Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a magical world of spectacular adventure!

Welcome to a magical world of spectacular adventure! When wily and resourceful Hugo discovers a secret left by his father, he unlocks a mystery and embarks on a quest that will transform those around him and lead to a safe and loving place he can call home. Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese invites you to experience a thrilling journey that critics are calling “the stuff that dreams are made of.” *Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.

In resourceful orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield, an Oliver Twist-like charmer), Martin Scorsese finds the perfect vessel for his silver-screen passion: this is a movie about movies (fittingly, the 3-D effects are spectacular). After his clockmaker father (Jude Law) perishes in a museum fire, Hugo goes to live with his Uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), a drunkard who maintains the clocks at a Paris train station. When Claude disappears, Hugo carries on his work and fends for himself by stealing food from area merchants. In his free time, he attempts to repair an automaton his father rescued from the museum, while trying to evade the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), a World War I veteran with no sympathy for lawbreakers. When Georges (Ben Kingsley), a toymaker, catches Hugo stealing parts for his mechanical man, he recruits him as an assistant to repay his debt. If Georges is guarded, his open-hearted ward, Isabelle (Chloë Moretz), introduces Hugo to a kindly bookseller (Christopher Lee), who directs them to a motion-picture museum, where they meet film scholar René (Boardwalk Empire's Michael Stuhlbarg). In helping unlock the secret of the automaton, they learn about the roots of cinema, starting with the Lumière brothers, and give a forgotten movie pioneer his due, thus illustrating the importance of film preservation, a cause to which the director has dedicated his life. If Scorsese's adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret isn't his most autobiographical work, it just may be his most personal. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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China Beach

278 of 286 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars  

Vietnam seen through the eyes mostly of doctors and nurses!, January 16, 2004
Randal Greenwood (Hugoton, KS USA) 
This review is from: China Beach (DVD)
China Beach well deserves to be released as are so many lesser series on DVD by the season or a Box set including all the episodes. It was a shame it didn't run longer at the time and I don't know what killed it. I remember it had good ratings and a good fan following. China Beach was a wonderful drama that ran from 1988 through 1991. It was about an American base hospital in Vietnam located near China Beach. The beach itself was used for recreation by recooperating wounded soldiers and those on leave from combat. The beach itself offered a stark contrast to the pain and suffering in the hospital on base. It also offered some nice backgrounds for romantic scenes for the nurses and a chance to get some of them occasionally into shorts or bathing suits. However do not think it was some mindless beach movie! This series was a drama that showed the the lives and efforts of doctors and nurses working in a hospital in Vietnam. Unlike Mash that came before it, this was serious drama about the wounded soldiers coming through the hospital and the doctors, but mostly the nurses that took care of the wounded and sometimes dying. With some soldiers horribly wounded and suddenly dealing with the loss of limbs, eyes, and other life changing injuries there is plenty of drama to keep you interested. Also some of the nurses of course end up dating soldiers in the field. Like the real Vietnam the cast had many actresses and actors killed or returned to USA and some new cast members joined just in it's three seasons. The show itself was a showcase for the talents particularly of Dana Delaney playing Colleen McMurphy one of the nurses. She was outstanding and my favorite. She later on went on to do some Movies such as Wyatt Earp's love affair in the movie Tombstone, and a sexy role in Exit to Eden a good comedy. She also was in Fly Away Home, Moon Over Paradore (comedy), and House sitter. She is one of those women who is beautiful and exciting yet at the same time not so stunning that she doesn't seem real or obtainable. She is an earthy redhead you could easily meet and hope to marry. Yet this woman has an undercurrent of sexiness as seen more in a couple of her Movies that men only dream of. I guess it boils down to a real person not so out of reach, but yet facinating.
The other star of this piece was Robert Picardo who went on to have a long stretch as the holographic doctor in Start Trek's Voyager series and on some Star trek Movies as well. lesser known but great in the series were Nan Woods as Cherry White, Chloe Webb as Laurette Barber and a slew of others. It was very well done show with a cast of attractive yet real looking people. It tied in well with the TV series run of Tour of Duty another series on Vietnam soldiers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most important show ever on TV, April 1, 2006
Tracy Hodson "Awi Usdi" (Down by the Sea, United States) 
This review is from: China Beach (DVD)
China Beach set new standards for television realism and quality, illuminating the daily life of the many women in-country whose stories had never been told. Created by William Broyles, Jr. and Charles Sacret Young (Broyles is a Vietnam Vet who has written many things, including the film "Apollo 13th" and the recent "Jarhead"), "China Beach" gave us the beautiful but forever damaged nurse Colleen McMurphy (an extraordinarily luminous Dana Delany), K.C. (Marg Helgenberger) a prostitute/businesswoman with a past that has compressed her into a hard, stunning diamond, female soldiers, Red Cross workers, civilians, journalists--all trying to make their mark and do what had never been permitted to them before, and of course lots of men in various states of daily understated acts of bravery (generally called "heroism" by non-soldiers), profound friendship, love, and terrible physical and psychic anguish, all desperately trying to deal with who they were in that place at that time. For those who have only seen Robert Picardo on "Star Trek: Voyager," he was exceptional in "China Beach" as both a doctor struggling to accept the draft (many doctors were drafted after few volunteered) that traded his quiet life as gynecologist and family man in Boston, to on-the-edge evac hospital surgeon facing wounds no one had ever seen before (much of our current trauma surgery's technique was learnt on the fly in Vietnam), and McMurphy's truest, deepest friend there. The holographic doctor he played never got close to the intensity of this role, and I hope people who missed China Beach someday soon get to see how good he could be. Also great were Jeff Kober (recently seen as the evil magic dealer who hooked Willow on mad mojo on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), as the silent, sensitive uber-grunt, Dodger; Concetta Tomei as Lila Garreau, the career army Major who has left nursing behind in order to try to join the ranks but never makes it to the top; young Nan Woods who, as the "donut dollie" who went to Vietnam to find her MIA brother, shone as she was transformed from girl to woman, but who never acted again. I should name them all, and will if this review gets a DVD to go with it. Suffice to say that few of the actors on this show ever got to work at such a level again (including Helgenberger, who may be on the #1- watched show, but whose show isn't even in the same league).

