BRILLIANT musician and charismatic performer, PRINCE has, remarkably, transfixed the pop-music world for over 20 years. Not since the Beatles has an artist's music so gracefully crossed the boundaries of nearly every popular musical genre, earning the un Given the sheer volume and varying quality of his recorded output, not to mention his weird behavior, it's easy to overlook the fact that Prince is one of the great talents of the last quarter century--a fact underlined in earnest by this galvanizing performance. The guy has always had a preternatural ability to channel R&B and rock legends like Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown (cf. this performance's amazing "Money Don't Matter 2 Night/The Work"); now he's added more sophisticated flavors to the mix as well, ranging from George Benson to Steely Dan and Weather Report, and all without sacrificing his own voice. Add to that covers of the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster" and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" (really), all played by Prince and his smokin', skin tight band, and what you get is one of the best shows of 2002, or any other year. Extraordinary. --Sam Graham
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Genre: MUSIC VIDEO/PERFORMANCE
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Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself: The Play
Manufacturer: Lions Gate
Brand: LIONS GATE HOME ENT.
When Madea (Tyler Perry) gets sick, her family comes to her aid. What they don't realize is that they're the ones who need her help. As always, Madea's cockeyed outlook on life saves the day and guarantees side-splitting laughs along the way. The moment the six-foot-tall, chain-smoking, gun-toting grandmother Madea walks on stage, it's clear that her creator, Tyler Perry, is a man who knows and appreciates his audience. Perry is the writer/director/star of the surprise hit Diary of a Mad Black Woman; like that movie, the stage play I Can Do Bad All By Myself mixes melodrama, gospel music, and freewheeling improvisational comedy--all the more loose and rambunctious because it was recorded live. In I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Madea's two granddaughters grapple with man trouble: One sister is now engaged to the other's husband, while the other resists the attentions of an ex-con with good intentions. While this angst unfolds, the heavy emotions are punctuated by rousing gospel singing and Madea's barbed, heretical wit. There's nothing sophisticated or subtle here; Perry wants to give his audience a good laugh, wring a tear from their eyes, and send them home with renewed faith in the Lord. Diary of a Mad Black Woman may have made Perry a nationally-recognized name, but watching him live on stage makes it clear he was a star long before the movie came out--the rapport he has with the crowd is palpable. --Bret Fetzer
The fireworks begin when Madea's family gathers for her granddaughter's wedding. As usual, Madea (Tyler Perry) rules the roost, as she and her neighbor, the wacky Mr. Brown (David Mann), deliver nonstop laughs. Live, love, rejoice...it's Madea's Family Reunion! When pistol-packing, chain-smoking granny Mabel "Madea" Simmons (Tyler Perry) invites her family over for the weekend, chaos is sure to follow. First they gather for her sister Irene's funeral and then for the wedding of her granddaughter, Lisa (Sonya Evans). Naturally, nothing goes as planned. The rest of her extended family include daughters Cora (Tamela J. Mann) and Vickie (Pebbles Johnson), granddaughters Jackie (D'Atra Hicks) and Tina (Zakiya Williams), and irrepressible neighbor Mr. Brown (David Mann). The urban inspirational comedy, which was followed by popular spin-off Meet the Browns, takes place between the two events as family members attempt to heal their differences through quips, scriptures, and gospel-oriented numbers. Written, produced, and directed by Perry (who co-wrote the music and lyrics), Madea's Family Reunion was filmed in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana in February 2002. A feature film version starring Blair Underwood and Lynn Whitfield is planned for 2006. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1935) (DVD)Love is blind, fickle and true. And under the sway of capricious fairies it becomes blinder ( a queen romances as donkey), more fickle (best friends swoon over each other's beau) and truest of all (lovers repledge their devotion). "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" in Shakespeare's bewitching comedy!]]> James Cagney and Mickey Rooney romping in a Shakespearian fairyland? This could only be A Midsummer Night's Dream, Warner Bros.' 1935 attempt at classing up the proletarian studio. The legendary German stage director Max Reinhardt had produced the play at the Hollywood Bowl to enchanted, sold-out audiences, and Warners decided to hand Reinhardt the keys to the studio (along with fellow Germans William Dieterle, co-director, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who adapted Mendelssohn's music). Reinhardt created an eye-popping phantasmagoria, a movie laced with sparkling sequins, flying fairies, and moon-kissed forests. As for the words, Reinhardt had a collection of Warners studio players, notably James Cagney as Bottom, whose playing of "Pyramus and Thisby" with Joe E. Brown is perhaps the movie's comic high point. The other actors are decidedly varied, and they tend to be overwhelmed by the production design. Not so Mickey Rooney, whose performance as Puck is a feral, antic act of imagination (he was 14 during filming); picture a boy raised by wolves who somehow memorized Shakespeare. His Puck growls and screams and mocks the drama of the oth...
Manufacturer: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Brand: Universal Studios
From award-winning director Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) comes the film inspired by one of the countryâ€™s most captivating and infamous outlaws â€” John Dillinger. Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean series) stars as the charismatic and elusive bank robber marked by the FBI as Americaâ€™s first â€œPublic Enemy Number One.â€ Academy AwardÂ® winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) plays Billie Frechette, the only woman capable of capturing his heart. Hunted relentlessly by top FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale, The Dark Knight), Dillinger engages in an escalating game of outrunning and outgunning the FBI, culminating in an explosive, legendary showdown. â€œItâ€™s a landmark crime sagaâ€ (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone). Since crime auteur Michael Mann, like his protagonists, plays by his own rules, Public Enemies eschews back story and motivation for a closely-observed, action-packed examination of men at work. FBI supremo J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) kick-starts a nationwide manhunt when he proclaims John Dillinger (Johnny Depp, in top form) Public Enemy #1. Hoover taps Agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to bring the Tommy Gun-toting bank robber in by any means necessary (the agency also targets Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson). If Dillinger had split the scene then and there, he might have enjoyed a happier fate, but he falls for beautiful coat-check girl Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard, whose open-hearted perfor...
One Direction: Up All Night - The Live Tour (U.S. Version)
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
One Direction s first live DVD features a 73 minute concert of their hit songs, plus never before seen, behind the scenes footage and three music videos ("What Makes You Beautiful","Gotta Be You" and "One Thing").
Flight (Two-Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
Brand: PARAMOUNT - UNI DIST CORP
Academy AwardÂ® winner Denzel Washington stars in this â€œriveting and powerful nail-biting thriller1â€ from Robert Zemeckis, the Academy AwardÂ®winning director of Forrest Gump and Cast Away.Â Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Washington) miraculously lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe.Â But even as heâ€™s being hailed for his heroic efforts, questions arise as to who or what was really at fault.Â Action-packed, engrossing and powerful, Washingtonâ€™s performance is being hailed as â€œa triumph2â€ and one that â€œwill be talked about for years. 3â€ 1 Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood 2 Richard Corliss, TIME 3 Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Rating:Â R For Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Language, Sexuality/Nudity and an Intense Action Sequence