David Goodger’s DVD Collection

Contact: goodger@python.org
Updated:2013-05-20

Note

Here’s my wish list for anybody who would like to help me expand my collection. I also have an Amazon.ca wish list; FutureShop.ca may be cheaper though.

Many of these films contain hidden features, which I’ve collected in my easter eggs file.

Contents

12 Monkeys

A warped, twisted, and brilliant film from the director that brought us Brazil and Time Bandits. Rewards multiple viewings with fresh insights and details.

Released:1995
Genre:drama/thriller/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h10m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Collector’s Edition”
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:David Webb Peoples & Janet Peoples; inspired by the film “La Jetée” by Chris Marker
Starring:Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer
Plot:A convict, sent back in time to stop a devastating plague, is sent too far back and is hospitalized as insane.
Links:IMDb

300

Powerful, raw, heroic, ultra-violent, stunning, and brilliant. An impeccable, immensely entertaining adaptation.

Released:2007
Genre:action/drama/history/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition”
Features:commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
Director:Zack Snyder
Screenplay:Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
Starring:Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender
Plot:Xerxes and the enormous army of the Persian Empire are poised to conquer Greece. King Leonidas and his band of 300 Spartan warriors must hold the pass at Thermopylae at all costs.
Links:IMDb, easter egg,

2001: A Space Odyssey

A classic.

Released:1968
Genre:SF/adventure
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h28m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Stanley Kubrick Collection”
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay:Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke
Starring:Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Douglas Rain (voice)
Plot:The assisted evolution of intelligence, the discovery of a sentinel, and an eventful mission to Jupiter to investigate.
Links:IMDb

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Released:1988
Genre:action/adventure/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h7m
Rating:PG
Edition:20th Anniversary Edition (2 discs)
Features:commentary, documentary, storyboard sequences, deleted scenes
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:Charles McKeown & Terry Gilliam
Starring:John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Paterson, Charles McKeown, Robin Williams, Sting (cameo)
Plot:The fantastic tale of an 18th century aristocrat, his talented henchmen and a little girl in their efforts to save a town from defeat by the Turks. Being swallowed by a giant sea-monster, a trip to the moon, a dance with Venus and an escape from the Grim Reaper are only some of the improbable adventures.
Links:IMDb

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension!

Fun, funny, intelligent, and silly. An SF/comedy classic. Requires multiple viewings and a bit of the geek nature to get all the jokes. Great lines.

Released:1984
Genre:adventure/romance/comedy/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, alternate opening, deleted scenes, documentaries, easter eggs
Director:W.D. Richter
Screenplay:Earl Mac Rauch
Starring:Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd
Plot:Adventurer/surgeon/physicist/rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his band of men, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, take on evil alien invaders from the 8th dimension.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs, Banzai Institute, FAQ, Starland (merchandise)

Æon Flux

I had heard how bad this film was supposed to be. It was reviled by fans of the original series of animated shorts. Movie critics panned the film (once they were allowed to see it; it wasn’t pre-screened). I was ready to agree when I caught it on cable TV.

But I liked it. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s not bad at all. Never having seen the animated series, I wasn’t biased in any existing direction. I can understand the disappointment of true fans, but a feature film is a different medium from experimental shorts. The story may be too high-concept, complex, and serious for the typical “SF action” fan. The action is cool, but there’s not enough of it to call this an action movie. The story is hard SF with ideas, set in a utopian/dystopian future.

I hope a director’s cut is released someday; I’d love to see it.

We’re meant to die. It’s what makes anything about us matter.

—Æon

AKA:Aeon Flux
Released:2005
Genre:action/adventure/drama/romance/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Special Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentaries, featurettes
Director:Karyn Kusama
Screenplay:Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, based on characters by Peter Chung
Starring:Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okonedo, Frances McDormand, Pete Postlethwaite
Plot:Aeon Flux is a highly-trained assassin working for a group of rebels trying to overthrow the government of a future “utopia”. Sent on a mission to kill the Chairman, a clue from her forgotten past is revealed and the true nature of her world is revealed.
Links:IMDb

After Hours

Released:1985
Genre:comedy/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h37m
Rating:18A
Features:commentary, documentary, deleted scenes
Director:Martin Scorsese
Screenplay:Joseph Minion
Starring:Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Tommy Chong, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, Cheech Marin, Catherine O’Hara
Plot:An ordinary word processor has the worst night of his life after he agrees to visit a girl in Soho whom he met that evening at a coffee shop.
Links:IMDb

The Alien Quadrilogy

Alien is great horror/SF, and Aliens is great action/SF. The third and fourth films don’t really compare, but it’s nice to have them for completeness. (I don’t know about AVP; haven’t seen it yet.) And we’ll just overlook the fact that “quadrilogy” isn’t even a real word (“tetralogy” is correct, if awkward).

Each of the Alien films has a theatrical version and an alternate or “director’s cut”. Runtimes and some ratings differ between the two versions. The information for the two versions is shown slash-separated, as “theatrical/alternate”.

Format:anamorphic widescreen
Edition:“Alien Quadrilogy” boxed set (9 discs)
Features:2 discs per film: disc 1 contains the films with commentaries, and disc 2 contains featurettes and extras. Plus there’s an extra disk with a documentary, a Q&A with Ridley Scott, and archives.

Alien

Groundbreaking horror/SF. Its success stems from suspense due to its restraint—we don’t actually see the alien until quite late in the film.

Released:1979
Genre:SF/horror/thriller
Runtime:1h57m/1h56m
Rating:18A/14A
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:Dan O’Bannon; story by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Starring:Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
Plot:When commercial towing vehicle Nostromo, heading back to Earth, intercepts an SoS signal from a nearby planet, the crew are under obligation to investigate. After a bad landing on the planet, some crew members leave the ship to explore the area. At the same time as they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature, the ship’s computer deciphers the message to be a warning, not a call for help. When one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew do not know the danger they are in until it is too late.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

Aliens

Great action; a worthy sequel.

Released:1986
Genre:SF/action/thriller/horror
Runtime:2h17m/2h34m
Rating:18A
Director:James Cameron
Screenplay:James Cameron; story by James Cameron, David Giler &, Walter Hill; based on characters by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Starring:Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews
Plot:The only survivor of the Nostromo, Ripley is discovered in deep sleep half a century later by a salvage ship. When she is taken back to Earth, she learns that a human colony was founded on the same planet where the aliens were first found. After contact with the colony is lost, she finds herself sent back to the planet along with a team of warriors bent on destroying the alien menace forever, and saving any survivors—if any remain.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Alien³

Released:1992
Genre:action/horror/SF/thriller/drama
Runtime:1h54m/2h25m
Rating:18A
Director:David Fincher
Screenplay:David Giler, Walter Hill, & Larry Ferguson; story by Vincent Ward; characters by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Starring:Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance
Plot:After escaping from the alien planet, the ship carrying Ellen Ripley crashes onto a remote prison colony. While awaiting rescue, Ripley discovers the horrifying reason for her crash: an alien stowaway. As the alien matures and begins to kill off the inhabitants, Ripley is unaware that her true enemy is more than just the killer alien.
Links:IMDb

Alien: Resurrection

Released:1997
Genre:SF/action/horror/thriller
Runtime:1h49/1h56
Rating:18A
Director:Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Screenplay:Joss Whedon; characters by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Starring:Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif
Plot:200 years after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a research clone who finds that she must continue her war against the aliens.
Links:IMDb

Alien Vs. Predator

Not a good movie. Eye candy worth $6.

AKA:AVP
Released:2004
Genre:action/adventure/horror/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:14A
Edition:“The Unrated Edition” (2 discs)
Features:theatrical & unrated extended cuts; commentaries; featurettes; documentary; comic book
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson
Screenplay:Paul W.S. Anderson; screen story by Paul W.S. Anderson and Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Starring:Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner
Plot:The discovery of an ancient pyramid buried in Antarctica sends a team of scientists and adventurers to the frozen continent. There, they make an even more terrifying discovery: two alien races engaged in an all-out war.
Links:IMDb

Altered States

Cool ideas, dated effects. Worth the price ($9CDN), but not much more.

Released:1980
Genre:drama/horror/SF
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:14A
Director:Ken Russell
Screenplay:Paddy Chayefsky (a.k.a. Sidney Aaron) from his novel
Starring:William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid
Plot:A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber, allowing him to access genetic memory, but it may be causing him to regress genetically.
Links:IMDb

Amadeus

Gift from Mayumi, birthday 2008.

Released:1984
Genre:drama/music
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:3h0m
Rating:14A (not sure why; G/Quebec)
Edition:“Special Edition Director’s Cut” (2 discs)
Features:documentary, commentary
Director:Milos Forman
Screenplay:Peter Shaffer
Starring:F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Charles Kay, Kenneth McMillan
Plot:In 1781 Vienna, court composer Antonio Salieri is maddened with envy after discovering that the divine musical gifts he desires for himself have been bestowed on he bawdy impish Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whom he plots to destroy by any means necessar.
Links:IMDb

American Splendor

Released:2003
Genre:drama/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:PG
Features:commentary; comic book insert
Director:Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Screenplay:Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman; based on the comic book series “American Splendor” by Harvey Pekar and “Our Cancer Year” by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner
Starring:Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar
Plot:An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

An American Werewolf in London

A great blend of humor and horror.

Released:1981
Genre:horror/comedy/romance/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:R
Edition:“Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentary, featurettes, extras
Director:John Landis
Screenplay:John Landis
Starring:David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Gruffin Dunne, John Woodvine
Plot:It’s a rainy night on the moors of northern England. Two American students on a walking tour of Europe trudge on to the next town, when suddenly the air is pierced by an unearthly howl... Three weeks later, one is dead, the other is in the hospital, and the nightmare begins.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs

And Now For Something Completely Different

Extremely funny & silly.

Released:1971
Genre:comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h30m
Rating:G/Quebec
Director:Ian MacNaughton
Screenplay:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Starring:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth
Plot:An anthology of Monty Python’s best sketches from their 1st & 2nd seasons of their original TV show.
Links:IMDb

The Andromeda Strain

An SF classic.

Released:1971
Genre:SF/mystery
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h11m
Rating:PG
Director:Robert Wise
Screenplay:Nelson Gidding, from the novel by Michael Crichton
Starring:Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, Kate Reid
Plot:After an errant satellite crashes to Earth near a remote New Mexico village, the recovery team discovers that almost everyone in the town are victims of a horrible death, with the mysterious exception of an infant and an old homeless man. The survivors are brought to a state-of-the-art laboratory, descending five stories beneath the ground where the puzzled scientists race against time to determine the nature of the deadly microbe before it wreaks worldwide havoc.
Links:IMDb

Angel Heart

Released:1987
Genre:horror/mystery/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h52m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentaries, interviews, documentaries
Director:Alan Parker
Screenplay:Alan Parker, based on a novel by William Hjortsberg
Starring:Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling
Plot:Investigator Harry Angel has a new case, to find a man called Johnny Favourite. Except things aren’t quite that simple, and Johnny doesn’t want to be found.
Links:IMDb

Animal House

A classic comedy.

AKA:National Lampoon’s Amimal House
Released:1978
Genre:comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Double Secret Probation Edition”
Features:mockumentary, music video
Director:John Landis
Screenplay:Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller
Starring:John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Tom Hulce
Plot:At a 1962 College, Dean Vernon Wormer is determined to expel the Delta House Fraternity, but those roughhousers have other plans for him.
Links:IMDb

Bagdad Café

Quirky and fun.

AKA:Out of Rosenheim
Released:1987
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:PG
Features:trailer
Director:Percy Adlon
Screenplay:Percy & Eleonore Adlon & Christopher Doherty
Starring:Marianne Sägebrecht, CCH Pounder, Jack Palance
Plot:Drawn to a pair of lights in the barren American desert sky, a mysterious German woman, Jasmin, stumbles upon a dilapidated motel/diner in the middle of nowhere. Her unusual appearance and demeanor are at first suspicious to Brenda, the exasperated owner who has difficulty making ends meet.
Links:IMDb

Barbarella

One of the campiest films ever. Jane Fonda is at her pinup-girl height (or depth) and looked great when this was released—the year I was born.

AKA:Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
Released:1968
Genre:adventure/SF/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:14A
Features:trailer
Director:Roger Vadim
Screenplay:Terry Southern, from the comic by Jean-Claude Forest with Claude Brulé
Starring:Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea, Marcel Marceau
Plot:In the far future, a highly sexual woman is tasked with finding and stopping the evil Durand-Durand. Along the way she encounters various unusual people.
Links:IMDb

Beetlejuice

A gift to Erika, Christmas 2008.

Released:1988
Genre:comedy/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:PG
Edition:“20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition”
Features:3 episodes of animated series, music-only audio track
Director:Tim Burton
Screenplay:Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren
Starring:Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton
Plot:A recently-deceased ghost couple contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.
Links:IMDb

Beowulf

Gift from Kaito & Erika, birthday 2008.

Released:2007
Genre:action/adventure/drama/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Director’s Cut”
Features:deleted scenes, featurettes, three 3-D trading cards
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay:Neil Gaiman & Roger Avary
Starring:Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman, Angelina Jolie
Plot:The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns, and later, Grendel’s mother, who begins killing out of revenge.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Big

“Do you mean sleep over? Well, okay... but I get to be on top!”

Released:1988
Genre:comedy/drama/family/fantasy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h44m
Rating:PG
Director:Penny Marshall
Screenplay:Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg
Starring:Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton
Plot:When a boy wishes to be big at a magic wish machine, he wakes up the next morning and finds himself in an adult body literally overnight.
Links:IMDb

The Big Lebowski

“That rug really tied the room together.”

Released:1998
Genre:comedy/crime/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h57m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Collector’s Edition”
Features:Jeff Bridges’ Photography, “Making of” featurette
Director:Joel Coen
Screenplay:Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Starring:Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Plot:“Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.
Links:IMDb

Big Trouble in Little China

A lot of fun. An fantasy/comedy classic. Contains many great lines and exchanges; here’s a sample:

It’s all in the reflexes.

—Jack Burton

Would you just stop rubbing your body up against mine, because I can’t concentrate when you do that.

—Jack Burton to Gracie Law

A brave man likes the feel of nature on his face.

And a wise man has enough sense to get out of the rain!

—Wang Chi & Egg Shen

Ready? I was BORN ready.

—Jack Burton

Who are these people? Friends of yours? Now this really pisses me off to no end!

—Lo Pan

Are you crazy, is that your problem?

—Jack Burton

And Ching Dai will be happy and my curse will be lifted!

And you go off and rule the universe from beyond the grave.

Indeed!

Or check into a psycho ward, whichever comes first, huh?

—Jack Burton & Lo Pan

A much cheaper 1-disc edition is available.

Released:1986
Genre:action/fantasy/adventure/comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:14A
Edition:2-disc “Special Edition”
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, featurette, extras
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:Gary Goldman & David Z. Weinstein, adapted by W.D. Richter
Starring:Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong
Plot:Jack Burton, an All-American trucker, gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs, The Wing Kong Exchange

Bionicle: Mask of Light

For Kaito, March 2007. Found it second-hand in Dallas.

Released:2003
Genre:animation/action/adventure/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h14m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Features:commentary; deleted scenes; featurette
Director:David Molina & Terry Shakespeare
Screenplay:Henry Gilroy, Alastair Swinnerton, Bob Thompson, Greg Weisman, Tracy Berna
Plot:The spirit that protects the islands of Mata Nui is put into a deep sleep, causing the islands to crumble into the ocean, and three islanders must use the Mask of Light to save it.
Links:IMDb

Birdy

Tragic and comic; the last minute pays for all. An excellent soundtrack by Peter Gabriel consists of instrumental versions of songs from his 3rd & 4th solo albums.

