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|The Great Debaters
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Two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington (American Gangster) directs and stars with Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland) in this important and deeply inspiring page from the not-so-distant past (Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper). Inspired by a true story, Washington shines as a brilliant but politically radical debate team coach who uses the power of words to transform a group of underdog African American college students into an historical powerhouse that took on the Harvard elite. DVD Special Features:
The Great Debaters: An Historical Perspective. That's What My Baby Likes; Music Video.
My Soul Is A Witness; Music Video
Sneak Peeks: Grace is Gone, Cassandra's Dream, I'm Not There, Hunting Party
- Denzel Washington directs and stars in this uplifting drama based on a true story about a small East Texas all-black college in 1935 that rises to the top of the nation's debate teams in a duel against Harvard. A poet and debating coach at Wiley College, Professor Melvin Tolson (Washington) sees debating as "a blood sport" and recruits the meanest and brightest, including troubled Henr
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Hailed as a landmark film that dazzles with deep emotion and exceptional acting, PHILADELPHIA starsTom Hanks and Denzel Washington as two competing lawyers who join forces to sue a prestigious law firm for AIDS discrimination. And as their unlikely friendship develops, their courage overcomes the prejudice and corruption of their powerful adversaries.
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Brand: Dreamworks Skg
From director Steven Spielberg comes an epic journey of one man's fight for his life and his freedom. Brought to life by an acclaimed all-star cast, this story of courage and determination is presented by a director whose vision goes to the heart of the story and the soul of its characters. Once again, Spielberg has created a film event that will never be forgotten.
Steven Spielberg's most simplistic, sanitized history lesson, Amistad, explores the symbolic 1840s trials of 53 West Africans following their bloody rebellion aboard a slave ship. For most of Schindler's List (and, later, Saving Private Ryan) Spielberg restrains himself from the sweeping narrative and technical flourishes that make him one of our most entertaining and manipulative directors. Here, he doesn't even bother trying, succumbing to his driving need to entertain with beautiful images and contrived emotion. He cheapens his grandiose motives and simplifies slavery, treating it as cut- and-dry genre piece. Characters are easy Hollywood stereotypes--"villains" like the Spanish sailors or zealous abolitionists are drawn one-dimensionally and sneered upon. And Spielberg can't suppress his gifted eye, undercutting normally ugly sequences, such as the terrifying slave passage, which is shot as a gorgeous, well-lit composition. At its core, Amistad is a traditional courtroom drama, centered by a tired, clichéd narrative: a struggling, idealistic young lawyer (Matthew McConaughey) fighting the crooked political system and saving helpless victims. Worse yet, Spielberg actually takes the underlying premise of his childhood fantasy, E.T. and repackages it for slavery. Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), the leader of the West African rebellion, is presented much like the adorable alien: lost, lacking a common language, and trying to find his way home. McConaughey is a grown-up Elliot who tries communicating complicated ideas such as geography by drawing pictures in the sand or language by having Cinque mimic his facial expressions. Such stuff was effective for a sci-fi fantasy about the communication barriers between a boy and a lost alien; here, it seems like a naive view of real, complex history. --Dave McCoy
|Eyes on The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965
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Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous awards, Eyes on the Prize is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America.
One of the essential documentary series from 20th-century television, Eyes on the Prize is an extraordinary, grassroots history of the civil rights movement in 1950s and '60s America. Leaving punditry and debate to others, this six-hour program concerns itself with the individuals who were there, who participated on the front lines, who witnessed and survived to tell about the crusade's tragedies and victories. Starting with a pair of mid-'50s heroic actions in the South that helped galvanize black and white activism against institutional racism (actions that included Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama), the series winds its way through the exponential growth of the movement to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and beyond. The epochal battle between states-rights advocates and federal authorities is well-covered, as are the many sacrifices made and enormous risks taken by Mississippi Freedom Riders and advocates of black voter registration. --Tom Keogh
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|In Living Color - Season 1
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The complete first season of the TV series In Living Color.
