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|After the Wedding
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Far from home, Jacob (Casino Royale villain, Mads Mikkelsen), runs a struggling orphanage in one India’s poorest regions. Desperate to save the orphanage from closure, he returns to Denmark to meet Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard) a wealthy businessman and potential benefactor. What appears to be nothing more than a friendly gesture to attend a wedding sets in motion an increasingly devastating series of surprises, revelations, and confessions that will forever change their lives.
Equal parts weepy drama and soap opera, After the Wedding is a beautifully filmed story centering on Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale), a Danish man working at a orphanage in Bombay. Just when funds have run desperately low, Jorgen (Rolf Lassgård)--a wealthy benefactor--promises to donate millions of dollars to the orphanage. But there's a catch. Jacob must collect the funds himself in Copenhagen... and attend the wedding of the eccentric millionaire's daughter. But once Jacob meets the benefactor's wife Helene (played by a radiant Sidse Babett Knudsen), it's obvious to the viewer that the two have a complicated history. It’s also likely that her daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen) most probably is theirs. So why did Jorgen invite Jacob to Anna's wedding? Does he know Jacob is Anna's father? Is something nefarious in the works? The thought-provoking film was Denmark's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Academy Awards. Subtitled in English, the Danish picture is well helmed by director Susanne Bier (Brothers), who manages to keep the film from delving into over the top histrionics. Mikkelsen is particularly good, whether he's channeling his anger at having been shut out of his maybe-daughter's life for the past 20 years, or having to grovel a bit to get Jorgen to donate the funds as promised to his orphanage. The relationships here are messy and often uncomfortable. But they also ring true to life. --Jae-Ha Kim
- AFTER THE WEDDING (DVD MOVIE)
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Artistic, sensual and sacred passions unite in Babette's Feast. Written and directed by Gabriel Axel, from a short story by Out of Africa's Isak Dinesen, this Oscar(r)-winning*film offers "an irresistible mixture of dry wit and robust humanity" (Newsweek). Onthe desolate coast of Denmark live Martina and Philippa, the beautiful daughters of a devout clergyman who preaches salvation through self-denial. Both girls sacrifice youthful passion to faith and duty, and even many years after their father's death, they keep his austere teachings alive among thetownspeople. But with the arrival of Babette, a mysterious refugee from France's civil war, life for the sisters and their tiny hamlet begins to change. Soon, Babette has convinced them to try something truly outrageousa gourmet French meal! Her feast, of course, scandalizes the local elders. Just who is this strangely talented Babette, who has terrified this pious town with the prospect of losing their souls for enjoying too much earthly pleasure? *1987: Foreign Language Film
Some movies can only be described as delicious. In Babette's Feast, a woman flees the French civil war and lands in a small seacoast village in Denmark, where she comes to work for two spinsters, devout daughters of a puritan minister. After many years, Babette unexpectedly wins a lottery, and decides to create a real French dinner--which leads the sisters to fear for their souls. Joining them for the meal will be a Danish general who, as a young soldier, courted one of the sisters, but she turned him away because of her religion. The village elders all resolve not to enjoy the meal, but can their moral fiber resist the sensual pleasure of Babette's cooking? Babette's Feast deservedly won the 1987 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This lovely movie is impeccably simple, yet its slender narrative contains a wealth of humor, melancholy, and hope. --Bret Fetzer
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Brand: LIONS GATE HOME ENT.
Grace arrives in the isolated town of Dogville, on the run from gangsters. The townspeople agree to hide her. However, when outsiders start looking for the fugitive, the locals make demands of Grace in exchange for the risk of harboring her. But Grace has a secret and it is a dangerous one. Dogville may regret it ever decided to bare its teeth.
- DVD Details: Actors: Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany
- Directors: Lars von Trier
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC. Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; Number of discs: 1; Studio: Lions Gate
- DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004; Run Time: 178 minutes
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TRAVELING ACROSS AMERICA WITH HER FATHER, GRACE HAPPENS UPON THE ISOLATED PLANTATION OF MANDERLAY - A PLACE WHOSE INHABITANTS DO NOT KNOW THAT SLAVERY HAS BEEN ABOLISHED. OUTRAGED, GRACE FIGHTS AGAINST ALL ODDS TO PUT THINGS RIGHT AND FREE THE SLAVES.