Released:1984
Genre:drama/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:2h
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:Alan Parker
Screenplay:Sandy Kroopf and Jack Behr, based on the novel by William Wharton
Starring:Matthew Modine, Nicolas Cage
Plot:Two young men are seriously affected by the Vietnam war. One of them has always been obsessed with birds—but now believes he really is a bird, and has been sent to a mental hospital. His friend tries help him pull through.
Links:IMDb

Blade Runner

Brutal. Beautiful. Moving. Stunning. Compelling. Magnificent.

A cinematic masterpiece: visuals, music, and emotion.

Many love it, others don’t get it. It’s a classic.

I saw it in the theater in 1982, and from the first scene, the “Hades” flyover with Vangelis’ music, I was blown away.

It’s very different in plot details from Philip K. Dick’s novel, but it captures the essence very well (unlike most other PKD adaptations).

My copy of the “Director’s Cut” was a gift from Mayumi, spring 2003. My “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (“limited edition gift set”: a briefcase containing a model spinner, a plastic origami unicorn, a motion film clip, and an art folio) was a gift from Mayumi, Christmas 2007.

Released:1982, 1992, 2007
Genre:action/SF/drama
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h57m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition”
Features:5 versions of the film (1982 US Theatrical Cut, 1982 International Theatrical Cut, 1992 Director’s Cut, pre-release workprint, 2007 Final Cut), commentaries, “Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner” documentary (3h34m), “Enhancement Archive” disc, featurette
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:Hampton Fancher & David Peoples, from the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
Starring:Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, Morgan Paull
Plot:Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down and terminate 5 replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker.
Links:IMDb, BRmovie.com, “On-Line Magazine”, 2019: Off-World, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner

Blazing Saddles

Beware the baked beans!

Released:1974
Genre:comedy/western
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h33m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“30th Anniversary Special Edition”
Features:commentary, documentaries, TV spinoff pilot, deleted scenes
Director:Mel Brooks
Screenplay:Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger; story by Andrew Bergman
Starring:Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn
Plot:To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a new sheriff, who happens to be black, and who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.
Links:IMDb

Blind Fury

A satisfying remake of the Zatoichi story.

Released:1989
Genre:action
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h24m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“Double Feature” (double-sided disc with Omega Doom, a piece of crap)
Director:Phillip Noyce
Screenplay:Charles Robert Carner, from an earlier screenplay by Ryozo Kasahara
Starring:Rutger Hauer, Terrance O’Quinn, Noble Willingham, Lisa Blount, Randall “Tex” Cobb
Plot:A blind Vietnam vet, trained as a swordfighter, returns home and helps to rescue the son of a friend and fellow soldier.
Links:IMDb

Blow Out

Released:1981
Genre:crime/mystery/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h48m
Rating:18A
Director:Brian De Palma
Screenplay:Brian De Palma
Starring:John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz
Plot:A sound man accidentally records the evidence that proves a car “accident” was murder, and consequently finds himself in danger.
Links:IMDb

The Blues Brothers

A classic comedy.

Released:1980
Genre:action/comedy/music
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h28m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Collector’s Edition”
Features:expanded version, documentary
Director:John Landis
Screenplay:Dan Aykroyd, John Landis
Starring:John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd
Plot:Jake Blues, just released from prison, and his brother Elwood put together their old band to save the orphanage where the brothers were raised. They’re on a mission from God.
Links:IMDb

Body Double

Sexy and fun.

Released:1984
Genre:mystery/thriller
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:R
Director:Brian De Palma
Screenplay:Robert J. Avrech & Brian De Palma; story by Brian De Palma
Starring:Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry
Plot:Jake, an unemployed actor is asked to house-sit a luxurious hillside home, equipped with a telescope through which he can spy on a neighbor’s arousing striptease. Jake discovers another man is also spying on her, but with murderous aims.
Links:IMDb

Bolt

Received at PyCon 2009, a gift to speakers and organizers from sponsor Disnay Animation Studios.

Released:2008
Genre:animation/comedy/family/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:PG
Features:“Super Rhino” short
Director:Byron Howard & Chris Williams
Screenplay:Dan Fogelman & Chris Williams
Starring:John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, James Lipton, Greg Germann
Plot:The canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real embarks on a cross country trek to save his co-star from a threat he believes is just as real.
Links:IMDb

Brainstorm

Released:1983
Genre:SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h46m
Rating:14A
Director:Douglas Trumbull
Screenplay:Robert Stitzel and Philip Frank Messina; story by Bruce Joel Rubin
Starring:Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson
Plot:A pair of brilliant researchers develop a system to record and play back people’s actual experiences and sensations. They fight the corruption of their invention while exploring the limits of human experience.
Links:IMDb

Brazil

A wildly imaginative, funny, tragic, controversial, and entertaining masterpiece.

Harry Tuttle:Bloody paperwork. Huh!
Sam Lowry:I suppose one has to expect a certain amount.
Harry Tuttle:Why? I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there’s trouble, a man alone. Now they got the whole country sectioned off. You can’t make a move without a form.
Harry Tuttle:Listen, kid, we’re all in it together.
Holly:Put it on, big boy. I won’t look at your willy.
Mrs. Terrain:My complication had a little complication.
Harry Tuttle:We’re all in it together, kid.
Sam Lowry:You don’t exist anymore. I’ve killed you. Jill Layton is dead.
Jill Layton:Care for a little necrophilia? Hmmm?
Released:1985
Genre:comedy/drama/fantasy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h22m
Rating:G/Quebec (R/MPAA!)
Edition:Criterion Collection boxed set (3 discs)
Features:director’s cut, butchered “Love Conquers All” U.S. theatrical release, commentary (both versions), documentaries, production notes
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:Terry Gilliam & Tom Stoppard & Charles McKeown
Starring:Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist
Plot:A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.
Links:IMDb

Breaking Away

A truly great film. Entertaining & inspiring.

Released:1979
Genre:comedy/drama/sport
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:PG
Director:Peter Yates
Screenplay:Steve Tesich
Starring:Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley, Robyn Douglass
Plot:When top-notch cyclist Dave learns that the world’s cycling champions are always Italian, he attempts to turn himself into an Italian, driving his parents crazy. But everything changes after he meets the Italian racing team—an encounter that ultimately leads him and his friends to challenge the local college boys in the town’s annual bike race.
Links:IMDb

Brick

A very cool super-low-budget independent noir crime drama in a highschool setting.

Released:2005
Genre:crime/drama/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h50m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, extended scenes
Director:Rian Johnson
Screenplay:Rian Johnson
Starring:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Emilie de Ravin, Noah Segan, Richard Roundtree, Meagan Good
Plot:A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.
Links:IMDb

The Brother From Another Planet

A wonderful, thought-provoking, fun film.

Released:1984
Genre:comedy/drama/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h50m
Rating:R/MPAA
Features:commentary
Director:John Sayles
Screenplay:John Sayles
Starring:Joe Morton
Plot:A mute alien is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.
Links:IMDb

Bullitt

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1968
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition”
Features:commentary, documentaries, featurette
Director:Peter Yates
Screenplay:Alan R. Trustman & Harry Kleiner; novel “Mute Witness” by Robert L. Fish
Starring:Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland, Norman Fell
Plot:An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.
Links:IMDb

Caddyshack

Funny stuff.

Released:1980
Genre:comedy/sport
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:14A
Edition:“20th Anniversary”
Features:documentary
Director:Harold Ramis
Screenplay:Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney
Starring:Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe, Bill Murray
Plot:An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.
Links:IMDb

Cars

Gift for Kaito & Erika, Christmas 2006.

Released:2006
Genre:animation/comedy/family
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:G
Features:two animated shorts; deleted scenes; featurettes
Director:John Lasseter & Joe Ranft
Screenplay:Dan Fogelman & John Lasseter & Joe Ranft & Kiel Murray & Phil Lorin & Jorgen Klubien; story by John Lasseter & Joe Ranft & Jorgen Klubien
Starring:(voices) Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry The Cable Guy, Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Jenifer Lewis, Paul Dooley, Michael Wallis, George Carlin, Katherine Helmond, John Ratzenberger, Joe Ranft, Michael Keaton
Plot:A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.
Links:IMDb easter egg

Casino Royale

The best Bond film... ever? Since Connery at least. (Mayumi’s purchase.)

Released:2006
Genre:action/adventure/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h24m
Rating:14A
Edition:(2 discs)
Features:documentaries, music video
Director:Martin Campbell
Screenplay:Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis; novel by Ian Fleming
Starring:Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini
Plot:In his first mission as a double-0, James Bond must stop Le Chiffre, a banker to the world’s terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro.
Links:IMDb

The Cell

Stunning imagery.

Released:2000
Genre:crime/horror/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h47m
Rating:MPAA/R
Features:commentaries, deleted scenes, documentary, vignettes, extras
Director:Tarsem Singh
Screenplay:Mark Protosevich
Starring:Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Weber
Plot:A psychotherapist journeys inside the mind of a comatose serial killer in the hopes of saving his latest victim.
Links:IMDb

Chasing Amy

Released:1997
Genre:comedy/romance/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h53m
Rating:18A
Edition:Criterion Collection
Features:Commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Plot:Everything is going well for comic book artist Holden until he meets Alyssa, another comic book artist. He falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she’s a lesbian.
Links:IMDb

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

A gift to Erika, April 2004.

AKA:Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Released:1968
Genre:family/comedy/musical/fantasy
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:2h24m
Rating:G
Edition:“Special Edition” (2 discs)
Features:sing-along, featurettes
Director:Ken Hughes
Screenplay:Roald Dahl & Ken Hughes, from the novel by Ian Fleming
Starring:Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Benny Hill
Plot:An eccentric professor invents wacky machinery, but can’t seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it, and resorts to skullduggery to get their hands on it.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

The Cincinnati Kid

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1965
Genre:drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:?
Features:commentaries, featurette
Director:Norman Jewison
Screenplay:Ring Lardner Jr. and Terry Southern; novel by Richard Jessup
Starring:Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Tuesday Weld
Plot:An up-and-coming poker player tries to prove himself in a high-stakes match against a long-time master of the game.
Links:IMDb

Clerks.

Released:1994
Genre:comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Clerks. X: Tenth Anniversary Edition” (3 discs)
Features:theatrical version, unrated original version, commentaries, documentary, deleted scenes, animated funeral parlor scene (in the style of Clerks: The Animated Series below)
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Plot:A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.
Links:IMDb

Clerks: The Animated Series

Six animated episodes, only two of which aired on TV.

Me and Silent Bob have an appointment at the gorilla cage. We’ve come to the conclusion that we need more gorillas in our empty lives.

—Jay, from episode 6

Released:2000
Genre:comedy/animation
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:2h10m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Clerks Uncensored” (2 discs)
Features:commentary, featurettes, intros by Jay & Silent Bob
Director:Chris Bailey, Nicholas Filippi, Steve Loter
Screenplay:David Mandel, Scott Mosier, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Brian Kelley
Starring:(voices) Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Plot:The continuing adventures of clerks Dante and Randal, who try to make the best of their menial labor, with no help from Jay and Silent Bob.
Links:IMDb

Clerks II

A worthy sequel, IMHO better than the original.

Released:2006
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h37m
Rating:18A
Edition:“2-disc widescreen edition”
Features:commentaries, deleted scenes, documentary, featurettes
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Jeff Anderson, Brian O’Halloran, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Plot:Ten years after Clerks., Dante and Randal have become “funployees” at Mooby’s fast food.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

A Clockwork Orange

Fancy a little of the old ultra-violence?

Released:1971
Genre:crime/drama/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h17m
Rating:R
Edition:“Stanley Kubrick Collection”
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay:Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Anthony Burgess
Starring:Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Miriam Karlin
Plot:The adventures of a young man who loved a bit of the old ultra-violence, went to jail, volunteered for an experimental therapy and came out cured. Or was he?
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A classic. Alien-contact SF taken seriously. “We are not alone.”

Released:1977
Genre:adventure/drama/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h17m
Rating:PG
Edition:2-disc “Collector’s Edition”
Features:Making-of documentary, featurette, deleted scenes, trailers, filmographies
Director:Steven Spielberg
Screenplay:Steven Spielberg
Starring:Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, François Truffaut
Plot:A line worker, after a encounter with UFOs, feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.
Links:IMDb

Contact

Good SF with a message of hope.

Released:1997
Genre:drama/SF/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h30m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentaries, featurettes
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay:James V. Hart & Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by Carl Sagan, story by Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
Starring:Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Angela Bassett, David Morse, Jena Malone
Plot:After years with the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), Dr. Ellie Arroway finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.
Links:IMDb

Coraline

Released:2009
Genre:animation/adventure/family/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:PG
Edition:“2-Disc Collector’s Edition”
Features:2-D & 3-D versions (with 3-D glasses), commentary, deleted scenes, documentary, featurettes, “digital copy”
Director:Henry Selick
Screenplay:Henry Selick, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
Starring:(voice talents of) Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., Ian McShane
Plot:An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.
Links:IMDb

Crimes of Passion

Stylized, dark (sometimes comedic), disturbing, brilliant, and well worth seeing. The uncensored version is definitely superior to the R-rated theatrical cut, but it’s interesting to contrast them and recognize the hypocrisy of the ratings boards, especially the MPAA.

Released:1984
Genre:drama/romance/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h52m
Rating:unrated
Edition:“Unrated. Uncensored.”
Features:commentary, deleted scenes
Director:Ken Russell
Screenplay:Barry Sandler
Starring:Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, John Laughlin, Bruce Davison
Plot:A sportswear designer leads a double life as a hooker named China Blue.
Links:IMDb

Cube

Released:1997
Genre:drama/horror/mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h30m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, deleted scene, interview
Director:Vincenzo Natali
Screenplay:André Bijelic & Vincenzo Natali and Graeme Manson
Starring:Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson, Maurice Dean Wint
Plot:7 complete strangers of widely varying personality characteristics are involuntarily placed in an endless kafkaesque maze containing deadly traps.
Links:IMDb

Dark Angel

A gift to Mayumi, May 2004.

AKA:James Cameron’s Dark Angel
Genre:drama/SF/action/crime
Format:fullscreen
Rating:TV-14/US-TV
Edition:“Collector’s Edition” (6 discs)
Features:commentaries, featurettes, extras
Creator:James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee
Plot:A genetically enhanced superhuman prototype named Max escapes from a military lab and dwells among the street people of a post-apocalyptic future Seattle to avoid government agents who want to capture her. Searching for others of her kind, Max encounters and joins forces with Logan, an idealistic cyber-journalist battling repression and corruption.
Links:IMDb

The Complete First Season

Released:2000-2001
Runtime:16h5m (21 episodes)
Starring:Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, John Savage

The Complete Second Season

Released:2001-2002
Runtime:15h43m (21 episodes)
Starring:Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Jensen Ackles, John Savage

Dark City

Very noir. Very twisted. Very original.

Released:1998
Genre:SF/mystery/thriller
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Platinum Series”
Features:commentaries, extras
Director:Alex Proyas
Screenplay:Alex Proyas & Lem Dobbs
Starring:Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien, Ian Richardson, William Hurt
Plot:When John Murdoch awakens in a strange hotel room, he finds that he is wanted for a series of brutal murders. The problem is he can’t remember a thing. Pursued by the police and haunted by the mysterious Strangers, he seeks to unravel the twisted riddle of his identity.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

The Dark Knight Trilogy

Director:Christopher Nolan
Genre:action/adventure/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Rating:PG

Batman Begins

Released:2005
Runtime:2h20m
Screenplay:Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer; story by David S. Goyer; based on characters by Bob Kane
Starring:Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman
Plot:The story of how Bruce Wayne became what he was destined to be: Batman.
Links:IMDb

The Dark Knight

Christmas 2008.

