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|Malcolm X (1992)
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|In Living Color - Season 2
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List price: $29.98
Brand: IN LIVING COLOR
KEENAN IVORY WAYANS' TELEVISION SHOW STARS SEVERAL FAMILY MEMBERS AND FEATURES SHORT, HUMOROUS SKITS, RAP MUSIC, AND DANCING. THIS FOX COMEDY ALSO HAS SEVERAL STOCK CHARACTERS AND SCENARIOS WHICH RECUR IN VARIOUS EPISODES (E.G. FIRE MARSHAL BILL, ETC.).
To label In Living Color "the black SNL" is to not give this groundbreaking sketch comedy its props. Like its late-night counterpart, In Living Color pushed the envelope with sketches that remain in questionable taste ("Fashion Tampons"). It also presented its share of TV show, movie, and commercial parodies. But its racially charged humor that tackled race relations and subverted cultural stereotypes was something 1990 TV viewers were not used to seeing, especially in prime time. Among the most potent sketches featured series creator Keenen Ivory Wayans and brother Damon as the Brothers Brothers, two oblivious Toms who, in one sketch, act as spokespersons for the Arizona Tourism Commission in the wake of that state's controversial decision not to recognize Martin Luther King's birthday. In another, they are allowed to join an exclusive, all-white country club after proclaiming themselves to be followers of "Jesse" (Helms, not Jackson, about whom they profess to have never heard). Flunking all standards of political correctness is Damon's Handi-Man, the world's first handicapped superhero. "James" Carrey's skeletal Fire Marshall Bill and Damon's the Head Detective join the show's stable of breakout characters (Homey D. Clown, Vera De Milo, the flamboyant Men on Film, and homeless man, Anton). Kim Wayans's Grace Jones and Kelly Coffield's Andrea Dice Clay also make welcome returns. Other memorable characters include David Alan Grier's tell-it-too-much-like-it-is blues singer Calhoun Tubbs, and Coffield's Velma Mulholland, a nifty bit of pre-Pleasantville special-effects wizardry in which Damon's blind date turns out to be a quintessential dame right out of a black-and-white 1940s movie.
Episode 26, a "best of" compilation, serves as a representative introduction to the series and season. A bonus "Appreciating In Living Color" segment on disc 4 puts the series in cultural context. Unlike another Fox network sketch-comedy series, Mad TV, In Living Color has been lamentably missing in action on the syndication circuit, so for those who have never been "Colored," and especially for fans of current critics' darling The Chappelle Show, these 26 bracing episodes will be a revelation. Plus, it's fun to watch force of nature Carrey come into his own, and even try out a few moves that would bring him fame and fortune in his own feature films (in episode 18, he mutters the immortal, "All righty then"). --Donald Liebenson
|The Shawshank Redemption [Blu-ray]
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Author: Stephen King
Brand: CASTLE ROCK HM VIDEO
Shawshank Redemption, The (BD)
A prominent banker unjustly convicted of murder spends many years in the Shawshank prison. He is befriended by a convict who knows the ropes and helps him to cope with the frightning realities of prison life.]]>
|Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Full Screen Edition)
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Brand: LION'S GATE ENTERTAINMENT
With all of her possessions packed in a moving van, Helen starts on her journey to put the pieces of her life back together. Through the assistance of her friends, family, faith, and a twist of fate, Helen finds the strength and empowerment she needs to get control of her circumstances. She also finds that the tragic events of her life soon become comic, especially with the guidance and help-- mostly unsolicited, by the way--of her pot-smoking, gun-toting, and much beloved, grandmother figure Madea.
|Glory Road (Widescreen Edition)
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List price: $6.80
Brand: Buena Vista Home Video
The studio that brought you REMEMBER THE TITANS now delivers another winner with this exciting and inspirational true story of the team that changed college basketball -- and the nation -- forever! Josh Lucas (SWEET HOME ALABAMA) stars as future Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins of tiny Texas Western University, who bucks convention by simply starting the best players he can find: history's first all-African American lineup. In a turbulent time of social and political change, their unlikely success sends shock waves through the sport that follow the underdog Miners all the way to an epic showdown with all-white, #1 ranked Kentucky for the National Championship!
|Something the Lord Made
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Brand: HBO HOME VIDEO
Something the Lord Made (DVD)
(Drama) Something the Lord Made tells the emotional true story of two men who defied the rules of their time to launch a medical revolution, set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow south. Working in 1940s Baltimore on an unprecedented technique for performing heart surgery on "blue babies," Dr. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) and lab technician Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) form an impressive team. As Blalock and Thomas invent a new field of medicine, saving thousands of lives in the process, social pressures threaten to undermine their collaboration and tear their friendship apart.]]>
Something the Lord Made recounts the relationship between Dr. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) and Vivian Thomas (Mos Def). It begins in 1930s Nashville when imperious cardiac surgeon Blalock hires Thomas, an African American carpenter, as his janitor. When the latter reveals a passion for medicine and facility with surgical instruments, Blalock promotes him to lab tech. Thomas isn't given a raise, works side jobs to make ends meet, and is expected to be grateful. Along the way, he follows Blalock from Vanderbilt to Johns Hopkins, where they save thousands of lives through their pioneering work, but will Thomas ever get any credit? The film provides a satisfying answer to that question. Joseph Sargent (A Lesson Before Dying) directs with subtlety and intelligence, while Rickman and Mos Def are in top form, often underplaying where most actors would do otherwise. Something the Lord Made won the 2004 Emmy for outstanding made-for-TV movie. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Condition: New
- Format: DVD
- Closed-captioned; Color; DVD; NTSC
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List price: $14.98
Halftime is party time in this high-energy film about a gifted street drummer (Nick Cannon) who snares the top spot in a university marching band - but quickly discovers it takes more than talent to succeed.