- Liberation. Whether They Want It Or Not. From the director of Dancer In The Dark and Dogville comes Manderlay, a moving and hard-hitting story about emancipation from slavery. Traveling across America with her father (Willem Dafoe), Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) comes to discover the isolated plantation of Manderlay-a place whose inhabitants do not know that slavery has been abolished. Outraged t
|Dancer in the Dark
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Dancer In The Dark (DVD)
Director Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves) delivers a provocative mix of drama and musical theater in this acclaimed movie that won 2000 Cannes Film Festival Best Picture and Best Actress honors (for lead actress Björk). Rural factory worker Selma (Björk) is a single mother losing her eyesight from a hereditary disease. To protect her 10-year-old son from the same fate, Selma saves money to get him an operation. At night, Selma escapes into a world where “nothing dreadful ever happens,” rehearsing a production of The Sound of Music with her best friend (Catherine Deneuve). But when a neighbor (David Morse) betrays her trust, Selma’s life unravels – and the lines between reality and fantasy blur. Peter Stormare and Joel Grey also star in this trailblazing concoction that will make you cry at the same time it makes your heart sing.]]>
Masterpiece or masquerade? Lars von Trier's digicam musical split the critics in two when it debuted at Cannes in 2000. There were those who saw it as a cynical shock-opera from a manipulative charlatan, others wept openly at its scenes of raw emotion and heart-rending intensity. There is, however, no in-between. Dancer in the Dark is that rarest of creatures, a film that dares to push viewers to the limits of their feelings.
In her first and most probably last screen performance (she has foresworn acting after her bruising on-set rows with von Trier), brittle Icelandic chanteuse Björk plays Selma, a Czech immigrant living in a folksy American small town with her young son, Gene. Selma is going blind and so will Gene if she does not arrange an important operation for him. To cover the expense, Selma works every hour she can, cheating on her eye tests so she can keep working at the local factory long after her vision has become too unreliable to work safely. She sublets a house from a local cop, Bill (David Morse), and his wife, Linda (Cara Seymour). When nearly bankrupt Bill asks Selma for a loan, she refuses, but he later returns and steals the money, which she demands back in a furious confrontation. In the ensuing melee, Bill is fatally shot and Selma is arrested and put on trial. Will justice prevail?
Von Trier's passionate, provocative film runs all our emotional resources dry with suspense, giving us occasional flashes into Selma's gold heart and mind with superb song-and-dance numbers she conjures to banish the nightmare (Björk also wrote the score). At some two-and-a-half hours, it's not for lightweights, but anyone bored with today's smug, "ironic" cinema will relish this as an astonishing assault on the senses and a stark reminder of von Trier's uncompromising talent. --Damon Wise
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Brothers is the emotionally charged story of two brothers who struggle to find their place within their family after one of them is sent to the war in Afghanistan. When loyal family man and soldier Michael is presumed dead after his helicopter crashes, his younger brother, Jannik, summons previously unseen courage in order to care for Michael's wife, Sarah. Starring renowned actress Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, Devil's Advocate), this is a riveting testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
|The Element of Crime (The Criterion Collection)
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Brand: Image Entertainment
Lars von Trier's stunning debut film is the story of Fisher, an exiled ex-cop who returns to his old beat to catch a serial killer with a taste for young girls. Influenced equally by Hitchcock and science fiction, von Trier (Zentropa, Breaking the Waves, The Idiots) boldly reinvents expressionist style for his own cinematic vision of a post-apocalyptic world. Shot in shades of sepia, with occasional, startling flashes of bright blue, The Element of Crime (Forbrydelsens Element) combines dark mystery and operatic sweep to yield a pure celluloid nightmare.