Released:2008
Runtime:2h33m
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition”
Features:featurettes, IMAX scenes
Screenplay:Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; characters by Bob Kane
Starring:Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman
Plot:Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by an anarchist mastermind known only as the Joker, as it drives each of them to their limits.
Links:IMDb

The Dark Knight Rises

Christmas 2012.

Released:2012
Runtime:2h45m
Features:featurette
Screenplay:Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; characters by Bob Kane
Starring:Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman
Plot:Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
Links:IMDb

Dogma

Brilliant.

Released:1999
Genre:adventure/comedy/fantasy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h8m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Jason Mewes, Chris Rock, Alan Rickman, Jason Lee, Salma Hayek, Kevin Smith, Janeane Garofalo, George Carlin, Alanis Morissette
Plot:The last known descendant of Christ is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loophole.
Links:IMDb

Donnie Darko

A real sleeper which deserves to be viewed widely. Original, warped, thought-provoking. Worth multple viewings. Confused as to what’s actually happening? The director’s commentary helps.

Released:2001
Genre:SF/drama/mystery/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h53m
Rating:14A
Director:Richard Kelly
Screenplay:Richard Kelly
Starring:Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle
Plot:High school student Donnie is plagued by visions of a giant evil rabbit who orders him to commit acts of violence and predicts the impending end of the world.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, Official site

Dragonslayer

Good story, and a great dragon.

Released:1981
Genre:fantasy/action/adventure
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:PG
Director:Matthew Robbins
Screenplay:Hal Barwood & Matthew Robbins
Starring:Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson
Plot:A dragon leaves the kingdom alone, as long as it receives regular sacrifices of maidens. An old wizard and his keen young apprentice volunteer to kill the dragon and attempt to save the next virgin in line: the King’s daughter.
Links:IMDb

Dumb and Dumber

Released:1994
Genre:adventure/comedy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h53m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Unrated”
Features:deleted scenes, alternate endings, documentary
Director:Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly
Screenplay:Peter Farrelly & Bennett Yellin & Bobby Farrelly
Starring:Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly
Plot:The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.
Links:IMDb easter eggs

The Dune Saga

Although made with relatively small budgets, these well-written and well-acted made-for-TV mini-series are a feast for the eyes and put many big-screen SF feature films to shame.

Genre:SF/drama/fantasy
Format:widescreen
Screenplay:John Harrison, from Frank Herbert’s novels

Dune

A deep and worthy rendition of Frank Herbert’s classic SF novel. Its story is far superior to the 1984 David Lynch adaptation; the story changes required by the dramatic medium (both additions and omissions) are quite reasonable and make sense. At almost 5 hours, it may be too long for non-fans though.

David Lynch’s 1984 Dune was an interesting failure. Although it boasted a first-rate cast, sumptuous visuals and interesting ideas, it was far too short, leaving much of the story untold or awkwardly altered. Some of the changes/additions made for Lynch’s Dune are wonderful (heart-plugs and the Baron Harkonnen’s boils!), but others are obnoxious (“a technique involving sound”?!?). Unfortunately, it was little more than “great scenes from the book on film”, and unintelligible unless you’ve read the novel.

AKA:Frank Herbert’s Dune
Released:2000
Runtime:4h55m
Rating:unrated (televised version: PG)
Edition:“Special Edition Director’s Cut” (3 discs)
Features:extended by 30 minutes; commentary; featurettes
Director:John Harrison
Starring:William Hurt, Alec Newman, Saskia Reeves, Barbora Kodetová, P.H. Moriarty, Ian McNeice, Matt Keeslar, Giancarlo Giannini, Julie Cox, Uwe Ochsenknecht
Plot:In the distant future, the planet Arrakis—Dune—is the only source of the “spice” which gives whomever controls it dominion over commerce and civilization. By way of an ancient prophecy, a young man realizes his destiny as Dune’s messiah and leads a rebellion against the corrupt galactic empire and forever changes the balance of power.
Links:IMDb

Children of Dune

Sequel to Dune, combining the story lines of both Dune Messiah (mini-series part I) and Children of Dune (parts II & III). A worthy sequel; worthwhile viewing for fans.

AKA:Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune
Released:2003
Runtime:4h26m
Rating:14A
Edition:2-disc set
Director:Greg Yaitanes
Starring:Alec Newman, Julie Cox, Edward Atterton, Ian McNeice, Barbora Kodetová, Steven Berkoff, Daniela Amavia, P.H. Moriarty, James McAvoy, Jessica Brooks, Jonathan Bruun, Alice Krige, Susan Sarandon
Plot:The twin children of Paul “Muad’dib” Atreides become embroiled in the political landscape of Arrakis (“Dune”) and the rest of the universe.
Links:IMDb

Earth Girls Are Easy

A lot of fun.

Released:1988
Genre:comedy/musical/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:additional scenes; karaoke
Director:Julien Temple
Screenplay:Julie Brown & Charlie Coffey & Terrence E. McNally
Starring:Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Julie Brown, Michael McKean, Charles Rocket
Plot:Trio of fuzzy (and funny) aliens crash land in Valerie’s pool — putting a decided damper on her future wedding plans to cheating Dr. Ted Gallagher. Action interrupted by musical numbers.
Links:IMDb

Edward Scissorhands

A wonderful fantasy; a classic.

Released:1990
Genre:drama/fantasy/romance
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h45m
Rating:PG
Edition:“10th Anniversary Edition”
Director:Tim Burton
Screenplay:Caroline Thompson, from a story by Tim Burton & Caroline Thompson
Starring:Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price
Plot:An artificial man with scissors for hands lives completely alone until a local woman befriends him and brings him home.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

Equilibrium

Released:2000
Genre:action/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h47m
Rating:14A
Features:commentaries, featurette
Director:Kurt Wimmer
Screenplay:Kurt Wimmer
Starring:Christian Bale, Emily watson, Taye Diggs, Angus MacFadden, Sean Bean
Plot:In order to end wars and maintain peace, mankind has outlawed the things that trigger emotion: literature, music, and art. A special breed of police is assigned to eliminate all transgressors. But when the top enforcer misses a dose of an emotion-blocking drug, he begins to realize that things are not as they seem.
Links:IMDb

Escape From New York

Snake! Snake Plissken is the ultimate anti-hero.

Released:1981
Genre:action/adventure/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Special Edition DVD Collector’s Set” (2 discs + comic book)
Features:Commentaries, deleted scene, featurette, extras
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:John Carpenter and Nick Castle
Starring:Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau
Plot:In 1997 (!) Manhattan Island is a maximum security prison, with no law, rules, or guards. Breaking out is impossible. When the US President crash lands there, Snake Plissken, a recently convicted bank robber sentenced to Manhattan for life, is offered his freedom in echange for a rescue.
Links:IMDb

Excalibur

Gorgeous. Epic. Stunning. The definitive King Arthur.

Released:1981
Genre:adventure/fantasy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h20m
Rating:18A
Director:John Boorman
Screenplay:Rospo Pallenberg & John Boorman; adapted from Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur”
Starring:Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson
Plot:The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the sword Excalibur, and the quest for the Holy Grail.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

The Exorcist

The best use of projectile vomit ever.

Released:1973
Genre:drama/horror/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h12m
Rating:14A
Edition:“The Version You’ve Never Seen”
Features:commentary
Director:William Friedkin
Screenplay:William Peter Blatty, based on his novel
Starring:Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Linda Blair
Plot:A troubled cleric sees a means of redemption in helping a psychologically damaged teen.
Links:IMDb

The Exorcist III

“The Exorcist III” is an excellent, underrated film. It simply ignores “II”, which sucked. Brad Dourif’s acting is chilling.

Released:1990
Genre:horror/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h50m
Rating:18A
Director:William Peter Blatty
Screenplay:William Peter Blatty, based on his novel Legion
Starring:George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif, Jason Miller, Nicol Williamson, Scott Wilson
Plot:A serial killer haunts the streets of Georgetown, do these events have anything to do with the exorcism of 15 years ago?
Links:IMDb

Fallen

Released:1998
Genre:horror/mystery/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:2h5m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary
Director:Gregory Hoblit
Screenplay:Nicholas Kazan
Starring:Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz, James Gandolfini, Elias Koteas
Plot:Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese’s style.
Links:IMDb

Femme Fatale

Released:2002
Genre:thriller/crime/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:18A
Features:featurettes
Director:Brian De Palma
Screenplay:Brian De Palma
Starring:Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote
Plot:A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her.
Links:IMDb

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

A classic teen comedy. Great music and a lot of fun.

Released:1986
Genre:comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:PG
Director:John Hughes
Screenplay:John Hughes
Starring:Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck
Plot:One spring day, toward the end of his senior year, Ferris gives in to an overwhelming urge to cut school and head for downtown Chicago with his girl and his best friend. They see the signts, experience a day of freedom and show that with a little ingenuity, a bit of courage and a red Ferrari, life at 17 can be a joy!
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

The Fifth Element

The ultimate eye candy & escapist guilty pleasure.

Released:1997
Genre:action/adventure/romance/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h6m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Ultimate Edition” (2 discs)
Features:fact track, featurettes, test footage
Director:Luc Besson
Screenplay:Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Starring:Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker
Plot:In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr Zorg at bay.
Links:IMDb

Fight Club

Released:1999
Genre:action/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h19m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Two-Disc Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentaries, vignettes, deleted scenes, outtakes
Director:David Fincher
Screenplay:Jim Uhls; novel by Chuck Palahniuk
Starring:Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf
Plot:An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Finding Nemo

Good story for children & adults. Breathtakingly beautiful underwater animation. A gift to Kaito, Christmas 2003.

Released:2003
Genre:adventure/animation/family/comedy
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:G
Edition:2-disc Collector’s Edition
Features:visual commentary, documentaries, extras
Director:Andrew Stanton
Screenplay:Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds
Starring:(voices) Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe
Plot:When Nemo, a young clownfish, is unexpectedly carried far from home, his overprotective father, Marlin, and Dory, a friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish, embark on an epic journey that leads to encounters with vegetarian sharks, surfer dude turtles, hypnotic jellyfish and hungry seagulls.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs, Pixar site, Disney site

The Fisher King

Released:1991
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h17m
Rating:14A
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:Richard LaGravenese
Starring:Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, David Hyde Pierce
Plot:A talk radio host, suicidally despondent because of a horrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man.
Links:IMDb

The Fly

An effective monster movie with excellent production values. “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Released:1986
Genre:horror/SF/drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Fox Double Feature” (double-sided disc with The Fly II)
Director:David Cronenberg
Screenplay:Charles Edward Pogue & David Cronenberg, based on a story by George Langelaan
Starring:Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Plot:An over-ambitious scientist conducting a teleportation experiement accidentally merges with a housefly. A journalist who has fallen in love with him while covering his scientific endeavors suddenly finds herself caring for a horrifying creature whose insect half gradually begins to take over.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (combined review of double feature)

The Fly II

A worthy sequel. “You’re getting worse.” “I’m getting better.”

Released:1989
Genre:horror/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h45m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Fox Double Feature” (double-sided disc with The Fly)
Director:Chris Walas
Screenplay:Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, & Frank Darabont, based on characters created by George Langelaan
Starring:Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Harley Cross
Plot:Beneath his ordinary exterior, Martin is the most extraordinary person alive. Though only five years old, he is a genious, a fully matured adult, and the son of a human fly! Now it is only a matter of time before his mutated genes waken from their dormant state.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (combined review of double feature)

Fly Away Home

A wonderful story, beautifully shot & told.

Released:1996
Genre:family/adventure/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h48m
Rating:G
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, documentary, featurette
Director:Carroll Ballard
Screenplay:Robert Rodat & Vince McKewin; based on the autobiography by Bill Lishman
Starring:Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Terry Kinney
Plot:A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.
Links:IMDb

Forrest Gump

Funny, sad, original, and gorgeously shot, this is one of the rare instances of a movie being better than the source novel. I first saw this on a tiny LCD on a flight over the Pacific, which didn’t do it justice. When I later visited Hong Kong on business, I was lucky to find it still playing in a theater. The vistas are amazing. Gotta get me a big screen TV for this one some day...

Released:1994
Genre:drama/comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h21m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Collector’s Edition” (2 discs)
Features:commentaries, documentaries
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay:Eric Roth from the novel by Winston Groom
Starring:Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field
Plot:Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

The Fountain

Released:2006
Genre:drama/romance/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:14A
Features:featurettes
Director:Darren Aronofsky
Screenplay:Darren Aronofsky, story by Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
Starring:Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn
Plot:Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world.
Links:IMDb, director’s commentarty track (downloadable MP3 file)

Frequency

Released:2000
Genre:drama/thriller/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h59m
Rating:14A
Features:deleted scenes, documentary, commentaries
Director:Gregory Hoblit
Screenplay:Toby Emmerich
Starring:Dennis Quaid, James Caviezel, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Andre Braugher, Noah Emmerich
Plot:An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father’s life, but then must fix the consequences.
Links:IMDb

From Dusk Till Dawn

Fun!

Released:1996
Genre:action/comedy/fantasy/horror/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h48m
Rating:R
Edition:“Collector’s Series” (2 discs)
Features:commentary, outtakes, featurettes, deleted scenes, extras; “Full-Tilt Boogie” full-length feature documentary
Director:Robert Rodriguez
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino, story by Robert Kurtzman
Starring:Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin
Plot:Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results.
Links:IMDb; Full-Tilt Boogie

Galaxy Quest

Released:1999
Genre:adventure/comedy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:PG
Features:featurette, deleted scenes
Director:Dean Parisot
Screenplay:David Howard and Robert Gordon
Starring:Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell
Plot:The alumni cast of a cult space TV show have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.
Links:IMDb

Gattaca

Thought-provoking, stylish, and underrated. True SF: a story of characters and ideas, without space battles or overwhelming special effects. A very good film.

Released:1997
Genre:drama/mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h46m
Rating:PG-13/MPAA
Director:Andrew Niccol
Screenplay:Andrew Niccol
Starring:Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Loren Dean
Plot:A genetically imperfect man in a society obsessed with genetic perfection is determined to beat the system.
Links:IMDb

The Getaway

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1972
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h3m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Edition:“Deluxe Edition”
Features:commentaries
Director:Sam Peckinpah
Screenplay:Walter Hill; novel by Jim Thompson
Starring:Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Sally Struthers, Al Lettieri
Plot:A recently released ex-con and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes awry.
Links:IMDb

Gladiator

Released:2000
Genre:action/adventure/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h51m (extended), 2h35m (theatrical)
Rating:14A
Edition:“Extended Edition” (3 discs)
Features:Extended & theatrical cuts, commentary, trivia track, Documentary: “Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator”, supplements
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson; story by David Franzoni
Starring:Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou
Plot:When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Links:IMDb

The Gods Must Be Crazy

A simple, subtle, and absolutely hilarious comedy.

Released:1980
Genre:action/comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Edition:“Double Feature” packaged with The Gods Must Be Crazy II
Director:Jamie Uys
Screenplay:Jamie Uys
Starring:Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, N!xau
Plot:A Sho in the Kalahari desert encounters technology for the first time — in the shape of a Coke bottle. He takes it back to his people, and they use it for many tasks. The people start to fight over it, so he decides to return it to the God — where he thinks it came from. Meanwhile, we are introduced to a school teacher assigned to a small village, a despotic revolutionary, and a clumsy biologist.
Links:IMDb

The Gods Must Be Crazy II

Released:1980
Genre:comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Edition:“Double Feature” packaged with The Gods Must Be Crazy
Director:Jamie Uys
Screenplay:Jamie Uys
Starring:N!xau, Lena Farugia, Hans Strydom, Nadies, Eiros
Plot:Xixo’s children accidentally stow away on a fast-moving poachers’ truck, unable to get off, and Xixo sets out to rescue them. Along the way, he encounters a couple of soldiers trying to capture each other and a pilot and passenger of a small plane, who are each having a few problems of their own.
Links:IMDb

Gothika

An OK film. (Purchased in a 2-pack with The Exorcist, because that was cheaper than buying The Exorcist alone.)

