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DVD Selections - Drama Movies

Wonderful Drama
Anne of Green Gables DVD
This gorgeous adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic children's story is well worth watching with the whole family. Produced for Canadian television, it's one of those rare productions that actually sticks to the book and even enhances it through first-rate performances and an excellent script. Set on bucolic Prince Edward Island in the late 19th century, Anne of Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley, an imaginative and headstrong orphan. When brother and sister Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan boy to help Matthew work the farm, they are astonished when Anne arrives at the train station by mistake. "What use is she to us?" grumbles the gruff Marilla. "We might be of some use to her," answers Matthew, who has taken an instant liking to the talkative Anne. As Anne grows up, her adventures are both hilarious and moving. It's a delight to watch as she forms a friendship with the beautiful Diana and her admirer --the dashing Gilbert Blythe--then dyes her hair green, cracks a slate over Gilbert's head when he calls her "Carrots," and finds a sympathetic teacher who encourages her to attend college.  Richard Farnsworth is perfect as the shy and gentle bachelor Matthew, who confides to Anne that he never went courting because "I would have had to say something." Colleen Dewhurst delivers a nuanced and powerful performance as Marilla, a seemingly cold-hearted spinster whose no-nonsense exterior conceals a warm heart. And as Anne, Megan Follows strikes the perfect note, maturing from freckle-faced orphan to elegant and poised young woman. 
--Elisabeth Keating
The Buccaneers 
(1995) VHS
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The Buccaneers portrays four young women in search of love and cought between the Old and New Worlds. Most marriages are not made for love, and even in those that are, there is a price to be paid to maintain respectability. 
The costumes and scenery are breathtaking. 
Seabiscuit (Widescreen Edition) (2003) DVD
Proving that truth is often greater than fiction, the handsome production of Seabiscuit offers a healthy alternative to Hollywood's staple diet of mayhem.
Led by Tobey Maguire as Seabiscuit's hard-luck jockey, the film's first-rate cast is uniformly excellent, including William H. Macy as a wacky trackside announcer who fills this earnest film with a much-needed spirit of fun. 
--Jeff Shannon
Sabrina (1995) DVD
A terrific lighthearted romantic comedy! Julia Ormond faced one of the great challenges of her career when she tried to re-create Audrey Hepburn's title role in the 1995 remake of 1954's Sabrina. Happily, Ormond performed admirably, and while she may not have the same gamine charm of Hepburn, she makes the role her own. 
--Jenny Brown
Dolores Claiborne 
(1995) DVD
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Starring: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh.Gripping psychological drama with dark secrets, family torments, and two murders. Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) is the stoic, hardened figure of housekeeper accused of murdering her employer of 22 years, which brings her daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) home for the first time in years.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997) DVD
The Chamber (1996) DVD
The Sculptress VHS
The Crying Game (1992) DVD
Head Above Water (1996) VHS
The Fifteen Streets (1989) VHS
Elizabeth (1998) DVD
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A wonderfully interesting story about Queen Elizabeth, daughter of Henry 8th, the greatest woman monarch of all times, a woman who has her own passions and more or less secret lovers, but who has only one spouse: England! Great movie with wonderful acting, directing, costumes, and screenplay. Golden Globe winner for Best Actress (Drama): Cate Blanchett; Oscar winner for Best Makeup.
L.A. Confidential 
(1997) DVD
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Starring: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger
Everything's off the record in this compelling blend of L.A. history and pulp fiction that has earned it comparisons to the greatest of all Technicolor noir films, Chinatown. L.A.Confidential is the real thing--a gritty, sordid tale of sex, scandal, betrayal, and corruption of all sorts (police, political, press--and, of course, very personal) in 1940s Hollywood. Kim Basinger richly deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a conflicted femme fatale.
The American President 
(1995) DVD
The American President is incredibly enjoyable entertainment with quite a few ideas about both romance and the government. Michael Douglas stars as the president, who after three years in office starts thinking about the possibility of dating. When he auspiciously encounters cutthroat environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), sparks begin to crackle and the two begin a tentative but heartfelt romance. --Mark Englehart
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