers on three homeless people: Hana, a flamboyant ex-drag entertainer; Gin, an alcoholic former bicycle racer; and Miyuki, a sullen teenage runaway. Their tenuous existence becomes more chaotic when they set out to find the parents of an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. They scream insults as they confront the lies they've told each other--and themselves--about the past. Yet they remain curiously endearing and even noble. All three care passionately about the abandoned infant, and they love each other, although they're loath to admit it. Kon skillfully uses color to suggest the bitter winter cold and the characters' alienation. Tokyo Godfathers shows that battling the inner demons that led these three characters to skid row can be a more daunting challenge than fighting aliens and cyborgs. (Rated PG-13: profanity, violence, tobacco and al...
Manufacturer: Koch Lorber Films
Brand: Polish DVDs
Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Winner of the European Film Awards Prix dâ€™Excellence The critically-acclaimed film from Polandâ€™s greatest living director, Andrzej Wajda 1940. After Germanyâ€™s invasion of Poland, Joseph Stalin ordered the liquidation of the Polish officer corps, slaughtering nearly 22,000 men in Katyn Forest. Based on this horrific, historical event, Katyn tells the affecting story of four fictional officers and their families as they struggle to uncover the truth. Based on the novel â€œPost Mortemâ€ by Andrzej Mularczyk. OVER 80 MINUTES OF BONUS FEATURES: Interview with Andrzej Wajda â€Katyn: 60 Days on the Setâ€ making-of featurette
One of France's literary treasures commands the screen with this "exceptionally graceful adaptation" (Los Angeles Times) that received a Best Foreign Film Golden GlobeÃ‚(r) and five OscarÃ‚(r) nominations*, including Best Actor for Gerard Depardieu! Cyrano (Depardieu), a master swordsman and poet, feels he cannot woo his beloved Roxane (Anne Brochet) due to an unfortunate physical flaw: his grotesquely large nose. Resigning himself to helping another suitor, the dashing yet tongue-tied Christian (Vincent Perez), Cyrano uses his mastery of words to win Roxane forhim. But when Roxane finds that she has fallen for Christian's mindand not for his beautywhich of her two suitors will finally possess her heart? *1990: Foreign Language Film, Art Direction-Set Decoration, Costume Design (won), Makeup
Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Manufacturer: Criterion Collection
Brand: Criterion Collection
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal) intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary directorâ€™s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Awardâ€“winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality. The Criterion Collection is proud to present both the theatrical release and the original five-hour television version of this great work. Also included in the box set is Bergmanâ€™s own feature-length documentary The Making of â€œFanny and Alexander,â€ a unique glimpse into his creative process.
One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, STRANGER BY THE LAKE has been described as a modern-day Hitchcockian masterpiece. A picturesque cruising spot in the countryside of France sets the scene between desire and murder. Franck, a regular at the lake, meets the handsome Michel and soon falls in love with the mysterious stranger. When a body is discovered in the lake, Franck and Michel soon become primary suspects of the investigation. STRANGER BY THE LAKE is a unique, erotic thriller of seduction and sexual obsession that builds to an unforgettable and terrifying climax. Bonus Features: -Interview with director Alain Guiraudie -US Theatrical Trailer-Other Strand Releasing Trailers Buy the blu-ray for these additional exclusive bonus features: -Deleted Scenes -Alternative Ending -2 Short Films by Alain Guiraudie -US & UK Theatrical Trailers
Brand: Buena Vista Home Video
Starring Rachael Leigh Cook (SHE'S ALL THAT), Josh Hartnett (PEARL HARBOR), and Alan Rickman (GALAXY QUEST) in a great ensemble cast -- the Academy Award(R)- nominated writer of THE FULL MONTY has crafted a hilarious story about the things everyone wants in life: love, happiness, and great hair! As the National Hair Championships descend upon a small town in England, the country's top stylists aren't expecting much from the local talent. But they didn't count on Phil Allen (Rickman), the retired golden boy of the competition circuit, entering the fray! Also starring Natasha Richardson (THE PARENT TRAP), Rachel Griffiths (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING), and supermodel Heidi Klum -- laugh along as the locals dazzle the out-of-towners with some hair dos ... and don'ts. Despite a gifted Anglo-American cast, Blow Dry strikes an uneasy balance between sentiment and camp. It aims for the same sort of high-wire act that Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert pulled off so effortlessly, but melodrama wins the day. The comic moments are suitably over-the-top (as expected in a film about dueling hairdressers), but rarely as amusing as intended. The relationships between barbershop owner Phil (Alan Rickman), ex-wife Shelley (Natasha Richardson), and Sandra (Rachel Griffiths), "the other woman," could be more fully developed but are affecting nonetheless. The setting is West Yorkshire. The event that brings them together is the British National Hairdressing Championships. Phil ...