Released:2003
Genre:horror/thriller/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, music video
Director:Mathieu Kassovitz
Screenplay:Sebastian Gutierrez
Starring:Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton, John Carroll Lynch, Bernard Hill, Penélope Cruz
Plot:Ghost story in which a repressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the very asylum where she worked with no memory of why she is there and what she has done.
Links:IMDb

The Great Escape

Released:1963
Genre:action/adventure/drama/history/thriller/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h52m
Rating:G
Features:documentary
Director:John Sturges
Screenplay:James Clavell and W.R. Burnett; based on the book by Paul Brickhill
Starring:Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn
Plot:In World War II, several hundred Allied POWs plan a mass escape from a German POW camp.
Links:IMDb

The Green Mile

A wonderful, near-perfect film: impeccably cast & acted, flawlessly designed & filmed, transparently directed, from a great story. The best screen adaptation ever? Certainly one of the best.

Released:1999
Genre:crime/drama/fantasy/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:3h9m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition”
Features:commentary, documentaries, additional scenes
Director:Frank Darabont
Screenplay:Frank Darabont, from the novel by Stephen King
Starring:Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton
Plot:The lives of the guards and prisoners on death row leading up to the execution of an innocent man who has the power of healing.
Links:IMDb

Grindhouse

An experimental double-feature in the style of 70’s "grindhouse" films. The theatrical presentation included trailers of other (nonexistant) grindhouse films, two of which (Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun) were subsequently made and released.

Released:2007
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Rating:Unrated
Edition:“Extended and Unrated” (2 discs each)

Planet Terror

A fun-filled zombie flick. One scene in particular seemed unnecessarily unpleasant, but it was intentional, telling us that “all bets are off”.

Genre:action/horror/SF/thriller (& comedy too!)
Runtime:1h45m
Features:commentary, audience reaction track, featurettes
Director:Robert Rodriguez
Screenplay:Robert Rodriguez
Starring:Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Bruce Willis, Naveen Andrews
Plot:After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it’s up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.
Links:IMDb

Death Proof

Starts off slowly but builds to an exhilarating finalé. Perhaps the best car chase, ever.

Genre:crime/thriller
Runtime:1h53m
Features:featurettes, “Double Dare” trailer
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino
Starring:Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Zoe Bell
Plot:Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his “death proof” cars to execute his murderous plans.
Links:IMDb

Hancock

Released:2008
Genre:action/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m (theatrical) 1h42m (unrated)
Rating:PG/unrated
Edition:2-disc Unrated Special Edition
Features:theatrical & unrated versions, featurettes, limited edition lithograph
Director:Peter Berg
Screenplay:Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan
Starring:Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan
Plot:A hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public enters into a questionable relationship with the wife of the public relations professional who’s trying to repair his image.
Links:IMDb

Happy Tree Friends: Overkill

3 volumes plus 5 bonus episodes (3 discs).

Released:2005
Genre:animation/short/comedy
Format:fullscreen
Features:lots
Director:Rhode Montijo & Kenn Navarro
Screenplay:Warren Graff, Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro, Jeff Biancalana, Ken Pontac, David Winn; created by Rhode Montijo & Aubrey Ankrum
Plot:They’re cute, they’re happy, they’re cuddly, they love life, and they die in the most gruesome ways — every single episode...
Links:IMDb: Volume 1: First Blood, Volume 2: Second Serving, Volume 3: Third Strike

Harold and Maude

A sometimes morbid but finally uplifting black comedy. Excellent soundtrack by Cat Stevens.

Released:1971
Genre:comedy/romance/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h31m
Rating:14A
Director:Hal Ashby
Screenplay:Colin Higgins
Starring:Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner
Plot:Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.
Links:IMDb

Heathers

The quintessential antidote to John Hughes’ syrupy teen comedies.

Released:1988
Genre:comedy/crime/drama/romance
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:14A
Director:Michael Lehmann
Screenplay:Daniel Waters
Starring:Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Plot:A girl who half-heartedly tries to be part of the “in crowd” of her school meets a rebel who teaches her a more devious way to play social politics.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition)

Heavenly Creatures

Released:1994
Genre:crime/drama/fantasy/romance/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen fullscreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:18A
Edition:“The Uncut Version”
Director:Peter Jackson
Screenplay:Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson
Starring:Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison, Simon O’Connor
Plot:Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.
Links:IMDb

Hellraiser

Highly original and entertaining. Not for the squeamish or the faint of heart.

AKA:Clive Barker’s Hellraiser
Released:1987
Genre:horror/fantasy
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:R
Edition:packaged with Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Director:Clive Barker
Screenplay:Clive Barker, from his novel The Hellbound Heart
Starring:Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Doug Bradley
Plot:A man finds he is given more than he bargains for when he solves the puzzle of the Lamont Configuration: a doorway to hell. But his ex-lover has found a way of bringing him back, and his niece finds herself bargaining with the Cenobites, angels to some, demons to others, whose greatest pleasure is the greatest pain.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, Hellraiser: Online

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Sequel to Hellraiser. If you liked that film, you’ll like this one too.

AKA:Clive Barker’s Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Released:1988
Genre:horror/fantasy
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:R
Edition:packaged with Hellraiser
Director:Tony Randel
Screenplay:Peter Atkins, from a story by Clive Barker
Starring:Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Doug Bradley
Plot:The head of a psychiatric prison who meddles with a satanic puzzle cube unleashes a cabal of pain-seeking demons who terrorize his daughter. The girl must find a way to solve the puzzle and force the demons back to hell after a series of victims fall victim to the cube’s power.
Links:IMDb

The Hidden

Underrated. Fun popcorn action/horror/SF. Low-budget, but good story, good dialogue, and well made.

Released:1987
Genre:action/horror/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:R
Edition:“Double Feature” (single-sided disc) with The Hidden 2 (crap)
Features:commentary track
Director:Jack Sholder
Screenplay:Jim Kouf
Starring:Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian, Clarence Felder
Plot:An L.A. police detective and an FBI agent join forces to hunt down those responsible for a series of bizarre crimes. The problem is, the serial robberies and murders are being committed by seemingly ordinary citizens. What’s the connection?
Links:IMDb

High Fidelity

Released:2000
Genre:romance/comedy/drama/music
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:14A
Features:deleted scenes, conversations with writer/producer and director
Director:Stephen Frears
Screenplay:D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack & Scott Rosenberg; book by Nick Hornby
Starring:John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins
Plot:Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.
Links:IMDb

A History of Violence

Released:2005
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:18A
Features:commentary, documentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
Director:David Cronenberg
Screenplay:Josh Olson; based on the graphic novel by John Wagner & Vince Locke
Starring:Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt
Plot:A mild mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to their very core.
Links:IMDb

The Hitcher

A seemingly B-horror flick that rose to A-level thanks to some excellent performances. Rutger Hauer gives a subtle, nuanced, and insidious performace as one of the best villains in cinematic history. But skip the sequel — it sucks.

Released:1986
Genre:action/horror/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:R
Director:Robert Harmon
Screenplay:Eric Red
Starring:C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn
Plot:A young man transporting a car to another state is stalked along the road by a cunning and relentless serial killer who eventually frames the driver for a string of murders. Chased by police and shadowed by the killer, the driver’s only help comes from a truck stop waitress.
Links:IMDb

Hobo With a Shotgun

Originally a fake trailer from the Grindhouse double-feature.

Released:2011
Genre:action/crime/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h27m
Rating:R
Edition:2-disc
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, etc.
Director:Jason Eisener
Screenplay:John Davies, story by Jason Eisener & Rob Cotterill & John Davies
Starring:Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey, Nick Bateman
Plot:A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.
Links:IMDb

The Hudsucker Proxy

Wonderfully quirky. “You know... for kids!”

Released:1994
Genre:comedy/drama/fantasy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h51m
Rating:14A
Director:Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Screenplay:Ethan Coen & Joel Coen & Sam Raimi
Starring:Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True-Frost, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell
Plot:A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.
Links:IMDb

The Hunger Games

Released:2012
Genre:action/adventure/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h22m
Rating:14A
Edition:2-disc
Features:featurettes
Director:Gary Ross
Screenplay:Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
Starring:Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley
Plot:In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives.
Links:IMDb

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Released:2009
Genre:adventure/fantasy/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h3m
Rating:PG
Features:commentary, featurettes, deleted scene
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:Terry Gilliam & Charles McKeown
Starring:Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Tom Waits
Plot:In exchange for extraordinary powers, Doctor Parnassus makes a deal with the Devil to turn over any child of his when they turn sixteen. But as his daughter’s birthday approaches, a mysterious stranger arrives with the power tho change everything.
Links:IMDb

Impostor

Although the extended action drags a bit in spots, this is one of the best adaptations of a Philip K. Dick story. It captures the paranoia and the questioning of identity that infuses phildickian fiction. Originally shot as a short film for a 3-part anthology.

Released:2002
Genre:SF/thriller/action/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Director’s Cut”
Features:featurette, original short film
Director:Gary Fleder
Screenplay:Caroline Case & Ehren Kruger & David Twohy, adaptation by Scott Rosenberg, story by Philip K. Dick
Starring:Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tony Shalhoub, Tim Guinee, Mekhi Phifer
Plot:An engineer creates the ultimate weapon in a battle against aliens, only to be suspected of being an alien himself.
Links:IMDb

Inception

A blockbuster that makes you think.

Released:2010
Genre:action/crime/mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h28m
Rating:PG
Features:featurettes
Director:Christopher Nolan
Screenplay:Christopher Nolan
Starring:Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas
Plot:Dom Cobb leads an “extraction” team, corporate spies who steal ideas by invading the dreams of their targets. Now they’ve been tasked with the nearly impossible: “inception”, the implantation of an idea where the target believes the idea is their own.
Links:IMDb

The Incredibles

A gift for Kaito & Erika, March 2005.

Released:2004
Genre:animation/family/adventure/action/comedy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h1m
Rating:G
Edition:“2-disc Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, animated shorts
Director:Brad Bird
Screenplay:Brad Bird
Starring:(voices) Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee
Plot:A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Inglourious Basterds

Released:2009
Genre:drama/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h33m
Rating:18A
Edition:“2-disc Special Edition”
Features:deleted & alternate scenes, “Nation’s Pride” film & making of, roundtable discussion, etc.
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino
Starring:Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger
Plot:In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.
Links:IMDb

I.Q.

Brilliant portrayal of Albert Einstein by Walter Matthau.

Released:1994
Genre:comedy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Director:Fred Schepisi
Screenplay:Andy Breckman and Michael Leeson, story by Andy Breckman
Starring:Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, Walter Matthau
Plot:Albert Einstein helps a young man who’s in love with Einstein’s niece to catch her attention by pretending temporarily to be a great physicist.
Links:IMDb

The Iron Giant

Excellent story and animation; works for kids & adults too.

Released:1999
Genre:animation/drama/family/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h26m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, additional scenes, documentaries & featurettes
Director:Brad Bird
Screenplay:Tim McCanlies; screen story by Brad Bird; based on the book by Ted Hughes
Starring:(voices) Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Eli Marienthal
Plot:A boy makes friends with an innocent alien giant robot that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Iron Man

Released:2008
Genre:action/adventure/drama/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h5m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Ultimate 2-Disc Edition”
Features:deleted & extended scenes, featurettes
Director:Jon Favreau
Screenplay:Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway; characters by Stan Lee & Don Heck & Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby
Starring:Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir
Plot:When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.
Links:IMDb easter egg

Jackie Brown

Released:1997
Genre:crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen fullscreen
Runtime:2h34m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Collector’s Edition” (2 discs)
Features:featurettes, deleted and alternate scenes, etc.
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino; novel by Elmore Leonard
Starring:Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro
Plot:A female flight attendant becomes a key figure in a plot between the police and an arms dealer.
Links:IMDb

Jacob’s Ladder

Weird, nightmarish, and thought-provoking. The visual style — special effects done completely optically, in-camera — is original and stunning. I saw this on the big screen on its opening night, a Friday, and it was running through my head so much all weekend that I went to see it again Monday night. You’ll love it or you’ll hate it. I loved it.

Released:1990
Genre:horror/mystery/thriller/drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, documentary, deleted scenes
Director:Adrian Lyne
Screenplay:Bruce Joel Rubin
Starring:Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello
Plot:A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.
Links:IMDb

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Released:2001
Genre:adventure/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h44m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Collector’s Series” (2 discs)
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, gag reel, music videos
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Eliza Dushku, Ali Larter, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Chris Rock
Plot:The comic “Bluntman and Chronic” is based on real-life stoners Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from a big-screen adaptation they set out to wreck the movie.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

The Jerk

“I was born a poor black child” says Navin Johnson (Steve Martin). He’s also a budding songwriter:

Oh, I’m picking out a thermos for you
Not an ordinary thermos, for you
But the extra-best thermos you can buy
With vinyl, and stripes, and a cup built right in
I’m picking out a thermos for you
And maybe a barometer, too
And what else can I buy
So on me you’ll rely?
A rear-end thermometer, too
Released:1979
Genre:comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“26th Anniversary Edition”
Director:Carl Reiner
Screenplay:Steve Martin & Carl Gottlieb & Michael Elias
Starring:Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams, Jackie Mason
Plot:A complete imbecile struggles to make it through life on his own, until a strange invention makes him unbelievably wealthy.
Links:IMDb

Kill Bill

Although split in two for theatrical release, this is really one film.

Kill Bill is [a] kung fu samurai revenge kick-ass chick take-no-prisoners movie.

—Lawrence Bender, producer

Genre:action/thriller/drama/crime
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Rating:18A
Features:featurettes, deleted scene (vol. 2)
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino, based on the character of “The Bride” created by Q & U

Volume 1

Violence as art, taken to the campy extreme. A lot of fun, if you don’t mind a lot of blood and severed body parts. I saw Volume 1 several times in the theater, it was such visceral fun.

Released:2003
Runtime:1h51m
Starring:Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus
Plot:Four years after taking a bullet in the head at her own wedding rehearsal, The Bride emerges from a coma and decides to seek revenge on her former colleagues, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS).
Links:IMDb

Volume 2

First we got the action, now we get the story and the dialogue. There are a few good fights too. I only saw Volume 2 once in the theater, but I’ve found it has grown on me, and I’ve enjoyed it frequently since obtaining a copy for my collection.

Released:2004
Runtime:2h17m
Starring:Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Gordon Liu, Michael Parks
Plot:The Bride continues her vengeance quest against her ex-boss, Bill, and his associates. Much of her past is also revealed.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

King Kong

Released:2005
Genre:adventure/drama/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:3h8m
Rating:14A
Edition:“2-Disc Special Edition”
Features:documentary, featurettes
Director:Peter Jackson
Screenplay:Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson; story by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace
Starring:Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell
Plot:In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.
Links:IMDb

Kundun

Released:1997
Genre:drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h15m
Rating:PG-13/MPAA
Director:Martin Scorsese
Screenplay:Melissa Mathison
Starring:Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong
Plot:True story of one of the world’s most fascinating leaders — Tibet’s Dalai lama — and his daring struggle to rule a nation at one of the most challenging times in its history.
Links:IMDb

L.A. Story

An intelligent, quirky comedy.

Released:1991
Genre:comedy/romance/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:PG
Features:featurette, hidden interviews
Director:Mick Jackson
Screenplay:Steve Martin
Starring:Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Sarah Jessica Parker
Plot:With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a “wacky weatherman” tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early-90s Los Angeles.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Labyrinth

Wildly imaginative, but not entirely successful. The scene emulating Escher’s Relativity is very cool.

