‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ amazes, and enthralls

On May 25, 1977 in only 42 theaters, what we now know as ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” opened.  Its writer/director George Lucas was so convinced that it would not be a hit, he traded a small portion of his percentage of the movie’s profits to his friend Stephen Spielberg for an equal percentage of Spielberg’s profits from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  In spite of the fact that Spielberg’s film was successful, he definitely got the best of that deal.

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‘42’ is the best baseball movie in ages

Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson in '42'
Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson in ’42’

[rating=4]Starring:  Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Andre Holland, Lucas Black, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, John C. McGinley, Max Gail and Brett Cullen
Writer(s):  Brian Helgeland
Director(s):  Brian Helgeland

In 1945, Branch Rickey (Ford) was the part-owner, club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He was also a man on a mission. He wanted to break the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball.  He needed a Negro who was not just a great player, but one who could withstand the blistering, withering assault that would come from those who didn’t want to see this barrier broken.

He chose Jackie Robinson (Boseman) and history was made.

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‘Apocalypse Now’ gets the full treatment with ‘The Complete Dossier’ DVD

[rating=3]Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper
Director(s): Francis Coppola
Writer(s): Screenplay by John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola; Narration by Michael Herr

Martin Sheen stars in 'Apocalypse Now'
Martin Sheen stars in ‘Apocalypse Now’

In the last fifteen years, I have made three or four different attempts to watch Apocalypse Now. In all those attempts, I was never able to get through the entire film. In each case I fell asleep at different points and never once saw the film all the way through.

Was this a commentary on the film? I wasn’t really certain, to be honest. Perhaps it was just the timing. Maybe I was particularly tired on those days. So, when the opportunity came for me to really watch the film, I took it. Last week I sat down and watchedApocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier, which was released this past Tuesday on DVD. This two-disc set includes the original theatrical cut of the film, as well as the extended Apocalypse Now: Redux which was released in 2001.

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‘Star Wars’ finally arrives on DVD

Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Alec Guinnes, Billy D. Williams, James Earl Jones
Director(s): George Lucas, Irvin Kirshner, Richard Marquand
Writer(s): Stories by George Lucas, Empire Strikes Back screenplay by Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, Return of the Jedi screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan

Go Force Yourself!

Not so long ago, at a Best Buy not so far away, the boxed set of the “first” trilogy of Star Wars movies finally arrived on DVD. Helping it surpass the first day total sales of Lord of the Rings by almost double, (87 million units vs. 50 million) fans of the George Lucas saga proved their loyalty once again by dressing up as their favorite action figures and waiting in line to be the “first” in the galaxy to own the films that are, by count, now in their 5th manifestation (theatrical release-video-laser disc-special edition-DVD).

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