China Beach was so vivid and compelling that it was actually taken off the air during Desert Storm out of, apparently, governmental fear that it would generate anti-war feelings here at home (as though those feelings didn't already exist). I don't believe any other show has been taken so seriously. It was cancelled (that it had been on the air was a miracle in the first place), but with plenty of notice in its third season, allowing its creators to go into the future of its main characaters to see how, 25 yrs. later, they were coping (or failing to cope) with their experiences; it also allowed them to place their characters in important moments in history that especially affected vets (such as the Florida Republican Convention where Ron Kovic made his stand). Its final 2-hr. episode ends, appropriately enough, with a reunion that goes beyond the reception hall all the way through a long night drive to the Wall in Washington; we get the pain of Vietnam brought full circle for us, from McMurphy's first fumbling day in-country to a day a lifetime later, with all her former comrades-in-arms with her, weeping in the dawn light at the most astonishing War Memorial ever built. On the drive, we both see and she tells the grown daughter of K.C. about her last day at China Beach: "I stood there watching before I left--and it was exactly the same as the day I got there," along with the moving story of her last patient on what is sadly his final day. During her years there we see her go from genuine optimism about life to paying for that optimism and compassion almost with her life, then, as with the others, unable to stop paying and find some capacity for joy again. McMurphy stands in for all those men and women we lost in one way or another so long ago, so far away, yet still live among us in varying states of wellness.