Released:1986
Genre:family/fantasy/adventure/musical
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:PG
Features:documentary
Director:Jim Henson
Screenplay:Terry Jones & Elaine May; story by Dennis Lee & Jim Henson
Starring:David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud
Plot:Sarah, a teen, summons the goblins from her favorite book, the Labyrinth, to steal her baby half-brother Toby. When the goblins actually do steal him, she must solve the Goblin King’s Labyrinth in 13 hours or else Toby will become a goblin.
Links:IMDb

Ladyhawke

A decent fantasy. Unfortunately, the music (by Alan Parsons, whose albums I enjoy) often doesn’t suit the film.

Released:1985
Genre:fantasy/adventure/romance
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:2h1m
Rating:PG-13/MPAA
Director:Richard Donner
Screenplay:Edward Khmara & Michael Thomas & Tom Mankiewicz & David Peoples
Starring:Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo McKern, John Wood
Plot:Philipe Gastone, a thief, escapes from the dungeon at Aquila, and meets Captain Navarre, who has been hunted by the Bishop’s men for two years. Navarre and his true love, the Lady Isabeau, have been cursed by the Bishop to be forever apart. Navarre insists that Philipe help him re-enter the city to help him kill the heavily guarded Bishop.
Links:IMDb

The Last Unicorn

Gift to Erika, March 2008.

Released:1982
Genre:family/animation/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h33m
Rating:G
Edition:“25th Anniversary”
Features:documentary, game
Director:Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jr.
Screenplay:Peter S. Beagle, based on his novel
Starring:(voices) Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Tammy Grimes, Robert Klein, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee, Keenan Wynn, Paul Frees, Rene Auberjonois
Plot:A brave unicorn and a magician fight an evil king who is obsessed with attempting to capture the world’s unicorns.
Links:IMDb

Legend

A gorgeous and underrated fantasy. I love the Tangerine Dream score on the theatrical version.

Released:1986
Genre:fantasy/adventure/romance
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:PG (theatrical release)
Edition:“Ultimate Edition” (2 discs)
Features:director’s cut & theatrical versions, commentary, featurettes, extras
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:William Hjortsberg
Starring:Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, Arnon Milchan
Plot:A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com

Léon

AKA:The Professional
Released:1994
Genre:crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h13m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Uncut International Version”
Features:isolated music score
Director:Luc Besson
Screenplay:Luc Besson
Starring:Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello
Plot:Professional assassin Léon reluctantly takes care of 12-year-old Mathilda, a neighbor whose parents are killed, and teaches her his trade.
Links:IMDb

Life of Brian

AKA:Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Released:1979
Genre:comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“The Criterion Collection”
Features:commentaries, documentary, extras
Director:Terry Jones
Screenplay:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Starring:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Plot:Three wise men visit a baby born in a stable in Bethleham, before realizing that the real messiah was born next door.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition)

A Little Princess

Quite charming, gorgeous, and very well acted by the young lead.

Released:1995
Genre:drama/family/fantasy/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h37m
Rating:G
Edition:“Family Double Feature” with The Secret Garden
Director:Alfonso Cuarón
Screenplay:Richard LaGravenese & Elizabeth Chandler, novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Starring:Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham, Rusty Schwimmer
Plot:A young girl is relegated to servitude at a boarding school when her father goes missing in World War I and is presumed dead.
Links:IMDb

Local Hero

A real gem. I also have fond memories of Forsyth’s Comfort and Joy.

Released:1983
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h51m
Rating:PG
Director:Bill Forsyth
Screenplay:Bill Forsyth
Starring:Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson, Fulton Mackay, Burt Lancaster
Plot:An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don’t go as expected.
Links:IMDb

Logan’s Run

A classic of utopian/distopian SF. I remember in elementary school my friends and I running around with plastic bingo chips in our hands, pretending they were life-clock crystals.

Released:1976
Genre:SF/action/adventure
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:1h58m
Rating:14A
Director:Michael Anderson
Screenplay:David Zelag Goodman, from the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
Starring:Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov
Plot:In the Year of the City 2274, humans live in a vast, domed metropolis, protected from the outside world, ravaged by nuclear holocaust. In the City, computerized systems provide all needs and everyone can pursue endless hedonism. Until Lastday, when all 30-year-olds must submit to Carrousel, with certain death and the promise of rebirth. The alternative is to become a Runner and seek out Sanctuary. Logan 5 is a Sandman who is prematurely forced to become a Runner.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

The Lonely Guy

Steve Martin is at the top of his form, but Charles Grodin’s subtle delivery steals the show.

Released:1984
Genre:comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h30m
Rating:R
Director:Arthur Hiller
Screenplay:Neil Simon & Stan Daniels & Ed. Weinberger, based on the book “The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life” by Bruce Jay Friedman
Starring:Steve Martin, Charles Grodin, Judith Ivey, Steve Lawrence, Robyn Douglass, Merv Griffin, Dr. Joyce Brothers
Plot:A writer for a greating card company learns the true meaning of loneliness when he comes home to find his girl friend in bed with another man.
Links:IMDb

The Lookout

Released:2007
Genre:crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Scott Frank
Screenplay:Scott Frank
Starring:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino
Plot:Chris is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist.
Links:IMDb

Looper

Looper is a well-crafted, intelligent, complex, unpredictable, and challenging SF thriller dealing with time travel, organized crime, responsibility, love, and sacrifice. A must-see.

Released:2012
Genre:action/crime/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h59m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
Director:Rian Johnson
Screenplay:Rian Johnson
Starring:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Summer Qing, Tracie Thoms, Frank Brennan, Garret Dillahunt
Plot:In 2074, time travel is controlled by the mob. When they want to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a “Looper” hired gun awaits. In 2044 Joe is getting rich and living large as a Looper, but gets worried when he hears that the mob is “closing the loops”, sending many Loopers’ future selves back in time for dispatch.
Links:IMDb; Screenplay (final draft); Theatrical Commentary Track.

Lord of Illusions

Released:1995
Genre:horror/thriller/fantasy/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h1m
Rating:R
Edition:“Unrated Director’s Cut”
Features:commentary, score
Director:Clive Barker
Screenplay:Clive Barker
Starring:Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen, Daniel von Bargen
Plot:A private investigator gets more than he bargains for when he encounters a performer whose amazing illusions captivate the world. But are they really illusions?
Links:IMDb

The Lord of the Rings

A wondrous and awe-inspiring adaptation; Peter Jackson & crew really did the books justice! Taken as a whole, The Lord of the Rings is an epic of staggering proportions, a single film with a running time of over eleven hours that has already become a classic. The Extended Editions, to me, represent the definitive version of the films: more moments, more character development, more story.

The six discs of documentaries, features, and galleries, in combination with the multiple commentaries, are simultaneously entertaining and informative. They could be used as the basis of an introductory curriculum covering all aspects of the art of filmmaking.

Film versions of beloved books often betray the source material and aren’t worthy adaptations. I went to see Fellowship the week it opened, with some trepidation. I was impressed by the prologue and then delighted by Hobbiton. By the time Gandalf handed his hat and staff to Bilbo, I fully trusted that the technical and artistic foundation was sound, and sat back to enjoy the story, vaguely remembered from when I’d last read the books as a teenager.

(I intentionally refrained from re-reading the books until after I’d seen all three films, not wanting to spoil the experience with nit-picking. I’m glad I did, and when I finally did read the books again, I was impressed by just how much had been incorporated into the films. Dialogue and details sometimes had to be moved around or mixed together to fit the medium, but the decision to use so much original source material was very wise.)

These films are worthy adaptations of the books. They’re labors of love, and it shows.

Genre:fantasy/adventure/action
Format:widescreen
Rating:14A
Edition:Each is a 4-disc “Special Extended Edition”
Features:commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, and extras galore
Director:Peter Jackson
Screenplay:Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, & Peter Jackson, from the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien
Starring:Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Karl Urban, John Noble, Ian Holm
Links:Official site, TheOneRing.net, IGN FilmForce, The Encyclopedia of Arda

The Fellowship of the Ring

This Extended Edition gives fans more of a very good thing.

Released:2001
Runtime:3h28m
Plot:In a small village in the Shire a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient Ring. Now he must embark on an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs, 101 Observations, Encylopedia of Arda Movie-Goer’s Guide

The Two Towers

The Extended Edition of The Two Towers is essential viewing. The added scenes (especially the flashback with Boromir, Faramir, and Denethor) make this a truly satisfying film, as opposeed to the merely satisfactory theatrical release. The real star of this film is Gollum, and Gollum’s Song (over the end-titles) is heart-breaking.

Released:2002
Runtime:3h42m
Plot:Frodo and Sam continue on to Mordor in their mission to destroy the One Ring, guided by Gollum. Their former companions make new allies, defend Helm’s Deep from attack, and launch an assault on Isengard with the help of the Ents.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs, 101 Observations, Encylopedia of Arda Movie-Goer’s Guide

The Return of the King

The Extended Edition fills in many pieces missing from the story: the Voice of Saruman; the Paths of the Dead; the Corsairs of Umbar; more interaction between Faramir and Denethor; the courage of Merry and Pippin; the Witch King’s Hour; the Houses of Healing; Frodo and Sam in the company of orcs; Aragorn and the Palantír; the Mouth of Sauron. Although not as essential as with The Two Towers, the additions restore a lot of story and character development to the theatrical action/adventure.

Released:2003
Runtime:4h10m
Plot:The former Fellowship of the Ring prepare for the final battle for Middle Earth, while Frodo & Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, 101 Observations, Encylopedia of Arda Movie-Goer’s Guide

Lost In Translation

In August 2009, during a vacation visiting Mayumi’s family in Japan, we stayed at the hotel where this film was shot, the Park Hyatt Tokyo, a five-star hotel. We spent two nights there while exploring Tokyo with the kids. We used loyalty points for the stay, which would have been about $600/night (!) otherwise. Upon returning to Canada, we felt we just had to get this movie.

Released:2003
Genre:comedy/drama/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:PG
Features:deleted scenes, featurettes, music video
Director:Sofia Coppola
Screenplay:Sofia Coppola
Starring:Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
Plot:A movie star with a sense of emptiness, and a neglected newlywed meet up as strangers in Tokyo, Japan and form an unlikely bond.
Links:IMDb

The Lost Room

A 6-episode Sci-Fi Channel mini-series, it’s like a super story arc of The X Files that makes sense (it’s internally consistent) and has a satisfying conclusion.

Released:2006
Genre:drama/fantasy/mystery/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:4h44m
Rating:PG
Features:featurette
Director:Craig R. Baxley, Michael W. Watkins
Screenplay:Laura Harkcom & Christopher Leone & Paul Workman
Starring:Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Peter Jacobson, Dennis Christopher, April Grace, Chris Bauer, Elle Fanning, Roger Bart, Kevin Pollak
Plot:A detective investigating a double murder receives a key which opens any door, and opens into a mysterious motel room. From inside the room, the door opens any door in the real world. When his daughter becomes lost in the room, the detective has to track down other objects that are being sought by individuals and warring groups, while desperately seeking his daughter’s return.
Links:IMDb

Machete

Originally a fake trailer from the Grindhouse double-feature.

Released:2010
Genre:action/comedy/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h45m
Rating:18A
Features:deleted scenes, audience reaction track
Director:Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis
Screenplay:Robert Rodriguez, Álvaro Rodríguez
Starring:Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson
Plot:After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.
Links:IMDb

Mad Max

Released:1979
Genre:action/adventure/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition” (1 disc, double-sided)
Features:Australian & US-dubbed audio tracks; commentary; featurettes; trivia
Director:George Miller
Screenplay:James McCausland and George Miller; story by George Miller and Byron Kennedy
Starring:Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward
Plot:In a crumbling future Australia, a savage motorcycle gang rules the road, terrorizing innocent civilians and laughing in the face of the police... until they cross officer Max Rockatansky.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Great action.

AKA:The Road Warrior
Released:1981
Genre:action/SF/thriller
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:R
Director:George Miller
Screenplay:Terry Hayes & George Miller with Brian Hannant
Starring:Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
Plot:In the post-apocolyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.
Links:IMDb

The Majestic

Released:2001
Genre:drama/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h32m
Rating:PG
Features:additional scenes, featurettes
Director:Frank Darabont
Screenplay:Michael Sloane
Starring:Jim Carrey, Bob Balaban, Brent Briscoe, Jeffrey DeMunn, Hal Holbrook, Laurie Holden, Martin Landau
Plot:Set in 1951, a blacklisted Hollywood writer gets into a car accident, loses his memory and settles down in a small town where he is mistaken for a long, lost son.
Links:IMDb

The Man From Earth

AKA:Jerome Bixby’s “The Man From Earth”
Released:2007
Genre:drama/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h27m
Rating:not rated
Features:commentaries, featurettes
Director:Richard Schenkman
Screenplay:Jerome Bixby
Starring:John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, William Katt, Annika Peterson, Richard Riehle, David Lee Smith, Alexis Thorpe, Tony Todd
Plot:An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he is an immortal who has walked the earth for 14,000 years.
Links:IMDb

Man On The Moon

Strange, funny, and moving. A brilliant performance by Jim Carrey.

Released:1999
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h58m
Rating:PG (but R/MPAA, for language & brief nudity)
Features:“Making Of” documentary; deleted scenes; music videos; biographical notes & video clips of the real Andy Kaufman.
Director:Milos Forman
Screenplay:Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Starring:Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, Paul Giamatti
Plot:The life and career of the eccentric avant-garde comedian, Andy Kaufman.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

The Man With Two Brains

Silly and very funny. Well worth the price I paid ($9CDN), and more.

Released:1983
Genre:comedy
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:1h33m
Rating:14A
Director:Carl Reiner
Screenplay:George Gipe, Steve Martin, & Carl Reiner
Starring:Steve Martin & Kathleen Turner
Plot:Steve Martin comedy about brain transplantation, marital infidelity, and pure platonic love.
Links:IMDb, Steve Martin’s site

Marathon Man

An excellent thriller.

“Is it safe?”
Open wide and say “Ahhh!”
Released:1976
Genre:drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h5m
Rating:18A
Features:interviews, trailers, featurette
Director:John Schlesinger
Screenplay:William Goldman, based on his novel
Starring:Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane, Marthe Keller
Plot:A graduate student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.
Links:IMDb

Mars Attacks!

A fun 50’s SF B-movie spoof, with cameos galore.

Released:1996
Genre:action/comedy/SF
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h46m
Rating:PG
Director:Tim Burton
Screenplay:Jonathan Gems
Starring:Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Jim Brown, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman
Plot:The Earth is invaded by Martians with irresistible weapons and a cruel sense of humor.
Links:IMDb

The Mask

Released:1995
Genre:comedy/fantasy/action/crime
Format:widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:PG
Edition:“New Line Platinum Series”
Features:commentary, extras
Director:Charles Russell
Screenplay:Mike Werb; story by Michael Fallon & Mark Verheiden
Starring:Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni
Plot:Bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss is transformed into a manic super-hero when he wears a mysterious mask.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition)

The Martian Chronicles

I vaguely remember watching this on TV when it was first broadcast as a mini-series. I remember it favourably, but I would have been 11 or 12 years old at the time.

AKA:Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles”
Released:1980
Genre:SF
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:4h53m
Rating:NR
Director:Michael Anderson
Screenplay:Richard Matheson, from the novel by Ray Bradbury
Starring:Rock Hudson, Gayle Hunnicutt, Darren McGavin, Roddy McDowall
Plot:cannot be summarized
Links:IMDb

The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix was original and cool (even though the “human batteries” concept is hokey). The Matrix Reloaded had some excellent fights and chases. And at $6 each, the whole trilogy was worth getting.