It may prove confounding to anyone expecting a more conventional narrative, but The Element of Crime--the debut feature of Danish visionary Lars von Trier--marks the arrival of an audaciously original talent; the film is deeply personal in its inspirations yet richly informed by a pure love of cinema. Approaching a hard-boiled detective plot from a hypnotically subconscious perspective (thus establishing the tone he would echo in his later films Epidemic and Europa), von Trier presents a murder case solved from the inside out. Which is to say, the plot unfolds as recollected under hypnosis by Fisher (Michael Elphick), the grizzled cop who investigates the case.
This framework is arguably beside the point; it's merely von Trier's way of entering a post-apocalyptic world of his own making, flooded and decaying, and filmed entirely in an amber-tinted tone punctuated only by blue police lights and sickly green fluorescents. By following principles of crime solving conceived by his mentor (played by British film veteran Esmond Knight), Fisher closes in on an awful revelation that spins The Element of Crime into another psychological dimension. Multilayered, deliberately paced, and atmospheric in the extreme (which less appreciative viewers may find intolerable), The Element of Crime elicits a dream state that is simultaneously oppressive and visually unforgettable, crammed with symbolic subtleties and cinematic references that can only be fully absorbed over multiple viewings. To say the least, this is a film that grows on you. --Jeff Shannon
|Substitute, The (remake)
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The sixth-grade students of a small town begin to realize that their new substitute teacher is an alien. When their parents don't believe them, they are forced to take matters into their own hands.
|Smilla's Sense Of Snow
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Based on the best-selling novel this gripping, suspenseful thriller about a headstrong woman who uses her uncanny knowledge of ice and snow to unravel a taut web of lies and intrigue. When her six-year old neighbor falls from a snow covered roof, Smilla suspects the boys death was no accident. Together with a mysterious lover, who holds secrets of his own, she defies local authorities and begins a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in an effort to uncover the truth.
Based on a much-praised 1992 bestseller by Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow is a film of moody power and boundless mystery in its first half, but it becomes an overblown, conspiracy-laden schlock thriller in its second. Julia Ormond stars as the half-Inuit, Greenland native of Hoeg's book, a loner who is supported by an emotionally ambivalent father (Robert Loggia) in Copenhagen. Apparently perceived as a troublemaker who sees secret plots everywhere, Smilla finds herself largely alone in an effort to discover what really happened to a six-year-old Inuit boy who fell (or jumped) off the roof of her apartment building. Somewhat aided by an ambiguous neighbor (Gabriel Byrne), Smilla investigates a connection between the child's death and the misdeeds of a mining company, a story hook that conveniently ratchets up the action but quickly dissipates the more compelling, introspective intrigue of the film's beginning. Ormond is fascinating, somehow more beautiful than usual through her emphasis of her character's destabilizing conflicts (isolation and a possibly unhinged intelligence). But she isn't done any favors by an unreliable script or by the usually superb Danish director Bille August's chronic problems working in English-language films (including his disastrous The House of the Spirits). The DVD edition of this film includes an original theatrical trailer and a short feature on the making of the production. --Tom Keogh
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- Format: DVD
- Anamorphic; Closed-captioned; Color; Dolby; DVD; Subtitled; Widescreen; NTSC
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101 REYKJAVIK - DVD Movie
Sexy Spaniard Victoria Abril heats up the wintry city of Reykjavík in 101 Reykjavík. Icelandic slacker Hlynur (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) lives on welfare with his mother, leading a depressed and aimless existence. His mother invites her flamenco teacher, Lola (Abril), to live with them; while his mother is away for New Year's Eve, Hlynur and Lola have a drunken fling. But upon her return, Hlynur's mother tells him that she and Lola are lesbian lovers--and it soon comes out that she and Lola are going to have a baby together. 101 Reykjavík seems to be the contemporary Icelandic version of American movies of the 1970s like Five Easy Pieces, in which antiheroic characters struggle to make sense of a world that doesn't seem to have any place for them. The movie is a bit unfocused, but its urban malaise feels genuine, if not particularly new. Abril is delightful, as always. --Bret Fetzer
- 101 REYKJAVIK (DVD MOVIE)
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