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Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Edition

Cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel


Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Edition
Warner Home Video

Let’s get the initial questions out of the way right up front. Is Gone with the Wind still a great movie? You bet your sweet Southern belle it is. Does it still hold up even after seven decades of cinematic sophistication? Yes, indeed. Is the new box set a treasure trove of intriguing information, from the exhausting casting and preproduction process to the onset spats and post-release reactions? And HOW! If you don’t already own this considered motion picture Mona Lisa, the latest red velvet covered collection will do quite nicely, thank you. It’s so jam packed with added content you’ll feel like you’re getting several films in one package (and in a couple of cases, you are). Bill Gibron



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Synecdoche, New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Emily Watson, Dianne Weist, Tom Noonan
Review [24.Oct.2008]


Synecdoche, New York
Sony Home Video

You get the sense watching Synecdoche, New York that this—not Eternal Sunshine, not Being John Malkovich, but this—is the film Charlie Kaufman has waited his whole career to make. I like to place it in some alternate arc of cinematic history that includes Barry Lyndon, Raging Bull, and, more recently, There Will Be Blood—character studies so singularly obsessed with their subject as to reflect his ambition, his existential dread, but most of all, his doomed, all-pervasive egotism. Is that the ultimate catch-22? Buoyed by Seymour Hoffman’s career-defining performance, Kaufman paints a portrait of the artist as a desperate man: Caden Cotard strives to make something “big and true and tough. You know, finally put my real self into something.” At least one of them succeeded. Zach Schonfeld



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The Wrestler

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Ernest “The Cat” Miller
Review [30.Apr.2009]
Review [16.Dec.2008]


The Wrestler
Fox Searchlight

A lead actor whose real-life career has seen better days plays a professional wrestler whose career has seen better days. The film is grounded in extraordinary performances by Mickey Rourke as Randy the Ram, a former star wrestler who has failed to achieve any form of success outside the ring, and Marisa Tomei as an aging stripper with whom he is in love. Few films have raised more powerfully the dilemma of what you do to live after everything that has defined your life has slipped away. Rourke is so convincing as the broken down but unbending Randy that the film is sometimes hard to watch, even while you come to love and pull for the guy. The unexpected highpoint of Rourke’s career as an actor. Robert Moore



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The Ultimate Cut: Watchmen - The Complete Story

Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Jakie Earle Haley, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode


The Ultimate Cut: Watchmen - The Complete Story
Warner Home Video

Will the real motion picture version of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen please stand up? In the span of eight short months we’ve had the official theatrical release of Zach Snyder’s genius take on the title, as well as an extended Director’s Cut DVD and Blu-ray which provided more character context and clarity to what was already a masterpiece, and now a well-timed four disc release which offers what Warner Brothers is calling the “Ultimate Cut”. It’s all so confusing. No matter, though, since what was already a great movie is yet again made even better by the inclusion of even more context. Bill Gibron



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Mad Men: Season 2


Review [16.Jul.2009]


Mad Men: Season 2

Set in the early 1960s, the Sterling Cooper ad agency is a whiskey-fueled, profit-driven circus. Marketing executive Don Draper has an uncanny gift for manipulating basic human desires with a 30-second advertisement. “It’s how a product makes you feel,” Draper tells a client. “Romantic love? We invented it.“ Draper christens a Kodak slide projector as “the Carousel, taking us back to a place where we ache to go again.” Another ad campaign for Popsicle features two boys splitting the treat in two. “It’s about friendship,” a Draper protégé says. Loneliness, greed, the need for love—human weakness is constantly exploited by corporate power. Draper, a conflicted family man, is ultimately betrayed by his own desires. At its dark core, Mad Men is an epic poem to rapacious capitalism. John Grassi

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