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Rolling Thunder [VHS]

Rolling Thunder [VHS] Lowest new price: $9.97
Lowest used price: $5.87
List price: $7.95

Rolling Thunder's ex-Vietnam War POW Major Charles Rane (William Devane) returns to a hero's welcome in San Antonio in the early '70s. He's bestowed with a red Cadillac convertible, $2,500 in silver dollars, and accolades from all sides. Soon, however, he discovers that all is not as it seems; his wife strayed with a close friend during his years of confinement. He also finds that he has his own personal POW groupie, Linda; her fascination with him is met with the same shoulder-shrugging blandness that he shows toward everything else in what's left of his life. One day Rane comes home to find a houseful of assorted Texas white trash demanding his small fortune in silver dollars. Their efforts to beat him into revealing the location of the money are for naught, so they jam his right hand down a garbage disposal instead. When his wife and kid come home, the two gladly give up the money but the robbers cold-bloodedly gun them down anyway. Flash-forward: Rane has himself fitted with a hook prosthesis (which he sharpens on a grinder), cuts down a couple of shotguns, and points the scarlet Caddy land yacht south towards Nuevo Laredo, bent on revenge. With Linda in tow, he tracks the bad guys as far as Acuña and Juárez, where he hooks up with war buddy Johnny (Tommy Lee Jones) for a final showdown. What would otherwise play as a routine revenge story is given a measure of dimension and depth by Devane's performance and Paul Schrader's script. The comparison to Schrader scripts such as the previous year's Taxi Driver are inevitable and obvious. Like Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle, Rane wears opaque state-trooper sunglasses that allow no window into his dead soul. However, Bickle's internal monologues are missing; all the audience can see of Rane's character is what's on the surface, only what Rane wants others to see. He's simply a vengeful automaton, riddled with a cold, poisonous, implacable rage. Strong stuff indeed. --Jerry Renshaw

Top Gun [VHS]

Top Gun [VHS] Lowest new price: $1.00
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List price: $9.95

VHS Format

Jingoism, beefcake, military hardware, and a Giorgio Moroder rock score reign supreme over taste and logic in this Tony Scott film about a maverick trainee pilot (Tom Cruise) who can't follow the rules at a Navy aviation training facility. The dogfight sequences between American and Soviet jets at the end are absolutely mechanical, though audiences loved it at the time. The love story between Cruise's character and that of Kelly McGillis is like flipping through pages of advertising in a glossy magazine. This designer action movie from 1986 would be all the more appalling were it not for the canny casting of good actors in dumb parts. Standouts include Anthony Edwards--who makes a nice impression as Cruise's average-Joe pal--and the relatively unknown Meg Ryan in a small but memorable appearance. --Tom Keogh


  • VHS
  • 1986

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Swing Kids [VHS]

Swing Kids [VHS] Lowest new price: $5.92
Lowest used price: $0.75
List price: $9.75
Model: 1493

American Swing music in Nazi germany

This strange movie with a niche subject--jazz-loving, dance-loving German kids persecuted by Hitler's men--almost works, thanks to a good cast who seem devoted to the unusual story line. Director Thomas Carter doesn't bring the necessary stylistic oomph to the musical sequences, something that might have pushed the whole production to another, more interesting level of Hollywood dream. Kenneth Branagh makes a particularly effective, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing Nazi official. --Tom Keogh

The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century [VHS]

The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century [VHS] Lowest new price: $499.95
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As this landmark series demonstrates, the cataclysmic effects of World War I last to this day. "The war to end all wars" has influenced the Atomic Age and the Cold War, and is now shaping the conflicts in Bosnia and the Middle East. Period film footage and eyewitness accounts powerfully dramatize the horrors of trench warfare and the chaos of political revolution. History comes alive as The Great War reveals how World War I influenced the rise of communism, witnessed the first use of weapons of mass destruction, and provided a fertile aftermath for the rise of Nazism. Through perspectives from all sides of the war, the series shows how violent events early in this century still cast a dark shadow on life today. Titles include: "Explosion & Stalemate," "Total War & Slaughter," "Mutiny & Collapse," and "Hatred and Hunger & War Without End."