Genre:action/adventure/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Rating:14A
Director:Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Screenplay:Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Starring:Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Jada Pinkett Smith

The Matrix

Released:1999
Runtime:2h16m
Features:commentary, documentaries, music-only audio track, extras
Plot:A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.
Links:IMDb

The Matrix Reloaded

Released:2003
Runtime:2h18m
Edition:2 discs
Features:featurettes
Starring:Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith
Plot:Neo and the rebel leaders estimate that they have 72 hours until 250,000 probes discover Zion and destroy it and its inhabitants. During this, Neo must decide how he can save Trinity from a dark fate in his dreams.
Links:IMDb

The Matrix Revolutions

Released:2003
Runtime:2h9m
Edition:2 discs
Features:featurettes
Plot:The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith.
Links:IMDb

Memento

Disc 2 menu:

Released:2000
Genre:crime/drama/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h53m
Rating:14A
Edition:Widescreen Limited Edition (“Psychiatric Report”, 2-disc)
Features:commentary, documentary, alternate chronological version (see the menu above)
Director:Christopher Nolan
Screenplay:Christopher Nolan, based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan
Starring:Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris, Callum Keith Rennie, Larry Holden, Jorja Fox
Plot:A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Mexico Trilogy

Boxed set of 3 films. Gift from Mayumi, birthday 2008.

Director:Robert Rodriguez
Genre:action/crime/thriller/western
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Screenplay:Robert Rodriguez

El Mariachi

Released:1992
Runtime:1h21m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, short film “Bedhead”, “10-Minute Film School”
Starring:Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gómez, Jaime de Hoyos, Peter Marquardt
Plot:A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him.
Links:IMDb

Desperado

Released:1995
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:R
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, “Anatomy of a Shootout”
Starring:Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Carlos Gómez, Quentin Tarantino
Plot:A gunslinger is embroiled in a war with a local drug runner.
Links:IMDb

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Released:2003
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:18A
Features:commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
Starring:Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Marco Leonardi, Cheech Marin, Rubén Blades, Willem Dafoe
Plot:Hitman “El Mariachi” becomes involved in international espionage involving a psychotic CIA agent and a corrupt Mexican general.
Links:IMDb

Minority Report

Another satisfying adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s work, this film succeeds on all levels. Spielberg has finally made another serious and successful SF film for adults, the first since 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Released:2002
Genre:action/SF/thriller/crime/drama/mystery
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h26m
Rating:14A
Edition:2 discs
Features:documentaries
Director:Steven Spielberg
Screenplay:Scott Frank & Jon Cohen, from the Philip K. Dick short story
Starring:Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Samantha Morton, Kathryn Morris
Plot:In 2054, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but the head of the Precrime unit is accused of murder and sets out to prove his innocence.
Links:IMDb, Official site

Monster House

Released:2006
Genre:animation/family/fantasy/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h31m
Rating:PG
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Gil Kenan
Screenplay:Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab and Pamela Pettler; story by Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab
Starring:(voices) Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner, Fred Willard, Ryan Newman, Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Woody Schultz, Ian McConnel, Spencer Locke, Jon Heder
Plot:Three kids discover that their neighbor’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.
Links:IMDb

Monsters, Inc.

Anyone with kids has probably already seen it. Several times. Luckily, it’s quite entertaining for adults also, and stands up to repeated viewings. A gift to Kaito & Erika, February 2003.

Released:2001
Genre:animation/family/comedy/fantasy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:G
Edition:2-disc “Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentary, documentaries, game, easter eggs
Director:Pete Docter
Screenplay:Pete Docter et al.
Starring:(voices) John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson
Plot:Monsters generate their city’s power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley find his world disrupted.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, Pixar site, Disney site, The Fanlisting

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Classic silliness.

Released:1975
Genre:comedy/adventure/fantasy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h31m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition” (2 discs)
Features:extra 24 seconds of film!, commentaries, featurettes
Director:Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Screenplay:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Starring:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Plot:King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many very silly obstacles.
Links:IMDb

My Bodyguard

Released:1980
Genre:comedy/drama/family
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:PG
Director:Tony Bill
Screenplay:Alan Ormsby
Starring:Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, Matt Dillon, Joan Cusack, Ruth Gordon
Plot:When a boy comes to a new school and gets harassed by a bully, he acquires the services of the school’s most feared kid as a bodyguard.
Links:IMDb

My Neighbor Totoro

An imaginative film suitable for young children. A gift to Erika, Christmas 2003.

AKA:となりのトトロ (Tonari no Totoro [Japanese title])
Released:1988
Genre:animation/family/fantasy
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:1h27m
Rating:G
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay:Hayao Miyazaki
Starring:(voices; English version) Lisa Michaelson, Cheryl Chase
Plot:Deep inside a tree trunk, sisters Satsuki & Mei discover a fascinating new world inhabited by Totoros — amazing, charming creatures who become their friends.
Links:IMDb, Studio Ghibli (Japanese), Nausicaa.net (fan website)

Napoleon Dynamite

Released:2004
Genre:comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:G
Features:commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, “Peluca” short film
Director:Jared Hess
Screenplay:Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess
Starring:Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Diedrich Bader, Tina Majorino
Plot:A listless and alienated teenager decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while he must deal with his bizarre family life back home.
Links:IMDb

Natural Born Killers

Released:1994
Genre:action/crime/drama/romance/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h1m
Rating:R
Edition:“Director’s Cut”
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, alternative ending, interviews
Director:Oliver Stone
Screenplay:David Veloz, Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone; story by Quentin Tarantino
Starring:Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield
Plot:Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
Links:IMDb

Near Dark

A highly original and intelligent, low-budget vampire horror/western cross. Stunning shot, engaging and complex characters, exciting, and superbly acted. The music by Tangerine Dream is among their best and stands alone.

Released:1987
Genre:horror/western
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:2 discs, deluxe
Features:commentary, documentary, deleted scene, screenplay
Director:Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay:Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red
Starring:Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson, Joshua John Miller
Plot:A young man tries to seduce a girl, but a nibble infects him and forces him to join her and her family, a travelling band of vicious nocturnal blood-suckers.
Links:IMDb

Never Cry Wolf

A wonderful story, beautiful cinematography.

Released:1983
Genre:adventure/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h45m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Director:Carroll Ballard
Screenplay:Ralph Furmaniak & Sam Hamm & Richard Kletter; narration by Charles Martin Smith & Eugene Corr & Christina Luescher; based on the book by Farley Mowat
Starring:Charles Martin Smith, Brian Dennehy, Zachary Ittimangnaq, Samson Jorah
Plot:A government researcher, sent to research the “menace” of wolves in the north, learns about the true beneficial and positive nature of the species.
Links:IMDb

Never So Few

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1959
Genre:drama/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h4m
Rating:?
Director:John Sturges
Screenplay:Millard Kaufman; novel by Tom T. Chamales
Starring:Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Steve McQueen, Richard Johnson, Paul Henreid, Brian Donlevy, Dean Jones
Plot:A band of skilled O.S.S. operatives are in WWII Burma to train the Kachin natives in modern warfare.
Links:IMDb

Nightbreed

Highly original.

Released:1990
Genre:fantasy/horror
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:R
Director:Clive Barker
Screenplay:Clive Barker, from his novel
Starring:Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid
Plot:A community of mutant outcasts of varying types and abilities attempts to escape the attentions of a psychotic serial killer and redneck vigilantes with the help of a brooding young man who discovers them.
Links:IMDb

A Nightmare On Elm Street

Released:1984
Genre:fantasy/horror/mystery/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:R
Edition:2-dics “infinifilm”
Features:commentary, featurettes, interactive features, alternate ending(s)
Director:Wes Craven
Screenplay:Wes Craven
Starring:John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Plot:When her best friend is brutally murdered, teenager Nancy suspects the killer is a horrifying figure from her dreams. Convinced that this vicious murderer is stalking her friends and killing them as they sleep, Nancy races to bring him out of her dream world before she falls asleep and becomes his next victim.
Links:IMDb

Office Space

Released:1999
Genre:comedy/crime/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h30m
Rating:14A
Director:Mike Judge
Screenplay:Mike Judge
Starring:Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Diedrich Bader, Stephen Root, Gary Cole
Plot:Comedic tale of company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.
Links:IMDb

Papillon

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1973
Genre:adventure/biography/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h30m
Rating:14A
Director:Franklin J. Schaffner
Screenplay:Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr.; book by Henri Charrière
Starring:Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon, Anthony Zerbe
Plot:A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.
Links:IMDb

Parenthood

Great humor & great truth.

You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

—Grandma

Released:1989
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h9m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:featurettes
Director:Ron Howard
Screenplay:Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel; story by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel & Ron Howard
Starring:Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Phoenix
Plot:The Buckman family is a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.
Links:IMDb

Paris, Texas

Released:1984
Genre:drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h25m
Rating:R/MPAA
Features:commentary, deleted scenes, featurette
Director:Wim Wenders
Screenplay:Sam Shepard, adaptation by L.M. Kit Carson
Starring:Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément, Hunter Carson
Plot:A man wanders out of the desert not knowing who he is. His brother finds him and helps to pull back his memory of the life he led before he walked out on his wife and son four years before. As his memory returns, he makes contact with people from his past.
Links:IMDb

Peter Pan

An excellent adaptation of the classic story, this film takes its source material seriously and does it justice. A delight to watch. Gift to Kaito & Erika, Christmas 2004.

Released:2003
Genre:adventure/family/action/fantasy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:PG
Features:alternate ending (worth watching!), deleted scenes, featurettes
Director:P.J. Hogan
Screenplay:P.J. Hogan & Michael Goldenberg, based on the stageplay and books by J.M. Barrie
Starring:Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Sumpter, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lynn Redgrave, Richard Briers, Olivia Williams, Ludivine Sagnier
Plot:The Darling family children receive a visit from Peter Pan, who takes them to Neverland where an ongoing war with the evil Pirate Captain Hook is taking place.
Links:IMDb

Pink Floyd The Wall

A powerful, disturbing, brilliant 90-minute music video of one of rock’s classic albums.

AKA:The Wall
Released:1982
Genre:drama/music
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Deluxe Edition”
Features:commentary, 2 documentaries, extras
Director:Alan Parker
Screenplay:Roger Waters
Starring:Bob Geldof
Plot:The life and descent into madness of fictional (semi-autobiographical) rock star Pink in the midst of his physical and social isolation. A visually evocative cult film based upon the music and visions of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd. Relationships, drug abuse, sex, childhood, death and fascism combine in a disturbing mix of episodic live action and lyrical animation.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs

Pleasantville

Released:1998
Genre:fantasy/comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h4m
Rating:PG-13/MPAA
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Gary Ross
Screenplay:Gary Ross
Starring:Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts
Plot:Two teenagers find themselves in a 1950’s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.
Links:IMDb

Predator

Tense kill-or-be-killed action. How do you fight an enemy who cannot be seen and uses advanced technology? This film features two future US state governors! Gift from Mayumi, Christmas 2004.

Released:1987
Genre:action/horror/SF/thriller
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:1h46m
Rating:R
Edition:“Collector’s Edition” (2 discs)
Features:commentaries, documentary, featurettes, deleted scene
Director:John McTiernan
Screenplay:Jim Thomas & John Thomas
Starring:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura
Plot:A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Prince of Darkness

Released:1987
Genre:horror/fantasy/thriller/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:R
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)
Starring:Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun
Plot:A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.
Links:IMDb

The Princess Bride

Fun for adults & children alike.

Released:1987
Genre:fantasy/family/adventure/comedy/romance
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentaries, featurettes, extras
Director:Rob Reiner
Screenplay:William Goldman, based on his novel
Starring:Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Fred Savage, Peter Falk
Plot:A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil king, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather).
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, DVDReview.com (different edition)

Prometheus

A prequel of sorts to Alien.

Released:2012
Genre:adventure/mystery/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h4m
Rating:14A
Edition:Blu-Ray & DVD Combo
Features:(on the Blu-Ray) commentaries, deleted scenes, alternate beginning & ending, featurette
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, based on elements created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett
Starring:Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Plot:A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Links:IMDb

Pulp Fiction

Pure Tarantino.

Released:1994
Genre:crime/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h34m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Collector’s Edition”
Features:documentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, interviews, TV shows & spots
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino, stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
Starring:John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, Bruce Willis
Plot:The stories of two mob hit men, a boxer and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
Links:IMDb

Pump Up The Volume

Released:1990
Genre:drama/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h42m
Rating:14A
Director:Allan Moyle
Screenplay:Allan Moyle
Starring:Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Scott Paulin, Ellen Greene
Plot:A teen runs a pirate radio station and causes an uproar when he speaks his mind and enthralls fellow teens.
Links:IMDb

The Quiet Earth

A nearly-great film, with a stunning finalé—a beautiful visual punch where words couldn’t possibly do the story justice.

Released:1985
Genre:SF/drama/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h31m
Rating:R/MPAA
Features:commentary
Director:Geoff Murphy
Screenplay:Bill Baer & Bruno Lawrence & Sam Pillsbury; based on the novel by Craig Harrison
Starring:Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith
Plot:A man wakes up to find himself literally alone in the world, and goes about trying to find other survivors, as well as to find out what happened.
Links:IMDb

The Raggedy Rawney

Released:1988
Genre:drama/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:14A
Director:Bob Hoskins
Screenplay:Bob Hoskins & Nicole De Wilde
Starring:Dexter Fletcher, Zoë Nathenson, Zoë Wanamaker, Bob Hoskins, Ian McNeice
Plot:A young military recruit goes AWOL after his first taste of battle. He disguises himself with face paint and women’s clothing to avoid being captured by his vengeful commanding officer. He’s taken in by the leader of an eccentric group of traveling gypsies, who thinks he’s a “rawney”—a half-mad, half-magical woman who brings good fortune.
Links:IMDb

Raising Arizona

Funny & quirky. A gift on Father’s Day 2006, from my parents!

Released:1987
Genre:action/comedy/crime
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h34m
Rating:PG
Director:Joel Coen
Screenplay:Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Starring:Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe
Plot:A con and a cop get married. They can’t have children of their own so decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintupelets. Their lives get more complicated than they anticipated.
Links:IMDb

Ratatouille

A gift for Erika, Christmas 2007.

Released:2007
Genre:animation/comedy/family
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h51m
Rating:G
Features:animated shorts “Lifted” and “Your Friend the Rat”, deleted scenes, featurette
Director:Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava (co-director)
Screenplay:Brad Bird; story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
Starring:(voices) Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O’Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo
Plot:Remy is a young rat in Paris who dreams of good food and becoming a great chef. He visits the restaurant of his dead cooking idol, where he makes an unusual alliance with Linguini, the new garbage boy.
Links:IMDb

Red State

Released:2011
Genre:action/horror/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h22m
Rating:18A
Features:featurettes, deleted scenes, podcasts
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishé, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Michael Parks, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Root, Ralph Garman
Plot:Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.
Links:IMDb

Repo Man

Intense! An SF/comedy classic.

Released:1985
Genre:comedy/SF
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:1h32m
Rating:18A
Director:Alex Cox
Screenplay:Alex Cox
Starring:Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter, Olivia Barash
Plot:After frustrated punk rocker Otto Maddox quits his dead-end supermarket job, he’s hired to work as an apprentice “repo man”. In no time, the rookie is caught up in a series of adventures involving government agents, UFO cultists, hired thugs, and a lobotomized nuclear scientist, culminating in the search for an incredibly valuable ’64 Chevy Malibu containing a secret that can change the course of civilization overnight!
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, DVDReview.com, Alex Cox’s Repo-Page, Repo Man links page

Reservoir Dogs

Intense & bloody.