Having chosen to begin the show during the months before the war turned from American hope to American nightmare on 31st Jan 1968(after Tet and its devestation is over, Major Lila Garreau who is "regular, career Army" says mournfully, "We've lost our wonderful, wonderful war."), the creators were able to show how the morale of the soldiers eroded, how optimism became despair, how an emergency trip home exposes McMurphy to what's happened back in the World, where everything's both changed and just the same--she realizes that what's changed is her: she cannot bear that people are playing tennis as though nothing's wrong; America's willful myopia has become untenable). This myopia is revealed in many ways; even Lila's comment illustrates one of the problems of Vietnam--the generational perception gap that existed on the ground between the "grunts" in the field and their clueless superior officers who were still fighting a la WW II. For the grunts, it was never a "wonderful" war, but a muddy mess of blood and fear and courage despite it. For the officers, for Washington, it was a mystery that it couldn't be "won." Any of those so-called grunts could have told them why it would never be won, but no one asked them, so they slogged on and through it's intimate style, we're with them, with the nurses and doctors who have to try to put them back together when an anti-personnel device made by the VC of nails and screws and sharp bits of metal from a fallen chopper has torn their bodies apart, or after napalm has burnt all their flesh off. It's not always comfortable to watch, but doing so reminds one that this is still what it's like in much of the world (I always watch the "X-mas, '67, VN" ep on the 25th of December to remind me of just that), and reminds us that we can't forget. Ever.

CB was a gorgeous show that missed nothing, was completely fearless (dealing even with the issue of men who by '69 were shooting themselves in order to get home), and so solidly built on truth and exceptional performances that it has never been forgotten, either. And the stories were told with grace, humor, wit, allowing us to experience the joy of small moments of quiet or wild moments of desperation-tinged fun suddenly interrupted by incoming mortars. Nor were the Vietnamese marginalized or made into caricatures. One of the mysteries of this war is how many of the men fell in love with the people, the country, the culture (see Robert Olen Butler's books) and how many chose to desert the army to join it. Their stories are told, as are those of many Vietnamese. Broyles and Young make sure we don't fool ourselves into easy thinking, but rather examine the whole story. I doubt they'd be allowed such freedom in the current political climate. That they were at all is an exceptional thing. So good was it that many people showed up to participate: Diane Keaton directed the excellent ep "Fever"; Gary Sinise directed, Kathy Bates played a key role in one of the "home" episodes; Chloe Webb, fresh from "Sid and Nancy" was a guest star in the pilot and 1st 6 eps; and it was here that Mimi Leder became a director--one whose ER episodes were instantly noticable and who went on to become the first woman action-film director (though I'd have wanted her to make different films).

In terms of production values, they were so high that the episode where a main character, Booney, ends up having to go home was perhaps the most difficult, challenging, cinematic television episode ever filmed by that point (1989-90). Its realism is beyond harrowing--one forgets this is "fiction." Maybe because it really isn't...

I, like another reviewer, still watch all 56 episodes on my tapes, but would really, really like to see it on DVD, with commentary, footage from the war perhaps, and more nurses and female soldiers telling their stories (they did some of this on the show).

It feels nearly criminal to have "Bewitched, season 56" on DVD, but not this show. Please, please get on it! Thank you!!

[For Dana Delany fans, might I recommend "True Women," in which she plays the real woman who bravely led the women away from Santa Ana's army in Texas on what was called the Runaway Scrape; "Light Sleeper," where her part is small but her performance excellent, and where she acts again for Paul Schrader, who gave her her first real role in "Patty Hearst"; "Wild Palms"; and "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story" (M.S. founded Planned Parenthod and suffered for it). Search on her name to get a full list, and watch your Premium Channels for lesser-known movies. She also starred as a Healer in a remake of the film "Ressurection," which I have on tape from TV, but seems never to have been sold. Sadly, she never really has gotten the chance to shine again as she did here. She also writes notes to her fans on the official Dana Delany fan site, for those who care about such things. It's a site worth at least a look, as it's warm and caring and a bit unusual.]

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show, December 20, 2004
M. G. Mora "Bad Wolf" (San Leandro, CA. United States)
This review is from: China Beach (DVD)
I still have old VHS tapes of the show that I recorded over 10 years ago. I sure would like Season sets to replace them.
By far, this is one of the best Drama shows ever put on Television. The writing was amazing and the cast was top notch. Why Delaney and Helgenburger didnt become Huge Movies stars after this show, I do not know.
Bring on the DVDs and with some commentaries too! (175 customer reviews)