Once you've seen Drumline, halftime shows will become works of art. This formulaic yet surprisingly captivating movie honors the military precision of college football marching bands, those battalions of eager, sternly disciplined brass sections, drummers, and fly girls who turn halftime shows into well-oiled Vegas variety acts on steroids. Devon (played by Will Smith protégé Nick Cannon) is a cocky Brooklyn kid with a snare-drumming scholarship to (fictional) Atlanta A&T University. He can't read music (he lied on his application) and his attitude sucks, but he's the best natural drummer the college has ever had, so he quickly rises through the marching band ranks. The school year brings Devon the obligatory girlfriend (Zoë Saldana, smart and charming); clashes with his old-school band director (Orlando Jones); and well-earned redemption at the championship marching band showdown. No surprises here, but great chemistry all around, and a fantastic, positive role-model showcase for a musical form that has evolved far beyond the main street parades of Smalltown, U.S.A. --Jeff Shannon
|Moving / Greased Lightning
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Moving/Greased Lightning (DVD) (DBFE) (Multi-Title)
Comedy and screen legend Richard Pryor hits the comedy road in Moving, a good-time tale of a flustered suburbanite trying to relocate with his family from New Jersey to Idaho. Dave Thomas, Dana Carvey and Randy Quaid are among the comic ensemble in this movie that packs "a houseful of laughs" (V.A. Musetto, New York Post). Next, Pryor has a driving ambition in Greased Lightning, the decades-spanning true story of Wendell Scott, who cracked the all-white world of stock-car racing, built cars from junkyard parts, endured taunts, overcame setbacks and won NASCAR and Grand National crowns. "There's not a more likable movie currently on view," Time reviewer Richard Schickel wrote about this biopic that marks Pryor's first lead film role.]]>
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Eddie Murphy is the fast talking con-artist Rayford Gibson and Martin Lawrence is the conservative bank teller Claude Banks. The two are accidentally teamed up to become the funniest "odd couple" east of the Mississippi. In an effort to pay off Ray's debt and restore Claude's reputation, they travel south on a bootlegging run for some quick cash. There is no limit to their comical misfortune as they are placed at the scene of a crime and their mistaken identity lands them right in front of the judge. This hysterical comedy gives a whole new meaning to friends for life.
- Run Time: 119
- Release Date: 5/9/2010
- EDDIE MURPHY MARTIN LAWRENCE
|The Pursuit of Happyness (Widescreen Edition)
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List price: $9.99
Will Smith stars in this moving tale inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman struggling to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Smith). When his girlfriend Linda (Thandie Newton) walks out, Chris is left to raise Christopher (Jaden Smith) on his own. Chris' determination finally pays off when he lands an unpaid internship in a brutally competitive stockbroker-training program, where only one in twenty interns will make the cut. But without a salary, Chris and his son are evicted from their apartment and are forced to sleep on the streets, in homeless shelters and even behind the locked doors of a metro station bathroom. With self-confidence and the love and trust of his son, Chris Gardner rises above his obstacles to become a Wall Street legend.
A heartwarming film that demonstrates how good, hard-working people can become homeless almost overnight, Pursuit of Happyness is a tour-de-force showcase for Will Smith, who convincingly portrays a down-and-out dad trying to better his family's life. Smith, who usually is cast in effortlessly boyish roles (Men in Black, Independence Day), is wonderful in the film--even in the scenes that shamelessly tug at viewers' heartstrings. Based on the true-life story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman forced at times to shelter his young son (played by Smith's adorable look-alike offspring Jaden Smith) in a men's room, there is little suspense to the film in terms of Chris' outcome. (His story and eventual success a successful and wealthy Chicago businessman was well-publicized on the newsmagazine show 20/20.) And let's face it, Hollywood's not too keen on making feel-good movies with unhappy endings. The beauty (and suspense, to a certain extent) of this film is in the way the story is told. Though he is constantly rushing around to get to appointments and pick up his child, things do not happen quickly for Chris. When he accepts an internship with a prestigious stock brokerage firm, there's a catch: The position is unpaid, suitable more for trust-fund children than single parents with no other source of income. In many scenes, the viewer panics along with Chris, wondering how he's going to feed his child. While Smith and his son, Jaden, share many tender moments together, Thandie Newton has the thankless role of playing Chris' shrill wife, who deserts her family early in the film. It's not a particularly challenging part for the talented actress, and her departure doesn't impact the storyline much at all. As for the movie's misspelled title, it's inspired from a scene in the film. (Seeing a mural drawn by the children at a daycare center, Chris points out to the proprietor that "happiness" is spelled incorrectly. She notes that it doesn't matter how the word is written--just that the kids have it.) With Pursuit of Happyness, Smith has come out of his safety zone and, in turn, ends up playing his most heroic role to date. --Jae-Ha Kim
Extras from The Pursuit of Happyness
Beyond The Pursuit of Happyness on Amazon.com
Behind the scenes footage of
The Pursuit of Happyness
"On Being Studied By Will Smith"
Will Smith And Jaden Smith: "On Will Always Being In Character"
More Films Starring Will Smith
More Films About Fathers & Sons
Stills from The Pursuit of Happyness (click for larger image)
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