Genre:crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:R
Edition:“Special Edition — Ten Years” (2 discs)
Features:deleted scenes, featurettes
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino
Starring:Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen
Plot:Five total strangers team up for the perfect crime. But something goes wrong. One of the men is a rat, an infiltrator working for the cops. But who?
Links:IMDb

Risky Business

A teen classic. Great songs and an amazing score by Tangerine Dream.

Released:1983
Genre:comedy/crime
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:Paul Brickman
Screenplay:Paul Brickman
Starring:Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pinchot
Plot:After his parents leave on vacation, Joel cuts loose. Joel gets in over his head after late-night visit from Lana, a gorgeous young prostitute. An unauthorised trip in his father’s Porsche means a sudden need for lots of money, which he raises in a creative way, with Lana’s help.
Links:IMDb

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s a lark!

Released:1975
Genre:comedy/horror/musical/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:14A
Features:multiple versions; commentary
Director:Jim Sharman
Screenplay:Jim Sharman & Richard O’Brien
Starring:Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Meat Loaf
Plot:A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Links:IMDb

Rollerball

There was no need for a remake. The original rocks.

Released:1975
Genre:action/SF
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:2h5m
Rating:PG
Director:Norman Jewison
Screenplay:William Harrison (from his short story)
Starring:James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
Plot:The year is 2018. There are no wars. There is no crime. There is only... the Game. In a corporate controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world, and its most powerful athlete is out to defy those who want him out of the game.
Links:IMDb, The Unofficial Movie Website

Run Lola Run

Quirky, original, and a lot of fun. The commentary is quite interesting.

AKA:Lola Rennt (German title)
Released:1999
Genre:drama/thriller/crime/romance
Format:widescreen/fullscreen
Runtime:1h21m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:Tom Tykwer
Screenplay:Tom Tykwer
Starring:Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup
Plot:Time is running out for Lola. She’s just received a frantic phone call from her boyfriend Manni, who’s lost a small fortune belonging to his mobster boss. If Lola doesn’t replace the money in twenty minutes, Manni will surely suffer severe consequences. She only has one chance. Or does she?
Links:IMDb, song lyrics

Salem’s Lot

Released:1979
Genre:horror/thriller/drama/mystery
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:3h3m
Rating:14A
Director:Tobe Hooper
Screenplay:Paul Monash; novel by Stephen King
Starring:David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres
Plot:Vampires are invading a small New England town. It’s up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it.
Links:IMDb

A Scanner Darkly

Released:2006
Genre:animation/crime/drama/mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Richard Linklater
Screenplay:Richard Linklater, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Starring:Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane
Plot:An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.
Links:IMDb

Scanners

Released:1981
Genre:horror/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:R
Director:David Cronenberg
Screenplay:David Cronenberg
Starring:Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside
Plot:A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.
Links:IMDb

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

An underappreciated gem. The film’s video-game-universe-comes-to-life is a delight. Worth watching many times for all the details alone.

Released:2010
Genre:action/adventure/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h52m
Rating:PG
Features:four commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes
Director:Edgar Wright
Screenplay:Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright; based on graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Starring:Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Alison Pill, Chris Evans, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Brie Larson, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Satya Bhabha, Keita Saitou, Shota Saito
Plot:Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to win her heart.
Links:IMDb

The Secret Garden

Released:1993
Genre:drama/family
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:G
Edition:“Family Double Feature” with A Little Princess
Director:Agnieszka Holland
Screenplay:Caroline Thompson, novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Starring:Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, Maggie Smith
Plot:Three lonely children are forever changed as they learn to trust each other while restoring and taking refuge in the secret garden.
Links:IMDb

The Serpent and the Rainbow

“Don’t bury me! I’m not dead!”

Released:1988
Genre:horror
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:Wes Craven
Screenplay:Richard Maxwell & Adam Rodman, inspired by the book by Wade Davis
Starring:Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield
Plot:An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.
Links:IMDb

The Shawshank Redemption

Story & characters: that’s what dramas are all about, and that’s what this film gets right. A moving, lasting classic; a great film.

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Released:1994
Genre:drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h22m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition — 10th Anniversary”
Features:commentary, documentaries, Charlie Rose Show, “The SharkTank Redemption” spoof
Director:Frank Darabont
Screenplay:Frank Darabont, from a story by Stephen King
Starring:Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore
Plot:The life of Andy Dufresne changes when he is convicted and jailed for the murder of his wife.
Links:IMDb, Late Show spoof, JibJab’s “Shawshank in a Minute”

The Shining

“Heeeere’s Johnny!”

Released:1980
Genre:horror/thriller
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:2h22m
Rating:18
Edition:“Stanley Kubrick Collection”
Features:documentary
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay:Stanley Kubrick & Diane Johnson, based on the novel by Stephen King
Starring:Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Plot:A family arranges to be the caretakers of an isolated hotel for the winter.
Links:IMDb

Sin City

Ultra-violent, ultra-noir, and ultra-entertaining. (“Frodo eats people.” —Frank Miller, from the commentary.) A gift from Mayumi for my birthday, 2006.

AKA:Frank Miller’s Sin City
Released:2005
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h27m
Rating:R
Edition:“Recut & Extended” (2 discs)
Features:Theatrical cut & recut versions, commentaries, featurettes, extras, graphic novel.
Director:Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller, with Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay:Frank Miller
Starring:Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Nick Stahl, Michael Madsen, Elijah Wood, Alexis Bledel, Jaime King, Carla Gugino, Josh Hartnett, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rutger Hauer, Devon Aoki, Powers Boothe
Plot:Four tales of crime adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novels: a muscular brute is looking for the person responsible for the death of his beloved Goldie; a man fed up with Sin City’s corrupt law enforcement who takes the law into his own hands after a horrible mistake; a cop who risks his life to protect a girl from a deformed pedophile; and a hitman looking to make a little cash.
Links:IMDb

Slaughterhouse-Five

Released:1972
Genre:comedy/SF/drama/war
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h44m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:George Roy Hill
Screenplay:Stephen Geller, based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Starring:Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon Gans, Valerie Perrine
Plot:A man tells his story of how he became unstuck in time.
Links:IMDb

Solaris

Released:2002
Genre:drama/mystery/romance/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:PG
Features:commentary, documentary, featurette
Director:Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay:Steven Soderbergh, novel by Stanislaw Lem
Starring:George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies, Ulrich Tukur
Plot:A troubled psychologist is sent to investigate the crew of an isolated research station orbiting a bizarre planet.
Links:IMDb

Soldier

An OK action/SF B-movie, worth the $6.88 I paid.

Released:1998
Genre:SF/action
Format:letterbox widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h39m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, trailer, production notes
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson
Screenplay:David Webb Peoples
Starring:Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaacs, Connie Nielsen Michael Chiklis, Gary Busey
Plot:After being defeated and left for dead by his genetically engineered replacements, Sergeant Todd must save a peaceful community from destruction by the same soldiers.
Links:IMDb

Something Wild

Released:

1986

Genre:

comedy/drama/crime

Format:

anamorphic widescreen

Runtime:

1h54m

Rating:

R

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Screenplay:
  1. Max Frye
Starring:

Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta

Plot:

A free-spirited woman “kidnaps” a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-con husband shows up.

Links:

IMDb

Spaceballs

“May the schwartz be with you.”

Released:1987
Genre:comedy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Collector’s Edition” (2 discs)
Features:commentary, documentary, featurettes
Director:Mel Brooks
Screenplay:Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan & Ronny Graham
Starring:Mel Brooks, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, John Candy, George Wyner, Joan Rivers (voice), Dick Van Patten
Plot:Planet Spaceball’s President Scroob sends Lord Dark Helmet to steal Planet Druidia’s abundant supply of air to replenish their own, and only Lone Starr can stop them.
Links:IMDb

Speed Racer

An ultra-colorful, hyper-real blast. I reviewed it on my blog. An underrated gem.

Released:2008
Genre:action/family/sport
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h15m
Rating:PG
Features:featurettes
Director:Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Screenplay:Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski; based on animated series by Tatsuo Yoshida
Starring:Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Benno Fürmann, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rain, Richard Roundtree, Paulie Litt, Roger Allam
Plot:Speed Racer is a natural behind the wheel of his car, Mach 5. With support from his family and friends, Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his family’s business and protect the sport he loves.
Links:IMDb

Spirited Away

Incredibly original. A masterpiece. A gift/bribe from Frank Siebenlist, December 2003.

AKA:千と千尋の神隠し (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi [original Japanese title]); Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (International: English title)
Released:2001
Genre:adventure/animation/family/drama/fantasy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h5m
Rating:PG
Edition:2 discs
Features:documentaries
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay:Hayao Miyazaki
Starring:(voices) Rumi Hiiragi & Miyu Irino; (English version) Daveigh Chase & Jason Marsden
Plot:In the middle of her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by witches, monsters, and ancient spirits.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, Studio Ghibli (Japanese), Disney’s Miyazaki site, Nausicaa.net (fan website)

Splash

Funny & touching, and still holds up well.

Released:1984
Genre:comedy/fantasy/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h51m
Rating:PG
Edition:“20th Anniversary”
Features:commentary, “making of” featurette, screen tests
Director:Ron Howard
Screenplay:Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel and Bruce Jay Friedman; story by Brian Grazer
Starring:Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy
Plot:A man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.
Links:IMDb

Stand By Me

Released:1986
Genre:adventure/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h28m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary; featurette; music video
Director:Rob Reiner
Screenplay:Raynold Gideon & Bruce A. Evans; based on the novella The Body by Stephen King
Starring:Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko
Plot:After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find a body of a missing boy.
Links:IMDb

Starman

“Green means go. Red means stop. Yellow means go very fast.”

Released:1984
Genre:adventure/drama/romance/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h55m
Rating:PG
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon, Dean Riesner
Starring:Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel
Plot:An alien who has crash-landed in the United States takes on the the appearance of a woman’s dead husband and enlists her help to escape from pursuing authorities and rendezvous with a spacecraft on the other side of the country. As he learns how to be more human the alien begins to take on more and more qualities of the woman’s husband, drawing the woman closer.
Links:IMDb

Star Trek

Released:2009
Genre:action/adventure/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h6m
Rating:PG
Features:commentary, featurette, gag reel
Director:J.J. Abrams
Screenplay:Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Starring:Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison
Plot:An alternate-(future)-history origin story of James T. Kirk and his first mission aboard the USS Enterprise. This timeline reboot is due to a time-travelling vendetta against the future’s Ambassador Spock by the Romulan Captain Nero.
Links:IMDb

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The best in the series.

Released:1982
Genre:action/adventure/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:PG
Edition:“The Director’s Edition”
Features:commentary, text commentary, interviews, featurettes
Director:Nicholas Meyer
Screenplay:Jack B. Sowards, story by Harve Bennett & Jack B. Sowards, characters by Gene Roddenberry
Starring:William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley, Ricardo Montalban
Plot:Admiral Kirk’s midlife crisis is interrupted by the return of an old enemy looking for revenge and a potentially destructive device.
Links:IMDb

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

It doesn’t suck!

Released:2005
Genre:action/adventure/fantasy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h20m
Rating:PG
Features:2 discs; commentary; deleted scenes; documentary; featurettes
Director:George Lucas
Screenplay:George Lucas
Starring:Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz (voice), Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker
Plot:After three years of fighting in the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker concludes his journey towards the Dark Side of the Force, putting his friendship with Obi Wan Kenobi and his marriage at risk.
Links:IMDb

Star Wars Trilogy

Perhaps it was because I was a child when I first saw them, but I enjoy these three films much more than the later prequels.

Released:2004
Genre:SF/fantasy/action/adventure
Format:widescreen
Rating:PG
Edition:Special Edition boxed set (4 discs)
Features:commentaries; includes bonus disc with documentary, featurettes, extras
Links:Official site, DVDReview.com, easter eggs

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The original blockbuster, that changed how blockbusters were made.

AKA:Star Wars
Released:1977
Runtime:2h3m
Director:George Lucas
Screenplay:George Lucas
Starring:Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice)
Plot:Luke Skywalker teams up with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Han Solo, leaves his home planet, and tries to save the Rebel leader Princess Leia from the Imperial clutches of the evil Darth Vader.
Links:IMDb, Star Wars: The Changes - Part One

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The darkest and best of the Star Wars films.

Released:1980
Runtime:2h9m
Director:Irvin Kershner
Screenplay:Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan; story by George Lucas
Starring:Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz (voice), David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice)
Plot:While Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training from Yoda, his friends are relentlessly pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.
Links:IMDb, Star Wars: The Changes - Part Two

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

A bit too cute & light-hearted at times, and the climax gives us a sense of déjà vu. But it is fun.

Released:1983
Runtime:2h16m
Director:Richard Marquand
Screenplay:Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas; story by George Lucas
Starring:Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz (voice), David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice), Ian McDiarmid
Plot:Han Solo is imprisoned by Jabba the Hutt, the Empire is building a new Death Star, and Luke hasn’t finished his Jedi training.
Links:IMDb, Star Wars: The Changes - Part Three

The Storyteller

All 9 episodes of a wonderful short-lived series of folk tales from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Magical, dark, and beautiful. Some of these scenes have stuck in my mind since I saw them when they were first broadcast.

AKA:Jim Henson’s The Storyteller
Released:1988
Genre:fantasy
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:3h15m
Rating:PG
Edition:“The Definitive Collection” with The Storyteller: Greek Myths
Directors:Jim Henson, Steve Barron, Jon Amiel, Charles Sturridge, Paul Weiland, Peter Smith
Screenplay:Anthony Minghella
Starring:John Hurt, Brian Henson
Plot:A retelling of classic folk tales, fables, and legends.
Links:IMDb

The Storyteller: Greek Myths

A follow-up to The Storyteller.

AKA:Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Greek Myths
Released:1990
Genre:adventure/drama/fantasy
Format:fullscreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:PG
Edition:“The Definitive Collection” with The Storyteller
Directors:David Garfath, John Madden, Tony Smith, Paul Weiland
Screenplay:Nigel Williams
Starring:Michael Gambon, Brian Henson
Plot:A storyteller in a labyrinth tells his dog the stories of Perseus and Medusa, Icarus and Daedalus, Theseus and the Minotaur, and Orpheus & Euridyce.
Links:IMDb

Strange Days

A slick futuristic mystery/thriller, with some incredible POV sequences. At $6.88 in the bargain bin at WallyWorld, I couldn’t resist. It was more than worth the price.

Released:1995
Genre:crime/thriller/SF/mystery/action
Format:letterbox widescreen
Runtime:2h25m
Rating:R
Features:trailers, 2 deleted scenes, extensive discussion/dissection of opening POV sequence by the director
Director:Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay:James Cameron & Jay Cocks; story by James Cameron
Starring:Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D’Onofrio
Plot:An ex-cop black-market peddler of “clips”—experiences recorded directly from the cerebral cortex—is having a bad night when he is confronted with the brutal rape/murder of a friend. Convinced that his ex-girlfriend is somehow involved and in danger, he sets out to protect her and solve the murder. Set in a possible-future Los Angeles on the eve of the millenium amid racial tension, riots, and general chaos.
Links:IMDb

The Stunt Man

An innovative cult hit. A lot of fun to watch.