Alexander Nevsky (1938) (Prokofiev score newly recorded) [VHS]

Alexander Nevsky (1938) (Prokofiev score newly recorded) [VHS] Lowest new price: $45.95
Lowest used price: $2.00

Director Sergei Eisenstein's epic "Alexander Nevsky" features some of the most beautiful imagery ever put on film, a majestic music score by Prokifiev and a dazzling, climactic battle on a frozen lake.

Les Miserables [VHS]

Les Miserables [VHS] Lowest new price: $59.03
Lowest used price: $24.99

This brilliant film manages to reinterpret the story of Victor Hugo's classic novel, critique it, and investigate the nature of art and life on top of that--all in three hours that zip past, fueled by the dynamic performance of French icon Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless, Le Doulos). In 1900, Henri Fortin (Belmondo) is wrongfully imprisoned for murder; his loyal wife is forced into menial labor and prostitution; then in the beginning of World War II, Fortin's son (Belmondo again) helps a Jewish family elude the Nazis, setting in motion his own imprisonment, escape, and adventures as a criminal. Not only is that just the first half of the movie, there are also the story lines of the husband, wife, and daughter of the Jewish family, who each have their own struggles. The conclusion is joyous and heartbreaking. Director Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) handles the entire movie with supreme skill, humor, and compassion. --Bret Fetzer

Gunbuster, Vol. 3 [VHS]

Gunbuster, Vol. 3 [VHS] List price: $19.95

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Uncommon Valor - The Story of U.S. Marines in WWII and Korea [VHS]

Uncommon Valor - The Story of U.S. Marines in WWII and Korea [VHS] Lowest new price: $12.89
Lowest used price: $7.49
List price: $12.89

This is a complete set of VHS takes about the story of the U.S. Marines in WWll and Korea, very in detailed of how it all went down, great collection to pass down to your kids to show them how our Men and Women fought for our country.


  • World war 2
  • Marine
  • valor

Glory [VHS]

Glory [VHS] Lowest new price: $3.75
Lowest used price: $1.95
List price: $9.95

final days during the war between the states.

Throne of Blood [VHS]

Throne of Blood [VHS] Lowest new price: $7.74
Lowest used price: $3.87

Akira Kurosawa's savage, free-flowing adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth plunges viewers into an eerie, fog-shrouded world of madness and obsession. International star Toshiro Mifune gives one of his finest performances as the proud warrior who is destroyed by his wife's murderous greed and his self-consuming ambition. Set in medieval Japan during a period of feudal conflict, Kurosawa's brilliantly staged classic bristles with energy from its first frenzied battle to its brutal climax.

A champion of illumination and experimental shading, Kurosawa brings his unerring eye for indelible images to Shakespeare in this 1957 adaptation of Macbeth. By changing the locale from Birnam Wood to 16th-century Japan, Kurosawa makes an oddball argument for the trans-historicity of Shakespeare's narrative; and indeed, stripped to the bare mechanics of the plot, the tale of cutthroat ambition rewarded (and thwarted) feels infinitely adaptable. What's lost in the translation, of course, is the force and beauty of the language--much of the script of Throne of Blood is maddeningly repetitive or superfluous--but striking visual images (including the surreal Cobweb Forest and some extremely artful gore) replace the sublime poetry. Toshiro Mifune is theatrically intense as Washizu, the samurai fated to betray his friend and master in exchange for the prestige of nobility; he portrays the ill-fated warrior with a passion bordering on violence, and a barely concealed conviviality. Somewhat less successful is Isuzu Yamada as Washizu's scheming wife; her poise and creepy impassivity, chilling at first, soon grows tedious. Kurosawa himself is the star of the show, though, and his masterful use of black-and-white contrast-- not to mention his steady, dramatic hand with a battle scene--keeps the proceedings thrilling. A must-see for fans of Japanese cinema, as well as all you devotees of samurai weapons and armor. --Miles Bethany

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