Unlike the original Saturday Night Live cast, the In Living Color ensemble was definitely ready for prime time. But, was prime time ready for In Living Color? This subversively funny 1990 sketch-comedy series boldly went where SNL feared to tread, particularly in matters of race relations and cultural stereotypes. Series creator Keenen Ivory Wayans was hot after his hilarious blaxploitation spoof, I'm Gonna Git Ya Sucka. But In Living Color was hotter. According to a "Looking Back" segment included in this three-disc set, it took him a year to sell the pilot. He fronted a young, gifted, and mostly black cast, including David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson, Damon Wayans, Kim Wayans, and T'Keyah "Crystal" Keyman. "James" Carrey and Kelly Coffield were the white Garret Morrises.
Like the first season of SNL, In Living Color played provocateur, with such politically incorrect sketches as "Homeboy Shopping Network," "This Old Box," and "Ted Turner's Very Colorized Classics." Other sketches, such as "Riding Miss Daisy," have a stick-it-to-the-man brazenness. Don King, Mike Tyson, Milli Vanilli, and Arsenio Hall are easy targets, but In Living Color did not spare such icons as Richard Pryor. There is the inevitable Oprah roasting, but also a brilliant Star Trek spoof, "The Wrath of Farrakhan." Among the first season's breakout characters are Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier's finger-snapping "Men on Film," and Damon's Homey D. Clown. Carrey struts his stuff as "female" bodybuilder Vera DeMilo. Coffey is a scream as Samantha Kinison and Andrea Dice Clay. While much of the topical humor has dated, sketches such as "Michael Jackson Potato Head" are timeless. The fun of revisiting this groundbreaking series is watching these fearless and talented performers go for broke, and make the most of their unlikely opportunity. --Donald Liebenson
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Brand: NEW Line Home Video
Love Jones (DVD)
Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Moseley, a beautiful and talented photographer. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing" or are just "kicking it," they hang out with their friend, talking about love and sex. Then Nina tests the strength of Darius' feelings and sets a chain of romantic complications into motion.]]>
|With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
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|In Living Color - Season 2
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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 Family That Preys (Full Screen Edition)
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Full Screen edition. Working-class Alice (Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard) and wealthy Charlotte (Academy Award winner Kathy Bates) are friends and mothers who have supported each other through all that their families have gone through over the years. But now their families are embroiled in new turmoil - with each other. Can the two women save their children from the dark secrets and dirty deeds that threaten to destroy them all?
Academy Award®-winner Kathy Bates (Lead Actress, Misery, 1990) and Academy Award®-nominee Alfre Woodard (Supporting Actress, Cross Creek, 1983) star as the matriarchs of two very different families being torn apart by greed and scandal in the contemporary drama Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys. The sixth feature film by Perry chronicles the inner workings of two families—one upper-crust and the other working class—that become inextricably linked by scandal. Wealthy socialite Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) and her dear friend Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard), a working class woman of high ideals, have enjoyed a lasting friendship throughout many years. Suddenly, their lives become mired in turmoil as their adult children’s extramarital affairs, unethical business practices and a dark paternity secret threaten to derail family fortunes and unravel the lives of all involved. Alice’s self-centered newlywed daughter Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) is betraying her trusting husband Chris (Rockmond Dunbar) by engaging in a torrid affair with her boss and mother’s best friend’s son William (Cole Hauser). While cheating on his wife Jillian (KaDee Strickland) with a string of ongoing dalliances with his mistress Andrea, William’s true focus is to replace the COO of his mother’s lucrative construction corporation. Meanwhile, Alice’s other daughter Pam (Taraji P. Henson), a kind but no nonsense woman married to a hard working construction worker (Tyler Perry), tries to steer the family in a more positive direction. While paternity secrets, marital infidelity, greed and unsavory business dealings threaten to derail both families, Charlotte and Alice decide to take a breather from it all by making a cross-country road trip in which they rediscover themselves and possibly find a way to save their families from ruin in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys.
Beyond Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys on DVD
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