Released:1979
Genre:drama/comedy
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h10m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:Richard Rush
Screenplay:Lawrence B. Marcus, adaptation by Richard Rush, based on the novel by Paul Brodeur
Starring:Peter O’Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey
Plot:Vietnam veteran Cameron is on the run from the police when he stumbles onto the set of a war movie directed by megalomaniac Eli Cross. But when the young fugitive is forced to replace a dead stunt man, he falls in love with the movie’s leading lady while trying to avoid getting arrested or killed. Is Eli trying to capture Cameron’s death on film? And what happens to a paranoid stunt man when illusion and reality change places?
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition)

Superman

Genre:fantasy/SF/action/adventure
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Screenplay:Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, & Tom Mankiewicz; story by Mario Puzo; based on characters by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

Superman

AKA:Superman: The Movie
Released:1978
Runtime:2h34m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Expanded Edition” (1 double-sided disc)
Features:commentary, documentaries, deleted scenes, extras
Director:Richard Donner
Starring:Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford
Plot:An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home’s first and greatest super-hero.
Links:IMDb

Superman II

Released:1980
Runtime:2h7m
Rating:G
Director:Richard Donner (uncredited) & Richard Lester
Starring:Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, Jack O’Halloran
Plot:Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.
Links:IMDb

The Terminator Series

The first and second are great. The third is OK, and its ending begs—almost demands—a sequel, which came in 2009. The Governator was only able to participate (briefly) via CG effects though.

The Terminator

Made for quite a low budget, this one could have been the epitomy of bad B-movie SF. But some great ideas, including an intelligent treatment of time travel, and almost non-stop action made it a classic. It proves that money isn’t everything. This one made Ahnold famous.

Released:1984
Genre:SF/thriller/action
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h47m
Rating:18A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:double-sided disc, documentaries, extras
Director:James Cameron
Screenplay:James Cameron with Gale Anne Hurd, additional dialogue by William Wisher, acknowledgement to the works of Harlan Ellison
Starring:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield
Plot:In the year 2029, the ruling super-computer, Skynet, sends an indestructible cyborg back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, before she can fulfill her destiny.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs, DVDReview.com

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Great non-stop action with depth and ideas. Not for the faint of heart. Definitely not for children.

Released:1991
Genre:SF/action/thriller/drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h32m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Extreme DVD” (2 discs)
Features:special edition of film; commentary; documentaries; DVD ROM content; metal outer case
Director:James Cameron
Screenplay:James Cameron & William Wisher Jr.
Starring:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Joe Morton
Plot:A shape-shifting cyborg is sent back from the future to kill John Connor before he can grow up to lead the Resistance; a protector is sent, too.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition), easter eggs

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Not as good as 1 or 2, but decent action. Bought it cheap, second-hand, for completeness.

Released:2003
Genre:SF/action/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:14A
Edition:“2-Disc Widescreen”
Features:commentaries, featurettes, extras
Director:Jonathan Mostow
Screenplay:John Brancato & Michael Ferris; story by John Brancato & Michael Ferris & Tedi Sarafian; based on characters by James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd
Starring:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken
Plot:T-X, a female “Terminatrix”, is sent back in time to kill the adult John Connor. Once again, the Resistance manages to send a protector.
Links:IMDb

Thelma & Louise

Released:1991
Genre:adventure/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:2h9m
Rating:18A
Features:commentary, alternate ending
Director:Ridley Scott
Screenplay:Callie Khouri
Starring:Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Brad Pitt
Plot:An Arkansas waitress and a housewife shoot a rapist and take off in a ’66 Thunderbird.
Links:IMDb

They Live

Released:1988
Genre:SF/thriller/action
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h35m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:John Carpenter (as “Frank Armitage”); based on a short story by Ray Nelson
Starring:Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Plot:A down-on-his-luck construction worker discovers a pair of special sunglasses through which he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded with subliminal messages, and aliens in charge of a massive campaign to keep humans subdued.
Links:IMDb

Thief

Great soundtrack. “Thief” and “Risky Business” turned me on to Tangerine Dream, and from there I discovered the world of modern instrumental music (a.k.a. new age, electronic, and a half dozen other names).

Released:1981
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h2m
Rating:R/MPAA
Edition:“Special Director’s Edition”
Features:commentary, deleted scenes
Director:Michael Mann
Screenplay:Michael Mann, from the novel “The Home Invaders” by Frank Hohimer
Starring:James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky
Plot:A highly skilled jewel thief falls for a woman he meets out on the town and gets hired by the local godfather to pull a few heists. In return, the mob arranges a steady flow of cash and a black-market adoption for Frank and his girlfriend. When he tries to quit the mob, various bad things happen to illustrate the point that he can’t quit.
Links:IMDb

The Thing

A classic horror/thriller which still holds up very well. “Who Goes There?”, the classic SF story by John W. Campbell Jr. upon which this movie was based, is a must-read. This film succeeds in conveying the cloying paranoia that the story exudes, even though it adds the effects and gore that modern horror audiences seem to require.

Released:1982
Genre:action/horror/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen
Runtime:1h49m
Rating:18A
Edition:2004 “Collector’s Edition”
Features:commentary, documentary, extras
Director:John Carpenter
Screenplay:Bill Lancaster, based on the story “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr.
Starring:Kurt Russell, A. Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart
Plot:Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that perfectly mimics and assumes the identity of everyone that it kills. Who can be trusted?
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com (different edition), Official site, fan site

The Thirteenth Floor

What is reality?

Released:1999
Genre:mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, galleries, trailers, music video
Director:Josef Rusnak
Screenplay:Josef Rusnak & Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez, based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye
Starring:Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Plot:Computer scientist Hannon Fuller has discovered something extremely important. He’s about to reveal the discovery to his colleague, Douglas Hall, but knowing someone is after him, the old man leaves a letter in his computer-generated virtual 1930’s, filled with seemingly real people with real emotions. Fuller is murdered in our real world the same night, and Hall is suspected. Unable to recall what he was doing the night Fuller was murdered, he enters the virtual world in order to find the letter, but has to confront the unexpected. The truth is harsher than he could ever imagine…
Links:IMDb

Three Days of the Condor

“I don’t remember yesterday. Today it rained.”

Released:1975
Genre:thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h57m
Rating:14A
Director:Sydney Pollack
Screenplay:Lorenzo Semple Jr. & David Rayfiel, based on the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady
Starring:Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman
Plot:A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.
Links:IMDb

Time Bandits

A great Gilliam epic. Intelligent enough for children and exciting enough for adults.

Released:1981
Genre:fantasy/adventure/comedy/family
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition” (2 discs)
Features:documentary, interview
Director:Terry Gilliam
Screenplay:Michael Palin & Terry Gilliam
Starring:John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Malcolm Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis, Tiny Ross, Craig Warnock
Plot:A young boy accidently joins a band of dwarves as they jump from time-period to time-period looking for treasure to steal.
Links:IMDb

To Kill a Mockingbird

A great story, and a classic film. One of the best ever. A gift from Mayumi & my kids on Father’s Day 2006.

Released:1962
Genre:drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h10m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Legacy Series” (2 discs)
Features:commentary, interviews, featurettes, “A Conversation With Gregory Peck” documentary, international theatrical poster replica postcards
Director:Robert Mulligan
Screenplay:Horton Foote, based on the novel by Harper Lee
Starring:Gregory Peck Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, Robert Duvall, John Megna, Brock Peters
Plot:A lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge and his kids against prejudice. Told from a child’s perspective.
Links:IMDb

To Live and Die in L.A.

A real shocker.

Released:1985
Genre:action/crime/drama/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h56m
Rating:R
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary; documentary; deleted scene; alternate ending
Director:William Friedkin
Screenplay:William Friedkin & Gerald Petievich; based on the novel by Gerald Petievich
Starring:William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell
Plot:A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.
Links:IMDb

Tom Horn

Part of “The Essential Steve McQueen Collection” (6 film box set), a gift from my parents, birthday 2008.

Released:1980
Genre:romance/western
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h37m
Rating:R/MPAA
Director:William Wiard
Screenplay:Thomas McGuane and Bud Shrake; based on “Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter, Written by Himself”
Starring:Steve McQueen, Linda Evans, Richard Farnsworth
Plot:A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west.
Links:IMDb

Transformers

A gift for Kaito, Christmas 2007.

Released:2007
Genre:action/adventure/fantasy/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h23m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition” in “Destroy” (Decepticon logo) steel case
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Michael Bay
Screenplay:Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, story by John Rogers and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Starring:Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro
Plot:When battle erupts on Earth between two robotic clans, all that stands between the evil Decepticons and ultimate power are the heroic Autobots and a clue held by teen Sam Witwicky.
Links:IMDb

Tron

A groundbreaking and revolutionary film for its time—the first feature film to embrace computer graphics. It’s not a great film, but it’s fun, and has stunning visuals. 2004 Father’s Day gift.

Released:1982
Genre:action/fantasy/adventure/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h36m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Edition:“20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” (2 discs)
Features:commentary; documentary; featurettes; deleted scenes; extras
Director:Steven Lisberger
Screenplay:Steven Lisberger, from a story by Steven Lisberger & Bonnie MacBird
Starring:Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes
Plot:A hacker is digitized and abducted into the world of a computer ruled by the despotic MCP (Master Control Program). He is forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, Tron-Sector (fan website)

True Romance

Released:1993
Genre:crime/drama/romance/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h1m
Rating:R
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition, Unrated Director’s Cut”
Features:commentaries, storyboard track, deleted & extended scenes, alternate ending, featurettes, photo gallery
Director:Tony Scott
Screenplay:Quentin Tarantino
Starring:Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Michael Rapaport, Val Kilmer, Bronson Pinchot, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Tom Sizemore, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, Saul Rubinek, James Gandolfini, Chris Penn
Plot:Clarence meets and marries call girl Alabama, accidentally takes a suitcase full of cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.
Links:IMDb

The Truman Show

A great, funny, thought-provoking, and original story, with a great soundtrack.

Released:1998
Genre:comedy/drama/SF
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h43m
Rating:PG
Features:trailers
Director:Peter Weir
Screenplay:Andrew Niccol
Starring:Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris
Plot:An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a TV show.
Links:IMDb

V For Vendetta

Released:2005
Genre:drama/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h12m
Rating:14A
Edition:“Two-Disc Special Edition”
Features:featurettes
Director:James McTeigue
Screenplay:Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski, graphic novel by David Lloyd
Starring:Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt
Plot:A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Vanilla Sky

I saw this in the theater with my wife. I was expecting a chick flick, but was pleasantly surprised. My wife expected a romantic thriller, and was somewhat disappointed.

Released:2001
Genre:drama/romance/SF/thriller/mystery
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h15m
Rating:14A
Features:commentary, featurettes, trailers, music video
Director:Cameron Crowe
Screenplay:Cameron Crowe, based on the film Abre Los Ojos written by Alejandro Amenábar & Mateo Gil
Starring:Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor
Plot:A successful publisher finds his life taking a turn for the surreal after a car accident with a jaded lover.
Links:IMDb, DVDReview.com, easter eggs

Vanishing Point

The inspiration for the car chase in Death Proof.

Released:1971
Genre:action/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m (U.S.), 1h45m (U.K.)
Rating:14A
Features:U.S. & U.K. theatrical versions, commentary
Director:Malcolm Hart
Screenplay:Guillermo Cain
Starring:Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger
Plot:Kowalski works for a car delivery service. He takes a bet that he can deliver a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Colorado to Frisco, California in less than 15 hours.
Links:IMDb

Videodrome

Twisted, vintage Cronenberg.

Released:1983
Genre:fantasy/horror/mystery/SF/thriller
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h29m
Rating:18A
Director:David Cronenberg
Screenplay:David Cronenberg
Starring:James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry
Plot:A lowly cable TV operator begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.
Links:IMDb

Waking Life

Interesting animation (variations on rotoscoping), but I found the film itself to be a bit tedious.

Released:2001
Genre:animation/fantasy/drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h40m
Rating:14A
Director:Richard Linklater
Screenplay:Richard Linklater
Starring:Wiley Wiggins (voice)
Plot:A man in a dream state encounters many characters who, one by one, talk about their views on the meaning, perception, and reality of human existence.
Links:IMDb

WALL·E

Christmas 2008.

Released:2008
Genre:animation/adventure/comedy/drama/family/romance/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h38m
Rating:G
Edition:“3-Disc Special Edition”
Features:commentary, “BURN·E” & “Presto” animated shorts, deleted scenes, “The Pixar Story” documentary, BnL shorts, featurettes, digital copy
Director:Andrew Stanton
Screenplay:Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon; original story by Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter
Starring:(voice talents of) Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin; Fred Willard
Plot:In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

WarGames

Fun and frightening at the same time.

Released:1983
Genre:SF/thriller/war/drama
Format:widescreen
Runtime:1h54m
Rating:PG/MPAA
Director:John Badham
Screenplay:Lawrence Lasker & Walter F. Parkes
Starring:Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy
Plot:A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs

Watchmen

Released:2009
Genre:mystery/SF/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:3h6m
Rating:18A
Edition:“2-Disc Special Edition Director’s Cut”
Features:featurettes, “digital copy”
Director:Zack Snyder
Screenplay:David Hayter and Alex Tse; based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons
Starring:Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie
Plot:In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.
Links:IMDb

The Weather Man

Released:2005
Genre:comedy/drama
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:14A
Features:featurettes
Director:Gore Verbinski
Screenplay:Steve Conrad
Starring:Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows
Plot:A Chicago weather man (Cage), separated from his wife and children, debates whether professional and personal success are mutually exclusive.
Links:IMDb

Wild At Heart

“This whole world is Wild at Heart and crazy on top!”

Released:1990
Genre:crime/drama/romance/thriller/comedy
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:2h4m
Rating:R
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:documentary, featurettes
Director:David Lynch
Screenplay:David Lynch, based on the novel by Barry Gifford
Starring:Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, J.E. Freeman, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Calvin Lockhart, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton, Grace Zabriskie
Plot:Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from a variety of weirdos that Lula’s mother hired to kill Sailor.
Links:IMDb

Wild Things

From the cheapo bin at Wally-World.

Released:1998
Genre:crime/thriller
Format:anamorphic widescreen & fullscreen
Runtime:1h48m
Rating:18A
Features:commentary; deleted scenes
Director:John McNaughton
Screenplay:Stephen Peters
Starring:Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards
Plot:In south Florida, a high school counselor is accused of rape by a manipulative rich girl and her trailer trash classmate. The cop on the case begins to suspect a conspiracy and dives into an elaborate and devious web of greed and betrayal to find the truth.
Links:IMDb

The World According to Garp

A great, funny, tragic, thought-provoking film. A gift from Oliver Rutherfurd, Christmas 2003.

Released:1982
Genre:comedy/drama/romance
Format:widescreen
Runtime:2h16m
Rating:14A
Director:George Roy Hill
Screenplay:Steve Tesich, from the novel by John Irving
Starring:Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close, John Lithgow
Plot:This film chronicles the life of T.S. Garp and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a “serious” writer, Jenny writes a feminist manifesto at an opportune time, and finds herself as a magnet for all manner of distressed women.
Links:IMDb

Young Frankenstein

“Pardon me, boy. Is this the Transylvania station?”

Released:1974
Genre:comedy/SF/horror
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h46m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, outtakes, trailers, documentary, deleted scenes
Director:Mel Brooks
Screenplay:Gene Wilder & Mel Brooks; based on characters in the novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
Starring:Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr
Plot:Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, after years of living down the family reputation, inherits granddad’s castle and repeats the experiments.
Links:IMDb

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Released:2008
Genre:comedy/drama/romance
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:18A
Edition:“2-disc Edition”
Features:deleted scenes, making of, webisodes, Comic-Con, outtakes, featurette
Director:Kevin Smith
Screenplay:Kevin Smith
Starring:Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords, Jeff Anderson, Katie Morgan, Ricky Mabe, Brandon Routh, Justin Long
Plot:Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
Links:IMDb

Zathura

Released:2005
Genre:action/adventure/comedy/family/fantasy/SF
Format:anamorphic widescreen
Runtime:1h41m
Rating:PG
Edition:“Special Edition”
Features:commentary, featurettes
Director:Jon Favreau
Screenplay:David Koepp & John Kamps, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg
Starring:Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins
Plot:Two young brothers are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is magically hurtled through space because of the board game they are playing.
Links:IMDb, easter eggs